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-   -   royal caribbean vs. princess cruise to Alaska (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/alaska/352876-royal-caribbean-vs-princess-cruise-alaska.html)

ike201 June 29th, 2008 08:53 PM

royal caribbean vs. princess cruise to Alaska
 
I'm trying to decide which line to take to Alaska. Traveling with 4 kids
(ages 3, 10, 12,14) Any suggestions?

richluv4u June 30th, 2008 12:14 PM

kids Program
 
I have been on Princess twice and will be going again to Alaska on July 6th. I have a 9yr old and the kids program is great on board the ship. If you go to CruiseClues.com that will give you more insight about what princess offers for children. Kept in mind when the ship is in port you can actually leave your kids their all day while you take in the sights.

BarbNJ July 28th, 2008 11:59 PM

Just cruised on the Tahitian Princess - smaller ship, only 600 passengers. Mostly a mature crowd. We traveled with extended family so our kids (ages 12 and 16) had their cousins there. They offered a kids program but most of our kids only went the first couple of days. The youngest in our party (age 5) went almost every day and liked it. If you are going with just your kids and not any cousins/friends, I would suggest one of the larger ships, either Princess or Royal Caribbean, where they have a large kids program. RC has a ton of activities like rock wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading, even ice skating on some of the ships, so if your kids like those kinds of things, consider RC.

Donna July 29th, 2008 09:24 AM

Be sure to look at all the different itinaries from both lines. I've noticed that Princess has many ship up there in the summer, Royal Caribbean only has a few..

My last Alaska cruise was on Celebrity, next on on Star Princess in a little over 2 weeks, can't wait.

richluv4u July 29th, 2008 01:20 PM

What Cruise Lines to use
 
I would take Star Princes, this is a very large ship and has a program for kids of all ages. I just got back from Alaska on the Star Princess and was very pleased with them. My son is 9 and this his second cruise with Princes and really liked it.

Nurse Debra August 21st, 2008 10:48 PM

Re: royal caribbean vs. princess cruise to Alaska
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ike201
I'm trying to decide which line to take to Alaska. Traveling with 4 kids
(ages 3, 10, 12,14) Any suggestions?

We have cruised to Alaska on Princess Holland America and Celebrity. Our very favorite is Princess with HAL not far behind. Our least favorite would be Celebrity, partly because of their recurring propulsion problems and a couple of other reasons that I won't go into. Princess and HAL have many cruises that include two days of glacier viewing. Glacier Bay is the highlight of any Alaskan cruise and there are some ships that are not allowed into Glacier Bay such as Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cruise lines.

Princess has the most experience and in my opinion does the best job in really showing of Alaska.

Enjoy your cruise.

Debra

Donna August 25th, 2008 09:11 AM

Hi Deb,
I have to agree with you, I think its hard to beat Princess when it comes to Alaska. Just got back last nite from Star Princess and while the ship layout has much to be desired, by the end of the cruise I wasn't getting turned around, but the total Alaska expirence on Princess is just amazing, they know how to do it!

Rev22:17 August 28th, 2008 07:10 PM

Re: royal caribbean vs. princess cruise to Alaska
 
ike201,

Quote:

Originally Posted by You
I'm trying to decide which line to take to Alaska. Traveling with 4 kids
(ages 3, 10, 12,14) Any suggestions?

All of the major cruise lines offer substantially similar itineraries, and all of the major cruise lines have great programs for children ages 3-17 (broken down by age groups, of course). Thus, the major differentiator is the personality and style of each cruise line. I seriously recommend going to a local bookstore, buying a travel guide to cruise lines and cruise ships, and reading the descriptions of the various lines to get an idea which line would be the best match for your family's personality and style, as that's the line on which your family will have the best time.

As to itinerary, there are three basic itineraries.

>> The "Inside Passage" itinerary operates round trip from either Seattle or Vancouver. This itinerary does NOT afford a chance to visit the "interior" region of Alaska, which includes Anchorate, Mount McKinley, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks -- all of which are worthwhile attractions.

>> The Northbound "Gulf of Alaska" itinerary operates from Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier, which are major ports to the south of Anchorage. On this itinerary, you can visit the interior after your cruise.

>> The Southbound "Gulf or Alaska" itinerary operates from either Seward or Whittier to Vancouver. On this itinerary, you can visit the interior before your cruise.

All three of these itineraries typically include call at three of the four major ports along Alaska's "Inside Passage" (Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, and Skagway) and visit at least one of the three major glacier areas (Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, and College Fjord). Some include a second glacier area while others include a minor port of call such as Hoonah. The "Inside Passage" cruises that operate from Seattle will stop at a Canadian port (usually either Prince Rupert or Victoria) instead. All of these ports of call offer a diverse spectrum of attractions, with little duplication, for people of all ages, so your family will have no problem finding worthwhile things to do.

I strongly recommend planning some time in Alaska's interior in addition to your cruise, as there's much to see and to do there. At a minimum, plan to spend a few days in Anchorage -- a city of great restaurants, many points of interest, a downtown open air market (at Third Street and D Street or thereabouts), and weekend street festivals throughout the summer. If you rent a vehicle, several attractions are easy day trips including the Mount Alyeska Resort, a day cruise to College Fjord out of Whittier, and a drive up to Talkeetna where a scenic overlook offers splendid views of the world's tallest mountain, Mount McKinley (but be sure you get a clear day for this one!) and the Latitude 62 Inn, located just beyond the overlook, is a great place to stop for lunch. If you have more time, you can drive up to Denali National Park and Fairbanks -- but be sure to reserve rooms in advance, as it's peak tourist season and it can be a long way to the nearest available lodging if you encounter "No Vacancy" signs.

BTW, you can purchase transfers between Anchorage and your port of embarkation or disembarkation through your cruise line even if you make independent arrangements in Anchorage before or after your cruise.

Norm.

Nurse Debra September 1st, 2008 05:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donna
Hi Deb,
I have to agree with you, I think its hard to beat Princess when it comes to Alaska. Just got back last nite from Star Princess and while the ship layout has much to be desired, by the end of the cruise I wasn't getting turned around, but the total Alaska expirence on Princess is just amazing, they know how to do it!

Hi Donna:

After trying Princess Holland America and Celebrity, in my book, Princess comes out way on top. We were on the Star Princess a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. You are right that "Princess really knows how to do it!" when it comes to Alaska. Some other cruise lines do tend to treat Alaska like it was a Caribbean cruise, in that if you get to a port or not it is no big deal. We thought we were taking a once in a lifetime cruise to Alaska and have been back a dozen times since. Maybe Alaska should come with some kind of a warning label! LOL

One statement made, on this thread, that "all cruise lines offer similar Itineraries" to Alaska is really not quite true. While many cruise lines do go to Glacier Bay and College Fjord there are some that can not. I know that all Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships have been banned from going into Glacier Bay or College Fjord because of illegal dumping in Alaskan waters. Many other cruise lines do offer two days of glacier viewing with one in Glacier Bay National Park and one day cruising in College Fjord. Since Hubbard Glacier is not a National Park any cruise line can visit Hubbard Glacier. One downside to Hubbard Glacier is that in past years many cruise ships could not get even close to Hubbard Glacier until July because of ice flows.

Debra


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