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-   -   million dollar question: RCL vs. CCL (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/teen-cruisers/372140-million-dollar-question-rcl-vs-ccl.html)

Tropicalstephy February 27th, 2010 05:57 PM

million dollar question: RCL vs. CCL
 
My family is looking at cruises for over New Years next year and it seems that the only ones that will fit in are schedule are Carnival cruises. My family has been on 8 Royal Cruises and is going on our maybe 9th and 10th this summer. My parents are a little skeptical about trying Carnival. I, on the other hand, am all for it cause I love trying new things. What are the main differences between Royal and Carnival i.e. the atmosphere and such.

Kuki February 27th, 2010 07:22 PM

Ok.. here's one man's opinion.

RCI has be far the more beautiful ships in interior and decors. Carnival has by far the better food, and food options... along with a wider variety of buffet items, particularly lunch items.

RCI has the ice skating, flow riders, etc. Carnival generally always has some fun and silly pool games etc.

Carnival takes their "Fun Ship" slogan seriously, with lots going on and a very busy and active night life. RCI on occassion has a an active night life.

Service staff on RCI might be a bit more "polished", Carnival staff are normally fun and friendly.

Finally.. if Carnival dates work better, I wouldn't hesitate to make the switch. At this point in time I prefer Carnival to RCI myself.

mmerali February 27th, 2010 08:07 PM

Okay, here are the differences, probably as you'll notice them.

RCI:
Amenities are the selling point - Rock Climbing, Ice Skating, Roller Blading, Surfing, et al.
Food is more of a buffet style lower quality (using CCL as a reference point)
RCI implements a 1 am. curfew for underage cruisers
RCI's teen facilities are usually about the same as CCL's if not better.
RCI's nightlife for teens last from around 9 or 10 pm to 1 am; no exceptions.
RCI's staff are usually there to improve your experience - unless you're dealing with rent-a-cops.

CCL:
Fun is the selling point - a lot of deck activities and family activities
Nightlife is very strong - expect to see people up and about at 2 or 3 in the morning
Teens are not restricted by a curfew
The teen directors are very open to ingenuity - feel free to get a group of friends and do a "Greek" night and all where Togas to Club O2
Food is typically above and beyond the quality of RCI - from the Lido Buffet to the dining room.
CCL staff are very trained on the fun experience - they are usually fun, casual, and very open.

I would not hesitate to take either line (and I have taken both in the past), but if CCL fits better for your schedules, by all means, you will have just as much fun on the cruise. I would not hesitate to take it. Also to keep in mind that you'll probably save a few bucks if you take CCL over RCI.

Djcarolina February 28th, 2010 03:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mmerali (Post 1277151)
Okay, here are the differences, probably as you'll notice them.

RCI:

RCI's teen facilities are usually about the same as CCL's if not better.
RCI's nightlife for teens last from around 9 or 10 pm to 1 am; no exceptions.


Also to keep in mind that you'll probably save a few bucks if you take CCL over RCI.

I have to disagree on three points here.

I've found Carnivals teen centers to always be superior to those onboard Royal Caribbean, in every aspect. They are in better locations, feature better sound systems (and frequently better or identical lighting) and their design is unique on every ship whereas Royal Caribbean has one fairly standard design for their teen centers and the decor and space don't differ too much on the different ships.

Second, Royal Caribbean's teen nightlife does not necessarily end at 1am. Even younger teens (12-14) frequently have activities that run past 1am. Unless the demand is simply not present, the teen directors will keep the clubs open fairly late. I've seen Fuel stay open on the Mariner as late as 3:30am during spring break. The downside is that once the club does close, you will likely be forced to return to a stateroom (not necessarily your own tho lol).

Lastly, from my perspective, RCI is much more aggressive with their pricing than Carnival. With CCL "what you see is what you get". Royal Caribbean digs up discounts out of thin air if you call and badger the vacation rep enough whereas Carnival has pretty much always stuck to their guns on prices. I find Carnival to be worth the extra money though.

