Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas vs. Disney Fantasy – A Cruise Comparison

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In 2014, the Hazelton family spent 7 nights aboard the Disney Fantasy during TouringPlans #Everywhere tour. This year the five of us boarded Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas for a 8-night Bahamas Cruise. Here is our comparison of the two.

First, some background. We have cruised with Disney Cruise Line five times and this was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We are Fred (44), Chantale (censored by the editor), Bram (17), Alec (15) and Matice (12) so we booked two inside staterooms just like we did in 2014. The Anthem of the Seas was fully booked on our cruise which left Cape Liberty on December 30. Much of the criticism that I have for the Anthem stems from the fact that the ship was full and the operations on board could not handle it. More on that later.

The boys always get a kick out of playing dress-up for evening meals

Two cruises within 4 years allowed us to do a thorough comparison of the kids areas on the ships. In 2014, on the Disney Fantasy our kids were 8, 11 and 14 so they checked out the Oceaneer Lab, Edge and Vibe, respectively.  I say “checked out” because the vast majority of their time was spent in other areas of the ship. However, they each participated in more than one activity in the kids area. On the Disney ships the kids areas are remarkable in scope, design and function. The Vibe on the Fantasy is outright the coolest place on the ship, in my opinion. Our oldest, Bram, shocked us on the second night by returning to the stateroom after 1:00 am. The kids at the Vibe filmed a zombie movie throughout the week that was presented on the Buena Vista Theatre’s big screen on the final day. Bram was quite proud for us to see his on-screen debut. Alec spent a little bit of time at the Edge, said he had a great time, then rarely went back. No doubt, the Edge is the weakest of the kids areas but still very nice. Matice took a while to warm up to the Oceaneer Lab but ended spending a lot of time there near the end of the cruise. All three boys relished the independence that came from exploring the ship. The ability to check out the kids club, go to the top deck for an ice cream, then see a movie in the theatre – all without having to check-in with parents – was the real treat.

Fast-forward four years and our family boards Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas with Matice (12), Alec (15) and Bram (17). All three were now too old for Anthem’s Adventure Ocean (11 and under) but we checked it out anyway. We even went to a Family Trivia event there on day 3. The Adventure Ocean clubs are colourful, full of activities and sufficient to entertain most kids. There are no windows or outside areas however which makes it feel a little claustrophobic. We noticed that a lot of the activities scheduled for these ages include scavenger hunts and trips to the snack bar to counter-act the lack of sunlight, we think. Which begs the question, why build an activity area for kids from which they need to escape?

The Living Room on Deck 15 is a lounge for kids aged 12 to 17

The Living Room for ages 12 to 17 occupied a very nice corner of Deck 15, with a full port side view. The Living Room is well-named. It is a total hang-out spot for chill teens that want to gab, read or play games (video and board). We are talking beanbag chairs, chess tournaments, X-box challenges and ice-breaker games. Our favourites were the contoured lounge chairs with a TV mounted at the perfect angle. These are similar to those on the Fantasy but with a much better view. All-in-all the Anthem of the Seas kids areas were sufficient but not impressive. This is especially the case if your kids are the active type. Give me a contoured lounger with an ocean view any day but try to get any of my three boys to sit still for 5 minutes and enjoy the view? Forget it. Where Anthem of the Seas really shines is the SeaPlex.

Bumper Cars, Roller Skating, Circus School, Volleyball, Basketball, Dodgeball, Table Tennis, Foosball and Air Hockey (extra charge) to name a few. Unlike the Fantasy where these sporty activities are outside on the top deck, SeaPlex is completely indoors. Controlling the climate for these activities on Anthem of the Seas makes them much more pleasant. Plus, Anthem offers one-of-a-kind thrills like RipCord by iFly and Flowrider surf simulator which definitely appealed to our boys.

So let’s get to it – how do these two ships compare?

Children’s Area for under 11 years old

Anthem of Seas children’s areas are fun but small

It shouldn’t be surprising that Disney excels at designing play areas for kids. The Fantasy’s Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab are excellent and easily get the nod here. Anthem of the Seas dedicates a sufficient amount of space to entertain this age group with its Adventure Ocean clubs but it just feels too much like an afterthought to have a closed-in area without a single window.


