I recently booked a cruise on Carnival, and read a Cruise Critic post on how a cruiser enjoyed their cruise on a Carnival boat more than they had on a Royal Caribbean ship. Several people contested the original poster’s opinion. I of course have my own opinion.
Let’s get this out of the way: Some people are afraid to cruise, and I get it. They have various reasons not to go; the water, motion sickness, eating bad food and getting sick; mechanical malfunction, and crime. All those happen, but they are by far the exceptions. I have yet to have a negative overall experience while cruising, and God willing, that will continue.
I’ve been on six cruises and five of them were on Carnival (CCL). The other cruise was on Royal Caribbean (RCL). We cruised the Eastern Caribbean on RCI; the cruises on CCL included two West Caribbean cruises, two Alaska cruises and a 12-day cruise to the Medittereanean.
RCI, we sailed on Liberty of the Seas. The ship was beautiful. It was clean, in great shape and overall an enjoyable experience. RCI has great food and provides a more elegant experience. You get treated well, a real pampering. The one thing I didn’t enjoy was the fact there were simply too many people! There were over 4500 people on the ship and it proved to be just too many people. RCI would brag about how many people they could transport on a ship. When you’re a a port, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
CCL, we’ve traveled on ships from the Carnival Ecstasy, a ship needing an overhaul, to the Carnival Breeze, one of their newest ships at the time. I’ve had a great time aboard all of them. If you want fun, you’ll find it on Carnival. You get pampered less than on RCI, but it’s certainly good enough. The passengers are a little more rowdy on Carnival, for sure.
One key aspect of cruising on CCL is the rewards program. If you cruise so many days, you get certain perks. That’s what keeps us on Carnival; the fact we get those rewards for cruising so many days. When you’re closing in on Platinum level and you still work for a living, you’re doing well. You also have enough time to get to a level of rewards on another cruise line.
Ultimately, CCL and RCI are pretty closely matched. It really depends on what you’re looking to get. If you want fun at a great price, CCL is your choice. If you want a relaxing vacation without having to worry about anything, RCI offers you a great value, even at a slightly higher price.