Ok, I realize I'm probably rehashing a question that's been asked before but I did a search and didn't come up with anything.
So, my question is... when it comes to food, service and ship quality, how discernible are the differences between Carnival and Royal Caribbean? A lot of websites say that Royal Caribbean wins this comparison but are the differences really that noticable? It also seems that Carnival is a bit more hit-or-miss on these factors from ship to ship whereas RCI's ships are a bit more consistent. Is there any truth to this, or is it just a misconception of mine?
I realize ship choice factors greatly into this comparison so I'll add that I'm looking at the larger ships on either line - either RCI's Voyager Class Ships, or Carnival's Conquest Class Ships.
See you're relatively new to posting, so first off.... Welcome to CruiseMates!
Here's my 02 cents worth (that may only be worth 1 cent )
I'm not a huge fan of the Voyager Class ships (but many people are). They are beautifully done, but I find the indoor Promenade that so many people love, to just have a feel similar to a mall. Indoors on the Voyager Class ships it actually hard to find a window with a view to the outside.
The interior decors are however very well done, and visually very impressive.... much more so than Carnival's ships, and quite a bit more sedate in decor as well.
Both Carnival and RCI generally have very good showroom entertainment.
On RCI I think you'll generally find friendly crew and a somewhat more polished service staff than on Carnival. However Carnival wins out in the food dept, particularly the buffets. RCI's buffets certainly have alot of room for improvement. The RCI dining rooms are set a much more elegant ambience than Carnival does, but as far as taste and selection, I personally prefer Carnival.
Carnival cabins are quite a bit larger than RCI's, though some stay more starkly decorated.
Either line will give you a nice cruise experience. I'd go on both again, no problem
Kuki makes good points. And allow me to add my 2 cents worth.
I've found RCCL ships to be a little more elegant in many ways. The ship's decor is less garish, and more elegant. Carnival's atmosphere is more party-hardy, whereas RCCL's is fun, without being over the top.
I really love RCCL's Viking Crown Lounge, featured on all of its ships. It's great dancing the night away, seeing the ship at night, from this vantage point. You see the ship all lit up, and out into the ocean from up there. The best views of any dance place anywhere.
But I suppose, the only real way to make that determination for yourself is to cruise on both lines. That way, you can decide for yourself which is the best.
I used to prefer Royal, but have long since switched my preference to Carnival. Cabins are much more comfortable, food is a lot better, and it really isn't party hardy anymore. It's really a shame that Carnival made such a big publicity campaign out of being for the party crowd, but it worked for them, and now that they have grown up, I love them. Have been on about 14 or 15 Carnival cruises, various ships and happy every time.
I completely disagree with colorcrazie.. The food on Carnival can't even compare to RCCL.
The SERVICE on RCCL I find is a little more polished. They do it just a bit better. However, I had the most fun on Carnival. You just cant beat the amount of clubs/things to do on a carnival ship.
I've done both now and when it came time to decide which line to do again, I chose Carnival. The price for RCCL just isn't worth that LITTLE bit of extra service and the food on Carnival really isn't that bad. (i just wish they would learn to cook a freakin' steak!)
That's just me though..
Adventure Of The Seas 06/06
Thanks for all the input everyone, I found it all very informative! It is surprising how much cheaper Carnival is than Royal Caribbean...
Right now I'm torn between two different cruises, one on Royal Caribbean and one on Carnival. My girlfriend has left the decision up to me but I'm having a real hard time deciding. I know no matter what we'll have a great time! I'd love to just do both but unfortunately that's not an option so I need to pick one. What do you guys think?
It's down to these two:
RCCL - Adventure of the Seas from San Juan ->
Oranjestad, Aruba -> Willemstad, Curaco -> St. Maarten -> St Thomas
Carnival Triumph from Miami ->
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas -> St Thomas -> San Juan -> Nassau, Bahamas
Adventure of the Seas from San Juan. I don't know where you are coming from but from California we had the choice of stopping in Miami or flying straight through to San Juan after a stop in Dallas/ Ft. Worth. We chose to fly on to San Juan it was only $50.00 PP more. The ports on both cruises are very nice, all are very nice islands but the Adventure of the Seas is a beautiful ship. I think you will enjoy the Royal Prominade. To experience it, I think is a must.
Did my first cruise on Carnival Holiday about seven years ago. Just did my second on RCI Sovereign of the Seas last week with the wife. I'm making an effort to not just be saying this since we're still post-cruise jazzed about our recent cruise, but I just found RCI to blow Carnival out of the water in terms of service, staff, our cruise director and yes, the food.
One small example... When I sailed with Carnival, after check in, it was off to the outdoor deck for pizza and burgers..With RCI it was a full buffet. You could also tell a huge difference in the staff throughout the cruise. They were nice enough on Carnival, but on RCI they went out of their way to smile and say hello.
It's RCI for me from now on.
Carnival Holiday (1999 ?)
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 2007
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 2009
Did my first cruise on Carnival Holiday about seven years ago.
Might want to give Carnival another try. All the things you mentioned I experienced this past march on Carnival. All the staff went out of their way to see we were happy and they were so friendly!! We even had one room steward, who wasn't assigned to our room, stop and discuss soccer with my BF every time he saw us. Carnival has an amazing staff
In seven years there are going to be changes. Might want to give it another try before making your final decision. Carla
- Carnival Inspiration 3/3/07 - Grand Cayman & Calica