This is our 9th cruise. 3rd on Carnival. 4th on RCC. We took a 12 day cruise out of Baltimore in March of 2012 on RCC. We just completed a 7 night cruise on the Carnival Pride. We wanted to decide which ship to go on from now on out of Baltimore since it is only a 4 hour drive for us to the port.
Staff is friendly and helpful on both ships. If I were to pick which one seemed to have a happier crew, then it would be RCC's.
Both of them have privately owned islands which are very beautiful. If I had to pick which island was nicer and had more things to do? Than it would be Carnival's Half Moon Cay. STUNNING. However, I didn't like the fact how they charged .50 more for drinks than what is charged on the ship.
As for the ports, Carnival needs to drop the Freeport stop. What a waste! They dock at a shipyard so you have to take a taxi to where ever you want to go which by the way, is nothing great..
Balcony staterooms are nice and adequate on both ships. If I were to pick which one I liked better, than it would be RCC's. Beds were a lot more comfy, pillows bigger, the air conditioner worked ALOT better on the RCC where we had to turn up the air (higher temp) due to the room getting too cold.
Bars and the bartenders on both the ships and clubs are fun to attend. Staff is very friendly on both ships. However, I did notice that RCC did a better job on making sure things were clean and wiped down with front of cabinet doors, etc.
Be careful when you are still in US waters. You are also taxed on your alcohol drinks. Beers in the bottle with tips added come to 6.61 each on the Pride. That is before the added taxes.
Also, it was very annoying on our first day trying to eat in the Mermaid Grill (buffet) and having to deal with the "drink special pushers"
We were eating lunch and I kid you not, we were approached FOUR times in THREE minutes from guys trying to sell us their drink of the day.
Both ships allow smoking in designated areas. My spouse and I are smokers. That being said, RCC is the pick for both non smokers and smokers alike. Reason being is that RCC will NOT allow smoking in the casino on formal nights. Though I am a smoker, I can only give kudos to RCC in regards to their rule as who wants the smell of cigarette smoke on their higher priced clothing? Both ships allow smoking on the balconies of the staterooms, and certain clubs and lounges. Smoking is also allowed outside on the starboard side. CCL's casino is kept at a colder temperature supposedly to keep the smoke vapors at a minumum but we couldn't tell the difference. It was still kind of smoky, though not too bad.
Both have decent comedians, dances, etc. However, I preferred RCC's comedians who didn't have to resort to crude and vulgar type jokes for a laugh. From what I had heard from other people on the CCL's trip, they seemed to agree with me on this point. However, everyone is different on what they find is funny,and a comedian who resorts to laughing at his own dirty jokes I personally do not find appealing.
Carnival has newly hired a young man from England who sings and plays the piano.
I took offense however to him "improvising" one song referencing how the singer was a homosexual. (Elton John) He was trying to get a laugh, but it failed miserably as there were some people in the bar who were in fact homosexuals. Well, he is only 19 I guess and this is the first major gig he has done, but I am hoping someone talked to him about his "joking." Aside from this, Sam is quite enjoyable to listen to.
This one is a no brainer. Enchantment of the Seas wins this one HANDS DOWN both for the MDR and the Windjammer. (buffet style)
I have never seen so much food as I did on RCC's buffet. All types of different main courses, ethnic groups, salads, fruits, sushi, and on and on.
On CCL's Pride, there is literally 1 line/side open with 1 guy behind the counter. Maybe 6 trays to grab food from. The other side of the room is where the salad things are. Hardly any waiters/cleanup crew, where on the Enchantment, there are waiters assigned with their name plate on the tables they are helping. We had a waiter running up to us filling our teas, getting us wine if we wanted, even getting us extra portions of a certain food.
We honestly never tried the main dining room of either ship because 1) on RCC's the food was already amazing in the Windjammer and we were being waited on 2) We were told by WAY too many people on the Pride how horrid the dining room food and service was. Food cold, chaotic service, etc. So, we didn't bother.
Carnival wins this one. Food was always delivered within 15 minutes of ordering and they had a larger menu than RCC's.
We mainly had our lunches ordered from them eating out on our balcony.
2 sandwiches that were VERY good were the portobello, tomato, mozzarella on focaccia bread, and the beef and cheddar sandwich.
Now, the specialty restaurants.
RCC's has Nick and Nora's. Prides has David's Steakhouse. No matter which ship you are on, you HAVE to experience the food served. RCC allows you to pre-pay and book online which is a bonus to me. Dinner was 30 per person. Pride you can book online, but do not pay until the night you go. 35 per person.
Food is superb in both. With that being said, Carnival's David wins on the best one. I got the 18 oz Rib-Eye and have to admit, it was one of the best steaks I have ever eaten.
You will not find this 5 star meal at any restaurant for this price. Also folks, please tip the waiter/waitress as it is NOT included.
Both were a breeze, though RCC was a little more lenient with letting people on sooner. CCL's wouldn't let us board until 12:15.
Carnival allows passengers to bring on 1 750 ml of wine per person. PLEASE make sure to have it in your carry on, not your luggage or it will be seized and not returned until your final day. RCC doesn't allow any wine to be brought on board. HOWEVER..any alcohol you purchase in the shops during your trip is given to you the night before you arrive back to Baltimore on RCC. Carnival doesn't allow you to get your purchased alcohol until the morning you leave. It was one heck of a party on the Enchantment that last night!
Getting off the ship was handled smoothly with both lines.
So, who will we cruise with in the future?
On RCC's 12 day cruise, I wanted to have it extended. On CCL's 7 day, I would have been okay going back home on day 5. Did I enjoy being on the Pride? I sure did. Passengers, crew members, etc were so much fun. Their island is beautiful and fun. Overall though, RCC is more to what we are looking for in a cruise.