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Differences Between Celebrity and Princess?


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I sailed Celebrity for the first time in July on the Equinox. I am booked on another solo sailing on the Summit in November, and then my husband and I are booked on a 9-day sailing on the Equinox in January. Over the weekend, we spent time mapping out our cruise plans for the next stretch of cruises and ended up booking the Crown Princess to Alaska in September 2022 and a 15-day Panama Canal cruise on the Emerald Princess over the Holidays for 2022/2023. Having only experienced Celebrity once so far, I was able to identify most of the differences between Celebrity and NCL (the line I had exclusively sailed with prior), but I am hoping people who have sailed both Princess and Celebrity can give me some insights into the differences between the two lines.

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We have sailed on all three lines. If I were to rank them it be Celebrity, Princess then NCL. However, Celebrity and Princess are very close. If I were to draw any comparison I’d say the food on Celebrity is much better but that could be personal taste. I’m also very partial to having a Sommelier to help with wine selections. We’ve not encountered that on Princess.

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I prefer the Celebrity onboard experience somewhat over Princess. Princess tends to have better itineraries though sp I often go on Princess.  Princess is better for Alaska than Celebrity as Princess does Glacier Bay which I think is a must do if this is your first Alaska cruise. I also prefer Princess for long cruises as they have self service laundries. 

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Overall I prefer Celebrity but only by a hair.

I've sailed both in Alaska and I'd 100% go with Princess! 

Itinerary and port times are my top priority! They sail Glacier Bay and Celebrity does not. 

 

Smiles, 
Patty 

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Posted (edited)

Hi - far more familiar with Celebrity than Princess, but have sailed both in balcony staterooms.

Princess has more free dining offerings - International Cafe is great when you are hungry at 3 am.

Celebrity desserts are pretty, but Princess desserts taste better.

Celebrity has sofas in their regular balcony cabins. Have to be careful what you book on Princess if you want a love seat/sofa.

Celebrity ships have a covered pool in the adults only Solarium - a really  nice place to relax. Princess doesn't have anything like this. Sanctuary on Princess is nice, but an extra cost.

There were a lot of activities in the Atrium on our Princess sailings. Not so much going on in the Celebrity atrium area. However, no live trees in the Princess atrium.

Princess has self-service launderettes with irons & ironing boards. Celebrity sometimes has $20/bag laundry specials. More likely to be about $50/bag - folded, not pressed.

Celebrity doesn't allow smoking in the casino - Princess does.

Princess has the large outdoor "tv/movie" screen by the pool. Celebrity has an "added on" screen on refurbished ships.

Unless it is summer or a school holiday, usually not very many kids on Celebrity cruises. Longer the cruise - fewer the kids.

Average age on Princess is probably a bit younger than on Celebrity.

I don't know how it is on Princess, but I was unexpectedly on crutches on my last Celebrity sailing, and the staff were fantastic! Got me wheelchairs when needed, pushed me up steep gangways, room steward would run to open stateroom door for me. Above and beyond customer service wherever I went. (Great room stewards on all our cruises, save one Celebrity sailing where he was just OK.)

If sailing on a Princess Grand class ship, the mini-suites on Dolphin deck don't have covered balconies. Balconies on Caribe are half covered. Except for aft staterooms on the Celebrity S class ships, I think all decks have fully covered balconies.

Celebrity balconies are larger than most of those found in "regular balcony" staterooms on Princess. (Celebrity Edge class ships are in a category of their own regarding balconies - not going down that rabbit hole in this conversation.)

Some Celebrity balconies have such large overhangs that you can't see up to the sky very well. Beware of blocked mid-ship sight lines on Celebrity Millennium class ships. Angled balconies on the S class ships are really deep.

 

Princess is definitely the way to go for Alaska.

 

Enjoy all your upcoming cruises - both lines are great!
 

Edited by MarKay525
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@MarKay525 Thanks for all of the info! I am definitely going to be missing the couch, as I have never sailed without one. I feel like the room layout on Princess leaves a LOT to be desired and it seems like all of the ships have the exact same cabin layouts.

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Posted (edited)

Princess has great itineraries. For the Grand Class which I think you are booked on - Usually about 4 fresh water pools.  There is normally and adult pool near the spa area.  Spa usually has a included steam and sauna room.  Main dining room is one level with somewhat traditional menus.

