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Old December 18th, 2003, 04:35 PM
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Default Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

Help - I am in cruise ship frustration. My husband and me are planning our first Alaskan Cruise for August 2004 and had pretty much decided on the Celebrity Mercury. But, then I have had people recommend Princess Sapphire and NCL Star. We want to sail out of Seattle in order to keep our air transportation at a minimum. Can anyone provide any advice on which one offers the best shows, food, and ports in Alaska? We are in our late 20's, if that helps any, and no children yet.

Thanks!
Beth
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Old December 18th, 2003, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

Please also look at other factors- mainly route, time in ports and glacier. Some Seattle sailings go inside Vancouver Island- this may be more desirable? Victoria usually has a short port time- determine if that is important?? Price can also factor- be certain to budget for costly - not to be missed tours. And finally- Vancouver is an easy transfer.
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 09:15 AM
Donna Hill
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

Yes, I would definitely look at the itinerary. We went on a wonderful whale watching trip out of Victoria, and it is a very lovely city to visit. If the itineraries are similar, I highly recommend Princess. Princess does an excellent job in Alaska; we had a very bad experience on an NCL ship (plumbing/sanitation problems that were not remedied until day 6 of a 12-day cruise and other serious problems), so I would not recommend that line to anyone. Celebrity is a great line and we've sailed them in other areas, but I think Princess and Holland are the best in Alaska. Have a great trip.

Donna
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Old December 24th, 2003, 09:23 AM
Sara Haynes
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

Definitely Princess and Holland in Alaska. I agree with Karen, look at port times, very important. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are my last choices in Alaska due to their lack of a naturalist.
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Old December 28th, 2003, 11:52 PM
JEFF in alaska
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

I live in Juneau (25 years) and thus have seen this business from a local's perspective. I also just returned from Caribbean voyage on Coral Princess and spoke with many fellow passengers about their experience in the past visiting Alaska as well as crew on the ship.

There is little doubt that Princess and Holland are the most integrated into Alaska, with many shore side investments to assist. In talking to long time cruises most really liked the multi-day shore excursion after sailing one-way to Seward or Whittier (or southbound). Interior Alaska is also drier and warmer, whereas coastal Alaska is literally a rain forest, albeit a cold one. (We get 100 inches a year in Juneau, and Ketchikan even more).

The Coral was new, like the Sapphire, and I found her very nice. The shows were excellent as was the food, and we found service was also excellent. The average age of the passengers was older than my other cruise experiences (and I'm 53), so you may want to check into this. I could not count the number of wheel chairs, walkers and oxygen bottles I saw. I remember talking about a day's diving experience and fellow passengers that night thought we were crazy to do such a dangerous activity...they simply had no experience because of their age.

From my perspective you would get a good quality trip with Princess, all things factored (except perhaps the average age of passengers, which you should check into).
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Old December 29th, 2003, 08:02 PM
AM57
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

WE ARE LOOKING TO TAKE OUR FIRST CRUISE EVER, AND DECIDED ON ALASKA. WE HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS AGERS 18 AND 16.. WE WERE FIRST LOOKING AT THE CRUISE LINE RC INSIDE PASSAGE. BUT AFTER READING SO MUCH ON THIS SITE, I AM NOW LOOKING INTO THE PRINCESS LINE OR HOLLAND AMERICA. WE ARE CONSIDERING THE CORAL THE END OF MAY, SOUTHBOUND CRUISE WITH POSSIBLY LAND FIRST FOR 5 DAYS. OR HAL ON THE ZANDAMM. ANY HELP FROM ANYONE WOULD APPRECIATED. ALSO WOULD MY DAUGHTERS ENJOY THE LAND TOUR?
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Old December 30th, 2003, 02:16 AM
Thoth
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

Would teenagers enjoy Alaska? That depends on the person. I will say this, that anyone who likes nature will love Alaska. The wildlife viewing is as good as anywhere you will likely visit.
This year, I did the HAL Statendam out of Vancouver and just had a wonderful time. This was September so therefore there were not many teens or children with us, so I cannot say how Holland America suits teenagers. however, it is my understanding that the larger ships of Carnival, Royal Caribbbean, and Princess do offer more family activities. I have been on Holland America twice and found it to be more an adult's experience. Then again, many teens enjoy the company of sophisticated adults.
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Old December 30th, 2003, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

I had to make the same decision and booked the Princess Sapphire 06/04. I don't think you'd go wrong with NCL or Celebrity (which I would choose over NCL due to food and service) but having been on all three, I choose Princess again because of the dining choices and the hands-down best entertainment. The fact that it is a brand new ship was a factor as well. Good luck!

Brian
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

My opinion only but look closely at going interior before June 1 IF Denali Park is a priority- The Shuttles won't be running to Eielson until then- my min. distance in. Especially with teenages- no a cruisetour is NOT the best option. First off very costly and very very few kids. You are better off going on your own but hitting interior Alaska after June 1. Again my experince and opinion only.
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Old January 18th, 2004, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

This June, I will be going on my third Alaskan cruise. The first was with HAL, the second on NCL's Sky and this June will be on NCL's Star. We have a very large group of family & friends going ages from early 40's to 80. A friend of mine, and a Travel Agent, is also going with us. After much consideration for our group's needs, we chose the Star. My TA friend had been on this ship in Hawaii, and loved it.

In consideration of taking teens to Alaska, personally, I would not select HAL. I am 49 yrs old, and when I sailed with HAL 6 yrs. ago, I was one of the youngest people aboard.
My husband & I have taken our boys, now 18 & 19, on several cruises. Never to Alaska, though. We found Carnival cruises more to their liking than some of the other lines we have sailed with. Hope this helps.

__________________
AOS - 3/07
AOS - 9/05
NCL STAR - Alaska
NCL's STAR - Alaska 6/06/04
Sensation - W. Caribbean 2/21/04
Inspiration - W. Caribbean 6/8/03
Pride - W. Caribbean 6/02
NCL's Sky - Alaska 6/01
Fantasy - Bahamas 6/97
HAL's Zaandam - E. Caribbean 6/00
HAL's Ryndam - Alaska 9/98
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Old January 18th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

The Diamond Princess is the sister ship to the Saphire Princess. They should be virtually identical, with different departure days of the week. You may want to consider the Diamond as well. We went on the Sun Princess 2 years ago (when we were 43 years old) and did not find the age of the passengers to be a consideration at all. There were more older passengers than us than younger ones, but passengers of all ages seemed to thoroughly enjoy their cruise. I didn't notice the oxygen bottles, walkers, and wheelchairs that Jeff noticed.

I can't recommend Princess enough.
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Old January 20th, 2004, 05:57 AM
JOE REYNOLDS
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Default Re: Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!!

Beth,
I would think that any of the cruise ships are acceptable. My favorite cruise line is Celebrity at the present. However Princess and also Holland have been cruising Alaska the longest and have squatters rights to Glacier Bay. As you know Alaska has limited the number of cruise ships that go into Alaska. Celebrity took us to Hubbard Glacier which was impressive, but after two cruises and one land trip to Alaska, I still haven’t been to Glacier Bay.
Click on “Interactive Features” then on “Photo Galleries”, then click on “Gallery Search” and type in “Joe Reynolds” You will have a choice of three related subjects.
Alaska Cruise, Calgary , Vancouver and Rocky Mountaineer
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