Princess vs. Royal Caribbean Cruises: Which Is Best for You?

Two of the most well-known cruise lines, both Princess and Royal Caribbean are great options with plenty of amenities. However, they do have differences.

Take a look at this comparison of Princess vs. Royal Caribbean to see what each cruise line has to offer you on your next sea-bound getaway.

Princess vs. Royal Caribbean Quick Take

  • Princess vs. Royal Caribbean Dining: Princess offers a selection of specialty restaurants and a large main dining room; Royal Caribbean has dozens of different restaurants.
  • Princess vs. Royal Caribbean Passengers: Princess cruises tend to attract an older group; Royal Caribbean is perfect for travelers of all ages.
  • Princess vs. Royal Caribbean Cost: While Princess tends to be more expensive than Royal Caribbean, cost depends on length of trip and final destination. Both cruise lines offer discounts as well as upgrade packages.

Princess vs. Royal Caribbean: Overview

Princess Cruises, which became famous after being the setting for “The Love Boat” TV show in the late 1970s, is still a top choice for romantic couples’ cruises. They tend to focus on a more high-end experience for more experienced travelers, although they offer activities for all ages.

All Princess cruise ships are designed with a grand atrium and a large Italian-style piazza. The atrium serves as a beautiful and welcoming entrance, while the piazza is a central gathering spot that includes shops, bars, and often live music.

These ships offer a wide variety of amenities and activities including casinos, spas, multiple pool areas, concerts, comedy shows, and more. On larger Princess liners, guests can also find big sports complexes.

The current size of the Princess fleet is 15 ships. The largest ship can hold up to 3,660 passengers and the smallest holds 2,000. Princess Cruises offer hundreds of different itineraries with ports all around the world; some of the most popular stops are New York City, Vancouver, Venice, Los Angeles, and Alaska. Itineraries range from short trips to 111 days.

Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, is known for their massive cruise ships and enormous array of exciting activities. They have a fleet size of 27 ships; their smallest ship can accommodate almost 3000 people while the largest ship can hold 7600 passengers.

With some of the largest cruise ships around, there’s plenty of deck space for passengers who want to simply lay back and enjoy the sun, while thrill-seekers will have no shortage of adrenaline-pumping options like waterslides and rock-climbing walls. 

There’s something for everyone on a Royal Caribbean cruise, from family-friendly dining, activities, and entertainment options to plenty of upscale restaurants, bars, and nightclubs for young couples and singles. 

Royal Caribbean has itineraries all around the world including Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia; some of the most popular destinations are in the Caribbean and Alaska. Cruise lengths range from 2 nights to a 274-night ultimate world cruise. 

Princess vs. Royal Caribbean: Ships

Princess cruise ships offer amazing activities for guests of every age. While the exact options change from ship to ship and destination to destination, many of the ships include SEA enrichment programs and destination-themed activities. 

But that’s not all. Princess cruise ships include activities like culinary demonstrations, wine tastings, dance classes, concerts, and shows, as well as amenities like freshwater pools, hot tubs, casinos, spas, poolside movie theaters, and sports areas including miniature golf, shuffleboard, and ping pong. There are also adult-only areas.

Royal Caribbean’s ships vary in size and amenities. Many are quite large and contain all sorts of fantastic and unique amenities like bumper cars and surf simulators, making them very popular for family cruises. Most of the ships in the fleet hold more than double the number of passengers than Princess cruises.

On Royal Caribbean’s larger ships, you will find that there are more pools, hot tubs, and activities, but in general there are four pools and ten hot tubs.

Princess vs. Royal Caribbean: Dining

Princess Cruises have one of the best dining experiences that any cruise liner can offer. The main dining room offers a wide variety of delicious dishes, and you can choose from a selection of excellent specialty restaurants. These are perfect for a special dinner or just a different atmosphere and menu. 

