I have sailed Celebrity, Princess, NCL and Carnival. Generally I would say the quality of food on Celebrity is a notch above and when combined with service that is a notch above as well it tastes all that much better. This is still mass produced food so don't look for meals at Le Cirque , just good food. Will everyone agree? No. But Conde Nast traveller rated 7 of Celebrities ships in it's top ten.
I like the 24 hour Horizon Court on Princess. Celebrity's Lido deck buffets are not 24.hour they close down between meals and are not open all night. You will also find somewhat less alternative dining choices on Celebrity than on some other new ships.
The specialty restaurants such as Normandy on the Summit are as good as you will find anywhere on land or sea. The supper clubs on the newer Carnival ships have a different atmosphere but compare favorably from an excellent dining experience point of view.
PapaBill, Agree with you! We find Celebrity a notch above; but, also do miss the 24-Hour Horizon Court on Princess and the placement of the Hamburger Bar (over pool) on most Princess ships! It's really nice to get a HOT MEAL quickly with returning in the afternoon from shore excursions!
As far as eating in THE MAIN DINING ROOM, we find Celebrity best of the mass market cruise lines (sailed all except Carnival)! On Celebrity we have been happy with the SELECTIONS offered (always something on the menu we liked) as well as way it was prepared (when you order it rare, it comes rare ... but not raw!).
HAL does a good job on the breakfast/lunch buffets! On Celebrity it's best to have lunch in the MAIN DINING ROOM whenever possible!
Snick's guy, Everyone has his own opinion on food. Still, really think you will be VERY happy with the food on Celebrity!
I cruised transatlantic on Millenium in May. The food was excellent. The buffet is open from 7:30 am - 6pm with nonstop delicious food. Their sugar free apple tart is excellent. They do not use artificial sweetner in this dessert, just apple juice that makes the dessert naturally sweet. Eat it with vanilla ice cream and you are in heaven.