Is Celebrity Cruise Line Part of Royal Caribbean?
If you are planning a cruise vacation, you might be wondering which cruise line to choose among the many options available. Two of the most popular cruise lines are Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, but how are they different and what do they have in common? Are they part of the same company or competitors? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and help you decide which cruise line is best for you.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises: A Brief History
Royal Caribbean International was founded in 1968 by three Norwegian shipping companies. The first ship, Song of Norway, debuted in 1970 and was followed by more innovative vessels that introduced features such as rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, and surf simulators. Today, Royal Caribbean has 26 ships, five of which are among the largest in the world, and sails to more than 260 destinations across six continents.
Celebrity Cruises was founded in 1988 by the Chandris Group, a Greek company that had been involved in cruise operations since the 1960s. The first ship, Horizon, debuted in 1990 and was followed by more elegant and sophisticated vessels that focused on premium service, cuisine, and entertainment. In 1997, Royal Caribbean Group (then known as Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.) acquired Celebrity Cruises and merged the two brands under one umbrella. Today, Celebrity has 15 ships, including three that operate in the Galapagos Islands, and sails to more than 300 destinations worldwide.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises: Similarities and Differences
As sister cruise lines, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises share some common features and benefits, such as:
- Loyalty programs that allow members to earn points and perks across both brands
- Flexible cancellation policies and health protocols to ensure safety and peace of mind
- Access to private islands such as CocoCay (Royal Caribbean) and Labadee (Celebrity) in the Caribbean
- A wide range of itineraries that cover all regions of the world
- A variety of onboard activities and entertainment options for all ages and interests
However, there are also some significant differences between the two cruise lines that reflect their distinct identities and target markets. Here are some of the main contrasts:
- Ship size and design: Royal Caribbean’s ships are larger and more crowded than Celebrity’s ships, but they also offer more innovative features and attractions, such as zip lines, water slides, skydiving simulators, and robotic bartenders. Celebrity’s ships are smaller and more intimate than Royal Caribbean’s ships, but they also offer more refined and stylish design elements, such as the Magic Carpet (a movable platform that changes functions depending on the deck), the Rooftop Garden (a relaxing outdoor space with live music and games), and the Infinite Veranda (a cabin feature that transforms the balcony into part of the living space).
- Dining options: Both cruise lines offer a variety of dining options, from casual buffets to specialty restaurants, but they differ in their quality, quantity, and cost. Royal Caribbean has more free dining venues than Celebrity, but also more for-fee dining venues that charge extra for certain cuisines or experiences. Celebrity has fewer free dining venues than Royal Caribbean, but also fewer for-fee dining venues that focus on quality over quantity. Celebrity also has exclusive dining areas for certain cabin categories, such as AquaClass (which gives access to Blu) and The Retreat (which gives access to Luminae).
- Service level: Both cruise lines provide excellent service to their guests, but they differ in their style and ratio. Royal Caribbean has a more casual and friendly service style than Celebrity, but also a lower staff-to-guest ratio than Celebrity. Celebrity has a more formal and attentive service style than Royal Caribbean, but also a higher staff-to-guest ratio than Royal Caribbean. Celebrity also offers personal concierge service to guests staying in The Retreat suites.
- Pricing model: Both cruise lines have competitive pricing models that vary depending on the season, destination, ship, cabin category, and demand. However, they also have different ways of bundling or unbundling their fares. Royal Caribbean has a base fare that includes most dining venues, entertainment options, activities, taxes, fees, and gratuities. However, it also charges extra for things like drinks packages, internet packages, shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty dining venues, etc. Celebrity has a fare structure that allows guests to choose between different levels of inclusion: Sail (cruise only), Sail Plus (cruise plus two perks), Sail All Included (cruise plus four perks), or The Retreat (cruise plus four perks plus suite amenities). The perks include drinks packages, internet packages, shore excursions credit, and onboard credit.
Royal Caribbean vs. Celebrity Cruises: Which Cruise Line Is Best for You?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on your personal preferences, budget, and expectations. However, here are some general guidelines to help you decide:
- Choose Royal Caribbean if you are looking for a fun-filled, family-friendly, and adventurous cruise experience that offers a lot of variety and excitement. Royal Caribbean is ideal for travelers who enjoy trying new things, meeting new people, and staying active and entertained. Royal Caribbean is also a good choice for travelers who are looking for a more affordable cruise option that still offers a lot of value and quality.
- Choose Celebrity Cruises if you are looking for a more upscale, adult-oriented, and relaxing cruise experience that offers a lot of elegance and sophistication. Celebrity Cruises is ideal for travelers who enjoy indulging in fine dining, spa treatments, and entertainment. Celebrity Cruises is also a good choice for travelers who are looking for a more inclusive cruise option that still offers a lot of flexibility and customization.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are both excellent cruise lines that offer amazing experiences to their guests. However, they also have different personalities and appeals that cater to different types of travelers. By comparing their similarities and differences, you can find the cruise line that best suits your needs and preferences. Whichever cruise line you choose, you can be sure that you will have a memorable and enjoyable cruise vacation.