Is RCI worth the extra money over Carnival?



I am still in the process of researching cruises. I have found some good deals on Carnival Victory. I had my heart set on the Radiance of the Seas from San Juan, but my mother is going with me and thought March 15th wouldn't give her adequate time to lose some pounds. So, we are looking at May 10, 11, 17 or 18. So, we are looking at a Voyager class ship from Miami. I love good food, but also like good treatment and the last Carnival cruise that I was on. I was disappointed with the treatment at the beginning and end of the cruise . I have talked with Princess, RCI and Carnival by phone to order materials. Princess and RCI representatives we're wonderful, but the Carnival lady was rather nasty( reminded of treatment on the cruise).

The Nuge

I can't speak for any cruise except RCI. Leaving on my 7th cruise April 19th with them and will be back for more. They are a fantastic company that really have their finger on how to get people to come back. I'm sure all the lines have great things to offer but RCI is the only one I will cruise with. Whatever line you chose, be sure look into indiv. ships. The reputations of the line doesn't always transfer to all the ships in the fleet. Good luck!

The Nuge


We have sailed on the Carnival Pride and Paradise. We had no complaints on the Paradise. Everything was wonderful, of course that was our first cruise though. Everything on the Pride was wonderful except the stateroom and dining room service. We just sailed 1/5 for the first time on RCCL's on the Soverign of the Seas. The major difference we saw between the two lines was that on RCCL, you can actually order the dining room food through room service. This was nice because if you're just not up for getting dressed up but want the wonderful food, you've got it. We have read alot that the shows are very different between the two lines but this was not our experience. If you're not into flashy and flamboyant colors all over, I would suggest RCCL. Their decor is more "elegant" and toned down. I would recommend one of RCCL's newer ships though.


RCI (we've done it 5 times) is a little classier than Carnival (done it 4 times) but that turns some people on and others off. We enjoy dressing up and we can do this on either line. You will hear some people say that they wear T-shirt and jeans to the dining room on Carnival but this is probably coming from someone through hear-say, not actual experience. You will hear from people that only want to cruise on the newest and biggest ships while some of our best cruises have been on small and older ships. As I mentioned on your post on the Community forum, both lines are good. Our friends (they have sailed with us 11 times) prefer Carnival and Karen & I prefer RCI but we go with each other regardless of which line we choose. Oh, we have done NCL 4 times also.

Carnival tends to cater to some groups and it is good business. On ships out of San Juan (and probably Miami also) they cater a lot to the Latino crowd because a major portion of the passengers are, in fact, Latino. On the ships we were on (Inspiration and Fascination) there was a Salsa lounge and it was always buzzing and so was the disco. All announcements are in both English and Spanish and that will be on most lines.

Once again, I strongly recommend an agent. Your price will be as good or lower and you will get much more personal service.



Is RCL worth the money over Carnival? I would say yes, yes and yes. I have been on 3 RCL cruises and 1 Carnival - about to go on another RCL in April. I had great fun on all of them, but RCL is definitely nicer. Nicer food, higher level of service, greater attention to detail. Some comments - our Carnival room was bigger - very large bathroom. But, it was very "old school" - orange carpet and overall decor was very '70's. Most of Carnival's ships are older than RCL's, but you can come across a shabby RCL ship if you do not do your research. Carnival has a touch more of a party crowd, not that we aren't able to find partiers on RCL as well, just better behaved for the most part. Now - I am guessing that many people will tell you that you can find a nicer line than RCL - I've heard that Princess is very nice. But I'm hooked on RCL - I like the consistency of service, and I feel very comfortable traveling with them. I definitely agree with Bibb - use a travel agent who has been on many cruises themselves (a good one has been everywhere!) and they can advise you firsthand on what will most fit your needs!


if i were you i would book the VOYAGER OF THE>>>IT IS MY MOST FAV SHIP ON EARTH!!!!!! I HAVE CRUISED 6 times on RCI and 2 on CARNIVAL>>>>RCI HANDS DOWN!!


I would suggest Celebrity, Norwegian , Royal Caribbean, in that order although I think Celebrity has slipped a bit since RCL took it over. Just came back from a Hawaiian cruise on the Norwegian Wind and was impressed again with the service and the food. Entertainment was also a step above the norm. Jean Ann Ryan Productions creates the entertainment and Vegas style reviews and they are generally good. Prices on Celebrity are a bit higher but the service is too. I am also rapidly becoming a big fan of Norwegian's Free Style Cruising and would highly recommend it for those who want dining and dress flexibility. Carnival is loud and very neonish. The PA system is always in your face and telling you what a great time you are having and where you can go on the ship to help you spend your money. Not for me thanks.


From what I have priced, RCI isn't more money than Carnival. They serve a different demographic but are both mass market. I personally like RCI better than Carnival and I prefer Celebrity over those two.

It is a matter of opinion and taste. I wouldn't turn my nose at a Carnival cruise they just aren't in my top five. It is a cruise, so it can't be bad.


Haven`t sailed RCI yet. That comes October 12 on Voyager.

