I had never traveled with Princess. I had taken a 12-14 day cruises on Celebrity which I enjoyed. I would say that I am not a demanding passenger. From reading many of the online reviews, it appeared that many would rate Celebrity a step up from Princess. The last cruise on Celebrity was out of NY which was a definite plus for I would be able to take the train in, which I would prefer over flying. The one thing that I wanted to change was the age group I was traveling with. For a 12 day cruise in January I would guess the average age on Celebrity was maybe 65. Most people seemed to be asleep by 10 or 11. I enjoy younger people so I set out to find how I could combine a 12-14 day cruise in January with a younger crowd. I decided to try a back to back on the Caribbean Princess.
I may have found the ideal cruise line for me. The crowd was definitely younger, perhaps more of an average age of 50. The energy was noticeable almost immediately. While Celebrity's service was excellent, I would say Princess was a bit higher. Let me give an example, in the Horizon Court (buffet) you were approached almost immediately to ask what you would like to drink. This included a variety of drinks at no cost. They also appeared to truly enjoy their work. I noticed one women, Dina from the Ukraine was quiet, but as soon as she saw someone needing assistance she would move right into action. The type of service would be like you might receive in a 4-5 star hotel.
I had assigned late seating dining which I felt was one of the highlights of the cruise. As I recall with Celebrity, if you had late dining you would miss the show, not so with Princess.
I am not a "foodie" but I would say the food is close with a slight edge to Celebrity. (see below)
I had an issue that needed to be settled early on. I went to Louis, in passenger services. he was outstanding. I have been in "customer service" for almost 30 years. It is rare to see such service. Then there was an issue with my computer that Marco (in chocolates) overheard and was of invaluable service. He could easily be a full time consultant and do very well with it.
Corazon took care of my room. She was easy going in a difficult job. It is workers like these that make your cruise so inexpensive. A great opportunity to be generous.
A few suggestions to make my new favorite line even better.
I like fresh juice, while I could get fresh squeezed on Celebrity Aqua class, Princess charged about $3. Perhaps there could be a card where you could have it prepaid for the entire cruise. I would like to see a greater variety of non sugar added juices.
The Movies under the stars was a great idea as well as the extra padded lounges and blankets. My suggestion would be not to have the music so load during the day. (It was too loud for me to sit out close...)
It was advertised on one of the web sites that you had simulation golf, whereas it had been discontinued. I would like to see if there was a spot indoors where the Ping-Pong could be set up, outside the influences of the wind. (There were a few seemingly unused in the "teen center".
When your stateroom doors close, they close with a bang and are very loud to the rooms in proximity. Perhaps there is some way to quiet them. If not a notice could be given to please close door by hand, preventing it from slamming.
I have already put a deposit on my next cruise, although I still have one on celebrity
While I saw the Caribbean Princess. is being in fine shape, on board you could watch a video (also online) of the new Crown Princess...fantastic.