I am planning a cruise to the Panama Canal and was searching Celebrity and Royal Caribbean (RC). RC offers a 12 night cruise and costs roughtly $2,750 pp ocean view. Celebrity offers a far more extensive cruise (16 nights) for $2,200 pp ocean view. My main question is, "Why is the RC more expensive than Celebrity when they are offering less nights?"
My other question is regarding children. I know RC offers great kids programs and I was wondering how celebrity handles children. We usually cruise with my two kids (11 and 7).
We're not talking food here with a price per pound. There are many more things to consider in order to find the answer to your question.
One: Which ships are in this mix on both sides? Not all ships are equal; some are newer with more amenities.
Two: You said you were "searching". If you are on websites, as opposed to having your nose in a bunch of brochures looking at base rates, you may be seeing only what is currently available. Perhaps RC had lower-priced outside view rooms, but they are now sold out.
....then there's schedule...exact itinerary....
A Panama Canal cruise of any kind is bound to be wonderful!
Thanks for the input. I too just returned from a RC cruise to Alaska and LOVED it! My children really enjoyed the ships programs. However, while I was on board, I was talking with another person who highly recommended Celebrity. This person believed the service was just a bit better.
My family and I are planning to spend Christmas of 2006 cruising the Panama Canal. RC offers the 12 night cruise (Brilliance of the Seas 2002)mainly stays on the east side of Panama. The 16 night Celebrity cruise (Mercury 1997) travels from Florida, through the canal and into San Diego. I am torn between which to take. We loved RC but when I heard that Celebrity may be even better, I was thrilled.
Past cruises have included the Caribbean (St. Kitts, St. Thomas, Martinique, Barbados) on the SS France (sold that year to Norway) in 1974. We were also on a Carnival Cruise to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Cozemel. Personally, I'd never travel with Carnival again. Comparing that cruise to the SS France was like comparing steak to dog food. Last cruise was RC to Alaska (Skagway, Juneu and Ketchikan).
If you know anything about the Mercury vs. Brillance of the Seas, input would be most appreciated.
I know the Brilliance and her sister ship Jewel, both from 11 night cruises, the Jewel in the Baltic Sea and the Brilliance in the Caribbean.
They are wonderful. There was nothing to complain about. But of course it depends, which crew you have, which chef is on bord, and, and, and.
We have been on a Celebrity ship this year and didīnt like it. Well, it was an older one, the Zenith. But nothing about better service or better food, it was the opposite.
Brilliance and Jewel were much better.
I donīt know the Mercury, but my parents did the panamacanal cruise with her 3 years ago, and they loved it, but never have been on a new ship as the Radiance-Class. I donīt know in which condition the Mercury is, the Zenith was not in a good condition. Not enough space in the dining room, a refurbishing is absolutely neccessary. But therefore they are offering lower prices, I think.
Good luck with your decision, Marita
Hi AK Mom,
Welcome to cruise-chat. There are many layers to your question, so let me share a few of my incites. First, there are 3 major reasons for the difference in price between the 2 ships: One, is obviously the ship's themselves. RC's Brilliance class ships are absolutely beautiful ships and as they are newer - are much more popular than the older Celebrity Mercury. Also, the Briliance does round trip cruises out of Miami - airfare is much cheaper than when purchasing air from 2 different cities - thus it is a more popular itinerary. Finally, this is a holiday sailing - which means more families and children - RC attracts more families due to their excellent youth program and facilities. Add to that the fact that it is only 12 nights meaning it fits into children's school breaks better. The cost of the cruise has a lot to do with demand - and the Brilliance itin and ship are in greater demand than the Mercury on that particular sailing.
I have sailed on both vessels, and while the Brilliance class ships are probably my absolute favorite fleet of vessels presently afloat, the Mercury is still a fine ship and I would not hesitate to sail her again (recently got back from an Alaska sailing on her). The biggest difference I can see for you in the 2 vessels is the children's facilities and program. While Celebrity does have a children's program, it is not nearly as comprehensive or extensive as RC's.
So, while the 16 night cruise mught be actually a much better bargain on a premium class ship - with 2 young children to consider - I would think the Brilliance would be a better choice. Passenger load on the Mercury for a 16 nt. cruise will lean towards an older set and fewer children.
Hi AK Mom,
I too, would like to welcome you aboard.
I have to agree w/Nancy regarding which ship to go with. I think she hits the mark w/RC. We sailed many yrs. w/4 kids who are now all grown w/the youngest being 17. Our experience taught us to always sail a family friendly cruise line. We wound-up mostly w/RC/Carnival because of the wonderful kids programs. We sailed Princess once, many yrs. ago before their kids program came out and the kids were miserable. They were bored by the 2nd day and ready to go home. It wasn't what I would call a "Hallmark Family Vacation." My husband/I got a little tired of sailing the same lines but realized it was worth the sacrafice every time we saw/heard our kids talk about what a great time they were having. Now, I'm happy to say we get to pick/choose for ourselves.
Nancy, was also right about R. C., having some great amenities which my kids also loved. They couldn't wait to get on the ship to see what new things they had to offer from the last one.
Again, kudos to Nancy, w/the longer sailings usually the older the passengers. Some passengers enjoy young families and some don't. We learned not to take that chance. With more kids on board and a great kids program we hardly ever saw our kids except when we'd go check-up on them routinely in the kids club. They always had fun, made many new friends and stayed active. We too, made new friends through our kids friends w/their parents.
Now, we take our kids/spouses or friends every yr. on a cruise. It gives us such joy to see their eyes light-up and hear the gasps of awesome wonder when we pull-up to the pier for the first time. Most, have never sailed before and are stunned by the size of the ship as we pull up closer to it. Yrs. later they still tell us that the cruise they took w/us was the best vacation ever. They are always so grateful to have been able to experience such a wonderful trip. It thrills us to see the joy that still lights-up on their faces as they talk about it. Wonderful memories are precious to us.
Nancy, is a great moderator, with a wealth of information. She really gave some great advice.
Good-luck w/your decision. I hope you/family have a wonderful time on the ship you wind-up with.
Thanks to all for your wonderful input! I am new to this cruise-chat site and cannot believe I haven't discovered it before. What help and insight!!!
Just when I believe we have our mind made up, my oldest son is trying to convince my husband that we should do the RC Bermuda cruise instead. He read about bell helmet diving and wants to try it. Ahhhg. It was so much easier to travel when we just decided the trips. Kids are too smart today
Again, thanks for all the help. I'll try and push my Panama Canal cruise but the "boys" are putting up a good argument for Bermuda.