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The topic on the News and Rumor page about Holland charging for a second entree begs a question.  Some swear by Royal.  Some by Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, ect.

Here's the question:  If you could take all branding out of the ships, is there that much difference going from Royal to Carnival to Princess to NCL and on down the line of the mainstream lines?

I think there is a notable difference in the ships, but really from line to line, I think the experience is about 90% the same.

I'm specifically asking about the on board experience.. not itineraries.

Thoughts?

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A car is a car.  Four wheels, seats, seatbelts, an engine and turn signals.  Yet even within the same consumer sector of the auto industry people develop clear likes, preferences and loyalties.  Cruising is no different.

The devil is in the details.  Seems appropriate.

For some people one detail is important.  For another person that same detail is minor and not worth considering.  

Royal does have the best loyalty program.  That is consistently acknowledged, but even then not by everyone.   For some people a loyalty program is important.  For someone else not so much.  

Is a ship a ship?  Each has dining venues included and those that aren't.  Each has interior cabins, ocean view, balconies and suites.  Each has some sort of show in a theater.  In that sense they are all the same.  Yet they are different, sometimes in striking ways. A suite on Carnival offers a bigger room but very little if anything once you leave your cabin.  A suite on NCL or Royal offers more than just a bigger cabin.    Entertainment on ships like Oasis or Quantum class far exceed some other lines, but then again that is a personal opinion.  For someone else the cast splashing around a pool or skating on ice is meh.  

I think everyone should sample different lines.  That is the only way to know if the differences have meaning to you, your needs and your expectations.  

As cruise consumers we are fortunate to have such variety to sample from and find what floats our boat (ship).  

I sailed Carnival a bunch before leaving them.  I tried the newest ships, the oldest and stuff in between.  Yet I longed for something different that I can't quantify in words other than to say I wanted a little bit more.  I sampled Royal for that very reason.  I liked what I saw, even though it tends to be more expensive than Carnival.  At least until my loyalty perks finally kicked in and leveled that playing field in Royal's favor.  Absent of those perks, Carnival is cheaper.  

For some people price is the single most important factor.  Food is food. A comedian is comedian, a show is a show.  Save a few hundred bucks and they overlook details that I can't.  I wanted more but that's me.  

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To piggyback on what @twangster said, I think the difference is the approach in how each cruise line designs and operates its a ship.  RC focuses their ships on entertainment, music and experiences onboard. Other lines seem to still focus on the ship being a conduit to the places it visits.

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As far as onboard experience goes, My family considers food first.  RC has a fair dinner menu in the MDR, although the quality could be a bit better.  Their buffet is wonderful in terms of selection, quality and they change things up daily (not all things). And they have very good specialty restaurants.  Carnival was much worse, especially at the buffet - it was always the same stuff.  Disney, on the other hand was much better in the MDR.  But for 50% more for the cruise is it worth It?  Now that my boys are teens - I would say no. Celebrity and Princess are supposed to have better food, but the extra cost to cruise again begs the question - is it worth It?

 

As far as entertainment and activities to do while on the ship, I think RC has all the others beat.  There is too much to do in fact.  On the quantum class and oasis class, you could literally split yourself into 4 to do stuff all over the ship.

 

I think the storeroom attendants are helpful and kind no matter who you cruise with.  I know the average storeroom is a bit bigger on Disney, but that is because most people sail with their kids in the same room.

 

As for the bars and lounges, the are pretty much the same on any cruise line.  But I do want to try the bar on Allure that goes from the promenade to central park.

 

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I agree with @twangster , and @Matt , I've tried NCL, Princess and Disney, My kids are now grown so Disney is out, even though I have seen plenty of post from people that love Disney and cruise as adult couples, after trying NCL and Princess I was like twangster, I wanted something more, something I wasn't getting, so I booked Voyager in 2000 fairly recently after she had been built and I have not looked back, I liked the product that was being offered, it fit in to my price range, so I have stuck with Royal.

As I get older I will probably try Celebrity and Azamara, I want to do a transatlantic and transpacific so we'll see where that takes me.

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I kinda want to try Disney but price is almost double!  I will take 2 cruises over 1 cruise anytime. 

we already don't have enough time to enjoy Royal ships..   not sure presence of Mickey can justify price difference. 

 

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6 hours ago, mook1525 said:

I kinda want to try Disney but price is almost double!  I will take 2 cruises over 1 cruise anytime. 

we already don't have enough time to enjoy Royal ships..   not sure presence of Mickey can justify price difference. 

I agree 100%!

We loved Disney (our first cruise - honeymoon back in 2004 on the Wonder) which set the bar very high, but we have never been disappointed with RC. Not worth the premium and limited ships/itineraries offered by Disney IMO too (and we love Disney/Disney World)... we'll try them again one day for sure, but not until we've sailed on a few more RC ships!

Slight tangent... it's crazy to think that an Oasis class ship (225-228K tons) is larger than the Wonder or Magic (83K tons) plus the Dream or Fantasy (130K tons) added together in total displacement!

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33 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

I agree 100%!

We loved Disney (our first cruise - honeymoon back in 2004 on the Wonder) which set the bar very high, but we have never been disappointed with RC. Not worth the premium and limited ships/itineraries offered by Disney IMO too (and we love Disney/Disney World)... we'll try them again one day for sure, but not until we've sailed on a few more RC ships!

Slight tangent... it's crazy to think that an Oasis class ship (225-228K tons) is larger than the Wonder or Magic (83K tons) plus the Dream or Fantasy (130K tons) added together in total displacement!

The Oasis is 5 times the size of the Titanic (in displacement).

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Hmmm... Until recently I could "feel" a difference on each cruise line I have tried... Often that "feel" is related to the bulk of the passengers on each line or at least my perception of them.  Carnival reminds me of the party dance boats in Nassau and I envision  bodies strewn about in the wee hours crawling back to their cabins in an alcohol induced stupor . Seems any port I have been in its Carnival trying to one up with the party noise.  Disney , I find to be too "themed", too commercialized, too caught up in their own self promotion.  I see a "mature crowd" on the princess cruises I have attended. Holland America (its been a long time) I found a more "reserved " if not "executive" crowd. RCCL for me wins hands down with their ships and ingenuity  that goes into them. I say at the onset of my reply "Until Recently". That refers to  I always found the typical RCCL passenger to be a "notch above". Not in a snobbish way. Just a little more fun without overdoing the "party" thing. A little more intelligent to converse with. My last cruise with them the "class" tilted more to trailer park than successful professional. Might have been the port Was a different one than the ones I've been used to)? Or perhaps that it was a three night quickie that had started out priced dirt cheap (I booked late , last OV cabin on sold out trip). It was more reminiscent of Carnival . 

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On 4/8/2019 at 8:43 AM, Matt said:

To piggyback on what @twangster said, I think the difference is the approach in how each cruise line designs and operates its a ship.  RC focuses their ships on entertainment, music and experiences onboard. Other lines seem to still focus on the ship being a conduit to the places it visits.

Are you thinking of the ship as a mode of transportation or a floating all-inclusive resort? it all factors in and makes a difference.

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It was just a 3 nighter.  Those tend to be roadies crowds on the less expensive cruise lines, even RCCL.

16 hours ago, deep1 said:

Hmmm... Until recently I could "feel" a difference on each cruise line I have tried... Often that "feel" is related to the bulk of the passengers on each line or at least my perception of them.  Carnival reminds me of the party dance boats in Nassau and I envision  bodies strewn about in the wee hours crawling back to their cabins in an alcohol induced stupor . Seems any port I have been in its Carnival trying to one up with the party noise.  Disney , I find to be too "themed", too commercialized, too caught up in their own self promotion.  I see a "mature crowd" on the princess cruises I have attended. Holland America (its been a long time) I found a more "reserved " if not "executive" crowd. RCCL for me wins hands down with their ships and ingenuity  that goes into them. I say at the onset of my reply "Until Recently". That refers to  I always found the typical RCCL passenger to be a "notch above". Not in a snobbish way. Just a little more fun without overdoing the "party" thing. A little more intelligent to converse with. My last cruise with them the "class" tilted more to trailer park than successful professional. Might have been the port Was a different one than the ones I've been used to)? Or perhaps that it was a three night quickie that had started out priced dirt cheap (I booked late , last OV cabin on sold out trip). It was more reminiscent of Carnival . 

 

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I do find the length of the cruise alters the dynamic of the ship:

3 Day - More of a party crowd

7 Day - Families with children as this seems to fit the sweet spot for time away.

14+ days - More older people as they have more time for longer holidays.

Crossings - This seems to bring out all the Diamond, Diamond+ and Pinnacles.

 

We have also sailed on Ruby Princess in the Mediterranean and also enjoyed that as the itinerary was much better than RCI offered. There was a port stop almost every day so the ship was less of a destination. I have not sailed on Celebrity but I would imagine that experience will be very similar to Princess, more traditional.

Sometimes it is nice to have a nice sedate cruise, which I guess is why Radiance class ships are still very popular.

 

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I’ve done Disney when my son was younger and it is absolutely wonderful. Food is better and entertainment top notch. I think it’s fun to do with kids once or twice but yeah it is very expensive.

I have done Carnival and just don’t like the vibe. While it’s true that it caters more to families then it used to, it still seems like a part atmosphere to me. I think the food is just ok.

I have done Norwegian and it’s certainly better than Carnival, but I still feel like it’s a little below Royal.

Royal Caribbean is the line for me. Food is good in MDR and Windjammer, although not great. The specialty dining is usually very good although my wife doesn’t like to pay extra. We usually fight a little about that. Entertainment is good and the prices are reasonable.

I have not done Celebrity or Princess. I hope to try these one day to see how they measure up but my teenage son really likes Royal Caribbean for now.

 

 

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