For kids: Carnival or Royal Caribbean?

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Family Cruises
Cruising with kids? Best Family Cruise Advice
Cruise Critic's Family Cruising Resources
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 01:04 PM.
Poll: Best Kids' Programs?
Poll Results
Best Kids' Programs?

Royal Caribbean
12
75.00%

Carnival
3
18.75%

Other - Please Explain
1
6.25%

Voters: 16.  You may not vote on this poll.

#1
6 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Hello all,

I'm new to cruises, and my parents are taking us and our two kids on a cruise in April '07 to Mexican Riviera. We've kind of narrowed it down to either Carnival or Royal Caribbean, but which one do you think is best for kids? Daughter will be 5 and son will be 3.

The ships are Carnival Pride or Spirit and RC is the Vision of the Seas.

Any advice will be appreciated. TIA.
#2
1,775 Posts
Joined May 2004
Hi! I can't vote, as I've never sailed RCCL. Have taken 4 Carnival cruises though! We choose Carnival by default: they were the only one who would take a 2 year old in their camp AND changed diapers. Our first cruise DD was 25 months, and I knew where her brother went (especially if it looked as cool as the kid's camp!) she'd want to follow. Sure enough she did, and we all had a great first cruise.

We have really enjoyed Carnival. Really have no complaints, and each and every cruise has been truly wonderful. So much so that we're planning our 5th in the eastern Med. next April! I KNOW we're all going to have a great time!

Whatever you choose, I hope you and your family really love it!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Fond Memories:
MSC Fantasia Western Med. 5/10
Carnival Freedom Eastern Med. 4/07
Carnival Victory Canada 8/06
Carnival Miracle Western 2/06
Carnival Triumph Canada 8/05
Carnival Destiny Southern 5/05
Carnival Glory Western 1/05
#3
2,788 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Hi -

I've priced the Mexican Riviera to take my girls (we went in Feb and are going again in October) and have found that Princess ends up being the best deal because the 3rd/4th person fare is less (but that also depends on the week you go). As an adult I prefer Princess, so the fact that it was also less expensive made the decision easy. My girls were too young to be left alone in the kids program (age 3 is the minimum), but I went with them and saw how much the kids there loved it. Since the ports are the same, and I think the kids are going to enjoy themselves no matter which you choose, you might make your decision based on either price or which you think the adults will most enjoy.

Have a great time - I think cruising is a great way for a family to travel together.

Best,
Mia
#4
Pacific NW
9,883 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
My DD has participated in Camp Carnival on the Pride and the twice on the Spirit. She loved, loved, loved them both.

We've never sailed RCCL so can't comment on their program, but I understand both lines are comparable. We've always had good experiences on Carnival and so have stayed with them. We're on Princess later this summer because they offered the itinerary we wanted with an addition stop at Princess Cays. Looking forward to seeing how my DD enjoys the Princess kids' club.

Have a great time!

Jayne
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
It isn't that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better. ~Sir Francis Drake

Counting Down the Days to the Western Med and Northern Europe cruises!






Tour spreadsheet for NCL Epic Western Med (embarking in Civitavecchia) on Sept 27, 2017
Tour spreadsheet for NCL Jade Norway, Scotland, and Iceland on May 25, 2018




Happy Cruising Memories

NCL Pearl, 06/18/17 (Fourth to Alaska) ~~ NCL Pearl, 09/26/16 (Pacific Coastal) ~~ HAL Amsterdam, 09/25/16 (One-night from Seattle to Vancouver) ~~ NCL Epic, 3/6/16 (Morocco and the Canary Islands) ~~ NCL Jade, 10/11/14 (Adriatic; first solo cruise) ~~ Carnival Legend, 6/21/13 (Baltic) ~~ Carnival Inspiration, 08/10/12 (Mexico) ~~ Carnival Inspiration, 08/13/12 (Mexico; birthday cruise!) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 06/28/11 (Alaska) Cruise Review ~~ Carnival Splendor, 08/22/10 (Mexican Riviera) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 08/15/07 (Alaska) ~~ Caribbean Princess, 07/29/06 (W. Caribbean) ~~ Carnival Pride, 12/21/03 (Mexican Riviera) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 12/18/02 (Southern Caribbean) ~~ Carnival Spirit, 8/15/01 (Alaska) ~~ Carnival Holiday, 3/10/97 (Mexico)
#5
Tampa, FL USA
46 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
and both were wonderful. My daughter truly enjoyed both programs.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Marc

