I'm making final decison on Princess's Inside Passage (Diamond/Sapphire Princess) vs the Gulf of Alaska Cruise (Coral/Island Princess). The Inside Passage Cruise is much more convenient (r/t out of Seattle) and a bit cheaper. I also like the Flex Dining plan as I will be taking my 9 year old and that seems to suit him more.
Am I missing a lot by not seeing Glacier Bay and the College Fjord or will there be enough ice/scenery on the Inside Passage Cruise (which includes Tracey Arm) to keep myself and my son happy?
My opinion only, but I only do one way cruises if I have at least 5 additional days for land touring. I take advantage of being all the way there. Again, in my opinion only- depending how frequent you plan on touring Alaska- yes you will miss out going on a Princess round trip Seattle cruise. Glacier Bay is a big preference for me. I have sailed all three inside passage glaciers now visited. College Fjords is also top notch. I also greatly prefer inside passage sailing Vancouver Island. There will be compromises for ANY Alaska trip and it usually does demand return trips. Go with what is best for you (your son will adjust to most anything ) and what fits your time and budget best.
They are both magnificent places and you will not be dissapointed with either.
If I was given a choice-Glacier Bay would be my preference. It was the first glacier trip I made in 1994 and although I have been to Hubbard Glacier,-College Fjord and others,I still look for cruises that go to Glacier Bay.
I know that for enviromental purposes, ships are restricted to about 100 per season or maybe less but if you can get on one to GB,then take it.
Karen may have a different point of view but for me Glacier Bay it is..
Lu & Karen thanks for the input. This will be our 1st cruise and is already booked, we visit Hubbard. I am just looking forward to going so without having seen any of Alaska I'm sure Hubbard will be good. I guess it will give us a good reason to go back.
it's impressive just how knowledgeable some folks are and how articulate. I have learned so much just on this thread alone. Glacier Bay is spectacular with many different glaciers to marvel at, that said, I also luv Hubbard 'cause u get up close to a huge one and the sound & sight of 'calving' is awesome - not to mention how many 'blues' & 'turquoises' the waters display. Alaska is wonderful - makes one yearn to return...Happy cruisin'!
I just wanted to assure you that the inside passage is absolutely beautiful!! I went on royal carribean last year with my family,( I am the oldest of 4 kids at 21) and had a blast! My brother was 9 at the time and thought the inside passage was the coolest thing becuase we were so close to the land on either side at some points. We saw whales, glaciers and dolphins! We are going back on the same inside passage cruise you described through princess on 8/21/04 ! If you have any questions about the ports and what not, feel free to email me! Have a great time, no matter which way you choose to go!
If you are viewing this as a "once in a lifetime" Alaskan cruise trip, I strongly recommend the one way tour with one of the big glaciers on the trip! If you plan on going many times, then just doing a roundtrip from Seattle and the Inside Passage, is great.
Do the Sapphire/Diamond Princess ONLY if you are planning on doing Alaska several times in your lifetime...
I have just started exploring a potential Alaska cruise in early September (last minute idea!) and I have to say this message thread has been so helpful for me. I was reading about my Alaska cruise options with Princess and you have really helped clarify the best routes to take and what to expect. This is my plan, as it is with all cruises - I'm not much of an entertainment person - my favorite things to do in the evenings: (1) be in the outdoor jacuzzi and (2) sit on my verandah and stare at the sea / sights for hours. Kind of crazy, but I love it. So I have two questions for now: (1) for scenery, is one side of the ship preferable to the other when travelling Vancouver to Whittier (or reverse), and (2) is the end of the Alaska season (early September) still a good time to go to enjoy these things (as well as the excursions)?
Thanks for your advice.
starboard going north, port south. South is clearly my preference for the great last sailing day- full of marine wildlife and scenic Vancouver Island sailing (done at night northbound). Be certain to conside adding several days (my min. recommendation is 5) for interior travel- take advantage of being all the way there. You will hear many many times of the exhausting travel it is with cruise tours- to lessen this you need to consider going for 7 days. The 4-5 day add ons are simply drive by in transit trips. An easy and more relaxing option is to go on your own. I am never overwhelmed nor exhausted. I wouldn't consider anything much past the beg of Sept. You run into poorer weather, more likely. As for your balcony- Sept will be cold sitting on the balcony- be well prepared in attire for comfort- knit hat and gloves etc. But be sure to head out to the front open decks- best viewing of all. Wildlife is necessary also from the front- especially marine which needs the full view tracking with a good pair of wide angle binoculars.
I liked our southbound sailing more than our northbound. You arrive awe-struck and then wind down to Vancouver. Northbound, you barely seem to see the real Alaska and it's time to go home. And yes, Starboard north, Port south!
starboard south will have more open ocean viewing. But once heading to Juneau/Skagway views on both sides. I strongly recommend heading out on deck during glacier viewing. The only time it has happened, but my last trip- the starboard side got NO view of the Grand Pacific/Majorie Glaciers. The ship just turned starboard and LEFT, no full turn. And frankly - nothing beats the full views. For best enjoyment of your balcony- be certain to be well prepared in your attire- if can be cold, knit hat and gloves are a must.