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JonoBhoy

Cruise line alternatives for Celebrity enthusiasts

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If you are looking for a step up (to premium plus), try Oceania, Azamara or Viking Ocean. While one step below luxury, many thing are included on these cruise lines (admittedly, of the three, we have only sailed on Oceania - twice -- great food and service and small ships).

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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?

 

If you sail while the kids are in school, there will be very few of them. Royal Caribbean is a lot of fun, fancy decor, innovative activity features. Service is top notch, and cabins comfortable (we were the first sailing after a dry dock, not sure if that's typical).

 

The only major downfall is the food. MDR meals only partially rotate, with repetitive sides, often lukewarm. The buffet is more limited now, with reports of brownish lettuce by the end of the cruise. Of course this spikes demand for specialty dining, pricing well above what you would pay on land.

Edited by Stateroom_Sailor

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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.

Do make sure you're actually "in" the Yacht club. There are some large cabins that pax think are part of the Yacht club, but are in reality just that..large cabins.

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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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Princess is pretty good overall. I'm comparing Princess Royal class to Celebrity S class. Buffet on the Regal was the most varied we've seen. Celebrity specialty rest. are far superior to those on Princess(price point..you get more when you pay more)MDR food is comparable, but Celebrity is really sliding down hill in their MDR. Bathrooms on Celebrity are much better. Enclosed shower stalls are much better than a shower curtain sticking to your back.Towels are much better on Celebrity. The worst towels we ever saw were on the Regal.

For us we've done a switch to Oceania. We found the Riviera to be pretty damn close to a perfect fit for us. Outstanding food & an extremely cosseting & relaxing cruise. Price comparison here: 14 days on the Eclipse was about $2200PP for a balcony cabin & about $3800PP for the same time frame on the Riviera. Specialty rest. are complimentary, unless you dine in Le Reserve which pairs wine with your food. Entertainment is pretty lackluster. The FOOD is the entertainment & for those of us in the food industry, it was outstanding. The reason we booked 14 more days this Jan.

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We've been cruising Celebrity for the last 8 or so years and have another booked in 2 months.

 

I know people on this board will shudder but, "30 something and like to party".... Look at Carnival. I'm serious. If you pick one of thier newer ships they are pretty nice. The entertainment is pretty good and there is drinking - lol .

 

We were on a last minute Carnival a while back and had a great time. Food was pretty good, great comedians, good shows...... They have a much better selection of free food venues.

 

You might be surprised, it can be a lot of fun.

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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 love Oceania and we have another booked with them in 2020. I don’t agree with you on then rewarding loyalty quickly. We have 93 days on Oceania and even after our next cruise of 21 days we still won’t be out of the bronze level but they do so many things that we like that it doesn’t matter. We have Celebrity booked next and really looking forward to this cruise. It’s been a few years but loved them then and I’m sure we’ll love them now. It’s just hard to compare wth Oceania

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Okay...great tips on here with MSC Yacht Club...Suite/Oceania in a PHS or Concierge.../Viking Ocean, but need to pay upfront...got it! I have the Edge TA booked next April in an S1(10,000 for two)...I am willing to venture away from CCL if prices keep rising and for a comparison too. It is never good to get too complacent!!!

 

 

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I would suggest Princess. Celebrity is historically my favorite but the itineraries and prices often aren't the best and I've also tried Carnival, Royal, Norwegian and Princess, with only Princess being in the same league to me. Checking out HAL next, and I'd like to check out Oceania some day as well.

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Do make sure you're actually "in" the Yacht club. There are some large cabins that pax think are part of the Yacht club, but are in reality just that..large cabins.

 

I'm not stupid. I'm in a Yacht Club suite. Would not book MSC unless I were in the Yacht Club, ships are too large.

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I'm not stupid. I'm in a Yacht Club suite. Would not book MSC unless I were in the Yacht Club, ships are too large.
Just curious - I am used to celebrity S class ships, on which I don't usually feel it's crowded. Would you say the 'feel' in yacht club on MSC is similar to S class - imem not crowded. (I am worried that it would feel crowded aboard a ship with over 5k passengers). I realize this could be a subjective question, but just looking for people's input...

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b14b783edd965dae9b2297343b074767.jpg

Interesting this was in my mail today. Celebrity is really slipping.

 

 

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Just curious - I am used to celebrity S class ships, on which I don't usually feel it's crowded. Would you say the 'feel' in yacht club on MSC is similar to S class - imem not crowded. (I am worried that it would feel crowded aboard a ship with over 5k passengers). I realize this could be a subjective question, but just looking for people's input...

