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Carnival vs. Princess


2Oregonians

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I don't think it matters so much what I would pick as what YOU would like. Carnival, as I understand, is more glitzy and showy, with a higher "energy". If you like Vegas, then I think you'd enjoy Carnival. (My sister and BIL have sailed many times on Carnival.)

 

Princess is a bit more subdued in general. If you'd like to vacation at a Sea Island resort, for example, Princess may be your cup of tea. BTW, not implying that Princess doesn't have PLENTY of activities.....they just tend to be more along the lines of trivia contests and not poolside contests.

 

Other factors are more subjective. Some say the food is better on Princess. Some say the general age is younger on Carnival. A lot depends on the individual ship and on the itinerary at hand. I suggest you go and read recent reviews on CC for the particular ship that you have in mind to get a better idea of which one you'd like more.

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Princess for me. Having cruised both, I can state that Carnival is NOT my style. Loud decor, lots of announcements, silly dining room antics, casual onboard atmosphere, too in your face.

 

Princess also offers open dining, a big plus. I prefer low key and traditional so it works for me.

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If itineraries and "price" were always equal we'd pick Princess. We most recently sailed Princess in Aug 2007 and Carnival in Feb 2008. As you can see below, we'll sail Carnival again in Oct 2008 and Princess in Feb 2009.

 

We find Princess food a bit better, but we don't go hungray on Carnival ;) , we feel that on Princess "they" entertain us more often while Carnival uses other passengers to entertain us much of the time. We've always found more children on Carnival than on Princess cruises, although we've also always found that "most" of the children are very well behaved with only a few exceptions. We've experienced much more of a party atmosphere on Carnival than Princess but we've also never experienced anyone out of control drunk on Carnival either. Carnival wins the balcony cabin award for having a couch and a larger feeling room and a shower that felt a bit large but Princess's room was perfectly ok and we like the layout of the bathroom-closets much better. Princess to us, has a more upscale feeling and a price that tends to go along with that feeling. There have always been many more people out and about after midnight on Carnival but since we usually retire to our cabin by 12:30 am the fact that less people are out and about on Princess by that time is not a problem with us. The overall demographics on Princess has been an older crowd than Carnival but both have passengers of all ages.

 

A cruise does tend to be what you make of it and we always enjoy our cruises on both lines. The prices on Carnival allow us to cruise more often and that can only be a GOOD thing :) Much depends on what you are looking for in a cruise and no one can answer that but yourself.

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Having cruised on both, my choice would always be for Princess. While Carnival isn't terrible, I did find the decor to be rather Vegas-tacky, and the whole atmosphere to be rather loud and annoying for my taste. I find Princess is more classy without actually being pretentious, the service and the food were far better, and it generally just felt more relaxing to me. I also liked the entertainment quite a bit more....the shows I saw on Carnival were rather unimpressive to me.

 

That being said, Carnival does at least offer single cruisers a bit of a price break in the 1A cabins, which could make cruising for some more affordable.

 

Either way, enjoy! :)

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To be honest, there isn't a heck of alot of difference. I've sailed both. Carnival decor (I've been on 4 ships) is usually more glitzy, I actually like it, Princess was a little more subdued, kind of boring actually.

 

The food, very very similair with Carnival taking a small edge. Carnival has lemonade, fruit punch and ice tea at all drink stations available during the day. Princess had tea or coffee. This, believe it or not was a big deal for us. We are not coffee drinkers and don't drink much alcohol, so having the juice during the day was awesome.

 

Princess has open dining if you want that. We enjoyed it for a change but we also like the traditional if we are travelling with friends or family.

 

The shows were similar styles, both had plenty of things to do and plenty of places to "hide" and relax if that's what you wanted. Princess was very quiet by 11 pm and Carnival was a little more lively, but by no means a party boat.

 

If it was me, and itinerary was the same, I would then look at the ship. I'd probably sail with the newer ship. The newer ships have endless food options, great shows, great public areas.

 

Good luck. I honestly don't think you could go wrong either way, the differences in my opinion are not that big, a few little things here or there, not enough to deter me from sailing either line.