 

Atrium area with Vines, International Cafe, and Good Spirits bar is a fun area.

 

Research the cabin very well.  Most do not have but one desk chair and are a bit small until you get to the mini suite.

 

But all in all, a Princess ship is more tradition than Celebrity or NCL to us.

Edited by happy cruzer
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Posted (edited)

Hi, @JamieLogical

 

I feel that X and Princess are now more similar than dissimilar.  A few years ago X was a couple notches above  Princess.  

My husband and I started out on X but then tried Princess, and we’ve sailed with the line since 2003, taking the intermittent X cruise here and there, but we live in California, and X doesn’t have much of a presence here, unlike Princess, which sails from our home port.  

 

We’ve sailed on the Equinox three times, and on the Grand-class Crown and Emerald and their sister ships numerous times.  Although we love most Grand-class ships, the Crown and Emerald have an additional deck, 500 more  no more public spaces to make up for the extra passengers,  so we noticed the impact more on those two ships during  pool days, if going to the shows, and  during cold weather cruises when everyone stays inside , versus on the equinox, which has a much better passenger to space ratio. 

 

Buffet on Equinox far superior to the  on e. On the Emerald and the Crown.  

 

 On the princess ships,  in the atrium, you will have the international café , which is comparable to the coffee place on the equinox, the on3 with the pastries and gelato.  

 

The IC on Princess ships is a gathering place, and there  performers, musical acts and activities held there throughout the day so I definitely prefer the atmosphere on princess in that regard.   Sorry for the grammatical errors but I’m trying to dictate this and its  doing its own thing

 

 Princess has a more comfortable vibe, and more entertainment and we really enjoy that aspect of sailing with them

X entertainment  doesn’t even come close        

 

 Princess has crooners martini bar, with a piano player and it’s a nice atmosphere but I prefer the martini bar on the equinox

 

 Bar service on princess has always been exceptional, unlike on our last trip on celebrity, where there was not a bar server to be found by the pool and even inside the service has suffered greatly since the introduction of the all inclusive packages, unlike the preceding years when service has been excellent  

 

 Princess has just introduced their version of the all inclusive so it’s hard to say if their bar service will be impacted by this or not.

 

 Princess has now gone full medallion meaning you have to do everything through the medallion before you leave for home so we have been on two medallion cruises and it went well and you can order your drinks but they’re having a lot of issues and we had issues a couple years ago hopefully one day the system will work flawlessly  

For now, it’s glitchy.   We were part of the group that beta tested the medallions    

 

 I will be sailing on the majestic princess in approximately 12 days so I  Will either do intermittent posting live, or do a little review when I get back    

 Majestic is one of their newer ships part of the royal class, which my husband and I absolutely love and we actually prefer those to the grand class     The ships are beautiful but they lack some of the things that we were accustomed to on the older ships like certain nightclubs and Cabernet  lounges.    However, their buffet is better than anything we’ve seen on any other line it blows the equinox buffet away.  

 

Cabins:  The cabin set up on celebrity is a little nicer in that to get a sofa on princess you would have to book a mini suite.   The bathrooms are definitely worse than on X primarily due to the shower which have curtains, and not doors.   That said, never been a problem for me  

 

Dining room food:  regular DR food about the same.  However, we always do Aqua on X so we prefer the Aqua cuisine over that of the Main dining room on Princess but the food on Princess has always been quite good.  

 

 Cocktails on princess definitely cheaper than on celebrity    But they’re trying to push everybody into Princess plus right now so depending on when you book it might just be a better deal to go with princess plus.

  For me going solo for the next cruise it would not be a good deal because I don’t drink that much and it would have been an extra $75 per day, inclusive of the 18% gratuity.  

 Princess has laundromats on almost every floor ,  so if you need to do a little laundry, there’s that

 

 We’ve sailed to Alaska on celebrity and princess and princess is the penultimate for Alaskan itineraries.   They have exceptional port lecturers programs geared specifically to the Alaskan sailing like Libby Riddles, the former Iditarod champ,  she usually comes onboard in Juneau with her puppies —  not this year of course —  but in preceding years.   

 

 Best part of all on the crown and the emerald, they both have walk- around promenade decks.   

