What Would You do--Suite on Carnival or Balcony on Royal Caribbean

Updated on September 30, 2015
V.T. asks from McKinney, TX
13 answers

I'm trying to plan a 3 day cruise for my 10th anniversary. For almost the same price we can get a Grand Suite on Carnival or a Balcony room on Royal Caribbean. I haven't been on either cruise line. Both have the attractions we are looking for, adult only pool, casino, and other activities. What would you prefer if you are 37 and 42. We like to enjoy good food and good drinks, but we don't necessarily want to be surrounded by drunken idiots. They both go to Nassau, but the Royal Caribbean also goes to their private island. What would you do and why?

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answers from Orlando on

We love to cruise and have been on both of these cruise lines. I always like a deal and tend to find those on carnival. But Royal is a nice experience too and a balcony is a must! You will love it! I like to order breakfast delivered in the morning and enjoy it on the balcony.
One precaution, if the seas/wind are too much on the day you are to go to Coco Cay(Royal's private island), they will not tender anyone to it and you will have to stay on the ship. I have never had that problem the 4 times I have been there, but I have known others that this has happened to.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Have you ever done any kind of cruise? I only ask because there seem to be two types of people in the world - those who love to cruise and those who hate it. I have to admit that I fall in the latter category. While I don't want to talk you out of something you have your heart set on, I will share why cruising was not for me:

1. Set dinner times (crazy!) and seated with a bunch of people you don't know (which can be fun, or not so fun, depending on the group).

2. We couldn't board until later the 1st day (I want to say like 3 or 4 p.m.) and had to disembark at like 8 a.m. on the last day. What a hassle. I feel like much of the trip was lost to this.

3. Getting on and off the ship at ports. Huge hassle. Think TSA at the airport kind of hassle.

4. Always looking at your watch. To board, to eat, to do a planned activity, to get back to the ship before it leaves for the next destination.

5. We had very bad weather during our cruise. While I didn't get sick, many folks did. If you haven't cruised, you may not know how seasickness affects you.

I am really not trying to be a downer, but these are things I wish someone had shared with me before my cruise. I probably still would have went, but perhaps with different expectations. That being said, many folks LOVE cruises!

To actually answer your question :) If I did ever get shang-hied into another cruise, I wouldn't do it unless we had a balcony. If that is an option for you, I would totally go for it!

Have fun and happy anniversary!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If you are going without kids, I would do the balcony on Royal Caribbean for sure. A suite is really nice to have, but if it's just the two of you, you'll be fine without the extra space. A balcony will be nice for eating breakfast or an afternoon snack or something if you want a little peace and quiet, with a view.

Also, Royal Caribbean is a nicer cruise line in general. You'll probably have a better overall experience. Their private island is probably gorgeous and will be much less crowded than wherever Carnival stops instead.

It wouldn't even be a choice for me if I was kid-free. royal Caribbean 100%

If you haven't already, take a look at www.cruisecritic.com for some really great message boards. You can find separate boards for each cruise line, destination, and even your exact sailing if you want to connect with people before you go.

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answers from Milwaukee on

So I have done 6 cruises in my lifetime - can't wait to plan the next one!! I have done it all - from sharing an inner cabin with 3 other high school students, to a mini-suite with balcony for me & husband.

The nice thing about having a balcony is that you can go out & get some private time & just BE... enjoy the ocean, watch a sunset, read a book... very peaceful, esp in the warmer waters.

What do you & your husband tend to do on vacation? If you go out & see some sights, & then come back to the hotel after dinner & hang out, or even order room services & dine-in, having the Grand Suite would be nice - more room to stretch out & have all the "comforts of home". But if you tend to use the room as a place to sleep, & maybe unwind a little infrequently, then it is really not a necessity. Rooms with balconies are already a bit bigger than interior cabins, so you won't be lacking for room to move around if you take a balcony room on either line. Also, length of cruise is important. 3-5 days is a non-issue, I can do tiny interior room for a short cruise. Stretch it out to 8-10, or more days, & then yeah, I want the extra room to feel comfortable.

