Jump to content

Why do you like NCL better than Princess?


Recommended Posts

I can tell you that our first Princess cruise the meals were meat heavy and not many veggies.  That had improved by our 2nd sailing.  However, for the 2nd sailing, we opted for a suite (since we had been bumped to a Haven suite on NCL and were absolutely spoiled!)  The suite experience on Princess was far below what we were expecting after experiencing the Haven, and DH has said "never again" for Princess.

We really enjoy the Haven on NCL and like the anytime dining.  Every experience has been good on NCL and we are Platinum level.  (And I have even sailed non-suite without DH and enjoyed it, too!)

I think NCL has one of the best casino programs, if you are into that activity.  And I have sailed a couple of times through the casino program (upgraded from inside to a balcony) and the drink package that comes with it suites me just fine.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

NCL has better dining options, better food in general and friendlier staff. The entertainment on NCL is fantastic on the larger ships but even on the smaller ships there is far more to do in a day than we could find on Princess. I prefer the freestyle attitude on NCL and the free drinks package even though I don’t drink a lot is worth it. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Freestyle is huge, the dress up or not, I hate hate hate dress up nights, they are just trying to sell you pictures, and for some reason most of the other lines have not dropped it yet.  The only time I sailed Princess the fit and finish of the ship was nothing to write home about, we had a torn carpet in our room and the ship overall was dull and needed a referb.  In their defense I think it had a referb a year or two after we sailed (Grand Princess in 2007).  Since we didn't love it we continued our search for what for us was the best line, and found it (so far) in NCL.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I've sailed both multiple times. As the cruise lines expand with newer vessels, it's hard to make cruise line by cruise line comparisons. It's a bit easier if we compare ship to ship. If we know what ships you have sailed on Princess, and know what ship you are looking at on NCL, we can provide more accurate information.

 

In general; NCL is much more relaxed. Shorts at dinner. No dining reservations. Truly Free style. I give the edge to NCL in terms of entertainment also.

 

Princess: I have found the food to be higher quality (but food is very subjective). I like the design of many of their ships with free adult only space. Also, the space ratio on princess will likely be much better than on NCL. In other words, it won't feel as crowded because each person has more space.

 

Overall, they have more in common than different, but the differences are enough to note. My DH is much happier on NCL because he is much more a free style type of guy. 

 

Edited by BermudaBound2014
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, CroozFanatic said:

All NCL ships are not the same. Also, the guest experience is quite different if you stay in the Haven vs. steerage.

You made me look it up.
steer·age
/ˈstirij/
noun
 
  1. 1.
    HISTORICAL
    the part of a ship providing accommodations for passengers with the cheapest tickets.
    "poor emigrants in steerage"
     
    🤣
  • Like 2
  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m not an expert cruiser I’ve done Princess once with my daughter (in a wheelchair). I’m frugal and try to avoid paying for things that I obviously will not/cannot use. So I enjoyed the relaxing Princess Alaska cruise WITHOUT the go karts, surfrider, ropes course, ice skating rink. Things I couldn’t do while caring for her and I didn’t pay for them. 
Traveling without her I enjoy NCL. The itineraries, the action/activities on the ships, and the shows. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

comments based on NCL bliss, breakaway and regal princess. sailing dates all either oct or dec which may or may not affect any comments or analysis of data

 

for a premium experience you cannot beat NCL haven. the ship within the ship is great. the cabins are done up all pretty and if you choose to use the butler and concierge they have been great. bliss has a 2 story observation lounge. the regular passengers even get 1 floor for them. bliss is great that way. the haven courtyard penthouse is terribly small for what i deem a premium price and location. same size balcony as the non haven. ditto with that bathroom. very bad setup with the tub doors blocked a bit by the sink. the haven spa room felt much bigger to me and i didnt mind the walk to haven.

 

i stayed in a normal angled balcony room on the BA and the extra balcony space was great. the standard bathroom was....standard. i much preferred the mini suite on the regal and recommend a bigger room on NCL.  i was fortunate to get an upsell to a forward suite on the regal and thats the best cabin i ever had. enough storage space for world cruise without doing laundry. there are bigger haven cabins on NCL with this as well but i wasnt in any to compare. i loved the regal balcony dinner (had to have it inside 2x with rain issues) and while you can equate it to a butler meal in NCL i feel that princess did it very well. also regarding NCL and the haven you are 'getting' a lot more for your money than a princess suite. other than a great room and good service you dont get much extra. same money on NCL would get you tons more.you can ask your butler to throw a small party and it probably wont cost you anything. i also hated the club seating on princess. both times we got seated right away and promptly ignored for a long time. also you were jammed right against your neighbors and they had to see your butt when you slid to the back seat, i hate that! 

 

the BA has an atrium for activities but its pathetically small. no one will ever tell you theres enough space there. you literally have to fight for a seat. regal has a HUGE piazza thats 3 levels high with TONS of space for halloween parties etc. also one time i went with 2 kids on the BA and on rainy days i found it very boring. theres no real indoor things to do if you dont do kids clubs. also on the BA theres no real indoor seating unless you are in a bar/restaurant etc etc. regal had tons of indoor seating and also had a small tv studio where there were always activities going on. BA has TONS of activities on the upper decks. regal has what i call 'virtually nothing'. BA had rock wall, ropes course, mini golf and so many other things. if you want activities. BA is it! bliss has a race track but i watched it for 10 min. there were so many delays and spin outs i decided not to use it. i believe its a waste of space. 

