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budmeister

Royal Caribbean cruiser tries Celebrity- the differences.

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Hubby and I have been cruising for about 15 years, all RC until now. We are 54/50 , not big drinkers or sunbathers, do not smoke, and do not have children. We enjoyed both lines and will cruise both again,  as long as I find Celebrity price deals  close to RC prices.  We were on the Celebrity Equinox, which was laid out like the RC Radiance class, but sized between Radiance and Voyager class.  Our cruise was fully booked. Here are the differences between the lines for us:

 

Celebrity differences that stood out: 

 

I am not slamming RC, what we missed will be listed after this section.

 

Orange juice/champagne offered as you walk on- nice, especially if you are thirsty!

 

The service all around was EXCEPTIONAL - from the bathroom attendants to dining room to room attendants. ALL employees were smiling, friendly, helpful and appeared genuinely happy.  No one was even a bit indifferent or put out, even if you asked a question that was not theirs to answer or do. The bars were more highly staffed, not so much waiting time to get served.

 

Even the concierge was not put out by a request for a table alone at any time. She  just asked if you would like to wait, and gave you a thingy (cannot think of the name)  to sit down a a bar with and come back when it was lit/buzzing. On RC, I have been simply been told "no" at peak times at lunch or breakfast. 

 

There was always plenty of seating, in the Solarium and in all the lounges that surrounded the Centrum ( an RC word) on each level. I have never such a high quantity of comfortable seating everywhere on a ship before.

 

The Sky lounge- that large lounge at the top of the ship that you can see the water from all around - I cannot remember if it is the front or back of the ship- is available to all.  On RC, it has been converted to a higher tiers/suite guests only lounge.

 

There were almost no children. 

 

The average age of cruisers was probably in the 60s. While there certainly were some people in 20s-30s, there were a lot more people in 70s and 80s. As we are in our 50s, we felt like many people were older than we are, but maybe 50s and 60s may be hard to tell apart.

 

No smoking in the casino, and what seemed like a lot less on deck. Although I know there were some places to smoke, I did not notice them much. As someone who has an asthmatic reaction to smoke, my asthma was never triggered. If smoking was allowed in door anywhere, we must have just never passed through that area.

 

The theatre entertainment was probably 70s to 80s music, maybe a bit 60s. I loved it. The dancers were exceptional- and modern .The comedians  were funny w/o depending on swearing and true vulgarity to make people laugh. Hubby preferred the production shows on RC, as they had more of a theme than these did. I enjoyed the variety and unpredictability of the production shows  more than he did.  The costumes/dress was much nicer on Celebrity. The late night  shows were at 10:45 or 11:00 instead of midnight- nice for us! 

 

The music in the Centrum was really loud, even 4 floors up, as well as in the lounges. This actually prevented us from enjoying it. There were not really/much individual lounges with different music types. Most was more centralized, and loud. Possibly we could have found more with more effort.

 

The smaller game shows were often in more of a lobby with minimal seating than a lounge, and at 8:00. This was a difficult time to get to between dinner and the main shows.

 

Dinner dress was always smart causal at its most casual. Seriously, not even 1% wore t-shirts to the dining room. I looked, hoping to see that I could get away with it, but not so. 

 

The food-  The dining room food was upgraded, but still not always a choice we wanted. There were nights that 3 or 4 things were good, and those that 3 or 4 were all still not to our taste. The buffet was better than RC, but still not awesome. However, the buffet was always open, even until midnight. You could get pizza ( which was really good, definitely an upgrade) freshly cooked pasta, extensive salad bar, icecream (flavor variety, not soft serve) and deserts all the time, except maybe breakfast. Sadly, the deserts were not any better than RC. The coke package provided cans of coke rather than fountain drinks. I think the basic coffee was better.

 

The staterooms feel were similar, but only about 1/2 the storage in the closet and dresser draws. 

