DCL vs. Celebrity comparison (Greek Cruise)

brentm77

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
There was recently another thread comparing the lines for the very expensive suites. But, I would appreciate some feedback for a decision we are trying to make.

We currently have DCL booked for an 8-night June 2022 Greek cruise, starting in Rome. The price for our family of four if close to 15K for standard verandah.

Celebrity offers an 11-night June 2022 Greek cruise, starting in Rome with all of the stops we wanted from DCL, plus Istanbul and a couple others. It is the Celebrity Reflection ship. The price would be 10K for concierge level.

We have two older children (20 and 17 at the time of sailing). We love DCL. Not as much for the Disney magic, which is fun, but because we feel like it is high quality, clean, and we know exactly what we are getting for our money. We like the style of the ships being more classical, less Vegas like. We like the corny entertainment. I think the food is good enough, but too plain, while it seems to please my wife's and daughters' pallets (youngest ordered two cheeseburgers for every dinner last time). Cleanliness is a high priority for some in our group. We like great service, but rarely ask for anything and just want to do our own thing.

We are debating a land trip, but I have some concerns about my wife's energy levels (due to some past health issues) and ability to spend much of our time moving from place to place, catching transportation, unpacking and repacking, etc. I could see the trip turning out bad if it is too exhausting.

I would book the Celebrity cruise in a heartbeat. In my opinion, we will be off the ship much of the time, and there is plenty of time to enjoy DCL in the Caribbean for much less money. And its a better itinerary! As long as we have a comfortable base to come back to each night, where we only have to unpack once, and where we are taken to place to place, I don't see a reason to pay a premium for a shorter cruise on Disney. My wife is less convinced - she likes to stick with what she knows she likes once she finds it. I think DCL is even more comforting for her in in Europe, since it is so far from home and it is familiar.

But, what should we expect with Celebrity compared to DCL? Rooms, food, service, entertainment, cleanliness, quality of the ship?
 
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mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
I haven't tried Celebrity but friends of mine did and according to their review, I wouldn't worry about them not being as good as Disney.

I would say... If the price difference and itinerary haven't convinced you yet (5000K less for 3 more days, a better itinerary and concierge?), I would recommend looking at vlogs.
 

meliscan

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
We almost booked a Celebrity ship for a trip next year but we did a few online walk throughs that other cruisers published. We felt like it gave us a good idea of the ship and the people on it. Now this was all pre-pandemic but it helped us make a decision on which ship we wanted for our trip. We have decided that we are Disney Cruisers, not cruise people. I would look at the videos of the ship are looking to book to get an idea. Good luck! A friend got married off a cruise in Greece and loved her trip. So I think you can't go wrong with any of them.
 

jenmiller114

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
We actually sailed on that same itinerary on the Reflection in 2013. We were not in a suite, but we had two connecting verandah rooms. The ship was only a year old so that was nice. The room sizes are similar to DCL and the bathroom is probably the same size as DCL if you combined the two. Maybe even a little bigger. it was nice having more space but the split concept is nice, too. Obviously, this doesn't matter as much if you are looking at a suite, which I imagine would be very nice with a lot of amenities.

My boys were 9, 11 and 13 at the time and they really enjoyed the places we visited. They like history and there is a lot of it! But the ship left a lot to be desired for kids. The clubs were open limited hours and at night you had to pay for the kids to go to the club. Parents did not want to pay for their kids to go to the club so they let them run around the ship while they were in the casino. There were over 500 kids on this particular sailing so there was a good argument to be made for keeping clubs open to everyone in the evenings. Instead, kids were knocking on our door and running away. It got so annoying I finally found them and told a crew member so he could deal with them. I think that's why I love Disney. No casinos. And if you are going to have casinos and adult entertainment, then provide something for the kids and don't upcharge for it. Hopefully this policy has changed since we sailed because it really sticks out in my mind every time I think about booking Celebrity again.

As far as the food and services goes, it was fine. Nothing exceptional but I can't complain about it. I am a picky eater but I could find something I liked every night and we had a good server. We had one excursion that got us back to the ship late and they were able to seat us at the later dining. I am not sure why we had early dining because we prefer late, especially with long excursions.

I will give them a nod for their buffet because it was open all day. I hate that Cabanas is open limited hours. We end up eating almost every lunch at quick service but I would much prefer Cabanas if I had the choice. I'm not sure what other choices they had for food if you didn't eat in the dining room or buffet, though. Seems like everything else was upcharged so we never ate anywhere else.

