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Carnival vs Royal Caribbean

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On 11/30/2019 at 7:54 PM, TNcruising02 said:

Personally, I would rather have the free Guy's Burgers and Blue Iguana than pay for Johnny Rockets.  I would rather decide at the time to see shows than have to make reservations or use a standby lines and not be able to get good seats.  I think Carnival is a more relaxed vacation with an energetic vibe. 

 

Yesss!!  Totally agree.  My kids and I love Guy's so much, that when I found a "secret burger sauce" (I think that's what it's called, might be "french fry dip") at my local WalMart, I say that it tastes like Guy Fieri's special sauce, lol.  It's also why I choose Carnival's anytime dining - I don't want to decide 6 months in advance whether I want to eat at 6 or 8, EVERY night.  And I may not want to stay up until midnight to make late dining and the show that follows.

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19 hours ago, dlphn501 said:

 

Yesss!!  Totally agree.  My kids and I love Guy's so much, that when I found a "secret burger sauce" (I think that's what it's called, might be "french fry dip") at my local WalMart, I say that it tastes like Guy Fieri's special sauce, lol.  It's also why I choose Carnival's anytime dining - I don't want to decide 6 months in advance whether I want to eat at 6 or 8, EVERY night.  And I may not want to stay up until midnight to make late dining and the show that follows.

 

You do know every cruise line has anytime dining right?  And if you like that type of thing, nobody does it better than NCL.  Have you sailed NCL yet?

Edited by BNBR

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On 12/3/2019 at 11:39 AM, ctsharpie05 said:

The largest I want to be on is Carnival's Dream class. I am not interested in a mega ship. 

 

Dream and Vista are nearly identical in size.

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On 12/7/2019 at 8:23 AM, BNBR said:

 

You do know every cruise line has anytime dining right?  And if you like that type of thing, nobody does it better than NCL.  Have you sailed NCL yet?

Yes, I am aware that they all do the anytime dining, but that was more geared to responding to the comment about not pre-scheduling shows around dinner and not having a set schedule in general.  

I have not sailed on NCL yet.  My sister did once, and she said it was the most awful experience ever, so it makes me nervous.  Carnival and RC are more in my budget though.

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On 11/23/2019 at 10:36 AM, Cruisin'allovertheworld said:

Hi all,

 

I am considering doing a Carnival Spirit cruise but have previously sailed Royal Carribean (Mariner and Radiance).

 

Are there any significant differences?

Why do you choose Carnival over Royal?

 

It is so tempting to stay with Royal Caribbean simply because of the rewards programme but I am not someone who prefers the same thing over and over again.

Thanks

We've found both lines to be fairly comparable so far, but we haven't sailed any of Royal's older ships yet so it's rather hard for us to judge. Food quality and service were very close, stateroom amenities and service likewise. Bar prices and service are similar. Entertainment so far goes to Royal but again, that might change when we sail some of the older ships. We do love comedy and Punchliners on Carnival is a hoot. We generally let price be our guide but would probably pay a little bit more in order for Royal at this point.

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So..I'm going to throw my 2 cents in on this thread.

We sail often...normally two times a year when we can. We have sailed Carnival, Royal, Princess, Holland, NCL.

 

My husband took me on my first cruise and it was a short Carnival cruise in 2008. It got me addicted to cruising! We then sailed Princess, which became our favorite line. We tried the Carnival Dream when it was new in 2011 and that turned us completely off of Carnival for many reasons, and to be honest, it cracks me up when someone posts that they love the Dream but would never sail on a mega ship like the Oasis class. I've done them both and let me tell you that you feel much less crowded on an Oasis class ship than we EVER did on the Dream. The space to passenger ratio is much different (Dream: 29 / Harmony: 36). They crammed more cabins with less common area on the Dream...and the layout was just horrendous to us. Having to go down a level and over and then up! It just didn't flow right.

 

Anyway...entertainment on RCCL is a far level above Carnival! You just cannot compete with their production shows, their ice shows, their aqua shows (Oasis class), Headliner shows, etc! Granted, Carnival has better comedy shows, but I don't want to see comedy several nights in my cruise!

