Royal compared to Disney?

Clam Chowder

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
We cruised the Disney Fantasy in Jan of this year. It was our 2nd Disney cruise. (the other was the Magic in 2017). I can honestly say I was disappointed. The room was great, nice balcony, and the ship was spotless. The food was aweful. There was not 1 item i can say I wanted to try again. For a cruise geared towards kids, they only have 1 water slide the Aqua Duck and the line was crazy. The Magic cruise had a Tangled show and it was great. This cruise had teen type shows and it wasn't fun at all. If we didnt pay what we did for Disney maybe I would have liked it more... But when you do pay that much you have expectations.
We just booked the Oasis for may 2020. I'm bringing my parents for an anniversary gift. 4 adults 2 kids 2 rooms. was a little over 6 thousand dollars. On the Disney Cruise almost the same ports of call was 13 thousand dollars. Disney has out priced themselves. We're back to Royal.
 

starvenger

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
We are so excited to sail on Harmony of the Seas! We booked an Owners Suite with Concierge service for 1/3 of the price of our DCL verandah (deck 9/midship) room.
I'm open to it being very different. We love Disney but know there's a bigger world out there!
I'm not sure if you were booking like for like wrt dates, ports etc but that seems to be a really good deal. I'm jealous.
 

PopMom

Earning My Ears
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
We are long time DVC members and were loyal die hard Platinum cruisers on DCL but our last cruise with Disney was about 5 years ago. It just got too expensive for us. Our travel agent suggested that we try RC and we've never looked back. We've now done 5 seven night sailings and can book 2 balcony cabins side by side (one for us and one for DS and DD now 19 and 21) for the same price as one cabin on DCL.

I do miss the split bathrooms of DCL and in our experience the MDR food was better on DCL but RC specialty restaurants are excellent. In addition to the more reasonable price, we enjoy the beautiful ships, the common areas, drink packages (we've seen no problems with people being drunk or out of hand), the promenade area is nice and we've had very good service. We do go to the casino one night for a short amount of time just for fun but we don't like the smoke. Overall, we are RC fans and have found that the ships are very family friendly. We probably won't go back on DCL unless the prices come down substantially. We love DCL but with the high prices and limited itineraries we'll stick with RC.

Because we are big Disney fans we've tended to like the shows on DCL a little better than RC but the quality of shows on RC is very good.

I'd recommend looking at ship amenities and videos of walk throughs to choose a ship. We like the Oasis class ships because of all the activities for the kids and the Central Park and Boardwalk areas.

Good luck choosing. You really can't go wrong either way!
 
  • Doodlebug65

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2008
    This is very interesting to read. We went on our very first cruise--Disney Dream this spring. While I loved it, I found the family areas so jam packed, it was suffocating for me (i.e. the pools my kids were allowed to swim in, and as much as I wanted to do the Aquaduck with them, I couldn't bear the crowds and lines). I enjoyed the adult areas, but this meant the kids had to be in the childcare (during times our 10 year old preferred not to be we found ourselves at a bit of a lull). My teen did enjoy all the funnel vision movies that played on Disney--and the movie theater. Does Royal have those?
    In my opinion, cruising the 3 or 4-night cruises on the Disney Dream is a far different experience than the 5+ night cruises on the other ships. The Dream is as Mousefan mom describes - crowded everywhere. It may be a cost factor, but it always seems like there are considerably more people - particularly kids - on those shorter Dream cruises. I think the larger families may opt for those cruises and , of course, school holidays have an impact, too. Bottom line, if you can swing it financially, you may want to try a 7-night on the Fantasy (or similar). I think you'll find it feels much different than the Dream even though the Fantasy is its sister ship. I've been on each of Disney's four ships multiple times (have cruised DCL almost 20 times) on both shorter and longer cruises. That said, I'm trying RCI for the first time in a little over month -- keeping an open mind.
     

