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Idacruiser77

Carnival vs. Royal

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Before I get in to it I know there are a million places to find people bickering back and forth about which line is better, I just thought I'd add another 😉

 

Anyway, my wife and I are headed out on the Carnival Magic later this year and to be completely honest I'm a bit nervous. We have 5 cruises under our belts with RCCL and have always stayed away from Carnival. No particular reason, I chalk it up to having tried Royal first and just being blown away by the "WOW factor" and being afraid to veer away from it. Our last 3 have been on Oasis Class ships and I'm worried that has spoiled us beyond repair. Thoughts on that?

 

Our first cruise together was on the Mariner OTS and the Magic seems to be pretty comparable to that. Those of you that have been on both/either, what are your thoughts?

 

We're younger but aren't big partiers. Mostly enjoying a few drinks throughout the day, relaxing on the balcony, and checking everything out. No excursions, maybe a show here and there, no specialty dining unless we really want to try it.  What are the BIG differences between the two lines and ships? What makes or breaks it for you?

 

Thanks in advance everyone!

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I haven't been on both so I'm not sure. I've heard that the entertainment is better on royal, along with the activities. 

 

Most go back and forth about the class of people and food on each.  Try carnival and see what you think.

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I've got 10 or 11 on Carnival and 5 or 6 on Royal.

I love both cruise lines. I'm still trying to find the mystical WOW factor on Royal that everyone talks about.

Great ships on Royal, great service, great entertainment,,, but nothing that WOW'd me so far.

 

 

On Royal, I like the shows better. On Carnival, I like the FUN factor. (Can't really explain the FUN factor but it has nothing to do with alcohol) The entertainment staff just work harder to have FUN.

The Piano Bar vs. The Schooner Bar. Hands down goes to the Piano Bar

Chef's Table goes to Royal by a mile.

Suite Amenities go to Royal all day and all night long.

MDR Dining. Both equal

Buffet? Both equal

Steakhouse beats Chops

Guest Services, Cabin Attendants, Entertainment Staff, Cruise Director could all work for any cruise line.

Casino??? They both grab your money fast.

Edited by klfrodo

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In my opinion, the biggest difference you'll see is ship design.  Carnival ships aren't as wide open as newer RCI ships and they are decorated a little more....well....gaudy.  

 

Other than that, the differences are relatively minor.  Some little things are better on one and better on the other.  For example, entertainment is better on RCI, but the selection of free comfort foods is better on Carnival.  All in all, you'll probably be happy.  

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My first Royal cruise was on the Mariner when she was brand new. I was loyal to royal for many, many years and I have Diamond status with them. We took a big family cruise on the Magic this past September and it was fantastic. I would say the Dream class on CCL is more like the Freedom Class on RCCL. The biggest thing you'll notice is the design of the ships, you'll miss the royal promenade but once you get the layout down it's not a big deal. The balcony are a lot smaller and more shallow, I was shocked how small the balcony was in an ocean suite on Carnival compared to a Grand Suite on RCCL. The free dining on Carnival is much better in my opinion. Guys burgers is great, the blue iguana taco bar is awesome. Pizza is some of the best on a cruise ship and the Magic still has the Tandoori which has awesome Indian food.  but Royals specialty dining is better. Bars are different too, I really miss Schooner bar but the Red Frog makes up for it. Shows are about the same but the comedy club on Carnival is fantastic. 

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I like both lines. The Oasis class is special, and you cannot really compare the Magic to the Oasis class. I like the buffet on Carnival. I like the shows on RCI. I am a mega ship fan, but it sounds like you just want a nice, relaxing vacation. I think you will find what you are after on the Magic.

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Biggest difference that we notice is that staff and crew on Carnival are more friendly and engaging.  On Carnival, stateroom stewards and dining room servers will almost always address you by your first name.  CCL entertainment staff is much more approachable and want to engage with guests.

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We started with Royal, but last several have been on Carnival.  The Magic is a great ship.  My parents who are Royal loyal (20+ sailings) went on the Magic with us a few years ago and on Carnival for the first time and really enjoyed it.  Here is their breakdown.

 

Ship layout - Royal - they are used to the Promanade and Carnival is a bit more choppy.

MDR - It was a wash

Buffet - Royal

Big productions - Royal

Small entertainment (comedy shows, activities, games) - Carnival

Rooms - Carnival - just a bit bigger

Service - Carnival (although they missed their Diamond perks)

Adults only area - Royal

Laid back/Vacation feel - Carnival

 

So as you can see it's a wash!  We like Carnival for the fun and the laid back feel.  We go on cruises to do whatever we feel like doing and Carnival fits that.

