Originally Posted by longbeach1
1. Alaska. If I were to go on an Alaska cruise, my goal is up close contact with scenery and wildlife - whales, eagles, calving glaciers. Up close as possible. Great scenery. I'm not as interested in ship board life in this case and "roughing it" is just fine. I have not much interest in land excursions. Which line would you recommend in this case?
2. A cruise with days at sea on a ship that fits what I like to do (see above). For something short, I'd probably want to start and/or end in Southern California, to save money. For something longer, I'm willing to fly to embark or to return home. As a first timer, the dream of a trans-Atlantic trip may be a bit much - but it's appealing. Maybe short makes sense. Which options would you recommend?
Based on what you have stated I would recommend for:
Alaska: Holland America or Princess. They have great itineraries and ships. Most of their itineraries include Glacier Bay. The atmosphere will fit your stated requirements.
For your second cruise I would look for HAL, Princess or Celebrity out of San Diego or San Pedro. Carnival is also a possibility out of Long Beach but, while I enjoy Carnival, it may be a bit more "active" than what you would like. A round trip, Hawaii cruise, will give you the sea days you want plus the chance to see the islands. There are also some extended 10 - 12 day itineraries out of San Diego on Holland America ships. I also believe Royal Caribbean has a few Mexico cruises each year but these are becoming harder to find.
No matter what you choose I think you will have a great time.