Royal compared to Disney?

mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Just wanted to add my two cents - I have sailed on two Royal cruises in the past but both were 14+ years ago on the now retired Sovereign of the Seas. Since 2014 we have sailed almost exclusively on Disney (7 cruises with 3 additional booked, including a 7-night leaving in 3 weeks). We love Disney but I'm getting a little burned-out on the menus, activities, etc., so I decided to book a quick 3-night cruise on the Mariner for this December for my daughter and I.

These RCCL forums here on Disboards have been very helpful! I honestly can't wait to try it out and see if Royal is a good fit for us. I'm just excited about the slides, rock wall, variety of specialty restaurants plus Coco Cay.
Bear in mind that 3 day trips on non-DCL ships can be more (possibly much more) of a "party" atmosphere than what you're used to.
I'm going on three nights on the Mariner (early fall) I can't wait to see how they compare with DCL.
 

Suger Mag

MamaBear
Joined
Nov 12, 2008
Just finished a 8 day Baltic cruise with RCL. on the Serenade of the Seas.. had only been on DCL (Wonder and Fantasy). I was not disappointed, in fact will def. cruise RCL again. Had a fabulous time, great ship, wonderful crew, and food was way better than on DCL... more international and spicy options in addition to the usual safe options. My children are adult now, and I see very few reasons to head back to DCL in the super near future, maybe if I have grandchildren someday.
 

Doodlebug65

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 19, 2008
Pricing has us switching also. "B4B" i.e.-- Bang 4 Buck has become our mantra. We are even trying other lines.



suffocating is how we felt at DL compared to WDW and I guess that is one of the reasons we like Oasis. Size Matters when lots of cruisers on board.
The pricing discussion aside, if anyone's only DCL experience has been the dream, I encourage them to try a longer cruise on a different ship. The Dream's 4-nite/3-nite rotation seems to attract a lot of families and can seem suffocating. The other ships with longer itineraries feel much, much different - have all the positives, but are not suffocating.
 
  • Suger Mag

    MamaBear
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2008
    RCL is better and less expensive. Hard combo to top.
    OMG I cannot believe the price difference.. the same Baltic cruise on DCL (almost.. one night less on DCL) had the cost for one person in an inside cabin as more than what my husband and I paid for both our fares for a huge aft veranda cabin on Royal C.. For a cruise like the Baltics where the point is the ports, all I need is a sweet ship, good food, and a nice crew.... esp. since the kids are all adults and we have the luxury of being able to get a Disney fix through my DVC membership.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    The pricing discussion aside, if anyone's only DCL experience has been the dream, I encourage them to try a longer cruise on a different ship. The Dream's 4-nite/3-nite rotation seems to attract a lot of families and can seem suffocating. The other ships with longer itineraries feel much, much different - have all the positives, but are not suffocating.
    Have to disagree. Did a 7 night on Fantasy during one of the Hallowe'en cruises and it was jammed. Did not help that it rained a couple of days and everyone was doing the detective agency for lack of anything else to do.
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    I'm a novice cruiser and can't compare to DCL, but we loved our cruise on Oasis with RCCL. What we loved most was the dining flexibility - My Time Dining and being able to make reservations for the specialty restaurants at whatever time we wanted was great. I was able to make an itinerary similar to what I do for a WDW trip, which is my preferred method of planning. By having the flexibility to book early/late dinners, I was able to make sure took advantage of our port of call times as well as the evening shows and entertainment we wanted to catch. We did everything we wanted to do because of it, and didn't feel like we missed anything because we had to rush to dinner.

    We also loved having our own table in the dining room and specialty restaurants. We don't mind conversing with strangers, but we traveled with extended family that we don't get to see often and wanted to spend our time conversing with just each other. So that was a benefit.

    And lastly, it was important to us to stay casual and not have to bring "dressy" clothes. We felt very comfortable in dark jeans/polos (men) and maxi dresses/capris (women) in the dining room. I know that dress code is a hot topic, but from everything I have seen and read, RCCL is generally less formal than DCL. Royal does have two formal nights that we opted to not go to the dining room for, but they are available for anyone who does want that aspect.

    So overall, these flexibilities we enjoyed with Royal have held me back from booking a DCL cruise. DCL doesn't really fit our preferred vacation style, and the price is a lot more. So its been hard for us to justify.
     

    tidefan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2007
    We'll be able to comment as we've just booked Harmony for late summer next year. Quite honestly, for the 3 of us, over $4,500 for an Interior Stateroom is still quite a bit. I think that the value is much better on Princess, but we will see.

