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Calling former DCL cruisers: why did you flip?

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I would like to hear from any and all former Disney Cruise Line fans answers to these questions...

 

1. Why did you consider looking at another cruise line after cruising with DCL?

2. Why did you consider RCCL?

3. What keeps you coming back to RCCL instead of DCL?

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I originally chose DCL because I am and always will be a HUGE Disney geek. I grew up a few hundred miles north of Disneyland in CA, and was at the happiest place on earth as often as I could. When they announced a cruise line, it was only natural that I would choose them. At the time of cruising DCL, I was married with a one year old. My son love Mickey Mouse, and my wife thought we were both nuts...  The cruise changed her into both a fanatic about Disney, as well as a fanatic about cruising. We made a pact to try each cruise line, and to compare.. Secretly, I knew none would compare to DCL... We never got to fulfill that pact.  Been divorced for nearly 5 years now... but I'm straying off topic..

 

Why did I consider looking at another cruise line?  Deep inside I still want to sample every cruise line.  I love DCL... LOVE it.. but I want to see what else there is.

 

Why choose RCCL this time? Quite simply, the answer is Matt Hochberg. I was an avid listener to WDW Today, from episode one, and listening to him plug this blog and podcast, I gave it a try. Listening to his podcast, I became hooked. I'm intrigued by the variety of ships, as well as destinations. I booked a cruise to celebrate my parents. By celebrate, I mean praise. They raised me, helped me, and have been my rock through the last several years of quite frankly darkness. I chose, this coming February, Enchantment of the Seas, simply by listening to Matt talk to Michael Poole. Their love for RCCL is infectious. I now listen religiously to every word Matt puts out... Will I try other cruise lines?  I sure will, but I have time to do that.

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I originally chose DCL because I am and always will be a HUGE Disney geek. I grew up a few hundred miles north of Disneyland in CA, and was at the happiest place on earth as often as I could. When they announced a cruise line, it was only natural that I would choose them. At the time of cruising DCL, I was married with a one year old. My son love Mickey Mouse, and my wife thought we were both nuts...  The cruise changed her into both a fanatic about Disney, as well as a fanatic about cruising. We made a pact to try each cruise line, and to compare.. Secretly, I knew none would compare to DCL... We never got to fulfill that pact.  Been divorced for nearly 5 years now... but I'm straying off topic..

 

Why did I consider looking at another cruise line?  Deep inside I still want to sample every cruise line.  I love DCL... LOVE it.. but I want to see what else there is.

 

Why choose RCCL this time? Quite simply, the answer is Matt Hochberg. I was an avid listener to WDW Today, from episode one, and listening to him plug this blog and podcast, I gave it a try. Listening to his podcast, I became hooked. I'm intrigued by the variety of ships, as well as destinations. I booked a cruise to celebrate my parents. By celebrate, I mean praise. They raised me, helped me, and have been my rock through the last several years of quite frankly darkness. I chose, this coming February, Enchantment of the Seas, simply by listening to Matt talk to Michael Poole. Their love for RCCL is infectious. I now listen religiously to every word Matt puts out... Will I try other cruise lines?  I sure will, but I have time to do that.

Wow Jeff,

 

Glad to hear you're coming out of that dark tunnel on the other side .... been there, done that myself ..... after a while, you look back and ask your self, "what was I thinking"

 

As for me, I've never done Disney, not that I wouldn't, I love Disney World, my sister works there, I go there every chance I get ..... but the two reasons I have no desire to go on a Disney Cruise is ....

 

1) - The cost .... pound for pound, there is no comparison between DCL and RCCL for what you get for your money

 

2) - No Casino on Disney ships ..... what can I say, I love the slots..

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I should probably say I have only been on one cruise before, The Wonder, and it was great.  The Enchantment will by my first RCCL cruise. And, yes, pound for pound, price is also a reason for switching cruises.

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Oooh this is a good one!  Let me see if I can get some coherent thoughts.

 

We are huge Disney fans.  DVC members, got married at Disney, go at least twice a year, etc.  When DCL first launched, it was a no brainer.  Have sailed 9 times with Disney from 3 night Bahamas cruises to 12 night Baltic Sea in the Walt Disney Suite.  Cruising Disney was natural for us.  And we honestly believed that cruising anybody else was going to be like going to Six Flags after going to Walt Disney World. 

 

I too was an avid listener of WDW Today.  5+ years.  I had always heard Matt's intro but never checked out the website.  And then he moved on and I missed listening to him on the podcast.  I gave the new guys a few months and finally unsubscribed.  

 

My mom had mentioned at one point wanting to try Oasis of the Seas since it was then the largest in the world.  I started listening to the podcast and made the pitch to her to try Oasis over Christmas.  I figured if Matt was a Disney guy and a RC guy, what do we have to lose?  I also listened to Len's guest appearance on the podcast at least 10 times.

