Gotta say I am a Princess girl. I have been on the Grand, the Golden and the Caribbean and loved them all. Great cabins, wonderful food, first class service and gorgeous public areas. Have not been on an NCL ship, but at this point Princess has given me no reason to switch!
The new NCL ships are wonderful ships too...Give them a try....some like the Freestyle concept, and some don't....I've been on most cruiselines and now stick to NCL almost exclusively....but it comes down to a personal choice.....Any ship is better than NO SHIP...
I have not cruised yet on NCL, so I can't make a comparison from personal experience. But from what I have seen and heard from friends, there are more similarities than differences. The Princess ships appear to be more elegant; and Princess gives you the choice of Traditionsl or Anytime dining (the equivalent of Freestyle).
I am a long-time Princess fan (I was going to say Princess guy, but that just dosen't sound right) but I will no doubt try NCL sometime because of comments like Berick 1234.
Maybe you should just be guided by itinerary and price, because I don't think there is a huge difference in cruise lines.
Just off the Diamond Princess from LA to Hawaii and back for 15 days (Dec 3rd to 18th, 2007)Have sailed Princess many times, Diamond twice the Grand, all grand class ships. Have sailed NCL many times, (Platinum Lattitudes), and found Princess NO comparison to NCL.
NCL is by far the winner.
Princess recently started "anytime dining" to compete with NCL's "freestyle dining"....average wait for table on Diamond Princess 45 minutes......no reservations taken.
NCL "freestyle dining" average wait 0-15 minutes.
Diamond Princess 2 choices for specialty dining vs NCL 7 choices for speciality dining.
Sterling Steakhouse on Diamond Princes uses buffet area sectioned off at night for dining. NCL Cagney's Steakhouse has own themed restaurant. No comparison in ambience between Princess and NCL ..NCL wins over.
Restaurants themes on Princess very poor, all dining rooms have same items except Sabatini's and Sterling Steakhouse. NCL has 7 specialty themed restaurants serving different menus from the main dining rooms.
Princess buffet very small and overally crowded, difficult to find seating at peak times vs NCL Pearl, Jewel, Gem, Star...large Garden Buffet with many different food stations, twice the size of Princess.
Lounges, bars, pools are very comparable to each other.
Overall staff service on NCL superior to Princess as we determined just of the Princess cruise on Dec 18th, after 15 days.
Executive staff on NCL ships very cordial and very visible to passengers, while Princess, very seldom saw the captain out and about.
Check in....very similar to each other, disembarkation on Princes back from Hawaii was a NIGHTMARE, vs NCL easy walk off program.
Pricing of overall value, NCL wins the competitive edge here. Princess in our estimation is overpriced and over rated.
Many other issues to compare, too long to mention.
Main Theatre on Diamond Princess, small and very crowded, had to get to theatre for shows 45 minutes in advance to get seats. vs NCL large theatre setting.
Casino on NCL Pearl, Gem, Jewel, Star much larger with larger choice of gaming vs Princess.
Formal nights, superior on Princess vs NCL as has adopted new theme "dress up or not".
We have been spoiled on all of our NCL cruises and STRONGLY perfer NCL over Princess.
NCL delivers quality service, dining experience at a value price.
Give it a try
Richard & Mary
Las Cruces, New Mexico USA
NCL Platinum Lattitudes members
Princess Gold Captain's Circle members
Royal Caribbean Crown and Anchor members
My wife and I have 13 cruises on Princess ,3 on Royal Caribbean and 1 on NCL. We did a Hawiian cruise in 2002 on the NCL Star, 8 months old at the time. Our balcony windows rattled so bad I stuck papers between the doors to quiet them. My brother-in-law leaned on a hand rail on the stairway and it moved, a bolt was missing. One of the elevators we used had one missing button on it. During our first Formal night dinner they sat us at a table for four, which is what we asked for. Wearing my tux, I felt a drop of water hit my sleeve but figured it was from the water glass. I later reached for a roll and a drop hit me on my nose. When I looked up the water was dripping from the ceiling. I asked our server about it and she said that the air conditioning unit above was leaking and scheduled for repairs later. I mentioned it to the Head Waiter on the way out and his comment back to me was "Yes sir, we're aware of that". I can't believe they would even seat people at that table and not even move them when they get a complaint about it. We (all four of us) wrote NCl with mixed (good and bad) comments about the ship and service. NCL never responded, we never received a word back from them. We have sent a few complaints (very few) to Princess and every one of them were answered, some with future credits for our trouble. We didn't expect to receive anything from NCL, but a response from them would have made us feel that they cared. I guess not.
Richard & Mary- I did try NCL and found them horribly lacking. None of the claims you make about the pearl held up for the Dream. I realize the Dream is an older ship, but the food and service was terrible.
I'm glad you feel great with your choice of NCL, but to claim Princess is no comparison is way out of whack with reality.
Hello Bruce & Martha, welcome to Cruise-Chat! Seems to me, you prefer Princess over NCL. I've been on one NCL ship and One Carnival ship. I've never had the pleasure of sailing on a Princess ship. I prefer Royal Caribbean and stay with them because of all the perks I get for being a diamond plus member. I've had a few complaints, but who doesn't. Anyhow, I just wanted to welcome you aboard.