Everyone trying to assist you from all the good responses. I have cruised RCCL, Carnival, Norwegian and Princess. I would not consider Princess a step up from RCCL, I would rather say that Princess offers a more polished, refined and elegant product as opposed to the glitz and wow factor or RCCL, especially when it comes to the Mega ships. Princess is more subdued. For example, we sailed Crown in May for Med trip of 12 nights. We did not have to worry about being bombarded in our staterooms with too many announcements about this that and everyone else. RCCL tends to still bother the passengers with " Bingo at 3 in the Explorer Lounge" or "On the pool deck, there is a someting contest happening in 10 minutes". Food wise, very similar. Used to be that RCCL did not have anytime timing, now they have it so that is on par with Princess. We have booked at 12 night Eastern Med and Egypt cruise on the Navigator for May 2010 and we are set to go on a 7 night Xmas Cruise on the Emerald Princess so I consider both lines good value for the money. My teenagers prefer RCCL for their extensive youth / kids club. Which itinerary have you booked - that may also affect the people who sail with you on the Princess or the RCCL line. For our European trip, we found an older crowd - 60s and up on our PRincess Ship. But I am sure if you are doing a Caribbean itineray, there will not be predominant older crowd as the Princess cruises in the Caribbean are just as affordable as the RCCL cruises in the Caribbean. Hope this helps you a bit.