Celebrity vs. Princess: How do they compare?

by Fran Golden

Celebrity vs. Princess: How do they compare?

by Fran Golden

Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises both appeal to adult couples and solo travelers — and, to a lesser extent, the family crowd. The big difference: While Princess sticks to tradition, Celebrity tries hard to be current … even cool. Trying to decide which is the right pick for your next vacation? Read on for how they stack up. ItinerariesMost of the Celebrity ships winter in the Caribbean, with a few in South America and Australia. In summer, they spread out, cruising to Europe and Alaska, and only Celebrity Equinox stays in the Caribbean year-round. On the smaller Celebrity Xpedition, which sails to the Galapagos Islands, you get a cushy, soft-adventure experience.   Vs.

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Royal Princess, Celebrity Silhouette / Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises
Moonlight Sonata dining room on Celebrity Eclipse
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Food: Celebrity

Celebrity Cruises provides traditional and flexible dining schemes in the main dining rooms, where the food is a notch above the cruise norm. (On its Solstice-class ships, the contemporary dining rooms are downright gorgeous.) But it’s the line’s buffets that really shine, with a wide variety of unusually well-executed choices and even some surprising International options. While some of the specialty restaurants get mixed reviews, the open-air Lawn Club, where you can grill your own food on deck surrounded by grass, has a definite wow factor.

Celebrity Cruises provides traditional and flexible dining schemes in the main dining rooms, where the food is a notch above the cruise norm. (On its Solstice-class ships, the contemporary dining rooms are downright gorgeous.) But it’s the line’s buffets that really shine, with a wide variety of unusually well-executed choices and even some surprising International options. While some of the specialty restaurants get mixed reviews, the open-air Lawn Club, where you can grill your own food on deck surrounded by grass, has a definite wow factor.

Pasta from Princess' Italian restaurant Sabatini's
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Food: Princess

Princess also presents traditional and flexible dining in the main dining rooms, but its menus are a bit less memorable. Where Princess does excel, though, is in for-a-fee specialty dining: The line’s Italian and steakhouse restaurants are solid, and we particularly like the new SHARE restaurant by TV personality Curtis Stone. That said, the surprise hit is the Neapolitan pizza at Alfredo’s … which doesn’t come with a charge at all.

Princess also presents traditional and flexible dining in the main dining rooms, but its menus are a bit less memorable. Where Princess does excel, though, is in for-a-fee specialty dining: The line’s Italian and steakhouse restaurants are solid, and we particularly like the new SHARE restaurant by TV personality Curtis Stone. That said, the surprise hit is the Neapolitan pizza at Alfredo’s … which doesn’t come with a charge at all.

Movies Under the Stars on Caribbean Princess
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The Verdict

Celebrity’s vessels are some of the most beautiful at sea, and sometimes it feels like even the luxury lines emulate the stylish boutique feel of the Solstice-class ships. The art collections are as impressive as the interior design, and although these aren’t small ships, they often feel that way. Expect intimate spaces, both on deck (where you’ll see everything from hammocks to curtained daybeds) and in, say, the library areas, where a modern take on “egg” chairs will make you wonder why they ever went away. True, the cuisine isn’t always as impressive as the décor, but Celebrity still delivers on its premise of “Modern Luxury,” particularly on the trendsetting Solstice-class ships.

Vs.

Princess' classic, even staid, ships are for those looking for a more traditional cruise, with some updates rather than innovations. The design is built around a bustling atrium surrounded by cafes and lounges, including a Champagne bar. There, entertainers from contortionists to violinists perform before and after dinner as guests move from cocktails to meals and the evening entertainment. Romance is a big part of the history of this line — and you see it in the onboard wedding chapels and volume of vow renewals. Although you won’t find the kind of new features here that many other lines promote, Princess executes everything at a high level — and manages to deliver a tough-to-nail mix of entertainment and quiet relaxation. 

Celebrity’s vessels are some of the most beautiful at sea, and sometimes it feels like even the luxury lines emulate the stylish boutique feel of the Solstice-class ships. The art collections are as impressive as the interior design, and although these aren’t small ships, they often feel that way. Expect intimate spaces, both on deck (where you’ll see everything from hammocks to curtained daybeds) and in, say, the library areas, where a modern take on “egg” chairs will make you wonder why they ever went away. True, the cuisine isn’t always as impressive as the décor, but Celebrity still delivers on its premise of “Modern Luxury,” particularly on the trendsetting Solstice-class ships.

Vs.

Princess' classic, even staid, ships are for those looking for a more traditional cruise, with some updates rather than innovations. The design is built around a bustling atrium surrounded by cafes and lounges, including a Champagne bar. There, entertainers from contortionists to violinists perform before and after dinner as guests move from cocktails to meals and the evening entertainment. Romance is a big part of the history of this line — and you see it in the onboard wedding chapels and volume of vow renewals. Although you won’t find the kind of new features here that many other lines promote, Princess executes everything at a high level — and manages to deliver a tough-to-nail mix of entertainment and quiet relaxation. 

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