 

I enjoyed Persian Gardens ( the hot stone chairs in the spa) but probably would not pay for that again. 199.00 for the week. Chairs were available every time I went. 

 

Shopping was all high-end, plus some t-shirts and mugs. There were a lot less shops and they were not together with seating/lounges around them like a promenade.

 

What we missed from RC:

 

Wearing t-shirts on causal nights to the dining room!!!

The foot stools in the balcony's.

The in room gifts.

Twice the storage.

Listening to music in the lounges.

Much bigger arcade.

The promenade shops- layout, variety, quantity, and lower price point merchandise.

A lot more activity choices. Even 2 or 3 times the amount of Bingo, for instance. The Cruise Compass had easily twice or more listings.

The smaller game shows in lounges and timed after the later main show- we go to most of these.

Higher decks available for rooms are not extremely pricy (say deck 9-10 vs. 7 being the comparable price in Celebrity.) We liked being able to walk up a flight or 2 for the buffet or solarium. 

 

Both cruise lines offer a fantastic cruise experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks budmeister! We have sailed almost exclusively on RC and have looked at Celebrity but not booked. So this gives us something to think about a little more seriously.

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We have only been on three cruises. All on Celebrity. Saturday we will be on the Anthem of the Seas. Hoping everything will be all right .

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Great summary!

 

We've done the Equinox as our only X cruise also, with all the rest being Royal.  I echo almost everything that you wrote.

 

Here's our take as well:

 

Loved: 

All the amazing access to sea views and feeling connected to the sea.  Loved the sunset bar in the aft of the ship looking at the wake with the lawn on the top deck.

Food was an improvement.  Not a massive improvement, but a small step up.

The crew was amazing.

LOVED the indoor adult pool and hot tub area

Loved the included drink package and OBC with the purchase of a balcony cabin

The decor was a small step up from the Royal Ships

 

Didn't like:

The atriums.  MUCH prefer a royal promenade.  The ship feels much more chopped up inside versus the Royal ships we prefer.

Lack of entertainment options.  By day six we felt like our cruise was stuck on repeat.  We pretty much ran out of things to do.  This is never a problem for us, even on 8+ night cruises on Royal.

 

I WOULD sail the Equinox again.

 

Dan

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We've sailed both lines (tried M-class and S-class on Celebrity, all Vision-class on Royal) and one of the things I really miss on Celebrity is the activities. On our Royal cruises there have been a full staff of activities hosts (an Activities Manager, and three hosts, generally). On our Celebrity cruises, there have been a manager and a single host. Obviously, no one can be in two places at once, so there are fewer organized activities, and there are fewer venues that are suitable for them. 

 

We've gotten great deals on Celebrity--included perks like drinks packages and gratuities and more OBC than we could use. For less than a comparable cruise (e.g. 7 day Bermuda vs. 7 day Bermuda) on Royal. But...we were kinda bored last time. 

 

So it does really come down to what you enjoy doing on your cruise. 

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budmeister, we just got off Celebrity Edge yesterday, and while the ship, and the atmosphere/experience on it, are very different from any ship we've been on, my observations are very close to yours.  I wasn't going to post about it, but your comparison inclined me to join in.  Our last cruise on Celebrity was on Millenium about 5 years ago.  While RCI is still our favorite line, we prefer their smaller and mid-size ships, and wonder how many of those will be around in the coming years.  Though we enjoy certain aspects of them, we are not huge fans of the Oasis class ships, where the experience is directed inward toward a huge multifaceted floating resort.  My preference for their smaller ships is, in part, due to my feeling of being more connected to the ocean, with more outward views throughout, and Edge definitely offers that experience.   

 

So, comparing our Edge experience to yours on Equinox and ours on RCI:

 

Embarking - and disembarking - Edge has its own dedicated terminal at Port Everglades, very smooth with the facial recognition system.  It was our first experience with this technology. After disembarkation, we didn't even have to visit with a Customs agent.