    As an FYI, we've done a ton of DCL cruises, 6 Princess cruises (which have all been amazing), 1 Carnival cruise (which, we really enjoyed!), and 1 RCCL on the Serenade of the Seas back in 2014 out of New Orleans that was pretty much a disaster... Everyone tells me to try the bigger ships, so we are going to give one a try. I am surprised at how much more expensive it is than Princess, HAL, and especially Carnival. I also look forward to cruising on Mardi Gras later to compare to the Oasis Class...
     
  • TJA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2000
    We are HUGE Disney fans (see my sig!). Last summer we cruised on the Wonder to Alaska. We paid a premium price for a verandah room and also for excursions. We loved the cruise! So much so that I booked a cruise for this summer to Northern Europe but admittedly was disappointed at the price tag (again, just like the Alaska one). So...I ended up cancelling it (for a variety of reasons). Long story short, I have a friend who swears by Royal so I decided it can't hurt to check out the website. Well I couldn't believe my eyes when I priced out Europe and it was one quarter of the cost of the Disney one (like $8,000 less!)! It made me nervous wondering how it could be so cheap. Essentially the same exact verandah room, same food, and Royal even had more things for my kids to do (rock climbing wall, mini golf, and most importantly same outstanding fitness room but Royal allowed my kids to do their workouts without hassle that Disney gave us (said kids had to be 17 or 18, even with parents along). Fast-forward to today - we just returned home from this Royal cruise in Europe and we had THE time of our lives!! We were on Jewel of the Seas and it was comparable to the Disney Wonder. The service was impeccable, just like Disney. The food was very good - my family all agreed it was better than Disney. The ship itself was gorgeous, just like the Wonder. Only real difference is it was missing the Disney characters and Disney feel, which was actually ok with us because we were there to experience Europe. Other difference was our Disney room had the split bathroom versus the Royal room just had one bathroom with everything in it. Otherwise, we saved a BULK of money and enjoyed the Royal experience just as much as the Disney one -- very surprised to say! We are looking to book another Royal, and at this point are even considering trying other cruise lines now that we've dared to venture outside of Disney cruise. Don't get me wrong, I would book a Disney cruise again in a heartbeat, but the price has to be right and I'm not sure if that'll ever happen with Disney, but I'll always keep my eyes and ears open!
     

    jenf22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 26, 2011
    We'll be able to comment as we've just booked Harmony for late summer next year. Quite honestly, for the 3 of us, over $4,500 for an Interior Stateroom is still quite a bit. I think that the value is much better on Princess, but we will see.
    Keep checking prices. We're on Harmony in October and it was $2950 for the 3 of us in a large balcony room. Did you book with Kids Sail Free? That helps quite a bit. From what I can tell, it's really 3rd and 4th person free, doesn't have to be a kid.

    We are looking to book another Royal, and at this point are even considering trying other cruise lines now that we've dared to venture outside of Disney cruise. Don't get me wrong, I would book a Disney cruise again in a heartbeat, but the price has to be right and I'm not sure if that'll ever happen with Disney, but I'll always keep my eyes and ears open!
    You guys sound like us! We booked our first non-DCL cruise on Jewel as well. I also check prices on every line all the time. We tend to gravitate towards NCL because we like their prices and we like getting some "perks" with the fare. We love going to the specialty restaurants. We've got Princess booked for the British Isles next summer because they were the best rate. They've got Three For Free right now and tomorrow have another sale starting for Europe 2020. I'll be eagerly checking first thing tomorrow to see if I can lower my fare more. In a month we're on Harmony and we can't wait!
     
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    tidefan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2007
    Keep checking prices. We're on Harmony in October and it was $2950 for the 3 of us in a large balcony room. Did you book with Kids Sail Free? That helps quite a bit. From what I can tell, it's really 3rd and 4th person free, doesn't have to be a kid.
    Yeah, we tried KSF, but Royal defines a "kid" as 12 and under. Our daughter is 16, so it didn't apply. Right now, there are no interior staterooms for 3 available (though that comes and goes as people cancel, book, etc.), however, last I checked when one was available it was $200 more than what we booked. Contrast that to our Thanksgiving sailing this year on Regal Princess. We got 3 in an inside, plus $300 OBC for around $2,000 including port fees and taxes. That will pay our gratuities!

