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Old May 20th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Default Princess or Royal Caribbean

First, I've never sailed on any Princess ships before. I've done RCCL, Carnival and DCL. I am debating whether to book the Crown Princess or RCCL Adventure of the Seas (both leaving from San Juan). This is going to be a family cruise for my 88 year young mom with ages ranging from 18 - 56. Which ship would be better? Any help pros and cons on both Princess & Royal Caribbean would be greatly appreciated. Is there any nightlife on Princess?
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Old May 20th, 2006, 10:02 AM
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Mickeymom923,

First, I've never sailed on any Princess ships before. I've done RCCL, Carnival and DCL. I am debating whether to book the Crown Princess or RCCL Adventure of the Seas (both leaving from San Juan). This is going to be a family cruise for my 88 year young mom with ages ranging from 18 - 56. Which ship would be better?

I can't give you a direct comparison here, as I have never cruised with Royal Caribbean International (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. actually is a holding company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Celebrity Tours), but I understand that these lines now are pretty similar. You'll have two "formal" evenings and five "casual" (or "smart casual" -- same thing) evenings on a seven-night cruise either way, for example. There are two significant differences.

>> Princess Cruises offers a "Personal Choice Dining" option that allows you to choose between "Traditional Dining" (with assigned tables at first and second seatings) or "Anytime Dining" (which operates like fine restaurants ashore; you can either make a reservaion for a time of your choosing or just walk in), whereas Royal Caribbean International offers only traditional dining. Practically speaking, I don't see any real advantage to the "Anytime Dining" arrangement. The seatings of "Traditional Dining" are timed to match the shows, so most passengers end up eating within a few minutes of those times anyway.

>> Royal Caribbean Intenational offers some on-board activities that other lines do not offer. MV Adventurer of the Seas offers both a rock climbing wall and an ice skating rink, which may or may not appeal to some members of your party.

As far as the lines are concerned, Princess Cruises seems to be at the bottom of the "premium" tier and Royal Caribbean International seems to be at the top of the "mainstream" tier -- which makes them pretty comparable. Overall, it's probably a toss-up.

Is there any nightlife on Princess?

Yes.

>> The Wheelhouse Bar has two combos that play live music for dancing from 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Most of the other lounges also stay open until 1:00 AM.

>> There's a piano lounge that usually has a fairly lively sing-along in the atrium.

>> There's karaoke.

>> The casino and the disco continue operating so long as people are there (typically until 3:00 AM).

>> The Horizon Court becomes a bistro, with full table service, from 10:00 or 11:00 PM, depending upon the ship, until 4:00 AM.

>> On several evenings, there are special events late at night. In particular, cruises in the Caribbean have an "Island Night" tropical decl party one evening. Also, there's the really classy "champagne waterfall" event on the last formal evening.

Have a fabulous family reunion, whichever ship you choose!

Norm.
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Old May 20th, 2006, 10:11 PM
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For food I would pick Princess over RCI, for youthful activities RCI gets the nod.
Overall ship decor I find RCI great for outdoor activities and there ships seem to let in the "light" of outside. Princess ships are more clasic and slightly more dark.
I have sailed both lines since the 1970"s and currently booked on Princess and sail with them again in 45 days. With the advent of "huge floating hotels" on RCI and thousands of guests onboard I find Celebrity offers me a better and more refined cruise than RCI. I'm not into the boxing ring or riding the waves in a surf pool on a ship.
If I were in my 20's or early 30's RCI would be fine, I think Princess is a step up though from RCI. Currently I have no interest in sailing a ship that has 4000 other passengers on it. That seems to be the trend,especially on RCI.
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Old May 20th, 2006, 10:56 PM
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I think Princess wins hands down. They're the ONLY cruise line that has fresh water pools. Plus the refrigerators are real refrigerators NOT the mini bars RCI has where the ice melts almost immediately.

