We took our first cruise last month, and had a blast. We went on the Grand Princess out of Galveston, and we went without the children. We are planning to take another cruise in April 2008, with the kids. The Grand won't be sailing out of Galveston, so we are trying to decide between Carnival and Royal Carribean. The kids will be 10, 8, and 6 when we sail. The price is a little bit higher on RCCL, but I have heard that it is a nicer line. I am just in need of a few opinions.
I think you'll find that the line one person prefers is going to differ from the favorite of another. Having cruised both CCL and RCCL, I prefer RCCL for a lot of reasons, but I don't have young children to consider.
I think that since you're cruising with children, you need to look at what the ships sailing from Galveston have in terms of entertainment for the kids. Both lines have kids/teens programs. Both have the requisite pools. . As I recall, only Carnival has the 2-story water slides (and I'm not sure that all ships have those). Both have sports courts (basketball). RCCL has rock climibing walls on a lot of their ships (I don't know the age limit.). Some have ice skating rinks, too. . .
Food is probably about the same on both lines, although I would give Carnival higher marks for their buffet offerings. And, the fact that they have a 24-hour pizzaria is great.
Hope this helps!
CCL Tropicale - '95
RCCL Adventure of the Seas - '05
CCL Valor - '06
CCL Victory - '06
I personally prefer Carnival, as I think the entertainment is better, and the price is absolutely better, but since you're traveling with kids, you might want to give RCI a shot. They do offer a lot of activities for the kids, like the rock wall, the ice rink on the Voyager class ships, etc. Carnival does have an excellent childrens program as well, and they do have the slide on most of the ships which the kids absolutely love. One other thing is the 24X7 ice cream and frozen yogurt. (a big plus in my opinion) You won't go wrong with either line, so look at the price, and the age of the ship etc, then make your choice.
I've cruised both and like both for different reasons. RCL has a more upscale feel to their ships, while Carnival's are more Las Vegasy. The rooms on Carnival are larger and their bedding is much better. Food and service are about the same. I think Carnival has much more going on for activities. My kids preferred the Carnival children's program over the RCL one. We've found, generally, that the age group on RCL seems to be older while Carnival seems to be younger. We sailed the same week on different years on an RCL ship and a Carnival ship. There were definitely more kids and younger couples on the Carnival ship. Whichever you decide I'm sure you'll have a great cruise!
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
Carnival has a better Kids program... My 7 years old has been going since he's 2 (they even change diapers on Carnival in the club) He loves the program . We find that we eat at the late seating, feed him earlier and we can have a relaxing dinner and he's having a ball with other kids.
With kids? I vote Carnival too. Heck, they made me feel like a kid again! RCI was also a lot of fun and does have more goodies (rock climbing wall/ice skating etc etc) but Carnival was just more kid friendly.
Without kids? I vote for RCI. Much cleaner and relaxed.
Those are my two cents anyway!
Please make sure to watch the kids as I'm sure you will. We saw a little girl . . dripping wet and running around. She fell and there wasn't a parent in sight.
Well, I gotta go with Carnival as well. We've sailed both cruise lines out of Galveston - first Carnival, then RCCL, and now we're going back to Carnival because their state rooms are larger. Food and entertainment were comparable on each line. Alot more kids on Carnival but, hey, I like kids. They are just as much fun to watch as the adults. Both cruise lines have their pros and cons. The beds on RCCL (Rhapsody of the Seas) were absolutely terrible. Couldn't wait to get back home for a decent night's sleep. I do have to say that we had more fun on Carnival. But whichever cruise line you pick, you will have a blast. It's hard to go wrong when cruising!
Carnival Conquest - 3/07
RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas - 5/05
Carnival Elation - 3/04
I've cruised both before also. With kids, I choose Carnival. I can usually get two connecting cabins at a great price, which gives the little ones their own room for sleeping and the adults some privacy. Also - two bathrooms! RCL had better food, but the slide, focus on kids at Camp Carnival and the room size mattered more to me. I found Carnival to be the better value for younger kids (mine are 6 & 7).