We were so tired from all of our tours, we only attended two shows. Had they been Disney shows, I might have made more effort to go but we weren't impressed by what we saw so we chose to sleep instead. We had a lot of early mornings wake ups so it was probably just as well.

I have mixed feelings about whether I would do it again. We have only sailed Disney since. I am considering the Apex in September since I am unsure about our Fantasy cruise. But I haven't been able to pull the trigger. I keep hoping Disney will get it together and let us know what they are planning to do because, as much as I would love to visit Greece again, I would much prefer to spend a week with Mickey & friends!

All that being said, the cruise you are looking at is not a bad option to consider. You will be super busy with ports so there is not a lot of time on the ship. I find that when I sail Disney, I am always anxious to get back to the ship so I don't miss something. That is less likely to be a concern for you which will make your excursions more enjoyable. The ship is primarily a way to get you from place to place. And I much prefer taking a ship than dealing with planning the land portion myself. I like knowing I will enjoy all of the meals and I don't have to keep packing and unpacking or figure out transportation.

The price savings is significant and ALL of the ports are amazing. Istanbul and Ephesus were actually two of our favorite ports. I was not excited about either when I booked the cruise, but we had fantastic tours which made a big difference. The history was fascinating and I think my kids got a lot out of it. Of course, visiting Pompeii and the Greek Isles were also awesome. It was definitely one of the best trips we have ever taken but I can't say it was the best cruise.
 

brentm77

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
We actually sailed on that same itinerary on the Reflection in 2013. We were not in a suite, but we had two connecting verandah rooms. The ship was only a year old so that was nice. The room sizes are similar to DCL and the bathroom is probably the same size as DCL if you combined the two. Maybe even a little bigger. it was nice having more space but the split concept is nice, too. Obviously, this doesn't matter as much if you are looking at a suite, which I imagine would be very nice with a lot of amenities.

My boys were 9, 11 and 13 at the time and they really enjoyed the places we visited. They like history and there is a lot of it! But the ship left a lot to be desired for kids. The clubs were open limited hours and at night you had to pay for the kids to go to the club. Parents did not want to pay for their kids to go to the club so they let them run around the ship while they were in the casino. There were over 500 kids on this particular sailing so there was a good argument to be made for keeping clubs open to everyone in the evenings. Instead, kids were knocking on our door and running away. It got so annoying I finally found them and told a crew member so he could deal with them. I think that's why I love Disney. No casinos. And if you are going to have casinos and adult entertainment, then provide something for the kids and don't upcharge for it. Hopefully this policy has changed since we sailed because it really sticks out in my mind every time I think about booking Celebrity again.

As far as the food and services goes, it was fine. Nothing exceptional but I can't complain about it. I am a picky eater but I could find something I liked every night and we had a good server. We had one excursion that got us back to the ship late and they were able to seat us at the later dining. I am not sure why we had early dining because we prefer late, especially with long excursions.

I will give them a nod for their buffet because it was open all day. I hate that Cabanas is open limited hours. We end up eating almost every lunch at quick service but I would much prefer Cabanas if I had the choice. I'm not sure what other choices they had for food if you didn't eat in the dining room or buffet, though. Seems like everything else was upcharged so we never ate anywhere else.

We were so tired from all of our tours, we only attended two shows. Had they been Disney shows, I might have made more effort to go but we weren't impressed by what we saw so we chose to sleep instead. We had a lot of early mornings wake ups so it was probably just as well.

I have mixed feelings about whether I would do it again. We have only sailed Disney since. I am considering the Apex in September since I am unsure about our Fantasy cruise. But I haven't been able to pull the trigger. I keep hoping Disney will get it together and let us know what they are planning to do because, as much as I would love to visit Greece again, I would much prefer to spend a week with Mickey & friends!

All that being said, the cruise you are looking at is not a bad option to consider. You will be super busy with ports so there is not a lot of time on the ship. I find that when I sail Disney, I am always anxious to get back to the ship so I don't miss something. That is less likely to be a concern for you which will make your excursions more enjoyable. The ship is primarily a way to get you from place to place. And I much prefer taking a ship than dealing with planning the land portion myself. I like knowing I will enjoy all of the meals and I don't have to keep packing and unpacking or figure out transportation.