 

Walk-on - champagne and a very good rum punch.

 

Service, crew - excellent service everywhere (and yes, I have had that same experience on RCI ships, just not every time) and the uniforms of the crew were notably more formal than RCI.  In recent years we have had many RCI crew members, especially dining related, almost beg for a top rating on the customer survey. There was none of that on Edge.

 

Dining - We have never had a problem getting a table for two at any time on RCI and experienced the same on Edge. The food did seem a step up from RCI, particularly in the Oceanview Café (Windjammer), with several carving stations and a wider choice of prepared/assembled-on-demand items. Snacks were available a little later than typically on RCI.  Pizza, available in the aft section of the Oceanview Café, was similar to our most recent tastings on RCI ships, which is an improvement from even a year or two ago.  Outdoor dining is available aft of Oceanview Café and both sides of Eden, an extremely unique venue described below, which is also aft.

 

MDR dinner dining attire - Smart Casual or Evening Chic.  On RCI, I dress as suggested, but try not to judge others' choice, although a few make it very difficult.  I know this is a topic of great contention on CC, and while I was not constantly looking for "violators," I'll share my observations.  I noticed only one person wearing shorts in one of the four MDRs at dinner - we were seated close to the door and I had full view of everyone entering that evening.  I never noticed anyone in a T shirt or (purposely or not) torn jeans.  On Evening Chic night, I saw everything from full tux to polos and formal gowns to nice top/pants ensembles. 

 

Solarium - Very simple, elegant, calming décor with soft background music, and there seemed to be loungers available at any time.  Although there were people present most of the time, it didn't seem to be as big a draw as on RCI ships.  

 

Children - We saw maybe a half dozen.

 

We are both just over 60, and we felt the average age was older than us, whereas on RCI we are closer to, or older than (on certain itineraries), average.  And certainly unlike RCI, most who looked younger than 30 were usually with families.  I was somewhat surprised by some of the piped in music which was, despite the demographics, quite modern, including a few rap style tunes.

 

Non smoking casino - Which led to us actually spending time there.  I explored this ship quite extensively and found only one smoking section; starboard aft on 15, I think it was.

 

Entertainment - I am not a fan of RCI's music & dancing production shows and the same goes for Edge.  The one I did go to, whereby they tricked me into by the description in the planner, was pretty much typical of an RCI production.  The solo comedian, who did a family friendly show as well as a (not that) late night adult show, was entertaining without profanity - not that I'm against that type of humor, it was just that obvious when labeled as "adult entertainment."  We saw a female violinist headliner one night in the theater, and I'm sure she is very talented, just not of my interest.  There were several other musical acts throughout the ship, including a very good all female group called the "Reckless Charms."   I would have bought a CD from them if they had them, as is typical on RCI ships, but they said they had none to offer.  Very notable, no RCI omnipresent Caribbean/steel drum band.

 

Staterooms - As with other areas of the ship, were of the minimalist elegance fashion. A lot of white and gray.  The (combined) beds were larger and softer than typical RCI.  We were in an "Infinite Veranda" room, which I would describe as a combination of a panoramic ocean view and a balcony, but not quite as good as either in their own right.  Having the outside wall to wall upper window open was nice, but the veranda is so small it is impossible, with two chairs and a small table that must be moved around, to have two people out there while closing the inner bifold doors.  The upper window movement was slow enough, but the electrically operated ceiling to floor blind opening/closing, which required constant switch contact from the occupant operator, was tediously sloth paced.  There was plenty of storage, of which some we didn't even find until a day or two into the cruise.  The mini bar, previously infamous on RCI, was present, but we experienced no mystery post-cruise charges.    

 

Shopping on board - as with your description, all high end; Tiffany, Bvlgary, etc.  No $10 sales, and even in the gift/Celebrity brand shop, not a single ball cap or printed/silk screened T shirt.  Very few "Edge" logoed items, and the only "Edge" embroidered bamboo cloth T shirt was about $50.  

