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amindu

Which would you pick

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Hi, I am interested in taking a southern cruise and have narrowed it down to Princess - Royal Princess or Royal Caribbean - Serenade of the Seas. Both are a 10 day Southern Itinerary from Ft Lauderdale. We have not sailed either cruiseline, i know this is a Princess thread but please be objective.

 

The Serenade goes to Tortola, Basseterre, Roseau, St. Johns, Philipsburg. While the Royal Princess Aruba; Curacao; Grenada; Dominica; St. Thomas, Princess Cays.

 

We have not been to any of the ports other than Philipsburg, so most everything will be a new port. We are in our early 30s so we are looking for things to do while on board, and decent entertainment/shows to keep us occupied. To those who have either sailed the cruise lines/ships or the ports which would you recommend. Any other advice is also appreciated, thanks in advance

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I would definitely go on the Royal Princesx. Great new ship with a lot of things to do. If you got to St Thomas look into the B.O.S.S excursion for an usual fun couple of hours. If you do go tell the Capt that Garcia's lap mate said Hello.

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Thanks thus far for the responses, i know the Serenade was built in 2003, but i am more concerned with is entertainment options on board so we do not go bored. With Princess from what i have researched it seems this sailing caters to an older clientele thus the entertainment is also catered around that. In your experience would this be true? We dont really go to trivia, or painting or sculpting. We like the night production shows, magician, hypnotist and comedy clubs.

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Royal Princess will definitely have comedians and audience participation game shows in the evenings, though maybe not as frequently as RCI. Sea days on Princess admittedly more sedate than on other lines, but I have never had a problem finding something to keep myself entertained (my age lying in the middle between yours and the "average" Princess cruiser).

 

As for the itineraries: my take would be to always choose one with a private island beach day (Princess Cays) than one without. Also there is a good contrast between the desert island of Aruba and the rain forests of Grenada. But if your main interest in port is beaches/boating/water activities the Serenade cruise is fine for that. And I also concede that other than St Maarten the Serenade will be at less crowded ports than Royal Princess. But should you choose Royal Princess and her 4000 pax for the newer amenities onboard that should't be an issue.

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My husband is in his early 30's and I am in my late 20's, we would pick the Royal Princess over the Serenade without any hesitation. We absolutely love the Royal & Regal Princess and were never bored on the sea days. The Royal Princess also appears to have more port days than the Serenade. We'd definitely choose to see six places over five.

 

I can't say too much about Royal Caribbean as we have not sailed with them. I have always found the prices for the Royal Caribbean cruises to be outrageous compared to what I have found with Princess(we book after final payment) so we haven't been able to find a good reason to try out Royal Caribbean. Our friends and family that have sailed with Royal Caribbean praise the entertainment on Royal Caribbean, their cruises have sounded great. However, they have noticed a major decline in the quality of food and the availability of included dining options at certain times of the day(this is a major turn off for me).

 

Also, if we we're trying to make a decision between two cruises that both were of interest to me I would pick a ship only a couple of years old over one that is more than a decade old.

Edited by minabruuke

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I cannot make a comparison because we've not sailed on the Royal Princess. But we have sailed on Serenade and really enjoyed it. We thought it was a beautiful ship, a good size, and we were never bored. Not too sure about evening entertainment (other than Quest, which is a pretty fun event) because we usually turn in fairly early, but we have used the billiards room and the movie theater. I think they also probably have the rock climbing wall.

 

Again, I have not been on the Royal Princess, so can't make any comparisons. I'm sure you'd have an amazing time on either ship!!

 

As for the itineraries, they both sound great! Tortola is a pretty awesome stop- you can ferry over to Virgin Gorda, which is beautiful!

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Checking the RCI website it says "newly renovated" Serenade OTS and it's a Panamax size ship and is the same size & about the same passenger capacity as the Coral Princess which I've enjoyed several times.

 

I sailed on the larger Navigator OTS in February 2013 (before drydock) but overall I prefer Princess. For me the Royal-class ships are great & I have enjoyed a combined 6 weeks sailing on them.

 

I thought Princess' food (choices, presentation & taste) was better plus the Royal has Alfredo's Pizzeria (free) and Gelato's ($3.25 or a coffee card punch). RCI's version of the Princess International Café was not nearly as good & I've had better frozen pizza than what RCI had. Princess ships have a pizza by the slice place on Lido deck & also a grill for burgers, hot dogs & grilled chicken. RCI's Johnny Rockets was better but it cost extra and their only free burgers were waiting in a buffet pan to be assembled by passengers. The Princess wine policy is also better than what I experienced on RCI & RCI prices were higher when purchased onboard as was their corkage fee for wine brought on the ship. Specialty restaurants on RCI are more expensive & thought the Princess menus were better.

 

I'm not saying that RCI is bad but for me Princess overall was a much better option. Of course you'd get a different answer on the RCI forum but for me the Royal Princess would be my choice. :)

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We are booked on a Southern for Oct on the Royal Princess. We sailed Royal Princess in April also. We love to snorkel so the choices of Aruba and Grenada would be our best. To snorkel the underwater sculptures of Grenada is a must for us each time we are there. The only other port I would want to be included would be Bonair. We are not loyal to one line so it would be hard to favor one over the other--but then again, we have never had a bad cruise. Hope you enjoy which you pick as best for you.

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@Astro Flyer - Thank you for the comparison, never thought about it from a dining point of view.

 

Its definitely tough to pick, i do really like the ports on the Royal Princess, but the reviews of the ship lately have been very poor which had me concerned a bit, as well as the quality of entertainment or lack there of

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Have sailed on both cruise lines. I would go with Princess. We're doing this itinerary in November, and we're really looking forward to it.

