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How does Disney Cruise Compare to other Cruise Lines?

John park hopper

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We have never done a Disney cruise have done Carnival and Holland America and are scheduled to do a Caribbean 11 day cruise on Holland America in March. Carnival was not that great Holland was 100 times better. For those who have done Disney and other cruise lines which do you prefer --pros and cons
 

ChuckElias

Well-Known Member
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Hi John.

Carnival, Holland America, and DCL are 3 very different products. You've already seen the difference between Carnival and HA. Everything about Disney is better than everything about Carnival, except for the price..

Holland America is a really good product and their new ships are looking pretty great. But it's designed for an older clientele. There are families onboard, but generally it's an older crowd. DCL is obviously geared more to families.

I would say that HA and DCL are comparable in quality of facilities and food. I would say that Disney's live entertainment is better, however, the Music Walk on HA's new ships may even things up. If you want to gamble, then obviously, you're not sailing DCL. I would say that the service on DCL is better.
 

John park hopper

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Our 3 boys are grown so no kid cruising with us and yes HA is an older crowd. We don't mind kids actually enjoy seeing them have fun. Thank for the info
 

DCLcruiser

Well-Known Member
I'll put it like this...when you are at port and there's another ship next to you, you'll realize that they are floating on a motel in comparison. I know people who took a Norwegian cruise and they felt nickeled and dimed to enter each free style restaurant.

And then, while the other ship's passengers are all on deck drooling over DCL, the captain will blow the "When You Wish Upon a Star" horn and they will all cheer for the DCL ship.

While DCL is more expensive, it's worth every penny.
 

EOD K9

Well-Known Member
While DCL is more expensive, it's worth every penny.
I feel the value is there. Some other may disagree. While it is more money, I feel the vacation and the experience the CMS give you on board is what WDW used to be and should be. My first two cruises on DCL were before we had children and my wife and I were hooked. There is something about the familiarity of the ships, staying in the same stateroom, and sometimes seeing CMs from previous voyages is relaxing. I'm sailing on a 5 nighter at the end of the month. We can't wait!!
 

Surfin' Tuna

Well-Known Member
First thing, EOD, I hope you're doing the Royal Court. I didn't realize until now that I never said anything else about that 6 months ago or so. The wife wanted me to tell you then that the kids would love it. Sorry about that.

As for the OP, I would say the only thing better about the other cruise lines is the price, and the only thing worse about DCL is the price. We used to cruise a fair bit before we had kids. After kids, we thought we would give DCL a shot. We have now been on 6 Disney cruises with another coming up this fall and then more next year. It is everything a cruise should be and it's fun. I remember relaxing on the other lines, but I don't remember really having fun the way I do on Disney. The only thing I hope is for new itineraries with the new ships, since I'm spoiled and don't want to return to the other lines.
 

DCLcruiser

Well-Known Member
First thing, EOD, I hope you're doing the Royal Court. I didn't realize until now that I never said anything else about that 6 months ago or so. The wife wanted me to tell you then that the kids would love it. Sorry about that.

As for the OP, I would say the only thing better about the other cruise lines is the price, and the only thing worse about DCL is the price. We used to cruise a fair bit before we had kids. After kids, we thought we would give DCL a shot. We have now been on 6 Disney cruises with another coming up this fall and then more next year. It is everything a cruise should be and it's fun. I remember relaxing on the other lines, but I don't remember really having fun the way I do on Disney. The only thing I hope is for new itineraries with the new ships, since I'm spoiled and don't want to return to the other lines.
Royal Court, as in the restaurant or the tea experience?
 

KeithVH

Well-Known Member
There's a reason (well, more than one) why DCL consistently ranks at the top of any listing for cruising in comparison to other lines. Yes, service and offerings are a big piece of that. But in general it's the vibe on board that makes DCL stand out. My DW used to work for HA (and did a shared staff thing with Princess) and has a lot of stories about the clientele. They're not always that old but they're definitely "characters". She specifically remarked to me on our first DCL how different the cruisers were (and what she had been expecting). And remember that HA employees pretty much cruise for free and we NEVER took advantage of that perk.
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
Disney stresses being on 'vacation' and trying to disconnect/relax. Carnival tries to be more spring break I think.

Disney isn't as stand-out as it used to be in their offerings...but what they excel at is a high average.

Great Customer Service - Great Staff
Good, Good+ food
Good Entertainment
Good to Great Equipment (others have caught up here..)
Pricing Model was more innovative at the time, but in the current market lacks some of the flexibility offered by others
Great balance of Disney 'magic'/tips without being All-Stars level of 'slap Disney on everything'. The DCL style is very classy.

The only thing people would probably knock Disney for is
- Price
- Lack of high variety of food venues (but Disney's buffet and adhoc stuff is very good)
- 'kid themed' - But its plenty classy enough for Adult-only groups as long as they are willing to embrace their love for Disney
- Weak 'Adult only' nightlight... clubs/casinos/social stuff is not very active
- Type of land activities vs other potentials that could be more tailored or high end

Disney is certainly not the 'silver hair' cruise line, nor is it the 'posh, diamond level' cruise... but it's not the Carnival spring break crowd either. I think it fits Adults who have a soft spot for Disney and those who are not turned off by kids. Because while you can hang out in the adult areas... dinner is still gonna have tons of families around, and the bulk of 'cool amenities' are going to be more kid activity focused.
 