 

Tara

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For me it's Princess, hands down. I have no desire to even try Carnival. I have some friends who have the same kind of likes and dislikes that I have about cruising and they have cruised Carnival. From what they have told me I won't look into a cruise with them. Plenty others to choose from should I tire of Princess (which I doubt). Eight out of my ten cruises have been with Princess and I continue to be totally satisfied with them in all areas. If it ain't broke don't fix it, JMO

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Thanks everyone. I should have made it clear - this was just an opinion poll. I wasn't wanting advice for myself. Sorry. I have friends who swear by Carnival, but from what I've heard about their trips, it didn't sound so great to me. (I didn't say that to them. Didn't want to sound like I was bragging. LOL) I've sailed Princess twice and have a 3rd scheduled. My parents are die-hard Princess fans and are currently on their 18th cruise on the Sapphire Sydney to Auckland. Great answers, everyone!!! Keep it going. :)

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I sailed Princess back in 2003, and wanted to try something new last year. My fiance and I picked Carnival and everyone was telling me that I was crazy, and that it was a horrible cruise line. Because I like to decide for myself, I picked it anyway. We had an awesome time - service was amazing, ship was beautiful, cabin was gorgeous, food was okay, entertainment was great, fellow cruisers were not my cup of tea, but I don't concern myself with them, because I'm there for me and my fiance :-)

 

Over all, I absolutely loved both, but I would pick Princess over Carnival. Sometimes Carnival got a little "loud" for me, and Princess is more relaxing, in my opinion. And I thought Princess had better food. The 24 hour buffet is a huge plus for me, as my fiance and I love really late night snacks, and like to go on off hours.

 

Loved both cruise lines, but prefer Princess over Carnival. It's all in what you like and you won't know until you try them both :)

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To be honest, there isn't a heck of alot of difference. I've sailed both. Carnival decor (I've been on 4 ships) is usually more glitzy, I actually like it, Princess was a little more subdued, kind of boring actually.

 

The food, very very similair with Carnival taking a small edge. Carnival has lemonade, fruit punch and ice tea at all drink stations available during the day. Princess had tea or coffee. This, believe it or not was a big deal for us. We are not coffee drinkers and don't drink much alcohol, so having the juice during the day was awesome.

 

Princess has open dining if you want that. We enjoyed it for a change but we also like the traditional if we are travelling with friends or family.

 

The shows were similar styles, both had plenty of things to do and plenty of places to "hide" and relax if that's what you wanted. Princess was very quiet by 11 pm and Carnival was a little more lively, but by no means a party boat.

 

If it was me, and itinerary was the same, I would then look at the ship. I'd probably sail with the newer ship. The newer ships have endless food options, great shows, great public areas.

 

Good luck. I honestly don't think you could go wrong either way, the differences in my opinion are not that big, a few little things here or there, not enough to deter me from sailing either line.

 

Tara

 

Tara, Princess does offer apple juice - I think it ws not sure-but there was something besides tea or coffee in the lido restuarant. Not that I drink it-because of the sugar-which is why I always bring those little packets you mix with water that are swetened with splenda.

 

One thing for sure-before I would go on a Carnival cruise instead- just for THAT reason- ( I may would pick Carnival for ittenary, especially a spirit class ship) I would bring the packets you mix with water. They are only like a dime a serving-and you can get them with sugar. That would still cost less then one alcoholic drink for a week's worth ( I pay around $4 for a packet of 40) for one person.

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Tara, Princess does offer apple juice - I think it ws not sure-but there was something besides tea or coffee in the lido restuarant. Not that I drink it-because of the sugar-which is why I always bring those little packets you mix with water that are swetened with splenda.

 

One thing for sure-before I would go on a Carnival cruise instead- just for THAT reason- ( I may would pick Carnival for ittenary, especially a spirit class ship) I would bring the packets you mix with water. They are only like a dime a serving-and you can get them with sugar. That would still cost less then one alcoholic drink for a week's worth ( I pay around $4 for a packet of 40) for one person.

 

 

I never meant that I would choose Carnival over Princess for that alone, just that it was one of those small differences between the 2 lines that we noticed. We did bring Crystal light singles when we cruised Pricess, just for that reason, and it was perfectly fine.