 

My expectations were low for RC.  I was fully expecting the Six Flags experience.  When we got on board and started exploring, my mom and I were like gee, this is better than we expected!  There are some things Disney does better (upkeep of the ship specifically, I think service slightly on DCL slightly beats out RC, and some of the theming on Disney can't be beat.)  But there were many things I liked better on Royal:

 

1) The speciality dining variety, especially on Oasis.  This was huge for us. We are foodies and really appreciated the variety of restaurants we found on Oasis.  We are looking forward to Anthem for this same reason.

2) The calmness of the nursery.  Even on a Christmas cruise, there were far less kids in the nursery than there was on Disney.  I was so nervous dropping my daughter off at the nursery on DCL.  On the same token, the huge open play area on Oasis for the kids was a huge plus for my family

3) The food overall was better to me.  It was served hot, which is something we found lacked with Disney.  I was impressed when we took the all access tour how just about everything is made from scratch.  There is very little heat and serve frozen food.  I can't speak to Disney as I haven't toured their provisions area, but this impressed me.

4) Variety of ships and itineraries.  We were running out of things to book with Disney.  While I love the Magic, they put the new ships on the same basic itinerary and it's hard to want to book it.  The Magic is the only ship that does really cool itineraries (Besides the Wonder in Alaska).

5) I think Disney beats out Royal in the Stage Shows and family shows, but the variety of entertainment on Royal is awesome.  The aquatheater is such a unique place.

6) Brand name shopping on board really appeals to us.  Big plus for Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Tiffany, etc.

7) We find the Royal Suite Class benefits better than what DCL offers.  

8) C&A benefits are way better than Castaway Club. Plus you get more points for longer cruises and suites.  With Castaway club, my 3 night Bahamas cruise counted the same as 12 night in the Walt Disney Suite

9) The recent price increase has made it hard to book.  While we feel like DCL is a great cruise, it's certainly not *double* the experience on RC.

 

Do I think we will ever cruise Disney again?  Absolutely.  But it will probably be a pretty specialized itinerary.  We feel like Disney really puts together great European trips and excursions.  We are really looking forward to Anthem of the Seas though.  It seems like such a specialized ship with a lot of cool features.

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We started cruising DCL because we love Disney parks and films.  Plain and simple.  We'd cruised many other criuse lines before (and continue to), but DCL was a blast.  I think we've done it 7 or 8 times now but the price just became too high recently.  RCCL is a good bargain for my money, not the only cruise line out there, but a good value and great experience.

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We really liked there Disney cruise experience, less charges for things onboard, and more inclusive kids clubs. In addition, when my son was younger, the prices were similar as they charged less for him when he was younger. Now, they're twice there price and I know longer see the value. Do they do some things better than Royal? Of course. Is what they do better with so much more? NO!

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I have only taken one DCL cruise. I am a gambler, so I need a casino. Since I am done with raising kids, taking care of them, etc., I really don't want a ship full of them, well behaved or not. DCL is considered a premium cruise line and therefore you pay a premium for their cruises.

 

My very first cruise was on Princess and I still love Princess, my second was on RCCL, both cruises were to Alaska. I felt they were pretty much the same, same bang for your buck, but I love RCCL, always will. I looked at RCCL because of the price of the Alaskan cruise.

 

I have been on almost all cruise lines, Carnival, Holland, RCCL, Princess, Disney, Celebrity and it is a tie between Princess and RCCL.

 

I love Matt and the blog and pretty much everyone that posts on the blog. If I have a question it is always answered by the knowledgable members, whether it is about cruising, Uber or computer issues. 99.9% of the members of this blog are wonderful.

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I have only been on one Disney cruise but the reason we decided to try RCCL is for two main reasons. First, the price - RCCL is more reasonable. And second, we have heard only good things about the kids club on RCCL. We recently were talking to a different travel agent then who we booked with and she confirmed that if you have young children then RCCL or Disney is the way to go. I hope so because I am so looking forward to our first RCCL cruise in January!

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We try to do one "big" vacation per year.  Have only been on 1 cruise before, it was Disney Wonder and it was great.  Since then we have done the complete Disney World experience, every park, etc.  Next year's trip we decided to do another cruise and I wanted to try one of the other Disney ships, and like others, I was shocked when I looked to see how much Disney had gone up in price since we went before.  So I started looking elsewhere, and the general consensus is that RCCL is almost on par with Disney for families with kids.  Found a great itinerary, 8 nights on Freedom, half the cost of a Disney 7 night the same week, went for it.  I am not a casino person, nor is my wife, so we don't really care about that, but we do enjoy the night life stuff, and I found it to be pretty quiet on the Disney ship.  None of the adult bars were ever close to crowded, and in a way, it affected the atmosphere.  We are lucky in that my parents insist on coming on our "big" vacations, and they are not interested in doing the bars late at night, so we get connecting rooms and at least one of them, if not both, are fine with being in the room at night, sitting on the balcony while our kids are sleeping in the connected room, so the wife and I can go out.  Another plus for RCCL (for me) is that Disney does not offer any drink packages.  My drink tab for my wife and I was like $500 on the Disney cruise for 5 nights, and most of that was me.  I was never drunk at all, but damn, they add up.  A few $12 drinks at the pool, glass of wine or two at dinner, a couple of drinks at night and well, here's your $500 tab.  So I am expecting that the drink package will work out well for me, and I will just pay for the few that my wife has.  That's not a knock against Disney, I completely understand why they don't offer drink packages or have casinos on their ships.  But taking these things into consideration, along with double the price, and I don't see the benefits anymore.  

