There are a lot of choices to make when deciding to take a cruise. How many nights, what ports, what ship and what might be most important, what cruise line? Two of the more popular lines are Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line as both have received high marks for their family programs on board their ships. What line makes the most sense for the vacation you envision? Continue reading to find out!

Maximizing your options

If you are looking to get out of town quickly and visit some exotic ports? Carnival is the way to go if you are on a budget. On top of that, Carnival has a 26 ship fleet, meaning you are probably closer to a port at any given time, making it easier to start your cruise. This also means there are more itineraries to choose from, offering a wider selection of dates.

Where’s the buffet?

Carnival Conquest Monet Dining Room

One area that these cruise lines really differ is the dining. Carnival does supplemental dining really well. The food on their pool deck, like Guy’s Burgers and the Blue Iguana Cantina, serving up burritos, are some of the best, made fresh food you will find on board. Where Carnival is a bit lackluster, in both the food and experience, is the main dining rooms. Carnival offers the traditional cruise main dining room, but Disney has rotational dining. That means, you will rotate into different dining rooms on different nights of your cruise. Don’t worry though, the servers rotate as well, giving you the personalized service cruising is known for.  The dining rooms on Disney are heavily themed, giving you an immersive dining experience and really show off their signature storytelling. Both lines offer food anytime of the day or night, including the ever popular buffets. 

Made for Families

Both Disney and Carnival offer rooms for families to share 1 room, with some cabins sleeping families of 5. Carnival rooms do offer a tad more in square footage but with Disney the biggest advantage to (most of) their staterooms are the split bathrooms, one room for the toilet and one for the tub. You read that correctly, Disney Cruise Line has bathtubs in their staterooms bathrooms, making it so much easier to clean the littles.

Both offer some great programs for kids at sea. Carnival offers Dr. Seuss at sea, and kids as young as 2 can join in the fun in Carnival’s Camp Ocean. They do offer babysitting for kids 6 months-11 years, but only allow your children to stay in their care for 3 hours a night, at 6.75 an hour. Disney on the other hand has babysitting for kids 6 months-3 years at 9 dollars an hour but there is no time limit. Disney also has different kids clubs for children ranging from 3-17 with spaces dedicated for certain age groups and a full schedule of things to do. With so many options for the kids, don’t be surprised if they want to hang out there all day. And nothing is more magical than Mickey coming to hang out and host a dance party! Disney also hosts Marvel and Star Wars cruises and there is never a shortage of princesses.

Adults will not be ignored

Don’t think you need to have kids with you to have a good time! Both lines also cater well to adults. If you are

Disney’s Dream Adult Pool area

looking for more of a party atmosphere, Carnival is where you are going to find it. You will find a variety of bars and clubs, as well as a casino, something you won’t find on Disney. There are spas that are adults only on both lines, but Disney has a way of magically having many adult only areas, no one under 18 allowed, on a ship that is full of kids. They have pools, a coffee bar, and adult only restaurants (for an additional fee), if you are wanting some truly kid-free time, Disney has your ticket.  

Bottom Line

Each cruise line has their own benefits, and it depends on what you are looking for in your vacation. To me, Disney Cruise Line has something for everyone, and is the standard for service that other cruise lines should aspire to. The shows are Broadway quality, and it would be a shame, if I didn’t mention Disney’s private island, and tropical paradise, Castaway Cay. Disney is more of an investment, but something magical happens on those ships that leave lasting memories for years and years to come, that I have never experienced anywhere else.

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