Tweens and Teens Area for 11 to 17 year olds

Our kids didn’t spend any time at The Living Room for tweens and teens but lots did, the lounge was routinely busy

We like Anthem’s Living Room Area more than the Adventure Ocean but once again Disney’s Edge and Vibe are just too good, especially with Vibe’s huge indoor/outdoor uber-chic club. If you are a teen or tween on Anthem of the Seas that would rather read a book than shoot hoops The Living Room may be your fav hang out spot on the ship. We tried to imagine what a teenage girl would do aboard Anthem if she didn’t enjoy the sporty stuff. The Living Room is pretty much it. If you have cruised this ship with a teenage girl, I would be curious to hear your comments – leave them below.


Activities for the Active Teen

Skydiving simulators are cool on land but on a ship? That’s amazing.

Anthem of the Seas takes the prize in this category thanks to the impressive SeaPlex. Our kids spent most of their free time at SeaPlex playing table tennis, shooting hoops, playing soccer or just watching others do the same. Even mom and dad got in on the action schooling the kids on proper ping pong backhand form. I should have retired after beating Bram in the first game because he beat me three straight after that. The problem with the SeaPlex is that it is too popular. With a full ship and cold weather outside the SeaPlex area was routinely packed with long lines for even the least popular activities. The surf simulator Flowrider and skydiving simulator Ripcord by iFly were just as cool as they sound and since they were on the outside decks they were much less busy than the other activities.



Once again, we were shocked how much the kids enjoyed the dining experiences on board. The ability to try new (to them) dishes like duck, lamb, beef wellington and escargot was a real treat. Both Anthem of the Seas and Disney Fantasy exceeded our expectations with the quality and service of evening dining.


Our staterooms were clean, well-designed and very comfortable

It is hard to say that one ship’s staterooms were better than the other, they were both excellent. Clean, functional and well-designed, we never had a complaint on either ship about the staterooms. The full length virtual balcony screens on the Anthem of the Seas take the Fantasy’s virtual portholes to a new level but like the Fantasy, the novelty wears off fairly soon and we stopped noticing.


This is tricky. Disney Cruise Line is expensive but includes more than what you get on Royal. Because we experienced Disney first we found the ‘nickel and diming’ on Anthem to be frustrating. We didn’t appreciate what was included on the Fantasy like self-serve soft drinks and chat feature on the on-board app until we had to pay for it on Anthem of the Seas. So yes, getting onboard Anthem was cheaper but we spent a lot more once we embarked compared to the Fantasy. Since the Anthem of the Seas base price was lower than the Disney Fantasy let’s give them a slight nod on cost. I also hear that it is much easier to find a deep discount on a Royal Caribbean Cruise than a Disney Cruise.

Ship Operations

The more I study the art and science of travelling the more I realize that the satisfaction of the traveler is as much about the ‘way’ they experience things as it is about what they experience. Disney is a master at this. They may not have the highest roller coasters or the best restaurants but they continue to attract more loyal customers to their entertainment brand than any other. The real genius of Disney is the thought and effort they put in to serving their entertainment to their customers. Royal Caribbean could learn a lot from Disney in this regard. Sure, I am a Disney fan and perhaps I have been spoiled after years of Disney trips but I am not speaking about a lack of ‘Disney magic’. I’m talking about a buffet that runs out of plates and a one-hour line for a turn at table tennis. Anthem of the Seas is a beautiful ship, a miracle of modern design and aesthetics. They have no idea how to serve guests in an efficient way. For example, Flowrider and North Star have a simple reservation system that allow guests to book a time for their experience yet bumper cars have an hour long wait because it is first-come first-served. Why not allow guests to reserve a time? I could continue to make a list of ways that the ship surprised me in its lack of thought for efficient operations but I won’t here. Add a comment below if you want more details. All this to say Disney deserves a huge gold star in the Ship Operations category and Anthem of the Seas deserves a big fat “F”.

Despite some categories where we felt Anthem of the Seas was a better experience than Disney’s Fantasy we find it difficult to recommend Royal Caribbean to friends and family. If you have kids under the age of 18 I am confident you will have fun on a Disney cruise. On a Royal Caribbean cruise, I can’t be sure. We did have an enjoyable vacation and were very impressed with the facilities on Anthem. For us, a great family vacation is about more than the stuff that you see and do, it is about the experience as a family while you are doing it. In this regard, Royal Caribbean fell short of Disney Cruise Line.


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Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

32 thoughts on “Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas vs. Disney Fantasy – A Cruise Comparison

  • February 26, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    I am not clear as to why you would be comparing these 2 ships. The Disney Cruise was designed for children

      • February 26, 2018 at 6:04 pm

        I agree with Robyn. It’s like comparing a Disney resort with a Holiday Inn. One was designed with families in mind. The other isn’t really designed with families in mind.

