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RCL or Princess -- HELP!!


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I would very much appreciate any help or thoughts that anyone might offer me on this issue. I am a first time cruiser and, I must say, all of the information out there can make your head spin. (Not to mention that I am a little nervous about cooping myself up on a cruise ship, having never done it before).


I am a 47 y/o Dad taking my daughter on a cruise for her Senior year present. She's 17, although she will turn 18 on the cruise. I have narrowed it down to two possible choices which, itself, was difficult, but making the last choice seems almost impossible with all of the information out there. Sooo . . . I was hoping for some personal insights.


The two cruises are the RCL Mariner on March 11, or the Caribbean Princess on the same day. At present, I am leaning towards Princess because, I have heard:


(1) RCL doesn't do as good a job of managing the crowds as Princess;


(2) A number of postings have suggested a decline in RCL service (cost-cutting) in the last year;


(3) The activities on Princess, while not quite as good as RCL (rock-climbing wall), look pretty suitable (like Movies Under the Stars, for example);


(4) The itinerary, Eastern as opposed to Western Caribbean, I am told is better and less likely to be affected byweather in March;


(5) I was told that the Princess food, service and cabins are better than RCL.


My only concerns about Princess are:


(A) Will the group be suitable for a younger girl? My daughter is cool about hanging with me, but I am sure she'll want some kids her own age too. From what 've read, Princess caters to a slightly older crowd, but other reviewers have noted that, this being Spring Break week, there will be no shortage of teenagers in tow with parents;


(B) The itinerary, because of distance, cuts out one port of call and your entire first two days are at sea. Again, maybe not a big deal if the ship has lots to do, and also kind of a wash if, on the Western side, you'd lose a day to weather potentially, but it does case me some thought.


I would really appreciate any help anyone sees fit to offer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Dad,


Lucky daughter! I've been on the Mariner but not on Princess, so I can at least fill you in on Mariner elements. I found the service, food etc. on the Mariner (last spring break in the Caribbean) to be great. The teens have a private club and a private deck area at the back of the ship where they could hang out without adults or younger kids being around. There was even a barbeque area that was just for them. I don't know whether Princess has an outdoor teen-only area, but I know Norwegian did not, so I suspect it's not a common facility.


I have heard very good things about Princess also, and as to the itineraries that really will be a matter of personal preference.


Have a wonderful time!

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You have a tough decision to make since both of them are excellent options. We have sailed the Caribbean Princess this past May and had a wonderful time. The food and entertainment and itinerary were great. We loved the fact that there were the first two days at sea. You really get to see the ship this way and actually relax. The Movies Under The Stars is also cool...although we are not real big movie fans.


We have also sailed on the Navigator --- same basic ship as the Mariner and loved that!!!!!


From my perspective, if you have never gone before, either is great. The Royal Caribbean ships, though, are really incredible. I've never seen anything like them. The Royal Promenade is just amazing.


We are looking into another family cruise next Christmas and are leaning towards the Mariner because of the itinerary and the ship itself.


My neighbors went last spring break on the Carib. Princess with their two teen girls ages 13 and 15 and they had a ball.


My kids are younger so they went to the Adventure Ocean on the Navigator two years ago and are still talking about it.


I honestly think you will have a wonderful time on either. But if your first one is a Royal Caribbean Voyager class ship, you may be spoiled to others after that. They really are amazing!


Have a wonderful trip whatever you decide.



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We've always picked our cruises by itenerary. We've done NCLA, RCI, Princess and others based primarily upon destinations that interest us.


If you are going to be spending more time on board the ship (more time at sea) the amenities probably do become more important.

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For a first time cruiser you are doing quite well. I would agree with all five of your points concerning RCI verses Princess. I have been on both lines and on the Mariner. I am going on the Caribbean Princees next year.


Concerning point A. Both lines have excellent kids programs but unfortunately both end at 17. So with your daughter turning 18 on the cruise I do not know if it will be a problem.


Point B. Itinerary is a matter of taste and of course caution must be observed in all ports with an 18 year old girl. It is a tossup but if It were me I would prefer the Eastern Caribbean. Not that I have had any problems but you hear stories of Jamacia and some Mexico ports that are not complimentary.



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Although I have not been on either ship I will give you my thoughts as a 17 year old senior. I'm going on the Mariner in 2 weeks and I have heard SO many good things about it. I don't think there is ever a humungous problem in which crowd control is a factor so I would throw that concern out the window. With everything that the Mariner has to offer, she will have a blast. From what I've heard Princess caters to the older crowd so outside of the teen club there might not be a lot for her to do. If it were me, I'd choose the Mariner, much more to do and more kid/teen friendly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi -We've been on the Caribbean Princess and the RCCL Navigator (voyager class) and loved them both.


On Princess I loved the "Personal Choice Dining" and the entertainment. The food was very good and the service was very good.


As far as the Navigator, the ship is incredible. Royal Caribbean's ships are just amazing! There is so much going on at any moment...or you can do nothing. Food and service were also terrific.


Between the two, for me it is hard compare any other ship to a Royal Caribbean voyager class ship. The others....from Celebrity, Princess, and Carnival...just are not the same IMO. Don't get me wrong. Each line offers something great, but I just think once you have been on one of these ships, nothing else compares. From the Royal Promenades to the Dining Rooms...they are just spectacular. I thought the Caribbean Princess was a beautiful ship, but I kept waiting to be wowed.


That being said, either ship you would have a wonderful time on. But I really think that a teenager would have an incredible time on Royal Caribbean. There is ice-skating, mini-golf, surfing, inline skating, rock climbing...etc etc etc.


Hope this helps you.


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Well, lets face it...18 yrs old is an adult. I am 30 yrs old and took my sister (25)on the Golden princess this past march for spring break. I didnt feel that princess catered to the older crowd. I too was worried that we would get there and there would be mostly senior citizens. This was not the case. There was a wide variety of people of all ages. With her being 18, she can go to the club and dance and have a blast in the late evenings. There is always something to do. There are all kinds of shows, games, competitions etc...... You will get a schedule of the days events. There is always something going on. Princess also has the anytime dining meaning you can eat when you want as opposed to Traditional dining. Traditional dining you have a set time that you eat and it is constant throughout the cruise. I personally like the anytime so you can see the different shows that start at various times. If there is a show you want to see during your traditional dining time, then you have to skip your traditional dining time, but you can eat at the buffet that is open 24 hrs. You can also get pizza and sliders poolside. I have only been on princess and march was my first cruise. I have booked another cruise this coming march on princess and will be taking my two daughters ages 8 and 9 with me as well as my mom and my sister (again) I am a single dad and I loved my first cruise sooo much that I wanted my kids and my mom to share the same experience.


No matter which cruiseline you pick, you and your daughter will have a blast!!!!!

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