I have made only 2 cruises, one of each carnival and RCI. Similiar size ships, same balcony room, similiar destinations. I enjoyed carnival but once I sailed RCI I wouldn't go back on carnival unless I had to. RCI was much classier, the atmosphere on the ship was more relaxing and the glitz of carnival was a bit much to the point of almost being gaudy. I found the staff more helpful on RCI but found the kid daycare on carnival to be much better than RCI if that is what you need. As a matter of fact this may be the only reason I would sail carnival again since I have a 7 and 8yo. I found the pool area on RCI much nicer and as an example of class, RCI had more lounges and chairs, never had a problem also RCI has sling chaise and chairs whereas carnival has the home depot white plastic special chairs. overall for a similiar cost RCI is better.