    • February 26, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      Disney Cruise line is WAY better than Royal Caribbean. I have had crappy service on Royal.

      As for the children, you never even see them on the Disney Cruises (I have been on 3 as a kid/teenager) and they have parts of the ships that are 16+ only so there are restaurants, buffets and pool areas were kids aren’t allowed. And they have camps so…

      Disney was designed for everyone in mind.

  • February 26, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you for writing this up. We’ve been planning a cruise with my family for a while now and have struggled to find the pros and cons of which cruise line to go on. My family is big on Disney and go about every 2 years to wdw but we are at the point where we wanted to try something different. Problem is the price of a Disney cruise is almost as much as it would cost for me to take my family to Disneyland Paris!!! I’ve also looked at other cruise lines and you just confirmed to me that they just aren’t geared to my daughters ages well enough, which was one of my fears to begin with

  • February 26, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    I have taken the Disney cruise 4 times and many other cruises with Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, etc. lines, Disney cruises have by far the best services onboard. I’m turning 70 this year and I’m planning to cruise with the Mouse again with my children and their children.

  • February 26, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    W have sailed both and like rcl better then is so much more to do on rcl we also get great lurks on rcl we are diamond and get the diamond club every night and we have found the kids area just as good

  • February 26, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Appreciate you summarizing your thoughts. Obviously I don’t come to the same conclusions as you, and that’s okay. We all cruise differently and have different expectations.

    I do disagree with two of your points. The lack of windows in Adventure Ocean on Anthem. It’s cool if you think windows not existing are a problem, but I looked at YouTube video tour of the Oceaneer Club on the Fantasy and could only find a few obstructed windows in the Nemo room. Seems like a double standard.

    Of course, I think a lack of windows in the kids club is irrelevant for either line, since I doubt kids care.

    Your other point was about the “nickel and diming” and cost in general. You pointed out the fact soda is included in Disney and DCL’s messaging app is included. Both are accurate. However, the cost of a soda package or internet package/messaging option is FAR cheaper than the 2-3x extra core cruise cost DCL comes with typically.

    Not to mention, the extra costs RC offers (specialty dining, alcohol, excursions, massages, etc) are also extra costs on DCL.

    I have other counterpoints I could make, but these two areas seemed particularly troubling to me, as they don’t make logical sense.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write this up. Go Senators!

  • February 26, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Guess I concur with the earlier comment. Disney is a children-based theme company, and few adults without children cruise disney. Royal has more than half cruisers without kids. So yes, adults that cruise disney would rate it higher because they want to cruise with a bunch of children around. If you do not care to cuise with children all over the place, you would likely rate Royal much higher, as with us. I think it is apples and oranges. And no casino??? Blasphemy for a cruise line.

    • February 27, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Are you kidding me? I’ve been on 8 disney cruises. On somentheyhad us adults try kids stuff at night cause there were so few kids. One other time we asked and they said only about half the rooms had kids. So half was just adults. When they have a big kids activity where parents have to bring them there are huge numbers of people in the adults area.
      One thing u forgot to mention- the smallest room on the older disney ships is an upgrade on other ships. And even on their newer ships the rooms are bigger. Because disney has no casino they do have to find other ways to entertain the adults. U get what u pay for. We prefer the elegance, the size, the broadway quality of the shows on Disney and are willing to pay for it.

  • February 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    My experience with these line is the opposite of yours. I like the Oasis class with RC and just returned from the Disney Fantasy. We found the Disney food to be only fair and they too ran out of plates -. We’ve had better food on Carnival. The Disney pool was so tiny it usually standing room only, although we loved the Aqua Duck (which generally had a 20 -30 minute line). The kids (6 and 9) were not big fans of the kids club and we’re often on iPads when we picked them up. Shows were comparable. We are not big soda fan and didn’t care to go to the pool to get it, so didn’t find it beneficial – we still had to pay for them at shows. The fantasy always felt crowded and we struggled to get an elevator often. We’ve rarely had this issue on RC. The biggest issue we had with Disney was the lack of Disney magic. We talked to several people who commented it was their worse Disney cruise so maybe there was something going on behind the scene. If not someone you directly tipped, the staff was not helpful or friendly. There was also a lot less to do on board. Overall, I’d classify Disney as twice the price/half the fun. To each there own, but for us, we will not do DLC again.

  • February 26, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Cruised both 65yrs old but prefer Disney. Anthem way to big. Do like Royal Caribbean other ships and shows and food. Anthems shows were too “far out” there. But special affects were very cool!

