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JonoBhoy

Cruise line alternatives for Celebrity enthusiasts

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Hi - My wife and I have only ever cruised on Celebrity and in the Med. We are looking to do Caribbean this Winter and are exploring alternative lines.

 

I’m looking for some steer (and potentially steer-clear) on alternative options and ships. We enjoy our food, drink, entertainment and partying. Would appreciate if anyone can share any pointers, especially avid Celebrity cruisers who have “jumped ship”?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Jonathan

 

 

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After 20+ cruises on Celebrity, we are giving MSC Seaside a shot in September. We have a deluxe Yacht Club Suite that the per day cost is about the same as the Equinox Aqua class, with one perk. It comes with the drink package, that also includes the mini bar, and other perks associated with a suite. The reviews lately have been pretty positive. If that doesn't work out, we are probably done cruising as Celebrity was the line of choice until the last three years. It no longer passes our value for the dollar test.

I almost forgot, we have a Grand Suite, on the Allure for October, which was going to be our swan song. It was priced $140 per day, per person less than the Junior suite on the Equinox, but didn't include a drink package. With the Suite Lounge opened 4:30 until 8:00 pm for just about anything you want, and 11am to 11pm for wine, beer, and soft drinks we'll survive.

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We are elite with both princess and celebrity. After 3 Oceania cruises, saving our pennies to be able to afford that more often. The price is actually not that much higher if you find the right promo, and they reward loyalty fairly quickly, and the food and service is second to none (in our price range, anyway).

 

I’m with the poster above that celebrity is no longer in the top for us.

 

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We've had good luck with Princess Cruises. Decent food and on Coral Princess, the suite was very nice despite its age. YMMV.

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Tome a nice option is holand america lines. Maybe ttying tge vista class or the koningsdam or the newest nieuw staterdam. Halship are a little bit more forman than Celebrity but to me they are very similar...in the peak season hal is the winner because less children on board!

As someone suggested msc is a valid option..but you cant compard the yacht club with any celebrity stateroom...it is a different world!

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I would usually recommend Princess but her ships don't impress us anymore. MSC Yacht Club is an excellent choice, but now that we've tasted life on Regent, that is our first choice. Just a different world

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If entertainment and activities are not important, for something different, try Pacific Princess. Around 675 passengers same ship as Azamara. Food was great and service excellent. Higher ratio of staff to passengers than larger ships. We have sailed on her two times.

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MSC Yacht Club. Just cancelled a cruise in a sky suite which would have cost me $8,000+ with the single supplement. Booked a YC suite with NO single supplement for less than $2,000. No contest. MSC Yacht Club has the ship within a ship concept which Celebrity doesn't yet. So, for example, no need to fight for a chair by the pool. Yacht Club has a private pool. Oh, and MSC matched my Celebrity status with their highest status.

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MSC Yacht Club. Just cancelled a cruise in a sky suite which would have cost me $8,000+ with the single supplement. Booked a YC suite with NO single supplement for less than $2,000. No contest. MSC Yacht Club has the ship within a ship concept which Celebrity doesn't yet. So, for example, no need to fight for a chair by the pool. Yacht Club has a private pool. Oh, and MSC matched my Celebrity status with their highest status.

I’ll be very interested in reading your assessment after you’ve sailed MSC.

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We sailed MSC Seaside in May in a Yacht Club suite. Last year we sailed in a Celebrity Suite on the Eclipse. So comparing them: Celebrity had the larger suite, and better food in Luminae, whilst MSC was a beautiful ship, it's Top Sail lounge was far better than Micheal's Club, and MSC had its own pool deck for suite guests (with its own pool, hot tubs, full service bar and grill for breakfast and lunch if you wanted to eat outside rather than the restaurant), oh and every room has a fully stocked mini bar. From a price perspective, MSC is great value compared to Celebrity. This all said, we are sailing next year on the Celebrity Infinity in a Sky Suite, and have just booked MSC's new Bellissima for 2020, in a Yacht Club Suite.

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We sailed MSC Seaside in May in a Yacht Club suite. Last year we sailed in a Celebrity Suite on the Eclipse. So comparing them: Celebrity had the larger suite, and better food in Luminae, whilst MSC was a beautiful ship, it's Top Sail lounge was far better than Micheal's Club, and MSC had its own pool deck for suite guests (with its own pool, hot tubs, full service bar and grill for breakfast and lunch if you wanted to eat outside rather than the restaurant), oh and every room has a fully stocked mini bar. From a price perspective, MSC is great value compared to Celebrity. This all said, we are sailing next year on the Celebrity Infinity in a Sky Suite, and have just booked MSC's new Bellissima for 2020, in a Yacht Club Suite.