We are trying to make the same decision for August 2007 (Conquest vs Rhapsody). Right now Carnival has the edge because we can get a balcony for the same price as an ocean view on RCCL and the Conquest is bigger than Rhapsody. However, I think Voyager of the Seas will be in Galveston April of 08 so RCCL will have the larger ship.
I have only been on a short 3-day RCCL cruise, but based on that, I would give RCCL the edge on overall service, quality of bar drinks, and ship decor. The burgers, pizza, and buffet were better on Carnival; we thought the dining room food was better on RCCL (could be the luck of that particular trip).
The rooms are bigger on Carnival, and our room attendants have also been more personable on Carnival. Since RCCL upgraded their bedding, I would say bed comfort is comparable.
Daytime entertainment was about the same; The evening entertainment was better on Carnival.
I would sail on either line at any time; they are both good.
Monarch of the Seas - December 2006
Elation - April 2006
Sensation - May 2005
I agree with the previous poster about Carnival and the kids. I have done Carnival with one of my kids and she loved the kids program. I did RCCL alone but investigated the kids program and talked to some of the parents, I prefer Carnival for my kids. I think that they would like RCCL just fine, but I am taking them in November on a four day and will do Carnival for the kids program.
We have sailed 2 CCL, 4 RCCL, 1 Princess, 1 Celebrity. I think that the kid's programs for your age children are comparable. However, RCCL usually have dedicated kid's club rooms, and on the first CCL we were on (Triumph) our son was 8 and they met in different places not in use during the day (aka bars). However, on Miracle, our son loved Camp Carnival with PS2 and other activities for 11 year olds. Our experience is that RCCL has more bells & whistles, but hard to find time to to ring and blow with few days at sea....can't rock climb or ice skate unless you at sea. We have found food to be better on CCL with interesting variations like quail and rack of lamb. I don't think you will go wrong with whichever line you choose. Just do your research and search the web for other's opinions.
If you are looking at the same size ship on both lines, I don’t think there is enough of a difference to pick a cruise based on the kids program. But that’s just from looking in, our kids are adults now.
RCCL Navagitor of the Seas - Nov 26, 2005 (W.Caribbean) | Carnival Glory - April 15, 2006 (E.Caribbean) | Carnival Victory - Aug 21, 2006 (Canada) | Carnival Glory - July 28, 2007 (W.Caribbean) | Carnival Fascination - Aug 4, 2008 West Caribbean | HAL Eruodam - April 11, 2009 East Caribbean | Carnival Fredom - Aug 9, 2009 | Carnival Pride Feb 20,2011 (Bahamas) | NCL PrideOfAmerica April 16,2011 (Hawaii)
We went on the Carnival Pride when it was new and just last year the RCCL Jewel of the Seas when it was new. The Pride was a much a lot more going for it. We thought the food was better are Carnival also. We thought we would try as many lines as we could to see we one we wanted to stick with in the future so we tried Princess's Caribbean Jewel. The choice dining was nice but it caused us to become lazy and unorganized and missed the shows. As for as that ship goes we thought the decor was very monotone. We still rave about the Carnival Pride and are looking forward to sailing the Carnival Liberty in June. I always say though, that there is no such thing as a bad cruise.
You may have booked by now....but we took our kids on RCCL Voyager of the Seas and they had the time of their lives. The sports deck was fabulous, with in line skating, rock climbing, a full basketball court and excellent mini-golf. We're probably going on Carnival Triumph with them this summer, only b/c of the dates and itinerary and I'm hoping they won't be disappointed! My husband and I have sailed on RCCL Grandeur, and would not take the kids on that one due to the relatively small size.
Have fun, Jozy
I don't have kids, but I can tell you from the kids that were on the ship I was on in January (Carnival Victory) were having a good time.
If I had to choose between RCI or Carnival, I would go with Carnival hands down. The price has nothing to do with it, but what you can do makes it. I do not ice skate, I do not surf, and I do not like to climb rock walls, which means that most of RCI's ships wouldn't appeal to me. Sorry folks, if I am on holiday I don't want to goto a cooking demonstration, but rather would go watch the silly games/activities on the Lido deck on any Carnival ship.
