I disagree; I'd have both rankings: HAL, Princess, then Celebrity. I've been on Celeb's Mercury twice, and on 4 HAL ships (just off Amsterdam), and 3 Princess ships. Celebrity is a nice line, but I just prefer HAL and Princess. HAL much because of the exceptional service, Princess because the Sun class ships are gorgeous. I've avoided the mega ships so haven't been on the bigger Grand or Star, but was in Ketchikan with Star last Thursday and she's beautiful, might win me over....). I loved the Amsterdam which was a very elegant ship and had chosen Amsterdam only because I wanted to sail on her. But in planing, all things being equal (itinerary, price, etc), I lean towards HAL because I love the crew, fabulous service, and the elegant less densely-populated ships. Happy planning!
I have not travelled HAL before but have travelled Celebrity & Princess - no comparison - Celebrity outranks Princess - I was on the 91000 Summit Celebrity & the Ocean Princess 77,000 tons - Princess was nothing compared to Celebrity - Princess chargd me for ice cream, for water (in the cabins), and room service for breakfast was only cold food for the cabins - the meals were always the exact same at the buffets and the desserts were always the same - plus the decor was not as classy as the celebrity line (mind you the Summit was new & the Ocean Princess was a couple of years old - but Celebrity surpasses Princess in Food/Service/ & Value - I found Princess to be nickel & diming.......Hope this helps.
I agree with both of these ratings. I have taken two HAL cruises (both on the Maasdam) and they are tops with me in the "overall" rating category -- their ships are elegant, the crew is exceptional (very personable, even addressing you by name each time they see you and helping you in any way they can), plus there are lots of HAL personal touches. The food is very good on HAL but not quite as good as Celebrity's so I, too, would place Celebrity in the No. 1 spot in the "food" rating category (I have sailed on three different Celebrity ships - Horizon, Galaxy and Century.)
I neglected to mention my comments regarding Princess in my previous message. Having recently returned from a Pacific Coastal cruise on Princess' brand new Star Princess in early May, I can say that, in my opinion, Princess is correctly placed in the No. 3 spot in both categories. The ship is beautiful, but too large for my taste. Though the crew is very nice (the cabin steward was very good), they lack the personal touch I've grown to appreciate on HAL (and Celebrity as well). The food is OK but the nightly selections in the dining room are rather limited (compared to the other lines). I found the breakfast buffet in the Lido to be pretty good. All things considered, I would place Princess in the No.3 spot.
We have been on the "Westerdam" (Now it has changed to "Costa Europa") and the Veendam with HAL. We have been on the Dawn Princess, our only Princess cruise.
We also have sailed on the Marcury and are planning a trip on the Zenith over Xmas and New Years. Here is how i rank my experiences. I'm adding NCL because we also sailed the Norwegian Dream through the Baltic capitals.
Service on and off board, Including the administrative booking process, documents, etc.
1. Holland America (It is hard to beat H.A.L. overall for the price.)
2. Celebrity (HAL has by far the best customer srvice.)
Food & Overall Dining experience
2. Holland America
4. Norwegian Cruise Lines (Le Bistro restaurant is the only good food aboard)
As a serious foodie, I rank Celebrity first by a slight edge-- especially with the new specialty restaurans and their excellent wine list.
Service-wise, our last HAL cruise left a bad taste in my mouth after a ring went missing in our cabin and magically returned four days later in a highly visible location on the floor. Either the steward wasn't vacuuming or the ring had wings. Further, the maitre d' in the Odyssey Restaurant redefined rude. But I do love the "fig guys" and always give them a nice tip.
I could do without the Night of the Stupid Hats on HAL. I could do without Baked Alaska on ANY ship.
Since I agree with Chuck on Le Bistro on the Dream (I think we ate at least half of our dinners there) that puts NCL in fourth, leaving Princess in third.
HAL has stupid hats
Celebrity has a fantastic wine list in all price ranges
Baked Alaska is awful, even with the parade and sparklers
NCL needs to have a huge look at their food. It is often quite poor other than "Le Bistro" which strangely is very good, even at breakfast.
We cruised the Baltic on the Dream the summer of 2001. Ate several times in the Bistro for breakfast. Nice and slower, but on the cruising days out of port, that was fine. There was no additional charge for breakfast, however.