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Why do you like NCL better than Princess?


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My experience with Princess and NCL are limited.  However, I prefer NCL.  My cruises on Princess also had an older demographic and offered only the "traditional" activities you would associate with cruising.  Not that there is anything wrong with that if you want a relaxing traditional experience.  I prefer NCL for its Freestyle cruising, a more varied demographic, varied options for outside places to gather other than around the pool, and activities outside of "traditional" cruise options.  I also find their promotions appealing.

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It's been a long time since I cruised on Princess.   They had the traditional dining times , no speciality restaurants.  NCL was so different from that but I'm sure the other lines are catching up with that.   Princess was a more formal vibe, NCL more casual.  

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We have 35 cruises on Princess going back to 1990 and sailing all over the world. I much prefer Princess. Except: we were looking for a cruise ship that left from New York, had great entertainment and casino and had a ship within the ship concept. NCL Haven is the best thing since sliced bread. Everything about it is superior to Princess even if you stay in a suite, and the other cruise ships that we have sailed on:  Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Oceania and Regent ( in my opinion). But if we want an exotic port with great excursions, really good main dining room food and terrific cruise staff that make a sea day a lot of fun and don't want to pay for the Haven then we choose Princess. We don't like the entertainment on the small ships. We are trying Celebrity retreat in a suite in January. Right now we have three NCLs booked. One in a Club suite (mini) because we are traveling with a large family group that wants to eat together,  and 2 in the Haven when we are on our own. I'm not looking forward to not being in the Haven especially for boarding and debarking and trying to get reservations for theater shows.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/9/2021 at 1:11 PM, CaptainWoody said:

Freestyle and free drinks.

 

"Freestyle"? Please CaptainW, watch your language. This is a family forum not a rat hole.

😁

Edited by texasaggies
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On 6/9/2021 at 1:52 PM, CroozFanatic said:

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

 

What's wrong with steerage? Looks like those folks know how to party. If steerage is good enough for Leo, it's good enough for meo;

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/9/2021 at 2:02 PM, oteixeira said:

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.

 

I think Princess' strength is their Alaska CruiseTours. We did one a few years back on the now covid infamous Diamond Princess. Princess did a great job both on land and at sea. Heck, in Alaska Princess has their own train and multiple resort hotels in different Alaskan towns.

 

With that said, outside of Alaska, Princess is not "on my radar" (electronic navigation pun fully intended).

Edited by texasaggies
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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, B Midged said:

Better entertainment on NCL

more smoking areas on ncl

 

thats what we think anyway

Interesting you mention this. The one thing we did NOT like about NCL Getaway--the casino is so smoky we did not play but a few minutes. There is a non-smoking area but the video poker in that area is only at the bar & it was very difficult to get seats.

(apparently this smoky casino issue is a Breakaway/Getaway issue)

Edited by KKB
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Posted (edited)

I can’t compare yet but after 11 princess cruises, I’m surprised that so many people mentioned set time dining on Princess as something they didn’t like.  Princess has offered anytime dining for many years now.  We’ve never booked anything but that.  I’m looking forward to our first cruise on NCL next year on the Prima..  looking forward to comparing. 
 

Edited by gardening_guy
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3 hours ago, KKB said:

(apparently this smoky casino issue is a Breakaway/Getaway issue)

The Bliss and Encore (at least, possibly the Joy as well) have a walled-off smoking section in the casino.

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3 hours ago, KKB said:

Interesting you mention this. The one thing we did NOT like about NCL Getaway--the casino is so smoky we did not play but a few minutes. There is a non-smoking area but the video poker in that area is only at the bar & it was very difficult to get seats.

(apparently this smoky casino issue is a Breakaway/Getaway issue)

I have not been on any NCL ship larger than Jade, but I would add that the level ofsmoking in the casino is really a problem.  People that are not even gambling hang out in the casino to smoke.  It's a real problem.  Having said that, I don't know if casino smoking on NCL is more of a problem than on other cruise lines.

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15 hours ago, MichiganBound said:

I have not been on any NCL ship larger than Jade, but I would add that the level ofsmoking in the casino is really a problem.  People that are not even gambling hang out in the casino to smoke.  It's a real problem.  Having said that, I don't know if casino smoking on NCL is more of a problem than on other cruise lines.

I think it’s the same on RCCL. The casino acts as a smoking lounge (at least when we were on it). Keep in mind there are a lot of people that only smoke while on vacation.   Similar to drinking. Rarely drink except on vacation, but while on the ship all bets are off. 
 

have a great vacation, no matter what you choose 

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17 hours ago, MichiganBound said:

I have not been on any NCL ship larger than Jade, but I would add that the level ofsmoking in the casino is really a problem.  People that are not even gambling hang out in the casino to smoke.  It's a real problem.  Having said that, I don't know if casino smoking on NCL is more of a problem than on other cruise lines.

Yes it is. Celebrity has no smoking in the casino and they do just fine.

