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Princess vs. Norwegian

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May 28th, 2013, 03:11 PM
  #1
ita
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Princess vs. Norwegian

I am about to book a cruise to the Panama Canal on Princess Island. A travel agent told me the Norwegian line is much better. Opinions pleas
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May 28th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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No way. The reviews of NCL have improved a lot over the yrs. but they had a long way to go. Princess is at least as good if not better. To say NCL is "much better" is baffling. The IP was ranked in the top 7 or 8 for midsize ships from a readers poll on cruise critic BTW.

NCL has some nice ships and to be fair two of their ships ranked high in that same readers poll in the midsize category but to say the NCL line is much better is not evident in the members reviews on cruise critic. Not even close.
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May 28th, 2013, 04:13 PM
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I just checked CC for the latest 50 reviews for each and its close though I think Princess has an edge but again to say NCL is "much better" is certainly not reflected in these latest reviews. However I am happy to see NCL doing as well as they are.
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May 29th, 2013, 08:39 AM
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NCL is known for their "free styling" dining (no traditional main and second dining times and dress is casual)). It is more like restaurant dining although you can make reservations.

Princess gives you the choice of traditional dining or "anytime" dining. I have not been on Princess (I tend to cruise on RCI or Celebrity) but my brother has been on many Princess cruises (including the Panama Canal) and loves Princess.
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May 29th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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I would like to know why your travel agent stated that NCL is much better than Princess. Their reasoning for that statement would be quite interesting. I'm thinking it has more do with their commission on selling NCL over Princess than a true accurate comparision.

Personally, I think comparing NCL to Princess is like comparing apples to oranges. Both lines are quite different when it comes to dining options, atmosphere and the type of passengers they attract.

We have been on Princess twice and not NCL. When we did our Alaskan cruise I compared NCL to Princess and Princess actually came out less expensive. The "free style" dining on NCL is a hit and miss with many passengers. It all depends on what you like. I prefer the anytime dining option that most cruise lines offer now. My next cruise I'm going with Celebrity due to the pre-pay alcohol plan that they offer. It's all a matter of preference.
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May 29th, 2013, 09:41 AM
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I too was thinking about commission issues with that TA. You may want another TA to comment.
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May 29th, 2013, 07:47 PM
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I haven't sailed on Princess. I was on NCL this past winter, but that was on their top ship at the time (Epic -- and it was an amazing cruise). The point others have made about commission is interesting. I'm also wondering if the NCL ships sailing the Panama Canal are newer than the Princess ships or have been more recently renovated. If so, maybe that's why the travel agent said NCL is much better? For what it's worth, I would absolutely sail with NCL again.
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May 30th, 2013, 04:29 PM
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Seriouly, NCL better than Princess? Not even close. For North American mass market crusie lines, I would rank then this way: I put HAL, Princess and Celebrity on equal terms, RCCL and Carnival on the next level, and bottom of the list, NCL on a berth on their own.

NCL is very inconsiitent (both service and quality) and they seriously nikle and dime you on the "extras", even in the free dining room. Someone did a comparison based on a sample of "extra" and NCL came out the most expensive if you buy the standard package of goodies such a drink, photo, excursion, spa, bingo etc., very much like people comparing baseball teams by buying 4 tickets, 2 beer 2 pops and 4 hot dogs plus a souveniir and see who is the most expensive.
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May 31st, 2013, 09:10 AM
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A lot may depend on your age group. As mature-aged travellers, we thought Princess was better suited to us than NCL. I also thought extras cost more on NCL than Princess.
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May 31st, 2013, 03:13 PM
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Sailed on both, and I think Princess is generally better, but for me it's about itinerary, not a ship or cruise line, so we've been on 3 cruise lines so far.
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May 9th, 2016, 08:18 AM
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We haven't cruised with Norwegian yet, but the Princess cruise to Alaska was disappointing re the entertainment. The shows were generally short AND you had to RESERVE a spot -- and we only allowed one visit to each of the entertainment options.