 

Food is always subjective, and although I like Guys burgers and some of the "free" food options on Carnival over those offered on Royal...I don't need to eat burgers every day of my cruise. I do prefer the solarium bistro, park cafe, and cafe promenade offerings on the Royal ships. I also don't have to pay for a burger at Johnny Rockets if I don't want to. It's not forced on you. In past we have booked Boardwalk balconies (another option you can't get on a Carnival ship), and it came with a free soda package and dinner for 4 at JR's if we chose to eat there. Sometimes we would have lunch there, sometimes we would skip it completely. Again...not a big deal. The specialty restaurants on Royal far exceed those on Carnival as well, at least from our experience. MDR on Royal has slacked in recent years and doesn't have much variety and that is one thing that does disappoint me lately. But, I've never had any problems finding something that I enjoy on the menu. Desserts on Carnival are better, as someone mentioned earlier...with the exception of the delicious apple pie in the dining room on Royal! We only visit the buffet on a rare breakfast or lunch occasion and never at dinner since we like the whole "dining experience" and being waited on and served.

 

Activities alone on Royal are more plentiful than those on Carnival from our experience as well.

 

Solarium (adult only area) on Royal is much more spa like and appealing to us than that of the Serenity deck on Carnival. Princess is still our favorite though, even though it is a "for fee" area. We like having a reserved lounger and not having to rush up to find a place to relax when on deck.

 

With all this being said, we are actually giving Carnival a try again with the new Mardi Gras and I look forward to seeing the changes since the last time I sailed Carnival (Liberty in 2018). For us, our cruises these days are more about the ship and what it has to offer as opposed to the ports since we have been to almost all the caribbean ports.

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We've only cruised RCCL until 5 days ago when I  sailed on the Carnival Sunshine for a 5-day cruise to the Bahamas with my mom - just returned today. Now, I know the ship is old, we chose it because of the home port & only having to drive 1 1/2 hours, but we felt movement everywhere on the ship, bo matter what deck. We had a balcony on the spa 12th floor that creaked & groaned constantly. The buffet was not good - the layout is horrible and there was no variety. I was used to the amazing Buffet on Royal Caribbean, we've gotten to the point where we eat there more than the main dining room on Royal. I was excited about Guy's Burgers before the cruise, but when I saw the actual product, it wasn't appealing at all. We did enjoy the Blue Iguana so that was a plus. The main dining room food was okay, nothing special, it seems that they mainly just want to appeal to the masses and all the dancing was kind of weird, LOL. We never met our room steward - they didn't enter the cabin until late afternoon on the second day. They came in the morning of the fourth day, but didn't come that evening. I've never had that happen on Royal Caribbean cruises, our room steward always introduced themselves the first day and learned our names. They also asked if we had any special requests. I told my mom maybe Carnival still did it the old 'a magical fairy cleans your room for you and you never see them way'.  The crew all around just wasn't friendly, especially the bartenders.

I did love the serenity area and being able to just walk right out and be there. All in all, we did enjoy the cruise and my mom had a great time so the purpose was accomplished. I am one who didn't really enjoy the vibe on the ship, just not how I wanted to be cruising or who I wanted  to be cruising with. I'm actually going on the exact same Cruise next month with my husband and son, so I hope it's better. I don't mean to be a huge detractor from Carnival as this was my first time and I was on an older ship, but I definitely won't cruise on an older Carnival ship after the one next month. I might would give Carnival another try, but on a newer, larger ship. 

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If the itinerary were the same in most  cases I would pick Royal over Carnival.

 

We are old school cruisers (20+ years) and enjoy many of the things that Carnival has cut back on.  We have more than 100 days cruising with Carnival so this isn't meant as a put down of Carnival but they have changed a lot over the years - IMHO not for the better.  We will continue to cruise with Carnival but they are no longer our first choice.

 

This is a little off subject but our favorite cruise line, out of the "major" cruise lines, is Celebrity (mayve that's because our favorite Mediterranean cruise was with Celebrity). . Our favorite ships are the Royal Caribbean Oasis Class - there's nothing else quite like them anywhere.

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On 11/23/2019 at 10:36 AM, Cruisin'allovertheworld said:

Hi all,

 

I am considering doing a Carnival Spirit cruise but have previously sailed Royal Carribean (Mariner and Radiance).

