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LMaxwell

Little Touches above Royal Caribbean?

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It has been many years since I've been on Celeb, but many, many sailings with Royal Caribbean.  Just booked a March 2020 trip w Celebrity and looking forward to it but wondering what are some of the small touches and differences that put Celebrity a half step above Royal?  We are Diamond on RCI so will use that for the reciprocity on Celebrity; any info on that would be helpful as well.  

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Funny! I never even thought of the towel thing. We are Pinnacle on RCI and will probably never go back as we have been doing Celebrity multiple times in the past two years. To us the clientele, ship decor, service, and food all are more to our taste than RCI. The only thing we think RCI does better is the dreaded muster drill. RCI doesn't show that ridiculous "spy" movie at muster (or didn't that last 3 or 4 times we were on) and gets the drill over quickly.  There is obviously more and different entertainment on RCI, but we enjoy the live music all over the ships on X. 

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Champagne when you board.  No constant announcements on the loudspeakers. No smoking in the casino.  The Martini Bar. To name a few!

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We did the reverse, after 10 cruises with Celebrity and Elite after 5, we did a cruise with Royal C. (transpacific from Sydney to Seattle).

 

The Plusses for Royal were that the Diamond Happy Hour goes from 5-8 (on one cruise it was until 8:30)  We have now done two cruises with Royal and never spent a nickel on alcohol.  Loved being able to use Diamond for wine in the MDR.

Royal's entertainment was fantastic, in fact, better than NCL which has excellent entertainment.

 

Royal is way larger and has a bit more variety, especially in some places in the World.  Loved our 11 night cruise from Copenhagen to the North Cape of Norway.  Celebrity only had a Norwegian Fjords cruise that went about half way to the Cape.

Also, for a while Celebrity's price bundling with promos that we don't want put their prices up so Royal was easily the best deal.  Celebrity has choices now for many, perhaps all its cruises of booking without any perks for a lower price that is competitive.

 

We found the MDR food in both lines to be very close in quality and service, but find that Celebrity's buffet seems to offer better options, especially the great salad bar (Royal has a salad bar for lunch in the MDR, but we don't do the MDR at lunch).  The Royal buffet could do better, we came in late after a port tour one night in Norway and decided to eat dinner in the buffet.  They had Mousaka, which I tried, it was awful, had no meat, just mainly potatoes.  Then I tried the Lasagne, which was equally terrible.  Celebrity has never served food like that anywhere in my experience, buffet or MDR.

 

We love the ship layout of the Celebrity ships, especially the bar that is aft of the buffet.  Love to eat outside there.  The Explorer of the Seas, didn't have such a place, it was blocked off by the fitness center, spa.  We did have one on Serenade of the Seas.

 

Loved the Ice show on Explorer of the Seas, Celebrity has no ice shows.  

 

Now, prior to booking a cruise, we look at Celebrity and RCI as our primary choices, although I do look at Princess and NCL (we have done 7 cruises on NCL).  

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Have not been on Celebrity for awhile either, but booked for November 2020.  Do they still have trays in the buffet? I thought that was a nice touch.

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11 minutes ago, coaster said:

Have not been on Celebrity for awhile either, but booked for November 2020.  Do they still have trays in the buffet? I thought that was a nice touch.

Sorry, no they don't.

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I know the entertainment won't be as WOW, that's okay with me, I am looking for slightly more refined services and less nickel and diming onboard.  

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Cafe Al Bacio is far superior to the coffee shops on RCL in terms of beverage and food quality as well as service. It's also a much more comfortable and relaxing place to be. 

Sommelier service in the dining rooms is also noticeably better too. 

I'd agree with 4774pappa that some areas are closer than you'd expect in terms of service and quality. 

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Does RC have real linens in the restrooms instead of paper towels?  Nice touch by Celebrity, IMHO

 

 

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2 hours ago, TeeRick said:

Champagne when you board.  No constant announcements on the loudspeakers. No smoking in the casino.  The Martini Bar. To name a few!

Agree love the champagne when we board.

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You'll be  welcomed aboard on embarkation with a welcome glass of bubbly or a mimosa.  When returning to the ship in hot weather ports you will be welcomed back with and iced cloth and a cold drink and in cold ports with a hot drink. You'll find real cloth towels in the restrooms. You didn't mention what ship you'll be sailing on, so it's hard to be specific, but most are similar. There is no smoking anywhere indoors on X ships, including in the casino. There is only one daily announcement at about 10 AM daily. Sometimes cold towels and sorbet are brought around the pool. No pool towel check out. Beach towels will be delivered to your room the night before a port visit if that port might have you needing them. Just bring them back and leave them in your room and the stateroom attendant will collect and replace them as needed. There is an evening cocktail party for Elite and over Captains Club levels each evening except embarkation and night of the Senior Officers Event from 5-7. You'll get a note from Captains Club in your cabin on embarkation day stating all of your benefits. You can also get Captains Club Menu drinks at any bar during that time period. You can't get wine in the MDR or restaurants with that benefit, but you can bring a glass you've gotten with you into the MDR. Elite members get 1 bag of free laundry each (wash and fold). They also each get either 90 free WIFI minutes or 30% off a package. If you take the free minutes they do not have to be used consecutively so make sure to log out when you're done or your time will continue to run. If you're both Elite you don't both have to make the same choice.

