How do you choose a cruise line?



My best friend and I are looking at going on a a cruise to Alaska in July. We are a bit late in planning, but it seems there are still berths available.

How do you choose which line to go with?

We are considering Holland America and Cruise West. I have cruised before on the Grand Princess, but my friend has never been on a cruise. We both like the idea of the smaller Cruise West ships travlling closer to shore, but the comfort of a larger Holland America Ship is attractive also. My friend is a bit concerned over the movement of the smaller ship.

We are both in our 50's, been friends since we were 12, and mairried, so not looking for parties and evening entertainment.

Any help or advice you could give will be much appreciated.


H2O babe

For us, it wasn't so much about the ship but more about the itinerary. The first time we went I had my heart set on seeing Glacier Bay -- not all lines have access to Glacier so that narrowed down my choices. I wanted a north or southbound cruise and that eliminated more choices. Decide what is priority for you and that will help. The ship and line didn't matter so much to us --- it was of a lower priority. But........if that is your first priority then start there and start eliminating choices. As far as traveling closer to shore I thought I was plenty close to it most of the time while on the Island Princess!
Good luck with your choice.



For a first time cruise, especially Alaska, I would definately recommend Holland America. They have consistantly been recognized as the leaders in the Alaska industry. Yes, I'm biased to HAL, but I think the Bias is justified. The ships are much more 'refined', the clientele is more mature (socially as well as age) and the service is excellent!

Do you have your passports????? Gotta have 'em!


If you have the means the small ship experience would be really neat. The HAL ship may be more comfortable for your friend on her first cruise though.
Going to Alaska is all about the Itinerary so check out what you would like to see. The variables are usually Skagway, Sitka, and Icy Point Straight. Most go to the other towns. A one way will get you further north. All will do a glacier somewhere or other.
A 7 day return from Seattle will likely have you going outside of Vancouver Island unless you travel on the Infinity (for sure) or another line that will cause it to only have two ports further north with a convince stop in Canada somewhere to meet legal requirements.
SO I recommend a 7 day return out of Vancouver to see the Inside passage.

Welcome to Cruise @ddicts.


Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions! You all are certainly very helpful!

I am pretty sure that we have decided on HAL, with a side trip to Denali. If we are going to do it, we might as well do it all... I may go back, but she probably won't be.

Thanks again!


For us the choice you're asking about specifically has been easy - we've had to go with HAL (and RCI) in Alaska because we can't afford Cruise West. We enjoy the large ships but there's no question that the small ones give you a better experience i you wan to see Alaska up close.