Princess vs Hal vs Celebrity Inside Passage Alaska
Which cruise line should I choose for Alaska RT inside passage?
My wife and I (mid 50’s) would like to take our 2 married sons and their wives (late 20’s early 30’s) on an Inside Passage, Alaskan Cruise during June2014. We want a round trip, 7 night cruise that departs from Vancouver. I am comparing, HAL MS Volendam, Celebrity Century, Pacific Princess, All 3 are within our budget and offer RT out of Vancouver.
Our priority is, (1) spending time as a family and (2) seeing the beauty of the Alaskan coast line.
(family & nature is the main event and I think all 3 cruise line would deliver on that)
After that it would be Dining experience and Entertainment. (We like to dance latin, disco. rock-n-roll & see live shows. variety acts music comedians ect)
So which ship offer the best in dinning & Entertainment?
Also after some research I believe Glacier Bay is a must see. Am I right about that?
We will save excursions questions for another time.
I would not recommend Hal unless your 75 :). Having been on both Princess and Celebrity in Alaska I would choose celebrity definitely. You will see all the same things and be offered the same tours on any line but everything on Celebrity is just a bit nicer. I get the feeling the staff cares if you are enjoying yourself and goes just that extra step. If its in budget get at least one balcony for the group, you can get nearby rooms or inside rooms across the hall and don't need one for everyone. Then you can enjoy the most scenic times such as glacier watching or sailaway from the private balcony.
Take the time and preplan your shore days. There are 100+ tour options so make sure you see all you can. Many times you can arrange a morning tour, return to the ship for lunch and then do an afternoon tour. Since everyone in your party may not want to do each tour you can spend part of the day together.
While I would suggest in order of best food, Celebrity, Holland, and the Princess, which would be great for you, for the younger couple, they would prefer Princess. Celebrity and HAL both attract an older crowd - as I like to say they are for those who appreciate the finer things in life without wanting to pay for them. They offer a more upscale environment with wonderful food, but they cater to an older clientele so there's not alot of amenities for younger folks. Princess is just a small step down, but not a big one, yet they do cater to a younger crowd and have amenities accordingly.
However, with all that said, in this particular situation, at 30,200 gross tons, the Pacific Princess is the smallest of the three ships you're considering, so it will not be loaded full of amenities anyway.
If you want to see Glacier Bay, which is wonderful, then you might also consider some of the newer larger ships both from Vancouver and Seattle that are available.
Check with your agent and they'll be happy to provide more specific information so you can make an informed decision on the best ship and itinerary.
As long as you are cruising out of Vancouver, you will see a lot more scenic views over going from Seattle. I must prefer cruising out of Vancouver for that reason, even though they call it an inside passage from Seattle, and you never see much coast line....
I've been to both Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm and they were both amazing, hear Glacier Bay is also something worth seeing.
Let us know what ship you choose...
I think Princess is the most "young" of the 3 lines though you will see few 20 somethings on Princess, I am guess average age is 35-40 on Princess.
HAL in the Caribbean is more ages 35 and up, but has many smokers, HAL has a less stringent anti smoking policy compared to Princes and Celebrity. HAL works for younger smokers in the Caribbean.
As far as Alaska, even if HAL is an older crowd, you need to realize Alaska attracts an older crowd, so if you smoke, HAL may be best for you.
Thanks for your advice
Thanks for your advice it was very helpful. Looking forward to Alaska!
I think the itinerary is more important than the cruise line - which one goes to the ports you want to see the most and gives you the most time?
Which glaciers do you get to see?
I went on the OOsterdam and had a great cruise, but we couldn't make it to a glacier because the ice floe had the Tracy Arm blocked - I would see that as a big disappointment for some people (except those who didn't know what they had missed). However HAL has a LOT of cruises up in Alaska, so don't think I am saying not to take HAL.
In fact HAL has been doing Alaska longer than any cruise line and they really know it, so they offer some of everything.
In terms of food & dancing, I think Princess is as good as Celebrity. Hal is probably the most quiet line, but still good quality.
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