 

We're not big drinkers, but do appreciate RCI's DLs & CLs for a couple evening drinks and pre-dinner bites.  Celebrity's Captain's Club evening lounge program doesn't even come close.  Edge happy hour is 5-7, with unlimited # of drinks from a limited list, similar but not identical to RCI's. Beer, Bud Light and Heineken, is served in glass bottles, not aluminum as on RCI.  There are several nice lounges/bars on Edge, but our favorite, also listed as the evening "Captain's Club gathering place," was Eden, a very spacious three level restaurant, lounge, café, gathering place with a large expanse of glass, aft on 4, 5 & 6, with an open air ramp (that follows the outlining glass enclosure) and a two person elevator to take one from main level 5 to balcony 6. Décor is, appropriately, Garden of Eden themed, with plenty of greenery, little seating niches, a great view of the trailing ocean and a small population of Edenists (dressed in a Mad Max meets '60's flower power fashion) who mingle and visit with/perform for patrons.  The Eden restaurant has a $65 pp dinner upcharge for a "sense stimulating dining experience" (we did not partake), but the Eden Café offers complimentary breakfast and lunch, with made-to-order artisan sandwiches, soups and salads.  We do enjoy Central Park on Oasis ships, but RCI has nothing like Eden.

 

The Grand Plaza is a compromise of RCI's Centrum and Promenade designs, three plus levels high, centered on the Martini Bar, surrounded by cafes, lounges, the casino and seating areas, not nearly as long as a Royal Promenade, but touching more venues than a Centrum.  As a gathering area, it's different, but it works.  

 

Outdoor areas - The Rooftop Garden, aft, top level with its accompanying Garden Grill and the Sunset Bar right behind it.  A running/walking track with ramps between decks 15 & 16.  And the Magic Carpet, for dinner, drinks, or just lounging.  It spent time off deck 5 during dining hours, but was usually to be found on 14 or 16.   

 

I apologize for the length of this post, I didn't realize sharing my experience would take up so much space.  We will certainly continue sailing with RCI, but I believe Celebrity cruises will be more frequently interspersed. 

 

Edited by CapeCoralCruiser

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After 25+ cruises with RCI we tried Celebrity Eclipse...actually for the itinerary...Ireland, Iceland & Scotland...which was amazing. We had an A1 Aqua class cabin ( 3 perks included were drink package, internet & gratuities) with a great location...food was great as was the service. However I missed my much preferred RCI JS...Celebrity nothing comparable unless you book a suite for $$$'s. Would I cruise X again...not sure.

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We used to cruise Celebrity...and loved it...started sailing with Royal because of our extended family, relatives, and friends...of all ages (grandchildren to us old folks with near dementia)...when sailing together, Royal simply had more activities.  Note: We sail Celebrity to places that Royal don't go to.

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Just wanted to thank you all for sharing these comparisons which are very useful, and cleverly laid out. We haven't sailed with Celebrity yet, but I imagine we will do in the future. We are Diamond Plus now with RC so sort of 'maxed out' for tier status matching (that's actually from Diamond, I believe). We are still finding itineraries that interest us on RC, and the price point is right (for now), but it sounds like we'd probably really enjoy ourselves with Celebrity as well.

 

Can I just ask about one topic which hasn't really been covered, which would be about the wifi on the ships? Both the quality and the price point as a comparison, if you have any experience of this? Thanks!

