Carnival vs. Princess: How do they compare?

by  Fran Golden | Oct 4, 2016

Both Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises serve everyone from couples to families, but that’s where the similarities end. That said, more than Carnival, Princess’s passengers tend to change based on seasonality, with the numbers of kids on board skyrocketing in the summertime and over holidays and waning to just a few on, say, long January sailings. With Carnival, the passenger rosters are a bit more homogeneous, but you'll find more 20- and 30-somethings on the shorter sailings. In addition to differences in cruise mates, you’ll see big differences in atmosphere: Carnival is about affordable fun, while Princess cruises are often nicer and more low-key, with a slightly higher price tag. The Vegas-style gaudiness that bothered some Carnival cruisers in the past is slowly being erased. The new ships are … almost tasteful. Sure, they’re anything but staid — that’s Princess, without a doubt — but the neon lights and brightly colored wallpapers are a thing of the past. And it should come at no surprise that Princess is more rooted in traditions. After all, this is the line made famous by “The Love Boat.” Even today, the ships have onboard chapels and perform more marriages and vow renewals than any other line. Still, despite the differences in style and energy, the discounted prices aren’t so different that you won’t find yourself trying to decide if Princess is worth the extra money to you. Read on for how to figure that out.

Carnival Sensation, Crown Princess / Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises

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