 

There is also much better sommelier  service available on X than Royal. There are also, on most sailings, far less families with children.

Edited by Luvcrusn
Addition

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We will be on Infinity.  That was a terrific listing of just such small differences I am looking forward to. 

 

Thank you 

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I think that the S class ships are a true upgrade over RCL.  We booked our first Celebrity cruise while onboard Anthem.  On Anthem, Oasis it seems like the ships/shows were crowded and we were always waiting in line.  Whether it was for the bumper cars,  the surfing,  the skydiving, etc.  The S class ships have a more relaxed, quiet, and not so crowded feel.  Plus we find the guests on Celebrity to be more our age.  Less teenagers running around the ship.

 

On Celebrity you don't have to schedule your shows.  That was somewhat of a hassle.

Edited by NMTraveller

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2 hours ago, LMaxwell said:

We will be on Infinity.  That was a terrific listing of just such small differences I am looking forward to. 

 

Thank you 

 

I hope you have an amazing time. I speak for myself since DH still loves RCI and would cruise again with them, but my heart belongs to Celebrity now for so many of the reasons listed. The Celebrity no indoor smoking policy is phenomenal - a deal breaker for us on Royal since Radiance class is our favorite. I just cannot stand the smoke that spills out of the casino and into the Centrum anymore. 

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Infinity is nice ship but could use a refurbish which it gets in about a year , do love the glass of champagne when you board, entertainment does not match rccl, most people really like there martini bar , nice pools, we did it earlier this year and will do it again in February, suite perks are was better than rccl. Also there buffet is really very nice, I never liked rccl buffet celebrity is far superior. Yes we also love there non smoking policy. 

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We are Diamond Plus on Royal and Elite Plus on Celebrity, so we really do like both cruise lines and continue to sail on both but for different reasons. We like the quieter, calmer vibe on Celebrity and really appreciate the non-smoking casino. Not that we gamble, but smoke from Royal's casinos can spill out to other areas. Also often walking through the casino makes a good shortcut at times. 

 

Royal has amazing shows, especially the Aqua Show on Oasis Class ships and ice shows all most Royal ships. Boleros can be great fun if the band is good. The quality of the band there can vary dramatically. We also like the Izumi Japanese restaurant. We don't care for the Windjammer Buffet and believe Celebrity's Ocean View buffet is far superior. This may seem minor, but Celebrity has glass dishes and cups, while Royal's are Melamine. Admittedly we do prefer Royal's Oasis Class ships to other Royal ships  because there is just so much going on. Forgot to mention Royal has a dedicated Diamond Lounge. Celebrity does not have such a place for Elites and up. 

 

When we cruise with family we do choose Royal. When we are cruising alone, Celebrity is the right mood for us. My two favorite spots on Solstice Class ships are Cafe al Bacio and the Sunset Bar at the back of the ship. We haven't tried Edge yet, so I can't speak for what they offer. 

 

I hope you really enjoy your cruise on Celebrity and hope you do many more. Lucky for all of us, we can change back and forth between Royal or Celebrity depending on what we want and have a memorable time on either cruise line. 

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Réal linens in the bathroom instead of paper towels, cushions on the pool loungers (at least on summit), better food (subjective), don’t have to check out pool towels, cafe al baccio, overall ships are better maintained and less dated, less rust on the exterior of the ships, better service, a wine sommelier (haven’t seen one on RCI in quite a while.  If there is one they definitely do not let themselves be known), free on demand movies (although this has been in flux lately), free room service, better prizes for winning trivia and contests in general:   That’s just off the top of my head.

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1 hour ago, Langley Cruisers said:

 

I hope you have an amazing time. I speak for myself since DH still loves RCI and would cruise again with them, but my heart belongs to Celebrity now for so many of the reasons listed. The Celebrity no indoor smoking policy is phenomenal - a deal breaker for us on Royal since Radiance class is our favorite. I just cannot stand the smoke that spills out of the casino and into the Centrum anymore. 

