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Old July 6th, 2005, 12:28 AM
landocruiser
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Default Best NCL cruise ship for Alaska

Hi All,

Just wondering if there was a known "best" NCL cruise ship for Alaska. I'm currently booked on the SUN so I'm wondering if I should be switching to another NCL ship.

Also, I've been on the Princess Alaska cruise and was wondering how NCL stacks up.

Thanks for the help
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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:15 AM
ute_fan
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Default Re: Best NCL cruise ship for Alaska

I've never been on Princess, so I can't offer any comparisons between the two lines. We did cruise to Alaska last summer on the Sun, and had a great experience. I'm sort of curious as to what you have heard that would make you want to switch -- the majority of posts that I read about the Sun are positive. It does seem to generate fewer posts than many of the other ships, but I don't know that that is a bad thing, as so many of the other posts tend to be negative.

As one of the newer NCL ships cruising Alaska, the Sun is designed for freestyle cruising, and we found that it works just fine. We never waited for dinner on the Sun, and didn't bother to try any of the alternative restaurants as we were perfectly satisfied with the food in the main restaurants. The crew provided good service, the entertainment was fine, and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous.

My only concern going into our cruise was that the Sun didn't call at either of the more popular glacier viewing sites but went instead to Tracy Arm Fjord & Sawyer Glaciers. We took the ship sponsored excursion that goes by catamaran through Tracy Arm, saw whales on the way, and got to see both North and South Sawyer glaciers. It was the highlight of out trip. I'm looking forward to cruising the Sun again in the future as we would love do to her New Orleans itinerary.

When we return to Alaska, I'd consider doing a return trip on the Sun, but I think I'd probably choose a different ship that called at either Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier just to see something new, but it certainly isn't an indication of anything wrong with the Sun -- just the desire to see something different.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: Best NCL cruise ship for Alaska

These articles will be very helpful:

http://www.frommers.com/destinations...210024436.html

then you can review each particular ship at:

http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/...cruiseships05/
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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:49 PM
landocruiser
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Default Re: Re: Best NCL cruise ship for Alaska

Thanks for the info guys. Actually, I've been on a Princess Alaskan cruise and was pretty impressed. I decided to switch over to Norwegian simply for varieties sake and started getting a little nervous after reading some negative posts about the quality of the food and excursions.

cnmiranda,
Doesn't even seem like any Norwegian ships are even on the list of "bests". Hope that's not a bad sign....
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Old July 6th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Best NCL cruise ship for Alaska

We did Princess Alaska too (Diamond). Princess and HAL pretty much have the market on Alaska. Will be doing the HAL Oosterdam this Aug. as we wanted a new port and different glacier. I understand Glacier Bay is supposed to be the best glacier, and I believe that is on an NCL itinerary.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:11 PM
newmexicoNita
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Default Re: Best NCL cruise ship for Alaska

If I were you I would not worry one second about cruising on the Sun. We have cruised every major mass produced line with the exception of one and NCLs newer ship can stand up to any of them: the difference in Celebrity's Connie which is only a few years old and the Sun are minute. The cabins are identical in size 172 sq ft, the food on Celebrity is a little better, but the buffets are better on NCL. that isn't saying much I will tell you now. 'The entertainment is equal with NCL maybe being ever so slightly better and both have RCI beat all to heck. I would keep what you have and go with idea you will have a good time. All lines have their strong points and weak ones. I read reviews with tongue in cheek as well. Looking back to the 70s there was a movie: title "summer of 42" reviews awful: DH said no way were we going to waste our money: a few friends went to see it, convinced DH to give it a try: It still is in our minds as one of the most enjoyable movies we have ever seem: I didn't say best, just enjoyable. Hilton hotels do not make the list of the 10 best hotels anywhere in the world, but we all know, for the most part they overall are great hotels. My point, read all reviews, pay attention to what they are saying, but don't put too much into them. Even professionals judgements are colored. NMNita
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Old July 7th, 2005, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Best NCL cruise ship for Alaska

Although we haven't cruised Princess (yet), we cruised NCL Sun out of Vancouver last month and had a WONDERFUL cruise. No Glacier Bay... we did Tracy Arm which was amazing (up towards Sawyer Glacier).
Freestyle worked best for our group of 14 (aged from 30s to 70s) - some like to dress up more for dinner, some prefer just heading towards the buffet. Hubby and I figured that even if we paid $15 each to eat at a specialty restaurant each night, it was still less expensive than other lines when we looked at pricing. We did eat twice at LeBistro ($15 each) and once at il Adagio ($12.50 each). One night was half-price night at all specialty restaurants.
We enjoyed our cabin (aft mini-suite) and even had dinner in there twice - once with friends.
The two of us do enjoy socializing at dinner and dressing as we have on Celebrity and Holland America. Another couple in our group also enjoyed the specialty restaurants with us, so that was fun having dinner with them.
I'm not a food critic, as I'm just happy being healthy and on vacation. There was never anything that I sent back, and often times there were multiple dishes I wanted to try (so hubby would oblige and order something different... letting me have a bite off his plate... don't know if I'll get flamed for saying that here or not). Yes, I know I could have ordered two dishes, but I didn't want to be wasteful. However, I DID make a double order of that yummy asparagus at LeBistro our second night there!! And they also put more with my filet! mmmmmmmmmm goood asparagus! (Why can't I make it like that at home???)

We really did enjoy NCL Sun for Alaska, but for variety, next time we do Alaska we will probably do a northbound on one of HAL's smaller ships (such as the Maasdam - whichever class that is in and going when we go again). We also want to visit Glacier Bay as well as do the train from Anchorage to Denali. NOT because of any disenjoyment on the Sun... but just for variety, see something different... especially if it's just the two of us or a smaller group where everyone enjoys dressing up for dinner. NCL Freestyle really accommodated our group well since we had a wide variety of preferences when it came to dinner.

As far as excursions, we booked all of our excursions independently after researching the internet (primarily messageboards like this and other cruise messageboards) and figured we saved about $200 each overall on excursions. Comparing what we did to the description in the brochure, I feel we had very comparable excursions.
~ Ketchikan (fishing with Northern Lights)
~ Juneau (city tour including Mendenhall Glacier)
~ Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier ("WOW" is all we can say!)
~ Skagway (driving tour of the Klondike Highway to Emerald Lake)
~ Wrangell (independent walking tour of Wrangell)
Pics: http://www.cmgoddard.com/pages/2/index.htm (click on pics to enlarge)

Definitely give the Sun a chance! I always say that life is about new adventures and experiences.
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