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I cruise alot of lines

I like them all for one reason Im on a cruise and not working😁

we also book on different cruise lines for different reasons

 

For Princess and NCL

The included dining on either line is hit and miss

Pricing is similar

Balcony cabins are simliar in size depending on ships

 

I prefer the Lido deck on Princess and their multiple pools.

Ncl and O' Sheehan's is a plus for late night dining.

 

The biggest plus with NCL is the adult Spice area that is free and on Princess they charge a fee

 

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5 hours ago, B Midged said:

The casino acts as a smoking lounge (at least when we were on it).

On the ships with the walled-off smoking area in the casino that area is ONLY for people actually playing the games available in that section.

 

27 minutes ago, jonbgd said:

The biggest plus with NCL is the adult Spice area that is free and on Princess they charge a fee

If the Encore (currently the newest ship in the fleet) is an indicator of things to come - the Spice H2O area may be a thing of the past as that space was omitted.

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On 6/12/2021 at 8:22 PM, TonyFred said:

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)

So funny how different we all are.  Although I rank Princess and NCL as being quite equal, although different, one think I don't like about NCL is the Atrium; too busy, too noisy, too crowded, etc.  trying to watch a movie there is frustrating.  But then, we are not very much into the party atmosphere at any time.

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18 minutes ago, hallux said:

If the Encore (currently the newest ship in the fleet) is an indicator of things to come - the Spice H2O area may be a thing of the past as that space was omitted.

Well that sucks. They take away an adult area for more kid space?WTH

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Posted (edited)

We used to cruise on Princess.  Took an NCL cruise by chance and switched over.  The two lines do have different personalities, in my estimation Princess is more prim and proper.  NCL is more Hawaii-ish as in laid back.

 

Right before switching to NCL, I was really irked by a Princess head waiter in the MDR that really wanted to sell a bottle of wine.  This, even after telling him multiple times that we don't drink.  In retrospect, I don't think it is a Princess policy to do that, it must have been a bet or something between him and another employee or something.  No matter, I should have registered a complaint Princess Corporate when I got back, but didn't.

Edited by mpk
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I like both, but Princess is my first choice. 

 

If you want to spend the money for he Haven on NCL you will have a very good experience. Nothing on Princess compares to the Haven which is like a cruise within a cruise. 

 

Outside the Haven, NCL is more crowded. I’ve only been on the big ships. NCL has money makers and Haven space on the top deck, so the pool space for regular folks is tight. The entertainment on NCL is very good. You need to make reservations for some shows. I like the casual atmosphere. Some specialty restaurants are good and fun. Some of them are mediocre. MDR has decent food, but the menus don’t change a lot. It is advisable to make reservations for dining. They have interesting music venues. More smoke in the casino. 

 

Princess is more traditional. There are more pool options and a lot more outdoor seating. Entertainment is typical cruise ship entertainment: singers, dancers, comedians, and shows. There are dress expectations for the MDR. There are other dining options if you don’t want to dress up for the couple of formal nights. Princess has  Movies Under The Stars which some love and some dislike. Princess has specialty restaurants that are quite popular, but they vary by ship (Crown Grill, Sabatini’s, Alfredo’s, Salty Dog, etc). Princess is instituting a new plan where you can make dining reservations ahead of time. They also have anytime dining. 

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On 6/9/2021 at 12:27 PM, Nerkbuck said:

Can anyone please provide an honest opinion? We have only sailed on Princess once and would like to try NCL.

 

Can you give us more information about the type of cabin you like and what activities you enjoy?

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Princess has self serve laundry rooms with ironing boards. Anytime dining is not as organized as on NCL - usually have to wait for table, they don't take reservations at prime time. They have tea sea day afternoons. Don't have to pay for room service. Dining room lunch menu varies & in my opinion the food is of better quality. Ships are smaller. You can use OBC for daily service charge.

 

I find NCL has better Europe itineraries for less money. LOVE the Sky, their smallest ship. Good singles program. Easy to walk up to restaurant & get a table right away(don't know if this is true with specialty restaurants) & they don't push you to sit with others. They have (or did) have made to order crepes in the buffet at dinner. O'Sheehans is really a nice feature.

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4 hours ago, victory2020 said:

Princess has self serve laundry rooms with ironing boards. Anytime dining is not as organized as on NCL - usually have to wait for table, they don't take reservations at prime time. They have tea sea day afternoons. Don't have to pay for room service. Dining room lunch menu varies & in my opinion the food is of better quality. Ships are smaller. You can use OBC for daily service charge.

 

I find NCL has better Europe itineraries for less money. LOVE the Sky, their smallest ship. Good singles program. Easy to walk up to restaurant & get a table right away(don't know if this is true with specialty restaurants) & they don't push you to sit with others. They have (or did) have made to order crepes in the buffet at dinner. O'Sheehans is really a nice feature.

Sorry for my ignorance, but what is O'Sheehans?  a specialty restaurant?

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4 minutes ago, gardening_guy said:

Sorry for my ignorance, but what is O'Sheehans?  a specialty restaurant?

O'Sheehans is not specialty dining.  It's complementary (available to everyone on the ship).  Pub food. 

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