Premium Category Cruise Review

Stateroom design underscores what you find throughout Celebrity Solstice: taste & class. Some say Celebrity’s premium-class vessels are formidable competitors to the luxury lines.

Premium cruises are a bit difficult to define, so let’s start at the beginning. People who follow the cruise industry with regularity know that cruise lines fall into specific categories that often (but not always) connote the quality and value of the on-board experience.

Big Ship cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International and NCL – typically offer the lowest lead-in prices and the fewest added extras. Don’t expect free booze, upscale bath amenities or other perks, but don’t discount mass-market cruises either. They deliver pretty good value with often exceptionally low lead-in pricing.

Next are premium-category cruise lines, such as Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises and some of the ships in Princess Cruises fleet. Typically, premium ships are smaller, carrying 2,000 or fewer passengers, which is why you may consider some of the Princess ships to belong in the Big Ship category. Space ratios on premium-category ships are greater, meaning that the ship will feel less crowded, than on big ships. You’ll get better bath amenities and other perks. Free booze? Forget about it on premium cruises.

Oceania Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises characterize themselves as upper premium. You’ll get a little more, such as speciality coffees at no charge, wine with dinner (on Azamara), gratuities (on Azamara) and a few other perks. Viking Ocean Cruises, on the other hand, has arguably created a new category between upper premium and luxury.

You will get free booze on luxury lines that operate small ships – Seabourn, Silversea CruisesRegent Seven Seas Cruises and, since the spring of 2012, Crystal Cruises. You’ll also get larger staterooms, better bath amenities, even greater space ratios than on premium-category ships and pampering aplenty. You’ll typically pay more for a luxury cruise, but not always.

So where do premium-category ships fit in? They offer good value on a product that is slightly more upscale than what the big ships offer. As noted, you’ll feel the ship is less crowded than the big ships, but premium ships still fail to match the luxury lines for service and cuisine, although some are coming close. See Celebrity Solstice, A Formidable Competitor To The Luxury Lines? One Person’s Perspective: ‘Crystal Light’

Celebrity Cruises Reviews

To read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
Celebrity Constellation Review
Celebrity Eclipse Review
Celebrity Edge Review
Celebrity Equinox Review
Celebrity Infinity Review
Celebrity Millennium Review
Celebrity Reflection Review
Celebrity Silhouette Review
Celebrity Solstice ReviewOur voyage on Celebrity Solstice
Celebrity Summit Review
Celebrity Xpedition Review
Celebrity Xperience
Celebrity Xploration

Holland America Line Ship Reviews

To read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
Amsterdam Review
Eurodam Review
Koningsdam
Maasdam Review
Nieuw Amsterdam Review
Nieuw Statendam Review• A Recap Of My Time Aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam
Noordam Review• Mediterranean Explorer - Rome to Barcelona
Oosterdam Review
Prinsendam Review
Rotterdam Review
Veendam Review (Updated 2018)To Cuba from Fort Lauderdale
Volendam Review
Westerdam Review
Zaandam Review (Updated 2018)
Zuiderdam Review

Join the Conversation

David says:

Ralph: Please stop using the word “free” when reviewing cruises. The correct word is “included.” Unless you are not paying for passage, nothing is “free.”

Pam says:

Be VERY leary. DO NOT GO. I have the CDC Vessel Sanitazion Program (CDC) on this one. Disgusting, filthy toilets and “sanitation”. I walked into my cabin when it was announced that cabins were clean and ready, and I went into my bathroom and the toilet was over flooded with filthy water and human fecal matter! The public bathrooms were almost always filthy; I never saw anyone clean a public toilet all the days. The HVAC (heating and cooling) was constantly not working…..everyone complaining….even “Guest Relations” told me to be glad my room wasn’t almost 80 degrees like others and that I had SOME air. I couldn’t believe that! When the air was on, there was an exhaust smelll (others complaining as well)and a strong odor that I have never smelled but it smelled like rotting fruit. Several times thru out the cruise, toilets backed up, and there was no running water….one day I had no hot water for 20 hours and guest relations did nothing and I finally approached a navigation officer, who handled it.

Communication was almost non existent between Departments was very poor…., for example, it was in their daily program that card players meet in a certain room each a.m., and the room was not set up 1/2 the time, and passengers were getting and setting up tables and chairs. We were promised water and coffee in that room, and only received one day, even after repeated calls. Customer Service was so poor it was almost comical…..but it wasn’t, but I could see why. I was so upset and frustrated one night when I had to WALK TO GUEST RELATIONS IN MY PJs, as no one would answer the phone, and I was crying and the Hotel Director was by my elevator and I implored him for help and he actually said “Not my job” and left we standing there! Employee relations was very inconsistent; some crew (like my cabin attendant in 598) actually walked away while I was talking!

The Ship is very very run down, stains, boards missing or damaged under floors, for example I reported repeatedly that on the floor adjacent to Table 63, main dining, had some serious problems with the floor, as everytime a wait staff would walk by, the floor would sink in and bother my back. I was told they could do nothing until next dry dock!! Although the food was quite good, I did have a health issue. I have serious celiac disease and must be gluetin free, and in the buffet, the room service, and only once in main dining….they tried to serve me food with gluten. I stopped using room service as almost daily, it was not on time, missing items, coffee cold, etc. The promenade deck had hard wooden loungers with slats and NO COVERS….unusable! Photo below. I had to RENT a refrigerator for my medicines and special diet food and it was delivered in filthy condition!

When I arrived in my cabin, it was not properly cleaned….hair everywhere, sticky remote control, dirty clothes in the drawers, badly stained and ripped sheets! The bathroom floors had the same shoe stain for two days. The charges for HALs excursions were 50% to 1400% (YES! 1400%] higher than one could find outside. The 4th of July party and BarBQue promised on their private island was not done because “thunderstorms were predicted”…..we checked the weather on line and we saw no such prediction and it was a beautiful day. The furniture in the showroom was uncomfortable and the onboard singers and dancers and their shows were so bad….people were calling it “dancing by numbers”. The outside entertainers were just okay, not bad. Often, it would take so long for someone at the front desk to answer phone, I waited up to an hour and walked down in my PJs.

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