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Old August 13th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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Default PRINCESS VERSUS ROYAL CARIBBEAN FOR ALASKA CRUISE

Hi, We have only been on one cruise and it was with Royal Caribbean. We are hooked and are looking at cruising to Alaska early next summer. We really enjoyed RC, but was wondering about the Princess Cruise. Has anyone been on both and give me some kind of comparison or has any one been to Alaska on Princess. Any info would be great.

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Michell
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Old August 13th, 2006, 05:32 PM
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Chevy-Ford or Ford-Chevy. In this price range I doubt that either will disappoint. I prefer "RCI" due to 2 bad cruises with "Princess" but am still going on the "Golden" in Nov. Just my 2 pennies worth, Robbie
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Old August 14th, 2006, 08:59 AM
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We have sailed Alaska twice, once with RCI and once with Princess. Both cruises were fabulous and I would not hesitate to recommend either but all things being equal I would go with Princess. They had wildlife specialists from the National Park Service onboard who narrated each day as we passed through interesting areas (Glacier Nat'l Park, College Fjords and others). She also did daily lectures and slide shows about wildlife, forestry and glaciers. It was really a bonus. RCI also had some of the lectures but not to the extent of Princess.

One of the other plusses for us was that we chose anytime dining which allowed us to dine whenever we wanted during the evening, which was nice since some of our nicest scenery was about dinner time. On Royal Caribbean we had to choose between eating formal dinner or viewing the Misty Fjords.

Although, to RCI's bonus column you can add the UFO style lounge that gives you a 340 degree view of everything. We sat there one evening and watched a pod of 30 or so whales for about 15 minutes.
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Old August 14th, 2006, 07:29 PM
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Michell,

Hi, We have only been on one cruise and it was with Royal Caribbean. We are hooked and are looking at cruising to Alaska early next summer. We really enjoyed RC, but was wondering about the Princess Cruise. Has anyone been on both and give me some kind of comparison or has any one been to Alaska on Princess. Any info would be great.

I have not been on Royal Caribbean yet, but I would not hesitate to go to Alaska with either line. There are some differences in the itineary, but there's no way to see everything in a week anyway. The one recommendation that I make very strongly is to take a cruise that crosses the Gulf of Alaska (from Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier). If you opt not to combine your cruise with a package land tour, take the "Grandview Rail Transfer" from the pier in Seward to Anchorage International Airport (it offers spectacular views and a lot more comfort than a bus), pick up a rental car at the airport, and spend at least a few days in Anchorage. Anchorage is a fantastic city with an open air market every weekend, street festivals and other happenings, and easy day trips to places like Talkeetna, which offers a spectacular view of Mt. McKinley on a clear day, and the famous Mt. Alyeska Resort to the south of the city. If you have more time, of course you can motor all the way up to Denali and Fairbanks.

BTW, I also strongly recommend cinfirming reservations for your rental car and for each night for whatever time you are spending ashore on your own in the forty-ninth state. Summer is the peak season, so hotels can be quite full.

Have a great cruise, whichever you decide!

Norm.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 09:19 AM
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Princess has been doing Alaska for a lot longer than Royal Caribbean, Princess really has its act together when it comes to Alaska
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Old August 15th, 2006, 05:36 PM
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Lisa,

Princess has been doing Alaska for a lot longer than Royal Caribbean, Princess really has its act together when it comes to Alaska

That's true, but really only relevant if one is combining a cruise with a land tour of if one regards Glacier Bay as an essential destination.

>> Princess Cruises and Holland America Lines have a lock on nearly all of the permits for large ships to enter Glacier Bay National Park. The U. S. Department of Justice did not block the merger of operations between Carnival Corporation, parent of Holland America Lines, and the former P&O Princess Cruises Plc. (subsequently renamed Carnival Plc.) on antitrust grounds because the National Park Service had announced plans to make additional permits available to competitors, but environmentalists subsequently sued and bottled up the issuance of new permits in court. Thus, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International have not yet gained access to Glacier Bay.

>> If one is planning a land tour, there are pluses and minuses each way ways. For example, Princess Tours, which operates the land tour portion of cruise-tour packages for Princess Cruises, offers more land tour options, but Royal Celebrity Tours, which operates the land portion of cruise-tour packages for both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, has newer and more modern railcars on the Alaska Railroad. Princess Tours also operates their own private lodges, but the cruise-tours don't always stay in them and Royal Celebrity Tours has accommodations that are generally of comparable quality or superior to the Princess Winderness Lodges. Overall, my impression is that both land tour options are pretty much equivalent.

The bottom line ist that it's pretty much a wash unless one's heart is set on a destination where one line calls and the other does not.

Norm.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 12:32 PM
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As has been mentioned in passing, RCL (and Celebrity) cannot cruise Glacier Bay due to past pollution violations.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 06:10 AM
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Thinfool1, I believe the reason only RCI and Celebrity cannot cruise Glacier Bay is the limited number of passes granted by the National Park Service. They are generally granted by seniority which leaves most of them in the hands of Pincess and Holland America. I'm sure Norm will enlighten us if I'm incorrect.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I think it comes down to what you are looking for in terms of ports, length of itinerary, size of ship, etc.

I've sailed both Princess and RCI, I lean towards Princess usually but they both deliver a product that suits my style.

I went to Alaska on RCI and it was a great cruise. They had talks that were very interesting, not just your average shore excursion talks by cruise staff.

My cruise was unique because it was a positioning and we were the first ship of the season. Now the cruise lines aren't going up that early. They also do shorter coastal cruises to bring the ships up rather than combining those days with an Alaska cruise.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 10:00 AM
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As a TA, everyone who cruises Alaska says it's great, regardless of the cruise line or ship. However, Princess seems to have worked diligently to have the best product in Alaska, from their land tours, to their exclusive shore excursions, to the experts they bring onboard to talk to passengers. Not the least expensive, but perhaps the cruise line in the lead in Alaska. Royal Caribbean is doing a great job and may overtake them!
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