    You guys sound like us! We booked our first non-DCL cruise on Jewel as well. I also check prices on every line all the time. We tend to gravitate towards NCL because we like their prices and we like getting some "perks" with the fare. We love going to the specialty restaurants. We've got Princess booked for the British Isles next summer because they were the best rate. They've got Three For Free right now and tomorrow have another sale starting for Europe 2020. I'll be eagerly checking first thing tomorrow to see if I can lower my fare more. In a month we're on Harmony and we can't wait!
    Which Princess ship are you on? We love the new Royal class (especially the Buffet and Alfredo's)... No waterslides or rock walls, but they do a really good job on the base product. No charge for room service either!
     
  • mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    (...)The ship itself was gorgeous, just like the Wonder. Only real difference is it was missing the Disney characters and Disney feel, which was actually ok with us because we were there to experience Europe. Other difference was our Disney room had the split bathroom versus the Royal room just had one bathroom with everything in it. Otherwise, we saved a BULK of money and enjoyed the Royal experience just as much as the Disney one -- very surprised to say! We are looking to book another Royal, and at this point are even considering trying other cruise lines now that we've dared to venture outside of Disney cruise. Don't get me wrong, I would book a Disney cruise again in a heartbeat, but the price has to be right and I'm not sure if that'll ever happen with Disney, but I'll always keep my eyes and ears open!
    I've sailed on the Wonder and I liked it. Since I've never really been into characters and never cared for the split bathroom, I'm pretty confident that I can enjoy Royal based on what you have described. I can't wait to try RCCL in a few days!

    I have to say that this sounds pretty similar to our fears and conclusions when we have tried Carnival. I remember being so terrified of hating it that I had brought board games and booked a balcony in case we needed to be secluded from the horrible guests and terrible ambiance. In conclusion: we loved it and sailed with them many times after that. It definitely gave us the confidence to try other cruise lines.
     

    jenf22

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 26, 2011
    Which Princess ship are you on? We love the new Royal class (especially the Buffet and Alfredo's)... No waterslides or rock walls, but they do a really good job on the base product. No charge for room service either!
    We're on Regal. We sailed her to Canada out of New York a couple of years ago. I couldn't get over The Love Boat horn! I like the Disney songs, but I just loved that! I'm super excited right now because I just rebooked that cruise. We're saving about $200 over the last promo and they added on a $200pp airfare credit (it's a 72 hour sale). I've never used EZAir before, but I just reserved our flights at $485pp roundtrip from Denver to Heathrow! I'm still in shock. And you don't pay anything now... totally changeable and refundable until April of next year. Crazy.

    I thought the last time I checked, for our cruise anyway, our son (who is 12) was the same price as a 3rd adult in the room with the KSF. But that might have been cruise specific. We're also sailing in fall. I've heard Royal is super high in summer. Have you looked at NCL? Their prices are generally pretty good.
     

    tidefan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2007
    We're on Regal. We sailed her to Canada out of New York a couple of years ago. I couldn't get over The Love Boat horn! I like the Disney songs, but I just loved that! I'm super excited right now because I just rebooked that cruise. We're saving about $200 over the last promo and they added on a $200pp airfare credit (it's a 72 hour sale). I've never used EZAir before, but I just reserved our flights at $485pp roundtrip from Denver to Heathrow! I'm still in shock. And you don't pay anything now... totally changeable and refundable until April of next year. Crazy.

    I thought the last time I checked, for our cruise anyway, our son (who is 12) was the same price as a 3rd adult in the room with the KSF. But that might have been cruise specific. We're also sailing in fall. I've heard Royal is super high in summer. Have you looked at NCL? Their prices are generally pretty good.
    Well, I'd like to consider other things, but we have a conference that ends in Orlando on a Sunday at Noon and therefore were more limited in what we could get to...
     

    Magical2017

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2016
    I've sailed on the Wonder and I liked it. Since I've never really been into characters and never cared for the split bathroom, I'm pretty confident that I can enjoy Royal based on what you have described. I can't wait to try RCCL in a few days!