Carnival cabins are also a generous size for the price you pay. I told my mother, after she asked me why I chose Carnival and not RCI (we had Legend of the Sea docked with us in Costa Maya) that the size of cabin we have on this ship would be at least $300-400 more per person on the RCI ship. I also said I know how much fun Carnival is and I knew I would be hard pressed to get tanning time in between all of the activities that go on a Carnival ship.
Thank you so much guys. I really appreciate all of your imput. I think that we will go for the Carnival. I don't think that the ice skating rink is really worth $200 more per person. I really appreciate it!!!!!
We have sailed 3 Carnivals cruises all with our children. Our first year they were 8 and 10. They had a blast. It was because of their experience that we booked the 2nd and 3rd cruises.
Just last week we were at the Travel Agents doing a price comparison between them and Carnival. The prices were the exact same. Then I asked about the price diff between Carnival and RCCL. The price was in fact $200 per person difference.
I then asked about the activities for the kids (who are now 12 & 14). They suggested Carnival. Seems that RCCL has parents sign waivers, etc. and can not be so many feet away from the kids while they are participating in those wonderful activities (rock wall, water wave ride, and skating).
I think you (and the children) will be very happy with your choice.
Either way, safe sailing
RCCL Freedom of the Seas 2/10
Carnival Legend 2/09
Carnival Victory 2/08
Carnival Liberty 7/07
Carnival Valor 4/06
Carnival Celebration 4/05
Carnival Sensation 4/04
I've traveled mostly Carnival with one trip on RCL, and I'm returning to Carnival this summer. There was absolutely nothing wrong with RCL; I felt everything was pretty comparable except (and I would imagine if you have kids this is a BIG except) the room size.
I had always assumed Carnival's bragging about the biggest cabins in the fleet to be, well, bragging. It isn't. My friend and I on the RCL booked a slightly more expensive ocean view cabin and it was significantly smaller than anything I've ever had on Carnival (including my one time in an inside stateroom). My sister and her husband booked the cheapest ocean view cabin...and I swear the room was sized to the bed, with a one foot border of floor space!
all depends what your kids like to do. my kids love all the activities that only rccl can offer rocking climbing, surfing, ice skating, golf, inline skating etc. carnival only has a kids club and a pool slide. my kids don't go to kids club so all there was for them all week was a pool slide.
if the kids don't like rccl type of activities and enjoy the kids club then carnival might be a good choice.
rccl has created two little cruising monsters in my kids. once they experienced the rccl mega ships they don't want to cruise with anyone else.
carnival does have the cheapest prices out there. i myself enjoyed carnival but noway comes close to rccl mega ships.
there is a reason rccl prices are higher.
you get what you pay!
Again - a tough call. With the age of the kids though I would give the nod to Carnival as I think they are a tad bit better toward kids activities.
Freedom Of The Seas -07
Radiance Of The Seas-07
Adventure Of The Seas-05
Navigator Of The Seas-04
Soverign Of The Seas-02
Big Red Boat-93
I realize that this reply is just a tad bit late.....like 2 years! Your original post said you would be cruising again with the kids in April 2008 and here it is April 2010!
But, in case other people are interested......I personally prefer Carnival. And......I don't have kids. I'm 57 (well.....almost 57) and I live in Houston so I've cruised out of Galveston many, many times. My favorite line in that port was the Grand Princess, which I sailed on 3 years in a row. But after she left, the choices were either Carnival Conquest or Voyager of the Seas. Having been on Carnival before, we decided to try RCI. After cruising on RCI, we gladly went back to Carnival. To me, the staff was happier and nicer on Carnival, the buffet food was better, and it was just more fun all the way around.
My husband and I enjoy RCCI but all cruises, so far, have been fun. We are going on the Carnival Freedom in 18 days with our daughter and her husband and thought they might enjoy this large ship. We are ready for vacation and a bad day on a cruise beats a good day at work....