I sailed the Carnival Dream just before Christmas, and I had a great time. I sailed in an Ocean Suite. This Summer, I also sailed the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas in the Villa Suite. Galveston Cruise Reviews readers know I loved the suite perks. Today, I am not writing to compare the two lines, the two ships, not the two overall experiences. Instead, I want to focus on one specific aspect of my trip. The Carnival suite perks included some very nice touches. Unfortunately, however, they don’t provide the same premium experience as does Royal Caribbean.
One thing gets a little bit tricky with Carnival. They offer two separate programs. One is called Faster to the Fun (FTTF), and you pay an extra $40-$120 per cabin per cruise to enjoy it. The link above goes to Carnival’s website and includes specific costs and benefits. The second program are the perks you get for being in a suite. Those don’t have a defined cost, although the room obviously costs more.
What was the cabin like?
Let’s start with the obvious. If you book a suite, you get a lot more space. I have a video of an Ocean Suite on YouTube. I was travelling solo, and I still enjoyed the extra space. I had a nice balcony. The room had plenty of room, and it would have been fine for 3-4 people. Perhaps the nicest part, however, was the bathroom. I had dual sinks. There was plenty of storage. Instead of a regular shower, I for a full tub. The room was great. They also sent me a free bag of cookies one day in the room. Bonus!
Shortly after I arrived in my cabin, I received a letter listing the suite perks. The letter mentioned I had received priority embarkation. That was true, and it was excellent. I was on the ship quickly and efficiently, and there was a pleasant waiting room in the Galveston cruise terminal. That goes back to FTTF benefits, though. I could have received these benefits without paying for a suite by simply having Faster to the Fun.
The letter also said I had two free large bottles of water. I received those later, and it was an excellent bonus. I was also scheduled to receive a free bag of laundry and priority debarkation on the final morning.
So what wasn’t included as Carnival suite perks?
First, two of the benefits explained in the letter never materialized. I did not receive any information on how to receive the free bag of laundry. Second, I did receive priority debarkation. However, this had nothing to do with my staying in a suite. Rather, I had also purchased FTTF. When I got to the departure lounge, it was only open to FTTF guests and top tier Carnival loyalty program members. That would have delayed my departure significantly. Carnival should have clearly detailed how to redeem the suite perks.
Royal Caribbean also provides three benefits which were missing as Carnival suite perks. First, most Royal ships include some type of suite lounge. This is a nice space which lets you get away from the crowds. It also often has free snacks and drinks. Royal also provides access to a Concierge. That is great if you need help with something or have a question about your onboard account. Finally, Royal Caribbean provides double points in their loyalty program to guests travelling in suites. I would like to see Carnival do the same.
So does that mean Royal Caribbean is a better line that Carnival? Absolutely not. Carnival did many things very well, and I will detail those over the next few weeks. Please be patient, because sometimes the whole job thing gets in the way of my travel blogging. If the question is suite perks, however, then yeah. Royal Caribbean does a better job of providing a premium experience than does Carnival. It will also frequently cost more. Over the next few weeks, I will fill in more of the details.