    I have to say that this sounds pretty similar to our fears and conclusions when we have tried Carnival. I remember being so terrified of hating it that I had brought board games and booked a balcony in case we needed to be secluded from the horrible guests and terrible ambiance. In conclusion: we loved it and sailed with them many times after that. It definitely gave us the confidence to try other cruise lines.
    That is good to hear. DH and I sailed Carnival many years ago. It was fine, but I would like to try them in the future because they sail right out of Baltimore to Bermuda in the summer. Royal has summer sailings out of NJ but they are on Empress. It does not have all the bells and whistles that we want when we travel with the kids, and I don't want to have to drive to NJ when there is a port near my home. We are sailing on Royal in January.
     

    tinkerone

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2007
    I've sailed on the Wonder and I liked it. Since I've never really been into characters and never cared for the split bathroom, I'm pretty confident that I can enjoy Royal based on what you have described. I can't wait to try RCCL in a few days!

    I have to say that this sounds pretty similar to our fears and conclusions when we have tried Carnival. I remember being so terrified of hating it that I had brought board games and booked a balcony in case we needed to be secluded from the horrible guests and terrible ambiance. In conclusion: we loved it and sailed with them many times after that. It definitely gave us the confidence to try other cruise lines.
    Please report back when you return and let us know how you made out. I'd be very interested to know what you think.
    We switched to RCCL a few years ago, the Oasis class, and have loved it. We're doing a Fantasy DCL sailing next month but that is because DH wanted to see what it was we loved about DCL before going to RCCL.
    We are booked on Symphony of the Seas for a B2B next year, we did that last year as well. We have also sailed the Oasis, B2B, several times and enjoyed them as well. I have yet to find a reason to pay DCL prices when we can pay half the cost on RCCL. It took a lot to get us to try another cruise line but we are sooooo glad we did.
     

    Denise W

    Disney Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 1999
    Please report back when you return and let us know how you made out. I'd be very interested to know what you think.
    We switched to RCCL a few years ago, the Oasis class, and have loved it. We're doing a Fantasy DCL sailing next month but that is because DH wanted to see what it was we loved about DCL before going to RCCL.
    We are booked on Symphony of the Seas for a B2B next year, we did that last year as well. We have also sailed the Oasis, B2B, several times and enjoyed them as well. I have yet to find a reason to pay DCL prices when we can pay half the cost on RCCL. It took a lot to get us to try another cruise line but we are sooooo glad we did.
    We did a back to back on Symphony in January (eastern/western) and it was great!
    Denise
     

    K8T

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 30, 2007
    We got off Anthem of the Seas two weeks ago and immediately booked our 10th Disney cruise.

    The whole experience wasn’t great to be honest, it was 9 nights New England. We only do longer cruises on DCL, two of our nine previous cruises were three days, the rest 8 or more.

    The ship was big from the outside, but from the inside it didn't appear to be so much bigger than DCL. It had climbing and surfing at certain times and dodgems for which you booked or queued, but these weren't on all the time. The X box area was very small and my daughter who is 14, was disappointed at the kids clubs, saying they were very bland, compared to DCL.

    Of course, any cruise is good and we did like our stops, but the two things that stood out for us as being a let down was the entertainment and the dining. There was a fantastic We Will Rock You show, but the other two shows were just strange (Spectra and The Gift). The gift had great staging and costumes, but the story was difficult to follow, Spectra was just odd! There was a lot of karaoke and a lounge with a formal dance band, which if you didn't do ballroom, you avoided. The Music Hall was empty most of the cruise, with very mediocre bands. There was a pub that was supposed to be British themed, but it was basic and boring. When you look at the Pub either on the Dream or the Magic/Wonder, they are cosy, comfortable and enticing. There was a lack of places to sit in the evenings, we ended up in the Schooner bar, with the pianist playing, but often interrupted by quizzes. The big lounge at the back was nice, but too large and didn't seem to know what it was for, with a tiny bar in the corner, windows that converted to screens and a sort of take way sandwich shop at the back.

    The restaurant we were in was dark and gloomy, the tables packed together, so we could hear every word and the waiters rushed us. We had to ask for water to be refilled and one time my other half gave up waiting for the wine waiter and went to the bar! Part of our holiday is enjoying an evening meal together in nice surroundings, then going to a show, we actually only ate three nights out of nine in the MDR and went to the buffet the other nights, something unheard of for us. The buffet however, was much better laid out and I felt generally the food was better on RCL, not so salty as DCL.

    Overall, it was basic, the service, the decor and the entertainment. There is also a lot of up selling stuff. The excursions were cheaper I think, but the drinks more expensive. I didn't get the drinks package on line when we first booked, and it went up by $40 within a few weeks. When we got on board, it had gone up by another $12 a day, which we thought was a bit off!