I have to agree about the smoking policy differences between X and RCI. Our last cruise on RCI was on Legend 5 years ago. On many nights the smoke from the casino was so thick that it spilled into the theater causing us to have to leave since I am very sensitive to smoke. I could not even walk through the casino when going from the dining room to the theater. We had to go up or down a deck to avoid it and certainly could never use the casino! The service everywhere on X, at least to us, seems far superior to what we've experienced on RCI. 

In the dining room on that last Legend cruise there was no sommelier in the MDR. The maitre d attempted to stand in and meant well, but we (far from wine connoisseurs) knew he was sorely lacking. We could also never get a drink in the theater.

Edited by Luvcrusn

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9 hours ago, LMaxwell said:

It has been many years since I've been on Celeb, but many, many sailings with Royal Caribbean.  Just booked a March 2020 trip w Celebrity and looking forward to it but wondering what are some of the small touches and differences that put Celebrity a half step above Royal?  We are Diamond on RCI so will use that for the reciprocity on Celebrity; any info on that would be helpful as well.  

Welcome aboard flute of sparkling wine during embarkation.  No inside smoking  including the casino or on balconies, no rock climbing walls, no flow rider, no ice skating rink, no QUEST. Call the Captains Club at 1-800-760-0654 to verify your tier level (elite) is documented. No 24 hour dedicated CC HH lounge for elite and elite plus. CC HH is from 5 PM to 7 PM in the Sky Lounge except the evening of embarkation. Unlimited CC HH drinks loaded on your Seapass card (except for the first evening) to enjoy at the bars except at the World Class Bar. CC HH drinks are not served in the dining venues.  No buffet set up (like on RC) during CC HH in the Sky Lounge but servers serve snacks along with taking drink orders. Like RC you will receive in your stateroom a full list of all elite perks for your cruise.  We enjoy cruising with both Celebrity and RC. We like the similarities and differences between the two cruise lines.

 

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7 hours ago, LMaxwell said:

I know the entertainment won't be as WOW, that's okay with me, I am looking for slightly more refined services and less nickel and diming onboard.  

 

 

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8 hours ago, 39august said:

Funny! I never even thought of the towel thing. We are Pinnacle on RCI and will probably never go back as we have been doing Celebrity multiple times in the past two years. To us the clientele, ship decor, service, and food all are more to our taste than RCI. The only thing we think RCI does better is the dreaded muster drill. RCI doesn't show that ridiculous "spy" movie at muster (or didn't that last 3 or 4 times we were on) and gets the drill over quickly.  There is obviously more and different entertainment on RCI, but we enjoy the live music all over the ships on X. 

 

They played in on Ovation in September.

 

4 hours ago, LMaxwell said:

We will be on Infinity.  That was a terrific listing of just such small differences I am looking forward to. 

 

Thank you 

 

Perspective: we're Pinnacle on RCI and Elite Plus on Celebrity. It took me years to convince DH to try X and we both prefer it over RCI; me by a country mile, him not as much. We don't have kids so don't need all of the bells and whistles of a big RCI ship. I found the theater entertainment to be mostly very good, mostly hits with some misses and lots of opportunities to dance on a proper dance floor before and after dinner.

 

We were on Infinity's TA in October. She is a lovely ship, but definitely needs to have some work done, which won't happen until next November. But every issue we had with our stateroom was addressed promptly and nobody ever suggested that we were at fault or didn't know what we were talking about, as we have sometimes experienced on RCI.

 

I like the smaller dining rooms for Aquaclass (Blu) and suites (Luminae). I've had lunch in the MDR a few times and found it to be very good. The buffet is terrific - the layout is a little awkward (but after the refurbishment will be much better, as it is on Summit) but the food is very good - lots of variety, a theme every night and plenty of staff roving around to get you a drink or extra silverware or whatever. Overall, I just find the food on X to be superior. The specialty restaurants (Tuscan Grill, Sushi on 5  and Le Petit Chef on Infinity) are good, not great, but that's how I feel about the specialties on RCI, too.

 

The premium drink package has a $15 limit, which is important if you're a wine drinker. RCI's is $12, and all but one or two red wines are priced above that, so even with a package we paid more (I don't care for the free wine served in the CL).  I liked the choices in Cellar Masters better than in Vintages. And no nasty smoke wafting from the casino right next door on the Radiance class ships.

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9 hours ago, 39august said:

Funny! I never even thought of the towel thing. We are Pinnacle on RCI and will probably never go back as we have been doing Celebrity multiple times in the past two years. To us the clientele, ship decor, service, and food all are more to our taste than RCI. The only thing we think RCI does better is the dreaded muster drill. RCI doesn't show that ridiculous "spy" movie at muster (or didn't that last 3 or 4 times we were on) and gets the drill over quickly.  There is obviously more and different entertainment on RCI, but we enjoy the live music all over the ships on X. 

Just had to sit through the stupid "spy movie" on Harmony of the Seas 12/1 - 12/7.

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