In my own opinion you'll find things to compare and contrast with Carnival over Royal Caribbean. Carnival doesn't have as many "frills and bells" as Royal Caribbean, but they certainly throw a good party with much better food and a more pleasant staff.

mmerali February 28th, 2010 03:35 AM

Ryan,
When I said you'll probably save a few bucks, I was comparing straight up price without having to go bothering the vacation rep from RCI. The final price (before discounts) will favor CCL. I can both agree and disagree with your point on running past 1am. I've seen the curfew enforced to the dot (where teens were still enjoying the club and were cut off), and where the curfew wasn't really enforced and the club continued (as you detailed).

Djcarolina February 28th, 2010 02:47 PM

The curfew isn't necessarily designed to affect activities. Some ships do interpret it that way, but that is usually only on longer, off season sailings. As for price, nobody should ever click and book. The price you see shouldn't ever be the price you pay, it's like going to a dealership and just taking the car you want. Travel Agents and Cruise Line Representatives alike have far more freedom with Royal Caribbean's rates than they do with Carnivals. Granted, I should note that when I say this, I reference only ships that are comparable. In many cases Royal Caribbean's ships cannot be compared. Though they are designed to compete with each other, a 7 night cruise on a Voyager class vessel simply cannot be compared to a 7 night cruise on a Conquest class vessel, even if their ports of call and all other aspects are the same.

Tropicalstephy February 28th, 2010 05:42 PM

Thanks guys!
What you said is pretty much what I figured and now I just have to work on convincing my parents to book this cruise haha
I'm kind of really excited to try Carnival cause I love new stuff and I pretty much just wanna have fun and that's not hard for me because I'm one of those people who can be amused for hours by a rock haha

Djcarolina March 1st, 2010 01:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tropicalstephy (Post 1277327)
that's not hard for me because I'm one of those people who can be amused for hours by a rock haha


Oy...I wish my girlfriend were more like you then!

Kuki March 1st, 2010 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Djcarolina (Post 1277297)
Travel Agents and Cruise Line Representatives alike have far more freedom with Royal Caribbean's rates than they do with Carnivals. .


Fact is the pricing policies are exactly the opposite. Royal Caribbean does NOT allow travel agents to discount from their set prices. The only exceptions would be group pricing, which can be slightly lower than rates posted on RCI's web site.

On the other hand Carnival DOES allow agents to discount their rates, if they choose too. They cannot ADVERTISE lower rates, but if you call or email for a price quote, they can discount their commissions by whatever amount they choose.

Djcarolina March 2nd, 2010 12:39 AM

Well I think we'll all see what happens to Carnival if they continue down the path they're going. I suppose i've just never been satisfied with Carnival. Mind you, I love the experience, but from a technical standpoint they just don't offer what Royal Caribbean does, and I'm not talking about the ships themselves.

Carnival's loyalty program flat out sucks compared to Royal Caribbeans. As a traveler whose held his Diamond Plus membership with RCI for a while now, I can attest to their higher level loyalty program having a completely different structure than Carnivals. While RCI breaks their higher sailing guests off at 24 credits, Carnival requires only 10 and the extent of their program is VIP Pier check-in, a concierge line, some comped laundry and the occasional novelty. Unless something has changed in the past year or so, I just haven't seen the effort.

The second downfall for CCL is their Ocean Players Club. While our family receives discounts already for being TA partners, our cruises are almost always comped by the casino. The 7 Night Oasis trip this may, 7 Night Freedom Trip this summer, 7 Night Independence cruise in the fall and the inaugural revenue sailing of Allure of the Seas are all members cruises for Club Royale members. RCI really knows how to pick up the tab for their guests.

Without question, though, RCI does have their downfalls. Their food is certainly less than fantastic and their crew could often use a couple caffeine tabs to make them smile more. However, when I'm on a ship as the cruise line's guest, its difficult for me to complain.


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