ExRoadie

Member
DCL is by far the best experience I've ever had at sea period.

I've made trips on over a dozen cruise lines over the past 40 years including some that no longer exist. I worked for Carnival for a couple of years when they were upgrading their ship technology in the 90's.

It's been a few years since I've cruised but the one thing I always remember is spending five nights on the Dream in 2012 with two visits to Castaway Cay.

I haven't stepped off a cruise in a port since the mid 90's so shore events don't apply to me. The ship is the destination in my book since you can do those other things on a land vacation.

The DCL staff has been first rate at every turn and the ships are outstanding in design, construction and maintenance.

Off Topic:
I really miss the pre-9/11 days when you could visit the bridge while underway.
 

DCLcruiser

Well-Known Member
Because while you can hang out in the adult areas... dinner is still gonna have tons of families around
Select the 2nd seating and I find very few kids. DCL always does a great job of pairing for dinner. My wife and I go and always get put with a group of same-age couples (20s-30s) who are also Disney fans. It's a great way to make new friends and clearly shows that Disney takes time to segment guests (in the best way).
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
Select the 2nd seating and I find very few kids. DCL always does a great job of pairing for dinner. My wife and I go and always get put with a group of same-age couples (20s-30s) who are also Disney fans. It's a great way to make new friends and clearly shows that Disney takes time to segment guests (in the best way).
Yes... but there is no avoiding the reality that the middle of the boat is gonna have kids en mass. There are many adults would would prefer a 'zero kid' experience... but that doesn't overlap much with the Disney client-tel just because of the history of the parks. I just wanted to point out that no you don't have to be around kids all the time - but you won't have a kid-less experience.

The common areas outside the adult desk area, spa, and evening clubs/bars are always going to have a mix of kids around.

Beyond the pool deck tho, I've never really found it to be to the level of distracting or detriment. The pool deck is pretty loud during the day.. and I always recommend retreating to the adult only forward areas during those times :)
 

KeithVH

Well-Known Member
Personally, I've never really noticed an issue with kids on the boats. Technically, no different than going to the parks. Really, it makes no sense to be concerned about this - this is DISNEY we're talking about, you don't get one without the other. But there is one "trick" if the idea is to cruise DCL with the least kid-oriented impact. Choose a date that is school-sensitive, like the Alaska 9/2 route (the week school begins for most). Or choose a repo cruise; the length on those also impacts/reduces the number of kids aboard. I've seen PC cruises where the kids were only ~10-15% of total guests.
 

EOD K9

Well-Known Member
First thing, EOD, I hope you're doing the Royal Court. I didn't realize until now that I never said anything else about that 6 months ago or so. The wife wanted me to tell you then that the kids would love it. Sorry about that.

As for the OP, I would say the only thing better about the other cruise lines is the price, and the only thing worse about DCL is the price. We used to cruise a fair bit before we had kids. After kids, we thought we would give DCL a shot. We have now been on 6 Disney cruises with another coming up this fall and then more next year. It is everything a cruise should be and it's fun. I remember relaxing on the other lines, but I don't remember really having fun the way I do on Disney. The only thing I hope is for new itineraries with the new ships, since I'm spoiled and don't want to return to the other lines.
Yes, we are booked for RCRT. It will be a surprise for my daughters.
 

Surfin' Tuna

Well-Known Member
Funny...on the way home from the fireworks tonight I responded to my wife about a conversation from just two days ago, and she was irritated when I pretended to not understand her confusion.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
We have never done a Disney cruise have done Carnival and Holland America and are scheduled to do a Caribbean 11 day cruise on Holland America in March. Carnival was not that great Holland was 100 times better. For those who have done Disney and other cruise lines which do you prefer --pros and cons

My take, and everybody is going to be different, is that DCL is worth the extra cost if you are traveling with small children. DCL truly excels in this area, and the extra cost is well worth it.

When traveling with just adults, I will take Celebrity over DCL for my money. The crew is just as accommodating, I found many more activities geared to my tasted on Celebrity. Celebrity has an adults only area that is actively enforced. They have an awesome "no saving lounge chairs" policy. Sure, all ships claim it. On Celebrity the towel/pool stewards actively remove items people are using to save chairs if nobody show up to the chair for an extended period of time.

I found the food on Celebrity to be just as good, if not better, than on DCL

I will say that the shows on DCL, as a whole, are better. Every night on DCL is a stunning show (but you do get repeats on a long cruise). Celebrity has some stunning shows as well, but then every so often they throw in an act that is just OK. However, on Celebrity every night is a different show. So you take your pick DCL with 3 awesome shows that keep rotating, or Celebrity with 7 different shows, with 2 of them being passable.

If pricing was the same, I would call it a toss up. But with DCLs inflated pricing, It's not a product I am going to pursue for adults only crusing.
 
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