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Royal Caribbean cruiser tries Celebrity- the differences.

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Hubby and I have been cruising for about 15 years, all RC until now. We are 54/50 , not big drinkers or sunbathers, do not smoke, and do not have children. We enjoyed both lines and will cruise both again,  as long as I find Celebrity price deals  close to RC prices.  We were on the Celebrity Equinox, which was laid out like the RC Radiance class, but sized between Radiance and Voyager class.  Our cruise was fully booked. Here are the differences between the lines for us:

 

Celebrity differences that stood out: 

 

I am not slamming RC, what we missed will be listed after this section.

 

Orange juice/champagne offered as you walk on- nice, especially if you are thirsty!

 

The service all around was EXCEPTIONAL - from the bathroom attendants to dining room to room attendants. ALL employees were smiling, friendly, helpful and appeared genuinely happy.  No one was even a bit indifferent or put out, even if you asked a question that was not theirs to answer or do. The bars were more highly staffed, not so much waiting time to get served.

 

Even the concierge was not put out by a request for a table alone at any time. She  just asked if you would like to wait, and gave you a thingy (cannot think of the name)  to sit down a a bar with and come back when it was lit/buzzing. On RC, I have been simply been told "no" at peak times at lunch or breakfast. 

 

There was always plenty of seating, in the Solarium and in all the lounges that surrounded the Centrum ( an RC word) on each level. I have never such a high quantity of comfortable seating everywhere on a ship before.

 

The Sky lounge- that large lounge at the top of the ship that you can see the water from all around - I cannot remember if it is the front or back of the ship- is available to all.  On RC, it has been converted to a higher tiers/suite guests only lounge.

 

There were almost no children. 

 

The average age of cruisers was probably in the 60s. While there certainly were some people in 20s-30s, there were a lot more people in 70s and 80s. As we are in our 50s, we felt like many people were older than we are, but maybe 50s and 60s may be hard to tell apart.

 

No smoking in the casino, and what seemed like a lot less on deck. Although I know there were some places to smoke, I did not notice them much. As someone who has an asthmatic reaction to smoke, my asthma was never triggered. If smoking was allowed in door anywhere, we must have just never passed through that area.

 

The theatre entertainment was probably 70s to 80s music, maybe a bit 60s. I loved it. The dancers were exceptional- and modern .The comedians  were funny w/o depending on swearing and true vulgarity to make people laugh. Hubby preferred the production shows on RC, as they had more of a theme than these did. I enjoyed the variety and unpredictability of the production shows  more than he did.  The costumes/dress was much nicer on Celebrity. The late night  shows were at 10:45 or 11:00 instead of midnight- nice for us! 

 

The music in the Centrum was really loud, even 4 floors up, as well as in the lounges. This actually prevented us from enjoying it. There were not really/much individual lounges with different music types. Most was more centralized, and loud. Possibly we could have found more with more effort.

 

The smaller game shows were often in more of a lobby with minimal seating than a lounge, and at 8:00. This was a difficult time to get to between dinner and the main shows.

 

Dinner dress was always smart causal at its most casual. Seriously, not even 1% wore t-shirts to the dining room. I looked, hoping to see that I could get away with it, but not so. 

 

The food-  The dining room food was upgraded, but still not always a choice we wanted. There were nights that 3 or 4 things were good, and those that 3 or 4 were all still not to our taste. The buffet was better than RC, but still not awesome. However, the buffet was always open, even until midnight. You could get pizza ( which was really good, definitely an upgrade) freshly cooked pasta, extensive salad bar, icecream (flavor variety, not soft serve) and deserts all the time, except maybe breakfast. Sadly, the deserts were not any better than RC. The coke package provided cans of coke rather than fountain drinks. I think the basic coffee was better.

 

The staterooms feel were similar, but only about 1/2 the storage in the closet and dresser draws. 

 

I enjoyed Persian Gardens ( the hot stone chairs in the spa) but probably would not pay for that again. 199.00 for the week. Chairs were available every time I went. 

 

Shopping was all high-end, plus some t-shirts and mugs. There were a lot less shops and they were not together with seating/lounges around them like a promenade.

 

What we missed from RC:

 

Wearing t-shirts on causal nights to the dining room!!!

The foot stools in the balcony's.

The in room gifts.

Twice the storage.

Listening to music in the lounges.

Much bigger arcade.

The promenade shops- layout, variety, quantity, and lower price point merchandise.

A lot more activity choices. Even 2 or 3 times the amount of Bingo, for instance. The Cruise Compass had easily twice or more listings.

The smaller game shows in lounges and timed after the later main show- we go to most of these.

