All good points by everyone. As for ownership of Princess, the parent company is Carnival Cruise Lines, symbol CCL traded on the NYSE. The other major line publicly traded is Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, stock symbol RCL. NCL is owned by Star Cruise Cruises Lines traded on the Maylasian Stock Exchange. I have been in the securites industry for 25 years and know for sure that P & O is owned by Carnival. In fact CCL now owns the following cruise lines:
Carnival Cruise Lines
Princess Cruise Lines
Seabourn Cruise Lines
P & O Cruises
Ocean Village in U.K.
AIDA in Germany
P & O Australia
Royal Caribbean owns:
Royal Caribbean International
Star Cruise Lines owns:
Norweign Cruise Lines America -NCLA
Norweign Cruises Lines International
Orient Cruise Lines
Apollo which is a private equity management company injected $1 Billion into NCL and is now a 50% owner as of 1/10/2008. NCL has said the move is designed to strengthen its ability to expand as it competes with larger rivals Carnival (CCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL). The cruise line said it plans a series of upgrades, including updated bedding in staterooms and an increased investment in food services of $50 million over a two-year period.
The investment will also be used to pay down debt and allow the cruise line to fund its shipbuilding program. NCL has introduced eight new ships in six years and added another ship, the Norwegian Gem, in October 2007. The new NCL F3 class mega ship will be built and be on line in 2011, and these will carry 4300 passengers.
We are NCL Platinum Latitudes ( sorry for the extra t) and because of the that status we have been treated royaly on NCL, compared to any other cruise line sailed. I am not pro NCL or any other line. I can only comment on my past cruise experiences between NCL, Princess, RCL Carnival etc.,.... and from our perspective NCL has always come out on top in our overall quality that we have found.
The comments made are our opinions and we are not in the travel business and have nothing to gain by being somewhat NCL positive. As NCL Platinum members we have had the opportunity for intimate and private meetings with the executive staff, captains. Private dinners, special invitiations to be on the bridge with the Captain.....conversations regarding business, investments, world politics etc. We have not been able to do this on any other cruise line. Our voyages on NCL have become very personal cruises, unlike other lines. So we favor NCL and that should be expected.
With the acquistion of Princess by Carnival, it appearent that CCL is the driving force of the cruise lines that they own. They are no different than a General Motors or Ford, that own diferrent model cars, but are owned by the same company. Policy and procedure of Carnival will and can flow from the Carnival brand to the other lines they own such as Princess. From my conversations with staff members on Princess the Carnival policies and procedures are already flowing from Carnival, and many have stated that there have been changes..thus changing the past reputation of Princess. Staff members on Princess recently had there work days entended from 11 hours per day to 13 hours per day, same as Carnival.
The main question starting this thread was "NCL or Princess", and I felt compelled to give our opinions and commments of NCL vs Princess to hopefully help the poster in making a decision. I am sure that from the input here on cruise-chat.com, that poster will have a good idea from the vast array of opinions or experinces. I am not a expert in NCL because of the Platinum status by any means. I do however spend a lot of time reading securities research reports that are deep in industry trends, financials, changes in management, revenues, profitablity of the cruise industry, pricing, vacancy berth rates etc. I am employed with a major Wall Steet firm, and the amount of research material by security analysts is amazing and are packed with a wealth of information on the industry. For the serious cruiser who want to learn about any one cruise line, I highly suggest securing a security research report to learn about the various cruise lines.
We have not encountered a 100% perfect cruise. So cruising is subjective. I personally believe that any cruise can be enjoyable and the cruise experience is based upon pre cruise expectations, and a solid after cruise evaluation. One can only compare one line to another only after several cruises.
Enjoy, it's a great industry and this is a great web site, as we all have the opportunity to voice our opinions, comments, experiences whether one person agrees or not.
You are still mistaking that Carnival Cruise Lines (the actual cruise line) owns Princess. It does not. A simple Google search of typing in Carnival Corportation and plc will bring up several websites. The first website that comes up should explain it all to you.
Carnival Corporation & plc is a dual listed company with headquarters in Miami, USA and London, UK. Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc are separate listed companies and have different shareholder bodies, but they jointly own all the operating companies in the group. Carnival Corporation owns the majority stake.
I will be going on the Pearl in 13 days....I will write a review on Cruise Reviews and if you would like to read it...it may give you my opinion of that ship....I've been on the Jewel and had a very pleasant cruise...There is a personal review from me on that ship too...I still believe cruising is one of the better forms of traveling and I'm trying my darndest to catch one of the passengers on my last RCL cruise..He had 124 cruises...makes my 19 cruises sound like a newborn...but I'm trying...Happy Cruising...
