P&O vs Celebrity

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#1
81 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Hi.

After many years on P&O we are considering Celebrity next year as they do Baltics sailings in school holidays which P&O don’t.

Anyone any opinions (positive or negative) on Celebrity vs P&O?

The ship we are looking at is Celebrity Silhouette if that makes any difference.

Thanks.
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#2
1,017 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
Personally I think Celebrity is a class above P&O. The passenger mix will be much more cosmopolitan. Auto tips are more expensive, and these plus the fact that on board currency is $ needs to be taken into account when working out the total cost, although there are occasional promotiobal drink packages on offer.

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#3
1,298 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Celebrity are excellent, but you need to track prices and book when they are low.

We grabbed a bargain for the Baltics this year. Celebrity did the Baltics back to back for about 5 trips so plenty of cabins for school holidays.


They also reduced prices for family cabins.


Ensure you get an inclusive drinks package as drinks are very expensive. i.e 330ml bottle of Stella £10. Get OBC and you can then upgrade to premium package and get a good value all inclusive holiday.
#4
Scotland
778 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Personally we prefer the Celebrity offering for many aspects of the cruise, the cabins are lovely, food good, a bit different and good stage shows etc. We tend to book Aqua class which has a separate dining room with a choice of lighter spa style food and the food here is really excellent compared to P&O. (I don't know what the main dining room is like recently but in the past we were always happy with it).


Suite guests also have their own seperate dining room and a lot of very nice perks if you were looking at that.

The drawback as others have said is the price you pay once onboard for drinks, much more expensive tips etc. You are at the mercy of the dollar rate as well which can make a huge difference. If you get a good dollar rate at the time of booking you can however pay in advance.

If you like a drink the premium package is worthwhile as an upgrade from the standard one that is sometimes offered part of the booking package for the lovely cocktails, beers and wines available on it.

There are some small annoyances like the answers to the quizzes being the US version of the answer.

In our experience the ships seem quieter in the evening (other than the casino areas which are extensive and not our thing). There is more atmosphere on P&O after the shows are finished at night IMO.

The embarcation is also far slicker and after experiencing it I guarantee the P&O version will annoy you the next time you cruise with them.

Both offer a good holidays but for us Celebrity has the edge (pardon the pun).
#5
Surrey
30 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Personally I prefer P&O, although my experience is limited. We did an Alaskan cruise on Celebrity Infinity a couple of years ago. As we had a drinks package it didn't cost us much extra on board, but it was quite expensive overall for a week. Contrary to one of the posts above, we went Aqua class and were disappointed with the food in Blu. It was great the first day but then went badly downhill with everything over cooked and dry. Breakfast was good though, and the staff were excellent.

All I remember about the drinks is that the onboard sparkling wine was awful, and I don't often turn down a glass of bubbly! Not all cocktails were covered in the drinks package, so I double checked every time I ordered to avoid nasty surprises on the final bill.

I preferred the P&O buffet, especially their curries. In fact I didn't like the Celebrity buffet at all. Rather a lot of pushing and shoving and not finding anywhere to sit.

If you like ballroom dancing then Celebrity were useless and P&O were excellent. Also, the formal nights on Celebrity were disappointing with not many people dressing up.


The best bit of the Celebrity cruise was the excursions, and we really enjoyed every one that we did.


Everyone's taste is different, and many will disagree with me, but I think we are just very British, and Celebrity didn't suit us.
#6
West Sussex, UK.
127 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Our forthcoming cruise will be our first with P&O having previously sailed regularly with Celebrity and once with Cunard. Having read so many boards, there are many differing views, one of the main ones being the fixed service charge added to drinks on Celebrity. As we don't really drink alcohol then this is irrelevant to us but we are looking forward to P&O for a new experience. I am a little concerned about not having a mixture of passengers - on our last table for dinner on Celebrity we had a Russian, two Canadians, two Australians, two South Africans and a delightful lady from North Yorkshire - a real international mix. The dress codes on Celebrity are of course more relaxed and I have found adherence is "tested" on short 7-day Caribbean cruises - the longer cruises saw more elegant wear but there are no official "black tie" nights although some passengers do go the full distance.

When we return, I will check to see of this thread is still active and if so, post my comments while they are current.
#7
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
601 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Not trying to put you off Celebrity but it might also be worth looking at Princess. As you have a lot of P&O cruises under your belt, you would be at an upper level of the Princess Captains Circle loyalty club.
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Andrew

Past: Cunard QE2 & Queen Elizabeth; P&O Victoria, Oriana, Arcadia, Aurora, Oceana, Azura; Sea Princess; Celebrity Summit; Fred Olsen Black Watch, Saga Ruby, Portuscale MV Funchal, MS Mayfair (Nile River Cruise).