Beyond that the food is MUCH better on Princess as is the service. I'm a trivia nut which Princess has but RCI doesn't. Last sailed on the Voyager of the Seas - much too big IMO. I like a ship of about 1900 passengers as opposed to the mammoth 3,000+ ones.
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Old May 28th, 2006, 07:55 PM
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Hi there, having returned yesterday from a cruise with princess i felt i had to respond to your posting. The ship was immaculate, the staff were fantastic as was the food. On the subject of anytime dining i find it hard not to see the obvious advantages lets face it most of us eat when we're hungry which is the whole point of anytime dining!! I personally can't eat on demand and don't like the thought of having to wait until a particular time to dine or else eat snacks in between meals and spoil my appetite. My advise would be to speak to as many people within your age group who have cruised with both companies and take stock of what is most important for you to enjoy your stay. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, can't wait for the next one!
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Old May 28th, 2006, 08:59 PM
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We have sailed with Princess and had a great experience with them. In fact, we are going to Alaska July the fifth on the Regal Princess. We liked everything about Princess. We saw lots of teens embarking on the cruise with their families. The rest of the time we didn't see them at all, they seemed to have their own activities and they were never in our dining area or any place we were.

The food was very good and the night life was great fun. We were with a large group of people and we made our own fun. Kareoke was really fun and dance lessons were fun too. The Casino was also good, we enjoyed ourselves.

The service was amazing. No one said, "No" to us once, the whole cruise, no matter what we asked for. It got a little embarassing after a while, we were very careful what we asked for. Our Steward was so accomodating we wanted to take him home with us. As soon as we returned to LA where we stayed at a Hotel before heading for home, it was total culture shock. People were rude and had no problem telling us no and much worse. Of course it began right away, beginning at the hotel!

Well, hope you have a great experience on your Princess cruise as well. Bon Voyage!
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Old May 29th, 2006, 08:03 PM
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lin01,

Hi there, having returned yesterday from a cruise with princess i felt i had to respond to your posting. The ship was immaculate, the staff were fantastic as was the food. On the subject of anytime dining i find it hard not to see the obvious advantages lets face it most of us eat when we're hungry which is the whole point of anytime dining!! I personally can't eat on demand and don't like the thought of having to wait until a particular time to dine or else eat snacks in between meals and spoil my appetite. My advise would be to speak to as many people within your age group who have cruised with both companies and take stock of what is most important for you to enjoy your stay. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, can't wait for the next one!

Different strokes for different folks, I guess, but the "Personal Choice Dining" program is one of the things that I most despise on Princess.

>> 1. Practical reality is that the seatings of "Traditional Dining" are timed to coincide with the shows and other entertainment, so one normally has to eat dinner within a few minutes of the normal seating times anyway if one wants to see the show.

>> 2. There are too many inconsiderate passengers who book traditional dining and then decide that they prefer "Anytime Dining" when they get aboard the ship -- but don't bother to inform the Maitre d' of their decision to change. This forces their tablemates to await their non-arrival each evening while other passengers who are on the waiting list for traditional dining can't get placed. The staff should contact people who don't show up for their assigned seating without explanation, especially if it happens two or three nights in a row, but they don't.

>> 3. Princess handles the situation of oversubscribed traditional dining very poorly. On one cruise aboard MV Golden Princess, my dad -- travelling alone -- was about #493 on the wait list for first seating. With that many on the wait list, the ship should have shifted another dining room to Traditional Dining, but did not. A lot of passengers were quite unhappy about not getting their preferred seating.

Since dinnertimes are published, it's not that difficult to adjust one's meals during the day accordingly. With second seating, I just have a couple finger sandwiches at tea -- which is enough so I get hungry at dinnertime.

That said, I applaud the fact that Princess is offering an alternative for those who want it. I do tink that the cruise lines will gain more by targeting specific segments of the market, each with its distinct character, rather than by trying to be all things for everybody aboard the same ship.

Norm.
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