CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums

CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums (
-   Princess Cruise Lines (
-   -   Princess vs Carnival what to expect on a Princess cruise (

showcat February 28th, 2006 05:26 AM

Princess vs Carnival what to expect on a Princess cruise
I have never cruised Princess only Carnival and Costa. I have heard Princess is better, having larger cabins, movies at sea, better food. What do you think of Princess cruises, what is better worse or same as Carnival? What can I expect?

pcboston February 28th, 2006 11:47 AM

I'll try to answer a couple of things that you asked just from things I remember.

Most Carnival cabins are larger than Princess.

Princess has the Movies under the Stars on some ships, but not all, so it depends on which ship you are booked on.

Princess has fresh water pools and the pools and hot tubs are open late.

The buffet on Princess is open 24 hrs.

Lots of activities and shows on both lines.

I'm sure that others with a lot more experience will add to this. I adore's probably my favorite cruiseline, but this year I'll be on Carnival for the new itinerary, so ready for a new adventure. My advice? Try them all at least once..they all have pros and cons...Happy sails....

danacline February 28th, 2006 12:25 PM

In addition to what PCBoston said, I'll add the following...

Princess does a better job on their shore excursions.

Princess and Carnival both have excellent children's centers, but I think Princess has the edge on activities for older teens.

Carnival has 24-hour softserve "ice cream" but Princess has real homemade ice cream. Problem is Princess only has that ice cream 1) in the buffet at 3:30 in the afternoon for an hour or less, or 2) with dinner in the dining room.

Princess has Anytime Dining in addition to fixed times, Carnival only has fixed times.

Carnival has better adult comedians in the late night shows.

Princess has better art auctions.

You can read further details on my web site at where I've sailed Carnival twice and Princess twice.


LisaK February 28th, 2006 12:31 PM

the biggest difference you will physically notice is the decor and ambiance. There is no glitz-glamor or Las Vegasy type decor or feel to Princess. Its casual-elegant with more of a nice resort hotel feel to the ships.
You won't find as many families with infants and small children on Princess, if you go during school break you will find plenty of school-aged kids and teens. Princess limits the number of kids per voyage.
Princess pools are fresh water not salt and they are open pretty much 24/7 except for a couple of hours in the wee morning(or late night) for cleaning. Same goes for the hot tubs.
Princess offers Anytime Dining - which is exactly what the name says, you can dine at the time of your choice - these are main dining rooms.
You won't find any belly-flop, hairy chest contests, and no singing waiters on Princess.
Plenty of nightlife to choose from-- everything from nice quiet cozy bars with a band for easy listening & dancing, discos, show lounges with live music, production shows, comics, gambling, deck parties, and the Midnight Champagne Fountain (2nd formal night)- this is a must do.
A nice surprise on Princess - they have really good hot dogs, burgers and pizza by the pool.

NanaShrek February 28th, 2006 01:24 PM

I've been on several Princess, 1 NCL and 1 Carnival cruise. After the Carnival, I decided to stick w/Princess. I'd do another NCL if the right opportunity came up.

Princess is definitely the best at crowd control, embarkation/disembarkation. Carnival was severly lacking.

I love having freshwater pools/spas open 24/7. Nice for a late night swim.

I prefer the layout of the buffet on Princess (several stations, so you don't have to go through the whole line to get one thing). However, Carnival had a nice deli w/made to order sandwiches, very tasty.

I thought the Carnival Glory had the ugliest decor I'd ever seen. It was dark & gloomy, where Princess is much more elegant with their pastels, brass/chrome & glass.

On Princess, the bars/show lounges are spread out over the ship. On Carnival Glory, they are all grouped at one end. You couldn't stand outside of one without hearing the noise of the other, and they were so crowded, we couldn't get inside.

One thing on Carnival really bothered me. A gentleman collapsed while we were waiting to board the ship and it took several minutes to get a medic up there. Personally, I found that totally unacceptable! Fortunately, he was ok, but had it been serious...well, I would have been quite upset if it was my family member. If they are going to pile you in like cattle, they should have help stationed in several locations.

