Celebrity vs. Princess: How do they compare?by Fran Golden | October 05, 2016
Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises both appeal to adult couples and solo travelers — and, to a lesser extent, the family crowd. The big difference: While Princess sticks to tradition, Celebrity tries hard to be current … even cool. Trying to decide which is the right pick for your next vacation? Read on for how they stack up.
Most of the Celebrity ships winter in the Caribbean, with a few in South America and Australia. In summer, they spread out, cruising to Europe and Alaska, and only Celebrity Equinox stays in the Caribbean year-round. On the smaller Celebrity Xpedition, which sails to the Galapagos Islands, you get a cushy, soft-adventure experience.
Princess cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico, and also around the world, offering World Cruises to those looking to check off their bucket lists in one go. The line has a big presence in Alaska and Europe and offers cruises year-round in Australia and Asia. The new Majestic Princess will debut from Shanghai in 2017.
Celebrity goes for sophistication, both in its décor — picture cushy sectionals on the main pool deck and hammocks by the glass-enclosed secondary pool — and its activities. Sign up for wine-pairing classes (created with Riedel), cooking competitions (designed in partnership with Bravo TV’s “Top Chef”), and massages in the Canyon Ranch SpaClub. While there is a kids program, very little goes on outside the club to wow little cruisers.
Princess ships also have multiple pools, including a lively main pool (with music videos playing on a giant screen) and a quieter aft pool. Adults can also pay extra for a cabana in the shady Sanctuary area. Activities include lectures (some presented by the Discovery Channel), computer classes, and glassblowing classes. Kids get their own age-appropriate playrooms with outdoor areas and, in the case of teens, an open-air lounge.
Celebrity’s evening entertainment centers on live music, though there are also (slightly naughty) stage shows for adults and a film-focused dinner theater with dishes inspired by the movie. The Lawn Club — covered in real grass — hosts jazz concerts, too.
Princess invented the concept of Movies Under the Stars, essentially a drive-in-style theater on the pool deck with blankets and popcorn. There are also live acts — from acrobats to musicians — in the bustling atrium area, which is surrounded by bars and cafes and great for people-watching. In addition, the line partnered with composer Stephen Schwartz to create four original stage shows, a big step up from its past productions.
Want to see how the food compares? Click to read on.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.