Also, the Princess buffet area was crowded & dirty. The employees in the buffet area were rude and did not speak English.
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May 9th, 2016, 09:10 AM
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Well as long as this thread has resurfaced I'll update my opinion of NCL as we cruised the Getaway 1 yr. ago. I was impressed overall. I still think Princess is a notch better for CS but we were pleased with NCL and would cruise with them again. The entertainment was very good!
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May 12th, 2016, 11:27 AM
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I liked my HAL ship for Alaska.

Don't go on Island Princess, the deck arrangement is no good.

Princess wins for best food, desserts, and coffee. Stick with the buffet, go early to avoid the crowds. Dining room service is not very good (nearly as bad as RCI). I think Princess and RCI are stuck in a "hotel conference" model of food service which results in slow service and cold food, and not listening to requests for modifications.

NCL wins for dining room service.
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May 14th, 2016, 01:12 PM
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While I haven't been on NCL, I'm very high on Princess. We've been on 19 cruises, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Holland American and find Princess to be the best of them. Here are a few reasons why:
* The staterooms are a nice size and well laid out (the closets are the biggest at sea), and if you can afford it, the mini-suites are a terrific option for additional space (if you time it right, you can get one for barely more than a balcony)
* While the dining room fare is not much different than other lines, the buffet food is better and more interesting
* The ships are handsome and gracious, and piazza makes a great hub. The International Café in the piazza is a 24-hour spot with excellent quiches, sandwiches and desserts
* The service is fabulous--wait staff in the buffet walk around providing drinks, something you don't often find on other lines

We've taken Princess many times in the Caribbean and also in Alaska. In short, we've found Princess to be a solid, all-around great experience. - Musing About Cruising
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May 15th, 2016, 02:38 AM
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I understand why people are loyal to particular lines but you really have to look at the individual ship, especially for Alaska. While overall I liked my recent experience on Princess, I would not want to sail on Island again. Unless the price was REALLY REALLY good.

Waiter service at a buffet is only "fabulous" if they actually come to your table rjgdg.

You have to check the individual ship. Apparently the changes on Island were so unpopular they scrapped them so the Coral is not set up that way. E.g., on Island, there is no International Cafe. Food at Horizon Court only went til midnight. The bathroom on Island was the worst of all 4 ships, no storage, the hairdryer was outside, tiny shower and a fixed shower head ...it was tough to reach certain spots! We were in one of the new Balcony cabins and it wasn't especially big, nor was there much storage space except for clothing on hangers. Sure one can manage, especially for a short trip, but I can't imagine doing that for 14 or 18 days which was how long many passengers were on board.

One thing I liked at HAL was the ability to order off the dinner menu for room service for the first hour. Princess didn't allow that. No "takeout", and the room service menu is limited to fast-food type items. Fortunately the food in Horizon Court was good, even if they didn't open up all the seating all the time, so finding an empty table could be difficult. Reminded me of the scrum at Disneyland.
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May 19th, 2016, 04:42 PM
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You get yourself a cabin in THE HAVEN on an NCL cruise and THEN come back and tell me Princess is "better."
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May 19th, 2016, 06:18 PM
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Maybe but how much is the Haven? When we sailed the Getaway a Haven cabin was about double a balcony cabin.
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May 29th, 2016, 08:36 AM
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After reading this, I am worried. We are booked into a balcony cabin on Island Princess in the Fall. Should we lose our deposit and re-book?
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May 29th, 2016, 09:16 AM
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No, it isn't that drastic if you've already booked! If you can, I might try to be sure your room isn't toward the back. Unless you really enjoy walking, I'll mention that virtually all of the dining rooms are toward the front end of the ship.

There were many things that I liked about Island Princess, you just have to work around some of the flaws like the blocked off circulation (you have to cut through the ship to do a "lap".)

We were in some of the newer balcony rooms toward the back, on Emerald Deck. I don't know if the balcony rooms toward the front are better. Hope the shower stalls are bigger than ours!
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May 29th, 2016, 09:20 AM
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FWIW, if the British girl is doing trivia, she's a hoot.
I also mention this mainly because I wanted to brag that we won the last contest which was a bottle of bad champagne. (I would have preferred the plastic pens.)
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