We just got back from a 7 day cruise with Princess Cruises(Crown Princess) and it’s hard to get back to our normal routine. Imagine having a room steward clean your room 2-3 times a day, unlimited food choices to indulge in, the amazing view and breeze as you sit on the decks while watching the waves go by, and great ports to come down to for a little sightseeing. I wrote about the Top 20 Reasons Why We Love Cruising before, but I might have to update that and make it 30 reasons.
We finally got to cruise with Princess Cruises and I wish to share the difference between Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise for those who wish to cruise with one of them in the near future.
We’ve been cruising with Carnival Cruise for some time now. And this year we decided to cruise with Princess Cruises on a 7 Day Cruise along the West Coast.
PRINCESS CRUISES VS CARNIVAL CRUISE:
CARNIVAL VS PRINCESS: FOOD
Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruises both offers sit down breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a fine dining experience. They both have buffets. Both have burger and hotdog grills at the pool area. There are also restaurants where you get more premium food for an additional fee.
The difference: Both Princess Cruises & Carnival offers afternoon tea. But princess does it great. With white glove service. Sandwiches, scone, mini desserts served with to you from a big serving platter. Carnival serves it from a cart, where it took forever and they didn’t have enough servers. The tea was better at Princess too, poured from a big pot but good. Carnival gave you tea bags to choose from. But just overall, Carnival VS Princess on afternoon tea, Princess wins.
READ: Princess Cruises Afternoon Tea Service – Mommy Daughter Bonding Time
Carnival’s Pizzeria is 24 hours, Princess is not. There’s made to order sandwiches/panini at Carnival, Princess has them ready made but is open 24 hours and they also serve cookies and milk to you if you’re seating at the lounge in the afternoon.
If you don’t want dinner at the buffets, both cruise ships divides you into early sitting and late sitting for the fine dining dinner. But Princess Cruises offers anytime dining, unfortunately though, there’s a waiting time when you get there coz’ everyone seems to want to go for anytime dining.
We personally think Carnival cruise has better food and food options. But Princess has a better breakfast buffet and better tasting pizza..they were really good pizza.
If you booked a balcony room with Princess, you can also dine on your balcony, for a fee. Both have room service but Princess doesn’t serve room service on the morning of disembarkation day.
PRINCESS VS CARNIVAL: DRINKS
When you eat at the buffets at Princess Cruises, they serve the drinks to your table. Ice Tea, Lemonade, Milk and coffee is free. At Carnival Cruise, you can get your drinks at the dispensers. Ice Tea, Lemonade, Coffee, a really good fruity drink during breakfast, and hot chocolate. Carnival has a really good hot chocolate, Princess is so watered down.
For the alcoholic drinks, Carnival Cruise has better drinks and fun looking tumblers to go with it. But then the peeps at Princess are hardly drinking. Take note: Carnival has the drinking crowd. It’s called the Fun Ship after all.
CARNIVAL VS PRINCESS: OLDER OR YOUNGER CROWD
Princess Cruises has the older crowd. It’s like 90% of the passengers are retired. Carnival Cruise on the other hand are families, friends cruising together, honeymooners and maybe 5% are retired who are cruising with their families.
CARNIVAL VS PRINCESS: CRUISE ROOMS
The rooms at Princess Cruises are smaller yet cleaner and smells better. Maybe coz it’s newer. The layout is not the same either. We preferred Princess Cruises in terms of the room. And believe me when I say we slept a lot. We literally ate then slept, then repeated that 5 times a day.
CARNIVAL VS PRINCESS: ONBOARD SHOWS
Princess Cruises and Carnival cruise both has good nightly shows(singing, dancing). But there’s not enough seats at Princess Cruises and the leg space is tight too and they only show the performance once a night, so once everyone is finish eating dinner(anytime dining), everyone is already trying to get seats to see the show. Some sat on the stairs.
Carnival Cruise show is shown twice a night. And with the set dinner time divided into two groups. It’s more organized. Everyone gets a seat to the show after dinner. And leg space is huge. You get to enjoy your drinks too while watching the show.
CARNIVAL VS PRINCESS: THE SERVICE
I found Carnival Cruise’s service better. Their staff seemed to be more friendly and happier. The room steward service was more consistent too. With Princess Cruises, some nights we get chocolates, some none. Had a really bad experience during lunch time at the sit down restaurant at Princess also. The waiter was sick and still working and so he is not himself, I should have gone for buffet.
CARNIVAL VS PRINCESS: THE POOLS
Both cruise liners have a lot of pools and jacuzzis including adults only pool. But Princess has a wave pool while Carnival has elaborate slides.
PRINCESS CRUISES MOVIE UNDER THE STARS
With Princess Cruises you can watch a movie on their pool deck. Get comfy on their loungers and they’ll even provide blankets or you can watch it from the jacuzzi if you want. Plus the pizzeria and soft serve ice cream is just nearby. On daytime, they showed football.
CRUISE SHOWS ON TV INSIDE THE ROOM
Lots of movies to see at Princess Cruises. We really enjoyed this part as we were mostly in the room(after eating of course), just before a nap. They showed Maleficent, Monsters University, there was football, etc. Carnival has no shows, it’s mostly ads about the ship.
CARNIVAL CRUISE ANIMAL TOWELS
Carnival Cruise has towels shaped into animals in your room every night. Really cute especially if you have kids. One of the Carnival Cruise we went to even had animal towel class.
Princess Cruises has napkin folding class on the other hand.
CARNIVAL VS PRINCESS: CRUISE ONBOARD ACTIVITIES
Every night, you get the next day’s itinerary and there just seems to be more activities lined up at Carnival. They have games, etc.
PRINCESS VS CARNIVAL: LIBRARY
You can borrow books and play board games on board inside their library. But Princess Cruises has a really tiny library.
CARNIVAL VS PRINCESS: CRUISE DAYCARE
READ: How the Princess Cruise Day Care looks like? See the pictures in our post.
Disembarkation was better at Princess. They give you a set time to disembark the ship the night before. You stay at the lounge you were assigned too in the morning. Carnival, very disorganized. Over the years it’s getting better, but still not as good as Princess. We needed to attend the Camp Spooky event at Knott’s berry Farm the morning we were gonna disembark and Princess made it smooth for us so we don’t miss on the event.
Carnival is known as the Fun Ship while Princess’ tagline is Escape Completely. And it’s exactly that. If you want to party and enjoy some fun looking drinks, ride with Carnival Cruise. If you want to relax, book a balcony room with Princess Cruises, less party people heading back to their rooms making a noise will for sure keep you in lalaland.
Note: we rode on Crown Princess, versus Carnival Imagination and 5 more other Carnival ships that departs from Los Angeles and San Diego. They always change the ship. But this write up is based on those trips. All pictures are from our trip with Princess.
ALSO VISIT – 40 USEFUL THINGS TO PACK FOR A CRUISE: