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Differences between Royal Caribbean and Disney


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New to Royal Caribbean and we've only ever cruised with Disney. Our kids are older now so we wanted to venture out.  I don't want to constantly compare while on our cruise.  Anyone out there cruised both and have any suggestions?  We are looking forward to the new atmosphere, but don't want to be disappointed.  I'm sure it will be great.  We were able to get a suite for cheaper than a veranda room on Disney.  Any hints on how to make our cruise wonderful? (We are so used to the Disney way) Thanks in advance.

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36 minutes ago, Tricia Smith said:

New to Royal Caribbean and we've only ever cruised with Disney. Our kids are older now so we wanted to venture out.  I don't want to constantly compare while on our cruise.  Anyone out there cruised both and have any suggestions?  We are looking forward to the new atmosphere, but don't want to be disappointed.  I'm sure it will be great.  We were able to get a suite for cheaper than a veranda room on Disney.  Any hints on how to make our cruise wonderful? (We are so used to the Disney way) Thanks in advance.

 

You can get a big, nice suite on Royal for what you’d pay for a balcony room on Disney.  Every time I’ve looked at Disney cruise pricing, the minimum price for 7 days in a balcony room was $7k or more for 3 of us  ……… we ended up booking cruises on Royal for the same week every time on an Oasis class ship and stayed in a Grand Suite, Crown Loft or Owner’s suite for the price the balcony room would have been on Disney.

 

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1 hour ago, ChrisK2793 said:

 

You can get a big, nice suite on Royal for what you’d pay for a balcony room on Disney.  Every time I’ve looked at Disney cruise pricing, the minimum price for 7 days in a balcony room was $7k or more for 3 of us  ……… we ended up booking cruises on Royal for the same week every time on an Oasis class ship and stayed in a Grand Suite, Crown Loft or Owner’s suite for the price the balcony room would have been on Disney.

 

That's why we switched.  We were on a Disney cruise and booked another one with the onboard deal and got an inside cabin.  It seemed expensive, but we had time to cancel before we were locked in.  Went to AAA after our cruise and learned that we could get a Junior Suite on the Allure for nearly the same itinerary during the same week of the next year and still save over $1000.   We did opt for a Central Park Balcony on this one.

 

while on our first Royal cruise, we ate lunch one day in the Windjammer while looking over at the Disney ship we were supposed to be on ?

We will still do multiple trips to Disney World each year (not 2020 of course) and will become Annual Passholders again on our next trip.  

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1 hour ago, ChrisK2793 said:

 

You can get a big, nice suite on Royal for what you’d pay for a balcony room on Disney.  Every time I’ve looked at Disney cruise pricing, the minimum price for 7 days in a balcony room was $7k or more for 3 of us  ……… we ended up booking cruises on Royal for the same week every time on an Oasis class ship and stayed in a Grand Suite, Crown Loft or Owner’s suite for the price the balcony room would have been on Disney.

 

Ditto - that was my conclusion also.   Your  money goes further on RCL.  

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Not sure how old your kids are but have them go to the kids and / or teens club (depending on age of course) the first night. That’s when they meet friends and it makes a giant difference.

We did a DCL cruise years ago but also switched as the kids got a little older and appreciated the focus more on activities and hanging out with other kids their age. They just preferred hanging out at Sorrentos for pizza, going ice skating, doing an escape room, or even walking around the ship with their new friends.  Not that there were not similar opportunities on Disney...it just seemed like the focus was more on Disney stuff and/or younger kids.

With 4 kids we went from 2 cabins to 3 cabins and despite that spent thousands less each cruise. They love RCL cruises even today (ages 15-20 now) and yet we are a huge Disney family.  We just did a week at WDW and had a great time but no one evens mentions going back on DCL. Meanwhile we are booked on an RCL ship between Christmas and NYE and the family can’t wait.

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We have done both.

We love Disney and we love DCL but holy cow, the price difference is crazy.

We have been on Holland, NCL, Disney and Royal.

Our very first cruise was on Disney and we feel in love. 

We have tried different lines to find that Disney service but with a more affordable price.

We loved our Royal cruise, we now have three more booked.

I think you try to go with a mind set of being new to cruising.

Listen to Matt's podcast and ask questions here (great group of people!)

Do a bit of research on your ship and what it offers.

RC offers a lot for all ages.

 

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***** I have no children 

I have done 32 Disney cruises and 3 Royal cruises.  I have 6 Royal cruises booked and 1 Disney (Wish).

I have only sailed on the Oasis Class ships for Royal and honestly I have enjoyed it equal to Disney.  Entertainment on Royal to me is fantastic, but of course there are no Disney characters.  The Aqua 80's show in the aqua theater is the best show I have seen on any cruise ship.  The ship is clean and well cared for overall.  Food is just as good as Disney if not better....many more options but they do cost extra sometimes, also tons of options that do not.  Windjammers is fantastic and tons more options than what Disney has on their buffets.  Service is hands down better on Disney, and I think that is not surprising to anyone.  Disney is known for their service and always goes above and beyond, but honestly for 1/2 the cost I didn't have any issues that prevented me from enjoying myself.

Here is my very one negative about Royal and it is easily remedied by myself (or you).  Disney was my first cruise ever and the ships are gorgeous.  The ships were built so you could enjoy the ocean view no matter where you are on the ship....Deck 3, 4 and 5 all have the portholes to look out or the promenade deck with chairs.  To me The Oasis Class ships were built to look into the ship....so you see their promenade deck (inside shopping), the boardwalk, Central Park....each of these spaces are amazing but no outside views.  So I always booked an inside stateroom on Disney to minimize costs and on Royal it is important if you want an ocean view you need to choose a cabin that gives you that.  I know book an ocean view balcony.  This by no means ruined any vacation and there are nice spots around the ship to see the ocean .

 

Again I have 7 cruises booked currently, 6 on Royal and only 1 on the Disney Wish.  The Disney Wish is a 3 day next September that I am paying $2350 for 2 people and that is more or the same price as I am paying for each of my 7 day cruises on Royal.

 

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I've cruised both DCL and RC and I can tell you that on DCL, you are paying for the Disney name.

Unlike the difference between Disney theme parks and other theme parks, there is not much of a difference between the overall Disney cruise experience and other lines.  The pricing is absolutely ridiculous on DCL for a non-premium cruise line.

There are many former DCL'ers here who will tell you without question you are overpaying for a very similar experience on Royal Caribbean!

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The main difference is, indeed, price. There are some things that I like about Royal Caribbean better, some things I like about Disney better. 

I am a Disney fan through and through, but Royal Caribbean has some amazing ships, and because they are a bigger cruise line, can take you to other destinations around the world.

From the travel agent side, Disney handled the pandemic MUCH better in terms of refunds, FCCs, hold times.  I don't dread calling DCL for questions, I dread calling Royal Caribbean. 

But in terms of simply cruising, you'll find a lot more similar than different.

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On 6/25/2021 at 10:05 PM, DunwoodyDad said:

Not sure how old your kids are but have them go to the kids and / or teens club (depending on age of course) the first night. That’s when they meet friends and it makes a giant difference.

We did a DCL cruise years ago but also switched as the kids got a little older and appreciated the focus more on activities and hanging out with other kids their age. They just preferred hanging out at Sorrentos for pizza, going ice skating, doing an escape room, or even walking around the ship with their new friends.  Not that there were not similar opportunities on Disney...it just seemed like the focus was more on Disney stuff and/or younger kids.

With 4 kids we went from 2 cabins to 3 cabins and despite that spent thousands less each cruise. They love RCL cruises even today (ages 15-20 now) and yet we are a huge Disney family.  We just did a week at WDW and had a great time but no one evens mentions going back on DCL. Meanwhile we are booked on an RCL ship between Christmas and NYE and the family can’t wait.

Exactly. 

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On 6/25/2021 at 12:33 PM, Tricia Smith said:

New to Royal Caribbean and we've only ever cruised with Disney. Our kids are older now so we wanted to venture out.  I don't want to constantly compare while on our cruise.  Anyone out there cruised both and have any suggestions?  We are looking forward to the new atmosphere, but don't want to be disappointed.  I'm sure it will be great.  We were able to get a suite for cheaper than a veranda room on Disney.  Any hints on how to make our cruise wonderful? (We are so used to the Disney way) Thanks in advance.

I think you'll love Royal. We've cruised on all the Disney boats when the kids were younger and have now transitioned to Royal. The first pro for royal is price point as you noted. We can get 2 connecting balconies on royal for the price of one balcony on Disney. I also really like the Royal drink package so u are not gouged $15 for every cocktail like on Disney. In terms of on board experience The Royal Freedom and Oasis class (all we've been on) have much bigger pool decks, more pools, more activities (flow rider, rock climbing) and the adults area is much better. Of Course I think Disney wins with overall service, shows, and I really miss the on board movies. In terms of food the lower price for Royal will allow you to upgrade to the UDP and go to a different restaurant nightly. Food quality is about the same. I also enjoy going to the casino on royal after the wife has retired for the night. The best thing about Royal is there aren't nearly as many unsupervised kids running around the ship at all hours. 

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We switched from DCL to Royal when our son hit his teens as well.  We cruised concierge on DCL and Star class on Royal. Concierge with DCL doesn’t really give you much considering the price you pay..no specialty dining, laundry, unlimited internet or genie. The one area we felt DCL excelled at was their concierge.  Their concierge staff were incredible at delivering the Disney magic we love.  I think Royal excels when it comes to activities (flow rider, I fly, bumper cars, rock climbing, escape room, Xbox area), specialty dining, suite class offerings and price.  We are now #teamroyal. 

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