Comparing Cruises: Carnival v. Disney Cruise Line
Cruises are the perfect way to escape from reality to exotic locations with your family and the best part is that you don’t have to cook, clean, or worry about entertainment because it is all right there on one boat for you! I’ve had the great opportunity to cruise with my family and husband with Disney Cruise Line and Carnival Cruises. Each experience was filled with fun, relaxation, and memories that I will remember always. However, sometimes it can be hard to decide between what cruise line to pick that is right for your family and budget. Today, I would like to give you some details to help make your next cruise decision an easy one by comparing my experience on Disney Cruise Line and Carnival Cruises.
All cruises begin in a terminal to check in before you even get on the boat. Both cruises offered fast, easy ways to check you whole party in for your cruising adventure. Disney Cruise Line’s arrival terminal is large, spacious, and features the occasional visit from Captain Mickey. The process was always easy and quick and just required you to go through a security checkpoint and then check in to get your cruise cards. Then you would be called to go through a Mickey-eared port whole and right onto the ship. Carnival Cruise’s terminal is much more like a giant closed-off dome where you go up many flights of stairs and ramps to get up to the ship. However, both processes were easy and quick to go through due to an assigned arrival time.
Disney is synonymous with great theming and the cruise ships are no exception! Everywhere you look are Disney touches with all your favorite Disney characters but in subtle and discreet ways. Like the silhouette of the Fab Five on the stair banisters or Dug and Russell on the wall of the elevator. The decor is all deep reds and blues with splashes of white and cream that fit in perfectly with the sailor/ship theme. Disney Cruise Line also is able to decorate for the adults in subtle, classy ways of pastels and grays. Nothing flashy or too gaudy.
Carnival Cruise’s decor, however, from the moment you walk onto the ships is very PINK and flashy. The theming, from what I could gather, was like 1920s Las Vegas casino. Just A LOT of pink with bright colors and lights everywhere. Honestly the only relaxing color scheme on the whole ship that wasn’t in your face was at the back of the ship at the adult pool. That decor was more of the ocean liner blues and reds. Carnival’s decorations just felt like they were trying too much and honestly, I got a headache from all the pink walls on the ship and in our room.
Bottom line for Carnival Cruises, if you don’t drink or gamble, like my husband and I don’t, there isn’t a ton to do. There is a game room, ping pong tables, an adult pool, comedy clubs, a spa with gym, and a nightly show but other than that, there is not much else. I like having the option of doing other things besides sitting by the pool or gambling in the casino. Like seeing a movie or doing a scavenger hunt like on the Disney Cruise. Carnival tries to cater to the adults more than the kids which is fine but I don’t participate in “normal” activities like drinking or gambling. As our cruise went on, we kind of ran out of things to do.
However, Disney Cruise Line has a lot of things to do for kids, families, and adult-only areas that don’t all involve gambling or drinking. What Disney does exceptionally well is cater to kids and adults from adult-only clubs, pools, restaurants, spas, and entertainment but when that gets old, you can go participate in other fun things too like see a movie, or a scavenger hunt. Disney Cruise Line also don’t allow inappropriate behavior around the ship like drunken conduct or behaviors that children shouldn’t see. It is all around more family-friendly and just more enjoyable in my opinion.
If Disney is known for one thing, it is its excellent customer service and that definitely transitions over to their cruise line. Carnival also has great customer service but it is definitely missing that Disney difference, as my family likes to call it.
Special Features aboard the Ship
Disney’s entertainment and character greetings take the cake in my book over Carnival’s. Disney entertainment is just that–not cheap, random shows. On Disney Cruise Line, I just felt that the quality was overall better than Carnival’s, especially in their nighttime entertainment because it had a theme, not just 80s guitar music.
Something else I appreciated Disney Cruise Line for over Carnival was their nightly rotational dining, where you eat a different restaurant each night. It gives you chance to sample different food, tables, and atmospheres. Whereas, Carnival is just the same restaurant every night with the same table. Both cruise lines did keep your servers the same so that you can get to know them over your say which is always nice.
All around, I enjoyed my experience on both cruise lines but in my book, Disney take the prize on this one. Mainly for their classy decor, plethora of activities for everyone to enjoy, and just the overall atmosphere that is catered not to drinkers and partiers but to just having a good time enjoying your vacation.