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Going from NCL to Celebrity?

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I've been booking my cruises for the upcoming year and just finished booking for our next NCL cruise but am heavily considering booking for Edge or Apex in the near future. Has anybody sailed on both lines that can give me a fair assessment on the similarities and differences? I'd be also looking to compare The Haven vs Suite Class on Celebrity. I keep looking at reviews for Celebrity and of course a ton of videos but was really wanting some individual opinions. I love NCL but am wondering if people feel strongly one way or the other as Celebrity looks pretty amazing.

 

Thanks everyone!

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Both lines have pros and cons, people are different so good thing we have choices. I have done both several times and if you are into the Suite experience NCL wins hands down. The Haven is head and shoulders above the Celebrity Suites experience in my opinion and the Persian Gardens ranks about a 3 compared to the 10 of the Thermal Spas on NCL new generation ships. The food on Celebrity has a slight edge and we enjoy Murano and Tuscan over the restaurants on NCL in general especially if a romantic trip with just you and your sweetie. If with friends NCL might have Margaritaville or Teppenakis which are fun and upbeat and you may think a better fit. The venues for live music on Celebrity are better as well IMO. The most important to us is cabin size and the NCL cabins are larger with more functional layouts. Hard choices, don’t over think if you have already done NCL try Celebrity then you will know for yourself. Good luck and enjoy your no matter which you ch😍ose 

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I have been on both and I personally think the food on celebrity is way better than haven. Not just more variety (and menu changes daily at luminae vs haven’s menu stays the same entire cruise) but also ingredients used are of better quality I.e. steaks are in better grades, there are lobsters (no lobsters at haven! Not even at specialty restaurant) etc. Havens food just too disappointing, they didn’t taste bad just not good enough for this price.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Waterluv said:

Both lines have pros and cons, people are different so good thing we have choices. I have done both several times and if you are into the Suite experience NCL wins hands down. The Haven is head and shoulders above the Celebrity Suites experience in my opinion and the Persian Gardens ranks about a 3 compared to the 10 of the Thermal Spas on NCL new generation ships. The food on Celebrity has a slight edge and we enjoy Murano and Tuscan over the restaurants on NCL in general especially if a romantic trip with just you and your sweetie. If with friends NCL might have Margaritaville or Teppenakis which are fun and upbeat and you may think a better fit. The venues for live music on Celebrity are better as well IMO. The most important to us is cabin size and the NCL cabins are larger with more functional layouts. Hard choices, don’t over think if you have already done NCL try Celebrity then you will know for yourself. Good luck and enjoy your no matter which you ch😍ose 

Have you tried the Thermal suites on EDGE, included in AQ class or with a pass? ( operated by a Steiner entity)

 

It is excellent with trad steam and dry sauna  rooms, plus a salt room,  great thermal loungers facing the sea...Only  big neg is NO T pool in the spa.

 

The Persian Gardens on M and S Class ships ( operated by Canyon Ranch,) are being upgraded as well but have not tried them yet...

 

We do not cruise on NCL  so I can,t compare ships,  but we  enjoyed EDGE..going back in Nov and are also booked on APEX ..with Summit in between.

Edited by hcat

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We have done 11 Celebrity, 7 NCL and 1 Royal Caribbean.   

1) NCL and Royal have the best entertainment.  I would rate Royal the top, but NCL a very close second.

2) Dining and Service, I would rate Celebrity at the top with Royal second and NCL last (however, NCL has improved on dining in the last couple of years).

3) Pricing, NCL always seemed to be the line with the best overall prices, but with price bundling promos, that is no longer the case.  Unfortunately, Celebrity did the same thing and their prices have gone way up.  Still, it appears that Celebrity offers baseline, no promo pricing on some cruises (still too high).  Royal seems to be the most competitive on pricing for the cruises that I am looking at.

4)  NCL does excel in offering in one of their club bar areas an opportunity for people to participate in the fun, which can be hilarious.  Also, NCL does seem to draw a younger crowd.  Celebrity is not quite HAL, but it draws more retired people like us.  Still, Celebrity offers an atmosphere that we like, very little announcements or nickel and dime stuff.  Royal is between Celebrity and NCL.

5) We love the Celebrity ship layout that offers many ways to enjoy viewing the ocean.  We especially love having the bar just outside the buffet where you can eat breakfast or lunch outside.   Royal's ships generally block off this area and most of the NCL ships do that as well.

6) We very much dislike the beverage package offered by NCL with has a way overstated value ($99 per day per person) so if you select the beverage package and have to pay the 20% gratuity, it is huge. In fact, we find that prior to bundling, we purchased a wine package from NCL for just a little more than what we would now pay in JUST the gratuity for the bev package.  We usually bring our own wine and pay the $15 corkage, have better wine than what is on the bev package and save $$$.

