Differences between Disney Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line


Last year, my family went on a cruise during my son’s spring break on the Disney Magic.  This year, we decided to go on a Royal Caribbean cruise aboard the Brilliance of the Seas.

How to select a cruise

Our decisions for taking this cruise versus another Disney Cruise were as follows:

  • We reviewed the available cruises on both lines to see the possibilities for us a vacation for the next spring break.
  • We used the selections found in the Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Lines possibilities to see what new ports we might be able to experience.  The Royal Caribbean had some locations, such as Georgetown, Grand Cayman that we had not traveled to before.
  • The price was our final factor.  The prices found at Royal Caribbean were roughly half that found on the Disney Cruise Lines. We found that we would be paying twice at much with a Disney cruise and visiting the same locations we had already visited.

The differences to expect from Royal Caribbean versus Disney Cruise Lines:

  • When boarding, Disney Cruise Lines makes a big production when guests enter the ship.  They get on a loud speaker and make a formal announcement as you enter the ship stating, “Welcome the Henley family!”  When boarding the Royal Caribbean ship, we boarded on an area of the ship where they usually sell photographs made while onboard.  There was no formal introduction or entranceway.  Immediately after boarding on Royal Caribbean, guests were invited to purchase the beverage package. – Disney for the Win!
  • The entertainment onboard the Disney Cruise Lines is strictly made for families.  There might be a few shows that present a few jokes with adult humor, but mostly just the family entertainment.  On the Royal Caribbean cruise, the shows were very entertaining and were geared to both adults and children.  The shows included comedians, magicians and musical performers that awed the crowd.  We found the entertainment to be much more enjoyable on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. – Royal Caribbean for the Win!
    • The movies on the Disney Cruise Line were those that were currently running at the theaters.  We watched Star Wars: The Force Awakes while onboard.  Movies were presented in 3D, closed captioned or typical.  On the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, the movies were The Lego Movie, LaLa Land and Casablanca.  We were not as excited about the selection of movies available.  Also, the location for viewing the movies was much more exciting on the Disney Cruise Line where they offered sodas and popcorn during the viewing (at a price).  Disney for the Win!
  • When we boarded the Disney Cruise Line, we immediately found our way to a dining hall where we found a huge seafood selection.  When I say huge, I mean HUGE piles of shrimp, crab meat, etc.  When we boarded the Royal Caribbean ship, we instead headed to the Windjammer for a meal where we could not even find a table.  Disney for the Win!
  • The Disney Cruise Line offers a variety of restaurants for guests to get to experience on their rotating restaurant schedule.  The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line offered one restaurant which was included in the cruise costs. If you were to Check This Out, you’d know that they’d spared no expense on gearing up the ship. There were other restaurants available for other dining experiences but these were an additional fee.  We did not experience these restaurants as we felt we had already paid for a meal for each night and we would just eat that food.  Disney for the Win!
  • We found the overall ship maintenance was kept up better on the Disney Cruise ship.  Here are some examples of the some of the observations on the Royal Caribbean:

    Uncleaned Port Window

    Uncleaned Port Window


Scratches on Wall


















Overall, it might appear that we did not love our cruise on the Royal Caribbean.  However, we did rebook for next spring break.  While we did find some of the things on the Royal Caribbean to be of lesser quality than the Disney Cruise Line, we overall felt that Disney Cruise Lines is way overpriced.  Now, if someone else was paying for my vacation on a cruise, I would request Disney.  Being as that is not the case, I will take a Royal Caribbean Cruise.  What are your thoughts on this comparison?


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