Carnival Cruise Line vs. Disney Cruise Line: Food Edition

I had the opportunity to take a cruise at the end of January on Carnival Cruise Line’s Elation.  Exactly one year prior, I was aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic ship.  I thought I would do a comparison of both lines, just to see which I liked better.  You can see my stateroom comparison here.


I found lots of interesting starter courses aboard CCL.  One evening I had a cold strawberry cream soup with mint that was out of this world.  There were spring rolls with a lovely dipping sauce, escargot, and salads.  I enjoyed all the starters I tried.


All the entrees I ordered were very attractively arranged and were delicious.  I had maybe one or two that I wasn’t totally impressed with, but I also had the same experience aboard DCL.  One thing that I did like about CCL’s menu is every night there was a “Didja” option as in “Didja ever try…?”  That option was a more exotic dish, like fried alligator or escargot. And on the flip side, there was a comfort food option.  One night they offered meatloaf and mashed potatoes which I had to have.  I love a good meatloaf and theirs was pretty good.


I love dessert.  All the ones I tried were really great.  The apple pie CCL offered was amazing!

Breakfast and Sea Day Brunch

We had breakfast every morning in the main dining room and it was such a treat!  Since we had two sea days, we got to have Sea Day Brunch twice.  You can’t go wrong with omelettes prepared anyway you like, not to mention the Eggs Benedict and the Blueberry Pancakes!

Buffets and Pizza

We only ate at the poolside buffet twice on our sailing on CCL.  I found it pretty good, but the burgers were not the best I’d had.  The pizza was fair.  We never ate at the indoor buffet, but that was only because we wanted the pampering of the main dining room.


On CCL, soft drinks are not free like they are on DCL.  We (really I) started jonesing hard for a Diet Coke, so we decided to spring for the Bottomless Bubbles program.  For $6 per day (based on your length of cruise, paid in one payment) you can have all the soda you like.  I have to admit, having to pay extra for Diet Coke really bums me out.  DCL’s got a good thing going with that.

Specialty Dining

Our CCL cruise did not have any specialty dining options like Palo or Remy.

Overall, I felt like CCL and DCL were comparable on food taste, food presentation, and quality.  However, I have to give DCL the advantage because a) they have complimentary soft drinks, b) I prefer their rotational dining set up, and c) Palo.

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Carnival Cruise Lines vs Disney Cruise Lines: Staterooms

At the end of last month, I had the opportunity to take a Carnival cruise from New Orleans to Cozumel.  Now, I know we normally talk about Disney on this blog so I thought we could compare Disney Cruise Lines to Carnival Cruise Lines just a bit.

Now, I’m a die-hard devotee to DCL, but they don’t sail out of New Orleans at present, but Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian do.  And this Carnival cruise was cheap!  It cost us $600 including travel insurance for two adults for a 4 night cruise!  You can’t beat it!  Disney Cruise Lines would have cost us a lot more, not only for the cruise itself, but because we would have had travel costs to Florida as well.

In this installment, we will just discuss the staterooms.  Our ship was the Elation and our room was an Oceanview on Deck 5 (Main).

Room size

The Elation rooms in this category around approximately 185 sq ft and slept 2 people.

A similar Oceanview stateroom on DCL is approximately 214 sq ft and sleeps either 3 or 4, depending on the ship.
Advantage: DCL

Bed Arrangement

In this particular stateroom you could have either twin beds or you could have them pushed together to make a king.  While my husband and I prefer a king, I hate how the beds separate in the night leaving a crack down between the two beds.  On the Disney ships, this category room would come with a queen bed and a sleeper sofa.

Advantage: Draw – My husband and I prefer the king, but hate the beds separating. Disney has an actual queen bed.


Carnival only has one bathroom in their staterooms and they are teeny tiny.  Disney has split baths, meaning there are two rooms.  One houses a toilet and a sink, while the other has either a shower or a tub/shower combo and a sink.  This gives you more space and allows more than one person to dress at a time.  While the Carnival was adequate for me and my husband, if we’d had our kids with us, the split bath would be preferable

Advantage: DCL

Room Setup and Amenities

Our Carnival room did not have a sitting area other than the bed, and a stool at the vanity.  A comparable DCL room would have had a sofa.

Our Carnival room had an old style tube TV that felt very dated, while all the DCL fleet have flat screens.

Storage in the Carnival room was adequate.  We were able to store our empty luggage under the bed until it was time to repack.  Same goes for DCL.

Room service is available free of charge on both ships.  Both had nightly turn down with towel animals and chocolates.

Both fleets have very well-maintained rooms by friendly staff.

Advantage: DCL, just for sitting area and TVs.

I think what we can take away from this is that, while DCL is preferable and more spacious and luxurious, Carnival is not to be written off completely.  We had a great time and our room was adequate for our needs at a price we could afford.