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Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

Decatur, Alabama
Level Contributor
66 posts
31 reviews
Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

I have read tons of threads on Alaska from TA & Cruise Critic. I am looking for help to choose the best cruise for self & hubby. I wanted to use Holland America because of reviews & not overly large. Would not want a ship that has 3K people. We are interested in relaxing, great scenery, food, etc. Not concerned with entertainment, though a little might be pleasant. Interested in art, photography, or onboard activities that include/encourage these type of hobbies. Not interested in learning to cook, etc. Would prefer a newer ship...not one that's 20+ yrs. Not interested in a ton of kids onboard but not opposed to the general few. Do not want to do a "formal" night. Appreciate if anyone has a HAL ship the highly recommend from Seattle or Vancouver. OR if another smaller ship is highly rated, I would love to review it. Please provide pros & cons and deck/room preferences. We are open to all ships, just do not want to cruise one that has over 2200 people.

20 replies to this topic
Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
6,521 posts
1. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

Did you see my response to your other thread, with suggestions of where else to post?

I can comment on a couple of things: choose a ship that departs from Vancouver, not Seattle. The Vancouver departures are more scenic and stay in protected water since they travel between Vancouver Island and the Mainland and thus have land on both sides. Also include an extra Alaskan port (Seattle departures have to include Victoria or another "foreign" Canadian port).

I've been on 2 HAL Alaskan cruises and I think you'd enjoy them. Food was average, service second to none. To avoid kids, choose after mid-August when most kids have gone back to school. You don't have to attend formal nights if you prefer not to. I prefer eating at the buffet anyway, so I can choose exactly what I want to eat and don't have to wait for a waiter to come around.

If you have the budget, check out these more expensive (but smaller) ships: https://www.alaskacruises.com/cruise-lines/l…

Decatur, Alabama
Level Contributor
66 posts
31 reviews
2. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

Thank you and I posted the only place I could find.

Decatur, Alabama
Level Contributor
66 posts
31 reviews
3. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

Thank you and I posted the only place I could find.

Greater Sydney...
Level Contributor
20,945 posts
113 reviews
4. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

Assuming that your intention is a round trip cruise, HAL Volendam takes 1432 passengers and Nieuw Amsterdam 2106. I have cruised on two other similar size HAL ships to Volendam and I love that size and configuration. I absolutely agree with M_M about choosing Vancouver over Seattle, not only for the reasons given, bit also that Vancouver cruises spend more time in ports as they do not have as far to travel. Also, for the Seattle cruises, the compulsory docking in a 'foreign' port at Victoria BC is usually done between about 6pm an midnight, so almost useless.

Both ships are sailing the same wonderful itinerary, although I would prefer Volendam as she sails on a Wednesday meaning that with most other Alaska cruises sailing on a Saturday or Sunday, there are not so many ships in each port on the same day as Volendam.

I assumed that you were considering a round trip cruise because of you mention of Seattle, as they are only round trip cruises, but I have just taken a look at the other post mentioned by M_M and see you were asking specifically about Noordam, and she sails one-way cruises alternating with Westerdam, her sister ship. Both carry approx 1900 passengers and are a little over 10 years old.

Although I am a big fan of HAL, their one-way itineraries are not as good as some others with Norwegian Jewel being on a better northbound itinerary, and all Princess sailings southbound also being better. The difference, for me, is that both those NCL and Princess schedules include Hubbard Glacier as well as Glacier Bay NP. Jewel carries 2376 passengers, and most of the Princess ships are a similar size.

Greater Sydney...
Level Contributor
20,945 posts
113 reviews
5. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

I overlooked the cabin question. My rule of thumb for a balcony suite is, as applied to Noordam or Westerdam, would be either the Veranda deck 5 or Upper Veranda deck 6, around midships. If there is movement in ships it is most felt at either ends and the higher up, so that I why I prefer the middling option. You can see such movement yourself easily with the use a a small rectangular box, say a brekkie serial box, hold it in the centre, and then move it by rotating the L/R motions and rolling slightly imitating the movements of a ship on the ocean.

Although most of the sailing from Vancouver is in sheltered waters, as mentioned by M_M, one-ways do have to cross the Gulf of Alaska which is all open water. Ships are very well stabilised though.

I also ensure that my cabin is not above or below a bar, or below a pool, and not right next to an elevator or stairwell, as those locations can be more susceptible to noise occasionally.

Decatur, Alabama
Level Contributor
66 posts
31 reviews
6. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

Thank you!! I appreciate all of the info I can get. It's very confusing. Ive only cruised once before amd it was years ago. I originally going with the Noordam, but, am rethinking it. I am not opposed to ships other than HAL..just would prefer a smaller ship over a huge one and one that isn't quite as formal. Definitely want a balcony but not by a pool, noisy area, etc. Willing to pay more to get a nice room, but, don't want to waste money. I appreciate all and any input!!!

Edited: 31 December 2017, 23:38
Greater Sydney...
Level Contributor
20,945 posts
113 reviews
7. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

If you are thinking of the RCI ...... of the Seas mega cruisers carrying 5000+, they do not sail on the Alaska circuits. The largest ship on the 2018 circuits is Celebrity Solstice carrying a maximum of 3148 pax, with most others being around the 2500 mark.

Decatur, Alabama
Level Contributor
66 posts
31 reviews
8. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

Thanks!

Gardendale, Alabama
Level Contributor
26 posts
4 reviews
9. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

luvDogs1212

I am considering make the same trip, and I have never taken a cruise before. Wondering if you made your trip, and if you have any feedback/recommendations on your ultimate choices. (by the way, I live in Gardendale, AL)

Decatur, Alabama
Level Contributor
66 posts
31 reviews
10. Re: Alaska Cruise Summer of 2018

No, we are not going this year. Possibly next year. The only cruise I have been on was 30 yrs ago. I really enjoyed it and have been told the Alaskan cruise is wonderful. Recommended by many friends!

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