As for Carnival vs. Royal Caribbean, I haven't been on either (I've done Disney, Norwegian & Holland America), but which cruise I took would depend on the destinations. If Royal Caribbean has an extra stop in the same amount of time, check the amount of time spent at each location. If you prefer "seeing the sights" & they reduce the amount of time in port @ other places to squeeze in their island, then take Carnival. If you have always dreamed of lounging on the beach in paradise, the private island would be right up your alley.

In regards to cost Doris Day mentioned, keep in mind that most (if not all) cruise lines are making tipping "easier" by charging a per-diem. This way, guests don't need to run around with envelopes of cash to hand to all their favorite service staff on the last day. But it also means budgeting for a bit more $$. If you have a really outstanding cabin staff or server, of course feel free to tip them above & beyond. Years ago, we paid for internet service, & it was charged in increments of time. We got permission to give the cards with unused time to our cabin staff so that they could email/skype/etc. with families without having to pay. So showing appreciation can be done in other ways as well.

Have fun, & safe sailing! T. :)

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answers from San Francisco on

Whether or not I wanted a balcony room would depend on 1) where I'm going; and 2) whether I'm going to want to sit outside. I would be thinking about whether or not there would be good views outside and what the weather is going to be like. It can get awful windy out there on the open sea! The private island sounds great.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I've never done a cruise. Don't plan to because I don't want to have to take seasickness meds the entire time. But people have talked about it here on MP a lot. You might want to do a search for it (yeah, the search function on MP stinks...)

One thing I do remember people talking about is the unhappy surprise of having to pay a per diem fee at the end of the trip. Maybe someone else can weigh in on this for you. Evidently they thought the price was all-inclusive, but it's not. Perhaps a mandatory tip? I don't remember... best to be forewarned...

By the way, I used Bomine when I did a one day snorkeling cruise on a yacht in Hawaii and before getting on a helicopter to see the volcanoes. (One the night before when I went to bed, and one an hour before getting on the boat/helicopter.) It worked great and didn't make me a sleepy zombie like Dramamine does. (I hate Dramamine.) I got the Bomine over-the-counter. People did tell me that the doctor could give me a patch, but I didn't get to the doctor before my trip, and didn't want to pay the huge doctor bill in Hawaii just to get a patch. Make sure you come prepared for motion sickness, even if you don't think it will happen to you...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I think most of the consumer-grade cruise lines are roughly about the same. I would opt for the suite on Carnival. That would be a really special experience and you wouldn't get the same space at all with a balcony room. I cruised on Carnival many years ago and worried it would be a bunch of drunks. There were certainly people who partied too much (but you'll find those on all the major lines), but if you avoided the club scene, you didn't have to hang out with them. We were still able to enjoy activities like shows and nice restaurants with the more sober crowd.

If you haven't already, check out the boards on Cruisecritic.com. You can learn more about each cruise line and the specific accommodations you're considering.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Depends what kind of person you are. Carnival's atmosphere is party-party-party. Royal Caribbean is fun, but not so much party vibe.

I wouldn't make the decision based on the room, because you won't spend much time there anyway.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I'd do Royal Caribbean because I want to say I ice skated on the ocean...plus they have rock climbing walls and other stuff that could be fun.


answers from Washington DC on

We have only been on a Carnival and had two balcony rooms with a connecting door - one room for the kids and one for us. We did NOT get a party atmosphere only from the ship at all....I think that is a misconception.

We honestly dislike Nassau and wouldn't go back. So if that is your only stop, I would go RC simply because it makes another stop. I also don't think I could cruise WITHOUT a balcony.



answers from Miami on

Hi V.,

I am guessing you are looking at ships going out of Miami? We've done both and my answer is not below - I would pick a longer cruise. If you have not cruised before, maybe the 3 day is long enough. We've done room with port hole and interior room. We found out that we spend most of our time either outside our room or in bed:) My husband actually likes interior rooms because they are very dark! We are 43 and 38.

The problem mentioned about being able to tender to Coco Cay usually happens in the winter. By April you are okay - Dec to Feb it is possible. Good luck!



answers from Atlanta on

I'd do Royal Carribbean. With two people, you don't need the space of a grand suite, plus, you don't spend much time in your room on a cruise anyway.


answers from Norfolk on

How much time are you planning on spending IN your room?
Most of the time it's just a place to sleep or change outfits.
I know people who claim (for them) that a balcony is a waste - they never use it - so why pay for it?

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