If you are deciding which cruise will make your couples’ vacation or honeymoon unforgettable, you have likely come across Royal Caribbean and Princess cruises. Both cruise lines have something unique to offer, but which one should you choose?
In this article, we will compare Royal Caribbean vs. Princess, including their itineraries, fleet, price range, onboard activities, and more so you can decide which is best for your romantic or honeymoon cruise.
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Royal Caribbean vs. Princess Overview
First, a quick overview of each cruise line.
First-time cruisers may get the idea that Royal Caribbean only has destinations in the Caribbean. However, they offer much more than this! In fact, Royal Caribbean has a variety of itineraries that take you around the world, from Alaska to Europe, Asia, and beyond.
Their ships are large and depart from several places in the United States, including but not limited to cruises out of Galveston, Seattle, Orlando, and Los Angeles. However, you can also find departures in Canada, Europe, Latin America, Australia, and Asia.
Royal Caribbean has a total of 27 ships in its fleet, with more on the way. We mentioned that their ships are large, but how large are they? Well, their smaller ships hold nearly 3,000 guests, whereas their biggest ships can hold between 5,000 and 7,000 passengers.
Royal Caribbean also offers a huge range of onboard activities, including surfing and skydiving simulators, mini-golf, waterparks, casinos, and so much more. There is more than enough to do for every age group, from toddlers to seniors.
It wouldn’t be a vacation if you didn’t get to enjoy a wide assortment of restaurants, bars, and lounges onboard. On Royal Caribbean ships, you’ll enjoy both fine and casual dining as well as snacks, desserts, and even room service if you choose.
Princess Cruises is a well-known cruise line with a fleet of 18 ships. Princess cruise ships are slightly smaller than Royal Caribbean’s, but they still offer plenty of onboard activities and amenities. In addition, there are cruise itineraries that last up to 111 days!
Their ships can take you to most of the same places as Royal Caribbean, but they might have a few different ports on their itineraries. If you are looking to depart from Alaska, Princess has some of the best offerings in the industry.
Onboard activities can vary depending on the cruise ship. Since Princess originally came to fame due to the wildly popular “Love Boat” TV show, they offer plenty of romantic experiences for couples. That includes rock opera, an Italian-style piazza for live comedy shows and concerts, and even magic shows.
You can also find some of the same kinds of activities as you would on Royal Caribbean, such as mini-golf, a casino, a spa, a driving range, and several pools.
Princess has a Dine My Way program in place where you can choose when and where to eat. This means you can make reservations at a nice restaurant or have food delivered to you anywhere on the ship.
Now that you have an idea of what Royal Caribbean and Princess offer, let’s take a closer look at their differences.
Is Royal Caribbean Cheaper Than Princess?
The cost of a cruise can vary widely depending on the cruise line, date, and ship you’re on. However, when comparing apples to apples, you will find that Princess is typically more expensive than Royal Caribbean. This is due to Princess Cruises’ emphasis on luxury cruises.
When you choose a Princess cruise, you are paying for the experience. This includes more high-end amenities like larger cabins and suites, better food, and unique activities. However, you will find that some onboard amenities are not included in the cruise rates.
On the other hand, Royal Caribbean cruises have a lot to offer their guests, making them great for families with kids, singles, and couples looking for value-oriented cruises. Royal Caribbean does offer its guests the option for a more luxurious experience (which will be reflected in the price). It is important to note that off-shore excursions typically aren’t included in the Royal Caribbean cruise rates.
The best way to see which cruise line is the best for you and your budget is to look at the same itinerary with both cruise lines. Depending on the cruise, you may find that a Royal Caribbean cruise will be much more affordable than Princess, or vice versa.
Royal Caribbean vs. Princess Ship Fleet
Royal Caribbean’s fleet consists of 27 ships, the most in the cruise industry. The nice thing about having this many ships is that you can find a cruise going to just about any port. You also will have an easier time finding a room since Royal Caribbean has the largest ships in the world.
Royal Caribbeans Oasis-class ships are the biggest ships at sea, with tons of onboard activities and amenities. On these ships, you will find exciting features like FlowRider surf simulators, sky-diving wind tunnels, zip lines, and the tallest slide at sea.
These ships must be doing something right, as they have won several awards. For example, the cruise ship Symphony On The Seas won Travel Weekly‘s Reader’s Choice award for Best Cruise Ship Overall in 2021-2022.
Princess’s fleet is smaller compared to Royal Caribbean, as the ships are designed for more intimate cruises. Their smaller ships are great for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
Princess also has some of its own signature features, such as the SeaWalk walkway and Movies Under The Stars theater. The Piazza is the center of any Princess ship, with live music, cafes, bars, and entertainment.
For honeymoons or romantic getaways, Princess has adult-only areas, such as the Sanctuary Retreat. This is a great way to enjoy some alone time or get away from the crowd, so you can truly relax.
Royal Caribbean vs. Princess Dining
Both cruise lines offer a wide array of casual and fine dining options. So whether you are in the mood for a nice steak dinner or a bacon cheeseburger, there is something for everyone.
On board the Royal Caribbean Oasis-Class ships, you will find so many food options that you may only be able to try some of them on your cruise. You can dine in the main dining room, specialty restaurants, and fast food eateries. Some of the guest favorites include Windjammer, Izumi, and the famous Jaime’s Italian.
In addition to Windjammer, you will find other complimentary dining experiences such as Wonderland, El Loco Fresh, and several bistros and cafes.
As mentioned earlier, Princess has a Dine My Way app where you can make reservations for any of their specialty restaurants. You can also order food from anywhere on the ship and have it delivered. Yes, that means you don’t have to leave your lounge chair by the pool for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
There is no shortage of restaurant options on the Princess ships, including favorites such as the Crown Grill, Sabatini’s Italian Restaurant, and Bistro Sur La Mer. One plus about the Princess dining experience is that you can get a fancy dinner at no extra cost. This means you don’t have to settle for a cheeseburger when you really want seafood pasta.
Both cruise lines offer food and drink packages that will fit your budget and help you save money on your trip.
Royal Caribbean vs. Princess Entertainment
When it comes to activities, we believe that Royal Caribbean offers the most variety to their guests, but what about entertainment? Both Princess and Royal Caribbean offer their guests Broadway shows, comedy performances, casinos, and other live entertainment.
Royal Caribbean has a broad range of entertainment options for all ages. You can find shows such as the AquaTheater, which combines diving and acrobatic stunts with high-tech production elements. Other popular acts include ice skating, aerialists, and comedians.
On board Princess, you will find classic stage shows and musical performances. In addition, they offer unique shows such as illusionists, where the artists combine aerial acts, acrobatics, and a laser light show. You will also find a 300-square-foot poolside movie theater showing films and even NFL games.
You will be impressed by the endless entertainment options at either cruise line. However, remember that some entertainment is free while others may require you to pay an additional fee.
When comparing Royal Caribbean vs. Princess, it’s hard to decide which is better. Both offer a wide variety of dining activities, entertainment, and much more. But ultimately, it comes down to your budget, departure port, and what you are looking for for the perfect cruise experience.
We recommend Royal Caribbean for families and young adults. For other couples either cruise line would be great depending on what you are looking for.
If you need more information on what cruise to choose, check out our article 10 Best Honeymoon Cruises and Cruise Lines or our comparisons of Royal Caribbean vs. Norwegian and Carnival Cruise vs Royal Caribbean.
Have you gone on a cruise with Royal Caribbean or Princess? Let us know your experience in the comment section below!