ss Veracruz 04/1987
Big Red Boat 09/1995
Celebration 05/1997
Regal Empress 12/2000
Jubilee 07/2001
Fantasy 02/2003
Regal Empress 03/2003
Pride 04/2003
Inspiration 11/23/2003
Mariner of the Seas 1/18/2004
Celebration 3/21/2005
Inspiration 12/29/2005
Disney Wonder 05/25/2006
Playin' Hooky 06/30/2006
Legend of the Seas 12/16/2006
Disney Magic 03/17/2007
Disney Wonder 04/10/2008
Inspiration 06/30/2008
Playin' Hooky 01/24/2009
Inspiration 04/06/2009
Playin' Hooky 06/10/2011
Paradise 02/28/2013
Playin' Hooky 06/08/2013
Playin' Hooky 07/25/2013
Carnival Legend 03/09/2014
#7
Maryland
3,173 Posts
Joined May 2005
Pick the cruise based on the adults' preferences--itinerary, activities, cabin availability, cost--because the kids will have a blast at either Camp Carnival or Adventure Ocean!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Crown Princess, Cape Horn SA Jan 2017; RCI Brilliance OTS, W. Med, Jul 2016; Regal Princess, E. Carib, Apr 2016; Celebrity Reflection, E. Med, Jul 2015; Celebrity Reflection, W. Carib, Apr 2015; Celebrity Silhouette, Italy/Adriatic, Jul 2013; Celebrity Silhouette, E. Carib, Apr 2013; Century Diamond, Yangtze River, Jul 2012; Celebrity Solstice, W. Carib, Apr 2012; HAL Eurodam, Baltic, Jul 2011; RCI Liberty OTS, W. Carib, Apr 2010; HAL Noordam, W & E Med, Jun 2009; RCI Brilliance OTS, Panama Canal, Mar 2008; RCI Grandeur OTS, NE/Canada, Jul 2007; RCI Radiance OTS, W. Carib, Nov 2006; RCI Radiance OTS, Alaska, Aug 2006; Carnival Liberty, W. Carib, Nov 2005; RCI Explorer OTS, E. Carib, Sep 2001; Regal Princess, E. Carib, Nov 1993

Travel-related posts from my blog: http://terpnut.blogspot.com/search/label/travel
#8
Ann Arbor, MI
7,759 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
My boys liked RCI. AO gets very high ratings, higher than Disney.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
All about my addictions: Cruising, my boys, writing romance and being a triathlete: blog.liedel.org
#9
Florida
238 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
We've never done Camp Carnival, but my kids (3 and 7) had a blast in the Adventure Ocean program on Mariner of the Seas earlier this year.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
05/2015 RCCL Oasis of the Seas (BOOKED!)
06/2014 Celebrity Reflection
11/2007 RCCL Sovereign of the Seas
10/2006 RCCL Sovereign of the Seas
03/2006 RCCL Mariner of the Seas
07/2004 Carnival Sensation
11/2000 RCCL Sovereign of the Seas
08/1993 Premier Seawind Crown
08/1991 Admiral Azure Seas
08/1989 Carnival Celebration
11/1986 Premier Big Red Boat
07/1985 Costa Enrico C
#10
446 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Also consider Disney. We took our DD at 4 on the Disney ship and she had an absolute blast! All the shows are perfect for the kids and the Characters are everywhere! This year we are going on RCCL as she is now 6 and can enjoy the skating and mini golf. Be aware that a lot of shore excursions will not allow kids under 4 (it is an insurance thing). Both my kids fell in love with the cruise experence from the first day on the ship, it is a great family vacation.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Boat Drinks - I need Boat Drinks........

Twenty degrees and the hockey games on
Nobody cares they are way too far gone
Screamin boat drinks, something to keep em all warm