Originally Posted by You
New to the forum from North Carolina. Maybe someone can help me, my wife and I are thinking about a possible Alaskan cruise tour next (2010) year. Want to see the interior and looking for some suggestions. Have been reading up on options from Princess, Holland, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Not limiting it to these if there are other options. We have been with Princess on the Inside Passage cruise in 2003 and loved it.
All of the major cruise lines offer three basic cruise itineraries, with only minor differences.
>> The "round trip" itineraries may operate from either Seattle or Vancouver, but do not get as far as Anchorage.
>> The "Gulf of Alaska Northbound" itineraries operate from Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier, permitting a visit to the interior after the cruise.
>> The "Gulf of Alaska Southbound" itineraries operate from either Seward or Whittier to Vancouver, permitting a visit to the interior before the cruise.
All three basic itineraries typically call at three of the four major ports of call on the Inside Passage (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka) and visit at least one of the major glacier areas (Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, and College Fjord). Some spend a second day visiting glaciers while others include a minor port of call (Hoonah, Haines, Prince Rupert, Victoria, etc.). Note that "round trip" cruises that operate out of Seattle MUST stop in a Canadian port to meet the requirements of a U. S. law called the Passenger Services Act. Also, nearly all of the major cruise lines offer a slew of land tour options that connect with their "Gulf of Alaska" cruises in both directions.
So which is best? The real differentiator is the style of each line, and your preference in style may be very different than mine. If you found Princess to be a good fit for you, by all means stick with Princess. If you are looking for something more traditional than Princess, Celebrity might be a good fit. And if you are looking for something more energetic than Princess, check out Carnival and Royal Caribbean.