 

All mass market cruise lines have cut back to a certain extent. The cutbacks are obvious on RCI to those of us that have sailed that line many times. Areas such as the main dining room, and cabin attendants are noticeably smaller, compared to 5 years ago.

Edited by papakaiser

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@Astro Flyer - Thank you for the comparison, never thought about it from a dining point of view.

 

Its definitely tough to pick, i do really like the ports on the Royal Princess, but the reviews of the ship lately have been very poor which had me concerned a bit, as well as the quality of entertainment or lack there of

You're welcome & food is important to me. :)

 

I take negative reviews with a grain of salt having read too often about things being terrible...the very same things we did on the same cruise & thought they were great. No ship is perfect for everyone but they've all been good to better for me and not terrible like some will post. Some are overly dramatic & full of hyperbole...things go wrong & all cruise lines want to keep passengers happy but cannot help when not mentioned during the cruise & instead they go to CC to rant. I've found the CC passenger reviews that determine ship ratings useless to me. Those posted on this forum are more useful to me because it's possible to ask questions & to better learn about their experiences.

 

The Royal & Regal have the latest production shows & they were great as were the other entertainment options. The Royal & Regal have a great in cabin TV system including on-demand programming on large (40"?) flat panel TVs. Many movies were less than a year old & after the most current movies were shown on MUTS they were available with the on-demand system. It also has repeats of some onboard activities & lectures plus some live TV news & sport programs. When I sailed RCI's Navigator OTS it was a small old analog TV & on-demand movies cost $12.95 and were as old as 25 years.

 

Hopefully you get sufficient input to make the decision about what is best for you. You prefer the Princess itinerary & if you decide that the Royal also provides the experience you desire then I wouldn't let a few negative reviews change your mind. If I decided to not take a cruise based on negative reviews then I would never cruise. ;)

Edited by Astro Flyer

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Based on ship and itinerary I would pick Serenade OTS, while I like Royal Princess I like Radiance class better.

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Based on ship and itinerary I would pick Serenade OTS, while I like Royal Princess I like Radiance class better.

 

Can you please elaborate on why the Serenade has a better itinerary than the princess? We haven't been to any of the Islands, so we don't know which is better and which is not. We love the beach so most likely on most of the ports will be at some sort of beach or snorkel excursions

 

@Astro Flyer - You are correct, many folks have different opinions/expectations. It is nice to be able to watch the movies in the room, when we sailed on Carnival Breeze last year i spent 30-40 bucks in movies because the last 2 sea days we were extremely bored as there was nothing to do, and the pools were always occupied by kids, even the adult pools. So have free moves helps.

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I haven't sailed Princess. My first Princess cruise is December of next year. Looking forward to it. I am Platinum with Royal Carribean and here is my humble opinion based on that and what I do know about Princess. I would first look at Itinerrary and determine what ports are most important to you. Royal Cartibean has the most beautiful well laid out ships of almost any line! Their Radiance class ships have tons of windows. You really feel like you are at sea. Royal Cartibean has very good entertainment. You should not be bored at all. Food is decent but I can't compare it it Princess. Princess is a better value for the money in that Royal Cartibean's drink prices are definitely higher and specialty restaurants more expensive. The Royal Princess seems like a very nice ship. Princess offers more food available later in the evenings. The Royal Cartibean ships have a bit better space ratio. The balconies are good size on Royal Carribean and and beds more comfortable but the beds on Royal could be different because it is new. And of course it is new compared with the Serenade. Depends on what is most important to you. Good luck choosing.

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I haven't sailed Princess. My first Princess cruise is December of next year. Looking forward to it. I am Platinum with Royal Carribean and here is my humble opinion based on that and what I do know about Princess. I would first look at Itinerrary and determine what ports are most important to you. Royal Cartibean has the most beautiful well laid out ships of almost any line! Their Radiance class ships have tons of windows. You really feel like you are at sea. Royal Cartibean has very good entertainment. You should not be bored at all. Food is decent but I can't compare it it Princess. Princess is a better value for the money in that Royal Cartibean's drink prices are definitely higher and specialty restaurants more expensive. The Royal Princess seems like a very nice ship. Princess offers more food available later in the evenings. The Royal Cartibean ships have a bit better space ratio. The balconies are good size on Royal Carribean and and beds more comfortable but the beds on Royal could be different because it is new. And of course it is new compared with the Serenade. Depends on what is most important to you. Good luck choosing.

 

Agreed we are trying to base it on itinerary but don't really know the ports well to know which itinerary would have the edge.

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Agreed we are trying to base it on itinerary but don't really know the ports well to know which itinerary would have the edge.

Have you viewed the CC info on each port?

 

There is a lot of helpful info about ports & here's a link to Aruba but you can also check other ports:

 

http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=2

 

That info may help you decide which ports you'd want to visit. :)

Edited by Astro Flyer

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I'm a big fan of both cruise lines, but I am not a big fan of Princess' Royal Class ships. I would book Serenade in this case. Both are great itineraries. Nobody designs ships like Royal Caribbean. Serenade is a beautiful ship and that class of ships was built to maximize sea views. There are huge windows all over the ship, which is in stark contrast to Royal Princess.

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Appreciate everyone's response, we are leaning towards making the decision based on itinerary and not so much the ship as a way to determine which we should pick, since we really prioritize the destinations and then the ship. With that being said, RCCL visits 5 ports, of which we have been to St Maarten twice, so really we will be visiting 4 new ports. Princess goes to 6 ports, and we have not been to any, i know the last port is really just a private island, but its still the Bahamas and the beach. So currently leaning towards princess primarily due to itinerary.

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I have sailed on both lines. I would choose Princess. This year we did our last RCCL, not for us any more.

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