Let me start out by saying I’ve never been on either so comments are welcomed. If you read my article Is a Disney cruise worth it? You know that I have been on a cruise and since my family fell in love with cruising we are planning another one. Now for the hard part, which one?
When you are planning any vacation you always start with when you can go. In our case we decided we wanted to go in the fall. Next, where do you want to go? While talking to my parents about cruising, they say it’s either about the ship you want to experience or the destination. We first talked about Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the seas, but in the end thought our destination was most important and we chose to go north instead of south this time.
So if any of you are like me you have been on multiple sites searching for the perfect price because let’s face it that is what every vacation really comes down to. Of course, we would have loved to go on another Disney cruise, but after researching this would have been a start out price of $5,274. While going back and forth between the two major cruise lines here are some things I considered. How do the prices compare? Do you have to pay extra for anything or have hidden fees? What do they have for my children to do and what shows are offered? I didn’t research much about the food because I figured that every cruise line has food and I’m trusting that it’s all good.
Here are my must haves while researching; at least 7 nights, out of New York area, from months September to December, and under $3,500. To answer my first question, how do the prices compare? Honestly, I didn’t see a huge difference between the two cruise lines to make me sway more towards one or the other. I did find a cheaper price by expanding the time I would like to travel. If I decided to take this trip at the very end of August with Royal Caribbean the cost would be $2, 258! No brainer right? Well let’s look at my next question, do I have to pay extra for anything?
Both cruise lines offer a drink package that does cost extra, but it’s optional. Another extra fee you may encounter are the specialty dining options, but again this is optional. You can find more information on dining here https://www.ncl.com/onboard-packages/dining-packages. Here’s how the drink packages compare; On Norwegian when you prepay at $89 per person per day times the number of days cruising plus 20% gratuity you will receive unlimited drinks throughout your cruise. If you are looking for just a soda package they offer that too for $7.50 per person per day times the number of days cruising plus 20% gratuity and $5.50 for a child’s pass, this includes a thermal mug to enjoy unlimited sodas on your cruise. I found that Royal Caribbean offers three drink packages, the deluxe beverage package, Refreshment package and the Classic soda package. Royal Caribbean did not post their prices for each package, but I do know that if you book your drink package before you board you do receive a discount. Just like any other cruise ship, Royal Caribbean also has specialty dining and you can learn more about their pricing here http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/experiencetypes/category.do?pagename=onboard_cat_dining_options.
My family does not drink enough soda to partake in any of the drink packages and with a picky eater in the family we are ok to not experience any specialty dining.
At this point in my research for our next family cruise I felt Royal Caribbean had the upper hand based on that wonderful priced cruise in August, but I needed to look at the most important aspect on the ship, the entertainment. Both cruise lines offer amazing entertainment, but one thing that perked my interest was how kid friendly one cruise line was over the other. It depends on the ship on what kind of entertainment or activities you will get. For example, on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas you get fun with bumper cars, indoor sky diving, a surfing simulator and even something that takes you in the air high above the ship called North Star. Norwegian has a ship that will be sailing this year called the Norwegian Bliss that has laser tag and a race car track!
Of course, there are many more things to consider when choosing a cruise, but I think what it may come down to for us is the destination at a great price. Who knows maybe when we go to book our next cruise we will find the perfect combination.