 

So, if you don’t mind me asking, what was the price difference between your X Celebrity Suite on Eclipse and the MSC Yacht Suite on Seaside?

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Princess may be a good option if you are abandoning Celebrity. We found the food and dining room service was better, however the Anytime Dining management was atrocious. Less perks on Princess and the balcony rooms are smaller, with a chair instead of a sofa. The beds were excellent, but the bathroom was smaller and a not very good shower. This was the Island Princess, an older ship than S-class Celebrity. The library on Princess was much better than the poor libraries than Celebrity offers. The entertainment was about the same. The specialty restaurants are less expensive that Celebrity’s but we did not find a specialty restaurant that came close to Celebrity’s Murano.

 

If you find a good itinerary on Princess at a good price,take it.

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We sailed MSC Seaside in May in a Yacht Club suite. Last year we sailed in a Celebrity Suite on the Eclipse. So comparing them: Celebrity had the larger suite, and better food in Luminae, whilst MSC was a beautiful ship, it's Top Sail lounge was far better than Micheal's Club, and MSC had its own pool deck for suite guests (with its own pool, hot tubs, full service bar and grill for breakfast and lunch if you wanted to eat outside rather than the restaurant), oh and every room has a fully stocked mini bar. From a price perspective, MSC is great value compared to Celebrity. This all said, we are sailing next year on the Celebrity Infinity in a Sky Suite, and have just booked MSC's new Bellissima for 2020, in a Yacht Club Suite.

Thank you, Geoff&Louise. This is a very helpful comparison:)

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So, if you don’t mind me asking, what was the price difference between your X Celebrity Suite on Eclipse and the MSC Yacht Suite on Seaside?

If comparing on a like for like basis, I.e. Fully inclusive drinks package, and accepting that a Yacht Club suite is similar to a Sky Suite, and not a Celebrity Suite, so a smaller sized (but still reasonably sized) cabin, about £100 per person per night.

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Would also suggest that you look at Viking Ocean and for a real change, Windstar. Neither will probably fit your desire for "partying and entertainment" but for food, drink, service, great fellow guests and a completely different atmosphere, check it out.

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Having sailed on Princess and Royal, I would like to try Azamara or Oceania for a smaller ship experience. Reading these boards, all cruise lines have their fans and taste is subjective.

 

Sue

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We aren't "Celebrity Enthusiasts" but they are a line we like to sail.

I think it depends on what you want. We sometimes sail with our young kids and sometimes without.

 

Our favorite WITHOUT our young kids is Crystal (but has to be an older ship in a low category room... otherwise it's too expensive for us.)

 

With our young kids? We actually (GASP) enjoy NCL, but only the Haven. I'll never sail NCL without my kids but the Haven is a good experience for us combined with the splash pads and kids pools etc. that NCL offers, and robust children's offerings.

 

Before we had kids we sailed HAL which we actually really liked (despite everyone saying it's for elderly people...) but we like quiet, decent food, and some music. Celebrity's music program is poor, in our opinion. HAL had more live music, even just duets and trios, that we really enjoyed.

 

I haven't sailed Princess since probably 2008 or so. It was fine at the time but in retrospect I found other things I enjoyed more. Having said that, their product could have changed.

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Before we had kids we sailed HAL which we actually really liked (despite everyone saying it's for elderly people...) but we like quiet, decent food, and some music. Celebrity's music program is poor, in our opinion. HAL had more live music, even just duets and trios, that we really enjoyed.

 

I just turned 40 a month after disembarking from HAL, and we really enjoyed the food, service, and amenities. It is not a great choice for partying, but they do have the BB King Blues Band, as well as other live music around the ship. It is more of a classic experience, and you do feel spoiled. When it comes to itinerary options, HAL gets the nod.

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MSC Yacht Club. Just cancelled a cruise in a sky suite which would have cost me $8,000+ with the single supplement. Booked a YC suite with NO single supplement for less than $2,000. No contest.

Wow! That's a huge savings. I hope you have a great time!

 

 

I’ll be very interested in reading your assessment after you’ve sailed MSC.

