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Princess, NCL, Holland America or Celebrity?


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Just now, George C said:

It’s been a few years but Hal had more music on our cruises they had a nice piano bar , BB King nightclub and others. While I love many things on Celebrity I didn’t think there entertainment was special, our normal cruises on Celebrity are music charters with great music but that’s not the average cruise.

OK, that makes sense if you enjoy sitting and listening to music. HAL does have their Music Walk with a variety of music venues. For us, though, we switched from HAL to Celebrity and Princess because of the expanded "variety" of entertainment they offered as well as the higher quality of evening production shows in their main theaters. We also enjoy the fact X and P usually have 4-6 assistant cruise directors on a cruise while HAL usually only has 1.

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4 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

OK, that makes sense if you enjoy sitting and listening to music. HAL does have their Music Walk with a variety of music venues. For us, though, we switched from HAL to Celebrity and Princess because of the expanded "variety" of entertainment they offered as well as the higher quality of evening production shows in their main theaters. We also enjoy the fact X and P usually have 4-6 assistant cruise directors on a cruise while HAL usually only has 1.

Have you tried the larger ships on rccl, there shows are great , always loved there ice shows and aqua shows along with there broadway plays, comedy shows and jazz clubs. I thought princess was good but they added extra cabins and didn’t increase size of show rooms so extremely hard to get seats , once saw a fist fight on saving seats on Princess. 

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1 minute ago, George C said:

Have you tried the larger ships on rccl, there shows are great , always loved there ice shows and aqua shows along with there broadway plays, comedy shows and jazz clubs. I thought princess was good but they added extra cabins and didn’t increase size of show rooms so extremely hard to get seats , once saw a fist fight on saving seats on Princess. 

We tried RCCL twice, and you're right, the shows were great! Can't argue with you there. They were just a little too family oriented for our "over 65" taste, plus the MDR food wasn't something to write home about. 

 

As far as Princess goes, we will usually only book them if we like one of their longer 3-5 week itineraries. But, you're also right regarding the Princess evening shows. We usually have to go 30-45 minutes in advance with a deck of cards in hand to pass the time to get a good seat. That's definitely not the issue when we go to a Celebrity evening show in their huge, triple decker theaters.

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We have more or less alternated between HAL and Celebrity and until now would have had a hard time choosing one over the other as our preferred cruise line. Our last cruise was on HAL and our next booked cruise is on Celebrity, but that won't be until March 2022. Beyond that, time will tell whether we will continue to enjoy both or will start to lean towards one over the other.

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28 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

We also enjoy the fact X and P usually have 4-6 assistant cruise directors on a cruise while HAL usually only has 1.

It is been a long time since Celebrity has had that level of staff in the entertainment department unless that has changed with E class.

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It all comes down to what is most important and for you, that seems to be ports of call.

In that, Princess had more varied ports in the past.  But Princess will also have the most changed fleet when cruising resumes. Fewer, larger, more impersonal ships. More like Carnival.

You ask about better ships or ones to avoid. Princess is very consistent ship to ship. Celebrity varies in our experience.

Smaller ship lines can get into smaller ports. More money, but that might interest you.

 

Edited by mtnesterz
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YC also includes premium drink package and WiFi in cost. I was pleasantly surprised at there entertainment and loved the pool area and outside restaurant plenty of chairs and not crowded. 

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1 hour ago, ECCruise said:

It is been a long time since Celebrity has had that level of staff in the entertainment department unless that has changed with E class.

We were on a 24 day B2B on the Eclipse in Fall 2018, a 21 day B2B on the Reflection in Jan 2019 and a 7 day Feb 2020 cruise on the Equinox, and on all those there were at least 4 assistant CDs coordinating a variety of shows in Celebrity Central, game shows between evening theater shows and at least 3-4 trivia games on sea days, among other events being conducted around the ship. But I will say, Princess and their 5-6 CDs usually offer an even wider range of things to do when they're at sea.

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10 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

We were on a 24 day B2B on the Eclipse in Fall 2018, a 21 day B2B on the Reflection in Jan 2019 and a 7 day Feb 2020 cruise on the Equinox, and on all those there were at least 4 assistant CDs coordinating a variety of shows in Celebrity Central, game shows between evening theater shows and at least 3-4 trivia games on sea days, among other events being conducted around the ship. But I will say, Princess and their 5-6 CDs usually offer an even wider range of things to do when they're at sea.

I guess maybe it depends on ship/itinerary.  We don't sail in the Caribbean, so that could be a factor (nor is the OP).