Higher decks available for rooms are not extremely pricy (say deck 9-10 vs. 7 being the comparable price in Celebrity.) We liked being able to walk up a flight or 2 for the buffet or solarium. 

 

Both cruise lines offer a fantastic cruise experience!

 

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Thanks for your thoughts.  I would agree with most of them.

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Nice Comparison...we are glad there are still differences!

Equinox is one of our fav ships! We usually are in AQ Class but are not fans if the Persian Gardens on M Class.   Much nicer on M Class..will be trying EDGE next week!

 

On S class we enjoy the Ensemble lounge for more mellow music....

It is away from the central atrium..

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I agree with most also. As a Celebrity cruiser, i recently did a TA on Royal. Granted it was a smaller, older ship, but here are some of the differences I noticed.

 

Fake plants

 

Plastic plates in the buffet

 

Paper towels in the bathrooms. 

 

Crew was not as friendly as Celebrity. We are used to almost everyone greeting us as we pass, saw very little of that on RC.

 

Limited live music. When there was live music in the main atrium, it was LOUD, I couldn't stand to be in the room.

 

Obnoxious TV screen blaring loudly 24 hours a day on the pool deck. The live piano player was fun. 

 

Food wasn't as good. Granted, I have eaten in Blu for most of my cruises, so don't have a comparison to the main dining room. The pasta chef on the Vision of the Seas was amazing, every pasta dish was wonderful. Seemed like every main was served with mashed potatoes that tasted like instant. Desserts were pretty much the same every night.

 

They had a Chef's Table dinner with wine pairing that was wonderful. 

 

No other wine tasting events. There was one supposed to occur, which I had signed up for the first day - evidently I was the only wine drinker that heard about it. The night before I mentioned it to another couple at the our table. They bought tickets. It wasn't on the daily the next day. I was assured it was scheduled. The three of us showed up and the table was set, but we were told if more people didn't show up they couldn't open the bottles for just the three of us. No one else arrived, so they rescheduled. That day it was on the daily, but no one was to be found.

 

Other events were good. Had a sushi making class that was hands on and fun. A mystery game, napkin folding. 

 

We did play a fun game at the Cruise Critic party, but unfortunately it took way too long and there was no time to discuss shared tours or other planned activities.

 

Spa services were less expensive. Had an affordable sale every day - like Celebrity used to when they Elemis.

 

No IPA beer available.

 

RC had a dedicated Diamond lounge with good coffee and tea available 24 hours a day. Very similar to the suite lounge. We were in a suite so could visit both. But the elite perks are much better than diamond.

 

No butler in the suite. I've never been in a suite on Celebrity, so I don't know if that is a positive or a negative.

 

No digital photo options, still had all of the pictures lined up.

 

A lot of these are little things, but I guess that's why we choose to pay a little more for Celebrity.

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I often joke that the difference I found between Celebrity and Royal is that on Royal, people ask to join our laughing and boisterous cruising group (usually same 6 people), while on Celebrity we get tut tutted.

 

Not to say I don't love Celebrity, I certainly do. Especially the smoking restrictions. In fact we just booked a cruise on the $25 deposit sale.

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Thank you so much for a descriptive post. I appreciate this information since I'm a regular Celebrity Cruiser, but have not yet tried Royal.

 

Just as an FYI -- you can get foot stools on the balcony in celebrity, if you stay in a concierge class stateroom.

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7 hours ago, Shadow9612 said:

Thank you so much for a descriptive post. I appreciate this information since I'm a regular Celebrity Cruiser, but have not yet tried Royal.

 

Just as an FYI -- you can get foot stools on the balcony in celebrity, if you stay in a concierge class stateroom.

Not on EDGE!  balc furn is not a big hit..hope they change it up..

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7 hours ago, Shadow9612 said:

Just as an FYI -- you can get foot stools on the balcony in celebrity, if you stay in a concierge class stateroom.

 

5 minutes ago, hcat said:

Not on EDGE!  balc furn is not a big hit..hope they change it up..

 

OOPS! 

 

Very sorry for the misleading statement!  I was writing about an Edge post, thinking of my S class experiences.    

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18 hours ago, LucasLounger1 said:

I often joke that the difference I found between Celebrity and Royal is that on Royal, people ask to join our laughing and boisterous cruising group (usually same 6 people), while on Celebrity we get tut tutted.

 

There are 10 of us trying out the Allure this October on a Caribbean B2B. I fear with us all being Brits who like to drink (we all have the delux beverage package) we will be hogging the dance floors and raising a few eyebrows at the bars. Maybe I should keep quiet about recommending Celebrity for our next group cruise!