The price savings is significant and ALL of the ports are amazing. Istanbul and Ephesus were actually two of our favorite ports. I was not excited about either when I booked the cruise, but we had fantastic tours which made a big difference. The history was fascinating and I think my kids got a lot out of it. Of course, visiting Pompeii and the Greek Isles were also awesome. It was definitely one of the best trips we have ever taken but I can't say it was the best cruise.
This was extremely helpful. Thank you for taking time to write such a detailed response.

Thanks to the other people who responded above too!
 

jenmiller114

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
This was extremely helpful. Thank you for taking time to write such a detailed response.

Thanks to the other people who responded above too!
Happy to help! Would love to hear if you end up booking it. I can give you come recommendations on some tours we took. Particularly in Turkey. Both were really great.
 

GatorMomInNC

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
We chose to cruise Celebrity to Alaska over DCl because, while I LOVE Disney, for port intensive cruises --- like Europe and Alaska --- I don't need to pay a premium for a DCL ship I will be getting off of everyday. I will literally only be spending about 5-6 waking hours on the ship, so no need to pay 50% more just to be on a ship I like better.

My kids, at that time they were age 11 and 8, LOVED it. The kids club hours bothered me -much different than DCL. But we paid extra using an OBC to make it so they could use the clubs pretty much all day - not sure if something Celebrity still offers, but didn't have that annoying thing where they had to leave at lunch and dinner if they didn't want too. This "upgrade" also included a backstage tour of the entertainment area, and a tour of the ship's bridge with the Captain. Since they missed the bridge tour due to an excursion delay, Celebrity invited all of us, even the adults, to go on the tour reserved for concierge guests (or whatever they call it on Celebrity) so that was nice.

There were so few kids on the cruise it was basically 1 to 1 ration with the kids club staff. If I wanted to eat lunch with my kids on sea days I had to go to the buffet and find them with the kids club staff and sit at the table next door - they didn't want to eat with us :-). They also had a talent show one day, which was fun. The captain's wife and small child were on the cruise and one of the few kids in the kids club.

I will say the other passengers were very anti-kids/family. We would meet other couples while having drinks at a bar, etc., who would say "I'm so glad there are hardly any kids on this cruise" and basically complain about kids in general, and we would have to say, well, there are about 20 kids on the cruse and 2 of them are ours" (we were sailing during normal school times so very few kids). I do dislike the anti-family/kid sentiment I see on so many cruise lines (But never on Disney).

The nighttime entertainment shows sucked compaired to DCL, but the bars were great and they had some good live music in the bars and entertainment. Food was good, but we ate a lot more in the buffet just because we didn't want to deal with the formality and slowness of dinner, and the buffets were really good.
 
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  • DCLMP

    Travel bug
    Joined
    Jun 28, 2020
    We chose to cruise Celebrity to Alaska over DCl because, while I LOVE Disney, for port intensive cruises --- like Europe and Alaska --- I don't need to pay a premium for a DCL ship I will be getting off of everyday. I will literally only be spending about 5-6 waking hours on the ship, so no need to pay 50% more just to be on a ship I like better.

    My kids, at that time they were age 11 and 8, LOVED it. The kids club hours bothered me -much different than DCL. But we paid extra using an OBC to make it so they could use the clubs pretty much all day - not sure if something Celebrity still offers, but didn't have that annoying thing where they had to leave at lunch and dinner if they didn't want too. This "upgrade" also included a backstage tour of the entertainment area, and a tour of the ship's bridge with the Captain. Since they missed the bridge tour due to an excursion delay, Celebrity invited all of us, even the adults, to go on the tour reserved for concierge guests (or whatever they call it on Celebrity) so that was nice.

    There were so few kids on the cruise it was basically 1 to 1 ration with the kids club staff. If I wanted to eat lunch with my kids on sea days I had to go to the buffet and find them with the kids club staff and sit at the table next door - they didn't want to eat with us :-). They also had a talent show one day, which was fun. The captain's wife and small child were on the cruise and one of the few kids in the kids club.

    I will say the other passengers were very anti-kids/family. We would meet other couples while having drinks at a bar, etc., who would say "I'm so glad there are hardly any kids on this cruise" and basically complain about kids in general, and we would have to say, well, there are about 20 kids on the cruse and 2 of them are ours" (we were sailing during normal school times so very few kids). I do dislike the anti-family/kid sentiment I see on so many cruise lines (But never on Disney).

