Celebrity vs. Princess: Smackdown!

celebrity vs princess smackdown line better
Both lines offer class at affordable prices. - Photo by Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises

What’s not to like about Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises? They’re both people pleasers designed to offer an upgrade from the entry-level experience, though not at the level — or price, for that matter — of the luxury lines. They both offer an elegant and tasteful experience and serve primarily couples, but also families with kids, as well as larger groups. So which one is right for you, and which is our favorite? Read on to find out.


In an industry full of excess, Princess ships are impressively restrained, without the too-loud lighting and over-the top-décor you often find on large ocean-going vessels outside the luxury market. Celebrity ships, however, really blow us away with interior design in public areas that feels chic and effortless, yet playful. Case in point: Look for cool seating areas (with, say, egg chairs or hammocks or daybeds) in spaces that tend to be ho-hum on, well, just about every other line.


Our Pick: Celebrity — While both lines do well in this category, Celebrity’s options are a bit more creative.


Standard Cabins

Neither line has the most innovative cabin choices, but both offer respectably sized rooms with all the must-have amenities, plus solid, helpful service from cabin stewards.


Our Pick: Draw


Specialty Cabins

Both lines offer lovely suites. Celebrity’s choices include the AquaClass suites — with access to both the spa and a private restaurant — and a specialty two-bedroom suite with a glass shower that appears to hang out over the edge of the ship.


Our Pick: Celebrity — While both lines do well in this category, too, Celebrity’s options are once again a bit more creative.


Celebrity deals from $



Both lines do a fine job in their main dining rooms, casual spots, and specialty restaurants. The highlights on Princess ships tend to be the Italian and steakhouse options, which are both nicely done if not especially memorable. Some ships have a Cajun eatery; newer ships include a pizza restaurant with Naples-style pies.

Celebrity ships feature Italian restaurants and French choices, as well as one-off odes to historic ships. The line also showcases Qsine (which serves small plates of playfully plated modern fare), Lawn Club Grill (a fun take on a backyard barbecue with grill-your-own steaks and a salad bar), and Blu (a healthy restaurant for guests in spa suites), as well as the poolside AquaSpa Café, where you can grab wholesome, tasty dishes at breakfast and lunch.


Our Pick: Celebrity — While both lines do well in this category, Celebrity’s options are a bit more creative.


Activities & Entertainment

Both lines offer plenty to do each night, with a mix of stage shows and performers — from jazz bands to acrobats and DJs — that take over the middle atrium of the ships. Princess also does a great job with its Movies Under the Stars program, where the line shows popular films on deck, serves popcorn along with milk and (warm!) cookies, and outfits the lounge chairs with blankets.

Celebrity recently launched a few more evening entertainment options: On Celebrity Summit, you can check out 54 Below, a cabaret space with Broadway-style singers. And on Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette, you’ll find a new comedy club: Sin City.


Our PickDraw


Families & Kids

Although neither line caters to kids quite as extensively as Royal Caribbean or Disney Cruise Line, you'll find offerings on both Princess and Celebrity for children. Celebrity has limited hours in its playrooms for the under-3 set, and a parent must be present; Princess also requires that a parent be present, but extends the hours of access.

Both lines do a better job at catering to teenagers, and on Princess ships, you'll find large numbers of teens happily flocked together at the buffet for kids-only dinners, as well as at the pool areas.


Our Pick: Princess — We’ve witnessed hundreds of kids onboard and the older children, tweens, and teens having the time of their lives.


Princess deals from $



These cruise lines serve the Caribbean and Alaska very well, but both lines go way beyond and cover a lot of the world: Both offer plenty of choices in Mexico and Europe, as well as Canada and New England, Hawaii, South America, Asia, and Australia. Princess’ more exotic locales include the South Pacific; Celebrity sends ships down to the Galapagos Islands.


Our Pick: Draw




Our Pick: Celebrity takes more categories, so it's the winner here — but only by a hair. Whereas Celebrity can be a little flashier, more stylish, and more, well, cool, Princess certainly deserves credit for consistently delivering quality food and service across the board. In the end, both lines serve their cruisers well with a polished, well-executed cruise. Which one you choose should depend on your travel companions and your preferred destination.