Edited by Esprit

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4 minutes ago, Esprit said:

 

There are 10 of us trying out the Allure this October on a Caribbean B2B. I fear with us all being Brits who like to drink (we all have the delux beverage package) we will be hogging the dance floors and raising a few eyebrows at the bars. Maybe I should keep quiet about recommending Celebrity for our next group cruise!

Funny!  Two of our group are Brits who emigrated to Canada in the 70s.  From Liverpool, no less!

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We've just got off the Celebrity Silhouette, our first cruise with Celebrity after being with RCI for 10 previous cruises. Sadly, we won't be sailing with Celebrity again. We didn't notice anything better with them over RCI - food, service etc was comparable. We had Select dining and had prebooked our dining times in advance but each evening we still had to join a queue with everyone else who HADN'T prebooked so what was the point in them taking reservations? Not good service there! We found the evenings to be pretty dull, there's not much atmosphere in the bars and the entertainment was poor, perhaps it's because the age demographic is older than RCI. The theatre shows weren't good - a juggler, clown, 2 tenors and a Whitney impersonator did not appeal to us. The music in the Atrium was aimed at the older client and one of the bars (Ensemble?) was always deathly quiet with people actually asleep in their chairs! Each morning around the pool a dancercise class was held which was basically line dancing to the same music each day - I was ready to smash the speakers in by day 5! The Caribbean/light reggae poolside groups on RCI were much missed by us. The large RCI ships have a much better flow in the layout, especially those with a promenade, and the entertainment is much superior. We're in our 60s but enjoy being surrounded by a wider age range, and although my musical heyday was 70s Motown and Disco I also enjoy music from the 80s, 90s, and recent stuff too. I sound like we hated this cruise which is just not the case - we had a great time, especially as, for some reason, our room steward left 4 bottles of Sparkling wine in our room for us over the course of the 12 nights! But we feel that Celebrity just doesn't do it for us and won't sail with them again.

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I just disembarked Silhouette on Friday, February 1st, so I suppose Mim Lloyd was on the same cruise.  We, too, had Select Dining and reservations and never had to wait.  There were in fact two lines, one for reservations and one for those without, on the port side of the MDR entrance.  Did you not think the comedian, Dan Wilson was funny?  And Cosmopolitan, one of Silhouette's production shows is absolute fantastic, IMHO.  

 

To the OP,  there is soft-serve ice cream in the Buffet and at the Mast Grille.  And we generally find the desserts better at Cafe al Bachio than in the MDR.  The treats are free at the Cafe, only the drinks have a charge.  

 

I agree with another poster that Celebrity's ladies rooms with orchid plants and hand rolled cotton towels are a very elegant touch.

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Yes, we were on the same cruise. The last 2 nights of our cruise they had separate lines for Reserved and Non Reserved at the dining room, but we ate elsewhere on those nights. Definitely no separation on the other nights but maybe it depended on what time you wanted to dine? I, and a few others diners, did complain about this so maybe the attendant on duty got fed up with the moaning and got something done!

 

American comedians don't always appeal to British humour - and vice versa so no, I didn't think he was that funny. But humour is very subjective I think. None of the production shows piqued our interest but after seeing Hairspray, the Aquatic aerialists and the excellent ice shows on RCI's Allure, Oasis and Symphony, it would be hard for any other shows on any other ship lines to match the production and cast quality of those. Maybe if we'd not have travelled on any other cruise line than Celebrity our opinion of it might have been higher as we'd have had nothing to compare to. And having a 'posh' Ladies toilet isn't that important to me, I just want it to be clean! But that was how we felt - as I said, we're in our 60s but felt too young to be on the Silhouette!

Edited by Mim Lloyd

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One thing that really bothered me with RC is with the "megaships" getting on and off the boat feels like a busy day at Disneyland. Long lines to get on and off the boat depending on ports. 

 

The food on RC is also just not up to par even in the specialty restaurants. I know food is subjective so I suppose if you think sizzler or outbacks in good steak you'll be fine.

 

No thanks. 

Edited by reposado

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My DH and I used to do RCCL, but that was when we were in our late 30's.  We love Celebrity and have not had a poor cruise yet, but I do leave room for one open, as everything is not always perfect.  We normally do not do the shows, but will definitely try a few on Edge.  Lately, we have cruised in Sky Suites, so things have been really great, along with the fact that we eat early.  Since Celebrity is owned by RCCL, your business is not being lost to another line, so to speak...just happy that not everyone loves Celebrity, as the prices would even go higher, and they are high enough now!

 

Thanks for your opinion and review...yes, so much is subjective, along with cabin choice, dinner time etc...although, I really do enjoy Brit' humor too...I hear the shows on Edge have really improved, so much so that many are unable to obtain seats...

