February 27, 2024


Ep. 397 - Live Bonus Show - The Royal Treatment: Comparing Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean with Karen and Kaley from My Path Unwinding Travel

Hosted by

Brian Sam
Ep. 397 - Live Bonus Show - The Royal Treatment: Comparing Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean with Karen and Kaley from My Path Unwinding Travel
DCL Duo Podcast: A Disney Cruise Line Fan Podcast
Ep. 397 - Live Bonus Show - The Royal Treatment: Comparing Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean with Karen and Kaley from My Path Unwinding Travel

Feb 27 2024 | 01:22:14


Show Notes

Karen and Kaley join us on this week's live show to discuss why Royal Caribbean might be a good choice for families who normally sail Disney Cruise Line to consider. There are lots of differences between Royal and Disney, from their booking processes to onboard activities, staterooms, food and dining, private islands and more. For those who typically sail concierge on Disney Cruise Line, Royal's Sky and Star classes may be of interest for the breadth of included amenities and, at times, lower price points. We're tackling all this, answering listener questions and so much more on this week's bonus show.

If you want to join the DCL Duo Inaugural Podcast Cruise aboard the Disney Magic for her three-night sailing on June 19, 2024 from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau and Lookout Cay, you can head over our to our booking page at My Path Unwinding Travel to secure your room today!! 

If you are looking to book your next Disney Cruise, then head over to My Path Unwinding Travel so Karen and her team of expert travel professionals can help you find the perfect vacation for you and your family.

If you use Sea Bands to prevent motion sickness, then you need to check out Blisslets (via our affiliate link), a stylish alternative to traditional sea sickness bands.

Would you like a little downtime for date night or just some time to reconnect as adults on your next Disney vacation, check out Nanny Land and use affiliate Crown Code: KING85 to get a discount.

Would you like to send us a question or a comment call our Google Voicemail line at (402) 413-5590 or email us at [email protected].

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The views in this podcast are our own, and are not those of the Walt Disney family of companies, Disney Cruise Line or the Walt Disney theme parks or resorts.

We're listed alongside some other great Disney podcasts at:  Top 100 Disney Podcasts and Top 30 Disney Cruise Line Podcasts

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: There's food all over perfect day. There's a whole water park in perfect day. There are a couple of venues that have upgraded food offerings. Like, there's a whole restaurant that's just for, like, wings, but there's additional charge for that. Wings. [00:00:15] Speaker B: I love me some chicken wings. Come on. Don't laugh at me, man. [00:00:20] Speaker C: That is the show opener right there. Wings. Welcome back, everybody, to this week's live bonus episode of the DCL duo podcast, brought to you by my path, unwinding travel and Sam, we're back. We're live. We were not here last week because we were in the city of New Orleans city, right. [00:00:52] Speaker B: But we are here for the drinking hurricane. Sorry, guys. [00:00:54] Speaker C: We were. I have photo evidence, but we're back for the next, I think, five or six weeks straight live. No vacations planned. So mark your calendars now. 05:30 p.m.. Pacific. 08:30 p.m.. Eastern. Every Monday night we will be alive unless we can't find good guests or we have nothing to say. But I want to do one thing before we bring our fabulous guests in for tonight's conversation, which I just want to thank our patreons. I like to give them a shout out every so often. If you're not familiar, we have a Patreon group or a Patreon program. You can head to patreon.com dcl duo. We have some support tiers, and these are folks who financially support us every month to help make this show happen. And so just in no particular order, I want to thank Emily Abbott, Chris Wynn, the Dillos. Diz. Thanks. Thanks out there to the Dillos. Heather Wilson, Sonia Edward Glenn, Christine Christensen, Robert Taylor, Beth Gentry, Chris Brown, Derek Sassman, Sean Burns, Thomas Rogers, Anne Whitten, Michael Kunzelman, Dennis Keithley, Robbie and Jillian Abney, Ashley Darling, Cindy Leichner, Robert Estrada, Vicki Sue, Doug Young, Gail Hartleroad, Ashley Norton, Adrian and Emily van Zuli, Maureen Cromer, Drew Curry, Shannon Merritt, CT Sweet Susie Cooper, Christopher Vorobeck, Karen Franke, our favorite, Josh Wilson, Dave Nell, Brett Gresham, Chad Swindle, Jim and Deb Mason. Jennifer Schwartz, Jessica fell, Chris Braga, Steve Elsis. Thank you to all of you. Some of you, I know there are no favorites. Brian, there are no favorites. There are no favorites. I know some of you have dropped off in support, but I wanted to thank everybody who had supported us financially. So thank you for supporting the show. And if you're interested, head over to patreon.com slash DCl duo it to learn more. Speaking about fabulous show sponsors, I want to bring in Karen and Kaylee from my path unwinding travel. Welcome. [00:02:50] Speaker A: Hello. [00:02:51] Speaker D: Thanks for having us. [00:02:53] Speaker B: Yeah, welcome, ladies. We're so excited. So, as Brian mentioned, Karen and many of you have seen her on our show before, heard her on our show before. She is the owner of my path unwinding travel advisor extraordinaire. She's running our DCl duo podcast cruise. I mean, she is the brains behind everything, my path unwinding travel. And then, of course, we have a wonderful travel advisor from my path unwinding. Some of you have also heard Kaylee on our show because she's been on it, too. And we met both Karen and Kaylee on our first time sailing concierge out of the city of New Orleans. Actually, that was on the Disney wonder. Now only the Disney magic seems to be coming to New Orleans. But we're so happy to have you guys back on the show, and we're. [00:03:41] Speaker D: Really excited to be here. [00:03:43] Speaker B: Yeah. And we're really excited to do like a head to head matchup talking about Disney cruise line and Royal Caribbean. But before we get to make, I. [00:03:54] Speaker C: Want to make this show all about getting Sam psyched for her first royal Caribbean sailing, because I need her to go in with at least some good vibes. So maybe we sail it again for everyone out there. I do want to say we've been doing a lot of these compare contrast shows. I said this in a post earlier today. We still love Disney. All right. We're still hard Disney fans, but we love to bring you what else is out there so you know what you can do with your vacation dollars. So excited to start this royal Caribbean show. Sam, I cut you off. Keep going. [00:04:20] Speaker B: That's okay. So I was saying, I'm actually a little trepidacious, as Brian sort of seemed to mention about going on Royal Caribbean. But we wanted to bring on some experts to talk to us about the differences between Royal and Disney. And before we dive into that topic, we have to get Kaylee and Karen to tell us a little bit about their cruising background. Of course, as I mentioned, we've had them on the show before, but I think it would be great for our audience to have sort of an update of what cruise lines have they been on so that people can understand what experience they have personally. And then, of course, they obviously book cruises for their customers or for clients on both of these cruise lines a lot. So, Karen, why don't we start with you? [00:05:10] Speaker A: Sure thing. Thank you. So I always like to say that Disney is at the heart of my path. Unwinding travel. If people pay attention, they'll understand the reference to where our agency name has come from. But we get Disney travelers, and we help Disney travelers put their toes in the water into new experiences. So while I have been on at least 15 Disney cruises now, on all the ships, I have also sailed on norwegian cruise line, which was actually my very first cruise on my honeymoon. Royal Caribbean celebrity princess, Virgin Holland America. Think that might cover carnival years ago? I'll have to admit that I sailed on Carnival. [00:06:03] Speaker B: And you've done river cruises as well, right? [00:06:07] Speaker A: And yes, I've sailed on Ama waterways for river cruising. I'm about to go to a river cruise expo and tour about ten different ships and sail on some new ones. So, yeah, a pretty good depth of cruise experience. [00:06:19] Speaker B: Awesome. Kaylee, why don't you tell folks where you have sailed and what you book as well? [00:06:23] Speaker D: Sure. So my family has been sailing with Disney Cruise line for about ten years now, and we're platinum castaway club members, and we've also been on all ships. My husband and I sailed on Royal Caribbean for our very first cruise. It was our honeymoon many years ago, and we've also been on Celebrity many years ago. And recently we sailed on virgin. Had a great time. We're rebooked for that for later this year. And recently we did Royal with the mypath unwinding travel group cruise. Yeah, and I've also done some river cruising. I've been on Ama waterways as. [00:07:04] Speaker B: So let's dive in with that. So you all sailed? I know it was this past November, on the allure of the seas on Royal Caribbean. Why did you choose that ship, and why did you choose Royal Caribbean in particular, Karen, for that group cruise, for the travel agency? [00:07:25] Speaker A: Great question. So we have a lot of crossover between Royal Caribbean, and we see a lot of folks that sail on Disney and are thinking, well, maybe I should try something different. Maybe there'll be a better value on a different cruise line. And then there's Royal Caribbean cruisers that are also looking for maybe a different experience, and I think they're probably their closest competitors. And we chose the allure in November because it was the first time that the Oasis class ships were sailing on three and four night itineraries. So it was a great opportunity to bring in all of our Disney clients to say, hey, this is a time where you can try one of the newer class of Royal Caribbean ships just for four nights, because before you had to commit to seven. Good call. So we really wanted to bring in. And the vast majority of the people that came on the group with us were new to Royal Caribbean and had been really kind know, loyal Disney cruisers. And we're ready to give it a try with me and Kaylee and some of our other advisors there by their side telling them that it's going to be okay. [00:08:43] Speaker D: It was easier to dip their toes in in the comfort of a Disney group of people that they knew had. [00:08:49] Speaker A: That shared interest for to. [00:08:53] Speaker C: I don't want to rabbit hole in the price point just yet. I do want to ask, though. Royal has a very expansive fleet, and my sense is when people think they can get a deal on a cruise, it might be on kind of an older ship doing a shorter itinerary versus some of the newer ships. Can you talk a little bit about Royal's differentiation in kind of ship sizes and classes and also their approach to upkeep and maintenance on some of their ships? Just some of the older ships. Do they look older or are they like Disney, where they're being refreshed quite often? [00:09:28] Speaker A: Royal Caribbean had a amplification of many of their ships over the last few years. So some of their old ships have sort of what Disney would have called a reimagining. They did some similar things where they added some water features or updated some of their restaurants. There is literally, I should have pulled it out a whole what, Kayleigh? Like a 200 page spiral travel advisor guide that we have with all the different ship classes and distinctions. And it is a lot to keep up with because their fleet is so much bigger. They just celebrated their 50th anniversary as a cruise line, and they don't have, some of the original ship that I sailed on isn't still there, but they do have a ship that's around the same. Some ships that are probably around the same age as the magic. And I feel like with the reimagining, they have done a good job. It's not like you're feeling like you're walking into this old motel six ship. They do keep them refreshed and updated, maybe not quite to the same particularness that Disney would. [00:10:48] Speaker C: Yeah, my sense too is that I've heard, and maybe I'm thinking about a different cruise line. They don't emphasize stateroom upgrades very often. They're really looking for public space upgrades. So we've heard from folks who've sailed on some of the older ships who'd say, you know, the stateroom looks like the, I won't say original stateroom, but older stateroom. Is that your sense to Karen, that they spend most of their investment in the public spaces and not in the staterooms. [00:11:11] Speaker A: I think it's varied from ship to ship. But yes, I think in general that might be the case for the older ships. The rooms might feel a little more. Know. When you had Margaret and Sarah on talking about the icon of the seas recently, I think they talked about how great the showers are on the new icon of the, you know, that's just something that everybody's raving about. So obviously, the older ships still have kind of the smaller, the smaller bathrooms, the tighter quarters, and might have some more of the dated colors and theming and things like that. [00:11:51] Speaker B: Yeah. Now, Kaylee, why don't we talk about demographics like who sails on royal versus who sails on Disney? Are they the same cruiser? Are they Disney cruise line mean? My expectation is they're not that different. [00:12:09] Speaker D: But they're pretty similar. That's my feeling and that's my experience as well, is they're pretty similar. It's a lot of families. It's a lot of people who are looking for fun things for the kids to do and know sort of thrill activities or the rock climbing wall or the bumper cars or know, extreme slides or things like that. As Karen said, on our group cruise, it was a bunch know, sort of Disney friends and family, and it was a lot of empty nesters and adults with no. So I would say it's pretty comparable in my. [00:12:47] Speaker A: Do see, we do see a lot of know older adults that are very, they say, loyal to Royal, and they're extremely loyal to royal because there are some kind of earlier or lower entry points on Royal Caribbean. We do sometimes see maybe more honeymooners or groups of younger professionals traveling without kids, early married or singles. It's definitely not a single cruise in that way. [00:13:19] Speaker B: Right. [00:13:22] Speaker D: I would say length of itinerary and where the ship is going also plays a big role. A three or four night is going to have a different demographic than a longer sailing, for sure. That makes a big difference. [00:13:34] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:13:35] Speaker C: Let's talk about one place where I know Royal. Well, there's lots of places where I know royal differs, but one place they differ up front is you can book a Royal Caribbean cruise out until like 2025 easily. Maybe even some 2026 I haven't looked recently. [00:13:49] Speaker A: They just released some 2026 long Caribbean. Not everything is out yet, but through April or May 2026, we have most of the fleet out. Definitely. They release it in kind of different segments, but you definitely book well in advance and somewhat quietly. [00:14:12] Speaker D: There's not really the same splashy announcement of the releases as the way there is with Disney Cruise line? [00:14:19] Speaker C: Well, they don't have the rope drop culture and they don't have the tiered booking process and all of that sort of stuff. So that's a difference for Disney cruisers is you can actually book a sailing more than what are we up to now? Just spring of 2025? [00:14:36] Speaker A: We're still waiting for, we're basically down. [00:14:39] Speaker C: To like twelve months of availability at this point. [00:14:43] Speaker B: It's a little bit more, it's like 14 months right now that we've got of, of Disney Cruise line. [00:14:47] Speaker C: Don't get too far ahead of yourself. Disney, 14 whole months. Well, so another thing that I think royal differentiates on is staterooms. And I think they've got a lot more and different types of staterooms on some of the ships. I don't know. Karen Kelly, what do you think about the stateroom offerings on royal? My sense is there's a lot to choose from on some of these ships. [00:15:08] Speaker D: There is a lot to choose from. And it is staggering to try to figure out all of the categories. I mean, obviously there are the general categories inside Ocean view veranda suite, I guess, but within those categories there are many, many tiers. I guess Karen could probably speak to that a little. [00:15:30] Speaker A: Know you're right on there, Kaylee. And what's interesting about Royal Caribbean is that their room categories are specific to occupancy. And so if you are searching for a cruise for three, they will not show you rooms that are just for two, even though obviously, or vice versa. If you're looking for two, they will not show you a room that could hold three and you cannot book it. So it can be frustrating when you're searching and you're saying, well, I can see this one room but not the other. Why not? Or why can't I get connecting? It's because they're very specific in how they manage their room inventory and their occupancies. So the other, I think difference is it's changing some with some of the newer ships. But royal has much fewer connecting rooms than Disney and many of the older ships do not have any rooms for five. The newer ships do, but they're, you know, where Disney has a large proportion of their inventory can accommodate a family of five. It's not true for Royal Caribbean. [00:16:42] Speaker B: Right. So then you're booking, you have to book two rooms and hope that you get rooms that are adjoining or at least rooms that are next door to each other. I guess you can try and book rooms next to each other. [00:16:54] Speaker C: And I have to put up on screen another key difference to Royal Caribbean, which is if you are not a family that needs to sleep together, you can get the bed split. This room, what does this room hold, Karen? I'm assuming it holds three with the pull out. [00:17:08] Speaker A: I think that is a triple. Yes. And so that couch does convert just to a single. And there is not a drop down bunk in that room. So not every Royal Caribbean room has the drop down. And that bed is convertible. So you can indicate that on your reservation or tell your cabin attendant, your stateroom attendant when you get there, that little tiny nightstand in between the beds can be removed and then they make it up as one large bed, if you prefer. Or you can have that little space in between and have it separated. That is true on almost all of the rooms, except some of the suites have beds that do not separate. [00:17:51] Speaker B: Yeah. I think this is a nice feature for adults who sail without a spouse. Right. So there's one thing on Disney, those beds, they're stuck together. There's not two beds, there's one bed. And so if you are, let's say, adult brother and sister or adult friends, not a couple or adult child and adult parent. Right. You might not want to be kicked in the middle of the night. This is kind of a nice option. That doesn't exist on Disney. On Disney, if you're only two in the cabin, you will have another bed and that you can be on the. The couch bed that sort of folds sideways. That's a nice option. I will tell you that pull down bunk bed is not meant for adults. I slept up there one night, one time just to try it, and it's short and it's like a foam mattress thing. It's not like a real mattress. It's fine for Nathan at ten years old, but not for me. [00:18:52] Speaker C: I will say the only thing that drives me crazy about these beds is the rounded bottom, because when they're split up like this, when Nathan and I sailed, they're split up like this. And it feels like I've got a full bed on half the bed and like a partially full bed on the other. [00:19:06] Speaker D: Beds are weird. [00:19:09] Speaker B: It's a little weird looking, but from a practical sense, for two adults who aren't married, it's probably a nice thing. [00:19:16] Speaker C: So CT wants to know what the charging ports look like across the various brands and class of ship. I think that's probably going to be pretty hard to answer for Royal, given the number of ship classes that they have. I can kind of see here there's definitely some USB ports happening on that lamp right there, but I don't know. Karen Haley, if you had any feedback on the number of abilities to charge electronic items in the state, it's not. [00:19:37] Speaker B: Uniform on Disney either. By the way, on the older ships, if you've got a room that's been updated, you might have some USB plug in ports, but otherwise you're just going to have regular plugs, whereas on the wish, for example, there's like USB ports everywhere. [00:19:55] Speaker D: We were in the owner's panoramic suite, which is a star class suite when we were on allure, and there were literally two outlets in our entire suite, and one was in the guest bathroom and one was in the regular bathroom. It was very frustrating, and I felt like the room that we were in actually used to be the pinnacle lounge for repeat cruisers with Royal, and it was in the last reamplification, it was changed to a suite. So the entire aesthetic of my room was very different than any of the other suites that I saw with anyone near us. And I thought that was a real oversight in my room, that there were only two crazy, you know, in Disney, I used to bring one of the USB with the multiple chargers, and if I had had that, it would have been great. But we were taking turns with phones and electronics and it was frustrating. [00:20:49] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:20:49] Speaker C: All right, I have to show this comment. Linda is saying, been on three cruises and have yet to be the adult to get the big bed. So there you go. And then on a more serious note here, who is asking? So the different classes of staterooms on royal. So if you're a Disney fan and you're used to sailing in those family, they hold up to five. What kind of staterooms should people be looking out for on royal? [00:21:14] Speaker A: So I think it's really going to depend on who is traveling with you. One thing that's really important to note is that I like to say that the junior suites on royal are the closest equivalent to the deluxe family verandas on the Disney cruise line. So, because if you look at the size of the staterooms, most of the royal staterooms are smaller in general than those on Disney. So if you're looking for that size, then you probably need a junior suite. But it's going to depend again on the ship because now there's some new oversized balcony categories and there's even, like, oversized inside rooms. They have so many different categories that we really just kind of need to dive in for each situation and figure out what makes the most sense. [00:22:17] Speaker C: Well, an icon and star it seems like Royal got the memo from Disney because on icon and star, they're starting to put these family style suites in. And I don't mean that, like crazy grand family suite that they have the ultimate family suite, but they've got some that have like, two bunk beds and then a space for the parents to sleep and like, bunk beds, meaning like permanent bunk beds, like a little room, or they had one that was like. It has a little tv room where the couch converts into a bed that can hold two kids. So it seems like they're starting to learn a little bit here on the newer ships. Is that fair? [00:22:50] Speaker A: They're slow to learn. As a travel advisor, it's very frustrating that they created this great surfside family suite with what you just described. A little nook was for the kids, and then they had to go back after everybody booked when they launched the icon, they have to go back and warn everybody that that sofa bed really only can sleep like two little kids and not regular size kids. Yeah, they actually sent an email to warn everybody that it's not very large and they still don't have enough rooms for five and their rooms for four, especially in suites. A lot of the suites have a double sofa bed, and that's how they expect to sleep like the two kids. And so it's kind of like, I mean, they're pretty nice the way they come out. It's like two twins, but they're still together. A lot of families just don't want that. So I still think that's a little bit of a warning for some of our families, we always like to ask about betting, because for some families, that can be a deal breaker. [00:24:06] Speaker D: Yeah, absolutely. [00:24:07] Speaker C: All right, one last question on staterooms. Then we got to start talking about some other areas of the ship, because on royal, I don't think you spend much time in your stateroom, or at least that's what they're going for. Any split bathrooms on royal? I think I saw someone icon, but any split, it's probably not the norm. [00:24:20] Speaker A: But yeah, I think, no, it is not the norm. Unless there's a couple of suite configurations that have some interesting bathroom setups, but not really in the same way that Disney has know, Disney almost has a patent on. [00:24:43] Speaker C: And one more comment here. Chris is saying he stayed in the family infinite ocean view balcony on icon, and while great in concept, there was not enough space in the second bathroom. And he also mentioned that the closet space is the same for six people or two people or four people. Yes. That's a good pointer, let's move on to stuff you do on the ship. But I want to start with someone asked us a question about what it's like booking in advance. Right. Booking the activities and stuff, because on Disney, again, you got that rope drop culture. Everyone up at midnight, they're going to secured booking. Yeah. They're going to get their cabanas on sort of stuff. And so what is it like on Royal Caribbean to book the stuff in advance of your cruise? And frankly, what do you need to book that you might not have to think about on a Disney cruise? [00:25:28] Speaker D: It is very similar to the release of the sailings, where things just sort of randomly appear in the cruise planner and you sort of have to be checking and logging in every few days as you get closer and closer to your cruise. We found that when we were planning as a group and we were chatting amongst our group often, and if somebody happened upon something that showed up in cruise planner, then everybody sort of scurried to get that booked if it was something that they wanted. [00:25:59] Speaker B: Yeah. Now, do you book, like, shows in advance? I know one thing you can book is specialty dining. But are there shows or other things that are not, let's say, port excursions? Because obviously port excursions on whatever cruise line you're booking, you have to book in mean, you might be able to book on board, but in general, you have to book in advance. But are there other things that you do book in advance on royal that you wouldn't? Maybe on Disney you do book all. [00:26:28] Speaker D: The shows and it's the same sort of concept where things do sell out online and relatively quickly, but there is inventory for those things available once you board. So the panic that you might feel when something is sold out is not necessarily, it's not for the, for the shows, it's just the seat that you're reserving. There's generally not a cost for all of them. [00:26:53] Speaker A: Right. [00:26:55] Speaker D: And then specialty dining and like you said, spa or port adventures. If you're going to perfect day at Cococay, then obviously cabanas, if that's on your radar, would be a big one to keep an eye out for. [00:27:10] Speaker C: Yeah. And water park tickets. If you want to go to the water park at Cococay, which is a huge part of it, want to go there, that's extra. Let's talk about something that you don't have to book on Disney, but that people talk a lot about. Drink packages on royal, I'll say that I went on, Sam messaged me the other day and she says the drink packages are 30% off. Go check it out. And so I was like, all right. [00:27:31] Speaker B: I did tell him because I saw it in our Facebook group, which, by the way, we have a Facebook group for the royal sailing we're doing in April. It's like cricket. Cricket. It's not like the Disney Facebook groups where people are constantly asking questions and posting about things and doing movie brackets that Kaylee does in her Facebook groups and things like that. So it's completely different. But I did notice somebody posted, there was a single post the other day and it was packages. [00:28:01] Speaker C: And what's interesting about royal, right, is, and I think you said this is, you can start booking stuff as soon as you book the cruise. Like if it's out there and it's available and they kind of dribble it out and new stuff becomes available and you can just kind of book things as you go. You pay for it at the time you book it, which is very different than Disney Cruise line, but you can cancel it and rebook it at a lower price. They're constantly doing. Just when Sam said the drink package had gone on sale, it was a better deal than what we had booked it originally. But for drinks specifically, I want to talk about this for a second because unlike Disney, there's no free soda on board, even in Maine is, I think we were talking off air. There is some know, like water and things like. [00:28:47] Speaker B: About to know about the iced tea availability because that's what I drink. [00:28:52] Speaker C: Fill your Stanley in the sink in the stateroom, Sam. [00:28:57] Speaker B: First of all, I don't have a Stanley. And for those who don't know me any better, this is my favorite drink of choice is topo chico. But that's not on board any cruise line as far as I know. And so yeah, I drink iced tea outside of fizzy water and water. I drink iced tea. All the. [00:29:19] Speaker C: DCL duo fans, you know, we get the question all the time. Should I use a travel agent to book my next Disney cruise or should I just book with Disney directly? And I'm going to tell you, if you have that question in the back of your mind right now, you should stop what you're doing and head over to mypathunwinding.com slash dclduo. The folks over at my path unwinding provide an amazing service. They are so knowledgeable and so friendly. We rely on them ourselves to book our family vacations and they provide an amazing service. And the best part is you don't pay anything extra for it. Disney, other tour providers and other cruise lines have built the cost of their commission into their pricing. So if you're booking directly, you are just paying that money back to the provider when you could be spending it on the kind of service you would get. From mypath unwinding travel. You've heard from their agents on our show. They are so knowledgeable, so giving of their time. They know so much about Disney, cruise line, sailing, concierge, other cruise lines, other all inclusive vacations and adventures by Disney that if you have a vacation in mind, they are the ones to book it for you. So again, head over to mypathunwinding.com slash dclduo so they know we sent you their way. Thanks mypath unwinding for sponsoring the show. And with that, back to our episode. So you can buy various levels of drink package. I keep trying to come to this and sam keeps taking me off topic. You can buy various levels of drink package. So you can get a soda only. You can buy water. You can buy. I think it was like non alcoholic drinks in the alcoholic beverage package. But I went online, I priced these out, and the reason I want to talk about this for a second is 30% off for two adults for seven nights. For the all inclusive drink package was like $1,400. And that was 30% off, right? [00:30:57] Speaker B: Crazy. When Brian told me that, I was like, there's no way I'm drinking $1,400 or $700 worth of liquor. [00:31:04] Speaker D: It's also worth mentioning that everyone in the stateroom has to have the same drink package for every adult wants the drink package that has the alcohol included. Then everyone in the stateroom is getting the. [00:31:18] Speaker C: So I immediately went online. I was like, what is the average cost of a Drink on Royal? And beer was like six to $8, which struck me as like, not going out to a bar. You're going to pay six to $8. And it was like the most for like 14, $15 a drink, I think they were saying. And so I was like, all right, well, let's just say I drink the most expensive drinks every day of this cruise. It was like six to eight drinks. I was trying to factor in the tip because the tip is included in the drink package, but I was like, it's like six ish drinks a day of top shelf cocktails. And so I was trying to figure out, is it just not a good deal? Who is this for? [00:31:55] Speaker A: I think it really depends on the person. Some people, it's not going to be worth it. Some people would rather have it all be prepaid and know that it's fair point. That's done. [00:32:10] Speaker D: I'd rather pay more than I would pay out of pocket just to have it feel all inclusive and not have to look at that every time. [00:32:17] Speaker A: And remember, it also includes your smoothies and your Starbucks and your bottled water, which maybe that's not the most environmentally friendly thing, but you can get tons and tons of bottled water throughout. It works on the islands, your beverage package. So when you're on cococay or Labadee, your beverage package applies out there. So I would say it's. I don't know. I don't know the official numbers for royal as to how many guests actually purchase it. I think for our clients, I would say more than half, maybe 60%, two thirds or so end up getting the beverage packages just for the convenience. And when you're at sea all day, a lot of beverages can be consumed. It just makes it easier. It just makes it easier. But on the other hand, you can be more strict with your budget and not get it. And that helps keep the cost down. [00:33:21] Speaker C: Yeah. Sam, for your benefit, Chris is saying iced tea, he found iced tea included, but after 11:00 a.m. So there you go. It's taken care of potentially. [00:33:28] Speaker B: But I want it at like 08:00 a.m. [00:33:31] Speaker C: Brew your own, bring your son's, get. [00:33:32] Speaker D: It the day before. [00:33:35] Speaker B: And get a cup of ice. [00:33:37] Speaker C: Yeah. Chris is also saying, I guess he shared a room with two of his friends. He was able to get them to just let them get the soda package. I would suspect that royal would accommodate something if, for instance, you called up and you said, I'm a recovering alcoholic, my wife wants a drink package, I don't want it. Right kind of thing. [00:33:56] Speaker A: Sometimes they'll make exceptions. I feel like they've been tightening up on that. The official policy is kind of, we always have to say, here's the official policy, and then we can advocate for a change to that policy or an exception, but you can't count on it. We should also point out that if you're star class, which maybe we'll touch on, star class does include the ultimate beverage package for everybody, but not sky class. [00:34:24] Speaker B: Right. So as I understand. Tell me if I'm understanding this correct. So, Disney, we have one concierge class. Everybody who's in concierge, you might be in a royal suite, you might be in just a veranda, but you're all equal as far as food and wine goes in the dining rooms and the bars. Obviously, there's exceptions for what you can get served in your room. But on Royal, you've got two classes of concierge, essentially. You've got sky class and star class. Is that right? [00:34:55] Speaker D: They're actually three. They're c class as well. So it know the sea and then the sky and then the. [00:35:03] Speaker B: Literally never. That never occurred to me, Kaylee, so I'm so glad. [00:35:07] Speaker C: As opposed to the silver, sky and star, the silver, the gold, the platinum pearl. [00:35:14] Speaker B: No, because that's castaway club. That's different. [00:35:18] Speaker A: But really, we can easily ignore c because c is for junior suites and it has minimal benefit. [00:35:26] Speaker B: It's just a room difference. [00:35:29] Speaker D: It includes coastal kitchen, which is the sweet restaurant, but other than that, but. [00:35:35] Speaker A: Not, well, true unlimited. It's kind of like we might give you coastal kitchen if it's dinner only, so you can't really count on it. But both sky and star have access to the concierge lounge and to coastal kitchen, which is a private suite dining room that is open to all concierge guests, including kids, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And there is a concierge lounge that has a coffee machine and has an open bar during the evening and that sort of thing. And then there's priority access to shows, priority seating, priority reservations, priority boarding, some different benefits along those lines. And then when you get to star, in addition to what we just mentioned, it is truly all inclusive with all of your beverages and all specialty diving and a personal genie. [00:36:37] Speaker B: That's like your butler thing. [00:36:39] Speaker A: Yeah, exactly. [00:36:41] Speaker B: That sounds pretty amazing. [00:36:44] Speaker C: So I want to talk about stuff to do on board, because royal ships are usually chocked full of stuff to do on board water parks. They have the zipline ish kind of thing out on the icon. What should people expect? I don't think Royal has go karts. I think Norwegian has go karts. [00:37:01] Speaker A: I'm not sure royal does have some bumper cars. Burton ships. [00:37:07] Speaker C: What should folks expect if they're booking? Let's talk about kind of not just icon, but kind of the Oasis icon class of ships, because I think that's where people are probably looking to book primarily. What should they expect in terms of things to get up to on board? Is it more than what you would see on disney, or is it just different? [00:37:25] Speaker D: Yes, that's a good answer, Kaylee. [00:37:29] Speaker A: That's right. More and different. [00:37:32] Speaker D: It's more. And know, my husband and I were chatting about this earlier tonight before the show, and there is truly something for anyone to do on a royal ship sort of almost at any hour from, like, we were talking about the extreme things like rope climbing. [00:37:48] Speaker A: I'm sorry. [00:37:49] Speaker D: Rock wall climbing and ziplining and the bumper cars to the carousel and the ice cream shops and the aqua shows. I mean, there just is always something going on. We had not been on Royal in a long time and we were on a class of ship that is, I think, no longer in existence. And it felt when we were on allure, which is Oasis class, like, we were in, like, it was just like we were sort of walking around with stars in our eyes the whole time. [00:38:19] Speaker C: Well, one thing I know Sam's going to be excited about. No. [00:38:25] Speaker B: We got crazy karaoke on Disney. We've got spotlight karaoke Royal. [00:38:29] Speaker C: But wait a second. I saw on the royal ship that we were on, they had live band karaoke. [00:38:36] Speaker A: There's really live band karaoke is absolutely the best. And the thing about that karaoke spot is that it's a dedicated karaoke lounge. [00:38:49] Speaker B: Oh, it's always karaoke all the time. [00:38:51] Speaker A: Always karaoke. Now, they might. They might also have, like, a trivia. Like, I think I remember Harvard earlier in the day. Trivia in it earlier. But it's like every night is karaoke night for hours in a karaoke lounge. So you have then, I mean, I'm just thinking back, Kaylee, remember how we all went and sat and listened to some live know. It's like you can kind of like lounge hop. You can go listen to some live jazz and then you can go down to the english pub and listen to the guitarist singing songs and ballads, and then you can go kind of more. [00:39:31] Speaker D: You can go dancing. It's really everything, literally. [00:39:36] Speaker A: I feel like in one night, I hopped from silent disco to the guitarist to the jazz thing. Seemed crazy. But all of that is happening. [00:39:48] Speaker B: So more stuff going on, it seems like at once, than maybe what's happening on Disney. One thing that a lot of people, I think, want to know and always ask about know, besides the soda and the drink package, are there things that are extra charge on royal? Right. So, yeah, Lauren asked this question, besides soda, what else do you have to pay for on royal that might be free or included or maybe doesn't exist on Disney Cruise line? I mean, I haven't been on royal yet. The three of you have. The one thing that's popping out in my mind, I know is the escape room. I know there is no escape room on Disney, and I'm super looking forward to doing the escape room on Royal on the allure, because Brian and I both love escape rooms. I know that's an extra cost. What are some of the other things that are extra cost on mean, we've got, like, specialty dining on, but. So that's an extra cost unless you're in the suite class, the highest level suite class. But, yeah. What are some other things? [00:40:51] Speaker A: Yeah, it's going to vary from ship to ship, but a lot of those kind of special activities do have an extra cost. And like you said, the escape room. [00:41:05] Speaker D: Or. [00:41:08] Speaker A: The I fly, like, skydiving kind of experience. [00:41:13] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:41:13] Speaker D: The flow rider. Rider is a cost, isn't it? Or is it just. [00:41:17] Speaker A: Flow rider has open times. Okay, there's open times for flow rider because I definitely remember when we were sailing with a whole group of teenage boys a few years ago. They could all kind of line up and watch each other. But I think you could pay for, like, private lesson on the flow rider, for example. [00:41:37] Speaker D: And then a private lesson is $70 per person. [00:41:44] Speaker A: There's a few special activities that you would pay extra for. One of the things, when you mentioned specialty dining that I think is a really important difference for families is that specialty dining for the vast majority are open to kids. And so you can take your kids to the italian or to the teppanyaki or to the house, take them to. [00:42:07] Speaker C: The chef's table because they had a price for kids for the chef's table. [00:42:10] Speaker A: I mean, I think it's rare, but you could. So some people might think that's a pro. Some people might think that's a con, but it is available, especially for people that want to experience the specialty dining on board but still have meals with their kids. [00:42:31] Speaker B: Yeah, that's a good point. [00:42:32] Speaker C: I know one activity that costs extra that we haven't talked about and is a huge difference between Disney Cruise line and Royal, which is the. [00:42:42] Speaker B: Highlight and arcade for kids. Right. [00:42:45] Speaker C: They're not in the same place. [00:42:47] Speaker B: I know, but it's the kids version of the casino. [00:42:52] Speaker C: So Chris actually pointed out a helpful thing, which is you can get free drinks in the casino at times, so there's a way around the drink package. [00:43:00] Speaker B: Yeah, but you know what that always means. It means the house is taking your money. [00:43:04] Speaker C: Well, sure, but I guess I found the casino on Indy to not be. When we were on celebrity, you had to walk through the casino to get to certain places on the ship. The independence of the seas. It was like, kind of in the basement. I mean, it was there, and it had a big sports bar and a bunch of stuff, and it was a place to go hang out. We did, but I didn't feel like I had to go to the casino to get anywhere on the ship. Is that true across kind of the oasis and icon class as well? [00:43:31] Speaker A: All of the newer ships are like that, where you really don't ever have to walk through. I remember that back in the day they kind of funneled you through and you were going through that smoky area, but now they're kind of lower level and you could completely avoid it if you want. And they have non smoking areas, which is great. They've done a much better job. They've improved that in terms of know, good separation from non smoking and. [00:44:03] Speaker D: Yeah, yeah. [00:44:04] Speaker C: Sam mentioned the arcade and I don't think we can do a compare contrast with royal without talking about kids spaces, kids activities, kids clubs. We talked about this a bit on the show we did last week and sort of some of the differences. But as you think about talking to a family that's going to sail with their kids, what advice do you have for them? If they've been on Disney previously and they've got those great kids clubs and it's drop off and all that sort of stuff, what do you tell them to think about as they come to Royal? Because I think there are some pretty key differences between the kids clubs, for instance, on board the two lines. [00:44:42] Speaker D: Yeah, I mean, there are a vast array of kids programming and opportunities across all ages. It's not going to compare to Disney. We'll just put it right out there. I will say for my family, the thing that was so magic about the Kids club for my daughter was that it really allowed her to sort of immerse in these stories that she knew and surround herself with these characters. And my husband and I went on allure, just the two of us, but we walked through the kids spaces and checked them all out and they're just sort of generic, like they were fun and colorful and there were kids having a good time. But I think that's the number one thing that's a huge difference, is you're not going to have that theming and that sort of immersive magic that many Disney families really love about the kids clubs. [00:45:34] Speaker A: And a counterpoint to that, though, and I think your guest on the other show did a really good job of talking about some of those differences, is that for some families it's a plus, that it's less stimulating and that the kids spaces are simpler and they might feel less chaotic because of that. So it's just going to really know based on what's important to your family. [00:46:00] Speaker B: Yeah. I think one thing that's really probably a plus for Royal is the way that they split up the kids in different age groups in sort of smaller bundles, right. Than Disney does. Disney has sort of this very wide age range for the now three to ten year olds. Used to be three to twelve year olds, and a three year old and a ten year old obviously have very little in common. So the kind of programming you do for those kids, they're offering the same for everyone on Disney, whereas on Royal, they're having more differentiation. I will say, to answer Patricia's question, my sister actually sailed on royal recently with two young children, a two year old and a four year old. They were at the time, actually one in three. So they were both in diapers. They were both in the nursery on Royal, and they actually thought that the nursery was fantastic on royal. So they had a really good experience, very attentive caregivers, and know sort of a small space, not like super themed, but really good programming, they felt. [00:46:57] Speaker C: And for those who may be listening after Patricia's question, which Sam mentioned was just, are royal ships good for sort of younger kids, and how do they compare? I. Okay, we got two, actually, three major categories of things still yet to cover. One is I want to talk about shows on board. And up until icon, I feel like royals shows were a lot of reviews and things like that. Although I think they had Broadway shows on the Oasis class ships, I noticed they had the wizard of Oz on the. Yeah, seem to have gotten the memo from, you know, just know musical reviews wasn't cutting it. How are you finding the entertainment on Royal today versus what Disney's offering? Is it on par or better or worse or close? Or close? [00:47:51] Speaker A: Yeah, I think we all might have some different perspectives on it. I love Disney's stage shows, but I don't need to see them every time anymore because I've seen them and I'm good, but I know that they're really high quality and if I go, I might cry. Royals entertainment, I think, varies. I think that their flagship Broadway show, like Mamma Mia, like Wizard of Oz, they do a fantastic job, and it's repeated a few times during the course of the cruise, so everybody gets a chance to see it. Their Aqua theater show is mind blowing. There's nothing like it at sea. It is mesmerizing. I could probably watch that twice in the same cruise, and I would always go back to see that every sailing, because even if it's the same show, it's just so incredibly fascinating to watch. But like you said, the other shows that they kind of fill in in the main theater, some of these variety type shows where they're trying to be innovative or creative, I think they're a lot of times a miss, and I don't bother to see them. Kaylee, did you see the ice skating show on the allure? [00:49:12] Speaker D: We did, yeah. We saw the ice skating show, and it was great. It was very entertaining. It was amazing to have an ice skating rink at sea. I was blown away by mamma mia. I thought it was incredible. Such an incredible production in every way. But it was two and a half hours. You can't compare the Disney shows that are 30, maybe 45. We didn't go to the sort of environmental show, whatever that was. But we were also blown away by the Aqua show. So the entertainment was incredible. We were very impressed. [00:49:46] Speaker C: So, wait, the production of Mamma Mia on board was two and a half hours? [00:49:52] Speaker B: Yes. It is the Broadway show, Brian. [00:49:58] Speaker A: There was an intermission. [00:50:00] Speaker B: You have to. For that length of show, it was. [00:50:02] Speaker D: Worth every single good. [00:50:06] Speaker A: It was amazing. I did cry at Mamma Mia. Also, it was beautiful, and the talent was excellent. [00:50:13] Speaker B: That was on allure, right? [00:50:15] Speaker A: On allure. [00:50:16] Speaker B: Okay, so I guess I have to go see Mamma mia. Because I wasn't telling you all, and I've said this on the podcast before, because we're going on the oasis in May, so we're going on allure and then oasis. I am not going to cats. Nobody is going to pay. You cannot pay me enough money to go see cats. Okay. [00:50:36] Speaker D: The nice thing about the Broadway, Karen mentioned that it is offered several times throughout the cruising, including, I think, at least one matinee. So there's like, a 02:00 showing of it, which is really nice, permitting that kind of time. [00:50:48] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:50:49] Speaker A: And I can't recall exactly which ship, but Greece is on one of. Oh, Greece is on harmony of the seas. I would probably sail on harmony just to see Greece. I think that would be really fun. [00:51:00] Speaker B: Agreed. [00:51:01] Speaker A: But also remember that there's a nightly comedian, and there's a specific theater just for the comedian. [00:51:11] Speaker D: Comedy club. A comedy club. [00:51:13] Speaker A: A comedy club. There's different venues for entertainment. I feel like they're more and varied because you can have on a night where there's, like, the Aqua theater show and the Broadway show kind of know. So there's know something. I don't feel like there was a night where it's like, oh, there's nothing to happen. [00:51:38] Speaker C: Well, and you mentioned Karen. I mean, there's venues like the nightlife on board Royal is more lively than anything I've seen on Disney, maybe with the exception of match your mate because that can get a little rowdy. But there's venues to go listen to live music, multiple live music venues, like lots of adult venues. The only thing I struggled with was the adult after hours stuff on Royal. While more than Disney, the kids clubs close at like 10:00 at night. So it's not like Disney where you can have the kids in the kids club until 02:00 in the morning while the adults are out watching the shows. You got to have someplace to either. Your kids have to be old enough that you feel comfortable kind of leaving in the stateroom or something like that. So that was the only place I kind of struggled, but dining, we got to talk dining. Royal does not have rotational dining. They have one massive main dining room, and then usually lots of venues throughout the ship that are a slight upcharge. I think we talked about upfront, like, you can buy a dining package that gives you not included entry into those venues. Chris pointed out that there are some venues on the pool deck that, unlike Disney, would be included on royal. They're an upcharge. Talk to us about how dining works on royal and kind of the breadth of the food offering. And frankly, how is main dining? That's a question we hear a lot. [00:53:03] Speaker A: So Ronald has. For their main dining option, they have three options in terms of when you eat, and that's kind of the same as Disney, where there's a main and a second, like early and late. And they have a third option that's called my time dining, which means every night you can show up at a different time and you might have a small wait to get seated. You might sit with a different family or have a different server, but you can be more flexible with your dining. So that's an interesting option. The main dining room. I feel like there's just opinions across the board and across the fleet in terms of the quality of the food in the main dining room. They have recently revamped the menus across the fleet to reduce the number of offerings in an effort to, I think, increase the quality and the speed at which everything is served. And you'll see a lot of different feedback on it. Some people are really happy and some people aren't. I think in general, if you were going to take a survey, I think most people would say Disney's main dining room food quality is better. But I got to give Royal Caribbean the edge on the escargot. [00:54:27] Speaker B: Just like Josh Wilson, actually. I love the. [00:54:32] Speaker C: What's the breadth of some of the specialties? I mean, they have chef's table. They've got the italian restaurant, a steakhouse, hibachi grill. Carnival is the one that has the relationship with Guy Fieri. Right. [00:54:44] Speaker A: They don't have royal does have Johnny Rockets, which is not really specialty dining, but it's an upcharge dining, so that's kind of more casual fun. They have what was the. [00:55:03] Speaker D: 150 Central Park? [00:55:05] Speaker A: 150 Central Park. I wanted to say 1900 park fair. [00:55:08] Speaker B: Park fair. It's not the grand Floridian. [00:55:14] Speaker A: 150 Central park is sort of like. I mean, it's not runny. It's not close to runny, but it's more of their, I would say their finest dining, kind of french flair on some of the ships, on the wonder of the seas. And I think on icon, there's the Mason jar, which is kind of southern. And one of the fun things that they're doing on the wonder and the icon is that they now have live music in these venues. So the mason jar has a bar and a restaurant, and they might have a fun country rock band playing. And then there's also. I haven't dined there yet, but there's wonderland on some of the ships, which is. That looks something that I really want to try that is kind of like that. Not every interactive dinner interactive and things are not exactly as they seem. [00:56:13] Speaker C: Is that the thing where they're projecting on the table and people are constructing your food? [00:56:21] Speaker B: We got one question from Kraus Mouse adventures asking about food allergies and how noting DCL is known for generally being very good with food allergies. Did you get any feedback from any clients, maybe on the cruise you all went on in November about how royal is with food allergies. Were they similarly very accommodating? [00:56:43] Speaker D: I don't know that I had any experience with that crew or that I have with my clients. [00:56:48] Speaker A: I mean, I feel like we know gluten questions. Like, Rob would say he's gluten fussy. I think he's gluten fussy. But the reason that Rob was able. That I recall Rob saying he was gluten fussy is because every time we sat down for a meal, they did ask if there were any know, I feel like there was the same level of attention to, you know, I feel like they have the allergens appropriately noted on the menus, and I feel like it would be just as safe as, you know, Disney obviously has this great reputation, but I think royal does a good job. [00:57:45] Speaker C: Yeah. And I want to echo something that Chris has said here in the comments. I think the buffet on royal is spectacular. They had so many choices to it, and I found the food to be pretty good. I mean, it compares to Disney's buffet in terms of quality, but the amount of choices that they had on that buffet I thought was crazy. I will say the venue is gigantic to house the buffet for this many people. [00:58:06] Speaker A: But also, I think you might have noticed not every ship has this, but on some of the ships, there's a second kind of healthier buffet, like in the solarium area. Like in the solarium has. So that's a less overwhelming, smaller amount of food. Right. [00:58:29] Speaker C: How important? So last topic I want to shift us to for a second is there's actually two topics here, but the last sort of generic topic I want to shift us to is perfect day. A lot of people say, if I'm going on a Disney cruise, man, it's got to stop at Castaway key, right? How important is perfect day, do you think, to the royal offering? I know they've got a new, that strip of land in Nassau they're talking about building a beach club on, but I don't think that that's anywhere near what it's going to be like, perfect day. But, yeah, talk to people about the big differences around perfect day versus castaway. And if you're