    The nighttime entertainment shows sucked compaired to DCL, but the bars were great and they had some good live music in the bars and entertainment. Food was good, but we ate a lot more in the buffet just because we didn't want to deal with the formality and slowness of dinner, and the buffets were really good.
    I've never cruised Celebrity, but I have talked to older people that say they stay away from Royal and Carnival because of how many kids there are. I'm sure there are some people that are going to love the restart restrictions that aren't allowing kids. OF course, there are plenty of empty nesters that cruise on DCL because they love kids and the family atmosphere. I'm close to being an empty nester and I think I'll be in the latter camp. I can't see myself on a cruise with all adults. It sounds dull.
     

    SDJEL

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2016
    I’m on Celebrity Edge now. We saw the Wonder in port and I was so sad that we weren’t on it. But, we are loving this cruise so far. The ship is immaculately clean and that has always been a very big deal for me. The service has been excellent so far and all the crew have been super helpful and friendly. I haven’t seen my 13 year old since I sent her to the meet and greet last night. Soda, wine and beer are included. We also have free basic internet (not good enough to stream video, but good enough to check email and the internet). Tips are included and we have 3 adjoining verandah rooms for 6 people for about $12K.

    Dinner was excellent, and the buffet food is similar to Cabanas. So so. I do wish they had the 1821 society thing for my older two. And the cruise is heavily skewed to the Medicare age group.

    It’s quiet, clean and there is plenty to do. Much better than Royal Caribbean or Norwegian-for our family. We are Gold and are big Disney fans. So far we’re happy enough that I would rebook with them.

    Hope this helps.
     

    kathi

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2005
    We had the same issue for an Alaska 7-night cruise. After 20 DCL sailings (both concierge and non-concierge) and in consultation with our travel advisor, we booked a Celebrity suite on Eclipse for the same price as a veranda cabin on the Wonder. And it comes with premium beverage package, complimentary specialty restaurant dining and a sizable on-board credit. I love DCL, but for a port-intensive cruise like Alaska, it was an easy decision for us. We were supposed to sail in a few weeks, but pushed it to next August when it was cancelled.
     
  • owensjro

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2007
    We had the same kind of decision a few years ago between DCL and Celebrity for a Med cruise. We decided to do Celebrity for the price and were very happy we did. Our daughter was 15 at the time and didn't really miss all of the kids activities because it was a very port intensive cruise. At that point the ship becomes more of a floating hotel. In fact, we enjoyed our Celebrity cruise so much it has become our second cruise line when DCL is either too expensive or doesn't hit the right ports. Some context...we have done 13 DCL cruises and we have done 2 Celebrity with another one booked for this Thanksgiving.
     

    owensamo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 19, 2002
    We had the same kind of decision a few years ago between DCL and Celebrity for a Med cruise. We decided to do Celebrity for the price and were very happy we did. Our daughter was 15 at the time and didn't really miss all of the kids activities because it was a very port intensive cruise. At that point the ship becomes more of a floating hotel. In fact, we enjoyed our Celebrity cruise so much it has become our second cruise line when DCL is either too expensive or doesn't hit the right ports. Some context...we have done 13 DCL cruises and we have done 2 Celebrity with another one booked for this Thanksgiving.
    Too add to this, I think our daughter loved the Reflection so much because teens aren't limited from a lot of the areas. The Solarium (adult pool) is 16+ - so obviously she didn't use that on our previous cruises - but it is available to older teens, which makes transitioning between age groups as well as keeping mixed aged groups together easier. She was able to go to all of the specialty restaurants with us, and enjoyed the experience immensely. In addition to the Celebrity cruise we have booked this November, we do have additional bookings on the Dream next year, and she is looking forward to finally going to Palo - but she'll probably just find she likes the Lawn Club Grill on Celebrity better.

    From an entertainment perspective, they had "broadway-style" shows - they weren't Disney productions, but they had singers and dancers and storylines and we enjoyed them. I think the best part, however, is that we didn't feel obligated to go to them. With Disney, if we miss something, we feel like we missed something. With Celebrity, it was nice if we decided to go, but if we missed it (for longer port times, etc), that was fine too. Many nights we just settled with books in the Sky Lounge to watch the scenery (in both Alaska and the Med), which is something that Disney ships don't really have.

    For us, cruising these two lines are different kinds of vacation experiences, but we enjoy them both thoroughly. Celebrity service is on par with Disney, and the food in my opinion is the same, if not sometimes better. The ships are kept clean, and having the coffee shop included with the drinks package was a dream (daily fresh brewed americanos for "free"! Yay!). We find it's sometimes easier to relax on Celebiry, if only because we don't feel like we're missing something fun if we just sit and read for a bit. For a port-intensive cruise, we wouldn't hesitate to sail Celebrity again.
     

