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brad813 January 23rd, 2009 08:08 PM

Carnival versus Royal Caribbean for a first timer
Which is better for the beginning cruiser, Carnival or Royal Caribbean? I am the type to always be on the go and looking for something to do. On Carnival I am not overly worried about what class of ship I am on as there is not alot of difference between them overall. On Royal Caribbean I would want a Voyager or Freedom class since I tend to like to have alot to do. Suggestions?

spencercoop January 23rd, 2009 08:17 PM

I have never been on Royal Caribbean, but I really like Carnival. I just like the overall atomsphere of their ships and what they offer.

Carnival has won some recent awards from Porthole Magazine.
-Best Mega Ship- Carnival Freedom (I was on that ship and it was very fun!)
-Best Shore Excursions
-Best Short Duration Cruises
-Best Value-For-The Money Line
-Best Children's Program (If you have children, their programs are very fun for children.)
-Best Main Dining Room Cuisine (Yes I think their food is very good)
-Best Entertainment (I really like their Las Vegas style shows. Their shows have won multiple awards)
-Best Website
-Best Mexican Riviera Itineraries

These are just a few things that Carnival does great, but there are many more.

Sorry I couldn't help you with Royal Caribbean. I have never cruised with them. Hopefully someone else can help you.

asmith91303 January 27th, 2009 03:01 PM

We have sailed both lines. RCL I think has a better ship but I like things about carnival as well. One thing I really liked about carnival was the ability to get a bite to eat that was not buffet or dining room. Although RCL has the promenade the sandwiches are mediocre and pizza not so good. Carnival has much more of a choice- hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, and pizza. Carnival also starts the dinner buffet on the lido deck earlier. It makes it easier to grab something on the go. It's not only about the food. Carnival usually has something on the lido deck at night like say a caribbean band in case you are not into going to the shows or you get bored at the casino. Just something sort of laid back to do. My husband enjoyed sitting out there having a drink and listening to the music. RCL to me had top notch service and the pool deck area was really nice. I don't think you would be disappointed either way.

msblackjack January 27th, 2009 04:20 PM

these two lines are pretty similar; however, I will agree the Royal ships are more elegant while the Carnival ships are over the top decor; I think the food is just a tad bit better on Carnival, but I have sailed both lines and I am a "doer" so both have plenty to do. at this point, who has the best price & iteniary .

brad813 January 27th, 2009 04:44 PM

I have decided on the Eastern Caribbean on the Carnival Glory for August 29. Early price is good(Dual Occupancy: From $399/person plus taxes and surcharges; Category 1A: $626.95 including taxes and surcharges), and the itinerary is slightly better than the Royal Caribbean for the time I had chosen(mid to late August.........may even consider a late birthday celebration on board since I have my 29th birthday in August).

colorcrazie January 28th, 2009 03:24 PM

Hey Brad,
I thought that you were going on a cruise in the previous month or so. Am I confused? Wouldn't be the first time.

Aerogirl March 18th, 2009 07:17 PM

went on two cruises 1st was carnival 2nd RC. I disliked RC and would not go again. I found the ship boring and I'm not a big party person.

brad813 March 18th, 2009 08:07 PM

I am actually booked for October 31. My first plans were for early this month, which fell through, then for August, which also fell through. Ultimately October was what worked out.

momofmeg December 9th, 2009 09:58 AM


Originally Posted by Aerogirl (Post 1201735)
went on two cruises 1st was carnival 2nd RC. I disliked RC and would not go again. I found the ship boring and I'm not a big party person.

You went on one of RCI's oldest ships-I think it unfair to ditch a cruise line when you took their worst ship. Carnival has some dud ships also. If you took the Holiday, you would be saying RCI is best.

chuckee June 7th, 2010 05:05 PM

Carnival is better
Just to compare Carnival to RC, here is a record of our recent 2 cruises, 1 cruise done with each company.

We've recently finished the 5 night Western Mediterranean cruise, departing Barcelona on RC's Adventure of the Seas. As we had also done a Western Caribbean cruise with Carnival, a few weeks earlier, we had a great chance to compare the 2 cruiselines side-by-side.
Both cruises were done on our honeymoon.
We can confidently say that Carnival won in practically every category. This rather surprised us, as we had read in forums online that Royal Caribbean was supposed to be the 'classier' cruiseline.
Here were the major differences:

Food: Carnival's food was simply amazing. I am a real foodlover, and we really could not find any fault at all with the food on the Carnival cruise. The Deli section on Carnival (where you can order things like pastrami on rye) was sadly missing on the Adventure of the Seas, and the quality of the salad bar, hot meals, and desserts on the Adventure ship was poor. The *best* dessert we had on RC was worse than the *worst* dessert we had on the Carnival cruise. It was as if the recipes used on RC were just not tested enough (the staff on RC are not allowed to actually alter any of the recipes themselves, and must follow them blindly, so they can hardly be blamed for the bland food).
The night-time dining experience was a disappointment on RC. We had specifically requested a table for two, and given that it was our honeymoon, thought that surely we could be accommodated (there were very few other honeymooners on board). As it turned out, we were dumped at a table with 6 other people, all from the same family. On Carnival, we could choose whether we wanted to sit at a table for 2 each night (which we did), and we were always able to, given that Carnival has a *lot* more of them. Also, late dining on RC is just *too* late, starting at 9:15pm. Meals often didn't finish until well after 11pm. Service was also markedly slower on RC than on Carnival. Many other things (such as RC having pre-packaged butter packets, rather than Carnival's special whipped butter, made dining less enjoyable on RC).