going to take a royal cruise, is it like a must stop, or is it like, if it's there, it's a great option, but if it's not, don't worry about it. You're going to have a great time. And I should also mention that Labadee, which we're stopping at in April, seems to have some kind of royal sort of only presence. I don't know. So can you talk through the private island offerings? [00:59:24] Speaker A: I guess. [00:59:24] Speaker D: Perfect day is incredible. I was blown away. This was my first visit to perfect day, and as we were leading up to our cruise and I knew that multiple ships could be on the private island at the same day, I was sort of like, oh, no, this will be terrible. And granted, we spent the day over at the Cococay beach club, but it did not feel massively crowded at all. The offerings are everything from a relaxing day in a cabana over water to these insane slides that you see and the whole thrill water park. I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker if an itinerary doesn't go to perfect day, but you're going to be blown away if you do. [01:00:14] Speaker A: And the thing about copoque is that there really is something for everyone. You can just walk off the ship and find a beach chair and you're good. You can find a chair at the Oasis pool, which, know. That's what I said. Like, the largest pool on a cruise island that's included and has a swim up bar. Or now there's the new Hideaway beach club. That's an adult only beach club with another pool and kind of that party vibe with some incredible cabana options. Or you go to Cocoa Beach Club, which is higher end, incredible food offerings included. When you have entry to the Cocoa beach club and has the Overwater cabana options, there's food all over. Perfect day. There's a whole water park in perfect day. There are a couple of venues that have upgraded food offerings. Like, there's a whole restaurant that's just for, like, wings, but there's additional charge for that. [01:01:16] Speaker B: Wings. Love me some chicken wings. Come on. Don't laugh at me, man. [01:01:24] Speaker C: That is the show opener right there. Wings. [01:01:29] Speaker A: The fancy secret menu that I heard about is that they have, like, chicken tenders and cheese sticks and so fried mozzarella sticks, and so you can kind of get, like, a chicken parm sandwich because they'll put all of that together on a bun, and then you make, like, a chicken parm. [01:01:47] Speaker B: Oh, my God. You're speaking my love language, Karen. [01:01:52] Speaker D: It's kind of fun. [01:01:53] Speaker A: It's a little bit different than castaway, but this is the ultimate. With the Overwater cabana here, that prompted. [01:02:00] Speaker C: Yeah, I want to comment real quick on perfect day since Nathan and I went, and I just want to echo. There was so much to know. We didn't even see probably half of it. Certainly didn't see the adult only areas. We didn't even get into the Cocoa beach club. But the water park was amazing. Nathan loved it. Spent the morning there. Tickets are expensive. It's like $179 a person to get into the water park. [01:02:23] Speaker B: Well, it's seasonal, though, Brian. It's because of the. You were on a high season cruise. [01:02:30] Speaker C: Fair enough. We did the freshwater pool, which had a great swim up bar. And Nathan and his friends could. His friend could just kind of play around. We went to the beach, and they had, like, offshore platforms that you could kind of jump off into the. It was a jam packed day. It was a lot of fun. The key difference for me really remains at castaway, right? You pick your beach chair and you're there at Coco key or Cococay. I'm getting confused now. [01:02:54] Speaker B: Just say key. It's. Key is correct. [01:02:55] Speaker C: Perfect day. I felt like we were constantly kind of moving from space to space. A little bit. And so that was different. I don't know that I loved it. I don't know that I didn't like it. The buffet or, sorry, not the buffet. The barbecue was more expansive than what Disney has, too. So that was kind of a nice thing. I put the picture up of the overwater cabana because, Karen, you've been trying to convince us that Starclass is the way to go for a while now. Craig Morrell, who I know is out there watching, has been trying to convince me that Starclass is the way to go before we dive into kind of the overall vibe, know, value prop and all that. Sort of like, talk to folks a little bit more. We touched on it earlier in the show, but talk to folks a little bit more about the level of pampering you will get in star class. And if you are a current Disney cruise line sailor who likes to sail concierge, I'll just say I think for the money, you're getting a lot more on royal. But I want to hear whether you agree or not. [01:03:53] Speaker A: Karen, first of all, I have to say, this cabana can be yours with an inside cabin on. [01:04:01] Speaker C: True. [01:04:02] Speaker A: I mean, I think that is a key differentiator because it's open to everybody. It's not like you have to be concierge to book it first. And so if you want to know a splurge, you can pay minimal for your cabin and splurge on this experience. So it's not like on Disney where it feels like you have to be in concierge. Now, in order to experience the cabanas. The experience in Starclass is extremely unique. The inclusions we already touched on, the service is at a much higher level because at most, there's like ten or eleven star class suites on any ship. And each royal genie has, at most four staterooms. [01:04:49] Speaker B: Oh, wow. [01:04:49] Speaker A: To attend to. So they are literally your personal, your genie. I mean, I think Kaylee and I, we shared our same. I mean, Ramina just would pop up. She was everywhere. [01:05:06] Speaker D: She was magical. [01:05:07] Speaker A: She was know, not know. She just arranged all sorts of things. We talked about room service briefly. Know what you can get in a concierge experience on Disney with the happy hour? If you're in Starclass and your beverage package is included, you can have those espresso martinis delivered to your room and waiting for you after the show with your hot tub ready to go, which was Kaylee's experience. [01:05:37] Speaker D: I had to test it. [01:05:38] Speaker B: No, obviously for science. [01:05:40] Speaker C: Kaylee, way to take one for the team. Kaylee, way to take one for. [01:05:44] Speaker A: And Harvey and I asked to have french fries and champagne waiting for us when we came off at our hot tub. When we came off. Perfect day, because that's my idea of a perfect day, is french fries in the afternoon. [01:05:59] Speaker B: Truffle fries would make them even better. Karen. [01:06:03] Speaker D: Some of it, for me, did feel a little over the top. Like it was wild that you would come back at 02:00 in the afternoon to your room and your table would be covered with every type of finger food and appetizer you can imagine. Like things that maybe I didn't even want to eat. I mean, it was like guacamole chips and moltenao sticks. [01:06:25] Speaker A: And. [01:06:28] Speaker D: Personally, I would rather go to the lounge and get the food and pick out what I want. Because it felt very wasteful. That is the only part of it that felt. [01:06:37] Speaker C: I was going to say, not that you didn't want to eat, Kaylee, it's just that you didn't know you wanted to eat it. [01:06:45] Speaker A: It was kind of extra sometimes and not necessarily like, okay, we can hold off on this. We don't need it all. We were celebrating and it felt like, okay, the celebrations just got more and more. I think there's an important difference. Sky class on Royal, I think, is probably closest to what Disney offers in terms of concierge. And in that comparison, I think that for the most part, Disney concierge wins for, I think, two reasons that come to mind. The first and overall most important is the people, the relationship, and the connection that you make with the concierge team on board. Disney in the concierge lounge is much different than the more transactional role that the concierge people play on Royal Caribbean. [01:07:48] Speaker B: So when you don't have the genie, the genie is the personalized differentiator. But when you don't take out the genie from the equation, which is what you get in sky class, it is really a lesser experience. [01:07:59] Speaker D: There's a lounge and there are concierge crew that are there to assist with anything that you might need. But you're not going to develop the same kind of connection. [01:08:09] Speaker A: Right? I mean, it's possible that you could, but it's not going to be standard. Right. It feels more transactional, I think, is the best way of putting it. And because they have more folks to handle, and I think there's fewer of them, and it's just a little bit of a different role. The other differentiator, I think, is in planning, whereas concierge cruisers tend to be planners and they're looking at that 130 day mark and putting in their request for everything they want to do. And Royal does not have a shoreside concierge team to reach out to ahead of your cruise. So you're kind of like planning what you can through the cruise personalizer ahead of time. And then for those that are in sky class, they're going to reach out about seven days prior. And it worked out for our group that they were kind of starting to. [01:09:03] Speaker B: Get a little antsy, all these Disney planners. [01:09:07] Speaker A: Yeah, right. They still got everything they wanted in terms of showtimes. And I think for the most part, specialty dining and requests all got taken care of. But it just feels a little different because you're working with a team that's actually on the ship. So they are kind of dealing with two different roles at the same time. And so it's not that warm and fuzzy where you can call and talk to a really friendly person at Disney ahead of, you know, you're just doing it by email with. So I think those are the differentiators. I mean, we had a lot of guests that were in sky class that were really excited. And I think the value of know is so, you know, not everybody needs that warm and fuzzy. [01:09:54] Speaker C: Well, and a few things they offer in sky on Royal, they don't offer in concierge on Disney included high speed Internet, which we didn't even mention that. Yeah, because they have Starlink Internet on board those ships. So it's blazing fast. So what's interesting to me and then we'll move on is just, we booked a cruise in concierge on the fantasy for spring break this April, and I happened to go onto Royal Caribbean site. We're on the oasis of the sea. So it's not icon, it's not one of the newest. [01:10:27] Speaker B: Allure, not oasis, but no, we are. [01:10:30] Speaker C: On oasis for our spring break cruise. We're on allure for our Memorial Day cruise. We are, Sam. And so it was half the price. Half the price of Disney concierge to sail on royal in a similar stateroom. We were in like a one bedroom on the fantasy, and this was like a loft kind of suite situation on Royal. So fairly similar. And I was just like, how does that happen? Right? How does that like a. That seems like a huge miss in my