 

I was just trying to point out that to us there are only little differences like that between the two lines. Some things we liked better on Carnival, but again not enough to say we wouldn't cruise Princess again. It comes down to itinerary, price and ship for us. I like both lines.

 

Tara

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I have sailed on Royal Caribbean and Princess. I loved them both. I am about to cruise on Carnival for the first time. I read somewhere that on Carnival, the better service, food, etc depends on if you take a cruise for more than 5 days. Has anyone else heard or read that?

Lori

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Having cruised, both, and considering itinerary and price being the same, I would go with Princess. I have yet to find a Princess cruise for the price I pay for Carnival.

 

In my opinion,

Princess is better at: decor, food, service.

Carnival is better at: cabins, price.

 

For my forthcoming cruise I booked Carnival because of the port-intensive itinerary and the price. I compared with similar itineraries from Princess, Costa, and Celebrity and found the Carnival cruise to be better value.

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I have sailed on Royal Caribbean and Princess. I loved them both. I am about to cruise on Carnival for the first time. I read somewhere that on Carnival, the better service, food, etc depends on if you take a cruise for more than 5 days. Has anyone else heard or read that?

Lori

 

Lori, Carnival keeps more of their older ships and offers the 3 and 4 day mini cruises on them for much less. Yes the service, is a step down then the newer ships.

 

But obviously there is a market for those who cannot afford longer cruises.

 

The problem with this is this has backfired on them. I know many people will try Carnival out for a first crusie experience-you know sort've "getting their feet wet" to see if they like cruising before they spend alot of money. (My hubby and I were one of those-we did not want to spend alot of money our first cruise in case we did not like it)

 

So then when they take a second cruise and are willing to spend more, go on a much newer ship, and find that crusie so much better. They then brand Carnival as a bad line.

 

The 5 day ships are a little newer then the 3 and 4 day-but the ships for those cruise are still around 10 years old-so ofcourse the ships will not be as nice as the much newer ships.

 

All ships as they age, are just not as good. Wear and Tear. Even Explorer of the Seas I am hearing is showing it's age and it is around 7 years old.

 

 

I will say this. For a 5 day I would pick Carnival over RCI-simply because RCI's ships that do the 5 day, Granduer of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas are also around 10 years old-but yet they command a much higher price. But yet they are not better. People just have the preception that RCI is better.

 

I know I have a friend whose first cruise was on Explorer of the Seas when that ship was around 3 years old. The next year she took a cruise on Mariner of the Seas when she was around 2 years old.

 

Then about 6 months later she took a 5 day cruise on Grandeur of the Seas. She was very disapointed as the ship was not as nice. I had tried to tell her that, but she had to see for herself.

 

Now she recently got married and bought a home- so she does not have the cruise budget she had before- last summer she took a 4 day cruise on Carnival Holiday-but she was prepared, I had warned her it would be worse then Grandeur of the seas, since it is a much older ship. But she still had fun since her expectations were lowered. Ofcourse she would prefer to take a 7 day cruise on a newer ship and hopes she can again in the future, but as she said, it is nice that she can still afford to take a cruise, even though she would perefer a nicer ship, she still enjoys cruises.

 

Now some feel if they can't afford better they would rather not cruise. I guess that is all up to each of us.

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I just took my first Carnival cruise and I booked it specifically because of the 1A cabin rate for a solo, and I even managed to snag one with 2 windows. When I was researching my November 2008 cruise, I looked at both Princess and Carnival, but chose Princess because of the itinerary even though it was much more expensive. If the itineraries are the same and I can get that 1A with windows, I will choose Carnival every time. If everything is the same, I'll probably go with Princess just because I've cruised with them more.

 

It's funny that this comparison generates so many responses. When I asked about the difference between RCCL and NCL for a Baltimore/Bermuda cruise, I only got 2 responses.

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Princess is a bit more subdued in general. If you'd like to vacation at a Sea Island resort, for example, Princess may be your cup of tea. BTW, not implying that Princess doesn't have PLENTY of activities.....they just tend to be more along the lines of trivia contests and not poolside contests.

