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Tree_skier

Princess vs Royal Caribbean

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We are not veteran cruisers. We sailed once with RC back in 2007 and loved it and last year we did a Mediterranean with MSC loved the itinerary but felt the on-board experience was substantially different (read inferior) from what we remembered on RCI. We now have to cruises book with RCI, one in Oct 2018 and another short one in April 2019. This week friends are trying to convince us to take a 10 day Alaskan cruise with them out of San Fran. Sept 2019. I feel like i have an idea about what my onboard experience will be like on our upcoming two RCI cruises thanks to all of you here at CC. I know Princess has a good reputation and I'm sure that it will be a great cruise, I'm just curious about the differences one might experience between these two lines. For information purposes we have and are planning on purchasing a balcony cruise on all cruises if that affects your experience it would be great to understand any differences you might know of

 

Regards

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Are you asking about a Princess Alaska cruise specifically?

 

I have done a few Royal Caribbean Alaska cruises, as has a friend of mine. She just went on a Princess Alaska cruise and LOVED it. LOVED LOVED LOVED.

 

I would not hesitate to take that Princess cruise to Alaska if I were you.

 

Puppies in the Plaza!!!

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While I have never sailed on Princess, I have done a few ship tours and my impression is the average Princess cruiser is older and there is a less youthful ambience. Hard to explain, but I talked to the Princess PR manager and he confirmed. Nothing wrong with that, but being 42 I just felt out of place and too young. The aft pools on Sapphire Princess (that I toured this summer) was very lovely though. Service seemed fine, friendly faces all around. If you like afternoon tea you will love Princess. If you prefer bar-hopping and drinking bahama mamas, go for Royal :-)

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We have done three Alaska cruise tours over the past nine or so years. Our first was on Princess and we had a great time. Our next two were on RCI and we had an even better time on both of those. RCI provided a dedicated tour guide for the entire land portion of the trip while that was not part of the basic Princess offering. Our excursion in Denali on Princess was the very basic Natural History tour which did not take us far into the park while RCI included the tour which took us far further into Denali where we saw a much larger variety of wildlife, including a Momma Bear and her three cubs who climbed over the guard rail and walked beside our bus and continued on their way down the road. While Princess certainly delivered an excellent trip, overall we felt that RCI much better met our expectations. Princess did take us into Glacier Bay but frankly I did not feel I missed much of anything on the cruise portion of our RCI ventures. I think you should have a good time on either line.

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Basically it would be what your expectations are. Some things are better on Princes and other things on RCI.

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I have mainly sailed Princess but have also sailed most mass market cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean. Princess is more about refined elegance and quality food in a non-pretentious atmosphere. You’re not gonna find the entertainment bells and whistles that RC has like water slides and rock walls, but you will still be well-entertained with daily activities that you’d find on RC too like bingo, trivia, and game shows. There are far fewer children on Princess, and the age skews higher for sure, but I’m in my 30s and love it! The ship you’re considering is the Grand Princess so one of the oldest on the fleet, but I went on it a few years ago and loved it. Princess ships really make you feel you’re experiencing the sea, something DH and I really appreciate. I think you’ll have fun on both cruise lines. Certainly you’ll be able to compare them and see what you think, but don’t hesitate to do Princess for Alaska. Princess does Alaska SO well!! It’s one of the original cruise lines to sail Alaska.

 

 

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Just a few thoughts from our experience (9 cruises, 5 between lines you mentioned)

 

Regarding RC and Princess......RC is higher paced with more activities which can keep kids and families more entertained.....we liked food on princess better but that is always subjective, princess ships slightly more elegant and subdued but nothing wrong with RC as they have some nice ships, sometimes it also depends on which exact ship you are talking about on the different cruise lines (how recently they were updated in drydock, small ships vs big ships in both cruise lines have major difference in amenities) services for us has been great on princess and very good on RC but again that can depend on which ship and cruise staff,

 

 

Regarding Alaska: (We have been 3 times). September can be a questionable time for any cruise line going to Alaska with more cold and rainy weather and less day light than other months., we LOVE balaconies but having balconies in Sept can be much less usable in Alaska, not saying all September is bad weather but it is much less desireable than July July and August..........also the itinerary can matter, if Glacier Bay is important to you then Princess or Holland has more permits to visit glacier bay than royal or cruise lines.....

 

 

Sounds like you enjoy traveling so have a great trip whatever you decide

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We've sailed with both multiple times, plus Carnival and Celebrity. Our preference is to sail with RCI/Celebrity when at all possible. We had a couple of bad experiences with Carnival so were nervous about sailing with anyone but RCI. But, we liked Princess' Alaska itinerary better and the dates fit with our calendar better so we gave it a go. We liked it so well that we booked a Princess British Isles cruise for the following year while onboard the Alaska cruise. We saw very little difference between Princess and RCI cruises on like-sized ships. As for the other two lines we've tried; loved Celebrity, but they are a bit pricier. We will never sail Carnival again - as I said, had a couple of bad experiences + just our personal preference.