 

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The RCCL ships are far nicer as far as decor.  Food is about the same except as one person said the comfort food eg Guys burgers and Mexican food bar which are excellent.  The biggest difference is the entertainment and clientele.  If you enjoy raunchy comedy and below par shows in the theater you will do fine.  Lots of baseball caps and men in tank tops in dining rooms if that makes a difference.  Also a louder crowd in general,  The staff on Carnival are very friendly and the ship is spotless.  We were once avid Carnival cruisers but have moved on due to clientele.

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Our family has been cruising on both RCCL & Carnival. We got to Diamond pretty quickly on Royal, and are still 21 days to whatever is after Gold on Carnival. I mention if you are thinking of building up your Cruise Loyalty "Perks". 

 

We were on the Oasis in August, I'll be on the Carnival Dream next month. I personally prefer Carnival. To me the food is equally so-so in both lines MDR. The Dining Staff & Cabin Crew, on both lines, work their asses off. It seems like the Corporations have let go of workers, which added to the workloads. But, darn if the crews aren't ALL the best IMHO!

 

So, why Carnival?? I can hop on a 3/4 day cruise out if Long Beach, CA. My homeport, less than 1 hour away.  Our son works for Carnival. But, he's just been doing this job for 3 years. Even before that, Carnival just "fit" better. It is a FUN 🤗🤗 ship, with great workers, who smile and will engage in conversation.  Just seem to be having a good on the job experience! 

 

All in all, I'll cruise both RCCL & Carnival. I enjoy cruising!  Would like to venture out and try the others Princess & NCL.  

🌸🌸. Bobbi 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Markmom18

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5 hours ago, Idacruiser77 said:

Before I get in to it I know there are a million places to find people bickering back and forth about which line is better, I just thought I'd add another 😉

 

Anyway, my wife and I are headed out on the Carnival Magic later this year and to be completely honest I'm a bit nervous. We have 5 cruises under our belts with RCCL and have always stayed away from Carnival. No particular reason, I chalk it up to having tried Royal first and just being blown away by the "WOW factor" and being afraid to veer away from it. Our last 3 have been on Oasis Class ships and I'm worried that has spoiled us beyond repair. Thoughts on that?

 

Our first cruise together was on the Mariner OTS and the Magic seems to be pretty comparable to that. Those of you that have been on both/either, what are your thoughts?

 

We're younger but aren't big partiers. Mostly enjoying a few drinks throughout the day, relaxing on the balcony, and checking everything out. No excursions, maybe a show here and there, no specialty dining unless we really want to try it.  What are the BIG differences between the two lines and ships? What makes or breaks it for you?

 

Thanks in advance everyone!

I've sailed both. They are more similar than different, I have a great time on each. This last cruise on the CCL Horizon, really has me wanting to go back and do more CCL. It was better overall, than any of my cruises on RCI in the last two years.

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Can I just add something here??  

 

In the MDR on the Oasis this last August, we saw our share of inappropriately dressed men. Women, in general, just seem to care, or at least maje an attempt.  

 

Carnival's clientele doesn't have the Monopoly on sloppy, drunk guests.  And why would they??  

 

💲💲Money is certainly not a balancing point for manners, social skills, knowing how to dress yourself, or making a drunk fool out of yourself either. Meaning you can cruise on Royal OR Carnival and still be a Train Wreck. 😂

  

But really, I'd say the majority of us cruisers are on that ship, which we paid WHATEVER amount for, to getaway from everyday jobs, schools, house responsibilities to have a wonderful vacation.😁

🌸🌸 Bobbi

Edited by Markmom18

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We tried Royal once and went straight back to Carnival.  As others have mentioned, Carnival employees go out of their way to make sure you have fun.  On the ship we were on (AOS), it seemed like the staff was put off by even being on the ship.  Not friendly at all.  On Carnival, you can carry on a conversation with everyone from the Captain to the guy polishing the railings.

 

As for the entertainment, we live in a small village.  The closest thing we have seen to production numbers is a high school play so whatever we see on a ship is a plus.  On Carnival, there is always bar servers coming around asking if you need a drink.  On AOS, we rarely saw any and if you went to a bar to get them yourself, you stood in line for ten minutes waiting to be waited on.