.

 

We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the poolside contests on both of our Princess cruises! Bar wars held at the pool were a hoot.

 

My uncle has cruised many times, and LOVES Vegas. They took their first Carnival cruise recently, and said never again on Carnival.

 

On our 2 Princess cruises, I'd say most passengers are mid 30s-mid 50s. Few 20s on first cruise in Oct., MANY more on March cruise (spring break).

 

We sure didn't find either of our Princess cruises subdued. Disney was far more...they have a great nightclub area, and it was DEAD by 10:30:confused: We danced at Skywalkers until they kicked us out most nights...and our dinner mates on both cruises were a blast!

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I'll get back to ya the end of April.

 

Coming up on our 10 th cruise. 6 on Royal caribbean 2 on carnival and 1 on Princess. In April we will be on Coral Princess. I dont know why!!! Guess I was overruled in our group. After all the hype I heard about how fantastic Princess was we decided to go on the Grand several years ago when she was fairly new. We absolutly hated the layout of the ship. It was very confusing. Had horrendous service in the dining room. Food was awful. And the mini-suite left loads to be desired.

 

I certainly hope this ship is different. I will be really p--sed if it the same quality as before. This is a 10 night cruise and it cost a lot for a mini-suite.

 

We love Royal caribbean ships. They are gorgeous, easy to navigate the decks, service was great, food was good not fantastic. Carnival ships are abit gaudier. Mainly the centrum or whatever they call it. Cabins are HUGE. Food was really good. I think better than our last RC cruise. Service was good. I think Carnival may be my preference of the 3. I hope I am happy and can give a great trip report when we get back.

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Both Carnival and Princess are owned by the same company, Carnival Corporation, right?

 

If you have previously cruised on Carnival and want to try Princess, can you get the "past guest" price when booking? Or does it have to be line specific?

 

Just curious.

 

Thanks!

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We have cruised on both the Carnival Conquest and the Saphire Princess. Both cruises had great food, the Princess lacked in the entertainment venue. We enjoy the piano bar and the karaoke bar on Carnival, Princess did not have a piano bar. There was a larger variety to choose from on Carnival. On Princess, not very much of a variety and on the last night it was a repeat show and nothing going on until 11, so we went to bed. We will be trying Carnival in a few weeks and see how it is this time with the same itinerary as Princess.

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We have cruised on both the Carnival Conquest and the Saphire Princess. Both cruises had great food, the Princess lacked in the entertainment venue. We enjoy the piano bar and the karaoke bar on Carnival, Princess did not have a piano bar. There was a larger variety to choose from on Carnival. On Princess, not very much of a variety and on the last night it was a repeat show and nothing going on until 11, so we went to bed. We will be trying Carnival in a few weeks and see how it is this time with the same itinerary as Princess.

 

Carribean Princess had a piano bar-it was in the centrum area-the problem was when we were on the CP is the singer-piano player was VERY popular and it was standing room only every time we tried to go there.

 

The same thing happened to us on the Celebrity Constellation. Very popular singer piano player and so we could never get a seat in the piano bar.

 

It seems to me on recent crusies the piano bar is the most popular spot-that many crusiers love the piano bar-I am thinking ships need to put the piano bar in their largest lounge area. Or else, offer 2 piano bars.

 

Anyway, I am SURE your ship had a piano bar. If you had trouble finding it-you should have went to the purser's desk and asked where it was-every cruise I have taken-no matter the line-ALWAYS has a piano bar.

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Both Carnival and Princess are owned by the same company, Carnival Corporation, right?

 

If you have previously cruised on Carnival and want to try Princess, can you get the "past guest" price when booking? Or does it have to be line specific?

 

Just curious.

 

Thanks!

 

Let your TA know-I think you get a little something-but it is not like you get to go to the cocktail party on ship for past cruisers or the coupon book Princess gives out unless you have cruised Princess before.

 

Hey, maybe Carnival Corporation should do that. I know, I have taken 4 Carnival cruises, 2 Princess, and next month I take my second HAL cruise. I have considered Costa, but just have not heard enough good about Costa, but maybe I would try Costa if I had that incentive.

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