We were on the Carnival Pride last Sept. The big sell was on all 7 days. It got so we didn`t even hear it after a day or two. Did our thing and ignored most directions on where to shop.
It was a good cruise(what one isn`t)and a super ship, but we are looking forward to more upscale from RCI. Our TA says we won`t be disappointed.



Sailed on the Grandeur a while back. Definitely better than Carnival in the "class" department. I also enjoyed Celebrity and Norwegian. No hard sell there either.


My husband and I have been on both lines. To tell you the truth, I didn't see much difference. I felt the dining room food and service was very equal. The only thing I thought was better on Carnival, was the lido buffet at lunch. Carnival has a bigger selection!
From my own experience and from what I have been reading on the boards, I think it really depends on what ship your on, the service, and most of all your own experience! You see it all the time on the boards, someone will ask a question, and he/she will get so many different responses from one end of the spectrum to the other.
This is what I do: I pick a ship or two I like, and then try and find the best possible price! Then I hope I'm one of the luckey ones that get a good cabin steward and wait staff in the diningroom. No matter what cruiseline you pick or what ship, your going to find really good service from some of the staff and really bad from others. It's the luck of the draw. Basiclly most of the ships(no matter what line your on) have the same amenities. The larger newer ships usually have larger, and more updated rooms, Pools, Spa and Workout rooms, some cabins, Lido dining etc.
Anyways that just my opinion!!


I agree whole-heartedly with the last poster. Our favorite cruise to date was on RCCL (the Rhapsody) and our very least favorite was on RCCL (the Grandeur). And somewhere in between are 2 on Carnival and 1 on Norwegian.

I would just pick a ship ( to us the port and itinerary are important) and then try to find the best price for a category you like. Food, service, entertainment and, yes, even your shipmates are all variables that will either make it a great or a so-so cruise.


RCCL is the GREAT. Have been on 6 RCCL cruises. Rhapsody of the Seas-twice, Explorer of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas, Soverign of the Seas & Song of Norway. Will be leaving April on the Splendour of the Seas. We have been on two other cruise lines that are not in business anymore. RCCL has always had great service and always eager to satisfy their customers needs. We were on the Explorer of the Seas during 9-11 in the Virgin Islands and they provided free phone calls and internet service as well as having hotel rooms setup in Miami if the planes were not flying when we got back.
Which ever cruise line you use you will enjoy cruising.


In our opinion RCCL is a little better so it depends on the cost difference and what your budjet can take. Remember cruising is like sex. Some are better than other but none are bad!


In all honesty, I am hooked on RCI. 7th cruise is booked for 2/04. We just got off the Radiance in February and I rebooked it!
Vacations and tastes differ from person to person. A cruise is what you make it. I have never had a problem with RCI, they have treated us well. We have friends that only cruise on Carnival. It's all about choices and prices. I do believe the extra you spend with RCI goes a long way.
I highly recommend RCI!
Whatever you choose - it's your week! Enjoy it :)


RCI is a step above Carnival on every aspect of cruising for me. I am more likely to pay a few hundred dollars more to go on RCI than Carnival, than to sail on the older Carnival ships.


Hello, bstodghi!

We returned from our very first cruise and I had researched the cruise industry quite fully, before signing on to sail the Radiance of the Seas this past February 1st out of San Juan for 7 nights.

Radiance is a dream afloat. The service was simply wonderful. This accommodations were just top notch. Our rooms were cleaned twice daily. The shore excursions were very good.

To our surprise, and maybe because we booked almost a year in advance, we were upgraded from a Level D to a Level C room with a larger bathroom, full bathtub/shower, wider cabin, etc.

Did we like it? Wellllll, suffice it to say that by the middle of our cruise, we talked with the cruise consultant and are looking forward to our second cruise date next February 16th out of Miami for Eleven nights on the Radiance's sister ship the Brilliance of the Seas. Brilliance circles the Caribbean...we are already looking forward with great anticipation to all the fun we will have!

Royal Caribbean gets my whole-hearted endorsement--I am glad I did so much research and delighted to say that our fellow Cruise @ddicts gave us lots of wonderful advice. I love C@!! Enjoy your cruise!

Kaye in Newark, OH B)


Brilliance of the Seas 02/16/2004, Circling the Caribbean
Radiance of the Seas February 2003


OK , my 2 cents... I have been on Majesty of the Seas ( RCL ) out of Miami and on Inspiration ( Carnival ) out of Tampa. They seemed very on par with each other... difference I saw was in age group aboard.. Carnival was just a little younger than RCL but had to be looking to notice.. I had wanted to book my second cruise with RCL but the travel single penilty was 250 % ... I paid NO penilty with Carnival.. and as I live 20 minutes away from Tampa port.. no airfare or parking fee.... 7 nights $299.. sooooo guess who won my cruise !
Would I go Insipration again? yep.. ands would do RCL if I do not get penilty...
( Note:: Carnival kept the ship in port and extra uscheduled 4 hours so all could enjoy Mardis Gras )
This all translates to.. loved both ships and would do either one and with luck...,, next time do a back to back :)


I think personally RCL might have a slight edge but the food on Carnival IMO as well as the service have improved dramatically in the past few years. Either line would IMO supply U with a very enjoyable vacation. God Luck with your decision making process. :thumb