Not to hijack this thread, but in answer to F1: if you enjoyed staying casual on NCL, then you might feel underdressed on HAL. The formal nights were quite dressy (though not more so than on Princess, in my experience.) If you liked dressing up, then HAL will be just fine. I enjoyed them, especially their service. (Have sailed all 3 of these lines under discussion.)
Thanks! Sport casual/Country Club is my style!!I stay away from Formal wear and stuffy ties!
Food on the Wind-NCL-in March for 12 days was good to excellent!!!! I dine at home at some $$$ 5 star restaurants and the Wind's extra fee-$10 @ Le Bistro-was as good at any of Toronto's 5 star dining restaurants I have dined in.
Carlalena, I can't believe this is the first time I'm seeing your post. Forgive me for being late to jump in.
We are long-time NCL cruisers (1992-2005, with another booked in 2006), who took our first Princess cruise last year. Princess is a tad more upscale, most notably with larger standard cabins, more formal evening attire, and (depending upon the NCL ship) greater selection at the buffets. I'd say the shows, service, and general food quality are about the same on both lines.
F1, I agree with Karen regarding HAL. Country Club is fine on HAL on most nights, but formal nights are typically at least jacket/tie.
I have booked the crown princess...how is the dress on board. We booked this in the hopes of my husband not always having to walk around in pants...huge shorts guy. I understand for dinner he'll need pants but what about just around the boat at night?
I cruised with NCL years ago & believe Princess to be up a notch from NCL.
Over the years I have been on many cruises, cruised with several other cruise lines, HomeLines, NCL, Costa, Carnival, RCCL.
Since 1996 I have cruised exclusively with Princess. Why? Overall service & excellence.
I enjoy the Princess package
Depending on the cruise you book & when it is can influence your cruise. For example with Princess, the longer length cruises tend to have an older group of pax. School break times & holidays will bring many families & children.
For your Crown Caribbean cruise you should see a mix of pax onboard.
We have been Princess fans for our last 5 cruises until last week when we returned from sailing the Regal Princess to Manaus, Brazil. It is understood that the Regal is an old ship that is being sold next year but we still expected better than what we got. Our cruise was a 'nightmare' from the start. Coast gaurd in Ft. Lauderdale would not permit boarding until 5 pm, so that was a long wait in a very long lineup in the heat. Then near the Amazon river mouth we ran aground on a sandbar as it seems the captain forgot red is port and was on the wrong side of the marker.....after that, another coast guard inspection by Brazil which was only to be a formality but ended up taking 7 hours, resulting in many delays and missed ports. Overall, we only saw half of what we came for and everyone was dissapointed with the cruise. But the truly dissapointing part was the quality of the food. It was horrible! scrambled eggs that were as hard as rubber to meat that was tasteless. By day four, nothing was appealing any longer and dining was a chore. Now in comparison, in October 2005 we did 23 days on the Norwegian Spirit and I am still talking about the quality and superb taste of each dish. The buffets were incredible with choices that varied every day and even after all those days, we still looked forward to meals. I guess it depends on which ship you are on as both Princess and NCL have some good and some negative reviews, but I will try to book a newer NCL ship in the future and give Princess some time to "work on some issues". I do prefer the fixed dining on Princess to freestyle on NCL as we usually form some wonderful friendships....don't care for the formal nights though.
We had sub standard meat dishes on both the Sun Princess last Oct & the Star princess in Feb. I didn't think the meals were tasteless but the meat definitely was tough. I suppose it's Princess's way of cutting back on things & forcing people to attend the extra charge restaurants. They still provide a decent cruise but I wish they would correct a few things in the galley.
I have sailed on both lines in the past year and a half. Admittedly the most recent Princess ship I was on is the Caribbean Princess and the most recent NCL is the Majesty so I am looking at a much newer and larger ship in Princess. Naturally with a larger ship comes more options. I have had a great time on both lines and could make a few complaints about both. I definitely prefer Princess and I do look at them as a notch up from NCL. (Though I wouldn't put it as low as Carnival nor would I rate Princess as high as Celebrity.)
I prefer the food on Princess to NCL's though neither is bad. While I enjoy being comfortable and casual most of the time I love formal nights on cruise ships and Princess is more formal. That's one of the reasons I cruise - dressing for dinner isn't the norm in my life so why not don tuxedos and gowns? If I want all casual I can go to an all-inclusive resort.
I hope you enjoy your Princess cruise - I am sailing on the Crown in October so I would love to read any comments/reviews you can offer when you get off.