book. And some of the things that they're offering in just sky class that you don't get on Disney at twice the price point is just mind boggling to me. But I guess with that, I want to segue us into a discussion around value for a second, I don't want to talk about cost. Cost is cost and people need to choose how they spend their dollar. But do you have a sense of. I don't think royal always beats Disney, especially with the icon and the new starship that's coming out. Right. But do you have a sense of how competitive is royal these days, as against Disney? And if folks are looking to get maybe a bit of a deal over a cruise, like where would you point them to? Which kind of ships and sailings should they be looking at? [01:11:42] Speaker D: I would say for my experience and my know, the thing that's appealing about Royal is it has a lower entry point. And we talked a little bit about this earlier and you hear there's a deal and there's special pricing. [01:11:57] Speaker B: Kids sail free. [01:11:58] Speaker D: That's great. Kids sail free. And there's all of this. But once you start adding in the things that might bring you up to what you're getting for a Disney cruise, it's not quite as easy of a decision. There's a lot more to consider. [01:12:12] Speaker C: Yeah, I think that's the point Tracy's sort of making. Like, you pay the base fare, but then you've got the add ons on Royal. So, like how close? [01:12:21] Speaker D: Like I said, I'd rather pay everything ahead of time, even if it's more than I might pay out of pocket just to have. Because that feels like vacation to me. That's the luxury of vacation to me, is to not have to worry about that. [01:12:34] Speaker C: So I say, I went through this process with this cruise in April, and we're still coming out way ahead of where we would be with Disney. So I don't want to paint the picture because I think there's, sometimes there's a picture of you book the base fare and then the add ons just get you right to where Disney Cruise line is. I think there are definitely situations where that happens, but I think there are also situations where that's not happening and kind of a much lower price point cruise, similar itinerary, similar length, lots more activities to do on board. I think that's the other thing to calculate in is there is just a lot more going on on these ships than what you're going to find on Disney. Sometimes I think. [01:13:11] Speaker A: There'S a little bit of a different vibe, right? I mean, on Disney, you're paying for that Disney affinity and you're paying for the opportunity to sell with Mickey and Minnie. And there's value in that to a lot of us. Even when I don't have my kids, I love just sitting on the deck and watching Minnie go. Know I love that and I will pay for know. There's, there's times where you say, ok, I want to try something new and know, want to extend my vacation dollar a little differently. And then there's times know Royal will be far more than Disney depending on what you're looking at. So it really is a case by case. But there are a lot more promotions that happen with Royal Caribbean. The kids sale know does not happen during peak times, but there's a lot of kids sale free dates. And there's also, besides just the various promotions, we have access to a lot of group rates with Royal that Disney just doesn't, can't, we don't get group rates for suites or know, sky class or star class, but for a lot of dates for balcony rooms or ocean view rooms, we can have group rates that are kind of these unadvertized specials, resident rates and senior citizen rates. And depending on what state you live in, there's a lot of different little ins and outs. [01:14:44] Speaker B: Yeah. Now there's one thing I have to mention, though. I can't wear my ears on board a Royal Caribbean ship where people are going to look at me funny. Are you kidding that out there? [01:14:55] Speaker C: Are you kidding? Because I wore my Disney cruise line swim shirts. [01:14:59] Speaker B: No, I'm not worried about wearing Disney. [01:15:01] Speaker D: Merch, but not ears. [01:15:03] Speaker B: Exactly. I will wear my Disney cruise line like swag and I'll wear my DCL duo swag, frankly. But I do think the ears are a step beyond, although I'm going to shout out to the Nortons because you know that Catherine would be wearing her ears wherever she goes. It does not matter. Yeah, absolutely. [01:15:20] Speaker C: So I want to quickly cover two more things. One is just, there's a question here about how does Royal Caribbean handle gratuities? I think much like Disney Cruise line, you can have them included. They, I don't remember them handing out envelopes or anything on board for gratuities like Disney does. But do you know how they handled if you don't get them included in. [01:15:40] Speaker A: Your, they, they do add them on board. There's not a little slips. In fact, one of my clients just was mentioning that to me today, that he misses that opportunity to have the little extra envelope. So instead was just considering doing some more in real time gratuities for certain situations. But it's similar in that it's prepaid or it'll get added to your onboard account if you don't choose to prepay it. [01:16:09] Speaker C: Yeah. Last question I want to sort of talk about for a second is just, we talked about kind of the entry point, the price point. I think the other place where royal gets a reputation is carnival especially. Right. It's a booze cruise. It's going to be all these crazy people, so much drinking. It's not going to be great for my family. Can you two speak to. My sense is it really depends on which ship, which departure port, length of cruise. There's a lot of factors that go into whether or not you're going to land yourself into, like, a booze cruise situation. So, like a three night out of Miami may end up being more like that than a seven night out of Port Canaveral. But do you have a sense about sort of the vibe on board? [01:16:50] Speaker D: It's definitely so situational. Like you said, depending on those factors, this recent cruise that we did on lore was a four night, which was a shorter one. I will say that we saw some things going on at the pool deck that I was like, not on Disney. There were maybe multiple smoking sections. I felt like there was always sort of smoke around. There's a different vibe. But again, this was a shorter sailing. It was like over a holiday weekend, I think. So people probably had a day off. And I think that it's so situational and hard to predict. [01:17:32] Speaker A: It's so interesting to me because we would go to the nightclub and I'd be like, oh, my goodness, I didn't realize there were all these partiers on board. Then you go to Central park and you feel like you're in a completely different space and it's so quiet and peaceful and you're like, nobody's on this ship at all. So I think that's one of the nice things about Royal, is there's so many different spaces. Spaces that you're going to find your places and it's not like you're going to be like, oh, my gosh, this is everywhere you turn are the polled answers and chugging content. I did run. [01:18:14] Speaker C: That's virgin, right? [01:18:16] Speaker A: I ran into the pole dancers on my first carnival cruise with my five year old daughter 20 years ago. [01:18:26] Speaker B: Well, on that note. [01:18:28] Speaker C: Yeah. Well, Karen, let folks know where they can find you and Kaylee if they want to talk to the real royal caribbean experts and book a fabulous cruise vacation. Rather royal or Disney. [01:18:40] Speaker D: Or Disney. [01:18:41] Speaker C: You name it. Yeah, they cover celebrity. [01:18:44] Speaker A: Disney is still our wait. We can't wait to meet so many of the listeners. And those patreons that you mentioned at the beginning of the show are going to be on the DCL duo podcast cruise. Really excited to meet everybody in person. So come join us there. That's where you'll find us on the June 19 DCL duo podcast cruise. We're at mypathonwinding.com. We are all over Facebook. What is it? It's mypathonwinding.com dcl duo. [01:19:24] Speaker C: You got it. [01:19:24] Speaker A: That's right. We have a landing page just for that. Just let us know that you listen to DCl duo and we just love having this connection with all of you. [01:19:34] Speaker C: Well, Kaylee, Karen, thank you so much for taking time. We were 20 minutes over tonight, folks. We try to keep it to an hour, but there was so much to cover. [01:19:44] Speaker B: Like a ton of questions. By the way, there's a ton of questions. [01:19:48] Speaker C: Maybe we'll find a way to get those answered in the group or offline. But thank you so much for taking time out of your evening to come share your expertise with us. We really, really appreciate it. Well, a big thank you to all of you out there for listening this week. We really, really appreciate it. Please be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you can keep getting great content from the DCL duo each week. We'd also love it if you'd head over to Apple podcasts and leave us a five star review. If you hit those five stars, that's great. If you leave us a written review along with a five star review, we will be sure to read it on the air at the end of one of our main episodes. If you're hovering over anything less than five stars, we really want you to reach out to us so we can take your feedback. Best way to do that? Head to dcl.com to find all the ways to connect with us. It links to our podcast, our vlog. Our blog has all the ways you can connect with us on social media, has our Etsy store where you can find our fun beach bags and magnets that we designed as enthusiasts of each of the Disney Cruise line ships. Has a link off to our Patreon if you'd like to help support the show. We really, truly appreciate each and every one of our patreons for helping to support the show. Each and every month has a link off to our show sponsor, my path unwinding, where you can get more information about booking a fabulous vacation, which also really helps to support our show. All the things are there, including a way you can sign up to be a guest on the show if you'd like to share your Disney Cruise line experience. Most importantly, you can always email us at [email protected] if you'd like to connect with us, or you can call our voicemail line if you'd like to leave us a message. We love to include the voices of our listeners in our show. Just dial 402-413-5590 that's 402-413-5590 and that will head straight to our Google Voice voicemail line. The DCL duo podcast is not affiliated with Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Company, or the Disney family of theme parks. The views expressed on the show are solely those of the individuals on the podcast and in no way reflect the views of the Disney Company or Disney Cruise line. If you have questions about a Disney Cruise or a Disney vacation, please contact Disney directly or your own travel agent or the great folks over at my path unwinding travel. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time for another fabulous Disney adventure with the DCL duo. Good night.

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