I would also love to hear your thoughts, as I considered MSC, but timing didn't work (yet).

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We changed things up last year with a 9-night Caribbean sailing on Crystal Serenity out of Fort Lauderdale and really enjoyed it. Post hurricane season itinerary changes may have made for more attractive pricing and generous on board credit allowing us to sail in a balcony stateroom and cover the cost of 3 excursions. We paid a bit more per day for the Crystal experience than Celebrity, but feel the line has a lot to offer. Lower passenger count, high space/passenger ratio, no class system, full promenade, on board enrichment, multiple live music performers on board, all excursions have an accompanying Crystal crew member, jazz brunch complete with ice sculptures, bathtub and dual sinks in staterooms, to name a few. Gratuities, unlimited internet, all drinks, and two visits to specialty dining venues were included. Food in specialties was fabulous. Food in Crystal Dining Room was just good. Demographic was a bit older and more reserved, but we became acquainted with two forty-something couples. All fellow passengers were wonderfully friendly. There were only two children on board. Never a battle to find a lounger or a drink waiter at the pool. However I feel Celebrity still wins in overall service and friendliness of the crew. Crystal has a lot of repeat clients that a few of the crew seemed to cater to leaving us newbies occasionally feeling slighted. Crystal crew do work incredibly hard and most of them are shining stars. For its age Crystal Serenity was in excellent condition having undergone recent renovations and they are scheduled to update many other areas of their ships. We would definitely give the line another try, but our current plans involve returning to Celebrity.

 

 

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Edited by summit011604

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We also have msc yacht club booked for 2019. Another choice that we like is sandals resorts , adult only , lots of restaurants without any extra charges and free top shelf drinks and no tipping allowed but they are not cheap.

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Thanks all - really great info.

 

MSC is starting to look very appealing. We are possibly looking to cruise more often and for that to be the case we likely need to find a better price point than CC, as much as we love it, doing it once a year isn't attainable for us at the moment (pending a Lotto win!). Therefore, the likes of Azamara, Crystal, Oceania etc are probably out of reach, we are also both in our early 30's and still enjoy something a bit more lively from time to time - Celebrity is fairly perfect for us in this regard.

 

We had a look at the new Symphony OTS and it looks very impressive, albeit different vibe to Celebrity. Does anyone have any experience of sailing RCL without kids?

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OP -- We are getting information at a painfully slow pace, about Sir Richard Branson's 'Lady-Ship' fleet (AKA: Virgin Voyages). The Scarlet Lady is supposed to be making her debut, sometime in 2020. Looks like it's going to be modern, upscale, and adults only -- things that appeal to some X cruisers. And, it does appear that she'll be sailing the Caribbean, out of the Port of Miami. When you get a moment, pop over to the Virgin Voyages board, and see if anything there interests you. :cool:

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Thanks all - really great info.

 

We had a look at the new Symphony OTS and it looks very impressive, albeit different vibe to Celebrity. Does anyone have any experience of sailing RCL without kids?

 

We go back and forth between CC & RCL, always as a couple only. We use the diamond plus lounge for drinks and the 3 freebies in the clubs and dining room. Always have a great time, shows are #1 and music a plenty. We enjoyed the MDR but the buffet on our last cruise was a more casual choice and a good variety also. Sometimes a better price, especially booked ahead. Sailed the Oasis last time and would go back.

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Princess may be a good option if you are abandoning Celebrity. We found the food and dining room service was better, however the Anytime Dining management was atrocious. Less perks on Princess and the balcony rooms are smaller, with a chair instead of a sofa. The beds were excellent, but the bathroom was smaller and a not very good shower. This was the Island Princess, an older ship than S-class Celebrity. The library on Princess was much better than the poor libraries than Celebrity offers. The entertainment was about the same. The specialty restaurants are less expensive that Celebrity’s but we did not find a specialty restaurant that came close to Celebrity’s Murano.

 

If you find a good itinerary on Princess at a good price,take it.

 

After our first and last Princess cruise this summer on the Island Princess I would not give up my Celebrity cruises. I have to agree with everything you said, but I would go even further. The buffet was worse than a cheap cafeteria. In the dining room I had to ask at least 3 times to get an ice tea with dinner. Service was definitely not we see on Celebrity. I found the specialty restaurant way below Celebrity. Definitely agree with cabin and bathroom assessment. Shower was awful!!

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