 

Are there any significant differences?

Why do you choose Carnival over Royal?

 

It is so tempting to stay with Royal Caribbean simply because of the rewards programme but I am not someone who prefers the same thing over and over again.

Thanks

Carnival by far has the better food.  I love the Oasis class ships on RCL and there are tons of things to do for both adults and kids.  I tend to choose a cruise for the itinerary first and then the ship.  It's just a personal preference as to what you are looking for in each cruise line.

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I sailed on Symphony of the dead in February with a group I had a Virtual balcony also bought the key Royals version of FTTF, Oasis class is honestly pretty nice, I would never sail on another though just far too many people trying to eat in Windjammer was a joke. I do love those freestyle machines and had hoped Carnival would bring them over until for some reason they decided to switch to Pepsi. Also I despised having to literally book any and all forms of entertainment if I want to do something I want to be able to just show up and enjoy it. Carnival beats Royal in nightlife by a landslide it felt like a ghost town past 10pm on my Symphony sailing I didn’t understand it with 6k other people in the same boat. Having said that would I sail Royal again? Sure but Carnival is still my #1. Oh almost forgot the nickeling and dimming you on almost everything was a slight turn off on Royal. 

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We have very limited cruising experience compared to most on this board but these are my thoughts: Royal, I thought the finishes in the ship and room were a bit nicer, pool areas seemed a bit nicer with more loungers, night shows were better. Carnival, food overall was better, Cruise Director was awesome and atmosphere seemed more fun, family comedy every night, suite prices are much cheaper than Royal (I realize with much less perks). We have a tween so always sail when kids are out of school and the kid factor seemed the same on both. Overall I wouldn’t hesitate to sail either line. We are “new” cruisers and actually prefer the more non-traditional elements of cruising. It all really depends on what aspects of a cruise are important to you and your family.

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I'm going to jump in and give my opinion on the differences.  1st a little background.  We started cruising in 2004, the ship was the Carnival Fascination and we were hooked.  We have done 62 cruises total on different cruise lines.  By far the most on Carnival, then Princess, Royal Caribbean and NCL. 

 

For me, there is more of a difference between ships within cruise lines, a lot of that has to do with the staff and ship.  An older ship will not have the extra amenities such as water slides/water parks, adult only areas, alternate dining venues.  If it matters to you that you have a certain type of restaurant then you should book a ship with that.  We were on 2 ships on the Royal fleet within 2 months The Anthem of the Seas (built 2015) and the Majesty of the Seas (built 1992), I know the age difference is extreme, but the ships were both enjoyable but different from each other.  The Majesty is an old style cruise ship, small but the staff is fantastic.  The Anthem definitely has many extras, and the staff is very good, but maybe not as friendly.  I left both cruises happy and felt that we had a good cruise. 

 

There are differences in the cruise lines themselves, I read that someone didn't like the dancing waiters on Carnival, the last 2 Royal cruises we took the waiter danced in the MDR on at least 2 occasions, something I hadn't seen on Royal before.  I don't know if it is ship specific or if they are trying new things, but they did dance and sing.  I am not a fan of the dancing waiters, it breaks up dinner service and if the service is already on the slow side it gets worse. 

 

If you go into a cruise thinking, I may hate this, it is not my favorite cruise line, my brothers wifes cousins sister-in-law had a horrible cruise on this cruise line, you get on the ship expecting the worse.  If you know someone who has similar likes and dislikes as you or you know someone who will give you an unbiased opinion and they have been on a cruise line or ship you are thinking about, then ask them. 

 

FWIW I like the food on Princess the best, but their desserts are below average.  Carnivals entertainment is my least favorite, the shows are old and they need new ideas.  Carnival beats everyone in comedy acts.  NCL has great alternate restaurants, Le Bistro is one of my favorites, followed by Cucina de Capitano (Carnival).  The only restaurant that we have paid extra for that I didn't really like was Wonderland on Royal, it wasn't horrible, I just wouldn't go back.  On the last 3 cruises I have seen people walking around the buffet and inside public areas in just their bathing suits and barefoot, that has never happened before or I had never noticed, different cruise lines, but all were out of Miami. 