    Kirbo

    Runs with Scissors
    Joined
    May 28, 2010
    We took five DCL trips with our kids and loved every one. We did two Mexican Riviera cruises (and they were KSF), one EBTA, one WBPC, and one Med cruise. We adore DCL (and aren't even Disney people, we've never been to WDW or taken the kids to DL).

    But we got priced out.

    So my husband and I did a super cheap RCI without the kids to try it. It was an eight night Pacific Coast cruise on the Explorer. It was dirt cheap. My husband and I weren't impressed with the service and didn't go to any shows, but we had a complete blast because it was an eight night date for us and we were on a cruise. We made a reservation for taking the kids on the Liberty.

    We did the math and one inside room for the four of us on one of the older DCL boats, same week, same departure port (Galveston) would be $9000 on DCL. We got two connecting rooms (interiors with views of the promenade) on the Liberty of the Seas for $3100. Some wonderful friends we met on DCL joined us on that cruise and got a balcony room across from us.

    It was a fabulous time.

    We felt the shows were better on DCL. The food was a wash. The pool deck was definitely better on RCI. I think the CMs on DCL seem happier, but the crew on the Liberty were fine, just not particularly magical. The boat was in good shape, not as classy as DCL, but still very nice. Our kids never liked the kids' club on DCL and didn't go on RCI, so I can't speak to those. We did the same family cruise this year as our first one with the kids last year and we've also scheduled one for 2021. We love walking the outer deck (it might be deck four, but I can't remember for sure) after dinner each night. I can't do sun and there was always good options for me to sit in the shade on the pool deck. The kids LOVED the slides and skating. Oh, the ice skating show was terrific. The Liberty also has Saturday Night Fever and we thought it was awful and not at all family friendly (um, a rape and a suicide? no thanks). The other shows were fine. We have seen the Disney shows a ton of times and never get bored of them, we loved those best.

    If we were made of money and our kids could go any time of year (which they no longer can), we would continue with repositioning cruises on DCL. But money isn't growing on our trees and we can only travel during the kids' vacation times now, so we're sticking with Royal and we're totally happy with it. DCL would be three times as much for a single room as we pay for two connecting rooms on RCI. That's huge for us. Yeah, we do like DCL better, but not three times better. We love cruising and it's such a great way for us to have forced family fun so we are sticking with Royal as we can cruise most years.

    We don't drink or gamble, so I can't speak to those things. We've never done a drink package of any kind and getting free drinks on Royal wasn't a problem for us (we're not soda people so we just got lemonade, iced tea, and coffee).
     

    FLVacationGirl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2007
    I did 2 Disney cruises (Dream and Magic) and then sailed with Royal (Allure) and didn't miss Disney at all! We had an amazing time with both cruise lines but the price was way better with Royal. Use the savings to get an outside balcony room if you are worried about not seeing water from the public areas.
     

    YoDisney

    Life Goals=Platinum Castaway Club
    Joined
    May 3, 2018
    this is all very interesting to read as I am looking into trying the oasis class ships on RCI--it is much better value compared to DCL but I am worried about the crowds esp in common dining areas. CruiseCritic member reviews are a mixed bag. Looking at the Allure of the sea reviews, some were happy & others were not happy but it overall got 4/5 member rating. We've generally been very happy w/DCL service & food..entertainment is good too & we do love to catch up on recent movies at the theaters on DCL ships.

    currently priced:
    -DCL may 2020 7 night Mediterranean cruise for 3 adults (1 balcony room)= $7.7K
    -RCI oct 2020 7 night mediterranean cruise, 3 adults in 2 separate ocean balcony rooms=$5.5K or 2 bedroom grand suite for $7.7k
     
  • Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    Cruise critic can be harsh so take it with a grain of salt. Allure is amazing from shows to food options to service to amenities to unique neighborhoods. If you want things like slides then go in Harmony or Symphony (or Oasis after Dec or Allure following year) but you can't go wrong with Allure.
     