    Sykes

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2017
    I think that with adult(ish) children, getting 3 extra nights and an extra amazing port, plus saving $5,000 in the process, is a pretty compelling proposition on its own, especially on a port-intensive cruise. I got off the Edge a few weeks ago and liked it so much we're going back in October.

    I think that generally you'll find the ship to be immaculately clean and the service to be just as good as Disney (perhaps a touch better--I felt like it was more personal). The food was excellent. I felt like the MDR options were on-par with Disney if not a touch above, but the specialty dining (which is much more emphasized on Celebrity) was phenomenal.

    Celebrity tends to have a much more relaxed vibe than Disney. There are plenty of activities throughout the day, but the on-board schedule isn't nearly as packed as Disney. I really enjoyed the shows on the Edge, but none of them had a real plot (they were two Cirque de Soleli-style medley shows, two tribute artists/groups, a comedian, and a magician) so I kind of missed that aspect of Disney shows. There is a casino so it's a bit more Vegas-y, but the casino is easy to avoid if you want to, and overall the style is very elegant. I was afraid that I'd be bored, but I never got even close to it. (If anything, I was a bit disappointed that I made no progress on my book because there was so much to do.)

    I've read that the Solstice-class crowd skews a bit older than the Edge class (especially on longer itineraries) so that's something to be aware of. Also, I'm not sure that I would pay much extra for Concierge room unless it's a relatively small premium or those are the only good balcony rooms available because the extra benefits are minimal. (Celebrity reserves the best benefits for Suite/Retreat guests, and to a lesser extent Aqua.)

    No matter what you can't go wrong though. Enjoy!
     
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    Giraffe Lounge

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2020
    We had the same kind of decision a few years ago between DCL and Celebrity for a Med cruise. We decided to do Celebrity for the price and were very happy we did. Our daughter was 15 at the time and didn't really miss all of the kids activities because it was a very port intensive cruise. At that point the ship becomes more of a floating hotel. In fact, we enjoyed our Celebrity cruise so much it has become our second cruise line when DCL is either too expensive or doesn't hit the right ports. Some context...we have done 13 DCL cruises and we have done 2 Celebrity with another one booked for this Thanksgiving.

    Which ship are you on Thanksgiving? We’re on the Nov 21-28 on Edge
     

    SnowWhite2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2007
    The last time we were on Celebrity (2004) we were required to wear suits and dresses from 6pm on. Is that still a requirement? Sometimes in the evening I don't feel like dressing up. The ship we were on was very old and didn't have much besides the main dining every night. It was find for what it was, but I don't feel like dressing up each evening for dinner.
     

    hrhdhd

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2010
    The last time we were on Celebrity (2004) we were required to wear suits and dresses from 6pm on. Is that still a requirement? Sometimes in the evening I don't feel like dressing up. The ship we were on was very old and didn't have much besides the main dining every night. It was find for what it was, but I don't feel like dressing up each evening for dinner.
    Here's the current dress code: https://www.celebritycruises.com/faqs/onboard-dress-code
     

    Gatrcruzer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2012
    I have cruised on both lines, and in this case it would be a no-brainer to take the Celebrity cruise. Given that you are more or less all adult cruisers, doing a Med cruise, getting 3 extra days for $5000 less, getting concierge vs. regular, it is pretty clear that you should jump ship! :) Celebrity is a bit more mellow and adult-oriented, and food is decent. I believe with concierge you will get an upgraded restaurant for meals on Celebrity. Have a wonderful trip!
     

    Marthasor

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 8, 2005
    I have cruised on both lines, and in this case it would be a no-brainer to take the Celebrity cruise. Given that you are more or less all adult cruisers, doing a Med cruise, getting 3 extra days for $5000 less, getting concierge vs. regular, it is pretty clear that you should jump ship! :) Celebrity is a bit more mellow and adult-oriented, and food is decent. I believe with concierge you will get an upgraded restaurant for meals on Celebrity. Have a wonderful trip!
    I agree with this. We've sailed Celebrity multiple times and always enjoy their, IMHO, more interesting itineraries at a better price point than DCL. Don't get me wrong, I love DCL, but Europe, IMHO, is all about the ports. With Celebrity, you get a longer cruise, an upgraded cabin and a savings of $5000 which will go a long way in covering airfare and any excursions one would want to take.
     

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