 

NCL has the 2 hour full length shows. i dislike singing shows and the like but i gave them a chance. i actually went to the dance show 2x and rock of ages was fantastic. so if shows are important to you NCL is def the way to go. i actually dont know if NCL has ship tours but the regal one was fantastic. you get about 1 hour on the bridge talking to the captain. its so cool! and you get lotta swag. if ncl has a tour i guess i missed it. 

 

the BA buffet is horribly setup. very linear with no real breakups. people were digging their dish into my back when i was in line. not very fun at all during peak times. regal was much more spread out and definitely had zero problems with crowds nor annoying people. i thought regal had a better buffet as well. there was one station that would have 'make while you watch' stuff like omelets and in the evening there was some kind of bowl you make yourself and they cook it. 

 

in the caribbean the private island of NCL doesnt have a dock so if its bad weather, like for instance christmas 2019, you have to sit on the ship watching next door where royal Caribbean has a dock and they were enjoying themselves. it bites. the captains apology for sunny skies and 80 but a bit too high a wave forecast was not much solace. 

 

maybe its because i went in october but princess was devoid of kids. i doubt i saw 20 the entire trip. where as my oct and dec trips on NCL had tons of kids. NCL is def a kids line. and they have the activities for it. we heard great things about the NCL kids clubs. but the kids i was with didnt use them. princess def felt more upscale and classy throughout the ship. basically the entire ship was like haven to me. also its so amazing how wide the NCL ships are, yet on the lower public decks they funnel you into not so wide hallways.  it just always seemed really crowded and of course with more people than princess, it was, in fact, more crowded. 

 

the special restaurants on NCL were great. teppanyaki, the texas BBQ place,  ocean blue were all very good. i also enjoyed princess crown so id call it a tie as far as special restaurants. oh also on the BA the MDR has a dance floor and at least one night a week they brought in the dancers from the main showroom and it was very very cool! 

 

im not a drinker so i appreciated the princess plan where you get mocktails and soda dirt cheap. too bad NCL doesnt do this. but you cannot even substitute it for your free perk. also its nuts on the NCL plan you can drink all the 15 dollar shots you want free. but not a single bottle of water free. proves without a doubt water is more valuable. 

 

ive played minimally on both cruise lines casinos. amazingly after my 1st trip on princess and putting in only 60 bucks, 2 months later i got insanely cheap offers but sadly couldnt make them. things like 599 for a 2 week cruise over christmas. totally nuts pricing. never saw it again even after returning a year later to princess. and NCL never offered a thing even though i put more than 60 bucks thru their machines. sigh

 

one other thing is the elevator layouts on NCL are horrible. only elevators at the front and back of the ship for over 4K people. who thinks of these things. even with less people princess had a better elevator layout. also i found generally that NCL people would immediately go on the elevator without waiting for people to get off. very rude. princess was more laid back and not a in rush. 

 

so to summarize:

 

NCL: super kid friendly. great drink perk, seems like party central, tons of activities on the outside decks, 1st class main theater shows, great specialty dining, great haven option, spice outdoor area has theme parties. 

 

princess: not many kids. very relaxed atmosphere, more sophisticated vibe, better buffet organization and quality, good non drinker package, great specialty dining, fantastic suite size and decor, just not the butler and haven that ncl has. tons of indoor space to hide on rainy days,

 

 

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depending on the ship, Princess has more pools and fresh water.  More inclusive bev package.  Princess seems to be more a more traditional cruise line; lots of great itinararies around the world.  Really good for multi generational family cruises.

 

NCL on the newer ships have larger cabins.  Better entertainment, more options and variety.  More a resort that visits ports.  Designed for people who want freestyle (i.e. lots of options available for an extra charge) vs. traditional cruises.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was a big Princess fan until I took my first NCL cruise.  I love being able to eat meals when I feel like it, and not at a set time, with set people, plus the variety of dining rooms/restaurants.  I also like the casual dress code.  The entertainment on NCL was much more to my liking. I feel like NCL caters to a wider variety of ages, as opposed to Princess which felt older to me. 
 

But, what especially drew me in to NCL is the emphasis and thought they put into solo travelers, from solo rooms, a solo lounge, and dedicated cruise members to organize meals/activities for solo travelers. 

I think Princess has a wider variety of cruises and ports, but if it came down to the same itinerary, I would choose NCL.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

While Princess may not be entirely "freestyle", you can do anytime dining and thus not have to eat at a set time with a set group of people.  I have been on 4 Princess cruises and only 1 NCL (the Getaway).  IMO, the included food on Princess is far superior.  The buffet at breakfast on NCL was extremely weak.  Much of the main dining room food was very disappointing.  The specialty restaurant situation was far superior on NCL.  The entertainment was amazing on NCL, not that it is awful on Princess.  For me the thing that bothered me the most about the Getaway was that the adult area (Spice H2O) did not have a pool.  There were hot tubs which I don't use and a very weak waterfall feature, but no actual pool.  