7) Some posters on these boards will say the Celebrity has declined in dining quality and service.  We started cruising Celebrity in 2011 and have seen only minor negative changes.   We once really enjoyed the brunch at the end of the cruise, that is no more.  I love the crepe suzette, but order it now on Celebrity and you get something about 1/5 the size of what is once was.  Still, Celebrity excels in dining.

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On 4/14/2019 at 3:56 PM, Fincherson said:

I've been booking my cruises for the upcoming year and just finished booking for our next NCL cruise but am heavily considering booking for Edge or Apex in the near future. Has anybody sailed on both lines that can give me a fair assessment on the similarities and differences? I'd be also looking to compare The Haven vs Suite Class on Celebrity. I keep looking at reviews for Celebrity and of course a ton of videos but was really wanting some individual opinions. I love NCL but am wondering if people feel strongly one way or the other as Celebrity looks pretty amazing.

 

Thanks everyone!

You will get different answers here if you compare NCL to Celebrity Edge/Apex  versus other Celebrity class ships.  If you are booking other Celebrity ships note that some are undergoing major refurbishments (The Revolution).

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We have moved from NCL to X in recent years and even threw in an RCCL cruise recently. The reason has been mainly because of destination/timing but also because of the perks - X, overall, was cheaper for a similar itinerary because the extras made it better value. I dislike the fact that in order to take the drinks and/or specialty dining perks on NCL come with an additional 'gratuity' fee of 20% of the inflated pricing!

 

We have never sailed in a Haven stateroom, but have had a suite on NCL (Dawn - no Haven) and must admit, it was awesome! From what I've read, the best suite experience at sea is NCL, hands down.

 

Our usual level of cruising is a minimum of a balcony cabin. X is much more relaxing that Norwegian. The entertainment is adequate for what we want and there's always a spot we can find that we can plonk down in and have a drink, listen to some music and watch the world go by.

 

We both turned 60 last year, so our tastes and needs have changed a little. I am approaching four years since I quit smoking, so the smoke-free casino is much more appealing to me!

 

Sometimes I think I'd like to be on a mega-ship. The largest, I guess, is the NCL Getaway and our last X cruise was on the Equinox. We are booked on the Eclipse in August and can't wait. We got a great deal that included the Premium drinks package, pre-paid gratuities, $300 OBC (plus another $425 from our TA), as well as a good price on the cruise itself!

 

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On 4/20/2019 at 10:56 AM, Guindalf said:

We have moved from NCL to X in recent years and even threw in an RCCL cruise recently. The reason has been mainly because of destination/timing but also because of the perks - X, overall, was cheaper for a similar itinerary because the extras made it better value. I dislike the fact that in order to take the drinks and/or specialty dining perks on NCL come with an additional 'gratuity' fee of 20% of the inflated pricing!

 

We have never sailed in a Haven stateroom, but have had a suite on NCL (Dawn - no Haven) and must admit, it was awesome! From what I've read, the best suite experience at sea is NCL, hands down.

 

Our usual level of cruising is a minimum of a balcony cabin. X is much more relaxing that Norwegian. The entertainment is adequate for what we want and there's always a spot we can find that we can plonk down in and have a drink, listen to some music and watch the world go by.

 

We both turned 60 last year, so our tastes and needs have changed a little. I am approaching four years since I quit smoking, so the smoke-free casino is much more appealing to me!

 

Sometimes I think I'd like to be on a mega-ship. The largest, I guess, is the NCL Getaway and our last X cruise was on the Equinox. We are booked on the Eclipse in August and can't wait. We got a great deal that included the Premium drinks package, pre-paid gratuities, $300 OBC (plus another $425 from our TA), as well as a good price on the cruise itself!

 

 

 

Thank you so much for your input! I think we may just give X a try, like someone else said, to see for myself what the differences are. I guess I'm always just searching for someone to say ABSOLUTELY DO THIS LINE or this room, etc. So much easier that way. Ha!

 

I've been on the Getaway and it's amazing, but, NCL's biggest ship is the Bliss. Not that it matters much, they're very similarly sized!

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Posted (edited)

There are many, many posts in recent months from NCL and Carnival pax moving across to try E class on X, so I think you will be fine as they appear to like what the new direction is with those class of ships 👍. I think cgolf1 did a recent review on Edge (can’t remember if he was a Carnival or NCL crossover though 🤷‍♀️).

Edited by villauk

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Posted (edited)

I think overall you will enjoy Celebrity.  First, the ships are designed so much better.  Food much better, and service great.   More room in all public areas.  Now the suite class in the ships that have been revolutionized are great.  We sailed on the Edge suite class and it was also wonderful.  Have sailed in the Haven on the breakaway .  The haven was wonderful, however when you left the Haven area, because of the horrible layout of the ship, I felt like I was in steerage on the Titanic.  Since the only acceptable way IMO to sail on NCL is in the Haven, it is also so expensive compared to a Celebrity sky suite.

