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We have just returned home from the Baltics cruise on the Celebrity Constellation which was wonderful.We sail on the Sapphire Princess out of Sydney on 23 December and I am interested to know how the two cruise lines compare.I appreciate that this is a subjective matter but would be pleased to here the views of those who have sailed on both lines.We are in the 50 to 60 age group with no children(at least not with us on the cruise because we are spending their inheritance)We enjoy a quiet life with formal dining and an ambience of genteel tranquility .
These lines are very product competitive. In the area of "formal dining and genteel tranquility" (I just love the wordcraft of our Brit cousins ) Celebrity probably has an edge over Princess and it may be the ace in the large ship market. Celeb's dining rooms are definately more impressive structurally to Princess' and the all traditional dining aspect of the line provides for a perhaps more "rythemic" level of service.
But Princess offers very good (more international variety) in its food available 24/7 and its pools operate 24/7 too. Princess restaurant staff are heavily staffed and managed by Italians which makes for a little more gregarious-friendly style as opposed to a slightly more "staid" Celebrity style. Celeb has fewer announcements and Princess is reportedly increasing the nickle/dime extras also.
Celebrity does linens and towels better than Princess. Rather than industrial-laundry; Princess has put their plumbing into their terrific always open freshwater pools and spas... nothing like a nightime soak under the stars. You can do personal laundry in self-serve facilities on Princess though which can be convenient. Princess shore side staff is definately superior to Celeb, particularly for those that have special needs to be confirmed in advance.
If you go into it with an open mind, you should enjoy either line. If you go into it with a comparative critical mindset, then that's what you'll get...
Mr. Potter - You are so right, comparing cruiselines is a VERY subjective matter. There is no "best" cruiseline; only the best for you based on your wants, preferences, available funds, schedule, etc. I hope you'll also post your question on the Celebrity boards; and I hope you appreciate that the responses you receive will reflect the preferences of the members of each board.
That said, I'll admit that I'm disposed towards Celebrity but have taken several cruises on different Princess ships and enjoyed every one. As you've just experienced on the Celebrity Constellation, they provide a more "classic" cruise experience with only assigned dining tables and times, a high level of service for all passengers and more so for suite guests, and refined ships. IMHO, Princess' strength is its ability to be all things to all people: it offers a choice of traditional dining or "Anytime" dining; its service is friendlier and thus less formal than Celebrity (with no butlers for suites); and ships that have rather bland, inoffensive decoration. I would recommend Princess for a first-time cruiser or for a family or group travelling together as everyone will find something to like and be able to afford it. But if you already know what you like, as you seem to, you might prefer the Celebrity experience.
This is just my humble opinion; I've personally enjoyed every cruise I've been on including Celebrity and Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. If I have a view of the water and a waiter who knows my name, I'm happy!
I think Celebrity was much more formal / traditional. There was not a lot of choices in things, but the quality in what they offered was awesome. I thought the food was fabulous and the service was top notch.
For me personally, Princess is "where I belong". I like the flexibility of the Personal Choice cruising. Eat when I want, choose from many types of entertainment each not (instead of ONE show that goes with ONE dining seating), 24 hour pools, 24 hour buffet, awesome.
Both lines are great though! Try not to compare so much but to appreciate the differences each one brings. (There is an echo in here )
You might also look for my review of the Diamond Princess Coastal cruise in the reviews section to learn more about how Princess' Personal Choice cruising was taken up a notch on the Diamond and Sapphire Princess.
NEXT --> Monarch family weekend 10/15/04 & Grand Galveston 12/11/04
Diamond Princess 5/1/04
Star Princess 10/18/03 -- Wind Star Honeymoon 11/14/03
Star Princess Wedding 9/24/03 -- Mercury 10/5/03
Vision of the Seas 10/28/02 -- Amsterdam 4/22/03
Sun Princess 5/10/02 -- Star Princess 6/15/02
Carnival Holiday 9/8/00
Here is a comparison that I have posted a few times before.
We sailed the Island Princess and Celebrity Horizon in January. It was our 4th Princess and 1st Celebrity Cruise. The Island Princess (2,000 passengers) was only 6 months old whereas the Horizon (1350 passengers) was 14 years. We had sailed the Royal Princess (1200 passengers â€“ 20 years) twice before. That provided a comparison to a smaller and older ship. Here are some of the differences we noticed â€“ most of which will not matter to most people.
The Horizon seems a lot more crowded than the Royal with less places to sit and relax. We noticed many more smokers on Horizon.
Celebrity had several little niceties such as a cold towel when returning up the gangway from a port and at the pool. Also waitersâ€™ parade serving sorbet at pool side.
Princess had warmer pools. Island pools were open 24 hours â€“ not Horizon nor Royal. Princess has self serve laundry â€“ Horizon did not. Horizon library was pretty poor.