    We ate at the specialty restaurants, Chops, which was terrible and Wonderland, which was fun, but again the service was shocking. When you pay so much, you expect quality and service, we don't always go to Palo, but Palo is years ahead of either of RCL's offerings.

    If you want a cheap and cheerful, pleasant cruise, do RCL. If you want exceptional service, quality surroundings and entertainment, stick with DCL.
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    Interesting. Thanks for your report!

    FWIW I think the excursion prices are about the same. It basically comes down to how much each cruise line thinks they should charge as a middleman fee. You're likely to find some excursions cheaper on DCL and some cheaper on Royal. And chances are you'll find them cheaper (or more personalized) if you book with a third party.

    Kind of surprised about Chops, but it seems as if the quality of the specialty restaurants, while still good, has been on a downward trend.

    The size thing is interesting to me as I've not been on a Quantum class. I know the Oasis class is quite spacious but it now makes me wonder how the Independence will feel compared to Royal's largest ships. I haven't been on a "regular" ship since DCL Fantasy a few years back so this will be interesting.

    Was The Gift a Cirque-style show? I always find those (including the RCL aqua shows) a bit hard to follow from a story perspective. It's more that there's an overarching theme and it plays off of that. All these years later and I couldn't really tell you what "O" in Vegas was about, apart from having a water theme.

    And speaking of water, any thoughts on the pools?
     

    K8T

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 30, 2007
    Interesting. Thanks for your report!

    FWIW I think the excursion prices are about the same. It basically comes down to how much each cruise line thinks they should charge as a middleman fee. You're likely to find some excursions cheaper on DCL and some cheaper on Royal. And chances are you'll find them cheaper (or more personalized) if you book with a third party.

    Kind of surprised about Chops, but it seems as if the quality of the specialty restaurants, while still good, has been on a downward trend.

    The size thing is interesting to me as I've not been on a Quantum class. I know the Oasis class is quite spacious but it now makes me wonder how the Independence will feel compared to Royal's largest ships. I haven't been on a "regular" ship since DCL Fantasy a few years back so this will be interesting.

    Was The Gift a Cirque-style show? I always find those (including the RCL aqua shows) a bit hard to follow from a story perspective. It's more that there's an overarching theme and it plays off of that. All these years later and I couldn't really tell you what "O" in Vegas was about, apart from having a water theme.

    And speaking of water, any thoughts on the pools?
    Sorry for the delay in replying, still catching up since we got back!

    We never do the ship excursions, although this time, we did one, which was a bit of a rip off as was a coach trip to a place called Peggy's Cove (fabulous) apart from the herding around, which you get on any excursion and then the HOHO bus. However, by the time we got back, there was no time to do the HOHO bus properly and we ended up just sitting on it for part of the circuit, just to hear a bit of information. In hindsight we should have just got a cab, that will teach us to go 'off piste' !

    As for Chops, it wasn't good, I would go as far to say is was shocking. My sea bass was dried up and overcooked, I sent it back. If you are paying extra you should have quality it wasn't.

    The Gift was a stage performance in the theatre, it was visually very good, not a cirque type show, but a musical. The costumes were incredible, the singing okay (I am involved in the theatre, so it was okay, but nothing wow!). The concept was good along with the staging. However, it was all a bit 'random' and not easy to follow the story and work out what was happening, which was a shame, because it had the potential to be good. People actually walked out. Spectra is on the large screens that replace the ceiling to floor windows at the back. Again, it was just strange. There is so much potential on these screens, as they are like a surround cinema, we could have been taken under the sea on an adventure, or on a roller coaster ride, or something like Soarin' instead it was just flashed up images on the screens with music. We went after 10 minutes, luckily we were sat at the back.

    The pools were good. there were three pool areas. The outside one under the screen, which is bigger than the pool on the Magic and on the Dream. There was a small children's splash area too, shallow in one part and a small pool that moved in a circle. Not as good as the Dream, as good as the Magic and Wonder, but no slides at all. However, what was great is there is a second pool inside under cover, again pretty big compared to DCL, so it doesn't matter what the weather is like. Plenty of hot tubs. Finally, at the front of the ship is the Solarium, a large inside/greenhouse type area with plunge pools on different levels and hot tubs, which is purely for adults. This doesn't include the wave rider at the back.

    I just had a look at photos of the Independent, which has been in the Med. for the last few years, Anthem is a very poor cousin!
     

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