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Celebrity Cruises vs Royal Caribbean : The choice is Yours

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, operating under the umbrella of the Royal Caribbean Group, are renowned for their extensive dining selections and vibrant nightlife. However, each line has a unique onboard atmosphere and caters to distinct segments of cruise enthusiasts. However, we will help you to choose the one.

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By Eglė

Published: Dec 12, 20236 min read

Celebrity Cruises vs Royal Caribbean : The choice is Yours

Even though I love jumping from plane to plane, sometimes I wish I could have more cruises. It takes a few minutes of thinking about it cause, time after time; I keep repeating that I prefer active holidays rather than slow-pace. Nevertheless, I'd love to share some insights on Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises. Just in case you wonder which is better and which one you should choose. 

Let’s Talk About Ship Sizes

If it's not your first time reading our blog, you might have noticed that I often compare popular airlines so you can choose more efficiently, and each blog starts with fleets. So, this time, let's begin with cruise ships.

Both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises operate large ships. The older models in both lines are more minor yet still sizeable, with Royal Caribbean's earlier ships accommodating between 2,000 and 3,900 passengers. Their latest ships exceed 5,000 guests, positioning Royal Caribbean as a leader in the mega-ship category.

Royal Caribbean takes pride in having five of the world's largest cruise ships, including the record-breaking Wonder of the Seas from the Oasis Class. These colossal ships, capable of hosting up to 5,700 guests at double occupancy. The Quantum Class ships from Royal Caribbean, housing 4,180 passengers, are distinguished by their North Star observation capsule, soaring 300 feet above the sea.

Celebrity Cruises' most sizable and recent ships are the Edge series, each with a capacity of 3,260 guests. This series includes Celebrity Edge, Apex, Beyond, and the soon-to-launch Ascent. Additionally, their fleet contains five Solstice Class and four Millennium Class ships, carrying around 2,800 and 2,200 passengers, respectively. Celebrity Cruises also specializes in smaller, expedition-style cruises in the Galapagos, although these are not the focus of this overview.

To sum up, both cruise providers offer a range of amenities akin to floating resorts, including pools, spas, bars, and diverse dining options. Royal Caribbean's ships, particularly the Icon, Oasis, and Quantum classes, stand out for their extensive range of activities, making them ideal for family vacations. In contrast, Celebrity's ships boast spacious interiors with modern decor and upscale amenities.

PLEASE NOTE that both fleets' smallest and oldest ships may offer a different experience than their newest, largest counterparts, a factor worth considering when planning a cruise.

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Destinations a.k.a Itineraries

Celebrity Cruises offers many travel destinations (vary with the seasons), setting sail from nine different homeports across North America. You won't find their ships anchored to a single port throughout the year, which adds to the charm of their itineraries.

They offer seasonal voyages to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Alaska, Hawaii, and the picturesque regions of New England/Canada and Europe. For those with a taste for the exotic, Celebrity Cruises also ventures into the captivating landscapes of Australia, Asia, and South America. Plus, if you're seeking a softer adventure, their sailings to the Galapagos Islands on the Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Xpedition, and Celebrity Xploration are an absolute must-try.

On the other hand, Royal Caribbean is your go-to for an expansive range of sailing experiences. They operate from a whopping 16 homeports on the North American mainland, offering trips that range from seasonal to year-round. Imagine yourself cruising through the serene waters of the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. And if Europe calls to your wanderlust, Royal Caribbean answers with regular cruises in the Baltic, Northern Europe, and the Mediterranean, all departing from several European ports. But that's not all – their exotic itineraries extend to the far reaches of Australia, Asia, Latin America, and the South Pacific. With Royal Caribbean, every journey promises to be as thrilling and diverse as the destinations they explore.

Celebrity Cruises vs Royal Caribbean : The choice is Yours - mykonos - ratepunk recommends - how to choose cruise

Inside the Ship: Suites & Cabins

Celebrity Cruises offers a wide range of more than 20 types of rooms and suites on most of their ships. Suite guests get special benefits like quick boarding, special dining areas, lounges, free drinks, Wi-Fi, no tipping required, and even butler service. Their newest ships, Celebrity Edge, Apex, and Beyond, have an exclusive area called The Retreat with private dining, a lounge, and a sundeck. They also have AquaClass cabins focused on health and wellness, with access to special spa areas and a healthy dining restaurant. However, there aren't many options for families, just some connecting rooms and bigger rooms that can fit up to five people.

Royal Caribbean has a variety of room types, including unique inside cabins with virtual windows, balcony rooms with special views, rooms for solo travelers, and large two-story suites. They have special cabins for solo travelers on six of their ships. Guests in suites get extra perks like free internet, priority boarding, access to lounges, and more. They also have some of the biggest suites among mainstream cruise lines. For families, there are many choices, including rooms with connecting doors and big rooms with full bathrooms, as well as the very special Ultimate Family Suite.

Activities on Ship

Royal Caribbean is a top choice for families seeking thrilling activities like waterslides, zip lines, and escape rooms. Its Icon, Oasis, and Quantum Class ships offer the most excitement, including unique features like virtual balconies in inside cabins, ice skating rinks, laser tag, and the largest water park at sea on the upcoming Icon of the Seas. For solo travelers, studio cabins are available on six ships.

Celebrity Cruises, on the other hand, focuses on a more sophisticated experience, perfect for couples looking to unwind. Their ships, particularly the Solstice Class and Edge-series, feature elegant relaxation areas like The Lawn Club with real grass and The Rooftop Garden with live plants and modern sculptures. While they lack the high-energy thrills of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity offers a chic atmosphere with venues like the Martini Bar and Sunset Bar for spectacular views.

Both lines cater to families, with Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean program and Celebrity's Camp at Sea offering activities for various age groups. However, Royal Caribbean stands out for its appeal to active children and teens with a range of exciting onboard attractions. For entertainment, Royal Caribbean dazzles with Broadway shows, ice skating performances, and high-tech dance shows, while Celebrity opts for a more traditional approach with a focus on lounges, live music, and original theater productions. Each line has its unique charm, making them suitable for different vacation styles.

Celebrity Cruises vs Royal Caribbean : The choice is Yours - how to choose cruise - recommendations by ratepunk

If you're trying to decide which cruise line to choose and what factors to consider, this is my opinion. If a vibrant, action-packed cruise with non-stop entertainment and activities that appeal to everyone is what you're after, then Royal Caribbean is your best bet. It's also typically the more budget-friendly option.

On the other hand, if you're leaning towards a more refined, upscale experience on a large ship with a sophisticated atmosphere that's still welcoming for children and teens, then Celebrity Cruises is the way to go. While Celebrity's ships may not have the high-energy thrills of Royal Caribbean, they excel in providing excellent dining and drinking options.

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