I'm not suprised about that Laine. Though owned by Carnival, Princess does run thing themselves. About the only thing common as far as pricing goes, is the VIP program which I have not found to offer any signficiant discount. (Sail on one Carnival brand, save on all of them). The lines still retain their own frequent guest programs, gift certificates and savings programs.
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 2005
Caribbean Princess 2005
Carnival Paradise 2004
Having sailed all three of the major lines going out of Galveston (Carnival, RCL and Princess), I would recommend Royal Carribean for large groups with children!
Carnival is what I consider the Holiday Inn of cruise lines... usually clean and better than nothing... but somewhat more budget-rate than the other two.
Princess was definately the nicest of the three. Excellent food and service and a beautiful ship. In my opinion (backed up by my 11-year-old son), not enough to do for kids. He thought the kids' program were "lame" (his word... not mine)!
Royal Carribean has a great kids' program. Lots of activities and things to do. It's sort of in between... Grandparents, parents and kids will all find something to do that will please everyone. Food was good but not what I would consider "overly sophisticated"... My son enjoyed dinners every evening on RCL, but ended up eating fetticini almost every night on Princess because he didn't care for what was on the menu.
I can only speak of Carnival, and I have to say the food is something they need to improve upon.We had a wide range of ages, from 14-79, and I think Carnival was the best choice for us. Next cruise without the kids will definitely NOT be Carnival
Considering the age of the people going on the cruise, I say Princess is the only option. While I like Carnival a lot, Princess is more suitable for older folks. Actually, I am getting more into the Princess demographic day by day!