Join the discussion

Which line do you prefer?

Posted by gbetty

We prefer Princess over Celebrity. Probably for a reason which would affect a limited amount of cruisers.

We've been on 6 different cruise lines and a total of more then 30 cruises. We prefer longer cruises and have been on 10 transatlantics. I spend a lot of time in the casino when at sea. The 15 day Celebrity cruise we took in 11/14 (Celebrity Eclipse) had the worst shipboard casino I've ever played in. There were very few people playing and I also quit going there also. Most casinos are very full, especially after the evening show, but this one was virtually empty. I never hit anything and I didn't see anyone else hitting large pots either. That was our second Celebrity cruise and will be our last. The speaker in the morning during sea days was also a big disappointment. There was a gentleman speaking on some African travels. The first day there were about 50 people attending. The next day there were no more then 30 and that was the last time we went. Our previous Celebrity offered a very interesting couple who spoke daily on World War II. Those lectures were very well attended and we looked forward to it every sea day.

Posted by agelesswoman11

I am elite on both lines. Prefer Celebrity for ship designs, spa area with thessaly pool and healthy dining

options. Several rooms with dance music. Food is usually very good. Like Princess for smaller ships and

unusual itinerary. Both have good lecturers on longer voyages. Wish they had better pricing for single

cruisers and dance hosts again.

Posted by Kennicott

This question has been on our minds lately. We are in a quandary----We sail a lot but with only three lines, Regent, Princess and HAL. As of late Regent has gotten very $$$$$ and HAL has developed a problem where they are the only game in town for balcony smokers. Unfortunately, up until our last voyage, on the Coral in January, the Main Dining Room on Princess was still tolerable, this time though, either we experienced a fluke or cost cutting has caught up with Princess rendering their product in the MDR undesirable for us.

We really hate giving up on the perks we have earned on all three, Elite on Princess, 4 Star Mariner on HAL, and Gold on Regent. Nevertheless, we have been considering trying either Celebrity or Oceania. Just discovered that Oceania pricing is going the way of her sister line Regent is, higher and higher, also Oceania balcony staterooms are pretty miserly unless you get a butler, but we "been there done that" with the butler, even disregarding the extra $$ for a butler it is more an annoyance for us. So we are looking very closely at Celebrity. Celebrity has about the most smoke free ships sailing today, the Princess smoking policy is pretty restrictive too but they allow smoking in the casino and other inside locations, neither allows balcony smoking but Celebrity allows no smoking inside whatsoever, including no E. cigarettes. What we dislike is that both line's business model is going the route of huge ships.

For what its worth, Berlitz, ranks Celebrity number 2 out of the top ten mass market majors, in all categories of food and service combined. Cunard is number one and I believe Princess is three still, but slipping.

Posted by Kennicott

Don't know what happened but parts of my preceding post got truncated somehow and I didn't receive an "edit" option.

Here is some that was missing: We are Elites on Princess, Four Star Mariners on HAL and Gold on Regent.

Berlitz rates Cunard number one after adding up all ratings of food and service. Celebrity is number two. I forget where Princess is but I believe MSC has moved into the number three position and Princess is forth with HAL fifth. Royal Caribbean is last with Carnival one notch up. That is out of the big ten mass market lines.

Cruiselines however has quite a different ranking, based on reviews I guess. Princess and MSC are way down the list from HAL, Royal Caribbean is quite a ways up there toward the top. Go figure.

Posted by EatSleepCruise

Did our first Celebrity cruise last September and loved it! Have yet to sail on Princess, but plan to try out Royal or Regal Princess soon. For us, Celebrity Solstice was a great ship-maybe one of the best designed ships ever. Perhaps that is why the new Quantum of the Seas ship is just an over-sized Solstice. We thought the food on Celebrity was about average, for a cruise, although the entertainment was slightly bland, but the Molecular Bar and Martini Bar made up for that! All in all, we would definitely sail on another Celebrity Solstice class ship again.

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