I checked when I thought the cuts started (2015) and on our 8 long sailings since then (Europe/Asia/Suez Canal/South America) , I remember a CD, Asst. CD, 1 DJ and occasionally staff from the Kid's program filling in at trivia and some events. 

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I don't know if this has been brought up by anyone but how is the frequency of onboard announcements between cruise lines? 

We like that Celebrity generally has only one announcement per day around 10 or 11am with the captain and cruise director. We've been on other lines in the past that seem to have onboard announcements throughout the day.

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3 minutes ago, STLCRUISIN said:

I don't know if this has been brought up by anyone but how is the frequency of onboard announcements between cruise lines? 

We like that Celebrity generally has only one announcement per day around 10 or 11am with the captain and cruise director. We've been on other lines in the past that seem to have onboard announcements throughout the day.

We were worried about this before our MSC Yacht Club cruise in the med.  It was not a problem.  I would add my vote to considering MSC Yacht Club [which also puts you on MSC's newer ships, since they are the only ones with the YC].

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3 hours ago, Miaminice said:

we missed many things which we took for granted on Celebrity.
What we really missed on HAL is the open and airy feeling of a Celebrity ship. There are no large open spaces. The dark and very classic maritime design makes it even ´smaller´. Also there was no nice outside bar like the Sunset Bar.

 

What are the other things that you take for granted on Celebrity?

Edited by drsel
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Obviously you get a wide range of opinion on this type of question. I have sailed most with Celebrity, followed by NCL, then three on Carnival, two on Princess, and one each on RCCL and HAL. In order it is:

1. Celebrity - by a fair amount...but they are currently priced out of their value range IMO

2. Princess/HAL - about equal for different reasons - HAL has bigger staterooms and better food. Princess has better entertainment and livelier.

3. Carnival - we are not late night owls or pool hounds so the party hearty type don't bother us much and the food is actually pretty darn good - the Blue Iguana is legit "street" mexican food.

4. RCCL - Meh, food was so so and the entertainment was also OK...just a generic product IMO

5. NCL - was our favorite and our first and now a hard no go for us. The food in the non upcharge restaurants is now awful. The nickel and dime approach is non stop. The whole idea of calling an upsell product "free" is frankly insulting. Entertainment is good but not as top shelf as it once was.

 

TODAY - I would not book Celebrity at the current pricing. I would NEVER book another NCL under it's current model...with Cruise Next certificates, our last cruise in a balcony was about $430 pp for a 7 day western Caribbean cruise and I felt we overpaid for what we got. I would try Princess again at prices I see with the $50pp per day all inclusive upcharge. I would book HAL for if was a good deal ad even Carnival for a long cruise if it was a great deal.

We are value cruisers, though we stay in suites quite a bit, price is king and even Celebrity is only worth a small value premium of maybe 15%. Now a line like Seabourn is MUCH better than all of these...Seabourn over Celebrity suites, the Haven, or RCCL Owner suite - 10 out of 10 times at the same pricing.

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14 minutes ago, VACruiser123 said:

Obviously you get a wide range of opinion on this type of question. I have sailed most with Celebrity, followed by NCL, then three on Carnival, two on Princess, and one each on RCCL and HAL. In order it is:

1. Celebrity - by a fair amount...but they are currently priced out of their value range IMO

2. Princess/HAL - about equal for different reasons - HAL has bigger staterooms and better food. Princess has better entertainment and livelier.

3. Carnival - we are not late night owls or pool hounds so the party hearty type don't bother us much and the food is actually pretty darn good - the Blue Iguana is legit "street" mexican food.

4. RCCL - Meh, food was so so and the entertainment was also OK...just a generic product IMO

5. NCL - was our favorite and our first and now a hard no go for us. The food in the non upcharge restaurants is now awful. The nickel and dime approach is non stop. The whole idea of calling an upsell product "free" is frankly insulting. Entertainment is good but not as top shelf as it once was.

 

TODAY - I would not book Celebrity at the current pricing. I would NEVER book another NCL under it's current model...with Cruise Next certificates, our last cruise in a balcony was about $430 pp for a 7 day western Caribbean cruise and I felt we overpaid for what we got. I would try Princess again at prices I see with the $50pp per day all inclusive upcharge. I would book HAL for if was a good deal ad even Carnival for a long cruise if it was a great deal.

We are value cruisers, though we stay in suites quite a bit, price is king and even Celebrity is only worth a small value premium of maybe 15%. Now a line like Seabourn is MUCH better than all of these...Seabourn over Celebrity suites, the Haven, or RCCL Owner suite - 10 out of 10 times at the same pricing.

