As has been said, CentOS is quite similar to Debian stable. Packages are intensively tested before going in, rather than like Fedora, where things are often put in to see how they will work. (That's not a putdown of Fedora, this philosophy is more or less stated on their pages.)
Apt has always seemed quicker to me than yum, although actually, F9 and F10 have improved yum's speed. Many times, in the end, we pull out technical reasons to justify what is, in the end, either an emotional or practical (for example, support is there for distro1 and not distro2 for some mission critical application) reason.
All that being said, the nice thing about CentOS is that it's almost a set it and forget it O/S. You can spend much more time worrying about the apps that you're running on it while the O/S itself runs smoothly. Our problems at work are almost never with the O/S itself.