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nwcruisemamma

Need help deciding between two cruises

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Trying to decide between 14 night Circle Caribbean on Princess and 11 night Ultimate Caribbean on Celebrity Reflection.

We are a mid 40s couple not into drinking or parties.  We like magicians, comedy and karaoke. 

The most important thing to us is delicious food!

Please help us pick, thanks!

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Posted (edited)

Have cruised often with Celebrity (which is our typical first choice) but not on Princess, so I can't offer a comparison. I think both are good cruise lines, but I can say Celebrity would offer all that you are looking for.  But 14 days v 11 would be a temptation.  I would suggest comparing both itineraries closely to see if one holds any advantage in terms of different ports of call or days at sea, etc., and maybe start there.

 

Good luck - I'm sure you'll enjoy either one.

 

Edited by leaveitallbehind

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Have not sailed on either line (although I do have two booked on Princess, and the first one at 28 days is not exactly dipping our toes in). I have been told that as HAL fankids, we would like Celebrity. 

 

I would guess that anything over a week on a main stream line will have a night (show) of magic and one of comedy, with longer cruises perhaps having a night of a variety show with several performers repeating in shorter gigs.

 

To find out if one of those lines (and particularly the ships you are looking at) specializing in say, a comedy club, I suggest you go to each lines sub-forum here and re-ask the question about your four interests, and do give the ships as it may matter quite a bit. You're fine to ask especially for people who have been on the other line to compare!

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/16-celebrity-cruises/

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/119-princess-cruises/

 

I would be leaning to the extra days, except maybe if the prices favored the shorter one so much you could do something very special on an excursion with the difference.

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Celebrity has always had a good reputation overall for their food quality.  Both lines are considered to be a little more elegant and less party-ish than the lower end, mainstream lines (Royal, NCL, Carnival).

 

There could still be a lot of factors for this decision.  The longer the cruise is, the fewer kids aboard, typically.  I agree with the question about price difference. If you can afford it and easily have the extra time, why not get more days aboard?  Does any price difference allow you to upgrade to a nicer stateroom?  You'll have to check the entertainment from the websites to choose a preference on that aspect. 

 

How important are the port differences to you? We sail more for the ship but the longer cruise will be more likely to get to more, and perhaps more interesting (less visited) ports.  How did you narrow it to these two choices?  If you can afford a 14 day on Princess, that suggests a budget supporting many other potential lines, ships, and options as well.

 

If I were your travel agent, I would be asking these and many more questions to help decide. :)

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I’ve not sailed princess. I have sailed celebrity. The main things you mentioned were in regards to food and entertainment. I think the food on celebrity is good and the specialty restaurants are outstanding but the prices are high. The evening entertainment can be hit or miss. They will do 3 production shows plus an acrobatic show. There may be a comedian and magician on that long a sailing, not sure. But my experience is they tend to fill the longer cruises with evening shows that are music focused and not to my taste. Solo singers singing very old songs, string quartet, etc. I would not rate celebrity as a high on the entertainment spectrum. I don’t know if princess is better. My favorite line for entertainment is norwegian.

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I had no problem with the food on Princess. All things considered it was better than expected. The speciality Italian was very good, the Steak House no as good but perfectly acceptable ... apart from one obnoxious loud mouthed diner which can happen anywhere 😀

Entertainment is subjective, I am quite capable of doing my own thing without being told how to have fun or where to party 🤮

Easy enough to find a quite spot to ‘chill’ ....

 

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I enjoyed my cruise on Caribbean Princess, but found the ship very crowded, especially in the dining room.  Also, my balcony cabin felt small and had no couch.  

 

Celebrity Solstice Class on the other hand are my favorite ships.  It's tough to recommend the shorter cruise but I don't think Caribbean is in the same league as Reflection.  

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OP - you may not get many comparison responses here.  I suggest you post a more general question about each itinerary and ship (which Princess ship is doing that itinerary?) on their respective boards.  Then you can get a flavor of the pluses and minuses of each.

 

Is the Princess itinerary a true 14 days or is it a back to back (eastern Caribbean, return to Fort Lauderdale, western Caribbean or vice versa)?  If it is a back to back the menues and production shows will repeat as they are on a 7 day cycle.  If it is a true 14 day itinerary they will not repeat.

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It sounds to me that OP would prefer Celebrity (slightly) over Princess;  then I would lean towards the longer cruise — but the itinerary of each could make a big difference.  I would prefer a shorter Eastern or Southern Caribbean over a longer Western.

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Been on both. Reflection by a mile. Better ship, better accommodations, better specialty restaurants, less crowding, and you don’t have to pay to use the adults only Solarium (unlike having to pay to use the adults only Sanctuary on Princess). 

