We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Which Cruise Line?

jacksonville...
Level Contributor
19 posts
Save Topic
Which Cruise Line?

My husband and myself want to do an Alaskian Cruise for one wk. mid May 2010, we're in our late 40's. I can't decide which Cruise Line to go with, is one bettter than the others? Want to do roundtrip from Seattle. Also is it worth the extra money to get a Balcony room? Thanks in advance.

Greater Sydney...
Level Contributor
15,290 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Which Cruise Line?

The cruises nearly all call at Juneau, Skagway and/or Ketchikan, with some rarer alternatives for Haines and/or Sitka. Seattle based round trip cruises also have a compulsory docking in a Canadian port, and do so in Victoria, at nearly useless hours to enable much to be done/seen. There are also different options for cruising in glacier areas with some (HAL and Princess) having access to Glacier Bay National Park, some going to Hubbard Glacier, some doing Tracy Arm.

There are differences between Seattle and Vancouver R/T cruises. The former takes an open sea route to the west of Vancouver Island and joins the Inner Passage south of Ketchikan, and has the obligatory docking in Victoria mentioned above, while the Vancouver cruise is quite superior, sailing between Vancouver Island and the mainland in sheltered waters with a bit of scenic viewing along the way. For a US resident I have seen that it is cheaper to fly to Seattle than it is to Vancouver, and that is one of the reasons that many of the AK cruises now emanate from there. However a scenic rail trip from Seattle to Vancouver and cruise from there would, in my mind, give a better overall trip.

The options available to choose from may be seen here from the cruise calendar tab on the left of the screen:

http://www.cruisealaska.com/

From all the accounts that I have read there is very little difference between the actual cruise lines on the AK runs, although HAL ships are generally about half the size of the ships used by other lines and can get into tighter places near glaciers. These are not pleasure cruises like in the Caribbean, and the cruise should be regarded as a very comfortable floating hotel taking a person to the great scenic locations in SE AK with lots of things to do/see while there.

I have only one cruise under my belt and that was a round trip with HAL from Vancouver. I could not more highly praise the standards of comfort, service and meals from that experience, and I do like their itinerary for 2010 which now includes Tracy Arm as well as Glacier Bay NP.

I hope that some of the above may be of assistance. Some may recommend that you visit the sister site to this one, cruisecritic.com but personally I find the mindless chatter over there too much to bear.

Manitoba, Canada
Level Contributor
6,894 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Which Cruise Line?

Welcome to the forum.

"is one bettter than the others?"

Not really. I'm sure you'll be happy with whichever line you choose. I suggest you make your choice by which ports or glaciers are visited.

"Want to do roundtrip from Seattle."

Just FYI, the roundtrips from Seattle are not as scenic in the early portion as the ones from Vancouver which stay close to land. Also the Seattle trips include a stop at Victoria, and while that's a lovely city, it's not Alaska....

"Also is it worth the extra money to get a Balcony room? "

Individual preference. If you have the extra money, I'm sure it would be nice to have one. Many of us prefer to use that money toward land excursions, some of which can be rather expensive. And if you're like me and won't be spending much time in your cabin anyway, a balcony would be an unnecessary luxury. But if you do plan to spend a lot of time in your cabin, it is certainly worth considering.

Manitoba, Canada
Level Contributor
6,894 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Which Cruise Line?

G'day, frommy! If I'd known you were still up, I'd have gone on to other things! :-)

Greater Sydney...
Level Contributor
15,290 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Which Cruise Line?

Ha ha, M_M, we were posting at the same time.

I was trying to edit my post regarding the balcony question, but could not post because of your post coming in.

Darlec, I was trying to post to advise that we had a balcony cabin on our cruise, and were lucky enough to be upgraded to luxury balcony (very nice indeed) but hardly used the balcony (except for my filthy smoking habit) as it was too cold in mid June. We spent most onboard time in the great forward viewing lounge that are a feature of HAL ships, the Crowsnest Lounge. Cruising in the glacier areas is best experienced from the forward decks.

Greater Sydney...
Level Contributor
15,290 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Which Cruise Line?

M_M, we have done it again, but by looking at the timing of posts you can see how slow a typist I am. The changes in time zones takes a bit to get used to with all this daylight saving thing adjustment.

Edit - Sorry Darlac for misspelling you tag as "Darlec". Too much Dr Who I am afraid.

Edited: 06 April 2010, 15:14
Colorado
Level Contributor
3,407 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Which Cruise Line?

Try going to :

www.cruisecritic.com

which will answer most of your questions, or you can put your own questions out there. Many knowledgeable people will be happy to give you their thoughts on particular cruise lines, or more info on Alaska from a cruise perspective.

Enjoy!

Corona, California
Level Contributor
96 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Which Cruise Line?

I have been on 5 cruises to Alaska on 3 different cruiselines--length from 7-12 days for the cruise portion and some with land tour add ons. My preference is Princess Cruises and the last 3 cruises have been with balconies. I am an avid photographer and find the balcony a great place to get some quick shots. Princess offers an upgraded balcony Champagne breakfast delivered to your cabin in Glacier Bay and the ship parks and turns in a circle for about an hour at the largest glacier so that every side of the ship has a great view. We did this on the last two and it was great fun.

You will enjoy any of the cruiselines as they all have great offerings. I would opt for HAL or Princess for Glacier Bay.

We are going to Alaska on an all land trip to Kenai- 2 nights Girdwood, 2 nights Cooper Landing, 3 nights Seward, 3 nights Homer and 3 nights on Kodiak-- for two weeks leaving May 22. We cashed in the airline miles and hotel points and I have planned every detail--with the great help of everyone on TA and alot of research. We can't wait!

Orlando
Level Contributor
463 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Which Cruise Line?

Cruise Critic is a wealth of information...please take advantage of the knowledge...helpful hint...use the search button for your initial questions.

I'm new to cruising also and the best piece of advise I got when I started researching was to pick the itinerary 1st. Then the cruise....then the room.

We've chosen Celebrity Infinity and are paying the extra for the balcony.

I probably would have done the balcony anyway but so many people on and off the discussion boards recommended the balcony for Alaska.

Have fun with the planning!

Wisconsin
Level Contributor
277 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Which Cruise Line?

We did a Carnival one way northbound cruise last year from Vancouver to Whittier. We had a rear balcony room and got a lot of nice pictures from the balcony. It was pretty cold to use the balcony a lot but it was nice to have that option.

NYC
Level Contributor
178 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Which Cruise Line?

I'd say it's definitely worth it to have a balcony in Alaska. It stays light so late, you'll see so much from your room. We also saw whales & seals from our balcony. It was also helpful to judge the temperature/weather initially.

Jezebel - did you plan your land only Ak trip yourself? Are you renting an RV? We loved Seward, I would love to spend more time there!