Edited by Cruise a holic

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We enjoy suites on both NCL and Celebrity, haven't tried the Retreat year but it sounds like that makes Celebrity closer to the Haven experience. One main difference between the two lines is the dress code, so you should be at least prepared for that. On NCL, you can stay casual all day and evening if you want, except in a couple of the specialty restaurants. On Celebrity, almost everyone "cleans up" for the evening, with no shorts allowed in the restaurants at night. You can certainly go to the buffet in shorts, but you might feel out of place around the rest of the ship. No more formal nights on Celebrity, but they do have 2 Evening Chic nights where many passengers (but not all) dress up a little more. 

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7 hours ago, Cruise a holic said:

I think overall you will enjoy Celebrity.  First, the ships are designed so much better.  Food much better, and service great.   More room in all public areas.  Now the suite class in the ships that have been revolutionized are great.  We sailed on the Edge suite class and it was also wonderful.  Have sailed in the Haven on the breakaway .  The haven was wonderful, however when you left the Haven area, because of the horrible layout of the ship, I felt like I was in steerage on the Titanic.  Since the only acceptable way IMO to sail on NCL is in the Haven, it is also so expensive compared to a Celebrity sky suite.

 

That is really good to hear, I'm excited to try it! I didn't mind the layout on NCL too much and have also sailed in balconies with enjoyment...However, I think once you get used to a suite it's hard to go back! My husband and I have five young children and we're taking them on their first cruise this coming October. Since my finances aren't at the level where I can pay for seven people to sail in a suite we're going for a lower level room. I'm really hoping for the best! Ha. It will be so good to get back to a suite on the sailing after that when my kiddos are safe at home with Grandma. 😃

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50 minutes ago, cynbar said:

We enjoy suites on both NCL and Celebrity, haven't tried the Retreat year but it sounds like that makes Celebrity closer to the Haven experience. One main difference between the two lines is the dress code, so you should be at least prepared for that. On NCL, you can stay casual all day and evening if you want, except in a couple of the specialty restaurants. On Celebrity, almost everyone "cleans up" for the evening, with no shorts allowed in the restaurants at night. You can certainly go to the buffet in shorts, but you might feel out of place around the rest of the ship. No more formal nights on Celebrity, but they do have 2 Evening Chic nights where many passengers (but not all) dress up a little more. 

 

That IS really good to know! We did dress up on NCL any night we ate in a dining room or specialty restaurant but I would have likely been ill-prepared on Celebrity for that overall attire expectation. Thank you!

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I now have 37 cruises under my belt.  Hands down Celebrity wins over NCL in the suite experience.  And, I have done NCL SUITES BOTH HAVEN AND NON-HAVEN.  THERE IS SIMPLY NO COMPARISON.  Food is far superior on Celebrity, the Haven cannot hold a candle to the quality and variety of Luminae.  Butler service is far more refined than on NCL.  I cannot speak to the Edge, but other ships put NCL suite experience far below that of Celebrity in my opinion.  And, if you book a Royal or Penthouse Suite on Celebrity the perks are far superior to anything offered on NCL.  

 

Jump to Celebrity.

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I consider Celebrity a step up from NCL in all categories except entertainment. NCL shows are significantly better and they offer much more variety for the night crowd. Example: Did you enjoy howl at the moon? Comedy Central? What about O'Sheehans at midnight?  If so, Celebrity might be lacking. But if dollar for dollar prices are comparable, I'd choose Celebrity every time. Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference. 

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Taking my first Celebrity cruise in two weeks to Alaska.  I am platinum plus with NCL, elite with Princess and 3star with HAL.

My only hope is that there is a little variety of items at the buffet.  After all in Alaska, Alaska is the show not the ship.

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On 4/14/2019 at 3:56 PM, Fincherson said:

I've been booking my cruises for the upcoming year and just finished booking for our next NCL cruise but am heavily considering booking for Edge or Apex in the near future. Has anybody sailed on both lines that can give me a fair assessment on the similarities and differences?

I'd be also looking to compare The Haven vs Suite Class on Celebrity. I keep looking at reviews for Celebrity and of course a ton of videos but was really wanting some individual opinions. I love NCL but am wondering if people feel strongly one way or the other as Celebrity looks pretty amazing.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

im a casino player and get free cabins on both ncl and Edge.

Deluxe inside cabins on the edge is double the size of Insides on NCL.

edge has both regular and deluxe inside. i got deluxe inside.

 

the benefits of Concierge cabins is NOT worth the price. also, the Infinite Veranda (aka fake Balcony) on the Edge isnt  worth it. Infinite Veranda is 1 step below Concierge class.

Stick with Deluxe inside, ov, Aquaclass or Sunset Verandas (aft balconies). some ov cabins have portrait  windows that come down 1/2 way!