  • February 26, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    I have no doubt that RCCL is a great cruise line that would be a lousy fit for my family. We don’t drink much. We don’t gamble. We’re not big pool people (because we have our own pool–why go in a germ-laden cruise ship pool when we can just have our own germs at home for free). We’re only moderate beach people (maybe 1 hour/day). We don’t like “adventure activities”. We’re not a fan of Broadway-style shows. We’re not a fan of dressing up for meals, although we don’t mind hoity toity food. I’ve probably read dozens of trip reports from people on RCCL, and there hasn’t been anything of interest to do in any of them. My guess is that the ship doesn’t have activities that are “our speed”.

    Still, we had thought that maybe there’d be something for our almost 8-year-old daughter, but we hadn’t had anyone tell us what there was to do in the kids’ clubs. Even now, details are a bit sketchy. Whereas Disney is expensive, for me I know we get our money’s worth out of it. Although RCCL is cheaper, I’m still worried that it’s a lot of money to throw away on a vacation that we won’t be able to find anything to do. From the sound of it, we’ll wait until the tween years at least before we re-evaluate whether it would be worth spending the money to give it a try.

    • February 27, 2018 at 8:47 am

      You don’t like the pool, don’t like shows, don’t like “adventure activities”, don’t want to dress up for meals and are concerned with not enough to do on RC. I guess my question is what does DCL offer in terms of things to do that RC does not?

      Based on your description, some of the smaller ships in RC’s fleet, which are around the size of the Disney Wonder and Magic might be right up your alley.

      Also, you can dine at the Windjammer buffet every night on RC for dinner and not dress up at all. On DCL, their buffet is not open for dinner, so you’re already off to a good start.

      • February 27, 2018 at 9:42 am

        We tend to do the longer cruises, so there’s better selections of activities than an out and back to Nassau would have. Kiddo likes the kids’ clubs (never misses Pluto’s PJ Party), so that’s a plus for her.

        On our big cruise for 2017, here’s the kinds of activities we did (with a couple we wanted to do but ran out of time):
        Mickey 200 Vegetable Car Racing
        Cheese tasting seminar
        The Art of Table Setting seminar
        Q&A With the Bridge Staff
        Q&A With the Engineering Staff
        Life at Pixar and Behind-the-Scenes on Cars 3 seminars with Bobby Podesta
        Battle of the Chefs–Captain vs. Cruise Director
        Disney Animation Lessons
        Q&A/Concert with Alton White Fitzgerald
        Sleight-of-Hand Magic Workshop
        Napkin Folding
        Towel Animal Folding
        Knot Tying
        Chip-It Golf
        Mini-Golf Tournament
        Hide and Seek with the Bridge Crew
        Star Gazing (planned, but we got rained out)
        Dueling Pianos
        Diaper Dash
        Midship Detective Agency

        Those are the kind of things I’m up for… we did eat in Cabanas for dinner some on the cruise (especially on Formal Night, that’s what our preference is), but thankfully it’s not a buffet at dinner.

        Does RCCL have similar types of “think-y” activities or lecture series? I saw an *awesome* one on Cunard (Space Week…whee!), and I’d love to do the NatGeo cruises, but the NatGeo ones make Adventures by Disney seem like a bargain-rate carrier!

      • February 27, 2018 at 10:47 am

        I would highly recommend the Viking cruises. They have both river and ocean cruises – we have only been on the river cruise but I am sure the ocean cruise would be just as good. I know they are geared toward adults, but we took our kids (ages 23,17,and 11) and they all had a great time. Most of your time is spent on excursions – they have free excursions at every port and they are all fantastic. When we did spend time on the ship they had some great talks about the river (we were on the Danube) as well as one on the canal that was built. They also had some cooking classes and a variety of other think-y things. My daughter is a big reader and loves to sketch, so if there were things she was not interested in she spent her time doing that. They were also fantastic with food allergies, which was a big plus for us!

      • March 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        My parents did AMA for the past two years in Europe, and their river cruising experience certainly sounds like my cup of tea. The trick is that, as a Florida local, I’m a big fan of sailing out of Port Canaveral, which limits options while kiddo is in school. The 3-night cruises are great, because kiddo only needs to take a half day out of school on Friday and we can have her to class on Monday before school starts.

        I tried pricing out Royal Caribbean for a cruise in April…the price was only $50 cheaper than Disney total for 3 people. 🙁

  • February 26, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve never done a Disney Cruise, but have done several other big American brands of cruises. I just can’t justify the cost difference of a Disney cruise. They are 2-3x as expensive as an average Royal boat, and at least 50% more than the big shiny new Royal boats. Maybe once I’ve got kids, I’ll try a short one to see what the big deal is. But for 2 adults now, I think we’re just fine.

  • February 26, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    I just got back this Sunday from cruising the Anthem with our two grandkids ages 13 & 9. They had a ball! They lived the seaplex & the 13 year old loved the shows although mot exactly family friendly. I haven’t been on Disney yet mainly because of the cost. I really liked the solarium adult only pool area. The 2/70 was a cool area also.

  • February 26, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    I just got back this Sunday from cruising the Anthem with our two grandkids ages 13 & 9. They had a ball! They loved the seaplex & the 13 year old loved the shows although mot exactly family friendly. I haven’t been on Disney yet mainly because of the cost. I really liked the solarium adult only pool area. The 2/70 was a cool area also.

  • February 26, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Been on over 20 cruises, 10 of them Disney. I only went on one Disney cruise with a child, my Goodson, and the rest were with my sister. We were in our 50’s and 60’s when we went on the Disney cruises and wouldn’t go on any other cruise line. We don’t drink, gamble or get off the ship (except @ Castaway Key) and can’t fathom being on a ship with 3,4,5 or 6000 of my closest friends! Will take DCL anyday!

  • February 27, 2018 at 1:35 am

    Thanks for your review/comparison! I have a 14 year old son and are planning a family cruise for 2019. Although we are booked on Disney currently, I’ve considered RCC because of the cheaper cost. I was wondering if you could compare the shows/night entertainment between the two cruise lines, and as to which is more appealing to teens?

  • February 27, 2018 at 6:34 am

    “A slight nod on cost” to the Anthem? For a data and stats guy, that’s pretty misrepresenting of the actual costs involved. A 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise in May 2019 (as far out as Disney is booking) for a guaranteed ocean view balcony (verandah) room for 4 people on Disney Fantasy is $7,127.48. On RCCL Harmony it’s $3,881.72. But, Disney rooms are bigger, you say? You can get TWO guaranteed ocean view balcony rooms for 4 adults on RCCL Harmony in May 2019 for $5,471.72.

    The $8/person soda package (<$300) isn't enough to say that this is "a slight nod on cost" to Anthem. Neither is adding the internet package on RCCL to get messaging, where Disney is pathetically behind (charging by the megabyte?!?).

    Granted, this is just one dimension of the decision, and Disney does a better job in many areas than RCCL (like the kids clubs), but you simply can't say they are anywhere close on price.

  • February 27, 2018 at 7:11 am

    I’ve been on the Anthem (plus a number of RC and Carnival cruises) and the Disney Dream. We had a good time on the Dream but the cost of Disney is outrageous and quite frankly I don’t think the product is actually worth it. You can sail for 7 days on some lines for the cost of a three day on Disney. Is Disney’s experience really worth that extra money? Only if you are caught up in the Disney magic. The food was good but we have had better on other ships. . The entertainment was good but on par with other lines. The service was where we were disappointed. We thought the service was going to be spectacular based on the myriad of reviews online and quite frankly, we’ve had better service on a Carnival boat. Service is however Royal Caribbean’s weak point. The room was very nice and the attention to detail everywhere on the boat is where they outshine the other cruise lines. However, is that worth paying thousands more? Not to my family.

    And yes you have to pay for soda and internet on RC (internet on Disney was abysmal compared to RC!!!), but those costs are nothing compared to the thousands more you pay to sail on Disney. Giving the Anthem only a slight nod on price? For those that know better, that statement doesn’t even make any sense.

  • February 27, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Your point about the ‘way’ guests feel on their trip is important, and a definite point of difference for our family. I continually find that the operational aspects of a resort organization will make or break how I feel about a vacation. I have had many experiences where the hard product is fantastic but failures in the ability to execute result in a less than satisfactory experience. Disney gets that, consistently delivers operational excellence, and that is why they get our cruise vacation spend.

    • February 27, 2018 at 8:46 am

      My husband and I have tried several cruise lines. Yes there are mixed reviews for children’s activities but we just booked a 7 day cruise, 2 balcony cabins on MSC with free wifi and soda for a family of 5 for $3890 versus over $8000 on Disney. That hurts my wallet too much.