 

One point for Disney though, if you have young kids and they are into the characters and what not, all of them are on the ship, and they are way more accessible there than compared to the parks.  The ships have character photo sessions all throughout the day in the atrium of the ship, and you get the schedule before hand, so you can plan it out to have your kids see who they want.  15 minute wait tops to get their picture taken, unlike the sometimes hour waits in the parks.  When we went to the park, we didn't do any character meets, other than Mickey, because my kids had done them all the year before on the ship.  Anyways, super looking forward to Freedom in February.         

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We have relatives who leave their kid at home and cruise Disney Cruise Line.  The thing I will never understand is this:  why would anyone want to be on a ship with 1,000 of other people's kids?

 

We were on the Adventure of the Seas in June with extended family, including the relatives mentioned above.  The whole trip was paid for by my mother-in-law.  They had previously been REALLY pro Dinsey, and stated they wouldn't go on the trip if it was Carnival...even if it was free.  The Adventure was the choice and they loved it.  They actually booked a Next Cruise while on board.

 

If I had a choice of staying home or going on DCL, I'd take DCL.  However, if I'm making the decisions, because of cost , the casino, and all those kids on board (and I have three of my own), I would choose about any other cruise line than Disney.

 

By the way, for me the same goes for NCL.  If the choice is stay home or go on NCL, I'll take NCL.  Because of the poor food quality in the MDR, if I'm making decisions, I'd choose most other main stream lines over NCL.

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Wow, this is fascinating to hear how everyone came over to the RC side of things.

 

We tried DCL because we loved WDW so much and figured it would be a good fit.  I enjoyed DCL, but their pricing became more and more cost-prohibitive.  For our honeymoon, we realized we could do like an inside room on a short cruise on DCL for the budget we had, or go to RC and get a JS on a 7-night.  I remember being disappointed but never looked back after that.

 

I had cruised with RC once before and my TA recommended RC, so it was really the only other consideration.

What keeps me coming back are the great ships, value pricing and customer loyalty. I've always felt RC offers such a comparable experience to DCL, so why pay thousands more?

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Why choose RCCL this time? Quite simply, the answer is Matt Hochberg. I was an avid listener to WDW Today, from episode one, and listening to him plug this blog and podcast, I gave it a try. Listening to his podcast, I became hooked. I'm intrigued by the variety of ships, as well as destinations. I booked a cruise to celebrate my parents. By celebrate, I mean praise. They raised me, helped me, and have been my rock through the last several years of quite frankly darkness.

I am so glad that you've joined us here to share your story, Jeff.  Moreover, I am even happier to hear that you are doing better lately and are looking to move past a dark time in your life.  I sincerely hope we get a chance to cruise together soon!

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I am so glad that you've joined us here to share your story, Jeff.  Moreover, I am even happier to hear that you are doing better lately and are looking to move past a dark time in your life.  I sincerely hope we get a chance to cruise together soon!

me too. hopefully on a future group cruise

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1. Why did you consider looking at another cruise line after cruising with DCL?


 


For me it is 2 fold


(a) Disney sails mainly from the US and the east coast at that,m From New Zealand that adds a lot of extra travel just to head on a cruise when there are some amazing destinations in the pacific and Asia on our doorstep. RCCL (and many others) sail out of Australia, about 3 hours flight from here vs 28 hours to Orlando,


 


(b) Price. In some ways that si related to above (airfare difference) but also even take that out of the equation DCL is about 50-75% (or more on sale) more expensive than RCCL. While I really liked DCL I can't believe that it is worth the difference to me when the difference seems very small (if it exists at all).


 


2. Why did you consider RCCL?


 


The perfect cross section of cost, service, amenities and destinations


 


3. What keeps you coming back to RCCL instead of DCL?


 


I actually think we will sail DCL again, it might just not be as often as we sail RCCL


 


We've actually been to Walt Disney World and/or Disneyland about 7 times in the last 10 years which when you consider the distance would make us a regular. We are now questioning when the next time we we head to WDW as we feel the price v service no longer adds up for us as it did especially when there are so many great places around the world we would like to head back to. This doesn't mean we won't 'do Disney'' it just means it may be once every 5 years instead of our usual every year or every other.


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One thing is for sure... Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

My sister-in-law and her husband really do believe that WDW is the greatest place on Earth.

 

My family, kids included at all ages, wouldn't put it in the top 100.

 

We've been there twice (only 1 day each time) and been to Downtown Disney while passing through two other times.  It's a nice day, but to us, it's not defining.  I'm not an amusement park guy, but we have Holiday World in Indiana.  Much much less expensive, free drinks, free sunscreen, smaller crowds, great roller coasters, and an awesome water park. 

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