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For Alaska Princess would be our choice for sure. (y)

Princess and HAL have been offering cruises to Alaska for a very long time and have great itineraries.

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Just a few thoughts from our experience (9 cruises, 5 between lines you mentioned)

 

Regarding RC and Princess......RC is higher paced with more activities which can keep kids and families more entertained.....we liked food on princess better but that is always subjective, princess ships slightly more elegant and subdued but nothing wrong with RC as they have some nice ships, sometimes it also depends on which exact ship you are talking about on the different cruise lines (how recently they were updated in drydock, small ships vs big ships in both cruise lines have major difference in amenities) services for us has been great on princess and very good on RC but again that can depend on which ship and cruise staff,

 

 

Regarding Alaska: (We have been 3 times). September can be a questionable time for any cruise line going to Alaska with more cold and rainy weather and less day light than other months., we LOVE balaconies but having balconies in Sept can be much less usable in Alaska, not saying all September is bad weather but it is much less desireable than July July and August..........also the itinerary can matter, if Glacier Bay is important to you then Princess or Holland has more permits to visit glacier bay than royal or cruise lines.....

 

 

Sounds like you enjoy traveling so have a great trip whatever you decide

 

 

Just for clarity Royal and Celebrity have zero permits to visit Glacier Bay.

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We did a Princess 10 day cruise 12 years ago. We did have a good time. The fact that it was 10 days meant a much older crowd. The one bartender joked with us that the average age was dead. My Wife, myself and the couple we came with were the only ones in the bars after 10PM. The longer the cruise the older the crowd.

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Just for clarity Royal and Celebrity have zero permits to visit Glacier Bay.

 

True above and something you don't want to miss.

Don't worry: Princess is NOT a "floating nursinghome"! :D

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Have done both lines multiple times , my big gripe on princes was ships seemed more crowded than rccl, hard to get seats for shows , once saw a fist fight over saved seats on a princess cruise.

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We sail a lot D+ on Royal and have only taken one cruise on Princess. We went to Alaska last year on Princess. Food was very good.

 

Cost was good.

 

The room, junior suite, was great but the balcony was not so good. There was no covering over the balcony. Once we left the room, we were exposed to the elements.

 

The pool area had no heating or wind protection, therefore everyone that usually hung out at the pool area was crowded into the public areas making us think the ship was over packed. Our next trip to Alaska, no matter the cruise line, I want to find out if that ship has a pool covering...otherwise, you can consider the pool closed.

 

We will probably never sail Princess again because of the murder a few doors from our cabin. Princess, the captain, and the crew were top notch and did a wonderful job during a horrible time.

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Sailed on both many times, RCL better shows, Windjammer, that is food stations instead a one long cafeteria line. Princess felt more crowded, older passengers, and better selection of food in MDR.

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We have sailed Princess the most and it is our first choice. However timing and itineraries haven't worked out for us lately. For us the itinerary is the destination not the ship especially in places like Alaska and Europe. Our kids are grown so activity isn't a priority. You will find that the food and service is on par with Royal Caribbean but like others have said it does draw and older crowd especially in Alaska. Princess does have a good reputation for Alaska and if you were going to try this line Alaska would be the itinerary to base it on. I think that all of the mass market lines are interchangeable for the Caribbean but Alaska is about the scenery. If you enjoy formal nights Princess is one of the few lines left where 80% dress up on formal night and no shorts in the MDR in the evening even in the Caribbean.

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We started cruising on Princess 20 years ago when our daughter was 10 but after a less than wonderful trip, we switched to RCI and have remained somewhat loyal. We have gone back to Princess a couple of times for the itinerary. Princess is more elegant but has less evening ship activities. Their casinos (important to me) are also much smaller and not always open when it should be able to be open.

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Princess cruises to the Caribbean have plenty of people in their 30-40s with young kids. Especially during school breaks.

Having sailed on both Princess and RCI, I must say that the food on Princess wins hands down. Food was the reason we switched from RCI to Princess and didn't regret our decision.

That said, next year we are coming back to RCI, because Princess has NOTHING to do onboard for families with kids. Nada. If your kid doesn't go to kid's club, you are forced to drag him with you all over the ship and only participate in activities that also allow children to be around. Our kid went to everything from bingo to happy hour to culinary demonstrations. He was very bored (thank goodness for his tablet with games and cartoons). The evening shows were also very late and very loud and very boring for him.

 

Next year I am looking forward to having lots of family fun on the Allure: carousel, rock climbing, ice skating, the shows which are a lot more young kid friendly and more entertaining, gawking at the Flowrider people, etc. I am sure none of us will go hungry on RCI, even if the food is a bit more boring than Princess'.

 

So, if you want a more active vacation on board, go with RCI. If you are into a relaxing, laid back atmosphere with good food - Princess.

Temperatures on an Alaska cruise will probably be a lot colder, so pool and sunbathing are probably out anyway.

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Just for clarity Royal and Celebrity have zero permits to visit Glacier Bay.