Future: CMV Marco Polo to Iceland.
#8
Badiddlyboing, Odawidaho
2,138 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
We did Ventura in February and Eclipse in June and September.

Unfortunately, we were not terribly impressed with Pando. Except that the entertainment was far better on Pando. However, we are back on Ventura for Christmas and New Year - but it was either that or Cunard. And we are a bit bored with Cunard. Pando is perfectly acceptable - its just that the Americans understand service so much better. The Pando staff seem very set in their ways - inflexible in many ways - difficult to explain.

One instance - mother wanted french fries with her meal and this was refused, although it was on the menu with another dish - they did arrive after I asked to speak to the Manager! That would never happen on Celebrity.

Pando would rather have many four tops vacant rather than seating couples. Again, when all two tops are taken, Celebrity then allows couples to sit at the four tops. We have to wait far longer at peak times on Pando for the above reason. No point in couples milling around with beepers when the restaurant is half empty!! We felt the staff were rather arrogant and condescending - we are two elderly ladies on our own, but I am no longer used to being directed to the worst table in the room!! This is not the old days!!

Having said all this, I am sure it will be an enjoyable cruise as I now know what to expect. I love the ship itself - similar to Golden and Grand Princess on which we did many a transatlantic. The cabin layout is better for us than Celebrity - I like the dressing area on Pando. On all the ships we have a problem as we need a walk-in shower - so we cannot have a suite or deluxe balcony - but we are happy to be on C deck - midship with a very nice balcony. Just hope we get the weather to use it!!
#9
Surrey
30 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
In reply to the OP.......although I was quite negative about celebrity in my earlier post, I wouldn’t want to put you off from trying them if the itinerary works for you. You will never really know unless you try them yourself!
If you are planning to go in school holidays that suggests you might be taking children, so do you need someone on here to comment about the kids clubs?
#10
Edinburgh
3,219 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
We mainly cruise with P&O but have also cruised with Celebrity. Overall we find that P&O suits us better. There's things we like about Celebrity but we don't like the surcharge every time, we find the crew too "in your face" and definitely don't like the entertainment in the lounges. This matters to us as we like to relax with a couple of drinks listening to music / singers. It definitely is more cosmopolitan: our first table we had couples from the US, NZ, Canada and us! Another time it didn't work as well with difficulties in communication and it was hard work every night over dinner. Personally I prefer Princess to Celebrity.

If there was an itinerary we particularly liked we'd consider going with them again but if P&O were doing something similar, it would be a no brainer.
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#11
Stoke on Trent, England
4,965 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Love both but they are both very different. Would cruise on either any time.
P&O is very British and if you like a drink FAR cheaper as you can take on your own drinks and are not limited. No service charges of 18% as on Celebrity.
Celebrity ships are a star above if you're thinking a hotel, but we don't find the evening meals any better on Celebrity, just bigger. Buffets on Celebrity are much better.
P&O more formal re dress code and lovely if you like the formal nights.
Staff on Celebrity more of your forced 'Have a nice day' - on P&O more like they say hello if they mean it !
Sailaways are more fun on P&O if you enjoy those.
We have done both and think they both have good point and negatives. Then again, no cruise line is perfect.
Just book it if you have a deal, go with an open mind and have a great time ..... and 'have a nice day!'
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Sailed on:
P&O Ventura 15.08.17 : Spain & the Greek Islands
P&O Britannia 28.05.17 : Iberian Cruise
P&O Oceana 10.08.16 : Western Med fly cruise
P&O Britannia 25.07.15 : Iberia and Canaries
P&O Oceana 08.04.15 : Western Med
P&O Oceana 19.04.14 : Iberian Cruise
RCI Independence of the Seas 29.10.13 : Mini cruise
Celebrity Silhouette 12:08:13 : Greek Islands / Italy
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:12 : Adriatic / Venice
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:11 : Eastern Med/Holy Land
P&O Oceana August 2010 : Western Med
Ocean Village 02:08:09 : Eastern Med / Crete
Louis Cruises August 2001 : Egypt
#12
81 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Thanks all. Given me some things to consider. They have a good deal at the moment so likely to give it a try but will check Princess first as hadn’t thought of that.

Will appreciate any further thoughts from anyone if they have them.
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Victoria July 1997
Oriana X913 2009
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Arcadia J502 2015
Britannia B515 2015
Ventura N617 2016
Independence of the Seas 2017
Britannia B721 2017

#13
Batehaven, Australia
10,084 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Having cruised on Celebrity as well as P&O UK and a few others. Celebrity these days has no formal nights, no jackets and ties please !! The fashion police will take them off you at embarkation, lol. They have casual and chic nights, chic night is just one cut above T shirt and jeans, say polo and smart jeans.