 

 

 

Edit:  while I was replying to your post, other people had replied and I noticed that one poster indicated that the balconies on princess are smaller than a celebrity, well that might be true for the newer builds on princess but for the ships you are sailing on the balconies are equally as large as those on the equinox.    The largest balconies on the crown and the emerald are on Caribe  deck and  they are quite deep,  so if you can snag one of those  you’ll be one of the lucky ones.   Half covered half not. 

Dolphin deck mini suites are not covered.  

Minis on Emerald are, however.   

 

 

 

Edited by 4cats4me
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We’ve done both and enjoyed all the cruises. But we are X cruisers with 25 and 4 on Princess. The difference for us?

- On Princess, I find the standard SRs to be smaller and the showers are much smaller. So when we book Princess, we book a mini-Suite and compare the costs of a standard X SR to that. The standard X SR has a nice couch where you can have friends over and a much better shower setup, and we aren’t that big of people.

- I find the Celebrity common areas to be better organized and designed. Not nearly as crowded as we had in many of the Princess lounges.

- The theater on all 3 of the Princess ships was too small for the number of passengers. You’d have to get to the theater wayyyy early, 45min at a min to just get 2 decent seats. Agree Princess has excellent entertainment, but I don’t remember if they had a live band with their singers or if it was canned. 

- For us, dining was pretty similar. Loved the international sandwich bar on Princess. And the Princess coffee card you could share. But dining on the E-Class Celebrity ships is a whole new experience. Best at sea MDR dining for us. 

 

So enjoyed Princess, but Celebrity is currently meeting what we are looking for in cruising. Go Princess for the itinerary or join friends. I would consider a Celebrity ship for the Panama Canal. Alaska with Princess is fine. We went Celebrity but I’ve heard Princess is excellent for that area. 

 

Den

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Been on both many times. I congratulate all of you who posted.  Your postings were very unbiased and true. I could not really add anything to what you all posted. 

Thank you!

Stay Safe & Happy Cruising!

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6 hours ago, Denny01 said:

We’ve done both and enjoyed all the cruises. But we are X cruisers with 25 and 4 on Princess. The difference for us?

- On Princess, I find the standard SRs to be smaller and the showers are much smaller. So when we book Princess, we book a mini-Suite and compare the costs of a standard X SR to that. The standard X SR has a nice couch where you can have friends over and a much better shower setup, and we aren’t that big of people.

- I find the Celebrity common areas to be better organized and designed. Not nearly as crowded as we had in many of the Princess lounges.

- The theater on all 3 of the Princess ships was too small for the number of passengers. You’d have to get to the theater wayyyy early, 45min at a min to just get 2 decent seats. Agree Princess has excellent entertainment, but I don’t remember if they had a live band with their singers or if it was canned. 

- For us, dining was pretty similar. Loved the international sandwich bar on Princess. And the Princess coffee card you could share. But dining on the E-Class Celebrity ships is a whole new experience. Best at sea MDR dining for us. 

 

So enjoyed Princess, but Celebrity is currently meeting what we are looking for in cruising. Go Princess for the itinerary or join friends. I would consider a Celebrity ship for the Panama Canal. Alaska with Princess is fine. We went Celebrity but I’ve heard Princess is excellent for that area. 

 

Den

Royal Class ships have significantly  larger theaters than Grand class.  😀

 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, 4cats4me said:

Royal Class ships have significantly  larger theaters than Grand class.  😀

 

And the two Princess ships the OP is talking about going on are Grand Class which is why I listed that as an issue, and I’m glad you apparently agree their theaters are small. 

 

Heck, these Class ships have pillars in the middle of their seating which block views……and I had to sit behind one because we didn’t get to the theater an hr prior, and it was two of us.

 

Den

Edited by Denny01
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1 minute ago, Denny01 said:

And the two RCL ships the OP is talking about going on are Grand Class which is why I listed that as an issue, and I’m glad you apparently agree their theaters are small. 

 

Den

RCL? 

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, 4cats4me said:

RCL? 

I updated it. I’d hope you understood what I meant. And I only have one cat……so you win!

 

den

Edited by Denny01
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1 minute ago, Denny01 said:

I updated it. I’d hope you understood what I meant. And I only have one cat……so you win!