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Thank you everyone!  I am leaning towards Celebrity.  My husband wants to try a new port and he thinks Cartagena looks like a neat old city, any thoughts?

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17 minutes ago, nwcruisemamma said:

Thank you everyone!  I am leaning towards Celebrity.  My husband wants to try a new port and he thinks Cartagena looks like a neat old city, any thoughts?

It is - have been there once before on a cruise.  Probably not a port of call that I wold venture too far on my own but a lot of history and interesting sights.  Maybe check out the Columbia ports of call board here for additional information:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/391-colombia/

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Really not a fan of entertainment on celebrity, I would pick princess for the extra nights. Celebrity does have great suite perks if you are booking a suite. 

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17 hours ago, nwcruisemamma said:

The most important thing to us is delicious food!

 

 

If the above is true and knowing this is a very personal opinion, if this were me, I wouldn't sail a mass cruise line. I would go to a higher class cruise line. All of the mass lines are falling in line with each other on food quality due to $$ or steering people to pay extra for specialty restaurants. We cook A LOT and I don't expect the same quality of food when I cruise vs my cooking.

I wish you a wonderful cruise and fantastic memories. Let us know how it goes.

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So I looked up your itineraries, except Reflection does THREE itineraries all called Ultimate? Two of them have Cartagena as a port... one of those has the ABC islands! But guessing you are looking at the other one that has more in common with the Princess ports.

 

Cartagena is old and well-preserved as far as architecture. We did the HopOnHopOff bus that included a walking tour in the old city. It was hot and very humid! (We were there right around the US Thanksgiving holiday.) In hindsight I would choose an excursion to the fort I think. Or you can just walk to the old city from where the ships dock -- we walked "home" from the walking tour stopping for the wifi at Hard Rock Cafe.

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21 minutes ago, crystalspin said:

So I looked up your itineraries, except Reflection does THREE itineraries all called Ultimate? Two of them have Cartagena as a port... one of those has the ABC islands! But guessing you are looking at the other one that has more in common with the Princess ports.

 

Cartagena is old and well-preserved as far as architecture. We did the HopOnHopOff bus that included a walking tour in the old city. It was hot and very humid! (We were there right around the US Thanksgiving holiday.) In hindsight I would choose an excursion to the fort I think. Or you can just walk to the old city from where the ships dock -- we walked "home" from the walking tour stopping for the wifi at Hard Rock Cafe.

We are looking at the reflection that does all 3 ABCs, Cartagena and Grand Cayman,!

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4 hours ago, nwcruisemamma said:

Thank you everyone!  I am leaning towards Celebrity.  My husband wants to try a new port and he thinks Cartagena looks like a neat old city, any thoughts?

 

I really liked Cartagena except for some very pushy vendors.

 

Did a private excursion with a couple of friends. Just negotiated where we wanted to go and the rate with a taxi outside the cruise terminal.

 

We first stopped at the fort. I didn't walk up the hill. It looked interesting, but not enough to get me to undertake the climb.

 

The old town is quite pretty and a nice walk.

 

Part of the negotiated route involved a stop at an emerald outlet. Apparently that particular outlet handed out gas coupons to drivers that brought in people. Not an uncommon practice according to our driver. Emeralds are very pretty, so it was no hardship to walk through the store.

 

The other obligatory stop was a tourist mall for coffee and other souvenirs. This is where pushy vendors stalked pedestrians.

 

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1 hour ago, nwcruisemamma said:

We are looking at the reflection that does all 3 ABCs, Cartagena and Grand Cayman,!

Well, in that case, and with the testimonial by the CCer whose been on both ships, I'd have to try the Reflection! 

 

We're booked on a B2B out of San Juan (PR) motivated by the opportunity to finally see all three ABC!

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1 hour ago, nwcruisemamma said:

We are looking at the reflection that does all 3 ABCs, Cartagena and Grand Cayman,!

 

Done deal.  The ABCs are my favorite, especially Bonaire.  A cruise on a Solstice Class ship that includes the ABCs is about the best you can do in the Caribbean.....my opinion, of course. 

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14 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

Done deal.  The ABCs are my favorite, especially Bonaire.  A cruise on a Solstice Class ship that includes the ABCs is about the best you can do in the Caribbean.....my opinion, of course. 

 

OP - if you snorkel, don't miss the excursion with Woodwind for drift snorkeling off Klein Bonaire.  They are an excellent outfit and the snorkeling is fantastic!

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20 hours ago, nwcruisemamma said:

We are looking at the reflection that does all 3 ABCs, Cartagena and Grand Cayman,!

I would totally do the itinerary with ABC islands in it. We like Grand Cayman a lot as well.

 

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