Overall, we much preferred Princess. Not that I wouldn't do another Carnival cruise, but if I did, it would have to be an exceptional deal to get my interest.

travel princess February 28th, 2006 06:05 PM

I have been on six PRINCESS cruises( with another booked for October!) and only one CARNIVAL cruise which was a weekender. After that short exposure to CARNIVAL, I said" never again".
As far as I could see, CARNIVAL was mass market glitz with food that tasted pre-packaged!!!
PRINCESS is more like a 5 star hotel.... largebeautiful ships which have been designed by a genius so that you never feel like you're surrounded by swarming crowds! There are plenty of sitting,eating,drinking and entertainment areas.
Cabins are small/functional with PLENTY of closet space and refrigerators.
Usually at least 2 Vegas style production shows with sensational choreography, costunmes, etc.
Breakfast/lunch buffets are a treat for the eye as well as the stomach.....dinners cover a wide spectrum with" healthy choices" every night......AND they have PERSONAL CHOICE dining which is GREAT!
Great gyms, if that's your pleasure......

I can go on and you can see I kinda like PRINCESS!! They probAbly should give me a public relations job!!

Fern February 28th, 2006 08:47 PM

I pretty much agree with all of the above posters!

travel princess,

I agree with almost everything you said! We've cruised on Carnival twice and Princess once. We like Princess much better. (As you can see our next cruise is Princess!)

But in all fairness, you can't compare a very short cruise to a 7 day or longer. It's like comparing apples and oranges. They're both fruits, but they're very different. We also enjoyed our 7 day cruises with Carnival.


I think you'll really like Princess. IMHO it's a "step up" from Carnival, but not too high up if you're easy going like we are. We thought the food was very good and the cabins, while not as spacious as Carnival's, are well laid out with plenty of storage (depending on how you pack! LOL )

We especially like the Anytime Dining. We like to eat at 7:00 or 7:30. We always asked to be seated with others and never had to wait. If you want a table for two you might have to wait 10 or 15 minutes.

Have a great cruise!

Magnolia Blossom March 1st, 2006 12:10 PM

Ihave done 25 cruises, 5 with Carnival, 2 with Princess and 2 more booked with Princess. By far, Princess is the classier line. But having said that, some people love the neon and "carnival" atmosphere of Carnival and may find Princess too subdued.

Princess' prices are not as competitive as Carnival but I'm more than willing to pay for the ambiance of Princess.
Ditto to everything above with these additional notes:
I think Princess has a few more add ons than Carnival. I found it bothersome that the steam room on the Island Princess last year was an additional fee. But it was a dynamite experience - not your run of the mill steam room.

There's the ice cream thing which has already been mentioned.

Carnival's past passenger program gets you nothing. Maybe some discounts on selected cruisings but that's all (and I'm not sure that's even truly a discount). Princess allows you to accrue points for referrals of friends, which get you a cash discount on your next cruise. Along with some of the usual type perks. You can see them on the page under Captain's Circle.

Princess does the best job of anyone in Alaska.

The layout of their cabins provides more privacy even though the actual space may be a bit smaller.

Personal Choice dining is available as well as traditional. Nice to have a choice.

Personal enrichment classes are available on board. On the Island it was pottery throwing. I've forgotten what it is on the Grand.

All in all, Princess does a superior job to Carnival, although I would not hesitate to sail Carnival again if the price was right.

Magnolia Blossom

showcat March 2nd, 2006 06:11 AM

Thanks everyone this reinforces the good things I've heard about Princess. I do enjoy Carnival they are the Fun ships, I had a nice time on Costa but it was a bit different European style, I look forward to trying Princess as well as the other lines to be able to compare and contrast. Celebrity is on the list, as well as Holland American maybe RCL etc...

ohio cruisers March 2nd, 2006 08:24 AM

what to expect

After cruising with Carninval 5 times , I cruised with Princess for the first time last May. The things I liked best were: the pools being open, unlike the short period of carnival pools. The buffets were much better then Carnival. We really liked the anytime dining option. Also I was shocked on the high number of families and small children on board especially for early May. I always enjoyed Carnival and will probaly cruise with them again once they offer anytime dining. Until then I will stay with Princess. I do think Princess was a notch nicer. Have a great trip.
Cruisers form Ohio.

