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Choosing an Alaskan Cruise for August 2009

Discussion in 'Alaska & Pacific Northwest Ports' started by mmcheng, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. mmcheng

    mmcheng Guest

    I'm trying to select an Alaskan cruise for August 2009 and I'm a little overwhelmed!

    There will be six of us - myself and my husband, my parents, and my brother and his wife. We won't have any kids with us. I think my parents would prefer a larger line. I've been leaning toward Celebrity based on some of the comments I've seen online. Specifically, I've been focusing on either the Celebrity Infinity 7-day out of Seattle or the Celebrity Mercury 7-day out of Vancouver.

    The Infinity looks nicer/newer, but I've seen a few comments about problems with the ship, causing cancellations. Is this still an issue? This would be a MAJOR bummer for us (as I'm sure it would to anyone - but I REALLY want to try to avoid having this happen, as it is a minor miracle that all six of us will be able to get away simultaneously).

    Any preference between these two cruises? Or suggestions as to others that you think would be better?

    Thanks so much for any insight you might have!! :)
  2. mmcheng

    mmcheng Guest

    After QUITE bit of further research, I've seen several folks say that Vancouver departures are better than ones from Seattle. Sooooo...now I am trying to decide between the Celebrity Mercury cruise out of Vancouver or the two HAL cruises out of Vancouver (Zuiderdam or Volendam). The Celebrity cruise seems to be running a couple hundred bucks cheaper on the lower level rooms than the HAL cruises. Should I go with the Mercury cruise, or spring for HAL? If HAL, which one?

    The HAL cruises hit both Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm, whereas Celebrity only catches Hubbard Glacier. The itineraries for each are as follows:

    Celebrity Mercury: Vancouver-Sitka-Hubbard Glacier-Juneau-Ketchikan-Vancouver
    Both HAL ships: Vancouver-Tracy Arm-Juneau-Skagway-Glacier Bay-Ketchikan-Vancouver

    Would welcome your thoughts as to which I should choose.

  3. mmcheng

    mmcheng Guest

    ARGH. I am just going to sit here and talk to myself...hope nobody minds... ;)

    As it turns out, it is significantly more expensive to fly into Vancouver than to Seattle. So, now I am back to the Seattle drawing board. Looking at Celebrity Infinity vs. the three different HAL round-trip cruises out of Seattle - Amsterdam, Westerdam, or Zaandam. Too late in the day right now to post itineraries for each, but will post more later. Thanks for your patience with my flip floppin' questions... :p
  4. Yukon

    Yukon Guest

    As tough as you're finding the decision, giving advice that's useful to you is even tougher because we don't know you. There is no "best" cruise for everyone - everyone has an opinion based on what worked for them. We've been on 4 Alaska cruises and each was different - my favorite so far was a northbound out of Vancouver on the Radiance, my wife's was a Seattle round-trip on the Amsterdam. My photojournal of the Radiance cruise can be seen at YourAlaskaCruise.com. We choose a cruise for the ports and the price - the ship is of little importance because they are all magnificent. Choosing excursions to get the total "Alaska" experience you''re after is where the tough choices come!

  5. GloBug

    GloBug Guest

    We've been on the Infinity to Alaska, and it was an amazing ship. I haven't cruised HAL, but I have taken the =X= M class ships twice and would prefer that to any other ship we've sailed on.
  6. H2O babe

    H2O babe Guest

    Yes - it's cheaper to fly to and from Seattle as opposed to Vancouver but we wouldn't consider an Alaskan cruise out of Seattle. You have to decide what your priorities are. We don't get to cruise that often so we save and save and then we book the cruise we want - which for us would be either a northbound or southbound inside passage cruise. The first time we went with Princess and did Glacier Bay, Skayway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. This time we're doing Carnival and seeing College Fjord, Sitka, Skayway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. We also added a week pre-cruise for exploring interior Alaska. We don't fly into or out of Vancouver either. We fly into Seattle.

    Once you decide on a cruise let us know and we'll certainly help you with excursions and other questions you might have. I hope you enjoy your Alaskan cruise as much as enjoyed our first time up there!