Edited by Lastdance
Please get better Edge' furniture for suites!!!

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We cruise with Celebrity and RC. We like them both. We like the differences between the two. Variety. They both are a good value for us. 

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Do people really wear t-shirts to dinner in the MDR on RC or was that at the buffet (or at lunchtime)?

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Thank you for your review and perspective.  My DH and I have been sailing Celebrity recently but have sailed RC.  We were taking our 21 and 24 year old DS and DD this past December and decided to go on the Allure.  We had never been on a ship that large and we also thought they might enjoy RC more than Celebrity because they are young.  

 

I know people complain about the cost of Celebrity, but we feel like we get a good value.  Our Jan 2017 5-night cruise on the Independence in an E2 balcony with $400 OBC cost us $50 more than our Jan 2020 5-night cruise on the Infinity in an aft Aqua with drink package, gratuities, and $300 OBC.  This doesn't include anything that our TA gave us.  Since we always buy the drink package, the value adds up even more.

 

I do agree that Celebrity needs to do a better job with their "game shows".  We like to go to all of the shows and are not picky at all.  We enjoyed them equally on both ships.  However, on Celebrity we often miss some of the game shows or short dance shows that they like to have around 8 PM like the OP said.

 

When we were on the Allure, we really missed the food on Celebrity.  We had pre-purchased the first two night dinner package which was wonderful.  The third night in the MDR was so surprisingly bad.  We are not food snobs at all but we enjoy a nice meal and generally don't splurge much on it at home.  We asked if we could get a deal on a specialty package and they offered us 3 for $99.  We took it and had three more wonderful specialty meals.  Late-night pizza every night got old and they charge for room service on RC.

 

We also missed the nice lounge chairs with the pads on Celebrity.  The chilled towels from the pool butlers are nice too.  I agree that the bars were staffed better on Celebrity although the casino drink service was outstanding on RC and it is often slow on Celebrity.  I found the staff to be friendly in general on RC, but you definitely got the feeling that it was less personal than on Celebrity.  It just felt more business-like on RC.  The first day the promenade on RC was an absolute madhouse with people trying to figure out how to get their internet working, how to sign up for their shows, etc.   If I could transplant the Central Park area onto a Celebrity ship, that would be heaven.  I loved the outdoor dining and all of the plants.  

 

The most surprising thing for us was that our kids really like doing the things we like doing and we felt they would have had a great time on Celebrity.  My DD and I are going on RC this summer with the ladies of the family.  My DH and I would consider RC again if we got an excellent deal, or maybe for a transatlantic.  

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13 hours ago, SunsetPoint said:

Do people really wear t-shirts to dinner in the MDR on RC or was that at the buffet (or at lunchtime)?

I do for breakfast and lunch in the MDR. I don't in the evening (SD). We don't pay attention to what others wear. 

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14 hours ago, davekathy said:

We cruise with Celebrity and RC. We like them both. We like the differences between the two. Variety. They both are a good value for us. 

I agree with you.  Cruising both lines gives us plenty of choices and experiences!  We like them both too.  On Cruise Critic many posters love to compare and contrast and of course it is all subjective opinion.  That is a lot of what this site is about and why we participate. For us, instead of choosing one cruise line over another, we tend to go more with itineraries, type of ship, pricing, convenience, and this varies widely even within a single cruise line.  No need to just dismiss one over the other and limit our options.

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Thank you OP for your fair and balanced review!  I appreciate when someone takes the time to point out the pros and cons of each cruise line. 

 

I have a question, you mentioned in room gifts.  I've done a few RCI cruises and I don't recall any gifts.  Oh wait, I did get a big bottle of water but I thought that was associated with the suite we booked.  What gifts do they give you?

 

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Appreciate the comparison, my wife and I are in our mid 40s and have cruised many times with X, HAL and NCL. We have always wanted to try RC but we like to have a drinks package and whenever we factor that into the cost RC always appears expensive to us, especially on the new larger ships. Your description of RC sounds similar to our experiences on NCL, more laid back especially in regards to dress and many more activities and entertainment. We like to mix it up.

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Thanks for posting this - both the OP and the additional comments. In February 2020 I'll be on my first Celebrity cruise and it's always helpful to read comparisons.

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15 hours ago, SunsetPoint said:

Do people really wear t-shirts to dinner in the MDR on RC or was that at the buffet (or at lunchtime)?

 

We got off the Edge a week ago and I wore a t-shirt to the MDR a few nights. No problem at all. I even saw a person wearing shorts one night and nobody said anything (I always wore jeans). 

Edited by DaCruiseBug

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