I liked Celebrity, laid back, no formality, not sure traditional P&O'ers would like it.

Princess on which I have done about 18 cruises is somewhere in between. Although they have formal nights, jacket and tie, many don't comply and there is little enforcement.

But give it a go.
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Cheers..(Uncle) LES - Princess Captains Circle Elite. - 460 days.

Cruised with Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, P&O Australia, P&O UK, Carnival, Sitmar, Sydney Harbour Ferries. World Cruise, plus British Isles, Europe, Med, Greek Isles, Transatlantic, Asia, USA, Panama Canal, South America, Central America, Caribbean, Alaska, Canada, Japan, South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand.!

**Last cruise: Queen Mary 2 - Sydney - HK, 16 nights, 2 - 18 March 2017.

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Royal Princess - 18 June 2018 - British Isles, ex Southampton - 12 nights.

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#14
Manchester, UK
10,267 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
No brainer, but regulars on this forum wouldn't expect me to say anything else re Celebrity vs P&O.

Solstice class ships (of which Silhouette is) are far superior IMHO. Better laid out, the buffet will amaze compared to say the cramped layout on Azura. Many more dining choices with regard to speciality restaurants.

Staff are extremely friendly and helpful. Numerous bars/lounges to relax in. OK, the gratuity is higher but you get what you pay for IMHO.

Less formal and restrictive dress code (no refusal to enjoy a bar/lounge after 6pm if not dressed formally). This doesn't mean you can't dress formally, you can and we do!

Embarkation process streets ahead of P&O, muster drill organised and not chaotic. Port times published so you know when you're arriving and departing in advance, not just a vague indication.

Overall a far classier choice as far as we're concerned. Just 7 days and we'll be boarding Silhouette's sister ship Eclipse for a 15 night transatlantic.
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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK




#15
london
68 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I have travelled on RCCL, Princess, Celebrity, and P&O,

I find bits from each line i like, As still not retired kids at home and mortgage still to pay off, P and O wins at the moment.

September 2019 2 weeks in the med I have booked Azura C deck Balcony £3000 for 2 persons.

Same month Celebrity at the moment £5400, I like celebrity and have been on Eclipse, and Infinity but £2400 difference in nearly another cruise, No drinks package on offer either with Celeb at the moment.

When I retire Celebrity will be back on the wish list unless a good deal with them comes along. I belive in you get what you pay for and I am happy with P&O with what they offer. Just got Back from Britannia and easily 4 out of 5 for me.
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#16
2,806 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
A relative recently did their first cruise on Celebrity so we were looking forward to what they thought of it..as it was their first cruise, and being mostly with Pando (and their product suiting us) we wondered if we would like it.
They dressed smart every night..not just chic night..but said the majority of the other passengers didn't dress up at all. As they had nothing to compare they didn't mind, but I like my formal nights..I know you can dress up or down as you please..but there is something about a ship when the majority are in formal wear that makes it look and feel special. Not asking others to agree with that at all..just how we feel.
They did comment on the fact there was music everywhere..they couldn't get away from it..in the lifts..everywhere..I got the feeling they didn't like that aspect.
They had the basic drinks package included..i think they paid to upgrade..so were happy with that.
Not sure they were happy with arrival times in port..some of theirs were get there late am/early pm and leave early evening..so not too long in port.
They did wonder about a Baltic cruise so I looked at one of those next year on celebrity..one of the arrivals in port I could find (port website) had the ship arriving 5.30 am (so not a lot getting off then) and leaving port at 3pm...so again timings seemed strange.
They were in a cabin on deck 12 on Eclipse. it appears to be a known problem on Eclipse deck 12 that there is noise issues from above. They complained and have money of another cruise and a free meal..(no real cost to celeb on either)
I think they will book another cruise to use the money off, but maybe a bit more savvy at looking at a selection of lines after that ..taking into account whether the ship is the destination or where it goes. The where it goes is more important to them..and how long you get to explore.
#17
Scotland
778 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by peteukmcr

Solstice class ships (of which Silhouette is) are far superior IMHO. Better laid out, the buffet will amaze compared to say the cramped layout on Azura. Many more dining choices with regard to speciality restaurants.

.
t

Agree entirely about the buffet, there is a much more extensive choice available on Celebrity. The buffet on P&O is poor in comparison IMO.