This February will be our first cruise on Carnival as I love NCL. From everything I have read I suspect there will be little difference except where it applies to formal dining. On the NCL cruise I recently took the wait for the main, formal dining room was zero wait for our table for two and our table for four on other nights when we dined with our friends. For those who love intimacy in a dining experience I suspect NCL is the ticket. For those who love dining with strangers in the formal dining Carnival would be best. I have cruised both ways and prefer freestyle but not so much that I would not go on either one. I select any cruise by destinations I want to visit and the rest takes care of itself.
Other than that I fully expect our upcoming Carnival Cruise on the Spirit to be just as enjoyable and I can guess that you'll love any cruise you select.
Hi simphhcc. As you are deciding between new ships from both lines, I agree with marylb and f-mattox in their assessments of the differences between the two. I've also read and enjoyed Bob's review of his N. Jewel cruise.
As for my own opinion, Princess is more formal than NCL, but not overly so. Princess also gives you the choice of traditional or Anytime dining (space permitting; request when you book), where NCL is anytime all the time. Entertainment, IMO, is excellent on both lines...lots of variation and of good quality. Kids would have a good time on either.
Not that it makes a huge difference, but in selecting an NCL ship, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem are the two that have bowling alleys. The kids clubs are pretty cool on both lines' newest ships. Princess' ships have pools that can be covered in inclement weather -- I don't recall for the new NCL ships. (Bob?)
One consideration in planning the cruise is the age of your kids as the two lines have different age groupings for the kids clubs. On NCL, the breakdown is 2-5, 6-9, 10-12, and 13-17. On Princess, it's 3-7, 8-12, and 13-17.
I think some people have the wrong idea about Freestyle dining....You can eat at the same time every night and you can share a table with same people by just planning it....when you do get ready to dine, the host or hostess will ask you if you want "share" meaning, they will seat you at a table with other people....I do this most of the time...you get to meet many more people this way....but then, If my wife and I want privacy, we get a table for two...it's all up to you.....Happy Cruising....
Having read through all the posts on this thread I love it that there are folks so fervently dedicated to their cruiseline of choice. I'm certain the cruiseline who have such loyal clients love it even more. One little word about defending your choice though that may make for less heated debate. There is no one cruiseline right for every passenger. I can appreciate pointing out the strengths of the line and what you love about it. I also think those who have had less than pleasant experiences whith varios lines should be able to offer their disapproval with a ship or line without being assaulted by the defenders of that line for their views. There are great ships, good ships and a very few ships that have a reputation for being below what many would expect in different areas. No one should be affraid to say that Dream or many other ships are not the newest nicest ships out there in comparison to another choice for fear of being criticized for their view and accused of putting down NCL for saying so. There are ships I would not have ever considered sailing before I began frequenting this site. I pretty much wrote off ships like CCL Holiday as an old tub and if a client called about it I'd have tried to persuade them there are better choices. Then I read several post by Dave and others about their experience on Holiday. My perceptions were just flat wrong. I had all the data, the age of the ship, size, # of pools, etc. But I didn't have first hand experience on her and made some assumptions I shouldn't have made. Thanks to visiting this site and getting the replies of first hand cruisers on such ships I can better prepare my clients for what they should expect. I'd like to also, for my own benefit and that of others be able to hear when the old tub description is accurate.
Interesting topic. I guess we could be humble and say we have been on all the major cruise lines (including NCL and Princess) and spend about 10 weeks a year on cruise ships. Are we experts? No. But, we do have a lot of cruise experience and base our opinions on the recent cruises. NCL was my first cruise line (the old Sunward II) and the line has come a long way and is very innovative. The "Freestyle" concept was a great way to maximize on-board revenue (at least half the restaurants on any NCL ship have extra charges) and allow NCL to offer good quality in some of their venues.
The new ships are lovely, but they do have a passenger-space ratio that puts them below many other lines. They market to a budget conscious crowd and they do it well. But, in terms of overall quality, service, etc. I do not even put them in the same class as Princess, HA, or Celebrity. Another issue is that since they market at such a low price point, it has some impact on the type of cruisers (if this makes me sound like a snob so be it!). Carnival used to go after this type of market, and has spent the past decade trying to convince cruisers that they are now more upscale. In fact, if you look at Carnival they even restrict younger cruisers unless they are married or have older chaperones. But, there are no such restrictions on NCL. Would we cruise NCL again? Sure! If we want a cheap cruise they are hard to beat. But for quality, longer cruises, and interesting itineraries we would look to Princess, HA, Celebrity and the other more expensive lines such as Crystal.