  • February 27, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Just a few comments on adults w/ out children on Disney short cruises.We have cruised on Rcl & Carnival also.Enjoyed.Disney has children so occupied that they were not a bother.On other ships seems like they are running wild at all hours. Also they have lifeguards I saw.We go on other because of price but when we save its so exciting to go Disney especially going to private island where you can get on and off ship anytime as it docks right there. Other cruise are great but Disney will always be ” magical “.Enjoy seeing kids meet their fav.characters and everyone just seems so happy staff and all.Hope this helps someone

  • February 27, 2018 at 9:00 am

    We too felt the Fantasy was the poorest for food, but not a great difference. The only thing justifying the price premium on Disney is the specialty cruises (Star Wars cruises!). We just returned from an Oasis cruise and loved the size, as it allows for more evening activities. The shows on Oasis are professionally done, where Disney shows, outside of Star Wars day, were just Ok. We just didn’t feel the Disney premium was justified.

  • February 27, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    We have done both and they are hard to compare. I am a divorced single dad with b/g twins born in ‘08. We did the Dream in 2015 when the kids were 7 and Anthem last year when they were 9. We are going back to the Dream this summer but my girl just said she would prefer the Anthem again.

    The cost is #1. Disney is about 2x RCCL per day and dollar for dollar, Disney is by far way too expensive! Sure, you get some good extras for the price. We always get the family cabins with 1 1/2 baths including a tub. There is just no other comparison for that on RCCL and those Dream cabins can’t be beat. Same with the kid’s clubs. The Dream kids club is by far and away, WAY better than RCCL. My kids still gush about the automatic hand-washing machines on the Dream. On the Dream, you can leave them in the club all day and they will feed them lunch and dinner. There is non-stop activity and the kids can’t get enough – they never want to leave. On the Anthem, the clubs are small and a good pit stop for a few hours here and there but the kids don’t want to spend all day trapped in there. But, the Anthem does have SeaPlex where the kids would love to hang out all day. It’s just that they are more on their own and unsupervised where Disney knows exactly where every kid is every second. A bit ironic that you can get rid of the kids on a Disney but there aren’t as many adult activities to do once you are free.

    The Anthem does have a much better ship with more high-tech gadgets and the Northstar and skydiving and bumper cars, flowrider, etc. The Dream has the AquaDuck which is great fun.

    The rest is a toss-up. Food is about the same for all of the cruise lines. Disney has a fun concept with the rotational dining and the kids love the Animator’s Pallette restaurant, so I guess it’s more fun, but I think all of the food quality is about the same. Same with all having similar entertainment shows and comedians, etc. The service sucks no matter where you go. I suppose you do get better service on Disney but is it worth paying double? There are always too many people on these ships.

    Again, these are 2 different types of cruises so it depends on what you are looking for. Disney can’t be beat for young families if you can afford it. A good 1-time treat when the kids are young. As the kids get older, they will move towards the Anthem – a more affordable option as a regular summer vacay.

  • February 27, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for the great discussion, guys. A couple follow-up thoughts.

    Yes, the price tag of a Royal Caribbean cruise is much lower than Disney. For me, whenever I compare cost I am really comparing value. Comparing the price tag is trivial. What interests me is the satisfaction per dollar that I get relative to what is offered. The second part of that is key. I am very critical of Disney Dining at their Theme Park Resorts because I judge their value based on what they purport to offer. Disney fine dining for the price they charge falls way short of fine dining in Las Vegas, for example. The Royal Caribbean Brand purports to offer a premium cruising experience, I judge it accordingly. In my experience, the Disney Fantasy nearly made up for the price difference. Many of you disagree, I get that. If Royal Caribbean’s brand told me that I would get “The best bang for my buck on the high seas” or “Sail with Royal for the greatest discount cruising available” then my review would be much different.

    I have only cruised with Royal once. Honestly, I am interested in trying again after reading all these comments. Maybe I am missing out. Still, I tried to be honest about my experience. My thinking is that many guests may only take one cruise.

    Disney Cruise line is not perfect, by any means. There were times when we felt ‘nickel and dimed’ on the Fantasy as well. Especially at the movie theatre where you had to pay for popcorn – that ticked me off. Over the years I have actually become quite jaded with how Disney runs their theme parks, especially in recent years. Their current obsession with optimizing revenue taints their reputation, in my opinion. However, cruising on the Anthem of the Seas made me miss the operational design of Disney entertainment. I am a big fan on Universal Theme Parks for example, I think they are on par with Disney. I was expecting Royal Caribbean to be the ‘Universal’ of Cruising. It was not.


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