 

This would be the only reason we would choose Princess over Royal for an Alaskan cruise tour. I would also suggest doing the land before sea. The land portion was fast paced. The tour moving you from lodge to lodge can be a little tiring and it's nice to kick back once you get on the ship.

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We've done both RCCL & Princess. Our last cruise was the Royal Princess and our next cruise will be Serenade of the Seas. We enjoyed both and wouldn't hesitate to travel with either one. Others have indicated age differences and that is true to a point. Time of year and itinerary can dictate the average age for some cruises. Summer holidays, spring break, etc. To us, what we like about Princess over RCCL is the self serve laundry on each of the decks with cabins. It's especially convenient on longer cruises as you don't have to pack as many clothes or pay the higher prices for laundry service. Wash an dry per load runs around $12.00.

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My wife and I are coming from a different side of the equation. We are elite passengers on Princess; however, we will be taking our first RCCL cruise in December. We are traveling with my brother and his wife, who are diamond + passengers on RCCL. They didn't want to sail on anything but an RCCL cruise... so we agreed to change our loyalties and book the RCCL cruise my brother wanted to take.

 

I have to say from our viewpoint Princess is far, far better in the organizational and pre-cruise set-up materials. I will my comments on the cruise itself… until we have completed the cruise.

 

I guess my frustration comes from trying to work with the RCCL webpage. It is just ridiculous! I find it hard to believe it can be that bad and while I’ve read many negative comments from loyal RCCL passengers on CC… nothing gets done to improve the page! It seems to be a standing joke among the RCCL Cruise Critic community. The website constantly kicks you off with “reservation number not found” or just drops you with a “bad input error”. Once you do get logged in (and that usually takes five or six tries) you must completely re-enter ALL of your cruise information before your cruise planner will load. (Why do you have to constantly input information already easily available to RCCL??)! Between the “cruise being modified” or “cruise cannot be found” it is difficult to remain positive and/ or patient!

We are going to give the cruise an honest chance… my wife and I are expecting to have a great time; however, as I have told my brother our onboard experiences had better be a damn sight better than their website! If it is not… it will be a very, long cruise for my wife and I and my brother!

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My wife and I are coming from a different side of the equation. We are elite passengers on Princess; however, we will be taking our first RCCL cruise in December. We are traveling with my brother and his wife, who are diamond + passengers on RCCL. They didn't want to sail on anything but an RCCL cruise... so we agreed to change our loyalties and book the RCCL cruise my brother wanted to take.

 

I have to say from our viewpoint Princess is far, far better in the organizational and pre-cruise set-up materials. I will my comments on the cruise itself… until we have completed the cruise.

 

I guess my frustration comes from trying to work with the RCCL webpage. It is just ridiculous! I find it hard to believe it can be that bad and while I’ve read many negative comments from loyal RCCL passengers on CC… nothing gets done to improve the page! It seems to be a standing joke among the RCCL Cruise Critic community. The website constantly kicks you off with “reservation number not found” or just drops you with a “bad input error”. Once you do get logged in (and that usually takes five or six tries) you must completely re-enter ALL of your cruise information before your cruise planner will load. (Why do you have to constantly input information already easily available to RCCL??)! Between the “cruise being modified” or “cruise cannot be found” it is difficult to remain positive and/ or patient!

We are going to give the cruise an honest chance… my wife and I are expecting to have a great time; however, as I have told my brother our onboard experiences had better be a damn sight better than their website! If it is not… it will be a very, long cruise for my wife and I and my brother!

I coming from the other line myself being Platinum on Princess. My frustration is the ambiguous pricing on the drink packages that are also a joke with Loyal Royals. There seems to be a new thread every day with confusion on the sale price. I can't wait until it's time to check in and print the boarding pass and luggage tags. That should be an experience.

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Just a few thoughts from our experience (9 cruises, 5 between lines you mentioned)

 

Regarding RC and Princess......RC is higher paced with more activities which can keep kids and families more entertained.....we liked food on princess better but that is always subjective, princess ships slightly more elegant and subdued but nothing wrong with RC as they have some nice ships, sometimes it also depends on which exact ship you are talking about on the different cruise lines (how recently they were updated in drydock, small ships vs big ships in both cruise lines have major difference in amenities) services for us has been great on princess and very good on RC but again that can depend on which ship and cruise staff,

 

 

Regarding Alaska: (We have been 3 times). September can be a questionable time for any cruise line going to Alaska with more cold and rainy weather and less day light than other months., we LOVE balaconies but having balconies in Sept can be much less usable in Alaska, not saying all September is bad weather but it is much less desireable than July July and August..........also the itinerary can matter, if Glacier Bay is important to you then Princess or Holland has more permits to visit glacier bay than royal or cruise lines.....

 

 

Sounds like you enjoy traveling so have a great trip whatever you decide

 

Just for clarity Royal and Celebrity have zero permits to visit Glacier Bay.

 

Just to clarify: Royal Caribbean is BANNED from Glacier Bay.

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