We are value customers as well and unfortunately Celebrity and NCL have gone to all inclusive with perks that we don't want, pushing  up prices.  We have found Royal C. to be a great option and their prices are great.  They don't price bundle.   The dining on Royal in the MDR is not far below Celebrity, but at the buffet we found some options on Royal to be not so good.  You have to go to the MDR at lunch to get a good salad bar on Royal.   The price bundling of perks is great for heavy drinkers, but we don't buy many drinks (we had the elite happy hour so we only had a glass or two of wine with dinner).

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13 minutes ago, 4774Papa said:

We are value customers as well and unfortunately Celebrity and NCL have gone to all inclusive with perks that we don't want, pushing  up prices.  We have found Royal C. to be a great option and their prices are great.  They don't price bundle.   The dining on Royal in the MDR is not far below Celebrity, but at the buffet we found some options on Royal to be not so good.  You have to go to the MDR at lunch to get a good salad bar on Royal.   The price bundling of perks is great for heavy drinkers, but we don't buy many drinks (we had the elite happy hour so we only had a glass or two of wine with dinner).

We found the same on our two week RCL cruise for the buffet...just really did not do it for us. The MDR was ok to good but the buffet was below average to us. We are Elite and the happy hour was perfect for me..the wife does not drink at all. And the all inclusive pricing at the levels of NCL and Celebrity are a no go for us as well.

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8 minutes ago, VACruiser123 said:

We found the same on our two week RCL cruise for the buffet...just really did not do it for us. The MDR was ok to good but the buffet was below average to us. We are Elite and the happy hour was perfect for me..the wife does not drink at all. And the all inclusive pricing at the levels of NCL and Celebrity are a no go for us as well.

I love lots of things about RCL, but there buffet is just bad , celebrity and most other lines are better, msc has amazing pizza in there’s best ever for a cruise line, Princess is also good.

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1 minute ago, George C said:

I love lots of things about RCL, but there buffet is just bad , celebrity and most other lines are better, msc has amazing pizza in there’s best ever for a cruise line, Princess is also good.

Princess pizza is the best we have had on a ship, followed by Carnival. Never been on MSC, scared away by the reviews.

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I have not sailed on Princess or HAL, but I would not consider NCL equivalent. They have gone the way RCL has and packed a kid friendly attraction on every square inch of the ships. Trampolines and bounce things and whatever literally hanging over the edges of the ships. You can read any brand board on this site and people are unhappy with pricing so that is essentially a moot point. 

 

Perhaps against my better judgement, we booked on the yet to sail MSC Seashore in the Yacht Club for Feb 2022. We are not suite cruisers, but the price difference between the YC1 and a S3 on Edge is 40% less. I have some concerns about it (will be a brand new ship, new line for us, very large ship, maybe too many kids) but it's worth a look at that price point. 

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1 hour ago, VACruiser123 said:

Princess pizza is the best we have had on a ship, followed by Carnival. Never been on MSC, scared away by the reviews.

Doubt you will find a bad review on msc yacht club, we also loved ncl at one time did Norway 7 times and seaward 6 times, thought they fell apart about when they went to there anytime dinning. Another positive is they match your status with other lines, I also loved there 10 percent discount for veterans.

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Just now, George C said:

Doubt you will find a bad review on msc yacht club, we also loved ncl at one time did Norway 7 times and seaward 6 times, thought they fell apart about when they went to there anytime dinning. Another positive is they match your status with other lines, I also loved there 10 percent discount for veterans.

Great to know

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The MSC 10% discount is also for all current and retired government employees.  We got it, and it really makes YC a bargain compared to the other 'ship-within-a-ship' offerings.

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2 hours ago, paulh84 said:

I have not sailed on Princess or HAL, but I would not consider NCL equivalent. They have gone the way RCL has and packed a kid friendly attraction on every square inch of the ships. Trampolines and bounce things and whatever literally hanging over the edges of the ships. You can read any brand board on this site and people are unhappy with pricing so that is essentially a moot point. 

 

Perhaps against my better judgement, we booked on the yet to sail MSC Seashore in the Yacht Club for Feb 2022. We are not suite cruisers, but the price difference between the YC1 and a S3 on Edge is 40% less. I have some concerns about it (will be a brand new ship, new line for us, very large ship, maybe too many kids) but it's worth a look at that price point. 

The two cruises that we did with Royal Caribbean were on their smaller ship.  Ships with the size comparable to Celebrity.  We did not find the plethora of kid attractions on those ships.  We generally avoid booking cruises on mega ships like the huge Royal ships that take 6,000 passengers or the NCL Epic.

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