I am planning a cruise for late May 2010 to Alaska. I have previously sailed with Carnival on a 4 Day to the Caribbean, and want to explore another line this time. I am also going to be a solo cruiser, so this is an important consideration. I am in my late 20s(30 next year in fact), and thought since I am going to be in Vancouver anyway for cruise3sixty(a trade show focused on the cruise industry for travel agents), I would take a cruise to Alaska right before. I have narrowed it to Celebrity, Holland America, or Princess. I know that Celebrity is owned by Royal Caribbean and the other two are owned by Carnival Corp. Not a heavy party person, but do like to find a good lounge or piano bar for later in the evening. From your experiences, which line would you recommend for me?
IMHO you should choose a cruise that visits Glacier Bay. Spectacular. Therefore that would eliminate Celebrity from your choice. Don't get me wrong though, we sailed Celebrity and visited Hubbard Glacier and they were terrific. We just prefer Glacier. We also loved our HAL cruise to Alaska so I don't think you can go wrong there. We've never sailed Princess however so no opinions there. Whatever you choose to do, you'll love Alaska.
I would recommend Princess with HAL a close second for a cruise to Alaska. My opinion is that Glacier Bay National Park is the highlight on any Alaskan cruise. Both Princess and HAL are allowed to sail into Glacier Bay and many of their cruises offer a second day of glacier cruising in College Fjord.
One thing to keep in mind that an Alaskan cruise, on any cruise line, is not like a cruise to the Caribbean. The average age will be slightly older. While there is night life it usually ends fairly early as most passengers rest up for the next days activities in port.
With integrity nothing else matters; without it nothing else matters.
I agree that the itinerary is more important than the ship. Having been to both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay, I prefer Hubbard - and Sitka and Icy Strait Point are my favourite ports. I'll see you at cruise3sixty!