 

I'll throw this in because there is a big difference.  Please don't start a war on the subject.  Smoking on Carnival has nice rattan furniture with plenty of ashtrays on the tables.  The main place is usually on the upper outside deck.  Attendants were always emptying the ashtrays.  On AOS, it was right outside the buffet area, right next to the ice cream machines.  Everyone either getting ice cream or going into the buffet had to pass by the smoking area all making snide remarks.  Ashtrays were only emptied when a smoker would empty them.

 

The biggest turn off for us was the night they had the midnight buffet out on the Lido Deck.  Why they moved it out there is beyond us.  It was real windy and we were sitting by the area where they  were sitting it up.  (Again by the smoking area.)  The wind was blowing quite hard and I noticed that some rolls were being blown off the tables onto the floor.  I went over to one of the chefs that was setting it up and told him.  He came over, picked them up and put them back on the serving trays.  I'm not naive.  I know this happens behind the scenes at many restaurants.  I don't see that.  I did see this.  Big turnoff!  

 

I will give points to Royal about the above incident though.  I told them about it on my survey after the cruise.  I got a call from Corporate shortly afterward and wanted to know the whole story.  He apologized and said that it would be looked in to and that they were thinking of not having it out there anymore and that would be a good reason why.  

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8 hours ago, Markmom18 said:

Can I just add something here??  

 

In the MDR on the Oasis this last August, we saw our share of inappropriately dressed men. Women, in general, just seem to care, or at least maje an attempt.  

 

Carnival's clientele doesn't have the Monopoly on sloppy, drunk guests.  And why would they??  

 

💲💲Money is certainly not a balancing point for manners, social skills, knowing how to dress yourself, or making a drunk fool out of yourself either. Meaning you can cruise on Royal OR Carnival and still be a Train Wreck. 😂

  

But really, I'd say the majority of us cruisers are on that ship, which we paid WHATEVER amount for, to getaway from everyday jobs, schools, house responsibilities to have a wonderful vacation.😁

🌸🌸 Bobbi

I have to agree. I think Carnival get's a bad reputation for no reason when it comes to it's passengers. The clientele on Carnivals newer ships on 7+ day cruises is not terribly different than that of RCCL or NCL. Shorter cruises can be more rambunctious but again I think that's across the cruises lines. 

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I haven't sailed on any mega ships on either line, but did sail on enchantment of the seas and many carnival cruises. I found the crew on RCCL to not be very engaging and the only person I remember is the Cruise Director. I love the crew on Carnival. They are so very nice and I have made friends with a handful of them over the years. 

 

Overall I prefer less amenities and less passengers. 

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15 hours ago, Idacruiser77 said:

Before I get in to it I know there are a million places to find people bickering back and forth about which line is better, I just thought I'd add another 😉

 

Anyway, my wife and I are headed out on the Carnival Magic later this year and to be completely honest I'm a bit nervous. We have 5 cruises under our belts with RCCL and have always stayed away from Carnival. No particular reason, I chalk it up to having tried Royal first and just being blown away by the "WOW factor" and being afraid to veer away from it. Our last 3 have been on Oasis Class ships and I'm worried that has spoiled us beyond repair. Thoughts on that?

 

Our first cruise together was on the Mariner OTS and the Magic seems to be pretty comparable to that. Those of you that have been on both/either, what are your thoughts?

 

We're younger but aren't big partiers. Mostly enjoying a few drinks throughout the day, relaxing on the balcony, and checking everything out. No excursions, maybe a show here and there, no specialty dining unless we really want to try it.  What are the BIG differences between the two lines and ships? What makes or breaks it for you?

 

Thanks in advance everyone!

I have switched back and forth between Royal and Carnival and have not found either to be big party ships.  My favorite cruise was on the Splendor last year.  Very fun and lively but it all died out about 9pm.  It seemed to rev up again by about 11.  Forget that, I'm asleep by then.  Maybe it's the time of year when we go.  It's not during Spring Break or Summer so it's a different crowd.  I have no preference for either one at this point and continue to book according to price and itinerary.  

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11 Carnival cruises and 1 Royal Caribbean.  We thought we would give Royal a fair chance.  Food was not as good....but deal breaker was the SERVICE...Maybe we just had a single bad experience but enough to NEVER cruise with Royal Caribbean....that's how bad the service was....Just my opinion....

 

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13 hours ago, Palmetto Pilot said:

My first Royal cruise was on the Mariner when she was brand new. I was loyal to royal for many, many years and I have Diamond status with them. We took a big family cruise on the Magic this past September and it was fantastic. I would say the Dream class on CCL is more like the Freedom Class on RCCL. The biggest thing you'll notice is the design of the ships, you'll miss the royal promenade but once you get the layout down it's not a big deal. The balcony are a lot smaller and more shallow, I was shocked how small the balcony was in an ocean suite on Carnival compared to a Grand Suite on RCCL. The free dining on Carnival is much better in my opinion. Guys burgers is great, the blue iguana taco bar is awesome. Pizza is some of the best on a cruise ship and the Magic still has the Tandoori which has awesome Indian food.  but Royals specialty dining is better. Bars are different too, I really miss Schooner bar but the Red Frog makes up for it. Shows are about the same but the comedy club on Carnival is fantastic. 

That helps a ton, thank you. We haven't made it on to the Freedom Class on RCCL yet but we were considering booking the Independence OTS in place of the Magic. Sounds like we'll stick with the Magic and give Carnival a shot.

 

As long as we're actually on a cruise I feel like it's impossible not to have a good time. It's just tough venturing out a bit when all you know is one cruise line and you're only familiar with how they do things. 

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27 minutes ago, LuckyStar said:

I have switched back and forth between Royal and Carnival and have not found either to be big party ships.  My favorite cruise was on the Splendor last year.  Very fun and lively but it all died out about 9pm.  It seemed to rev up again by about 11.  Forget that, I'm asleep by then.  Maybe it's the time of year when we go.  It's not during Spring Break or Summer so it's a different crowd.  I have no preference for either one at this point and continue to book according to price and itinerary.  

We never cruise during those times either for that very reason. Carnival snagged us by being almost half the price of RCCL for a nearly identical itinerary. 

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5 minutes ago, Idacruiser77 said:

 

 

As long as we're actually on a cruise I feel like it's impossible not to have a good time. It's just tough venturing out a bit when all you know is one cruise line and you're only familiar with how they do things. 

 

You're going to find some things that you expect and wonder why they do things this way,,,, and then you'll find some things and wonder why XXX cruise line doesn't do it this way. Duh! It's so obvious

 

Either way, Enjoy

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I've been on and I like both lines.  Carnival is more fun-oriented.  Royal is more service-oriented.  I find the MDR food to be better on Royal, although lately Carnival has stepped up their game.  (Can't really comment on the buffets as I tend to stay away.)

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13 hours ago, TomCruise48 said:

Biggest difference that we notice is that staff and crew on Carnival are more friendly and engaging.  On Carnival, stateroom stewards and dining room servers will almost always address you by your first name.  CCL entertainment staff is much more approachable and want to engage with guests.

That seems to be a pretty common theme regarding the friendliness of Carnival staff. It's funny because we've always had amazing service from our stateroom attendants, dining staff, and even the Cruise Directors. Maybe we've just been lucky with each cruise. Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it. 

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13 hours ago, dacsmom said:

I like both lines. The Oasis class is special, and you cannot really compare the Magic to the Oasis class. I like the buffet on Carnival. I like the shows on RCI. I am a mega ship fan, but it sounds like you just want a nice, relaxing vacation. I think you will find what you are after on the Magic.

I love the mega ships. After logging a couple on the Mariner OTS (which is still nice) going to the Allure and Harmony spoiled us. Something about sitting on the Boardwalk enjoying some food makes you almost forget entirely that you are cruising through the ocean. It doesn't hurt that we've had Captain Johnny a couple of times. Thanks for your input! :) 

 

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  Both lines are probably more alike than you may think. However, there are some differences. What you will think, depends on what you feel is important to you on a cruise ship. I personally don't think Carnival has anything comparable to the Oasis class ships but, that does not mean you won't enjoy the Magic. I prefer the Solarium to the Serenity Deck. I think the majority of entertainment is better on RCI however, the comedy does seem better on Carnival. Buffets, main dining room no significant differences. I have had good service on both. Any way you go you cannot go wrong on a cruise! 

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     We cruise both, we love the fun side of carnival but love the entertainment on RCCL. We have been on magic, it seemed a little dated but you can’t compare to oasis class. We absolutely love oasis class. The wow factor is Harmony and Symphony. We are going on oasis again in 2 weeks and symphony in June. We are booked for Panorama next year. Carnival always feels more crowded but you will still like carnival. 

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