Princess features the Dine My Way program, which is an app that allows guests to choose when and where they want to eat. This gives you more control than you have on many cruise lines. You can also have food delivered to you all over the ship. It is important to note that Princess Cruises do have and enforce dress codes in their dining rooms, so make sure you pack appropriate clothing.

Royal Caribbean offers a wide range of dining experiences, from grab-n-go nooks to fine dining. In addition to Royal Caribbean’s 3 complimentary dining options, you can find dozens of specialty restaurants throughout each ship. 

Royal Caribbean’s largest ship, Symphony of the Sea, boasts a whopping 20 eateries. You can choose from 3 dining plans on your cruise, including the ability to try somewhere new every night with an unlimited dining option.

Princess vs. Royal Caribbean: Cabins

Princes cruise ships are known to have large and well-laid-out cabins and suites. Standard rooms come with two twin beds with night tables plus a desk. Other types of rooms, like larger suites and balcony suites, come with a few different design choices, but a top feature is the closet.

Every cabin and suite on a Princess cruise ship comes with a large closet that faces the bathroom, offering open access and tons of storage options to make sure all of your items and outfits are easily accessible.

Royal Caribbean’s cabins and suites are known for being some of the most luxurious in the cruise world. They have cabins for all kinds of budgets and even their smallest staterooms don’t skimp on the indulgence. A top cabin is the balcony cabin. This 180- square-foot space features a king bed or two twin beds, a sofa, and a workspace. 

Suites on Royal Caribbean ships are attractive, and there’s a wide range of categories to choose from. The Royal Loft Suites are two decks high and feature a sitting area and floor-to-ceiling windows. Family Suites are colorful and sunny and have fun features like giant games and Lego walls.

Seaplex – Deck 15 Aft Center Spectrum of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

Princess vs. Royal Caribbean: Activities and Entertainment

There’s plenty to do while onboard a Princess cruise, with a wide variety of activities and entertainment options. 

One of the coolest options available on Princess Cruises is the destination-specific presentations, encounters, and enrichment programs. These programs are led by specialists in their field and highly trained staff. In the evening, you can take a dance class, see a show, go to a casino, or visit one of the multiple nightclubs for live music and dancing. 

Royal Caribbean is known for offering some of the most varied and exciting activities on board any cruise ship. Extreme sports enthusiasts will love Royal Caribbean’s surf and skydiving simulators, rock climbing walls, zip lines, bumper cars, towering waterslides, and ice skating rinks. 

Evening entertainment options include live bands, Broadway productions, family-friendly performances, dance lessons, trivia nights, and a nightclub. 

Princess vs. Royal Caribbean: Cost

Princess Cruises can be a bit expensive, but the cost for each cruise depends on the length and destination. For example, a cruise to Alaska can start as low as $300 per person per night. But the cost can increase quickly with longer trips like the British Isles for $1,100 or the Mediterranean for around $800 per person per night.

Plus you can upgrade your cruise options with additional benefits, which raises the price of your trip. It all comes down to your travel tastes and ultimate destination.

Royal Caribbean cruises tend to be more affordable, averaging around $150 – $250 per person per night. Although Royal Caribbean cruises aren’t all-inclusive, you can purchase add-ons like Royal Caribbean drink packages ahead of time so it’s easier to budget.  

Princess vs. Royal Caribbean: Passengers

Princess Cruises are great options for any and all ages, but the majority of the passengers on Princess are seasoned travelers. This helps keep the atmosphere calmer but still full of fun. However, there tend to be more families among the passengers around summer and winter holidays and spring breaks.

Royal Caribbean cruises offer plenty for couples, singles, solo travelers, retirees, and families with kids of all ages. You’re bound to see passengers from every demographic on a Royal Caribbean cruise. 

Both Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean are good options for a fun-filled trip at sea, but the choice ultimately comes down to your preferences. Now that you’ve read our comparison of Princess vs. Royal Caribbean, which would you choose? Let us know in the comments. 

And if you’re still not sure, or would like help planning the perfect cruise, reach out to one of our trusted travel agents here.

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