 

den

Oh,  LOL.  I only have three now. Haha. 

No, I was merely pointing out that the newer Princess ships, Royal Class,  have large theaters now, (realizing that OP is going on Grand Class) But just in case You ever decide to try Princess again, you won’t have to show up 45 mins early to get a seat.  😉

 

It’s now cocktail time ! Have  a great evening! 

 

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Everyone is different in what they want out of a cruise and what they expect from a cruise. We started out cruising with Princess 'back in the day'. We usually aren't interested in organized onboard activities and would prefer to read or listen to live music over coffee or a wine. We particularly like the views from the back deck.

 

That said, Celebrity's beverage service is superior in our opinion if you have a drink package. In their system, beverage servers are paid extra when dilivering premium beverages. We've always have had a couple of beverage servers who, because of this incentive, really kept an eye out for us, making beverage service remarkable whereever we were on the ship. Just a look and a nod was all that was necessary for service.

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I have found them to be very comparable.  One may win on food, the other on beverage.  You have to decide which you prefer. 

Celebrity used to be my first choice, but then they shifted their direction.  Now, I favor Princess or RCCL as they are more solo friendly. 

The staff on all ships are very friendly and welcoming, in my opinion, my choice is the itinerary I want, and a price I am willing to pay.  To each his own....

Good luck!

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The one feature I really like on Celebrity ships is the Solarium.  I like the idea of having a fully enclosed area for times when the weather is cold or wet.  Whenever I have looked at Princess ships I haven’t seen a similar area.  Perhaps others can verify my observation.

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Haven't been on Princess, but others I know have and say the lines are close.

One HUGE item no one mentioned:  PRICE

The cruises that I have compared have Princess significantly lower in price than Celebrity.

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For us Princess has the longer, more exotic cruises in the 3-5 week category whereas X is more focused on the 1-2 week more popular itineraries. As far as entertainment goes, they are both fun cruise lines to sail on. 
 

But when it comes to dining, it will depend on the cabin category you book. If all else is equal booking a suite on X gets you into Luminae where as in a Princess suite, it gets you Club Class dining. However, you do get to eat breakfast in Sabatinis which we always look forward to. You also get free laundry if you book  Princess suite, which comes in quite handy on those 3-5 wee exotic cruises.

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22 minutes ago, 4774Papa said:

Haven't been on Princess, but others I know have and say the lines are close.

One HUGE item no one mentioned:  PRICE

The cruises that I have compared have Princess significantly lower in price than Celebrity.

 

7 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

For us Princess has the longer, more exotic cruises in the 3-5 week category whereas X is more focused on the 1-2 week more popular itineraries. As far as entertainment goes, they are both fun cruise lines to sail on. 
 

But when it comes to dining, it will depend on the cabin category you book. If all else is equal booking a suite on X gets you into Luminae where as in a Princess suite, it gets you Club Class dining. However, you do get to eat breakfast in Sabatinis which we always look forward to. You also get free laundry if you book  Princess suite, which comes in quite handy on those 3-5 wee exotic cruises.

 

I priced out a 15-day Panama Canal cruise on Celebrity (Millennium) and it was twice as much as the Princess sailing we are booked on. Alaska pricing is similar between the two lines, but everyone has told me that we need to do Glacier Bay for our first cruise to Alaska.

 

The likelihood of us ever booking a suite is incredibly low. We would rather sail 3-4 times a year in balcony cabins than once a year in a suite. 

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Try to get a cabin on Caribe Deck for the larger balcony.  The room will only have a desk chair and the smaller bath/shower.  A large balcony will help.  Price differences probably factor in the cabin accommodations.  Or if you are fine saving the money and having what Princess offers, you have a match.  We no longer are happy with the desk chair only arrangement after two cruises of being in the cabin with a few days of flu with only seating for one person.  But many are ok with it.

 

Good on you to do your research.

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We have been cruising celebrity last 4 years on several different ships , did Princess crown several years ago and really didn’t care for the ship in general, problem is as already said the theaters and showrooms are just too small for the amount of passengers, only time in my 70 cruises did I see a fist fight over saving seats in theater . Also lots of smoke in the casino, I do remember they had one smoke free night. We always booked the mini suites which were nice with a large balcony. 

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