Aquaclass is 1 step above Concierge class but includes a private restaurant and a spa pass for the entire cruise.

 

food in the free restaurants/buffet is MUCH better on the Edge than NCL.

the entertainment in the theater on the Edge better than NCL, for both the production shows and the guest performers.

 

the current captain on the Edge is more personable than any captain on NCL, and im Platinum on NCL.

he's funny and there's an entire show at the theater with just him.

he's the youngest person to make capt in Celebrity, till his younger brother made captain recently.

 

Celebrity is ALOT more expensive than NCL for solos. (i only sail solo.)

80% of the time you can count on NCL dropping the price of cruises and the solo supplement a week before sail.

ie: $50/day or less

 

note: free casino cruises on Celebrity does not come with perks, thus i have not eaten at a pay restaurant on the Edge.

 

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I’m curious why some posters feel that the suite life on Celebrity is not as good as NCL?   Does this just refer to NCL ships where there is a large Haven with its own restaurant and lounge? Some NCL ships don’t have a Haven, or if there is one, it’s small without a dedicated restaurant. 

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Unless NCL has changed, Celebrity has much better smoking policies, no indoor smoking at all and very limited outdoor spaces.  NCL felt like a chimney in the casino and on most of their ships you could not avoid the casino  walking from one end to the other.   

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13 minutes ago, dkjretired said:

Unless NCL has changed, Celebrity has much better smoking policies, no indoor smoking at all and very limited outdoor spaces.  NCL felt like a chimney in the casino and on most of their ships you could not avoid the casino  walking from one end to the other.   

The major difference in smoking policy between the two lines is that NCL allows smoking in the casino, which is a problem if you pass through there or are in a bar next to the entrance to the casino.

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I thought the Haven was subpar in almost every respect.  The Haven is a lousy product that banks on people finding value because they get to feel "exclusive".  The bar is small and useless.  The totally enclosed, tiny courtyard is loud and full of toddlers.  The sundeck is small with limited seating and nothing special.  And the restaurant has a menu that doesn't change the entire cruise and is just "ok."  How they justify the pricing is beyond me.

 

The solarium on the Celebrity ship is far better than the Haven courtyard.  The sun decks were better than the Haven sundecks.  There was still plenty of attendants in the solarium to bring you drinks.  Towels already on the chairs, etc.  And NO KIDS in the solarium vs the Haven where it can be a daycare center.

 

Having done Celebrity Reflection (regular cabin plus specialty dining and drink package) and Haven on Escape, there is no doubt I would take Celebrity over the Haven if you like the upscale experience.  And it'll cost less than half the price, too.  The entire ship feels "Haven" in a way, in fact, better.

 

What you won't get on Celebrity is the "fun" atmosphere that you get on NCL outside of the Haven.  No waterfront, no water slides, etc.  The whole ship is low key.  This may be a deal breaker for some people.  I personally prefer Royal Oasis class which offers the best of both worlds.

 

Celebrity something you should definitely try.  I didn't do a suite on X as I didn't see any real value in it to justify the price increase.  Same with aqua class.  In my opinion, it's not necessary.  The entire ship offers a pretty luxurious experience so you don't need to pay extra to get it.

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13 hours ago, jskinsd said:

Taking my first Celebrity cruise in two weeks to Alaska.  I am platinum plus with NCL, elite with Princess and 3star with HAL.

My only hope is that there is a little variety of items at the buffet.  After all in Alaska, Alaska is the show not the ship.

I think the buffet is one of Celebrity's strengths. Good variety and layout. "Specials" everyday evening and often at lunch.

We sail Aqua usually, and I can get tired of the slightly "fancier" plated meals - the buffet lets me cobble together a simpler meal - like a salad, or a couple of slices of meat from the carving station with a roll or a plate of plain cooked veggies, or tacos, etc. But they also have Indian food, stir-fry and pizza.

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58 minutes ago, cangelmd said:

I think the buffet is one of Celebrity's strengths. Good variety and layout. "Specials" everyday evening and often at lunch.

We sail Aqua usually, and I can get tired of the slightly "fancier" plated meals - the buffet lets me cobble together a simpler meal - like a salad, or a couple of slices of meat from the carving station with a roll or a plate of plain cooked veggies, or tacos, etc. But they also have Indian food, stir-fry and pizza.

Sounds good to me.  I do not have the time to sit down and be waited on for a hour.  Just grab and go.  To much to see in Alaska.

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26 minutes ago, jskinsd said:

Sounds good to me.  I do not have the time to sit down and be waited on for a hour.  Just grab and go.  To much to see in Alaska.

 

I can't speak for all the ships, but Reflection has easily the best cruise buffet I've ever seen and I've sailed quite a few different ships.  Celebrity really nails it.

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I love all this info. Such a welcoming response and a lot to go on. Thank you guys!

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