 

This is a long post and I could go on a lot longer about the differences, but in the end, if you go onto a ship that lacks certain amenities you are looking for, you probably won't enjoy yourself.

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16 hours ago, silversneakers said:

Carnival by far has the better food.

 

Totally disagree.  MDR dinner food is damn near identical.  Carnival has horrible breakfast options, just absolutely dismal, and the lunch buffet is terrible, too.  They do some grab and go stuff better like poolside burgers and tacos, but that's about it.  Oasis has way more venues with a lot of great food, and specialty dining is substantially better on Royal, too.

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6 hours ago, WhaleTailFlCruiser said:

I sailed on Symphony of the dead in February with a group I had a Virtual balcony also bought the key Royals version of FTTF, Oasis class is honestly pretty nice, I would never sail on another though just far too many people trying to eat in Windjammer was a joke. I do love those freestyle machines and had hoped Carnival would bring them over until for some reason they decided to switch to Pepsi. Also I despised having to literally book any and all forms of entertainment if I want to do something I want to be able to just show up and enjoy it. Carnival beats Royal in nightlife by a landslide it felt like a ghost town past 10pm on my Symphony sailing I didn’t understand it with 6k other people in the same boat. Having said that would I sail Royal again? Sure but Carnival is still my #1. Oh almost forgot the nickeling and dimming you on almost everything was a slight turn off on Royal. 

 

I had a very different experience on Symphony last month.  The nightlife was quite active even after 10.  Live music everywhere (7 or so different venues with different types of live music) and a ton going on all over the place.

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1 hour ago, BNBR said:

 

Totally disagree.  MDR dinner food is damn near identical.  Carnival has horrible breakfast options, just absolutely dismal, and the lunch buffet is terrible, too.  They do some grab and go stuff better like poolside burgers and tacos, but that's about it.  Oasis has way more venues with a lot of great food, and specialty dining is substantially better on Royal, too.

 

I agree with this. I would only add that MDR food is still better on Carnival.

Happy cruising!

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7 hours ago, ronbe65 said:

 

I agree with this. I would only add that MDR food is still better on Carnival.

Happy cruising!

I usually order a custom omelette so I'm happy with Carnival.  Having said that, food is completely subjective.  I have had many cruises on both RCL and CCL and I still think CCL is the better of the two in regard to food.  Since we are only comparing those two cruise lines, that is my input.  Now if you want to start adding Celebrity, Holland America and Princess, then that is totally another level.

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11 hours ago, BNBR said:

 

Totally disagree.  MDR dinner food is damn near identical.  Carnival has horrible breakfast options, just absolutely dismal, and the lunch buffet is terrible, too.  They do some grab and go stuff better like poolside burgers and tacos, but that's about it.  Oasis has way more venues with a lot of great food, and specialty dining is substantially better on Royal, too.

 

Carnival has delicious arepas and huevos rancheros at Blue Iguana (plus made-to-order breakfast burritos). They have a custom omelet station. And the Sea Day Brunch in the MDR is outstanding. If you're just standing in the regular Lido buffet line for the standard eggs, bacon, and hash browns, then that's on you. For a lot of people, that's all they want, but Carnival has excellent breakfast options for people who are looking for tastier breakfast experience.

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13 minutes ago, SRQbeachgirl said:

 

Carnival has delicious arepas and huevos rancheros at Blue Iguana (plus made-to-order breakfast burritos). They have a custom omelet station. And the Sea Day Brunch in the MDR is outstanding. If you're just standing in the regular Lido buffet line for the standard eggs, bacon, and hash browns, then that's on you. For a lot of people, that's all they want, but Carnival has excellent breakfast options for people who are looking for tastier breakfast experience.

 

Sea day brunches are awesome (I've said that earlier in this thread) but their port day breakfast in the MDR is awful.  Every line has an omelette station, with less of a wait, too.  Even Royals new ships have a Mexican spot that does breakfast.  An omelette station and breakfast burrito does not make for "excellent breakfast options"... It makes for a couple of decent options and it's hardly unique. Royal does this, too. I hate the Carnival buffet and MDR for breakfast, I absolutely looked for something better, but I'm just not that in to Blue Iguana for 7 straight days and the burritos are not exactly groundbreaking.  It's just not comparable to Oasis class on Royal, that has a ton of venues with substantially better options.  But again, Carnival gets the nod for sea day brunch in tbe MDR.  They really should just do that every day and this would be a different discussion.

