Which cruise line
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RCCL or Princess for Alaska cruise???It's a good idea to figure out what you want to see/do in Alaska, and the select based on itinerary. The actual cruiseline isn't quite as important.
17 Cruises, 10 ships, 173 nights
Princess goes to Glacier Bay and everyone says that is the place to see. RCL does not. However, we took a cruise on the Radiance last season. We loved it. Here is a link to our cruise. I did a "Live report."
Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Brilliance of the Seas--North Atlantic TA: August 2014; Vision of the Seas--Southern Caribbean: November 2014; Serenade of the Seas--B2B Bahamas and Western Caribbean: March/April 2015; Southern Caribbean: November 2015; Grandeur of the Seas–June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean, April 2016: Eastern Caribbean, July 2016: Bermuda/Bahamas, Harmony of The Seas-- October 2016: Transatlantic .
You'll always get people passionate about almost any line. I've been in Alaska with RCI 3 times and Princess 3 times, and RCI has been much better quality, Princess is almost always cheaper now with good reason.We have sailed both lines and think Princess has a better itinerary and does a better job in Alaska. We also prefer HAL to RCCL in Alaska. RCCL usually has higher rates as they give off the top discounts to their Crown and Anchor members based on the cabin and many times half of the ship or more is receiving hundreds off of their cabin.
Alaska is really what the cruise is about - most of the time you will be in sight of land and there is lots to explore in the ports - there is gold rush history, wildlife, and native culture.
You can choose between one way cruises with a land tour on either end, or a roundtrip from Seattle or Vancouver. So with so many choices, you need to decide what you want first, then find the lines that go there, I think between the two lines of your choice you will end up with Princess.
Whichever you choose, you will have a great time. It's Alaska. Enjoy!
You can view my wife's cruise pictures (shore excursions, around the ship, etc.)in the Travel section of her website Nancy's Oasis and at the links below.
2016 14 day Alaska Maasdam Ketchikan,Juneau,Dawes,Icy Strait Point,Anchorage,Homer,Kodiak,Hubbard,Sitka, Victoria,BC
2015 Christmas Adventure of the Seas St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Dominica, Barbados
2014 Christmas Island Princess ~ Partial Panama Canal with Columbia, Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, Aruba
2013 Christmas Adventure of the Seas ~ So.Caribbean St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba, and Curacao
2012 Christmas Mariner of the Seas ~ W.Caribbean Cozumel (Tulum) Jamaica, and Grand Cayman
2012 Radiance of the Seas ~ Alaska Southbound Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Hubbard Glacier
2011 Christmas Mariner of the Seas ~ W. Caribbean Belize (Lamanai), Roatan, Costa Maya (Kohunlich), Cozumel
2011 Carnival Ecstasy ~ Western Caribbean Cozumel and Progresso (Chichen Itza)
2011 Carnival Ecstasy Owners Suite Visit from the Upsell Fairy - 916 sq ft of paradise!
2011 Carnival Conquest ~ Eastern Caribbean Nassau, Freeport, Key West
2010 Caribbean Princess ~ NE/Canada Upgrade Fairy Visit FREE PH Suite - Newport,Boston,Bar Harbor,St. John,Halifax
2009 Star Princess ~ Alaska Inside Passage Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Tracy Arm
2008 Christmas Carnival Ecstasy ~ Western Caribbean Progreso (Uxmal) Cozumel
2007 Carnival Conquest ~ Western Caribbean Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel
I'm not sure what level C&A you are, but in our recent price comparison the cruises on HAL were significantly cheaper than RCI. Probably enough to make up any discount.
Princess -Caribbean Princess -2015- Grand Cayman
Carnival - Carnival Victory - 2014 - Key West/Cozumel
HAL - Amsterdam -2013 - Alaska, Inside Passage
RCI - Allure of the Seas -2013 - E. Caribbean
RCI - Serenade of the Seas -2012 - Med/Greek Isles
NCL - Norwegian Sky - 2011 - Bahamas
Carnival - Fascination - 2009 - Bahamas
Carnival - Carnival Miracle - 2008 - E. Caribbean
Carnival - Fascination - 2007 -Key West/Cozumel
NCL - Norwegian Sea - 2005 -W. Caribbean
NCL - Norwegian Sea - 1998 - S. Caribbean
Carnival - Sensation - 1996 -E. Caribbean
Dolphin - Dolphin IV - 1994 -Key West/Nassau
Confession, I am a Crown and Anchor member. Never been on Priness but have been impressed with the feedback on their product. I am leaning towards RCCL because I don't know the difference in the itneraries having never been there and I will probably get a discount of some type from RCCLI think you will find that Princess and HAL have better itineraries (as they can get into Glacier Bay) and will be competitive price wise with your Crown and Anchor discount. Princess and HAL have a far larger commitment in Alaska and it shows IMO.
BTW - I've only ever sailed on HAL to AK. Please don't believe the very misguided impressions folks seem to have about HAL being for the geriatric set. Trust me - on every one of our AK sailings, there have been PLENTY of kids who all appeared to be having a fantastic time. We saw them doing a scavenger hunt, having their own pizza party in the Lido, even a movie night for the kids w/popcorn and ice cream later. During Glacier Bay sailing, there are programs for the kids to meet w/rangers to complete various "homework" type activities as well.
HAL's Kids Club is very well attended and there are plenty of activities related to Alaska, plus those enrichment programs they also have on Princess for the adults. Indoor hot tubs and a pool w/retractable roof that can be opened during good weather, also outdoor pools and hot tubs. Kids Club has its own "space" above the Lido deck that is a no adults zone.
The third and fourth person free or for a greatly reduced rate is an excellent offering and you could save big $$$ by taking advantage of it. My niece's fiance' - a 6 ft. guy, took the sofa bed on our sailing and said it was surprisingly comfortable. There is also the option of a drop down bed from the ceiling in cabins that sleep 4, if your child would prefer that "adventure."
I'm sounding like a HAL cheerleader, and I apologize, I just think you should check out their itineraries and the third person free rates before making your decision. Good luck. Whoever you sail with, Alaska is the star of the show and an amazing trip of a lifetime - perfect for kids of all ages! Enjoy, enjoy!