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londongal, as D+, wife & I share 4 days of RCI internet on a cruise, more than enough for us.  On Celebrity, as Elite, we each got 90 minutes for the cruise.  We made that work because their package is a lot more than RCI's.  I can't remember exactly, but it was something like $50 for a day of internet.  Elites receive 30% off a cruise long unlimited package, but it was still cost prohibitive.  The internet quality was the same as RCI for us.  They have a free app, like some of the RCI ships, for messaging between fellow passengers, seeing what's happening, making reservations, etc., but it had a lot of bugs.  Different events were missing between our two phones, after day 2 menus were no longer listed, and we were listed as 6:00 diners on the app but were really on Anytime Dining.  Even though it showed 6:00 dining, we had no assigned MDR seating. And we couldn't make reservations on the app because it defaulted to 6:00.  We were sent to three different people and no one could fix it, and by that time the only seating available was 5:30 or 9:00 (we usually sign up for 6:30 or 7:00 My Time), so the restaurant manager had to override the system and made us 6:00 reservations in a rotation of the four MDRs.  He couldn't make it any later except 9:00.  After that he took photos of the image on my phone, showing 6:00, and his computer screen, showing our reservation times and said we was going to send them to IT because it was "impossible" for that to be happening.  

Edited by CapeCoralCruiser

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1 hour ago, CapeCoralCruiser said:

londongal, as D+, wife & I share 4 days of RCI internet on a cruise, more than enough for us.  On Celebrity, as Elite, we each got 90 minutes for the cruise.  We made that work because their package is a lot more than RCI's.  I can't remember exactly, but it was something like $50 for a day of internet.  Elites receive 30% off a cruise long unlimited package, but it was still cost prohibitive.  The internet quality was the same as RCI for us.  They have a free app, like some of the RCI ships, for messaging between fellow passengers, seeing what's happening, making reservations, etc., but it had a lot of bugs.  Different events were missing between our two phones, after day 2 menus were no longer listed, and we were listed as 6:00 diners on the app but were really on Anytime Dining.  Even though it showed 6:00 dining, we had no assigned MDR seating. And we couldn't make reservations on the app because it defaulted to 6:00.  We were sent to three different people and no one could fix it, and by that time the only seating available was 5:30 or 9:00 (we usually sign up for 6:30 or 7:00 My Time), so the restaurant manager had to override the system and made us 6:00 reservations in a rotation of the four MDRs.  He couldn't make it any later except 9:00.  After that he took photos of the image on my phone, showing 6:00, and his computer screen, showing our reservation times and said we was going to send them to IT because it was "impossible" for that to be happening.  

 

Thanks for this. We're sort of booked up cruise-wise through 2020 as it is anyway, so we wouldn't sail with Celebrity anytime soon, but that will definitely factor into our considerations. My DH just isn't really happy unless he has a constant internet connection -- I don't mind because it makes him happy, but it's a major consideration. We might have to give them some time to catch up. I appreciate it isn't everyone's priority, particularly I would imagine for Celebrity's 'core' audience, so we are likely on the side of the minority. Very good to know though, thank you!

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Thanks so much for this great comparison!  We just booked our first Celebrity cruise (Transatlantic, April 2020 from FLL to Dublin).  I'm even more excited about it now that I've read the posts here!  :classic_smile:

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Plusses on Cel---

Drink package perk and the martini bar.

On RC--bigger, more activity choices.

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Hmm, all the positives sounds like sailing on Grandeur. 😄

 

Except MDR dress, which has not been that bad on our cruises, with a lot of dressy clothes.

 

And no hot stone chairs.

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We recently became diamond plus on rccl and did celebrity last year, we do suites normally grand suite on rccl , did a sky suite on summit last March. Grand suite is smallest rccl suite with full perks, suite is much larger than our summit sky suite. 

Really perfer celebrity for suite perks,  rccl has suite lounge with drinks for just 3.5 hours  , celebrity has drinks from early morning till midnight. Celebrity has a suite restaurant on all ships not just a few of them. This will be first year in about six that we will not do a rccl cruise, doing celebrity then msc yacht club , mainly because of suite perks. I know we will miss entertainment on rccl and I am sure we will return . 

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We sail X when we want:  longer itineraries, smaller ship, less crowded, relaxed atmosphere, better buffet,  and cafe al bacio

 

We sail Royal for: more activities, better live music, ice shows and the dl.

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