Staff: RC's staff pretty much all had a chip on their shoulders. Genuine smiles were nowhere to be seen. I actually would've settled for 'indifference' but the staff were often plain rude. Carnival's staff were *always* cheerful, and really great fun. The difference was extraordinary. The cruise director was 100 times better on Carnival.

Look of the Ships: Carnival ship design was far more interesting and exciting, with each area of the ship being based around a different 'legend'. The Adventure of the Seas' design was far from inspiring, featuring bland modern art.

RC also failed to do anything for our honeymoon, even though our booking agency informed them about it. I asked them at the end why we hadn't received any special treatment at all, and they said they had no record that it was our honeymoon. Once finding out it was our honeymoon, there was no 'sorry' or any attempt at all to make up for the failing. Carnival, on the other hand, brought us a special cake during dinner service, and even had numerous staff sing us a special honeymoon song, which was fantastic.

We also met another couple of the RC cruise, and funnily enough, they had the exact same opinion about the difference between Carnival and Royal Caribbean. They also thought that Carnival was far superior.
It is very unlikely that we will use RC again for a cruise.

Donna June 10th, 2010 07:22 PM

I have to agree Aerogirl,
You can't really judge Royal Caribbean by one ship and one of the oldest in the fleet...The bigger/newer ones have so many more options do to onboard, more places to eat, more shows, that cruise was 10 years ago, things have changed a lot since then....May-be someday you'd enjoy another one.....

We actually have an Allure of the Seas group cruises planned for Oct. of 2011 if you are interested...The ship is still in the shipyard, completion is late this year...

bastephens05 January 4th, 2011 03:54 PM

Chuckee, what was the name of your ship with Carnival?

Tamara16 September 2nd, 2011 11:09 PM

I just came back from a RC cruise. I myself have been on 5 cruises all with Carnival and was taking my niece on her first cruise and I choose RC because it was supposed to be a higher level of cruising.... Not the case, the food quality and availability of the food was better on Carnival. The service and friendlyness of the staff was better on Carnival. I am not a party person and my niece is 14 and we were board at times. The daning partys were fun - but only lasted about 1.5 hours. I will be sticking with Carnival from now on.

Tamara16 September 2nd, 2011 11:13 PM

I realy wish I read this before going on my first RC cruise.... I totaly agree with everything even a year later....

Aerogirl September 29th, 2011 02:31 PM

I'm at the point now where I would sail RC but only on a newer ship. I do believe that every ship will be a different experience good or bad.

Heather22 February 26th, 2012 11:16 PM

I just got off my first Carnival cruise today on the Carnival Pride, after being on 2 Royal Caribbean ships before I wasn't disappointed with Carnival, however I preferred Royal. I thought the food was better on Royal, the staff was much happier and more willing to do things for their customers. I had an awful time getting a smile out of the Pizza guy on the pride, and I found many kids running around all the time on the Carnival.
Although I had an amazing time on my cruise I will be more inclined to book with Royal before Carnival again.

momofmeg February 27th, 2012 10:57 AM


Originally Posted by Aerogirl (Post 1394843)
I'm at the point now where I would sail RC but only on a newer ship. I do believe that every ship will be a different experience good or bad.

I agree. I recently cruised RCI again on Jewel of the seas. It was wonderful. Our previous RCI cruise before this was in 2005 on Mariner of the Seas, and I was so disappointed in it that it took years before I was willing to try RCI again. We LOVED the Jewel! So glad we cruised her!

Future Cruiser March 3rd, 2012 07:04 PM

My mom is in the process of booking a 3-day Carnival Sensation cruise because I said 120 square feet is way too small even if we are only in our cabin at night. I just hate the thought of having so little space to move around with another adult in the room. Another reason I picked Carnival for my first cruise: I would rather have a sea day than a stop at Coco Cay because when shps are in port, there is not as much to do as when the ship is at sea.

But when I went to the RCI website, I thought boredom on the Monarch would only be a result of the ship's age and when comparing new ship to new ship RCI entertainment is probably better. You won't see ice and water shows on Carnival's newest ships. But I'm not going to book any cruise just because it has good entertainment if the food, cabins with balconies, service, and other activities are bad.

Donna March 3rd, 2012 08:02 PM

Actually Coco Cay is a great beach day, the highligh of most cruises...It is also a tender port and there are lots of activities at the beach, including a great BBQ lunch.

Future Cruiser March 6th, 2012 01:55 AM

Donna, that is exactly what I don't want. I want to spend most of the day away from the beaches, hate barbeque, and have concerns about my ability to get in a tender boat.

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