Celebrity dining was more formal. Wait staff always carry a white towel over an arm. Silverware is all at your place setting on Horizon. Princess brings silverware with each course. Princess had better beef, soups, and dinner rolls. Horizon waiters bring dessert tray to choose â€“ not Princess.
Princess had better salad bar. Island had â€śNY style pizzaâ€ť. Horizon and Royal did not, but they had ice cream at buffet lunch. Island had ice cream at night buffet.
The time gap between 1st seating and show time was much longer on Horizon. This allowed them to squeeze bingo in. While that made bingo players happy, it forced us to sit through bingo if we wanted a prime seat for the show. Horizon asks that you stay formal all evening on formal nights. Princess does not. In addition to formal nights, Horizon also has informal nights that ask for a jacket for men.
Tips are $10 on Princess and $10.25 on Horizon. Horizon has much less annoying announcements.
Princess muster drill was much less of a hassle. Horizon leads you to lifeboats and wants you to wear lifejackets back to your cabin. That seemed dangerous trying to walk down stairs.
Bottom line â€“ both cruise lines are quality. Suggest picking by itinerary you want, along with ship size and age and, of course, price.
I thank all of you for your input which is very informative.I am a glass half full man as opposed to a glass half empty man and,therefore,will approach the Princess experience with an open mind.Roll on December!!!
On Celebrity's Mercury in March 04, and on Sun Princess May 04 - two comparable sized ships.
I would give slight edge to Celebrity in food presentation and quality in dining room, and a tie in food quality in Lido - athough Celebrity had trays and stewards to assist passengers, Princess did not.
We were in standard outside cabin on Mercury, and a mini-suite on Sun Princess, so won't attempt comparison. The mini-suites on Sun Princess are as large as suites on many ships, including other Princess ships.
Production shows I thought better staged on Princess, but that is very subjective.
All in all, both very enjoyable. Princess, with more ships, has more varied itineraries, a big plus for me, and generally speaking, are lower priced than Celebrity.
I think Celebrity more in competition with Holland America rather than Princess.
I would agree with all the thoughtful comments you have received. Here are a few random observations-
I would add- drinks on Celebrity are A LOT MORE expensive. That said, they do have some great bars on the Connie.
I always felt that the Lido deck, pool areas and open decks on Princess are the best (esp the ships with aft pools and hot tubs). The interior spaces are more elegant on the M class hips, anyway.I think that the seaview is gorgeous but I dont like the single service lines at all...
And the in cabin tv programming is superior on Princess...
HAL Westerdam 7/30/04
Tahitian Princess August 2003
Grand Princess Western Caribbean 2003
Brilliance of the Seas Baltic 2002
Ocean Princess- Alaska 2001
Celebrity Zenith- Bermuda 2001
Grand Princess Med 2000
Last March, I was on the Constellation. From what I heard and read, I expected to be very impressed with Celebrity but I was not... We had a Concierge class stateroom. The fruits were not fresh, and when they made the bed,it was so,so. The service and stateroom were not impecable as everybody had told us. The speciality restaurant was only ordinary not impressive at all. At the first formal, I was desappointed... not very sophisticated as I thought. Overall, Princess is where I belong...
Ocean Princess (2000)
Dawn Princess (2001)
Golden Princess (2002)
Radiance of the Seas (2003)
Coral Princess Alaska (July 2004)
Adventure of the Seas (2005)
Canadians are hard to please, especially when Floridans are about to beat'em in Hockey!
Spice and Beecham never had to deal with that!
But - DON'T be disappointed by lack of picture art in Princess cabin passageways. DO be impressed with Princess cabin soundproofing (over Celeb, generally)... Ya-da, Ya-da, Ya-da...
If you get a good crew combo on Princess, you'll definately feel like the Crew-Staff know-you, like-you, appreciate-you... sincerely! Rather than Celeb's - we did great! 'Cause we're pro's! Next pax group... what were there names?
Bad crew combos anywhere disappoint generally...
To have a (tops) Princess crewman remember your mother a year later... Ask about her... I wouldn't expect it from a Euro-pro Celeb server...
Potter - did you post this on the Celebrity board as well?
Specs, I have not done Conceirge, but our beds were made every day and impecible. Our stateroom attendants couldn't have been more attentive. The specialty restaurant was marvelous on Summit -- we went twice. The dining experience in the main dining room was without complaint. On formal nights on Summit (3 times) the entire ship followed the formal evening attire and was wonderful.
So, there is a different perspective. However, I admit I have always wanted to try Princess, but haven't I think only because I have found better "deals" on Celebrity.
Thanks again to you all.
I have not,as yet,posted my query on Celebrity's board but I will.With regards to the comments of Specs I can only say that our visits to the speciality restaurants on both the Summit and the Constellation were fantastic and on a par with Michelin starred ones that we have visited in both England and France.We also found Concierge class on the Summit was a quality product.This brings me back to the point regarding subjective views. I can only assume that our friend Specs has standards that far exceed my plebeian English ones.