 

That was one of our concerns the first time we went on the Allure of the Seas (5,600 passengers, I think). The only time we really felt crowded was after the muster drill, after the parades, and the prime lunch hours in the Windjammer. We are doing our seventh and eighth cruises on the Allure in October, so the good offsets this.

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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?

 

We cruised RC a lot then swapped to X. Last year, however, we cruised Allure as we could only do 7 nights....The positives were it was out of school holiday time so few children, there are lots of different room types to try (we booked an aqua theatre suite) and it was nice to have a wide range of show types including ice show...

 

The real negatives for us were the food quality and concierge lounge....We dined in the speciality restaurants and Coastal Kitchen...The food was acceptable but nowhere outstanding. Service below Celebrity’s level too. The concierge lounge had nice views but uncomfortable seating, it could get busy and service was slow. If you were considering using the Diamond Lounge be warned it gets busy and guests do ‘chair hog’ for ‘friends coming later’. I was on crutches and these hogs were reluctant to let one chair go and looked all around the lounge first to be convinced there were no other chairs available....Just to finish off our poor experience in the Diamond lounge we popped in for a coffee one afternoon and on hearing myself and adult son talk a fellow guest challenged our right to be there because we came from England and therefore could not possibly be Diamond!

 

At the end of the day it depends what you want from your cruise. These big RC ships offer much better entertainment than X and do have some attractive areas. Would we cruise them again? To be honest, unlikely. Enjoying relaxing drinks in comfortable lounges and nice meals in small, pleasant restaurants are our priorities on a cruise....

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Viking Ocean is a step or two up. We still sail celebrity but are now alternating with VO.

 

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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. .

 

Tried MSC Divina YC 2+ yrs ago. Odd thing then was the drinks were free ONLY in YC 'compound'. $ if elsewhere on ship (they did have discount drink cards). Theatre shows were top quality - their non-YC dining won't win awards but entertainment does. They advertised their YC butlers trained in Bali resorts. At YC bar, regular bartender was absent. When I ordered 'margarita with fresh lime, Patron and Cointreau' I got some limes, shot of Patron, shot of Cointreau :cool:

 

After 30 X trips, we too are going off the X ranch - tried Oceania (v. nice), cancelled Windstar due to 2017 hurricane, and have 1st time river cruises booked with Viking and Scenic (all inclusive). So many choices

GOOD LUCK

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Princess is pretty good overall. I'm comparing Princess Royal class to Celebrity S class. Buffet on the Regal was the most varied we've seen. Celebrity specialty rest. are far superior to those on Princess(price point..you get more when you pay more)MDR food is comparable, but Celebrity is really sliding down hill in their MDR. Bathrooms on Celebrity are much better. Enclosed shower stalls are much better than a shower curtain sticking to your back.Towels are much better on Celebrity. The worst towels we ever saw were on the Regal.

For us we've done a switch to Oceania. We found the Riviera to be pretty damn close to a perfect fit for us. Outstanding food & an extremely cosseting & relaxing cruise. Price comparison here: 14 days on the Eclipse was about $2200PP for a balcony cabin & about $3800PP for the same time frame on the Riviera. Specialty rest. are complimentary, unless you dine in Le Reserve which pairs wine with your food. Entertainment is pretty lackluster. The FOOD is the entertainment & for those of us in the food industry, it was outstanding. The reason we booked 14 more days this Jan.

We’ve been considering Oceania, along with Azamara and Viking. Food quality is very important to me, so your opinion carries weight with me:) One of the things that has kept me from Azamara (aside from minuscule bathrooms) is the very mixed reviews about food. I hesitate to book Viking because though many reviews say the quality of the ingredients is very good, some reviews say the meals are bland. I want quality ingredients and creative - and complementary- seasonings. For your cruise price comparison, were you in a Veranda cabin on Oceania as well? How do you like the showers on Oceania.

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We cruised RC a lot then swapped to X. Last year, however, we cruised Allure as we could only do 7 nights....The positives were it was out of school holiday time so few children, there are lots of different room types to try (we booked an aqua theatre suite) and it was nice to have a wide range of show types including ice show...

 

The real negatives for us were the food quality and concierge lounge....We dined in the speciality restaurants and Coastal Kitchen...The food was acceptable but nowhere outstanding. Service below Celebrity’s level too. The concierge lounge had nice views but uncomfortable seating, it could get busy and service was slow. If you were considering using the Diamond Lounge be warned it gets busy and guests do ‘chair hog’ for ‘friends coming later’. I was on crutches and these hogs were reluctant to let one chair go and looked all around the lounge first to be convinced there were no other chairs available....Just to finish off our poor experience in the Diamond lounge we popped in for a coffee one afternoon and on hearing myself and adult son talk a fellow guest challenged our right to be there because we came from England and therefore could not possibly be Diamond!