melnhd March 2nd, 2006 06:10 PM

Being a long time Carnival cruiser, we went on a Princess cruise last year.
I think both lines are great. Princess might just be a little better in the food catagory, but Carnival beats everyone in the night life catagory. I really liked Princess having fresh water pools. I know Carnival gets bashed for being a "Party Cruise Line". I can't understand why people knowing this choose to cruise with them if they don't want any kids on board, or a more fun loving type of cruiser. Go on Holland America if you want quiet days and nights that end at 10pm. That's why there are so many cruise lines to go on. There is something for everyone.
Having added my two cents, I will cruise with Carnival or Princess anytime. We have a great time on any cruise we go on!


luv2cruise99 March 2nd, 2006 07:05 PM

I have cruised Princess and Carnival both many times and found them to be very comparable in most areas. The one thing that I really liked better on Princess was the Anytime dining option and the more extensive dinner buffet. The 24-hour, fresh water pools on Princess are also really nice if you like to swim. However, I did miss the always available free ice cream that Carnival offers. On Princess, ice cream is only free for a one hour period each afternoon and at dinner. At other times, you have to pay for it.

Other than those things mentioned above, I found them to be extremely similar. My future cruises will probably be on Princess only because I really like the Anytime dining option, however if Carnival was to ever offer a similar option, I would book them again without hesitation.

bpd457 March 2nd, 2006 07:23 PM

Having just got off the Caribbean Princess, I have to remark on the ice cream situation. Although it is not free on Princess, for $1.50 you get two large scoops in a large waffle cone with your choice of any and all toppings for a quarter more. You can also get ice cream at dinner as a dessert every night. I would much rather pay a little each day and get good ice cream than to get runny ice milk for free.

BW March 3rd, 2006 08:51 AM

We have been on 4 cruises, Carnival, NCL, Costa and Princess.

They were all good and feel we got our money's worth. Of the four, Princess was our favorite. Their attention to the smallest details was superb.

The airline lost my luggage. I had booked my own airline and Princess had absolutely nothing to do with the lost. They contacted the airline, offered me evening attire for dinner and gave a $75.00 credit because of my lost luggage. Why a credit for something they had no responsibilities is beyond me.

On our first port of call, after 2 days at sea, our luggage was at the port and Princess looked after retrieving it and delivering to our cabin.


mehawk March 3rd, 2006 05:03 PM

Don't get me started about Princess!!! :x

mehawk March 3rd, 2006 05:05 PM

Also Showcat, have you read the postings about the Grand Princess?

brovol March 7th, 2006 06:26 PM

The quality of Princess is significantly better than Carnival. My wife and I have gone on 11 cruises; two with Carnival, 4 with Princess. The added cost of Princess is well worth it, when the alternative is Carnival. We have sailed most mainstream lines, and the only line I dont recomend is Carnival; not because Carnival is that bad, but the others (particularily Princess and Holland) are just distinctively better by comparison. In my opinion, Princess is better in every critical aspect. Thus, if you have been satisfied with Carnival, you will love princess.

FC Corp March 11th, 2006 01:22 AM


Originally Posted by LisaK
You won't find any belly-flop, hairy chest contests, .

what about hairy back contests? <grin>

ohanafour March 13th, 2006 06:35 PM

Not only did my Golden Princess cruise have a "belly flopping" (thank goodness my husband wasn't with me) contest they had a "How much fruit can stick in your bathing suit contest..and yes, 1 woman had on a string bikini..and I'm still trying to figure out how the man got the watermelon in his trunks! I found the pool antics very frat like but eveyone seemed to have fun.......Golden Princess cruise Feb 24-Mar 4 06

sandytoes March 13th, 2006 09:22 PM

Only Princess


Princess is the top end of cruising.

Think of Hotels top elite to the bottom of the barrel. 4 star, 3 star, etc.
Now think of Cruise ships as well.
Which one would you choose?

If you like to party, loud noise, food not high on the list - choose Celebrity, Carnival.

