Which ship, RCI or Carnival, would you choose and why? I know that is pretty wide question, but I believe the two boats my group is considering are both new boats. So I doubted there would be much input on the specific cruise. But was curious in general how the two companies run their cruises and we should stay away from one of them.
I would say as companies, they are about the same. Its going to narrow down alot when you pick a time frame you want to cruise on and for how many days you want to be on the ship. From there, you will see which ships are going where in that time frame. I've been on both. I had a great time on both lines. For me, it was the destinations and the length of the cruise that determined what ship I got on.
Life is too short to let the ship of your dreams sail without you.
Carnival Destiny Feb. 2006
Carnival Fascination Feb. 2007
Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas Feb. 2008 The DTW & MsBJ tour
Carnival Valor MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2009
Carnival Glory MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2010
Carnival Dream MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2011
It sounds like you really need to do more research and talk to a qualified travel agent. The reason is there are actually a LOT of reasons to prefer one or the other like the ages in your groups, number of kids, exactly which ship in each cruise line you are thinking about, etc.
For example, some of the older Carnival ships have been recently upgraded so they have a lot more. If you go on one of the older, non-renovated Carnival ships there is less on board.
For newer ships, the RCL ships are nicer in terms of decor and onboard fun activities (not that Carnival is not fun, it is), but you will probably find the food & service better on Carnival.
You really have to decide what is more important to you. If you like a lot of interaction and meeting new people Carnival is probably better, but if you want a cool new ship with sports activities then RCL has the edge.
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.
I appreciate your reply. Your input, and others, are part of my research and it has been helpful. The food, the activities, etc. Our group is still developing and we just started looking. We are not going on the cruise until summer of 2010. I know that there will families with children ages 17, 17, 13 and 10, so far. I think the sport activities will be enjoyed by the kids, so now I know to look into that.
I just didn't know if there were some good reasons on why I should go with one company over the other or any other input that would be good to know.
My 2cents: we feel that Carnival always gives you "more bang for the buck".
In other words, we can always find the best price on Carnival, and we've loved everything about the ships we've been on. (#7 Carnival coming up next month!)
In our research, we've always come up with RCCL being just that much more expensive. Sure they have all the extra sports stuff, like rock-climbing wall and skating rinks, but if you don't use them, what's the point?
As for kids, I think Carnival has an excellent kids/teens program.
Can't vouch for RCCL since I've only sailed them once and not with kids!
Have fun researching your cruise, and let us know what you decide!
With the kids in that age group, I'd look into any of the Voyager or Freedom and soon Oasis class ships for the activities. The newer Oasis will also have a zip line onboard. The others all have ice rinks, rock climbing and the flow rider, except for the Voyager class. All in all, something for everyone and they have these ships in all parts of the Caribbean.
I have hosted several family reunion groups with Carnival. These groups had children of all ages and not only did the kids have a wonderful time so did the parents. Parents didn't have to worry about keeping the kids happy. I have not cruised RCL with children so don't know about their program. Carnival has programs for all ages. Like RollerDonna said with Carnival you get more bang for your buck.
You need to do a LOT of research...
A lot of things we were offered (and for which we specifically chose our cruise for) on Carnival were either closed or not available when we wanted to use them. Case in point: for some amazingly stupid reson, they close all the outdoor grills at 4pm. If you want a hamburger after that, you are SOL. They re-open them at 11pm again for an hour or so. I happen to like hamburgers, and grill food in general. RCI's grill was always open, from morning to 4am or so. In fact, Carnival had a TON of options that were only open for an hour or two daily. And they still shut down with people in line, waiting.
Do some more research. Also ask around people that you know that have cruised and see what they like and don't like about the two lines.
My kids are 17 and 13 (just like the kids in your group) they do prefer Royal Mega ships.
Since you are cruising in the summer the rates on Royal will be higher. Mid June and July are at the highest. In August you can find Royal rates that are similar to Carnival.
You do have plenty of time to look into it and decide with your group.
I'm sure you guys will have a blast on whatever ship you choose.
CQ's Cruise Resume
Allure Of The Seas
Oasis Of The Seas x2
Liberty Of The Seas x4
Freedom Of The Seas x2
Navigator Of The Seas x2
Explorer Of The Seas x2
Voyager Of The Seas
Enchantment Of The Seas
Rhapsody Of The Seas
Majesty Of The Seas
Monarch Of The Seas
Sovereign Of The Seas