Edited by BNBR

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8 minutes ago, BNBR said:

 

Sea day brunches are awesome (I've said that earlier in this thread) but their port day breakfast in the MDR is awful.  Every line has an omelette station, with less of a wait, too.  Even Royals new ships have a Mexican spot that does breakfast.  An omelette station and breakfast burrito does not make for "excellent breakfast options"... It makes for a couple of decent options and it's hardly unique. Royal does this, too. I hate the Carnival buffet and MDR for breakfast, I absolutely looked for something better, but I'm just not that in to Blue Iguana for 7 straight days and the burritos are not exactly groundbreaking.  It's just not comparable to Oasis class on Royal, that has a ton of venues with substantially better options.  But again, Carnival gets the nod for sea day brunch in tbe MDR.  They really should just do that every day and this would be a different discussion.

 

Fair enough, though I am completely addicted to those arepas and huevos rancheros and could absolutely eat them for 7 days straight. Actually...I have. 😁

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20 minutes ago, SRQbeachgirl said:

 

Fair enough, though I am completely addicted to those arepas and huevos rancheros and could absolutely eat them for 7 days straight. Actually...I have. 😁

 

I found out about Blue Iguana breakfast when I was sailing with another CC'er and I had mentioned how disappointed I was with the breakfast buffet.  They pointed me to Blue Iguana. I ate Blue Iguana the rest of the trip.  And on our recent trip, other than sea day brunch, it was Blue Iguana every other day.  But it's just not up to par with a ship like Symphony, which we just sailed as well.  Made to order breakfast at Johnny Rockets, a substantially better buffet that even has avocado toast with fresh avo, decent MDR, and also the Mexican spot which does omelettes and Mexican breakfast.  And a few other venues... (This is a comparison thread, remember!).

 

It doesn't mean Carnival is terrible, I just find them sub par to the Oasis class.  The difference is less pronounced on the smaller ships. 

 

By the way, I do believe I read on here about Guys stepping up and offering breakfast options.  I think that would be well received.

 

Edited by BNBR

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44 minutes ago, BNBR said:

 

Sea day brunches are awesome (I've said that earlier in this thread) but their port day breakfast in the MDR is awful.  Every line has an omelette station, with less of a wait, too.  Even Royals new ships have a Mexican spot that does breakfast.  An omelette station and breakfast burrito does not make for "excellent breakfast options"... It makes for a couple of decent options and it's hardly unique. Royal does this, too. I hate the Carnival buffet and MDR for breakfast, I absolutely looked for something better, but I'm just not that in to Blue Iguana for 7 straight days and the burritos are not exactly groundbreaking.  It's just not comparable to Oasis class on Royal, that has a ton of venues with substantially better options.  But again, Carnival gets the nod for sea day brunch in tbe MDR.  They really should just do that every day and this would be a different discussion.

 

Does Harmony of the Seas have this and if so where might I find it as I'll be cruising on her in a little over a month.

 

TIA

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6 minutes ago, Illbcruzn4life said:

 

Does Harmony of the Seas have this and if so where might I find it as I'll be cruising on her in a little over a month.

 

TIA

 

Harmony has Mini Bites in this spot, which does have some breakfast options, omelette station as well and coffee.  Likely no crowd and worth checking out.  But it's not the new El Loco Fresh concept that Symphony has.  Also don't forget that Johnny Rockets has complimentary breakfast on Harmony.  It's nice sitting on the boardwalk in the morning with full service and made to order diner style food.

Edited by BNBR

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2 minutes ago, BNBR said:

 

Harmony has Mini Bites in this spot, which does have some breakfast options, omelette station as well and coffee.  Likely no crowd and worth checking out.  But it's not the new El Loco Fresh concept that Symphony has.

 

darn, when you said on Royals newest ships I got all excited thinking that would be awesome.

 

But alas....

 

Thanks for the info.🙂

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