 

At the end of the day it depends what you want from your cruise. These big RC ships offer much better entertainment than X and do have some attractive areas. Would we cruise them again? To be honest, unlikely. Enjoying relaxing drinks in comfortable lounges and nice meals in small, pleasant restaurants are our priorities on a cruise....

 

Having read this, it’s safe to say I’ll never try RC. Based on reviews alone, RCs food quality and service have always been factors for me, but I have been tempted occasionally to pop onto a last-minute RC cruise from Baltimore (a fairly short drive for me). Your description of the people in the Diamond Lounge who wouldn’t give up a saved seat to someone on crutches disgusts me. I promise you that either my DH or myself would have immediately offered you our chair. In fact, I don’t personally know anyone who wouldn’t have done. Beyond that, the unbelievable cheek - and ignorance- of the person who challenged your right to be in the lounge because, being British, you couldn’t be Diamond level. I’m very sorry you had those experiences.

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We sailed Azamara for a 27 day B2B. Got a good deal on a Club Continent Suite (the regular Veranda staterooms are small and come with the dreaded shower curtain :eek:). The food in MDR was good, and we really loved the two Specialty restaurants (which were complimentary for suite guests). The breakfast and lunch buffets were so so for food, but it was nice not to get trampled while at the buffet. We find Celebrity has better buffet items (although we are usually in Blu for breakfast). They have themed buffets at night (e.g. French, Seafood, Indian, etc) and a grill called the Patio, so lots of choices for a small ship which was a big plus. Service is really good on Azamara and we would love to sail with them again. I must say, though, their prices have also risen dramatically on many itineraries. We are interested in trying Oceania and Viking. For those on MSC Yacht class, please report back. Given it’s competitive pricing vis a vis AQ and Suites on Celebrity, I’m interested to know what you think.

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With the kids cruised mostly on Royal, plus a few Princess and Carnival. Now without them we've primarily sailed X. While we enjoy the product, it has definitely slipped over the years. Received a great offer on VO for October and jumped on it. Very excited to try something new.

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.....Oh, and MSC matched my Celebrity status with their highest status.

 

Interesting... how does that work and what would they offer that equates to Elite Plus?

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Interesting... how does that work and what would they offer that equates to Elite Plus?

Any top status gets black on msc, we are diamond plus and recently got black

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Having read this, it’s safe to say I’ll never try RC. Based on reviews alone, RCs food quality and service have always been factors for me, but I have been tempted occasionally to pop onto a last-minute RC cruise from Baltimore (a fairly short drive for me). Your description of the people in the Diamond Lounge who wouldn’t give up a saved seat to someone on crutches disgusts me. I promise you that either my DH or myself would have immediately offered you our chair. In fact, I don’t personally know anyone who wouldn’t have done. Beyond that, the unbelievable cheek - and ignorance- of the person who challenged your right to be in the lounge because, being British, you couldn’t be Diamond level. I’m very sorry you had those experiences.

 

 

Sincere thanks for your concern. You know we found our recent Diamond experience amusing rather than upsetting....Ironically after so many posts recently about children or adults under the influence of booze behaving badly our RC experience was not enhanced by a few older guests just being rather unwelcoming and selfish.....The same, I guess, could happen at peak time in any lounge....When we had booked our cruise our biggest concern had been naughty children which we had experienced on Oasis a few years ago! Whilst on paper the Diamond Lounge looks better than the Elite event in practice we find the Celebrity experience much better.

 

Re food....We really did find the dining experiences poor. It wasn’t just the food in was the whole ambiance....Chops in particular was very noisy, just not what we want from a restaurant at sea.

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Interesting... how does that work and what would they offer that equates to Elite Plus?

 

 

 

I submitted the status match to MSC based on reading this thread. They only go up to “elite” on the pull down menu for celebrity, so that must be enough for their highest status. It’s been couple of days, haven’t got anything back.

 

 

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Tried MSC Divina YC 2+ yrs ago. Odd thing then was the drinks were free ONLY in YC 'compound'. $ if elsewhere on ship (they did have discount drink cards)

GOOD LUCK

 

 

No longer true. If you are in the Yacht Club you have drinks available to you all over the ship (this also includes the delicious Gelato, Gelato drinks and milkshakes,) and, of course, a fully stocked mini bar that is replenished each day.

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