Have read with interest the postings regarding the wisdom of choosing Seattle over Vancouver
I agree with the one that said 'Alaska' by any cruise is good.
However as someone who has cruised out of both ports-I have to say that Vancouver cruises,in my opinion [and I am more often wrong than right] have slightly the edge over Seattle-
For instance 2 years ago we went on the Amsterdam [superb ship] on its 7 day cruise out of Seattle...
On both the outward and inward voyage-we saw more sea that is usual on the Vancouver cruise.
Ships from Seattle invariably go outside of Vancouver Island because at that time, the Amsterdam for instance was going the furthest North that a 7 days round-trip usually takes -to Hubbard Glacier.... It could only do this because of the 'Outside Passage' and I suspect that most ships now going out of Seattle do the same.
Vancouver departures on the other hand go through places like Seymour Narrows and follow the original Inside Passage and normally go as far as Skagway or Sitka and may include Glacier Bay.
Travellers out of Seattle may disagree with me but the extra journey to Vancouver and the cruise out of there,again in my opinion, gives more for the money.
Well, you are wrong! NCL has ships doing The Inside Passage as well as Celebrity...and they include Glacier Bay. Going to Vancouver when you aren't intending to do a 'land tour' is a waste of time and money..
Thank you for replying in such a courteous manner.
I was wondering....
How would you define the 'Inside Passage"?
If NCL and Celebrity go from Seattle- are you suggesting that they are going
'inside' Vancouver Island as opposed to 'outside' as both HAL and Princess do?
Also Glacier Bay is not nearly as far as Hubbard Glacier so one would think that it was well within the range of ships like HAL & Princess. However they advertise as going via Inside Passage when they actually only traverse a little of same
According to Joe Upton,a well respected author on the 'Inside Passage- traditionally
this was 1000 miles long between Seattle and Skagway and was via the inland waters seperating Vancouver Island from vancouver. It then went Inside as well after crossing
the open ocean at the top of Vancouver Island,Queen Charlottes Strait.
My point was sir, that cruise Lines advertisng the Inside Passage to Alaska do not use this way-from Seattle.
However I stand corrected if NCL and Celebrity do go this way from Seattle- I know that Hal and Princess do not....
Celebrity doesn't go to Glacier Bay. There are few Seattle departures that can compare to Vancouver round trips. AND in my experience it is clearly NOT a waste of time to go out of Vancouver and certainly my preference. Some disadvantages of Seattle departures are shorter port times, not enough time in Victoria and many times Tracy Arm for the close distance to Juneau. Any choice requires a comparism. GM has gone on both routes and made an informed opinion. What is your Alaska cruising experience?? You constantly post to have other's join your "group", which may be the reason for your strong statements- but frankly NCL does not have any edge, nor is superior with Alaska sailing. There are many good choices.
OK, I am confused. The Celebrity Mercury cruises "inside" / east of Vancouver Island & lists "Inside Passage" cruising as it nears Vancouver Island, headed back to Seattle. I know the Inside Passage extends further up the coast & Mercury seems to be in more open water between Prince Rupert & Vancouver - is this the area you are referring to?
I just reviewed the (small) maps showing the ships route for both NCL Star & Celebrity Mercury from Seattle. Other than the Mercury's route from Hubbard Glacier to Ketchican, the two have the same route as far as I can see. Both travel east of Vancouver Is & fairly inside rather than out to sea on the Northbound leg & outside Vancouver Is on the Southbound leg w/ Mercury more out to sea one day as noted above.
An interesting discussion with some very good points. I think that the problem lies in how we denote'Inside Passage' Again I would refer you and others to Joe Uptons Book [incidentally now widely distributed on Princess Lines]
The Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham to Skagway is the real ride up the Inside Passage. For instance it goes through Grenville Channel,one of the most loveliest of passages just south of Prince Rupert.Not many cruise ships can do this because of the close turn that they make during this part of the trip.
Another part of the Alaska Marine Highway trip is the spectacular Wrangell Narrows which especially at night is for me a most memorable part of the Alaskan experience. its sometimes refererred to as 'Christmas Lights Alley"
I am not connected with any travel agency or such-like but have taken the opportunity to travel many times by the Marine Highway as well as by cruise ship.
This is why I vere towards Vancouver in my preference as well as Bellingham-the voyage from Vancouver via Seymour Narrows to the top of Vancouver Island and beyond is breathtaking. I certainly would not deter folk from going via Seattle but if its your first trip to Alaska,then in my opinion,the outside Passage,whilst enabling ships to get to Juneau quicker,omits some of the most breathtaking scenery that is prior to Ketchikan and Juneau.
Regarding Celebrity- I too looked at the maps but think that the brochures are slightly misleading....
To get as far as Hubbard Glacier- you would have to go outside Vancouver Island as I did on the Amsterdam 2 years ago out of Seattle. I asked the captain why they went this way and he said that it enabled them to get to Hubbard Glacier.
Another give away is that if they get to Juneau as their 1st port of call-its alamost certain that they are on the outside of Vancouver Island.
Now the NCL Star route is interesting... They may be the exception to the rule and are following the Inside Passage between Vancouver mainland and Vancouver Island.
Why do you think the Celebrity map would be misleading & the NCL map not regarding which side of Vancouver Island they travel going northbound. Celebrity definitely shows the Mercury traveling on the east side of Vancouver Island northbound. The map in their brochure & on-line site is the same with Vancouver Island clearly shown. The Mercury does seem to move further out to sea than the Star after passing Vancouver Island, however. It also sails much further out to sea after leaving Prince Rupert.
The maps are misleading and are only a GUIDE. I have sailed where the route was a great deal open ocean due to conditions, capt choice etc. They are NOT fixed. One particular Princess trip had "outside" passage sailing (only very distant sight of land) most of the trip. I have also sailed with very close views on the "smaller" ships that used to sail Alaska. So no guarantees. But with Vancouver sailings you do go inside Vancouver Island- this is a BIG bonus on the southbound (and early 2nd day sailing if you are up early) with marine wildlife and scenery. Ship priority now seems to be longer port times and distances in some cases. Choose carefully what is your preference. Transfers between Seattle and Vancouver are easy- I've done them many times.
I understand that the route may be changed due to weather conditions, etc. but I don't think Celebrity would intentionally mislead people by showing a route to the east of Vancouver Island when that is not the planned itinerary. The NCL Star & Celebrity Mercury both leave Seattle and show the same route leaving and a first port of Juneau so I wonder why you choose to accept that NCL does infact travel the route shown & Celebrity may not.
There is more to inside passage sailing than Vancouver Island, there are several routes to Juneau. If the cruise map shows inside Vancouver Island- that is the route they take. But northbound- most of the sailing is at night, the benefit is southbound and round trips. NCL is the only cruiseline with Seattle sailings that sails inside Vancouver Island that I know of.
Again, according to the maps provided by both NCL (Star) & Celebrity (Mercury) in their respective brochures, other than between Hubbard & Ketchican (Mercury), the two sail the same route. Inside (east) of Vancouver Island sailing Northbound & outside (west) of Vancouver Island sailing Southbound. The ONLY NCL Star sailing inside on BOTH sailings is the Sept 12th sailing that Starts in Seattle & Ends in Vancouver.