    Kirbo

    Runs with Scissors
    Joined
    May 28, 2010
    this is all very interesting to read as I am looking into trying the oasis class ships on RCI--it is much better value compared to DCL but I am worried about the crowds esp in common dining areas. CruiseCritic member reviews are a mixed bag. Looking at the Allure of the sea reviews, some were happy & others were not happy but it overall got 4/5 member rating. We've generally been very happy w/DCL service & food..entertainment is good too & we do love to catch up on recent movies at the theaters on DCL ships.

    currently priced:
    -DCL may 2020 7 night Mediterranean cruise for 3 adults (1 balcony room)= $7.7K
    -RCI oct 2020 7 night mediterranean cruise, 3 adults in 2 separate ocean balcony rooms=$5.5K or 2 bedroom grand suite for $7.7k
    Have you done a Med cruise before? It is so port intensive. When we did the Magic for the Med in 2013 we were barely on the boat and when we were, it felt so over crowded (and we've done two Mexican Riviera cruises with DCL that were KSF, so we know crowds). We were in port so long most days that we didn't make our dinners and we missed all the shows (we'd just done the transatlantic, so missing the shows wasn't a big deal). I felt that the premium we paid for that cruise might not have been worth it. (We had a family tragedy occur while on that cruise and honestly, Disney went above and beyond in a way that I doubt any other cruise line would have done, so it was ultimately worth it to us, but even still, it was a lot of money for what was mostly a place to sleep).

    We LOVED our Disney cruises. But they are just so expensive now and we've found that RCI is really lovely. There are definitely a few things missing, my biggest complaint is that dishes get left all over and that would never happen on DCL, I've seen officers picking up random dishes to put them away!, but overall, the food was terrific, the venues lovely, the crew just fine, and the pool deck was the best. Our teens loved the pool deck.

    ETA our last two cruises were for our kids' spring break and we never felt overcrowded on the Liberty.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Yeah I think with Med cruises it might be better to get a smaller ship with less activities. There the appeal is the ports more than the ship itself. To an extent, anyway. If it were just about the ports EasyCruise would've survived.
     
  • YoDisney

    Life Goals=Platinum Castaway Club
    Joined
    May 3, 2018
    Have you done a Med cruise before? It is so port intensive. When we did the Magic for the Med in 2013 we were barely on the boat and when we were, it felt so over crowded (and we've done two Mexican Riviera cruises with DCL that were KSF, so we know crowds). We were in port so long most days that we didn't make our dinners and we missed all the shows (we'd just done the transatlantic, so missing the shows wasn't a big deal). I felt that the premium we paid for that cruise might not have been worth it. (We had a family tragedy occur while on that cruise and honestly, Disney went above and beyond in a way that I doubt any other cruise line would have done, so it was ultimately worth it to us, but even still, it was a lot of money for what was mostly a place to sleep).

    We LOVED our Disney cruises. But they are just so expensive now and we've found that RCI is really lovely. There are definitely a few things missing, my biggest complaint is that dishes get left all over and that would never happen on DCL, I've seen officers picking up random dishes to put them away!, but overall, the food was terrific, the venues lovely, the crew just fine, and the pool deck was the best. Our teens loved the pool deck.

    ETA our last two cruises were for our kids' spring break and we never felt overcrowded on the Liberty.
    We’ve never done med cruise before & am concerned about just a 7night cruise on Allure given that the ship itself has so much to see/do already vs smaller disney ship but the price for disney med cruise is $2k more expensive & 3 adults crammed into 1 room. If it were up to me, i’d still pick disney all the way as i truly think it’s a relaxing vacation IMO bc there’s a good medium of activities/shows (although repetitive) & down time (naps/vegging out in the room). But my parents are interested in europe itinerary on a ship that has a lot to do & a good variety of ages all around (their recent cruise on princess to south america was heavy with seniors so they felt bored). Seems like RCI may fill that role. I probably would have to re-do Mediterranean itinerary on DCL another day to compare
     

    YoDisney

    Life Goals=Platinum Castaway Club
    Joined
    May 3, 2018
    Sorry Kirbo but what’s KSF?