We love the speciality restaurants on both P&O and Celebrity but it the OP has not travelled Celebrity before they will be a very nice change.
#18
Staffordshire, UK
1,194 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
We’ve been on P&O, Princess & Celebrity and for us, Celebrity would be our last choice.
We preferred the cabins of Celebrity - Eclipse had bigger bathroom with nice roomy shower and nice flooring on the balcony.
However they dealt with our food allergies by “ignoring” them by ignoring us, even though we informed them beforehand as we always do. P&O & Princess deal with these very well by ordering the evening before with the head waiter for the next day.
We personally didn’t find the staff as welcoming or as good as on the other lines. Our steward was just “ok” and the evening before we were due to disembark in Southampton while we were at dinner, he emptied what was left in the wardrobe for the next day onto our bed, and put the things we’d left in the cupboard and bathroom to pack after dinner in hand luggage, also on the bed! We weren’t getting off until the next day so I wasn’t very happy with his actions.

I know I’m in the minority here as many folks love Celebrity, but we’ll stick with P&O & Princess where I feel safe with our food allergies.
#19
UK
1,411 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by HomelessBear
We’ve been on P&O, Princess & Celebrity and for us, Celebrity would be our last choice.
We preferred the cabins of Celebrity - Eclipse had bigger bathroom with nice roomy shower and nice flooring on the balcony.
However they dealt with our food allergies by “ignoring” them by ignoring us, even though we informed them beforehand as we always do. P&O & Princess deal with these very well by ordering the evening before with the head waiter for the next day.
We personally didn’t find the staff as welcoming or as good as on the other lines. Our steward was just “ok” and the evening before we were due to disembark in Southampton while we were at dinner, he emptied what was left in the wardrobe for the next day onto our bed, and put the things we’d left in the cupboard and bathroom to pack after dinner in hand luggage, also on the bed! We weren’t getting off until the next day so I wasn’t very happy with his actions.

I know I’m in the minority here as many folks love Celebrity, but we’ll stick with P&O & Princess where I feel safe with our food allergies.
I'm not surprised, I wouldn't have been impressed either!
#20
Cambridgeshire
101 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
I booked Celebrity to the Baltic a couple of years ago (Eclipse) for the exact same reason as you. We had a lovely time and would book again if they had an itinery that appealed.
Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at about noon and went straight on board. I had booked a concierge class cabin for its position and enormous balcony so we went straight to the main dining room for lunch.
Our cabin was fine, longer than a P&O standard balcony but I felt slightly narrower, My daughter slept on the sofa, which converted into a single bed. She preferred it to a Pullman in a standard cabin or the sofa bed in a superior delux cabin. We felt that we lacked drawer space and found the wardrobe very dark and tricky to find things in. Much prefer the open wardrobe and dressing area on P&O. There is storage over the bed but I did not like having to climb on the bed to fish out a jumper when needed. The bathroom was lovely, loads of drawers, a great shower with screen doors and it was very spacious. The provided toiletries were not a patch on the white company ones and you do not get shower gel in standard cabins. Our cabin steward was excellent.
My youngest daughter is a vegetarian with a nut allergy and fussy to boot and here I felt Celebrity really fell down. Their menus were repetitive and the cheeses on the vegetarian menu contained rennet and so were not suitable for vegetarians. On P&O she has always been offered food from the lunch menu if there was nothing on the evening menu that she fancied or they have offered to adapt items or cook something off menu for her. Celebrity were very rigid in their offerings. I also felt that foods were not adequately labelled in the buffet (for example M&Ms on the icecream bar were peanut but no labels indicating this). The buffet was much better than that on Azura with a vast range on offer. Free ice cream in many flavours went down well.
The children's club for teenagers was pretty dire and I had concerns that they did not take details of my daughters allergies. However, speaking to other parents the younger children (8-10) loved that age range club.
The shops were very overpriced, we found a book that we had bought in St Petersburg on sale at over three times what we had paid in port.
I found the drinks package included in my booking more than adequate and really enjoyed being able to grab a drink whenever I wanted. The included coffees from the coffee shop were very good and very welcome when we came back on board cold and wet.
Paying for shuttle busses was a bit of a shock to the system and an unwelcome expense.
Shows in the theatre were superb and always plenty of seats available whenever you arrived.
Talks were varied and lots of different speakers on board.
Officers highly visible and always approachable and chatty. Captain Leo regularly put in an appearance at theatre shows and always happy to have his photo taken with guests.
Room service was free and an extensive choice with hot cooked breakfasts included.
The library was huge and used an honesty system with no need to check books in and out.
The one thing I really missed was a guest laundry. We had some rainy weather at some ports and faced with wet muddy jeans (apparently it was not her fault, she just slipped) I would have loved to just sling then in the washer and not have to pay for laundry.
All in all we did have a great cruise and would not hesitate to cruise Celebrity again but I think that I prefer P&O