 

All of that being said, I would still cruise either line for the right price/itinerary.

Edited by rebeccac
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never sailed with NCL, but am Elite with Princess.  My reason for choosing Princess over NCL comes down to the ability to choose exact flights with Princess Air, but having to just take what you get with NCL Air.  Maybe this has changed, if so, let me know. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are platinum on Princess Cruise, and gold on NCL. We have also cruised most other mainstream lines many times, so I have a fairly good perspective.  In short, we prefer Princess overall, but personally I love NCL freestyle cruising. Like others here, I have to wear a tie at work, and I never want to wear one while on vacation. NCL generally has better deals, and I consider it to be a slightly higher value, more often than not, then princess, or other cruise lines for that matter. Princess is a little bit more refined though, and seems a little higher end in most respects. Comparing food from one cruise line to another I think is inexact, subjective, and impossible. I think it is easier to do from one ship to another than it is between cruise lines themselves. 

 

The cruising experience is fairly consistent through all of the mainstream lines. It is generally a good product, regardless of which cruise line, or ship you sail. Cruising is like pizza and sex; even when it is bad it is good.

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never sailed with Princess but my parents have sailed many times on that line.  I've chosen NCL for my last 2 cruises as I'm single and found the solo program on NCL to be excellent.  I loved the Bliss and hope to check out other ships in the fleet over time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have taken at least one cruise a year for the past 25 years and have been on many different cruise lines. My experience would rank Celebrity at the top with HAL and Princess tied for second. The rest are all pretty even. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Feel that MDR food is better on the top three, but to us food is important and we aren't the type to go to specialty dining routinely. We are not big drinkers and the drink package is pretty much wasted on us. If it's free we will take it, but would likely not drink enough to cover the gratuity cost on NCL.

 

The main reason we have traveled quite often on NCL is the itinerary options and the price. If traveling with our adult children they like NCL better. Younger crowds, casual, more going on, easy to meet people, etc. I do like the anytime dining, but most lines I've been on recently offer some version of this.

 

Once I have used my FCC from a canceled cruise I will continue to look at all options. Do not feel loyalty to one line, but that also makes things interesting. Try a new line with an open mind and you will enjoy yourself.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK we have done 5 Princess cruises but our last was 9 years ago. And only 1 NCL--Dec. 2019.

 

We don't like one better than the other. Princess was our 1st cruise & we LOVED it. 

The best part of Princess was great MDR food & a wide variety of activities all day & night long.

 

We did fall in love with Waterfront on the Getaway--we loved Syd Pours, the shows were great & we really enjoyed the MDR entertainment. 

 

We would cruise either one again in a heartbeat.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, KKB said:

We did fall in love with Waterfront on the Getaway--we loved Syd Pours, the shows were great & we really enjoyed the MDR entertainment. 

Presumably, "Syd Pours" = Syd Norman's Pour House?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are platinum on both lines.

Princess, we have cruised on Princess for Alaska 3 times and are planning a 2023 family trip as well. We choose this line for destinations and shore excursions, also we like their main stream food including more complimentary venues on ships we have sailed.

NCL we sail mainly because they are our home port line either Boston or NY. Love freestyle and have to say they do an excellent job with the suite life. Don't like their shore excursions have had issues when we have tried them, left sour taste. POA was the only cruise not on the east coast, very nice.

Next year we have NCL Getaway and Princess Grand 😁 .

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, NCL wins over Royal and Princess for one reason: The design of the Atrium with either the Local or OSheehans overlooking from the floor above the Atrium. That has become one of my favorite spots, especially late night. Whether its watching a movie, live entertainment or the hilarious game shows, I love the atmosphere and being able to get really good food at no cost 24/7. Love it! (might be a lame reason to some, but with the great ships all lines have now, something small can tip the scale)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've sailed RCL, NCL and Princess.

Princess was an Alaska land tour/cruise (Royal Princess), based on recommendations of a TA.  Pricing compared to similar NCL options was similar, but we went w/TA recommendation.

The Princess land tour was very well organized and the accommodations, tours, etc., were all very good, just as stated by the TA.

Compared to NCL, we were less than impressed with the Princess cruise experience.

The room was represented as similar to a Haven Aft: it was not.

We aren't fans of formal nights and/or defined dining times.

Food and restaurant options weren't as good, to us, as NCL.

The atmosphere on-board was 'quiet' compared to NCL.

Fortunately, while on board, we had the passing Alaska scenery to keep us busy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not necessarily better.. just different! We have sailed Princess (Panama Canal), but it was an older demographic, and did not have the activities we wanted.

 

This was supposed to be our year for Asia or Pacific Rim but not with the Covid outbreaks and Australia closed...  Princess would definitely have been a contender!  We have a lot of Vacation Time saved up!

 

I want to relax and see and do - WITHOUT FUSS. NCL just always fits the agenda for now. We also really like Celebrity, but they just do not have the itineraries or selection.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: PONANT Cruises & Expeditions
      • Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Q&A with American Queen Voyages
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...