    @starvenger-i agree that med cruise itineraries are prob better on smaller ships such as DCL but hard to convince my dad to join us on DCL (price point). He’s not disney fan unlike the ladies in the house. Sigh...i’d like to do a comparison one day.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    KSF = Kids Sail Free

    I'd agree that DCL-size ships are ideal for the Mediterranean. DCL prices... not so much, but fortunately you can find other cruise lines to sail, and not just DCL or Royal.
     

    Kirbo

    Runs with Scissors
    Joined
    May 28, 2010
    Thanks for answering, starvenger. Yes, KSF is kids sail free. It makes for very busy ships. But on the Mexican Riviera cruises we took, they didn't feel too crowded. The Med, however, on DCL felt VERY crowded (and was not KSF). We were shocked by it. We spent so little time on the boat and didn't really get to enjoy any of the Disney things, so for us, the premium we paid to do the Med on DCL was not worth it. We spent a ton for what was mostly a floating place to sleep. If we did the Med again, we would just chose a boat based on price. I think if you're in two rooms on Royal, for a lot less money than on DCL, you'll do great.

    We've done five cruises with DCL and the Med was the one that wasn't worth it for us. It was too crowded and we just didn't have any time to enjoy the boat's amenities.

    A longer cruise with more sea days, DCL is totally worth it (though out of our price range now).
     

    nancy drew

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 12, 2005
    this is all very interesting to read as I am looking into trying the oasis class ships on RCI--it is much better value compared to DCL but I am worried about the crowds esp in common dining areas. CruiseCritic member reviews are a mixed bag. Looking at the Allure of the sea reviews, some were happy & others were not happy but it overall got 4/5 member rating. We've generally been very happy w/DCL service & food..entertainment is good too & we do love to catch up on recent movies at the theaters on DCL ships.

    currently priced:
    -DCL may 2020 7 night Mediterranean cruise for 3 adults (1 balcony room)= $7.7K
    -RCI oct 2020 7 night mediterranean cruise, 3 adults in 2 separate ocean balcony rooms=$5.5K or 2 bedroom grand suite for $7.7k
    We sailed on Symphony and never felt like it was crowded anywhere. DCL felt MUCH more crowded, especially the pool deck. Sorry but for a "family-friendly" cruise line DCL really missed the mark with pool space. I also found the shows to be far better on RC. For one thing, there are more types of show instead of just stage shows night after night. You have the ice show (x2), the aqua show (x2), the stage show (x2), the comedy show... DCL just has stage show after stage show. I just found that RC had much more to offer, at least on Oasis Class.

    I haven't done a Med (yet!) but we did sail an Alaskan itinerary and I chose a cruise line solely for the itinerary and sort of for the ship. We sailed on HAL and it is still my kids' favorite cruise, ever. There weren't a whole lot of activities but the kids' clubs were amazing, and I found my quiet spot to chill at night, and we were all so happy. On a port-heavy cruise, activities don't really matter. You're out all day, then in bed early because you are exhausted and you have to get up early to do it all again the next day. You are going to be spending $$$$ on excursions, so save the money on the cruise fare and get the best itinerary and space for sleeping because that is the priority on a port-heavy cruise. I would 100% get the 2 separate balcony rooms for $5.5K and spend the extra on awesome excursions. You can probably get a private tour in each port for the savings over DCL!
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    As I mentioned before a smaller ship with less amenities is probably ideal for a Med cruise, but you could also consider a bus tour to get a "sample" of various cities in Europe. Yes, you will have to deal with mornings of travel and such but you'll get dropped into the heart of the city and have opportunities to better set your own agenda. I'd probably still choose the cruise but I wouldn't discount that option.