  7. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Guest

    Ahoy There MMCheng !

    First, let me welcome you aboard. We're a fairly nice group and always happy to have a new mwmber join our crew.

    ARGH. I am just going to sit here and talk to myself...hope nobody minds...
    Unfortunately, we don't have moderators manning the forums 24/7, so (on occasion) your question(s) may go unanswered for a period of time. It's usually a fairly short period, but it does happen.

    Before we can give even halfway accurate advice, we do need to know a bit more to go on ... We'll be glad to help when and where we can, but your questions are just a little to general.

    six of us - myself and my husband, my parents, and my brother and his wife.
    Ages? Activity levels? Intrests? Aversions? Mobility issues? Likes? Dislikes? What are you looking for in a cruise? Port intensive? Sea days? Theme cruise? Educational?

    more expensive to fly into Vancouver than to Seattle
    From where? You do have other options than Seattle or Vancouver. Just as a for instance ... We have a group (the Duck Crew) sailing out of San Francisco, on the Sea Princess for a 10-day. We have an on-going thread at http://www.cruise-addicts.com/forums/read.php?34,1298787 It should give you a good overview of who and what we are. Be warned though, the thread is over 3,000 posts. It may take a while to read 'em all.
  8. PEB

    PEB Guest

    Whatever cruise you decide on I would pick one with Glacier Bay over all the other glaciers. Yes it is cheaper to fly into Seattle but it is not that expensive to take a bus from Seattle to Vancouver and the better cruises for Alaska leave out of Vancouver IMHO. We have flown into Seattle many times and taken a bus trip to Vancouver for very little money. It is normally about a 4 hour ride due to the border crossing.

    As far as which cruise line to pick that is up to your personal choice of what you like. Alaska will be the attraction more then the ship or cruise line.
  9. wave runner

    wave runner Guest

    Hi mmcheng,

    Welcome to cruise-addicts. I would recommend a cruise that goes out of Vancouver to Alaska. I would also recommend a ship that goes to Glacier Bay. Many cruises going to Glacier Bay also go to College Fjord for a day. This gives you two days of glacier viewing instead of just one. I have sailed Princess, Holland America and Celebrity to Alaska. My first choice would be Princess and my second choice would be Holland America for an Alaskan cruise. The Celebrity Mercury is an older ship and in my opinion is not as modern as the newer ships of other cruise lines. Sailing out of Seattle also will result in more time at sea and less time in Alaska. Princess and Holland America have been cruising to Alaska for a very long time and in my opinion do an excellent job of showing off the best of Alaska and offer the best overall value in Alaska.

    To answer your question about problems with the Infinity; there are still ongoing problems with this class of Celebrity ship. Two sister ships of the Infinity, Millennium and Summit have gone to emergency dry dock in the last month to repair these problems. The Celebrity Infinity does happen to have the worst record of the three, with seven of these failures in its nine year history.

    To save money, we usually fly into Seattle and then either rent a car and drive to Vancouver(less than four hours not counting customs) or take the train from Seattle to Vancouver which is somewhere around $35 one way.

    If you can, take a one way cruise to or from Alaska and spend as much time as you can on land in Alaska. You will see so much more of Alaska by taking either a land tour or renting a car and driving.

    Enjoy your cruise and I think you will love Alaska.
  10. I am going on Island Princess Aug 24 with a group of 36 and if you end up on our cruise, let me know and we can meet. I can really offer advice though since I've not actually ever been!
  11. H2O babe

    H2O babe Guest

    I hope you enjoy the Island Princess as much as we did. That has been our favorite cruise and ship.

  12. cliffdodger

    cliffdodger Guest

    I have been looking for some time for Alaskan cruises. I want to find one that goes to Victoria, BC. I was there once years ago and it was SO nice. If anyone has found a cruise like this, please let me know.

  13. BSeabob

    BSeabob Guest

    Most cruises out of Seattle do a stop in Victoria due to "legal" issues with USA sailings. Have a look at any main line cruise from there. Some of the stops are quite short however.
    Celebrity's Mercury also does short cruises later in Sept/October that does a full day there.

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