But, if you like a higher level of standards. Who doesn't like to be pampered on vacation... Then go for Princess.

The food on the higher level ships are out of this world. Superior.... Dinners are like going into a 5+ star restaurants. Elegant gourmet dinners.
Shows that are fun, exciting, and Activities throughtout the day/nite.
Staff outstanding.

Extremally good value for the money. I have never compared the cost of different cruise lines. But if Princess costs a few dollars more, it's well worth the money. Every rare do you hear of a nightmare story. But, you have heard of other cruise lines -- not mentioning names here, that have issues....Just check out cruise sites and do some research you'll be amazed....
Princess has a good reputation...

Hope this helps,

Crown ~ ~ 8\2006 Ratings coming real soon
Caribbean ~ ~ 8\2005 Superior Cruise
Golden ~ ~ 8\2004 Lower quality in my opinion
Grand 4\2003 Top rated
Grand 8\2003 Outstanding

PeterV March 14th, 2006 01:55 PM

Having been on Carnival 12 times, and Princess 6 times, 3 times in the last 6 months, the following is true IMHO.

Princess is the top end of cruising <-- Princess and Carnival are about par, Ship wise Princess is beige where Carnival is Bright Red.

If you like to party, <-- Some partying on Princess, but not a lot.

loud noise, <-- Princess has it's share.

food not high on the list <-- I thought Carnivals was as good if not better

But, if you like a higher level of standards. <-- Princess is definitely not a higher standard by any means.

Who doesn't like to be pampered on vacation <-- Not quite sure what pampering is going on, but the service level is about the same. Other than not having to clean the room or cook the food, I'm still not sure what some people consider pampering.

The food on the higher level ships are out of this world. Superior. <-- Very true, unfortunately neither Princess or Carnival fall into this category.

Dinners are like going into a 5+ star restaurants. <-- If you have really low standards for 5 star restaurants.

Elegant gourmet dinners. <-- Far from gourmet, mass produced banquet fare, just like all the main stream lines.

Shows that are fun, exciting, <-- Mostly boring enough to put you to sleep for the night. Occasionally a good one.

Activities throughtout the day/nite. <-- Not really, but I go to relax.

Staff outstanding <-- Pretty comparable. nothing outstanding.

Extremally good value for the money. <-- As is any cruise.

I have never compared the cost of different cruise lines. <-- Perhaps you should, Princess is a bit higher, but haven't really figured out why.

But if Princess costs a few dollars more, it's well worth the money. <-- Not really, but it depends on what you are looking for and where they go and whether you want to try them.

Very rare do you hear of a nightmare story. <-- You'll hear just as many complaints and horror about Princess as any other line.

Princess has a good reputation... <-- That they are desperately trying to ruin.

Don't get me wrong I've enjoyed every one of my cruises but they are very comparable, neither outshines the other. Go on one and see for yourself.


Rev22:17 March 14th, 2006 03:02 PM


I agree completely with your thrust, but you seem to have a very wrong image of Celebrity Cruises.

If you like to party, loud noise, food not high on the list - choose Celebrity, Carnival.

Celebrity absolutely is NOT in that category.

But, if you like a higher level of standards. Who doesn't like to be pampered on vacation... Then go for Princess.

Celebrity actually does even more of this than Princess. By way of example, Celebrity's bar staff greet embarking passengers with complementary glasses of champagne and mimosas on embarkation. In warm climates, Celebrity's staff also greet passengers returning from shore excursions with cold towels and a selection of complementary beverages on the pier.

Celebrity also normally limits general announcements to one per day. If the ship is in port, there's an announcement of clearance for passengers to go ashore. If the ship is at sea, there's the customary noontime navigational announcement. Unless something unusual happens, that's it.

The food on the higher level ships are out of this world. Superior.... Dinners are like going into a 5+ star restaurants. Elegant gourmet dinners.

There are many who say that Celebrity's cuisine is an even higher standard than Princess's cuisine, though I think that the style of cuisine is a matter of personal taste. Celebrity's cuisine, under the direction of celebrated executive chef Michel Roux, is clearly of very high quality, though has a strong French flair that may or may not match your tastes.


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:51 PM.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1