    Still, I think the best option is to get an Airbnb and spend 4-7 days just "living" in a city. There is something about Europe that makes doing this really wonderful. My neighbour actually just spent 3 weeks doing that in London, Nice, Vienna and Amsterdam.
     

    pezgirlroy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 29, 2016
    We just got off of the Freedom of the Seas last week. It was just my husband and I. 7 Nights from San Juan and going to Aruba, bonnaire, Curaco and St. Maarten. We have been on the Fantasy and the Magic with kids (concierge both times). We will be on the Fantasy again in April. We had a wonderful time on the Freedom. I cannot speak to how it would be with kids. The kids clubs looked a bit small but that was just from the windows. For adults it was great. The atmosphere was wonderful. It is a bit different when you leave from San Juan but we loved it. The ship needed a bit of an update (going into dry dock in January). The balcony room was nice (except I didn't like the tube type shower). The service and staff were great. We had one bartender that I didn't like much but generally I thought the staff was really good. We actually liked the food better on Royal than on Disney. The shows are different. Honestly if you go in with the right attitude they are fun. The one stage show was the weirdest thing I have ever seen but I enjoyed it because it was so odd. The ice show was great. I will say we were docked next to the Fantasy in Aruba and stared at her lovingly. :) We had a great time on the Freedom and would def. do Royal again.
     

    richmo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2007
    We started out with two DCL cruises (Bahamas and Alaska) and loved both. Then we did a 3 nighter out of Miami on Royal (Majesty OTS) for a family event and hated it. Crowded room; booze cruise; observed an almost fight getting to the tender for CocoCay. I'd have loved to go back to DCL, but they really priced us out. So we tried Royal again. A 4 nighter out of Miami (Enchantment OTS - Key West, Nassau, CocoCay), a 7 nighter out of Bayonne, NJ (Adventure OTS - Port Canaveral, Nassau, CocoCay) and a 6 nighter out of Bayonne (Adventure OTS again - Bar Harbor, Saint John, Halifax) and we're doing a 5 nighter shortly on Anthem OTS to Bermuda from Bayonne. Loved all of those and didn't experience any of the issues we had on that 3 nighter. I've since heard its just not a good idea to do 3 night cruises, although I imagine Disney would be fine.

    Overall, I think I'm enjoying RCCL just about as much as DCL. The shows are not quite as good - although I'm really looking forward to the 'We Will Rock You' Queen themed show coming up on Anthem, the food is decent, a port is a port, the rooms are quite nice, beds comfortable. We switched when we found that a balcony on Royal was just over half of what an interior would be on Disney for a similar cruise.

    I hope to get back to DCL for a special treat sometime, but we've been really happy with Royal. Just no 3 nighters...
     

    Denise W

    Disney Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 1999
    We started out with two DCL cruises (Bahamas and Alaska) and loved both. Then we did a 3 nighter out of Miami on Royal (Majesty OTS) for a family event and hated it. Crowded room; booze cruise; observed an almost fight getting to the tender for CocoCay. I'd have loved to go back to DCL, but they really priced us out. So we tried Royal again. A 4 nighter out of Miami (Enchantment OTS - Key West, Nassau, CocoCay), a 7 nighter out of Bayonne, NJ (Adventure OTS - Port Canaveral, Nassau, CocoCay) and a 6 nighter out of Bayonne (Adventure OTS again - Bar Harbor, Saint John, Halifax) and we're doing a 5 nighter shortly on Anthem OTS to Bermuda from Bayonne. Loved all of those and didn't experience any of the issues we had on that 3 nighter. I've since heard its just not a good idea to do 3 night cruises, although I imagine Disney would be fine.

    Overall, I think I'm enjoying RCCL just about as much as DCL. The shows are not quite as good - although I'm really looking forward to the 'We Will Rock You' Queen themed show coming up on Anthem, the food is decent, a port is a port, the rooms are quite nice, beds comfortable. We switched when we found that a balcony on Royal was just over half of what an interior would be on Disney for a similar cruise.

    I hope to get back to DCL for a special treat sometime, but we've been really happy with Royal. Just no 3 nighters...
    We got off our third Anthem cruise a few weeks ago, our 4th is next January. We love We Will Rock You. We also like Spectra’s Cabaret. The Gift was ok but I don’t need to see it again. All the musical groups were great.
    Denise
     

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