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  #1  
Old January 19th, 2011, 09:58 PM
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Default Celebrity VS Princess for Alaska

We are thinking about a cruise to Alaska this upcoming summer. I was wondering what anyones thoughts are about doing a Celebrity cruise/cruisetour versus a Princess cruise/cruisetour? Princess comes highly recommended for Alaska, but we loved our Celebrity cruise. We have not sailed Princess.
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  #2  
Old January 20th, 2011, 08:44 AM
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We have sailed both Princess and Celebrity to Alaska in recent years. First, I would go with whoever offers the better itinerary: namely, a visit to Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier. You may see Tracy Arm fjord on some itineraries as the requisite glacier stop. Though it is a glacier (actually the twin Sawyer glaciers) it pales in comparison to the others and is really not worth it, IMHO. At Hubbard and Glacier Bay you will get much closer to the glaciers, appreciate the color of the ice and the sounds of calving. The visit to Tracy Arm was the one thing that made me regret choosing Princess over Celebrity for our 3rd Alaskan cruise, so I would say they are relatively comparable. Princess food is a slight cut below X's, but their entertainment is much better and has more options in the evenings. Service is a cut above on X - just a touch more polished.

Another itinerary tip: if you can manage it, try a RT Vancouver or Northbound/Southbound. On these itineraries you can enjoy sailing the Inside Passage in all its glory. Our last cruise was RT Seattle and we missed that experience.

As for cruisetours, both Princess and HAL both have serious roots in Alaska and have been doing the cruisetours for years - since the 1970s or 80s. I know Princess has some nice lodges in the interior and their cruisetours are highly respected. With itineraries being equal, I would probably pick a Princess cruisetour over an X one because of their reputation.
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  #3  
Old January 20th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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Here is a suggestion based on what we did. Take a Celebrity cruise, but book your package through a local (ie,Alaska) travel agent. We did that and for a three day package we saved over $900 and that was several years ago. We took the same train and had no problem getting seats in the observation car, and we actually stayed at one of the Princess resorts. It was a no brainer for us.

ps
I would agree, though, that in Alaska itinerary rules IMHO. I would pick the best itinerary if there were a considerable difference, although if that were equal Celebrity would always be my cruiseline of choice

Last edited by phoenix_dream; January 20th, 2011 at 10:26 AM.
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  #4  
Old January 20th, 2011, 01:58 PM
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We decided on a north bound on the Millie from Vancouver. We also looked at Princess, but there was a big difference in price when we booked last summer for July 2011 and Celebrity own on that point. We're doing our own tour of Alaska when we get off. We're taking the train to Anchorage where we will stay over night, rent a car and set off for a week of exploring.
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  #5  
Old January 20th, 2011, 09:01 PM
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While Celebrity is our favorite cruiseline, we enjoyed every moment of our Coral Princess Alaska tour. The cruise tour that preceded it was wonderful (and possibly my favorite part of the trip!). The port itinerary was the selling point for us. To help you make your decision, look carefully at your scenic cruising opportunity and the actual time in each port; to us, the ship experience was secondary. That being said, we were very happy with Princess!
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  #6  
Old January 20th, 2011, 09:39 PM
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wow, the more I read about different Alaska cruises/cruisetours, the more confused I get!! Now, I am looking at Holland America cruises/tours, also! You really do need to do alot of homework before going to this area of the US! The caribbean was easy to figure out! Thanks everyone, the more responses and opinions, the better!! I just love these boards!
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Royal Princess 11-10-2013 Ft Lauderdale, Princess Cay, St Thomas, St Maarten
Golden Princess 10-24-2012 Hilo, Oahu, Kauai, Maui
Coral Princess 3-13-2012 Los Angeles Cabo San Lucas, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, full transit canal, Columbia, Aruba, Ft. Lauderdale
Island Princess 8-31-2011 Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay Natl Park, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan
Mariner of the Seas 10-3-2010 Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta
Celebrity Solstice 4-4-2010 San Juan, PR, St. Kitts, St. Martin/Maarten
Jewel of the Seas 10-27-2009 Repo cruise! Boston to San Juan, PR, St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, Oranjestad, Aruba, Miami
Carnival Fascination 1-24-2009 Nassau and Half Moon Cay
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  #7  
Old January 20th, 2011, 10:20 PM
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We did land/cruise tour with Princess Coral. We flew to Fairbanks and started our land tour traveling via Princess Train. Had a great time, Princess has great lodging and the train was great. Enjoyed the Coral.

Celebrity is my cruise line of choice but I would do Alaska again with Princess.

I suggest that you look over on the Alaska Board. Lots of GREAT info there. As others have stated you need to decide what you want to see and go from there.

Have a great time in Beautiful Alaska!

Last edited by texkan; January 20th, 2011 at 10:22 PM.
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  #8  
Old January 21st, 2011, 07:24 PM
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Another thing newbie Alaska cruisers need to keep in mind is the cost of shore excursions. There are some truly awesome excursions to be had, but many of them are very expensive (up to several hundreds of dollars pp for flight excursions). It is not at all unusual to spend in the neighborhood of $100 pp for an excursion. You also have fewer options for doing excursions on your own, and those that you can do are often of similar price. (this is simply a capacity situation - Alaska has such a short tourist season and it is now so popular that there are only so many vendors to go around). You can do it cheaper in many ports if you choose to just walk around town, but it is very tempting to see all the wonderful sights you can see on the tours. When looking at the cost of your trip, you need to factor this in. Anyone used to Caribbean cruises can experience 'sticker shock' in Alaska (although I know there are some pricey tours available for the former as well)
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  #9  
Old January 21st, 2011, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texkan View Post
We did land/cruise tour with Princess Coral. We flew to Fairbanks and started our land tour traveling via Princess Train. Had a great time, Princess has great lodging and the train was great. Enjoyed the Coral.

Celebrity is my cruise line of choice but I would do Alaska again with Princess.

I suggest that you look over on the Alaska Board. Lots of GREAT info there. As others have stated you need to decide what you want to see and go from there.

Have a great time in Beautiful Alaska!
We agree with you. Celebrity is our line, but Princess does Alaska perfectly. They own the lodges. They are fabulous!!! Their train cars are wonderful!! Everything is handled in a timely and very organized fashion. Princess is not our cruiseline, but they do a great job in the Alaskan market!
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  #10  
Old January 21st, 2011, 09:35 PM
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Pretty much a toss up. Both are fine lines. I like Celebrity food and ships much better than Princess. Food is subjective, however the chopped up ship design on Princess not so much.

FWIW.... I would go with Celebrity as the tree huggers may be about to get Hubbard Glacier shut down to cruise ships. What a shame. It really is the ultimate glacier to visit in Alaska. I would go before they shut it down, and hope like heck it does not start this summer.
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  #11  
Old January 21st, 2011, 10:06 PM
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Glacier bay hands down so that equals either HAL or Princess. Celebrity cruises Hubbard because they can't get into Glacier Bay
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  #12  
Old January 22nd, 2011, 11:46 AM
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You have to decide if you want just a cruise or a cruise tour. Princess wins the cruise-tour fight with the most options. Booking the land tour part separately wins the price fight. Cruise only might have a new player with Oceania. They have some great itineraries.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biker1972 View Post
Cruise only might have a new player with Oceania. They have some great itineraries.
And a lot of sales right now too.
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  #14  
Old January 22nd, 2011, 02:02 PM
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While we prefer Celebrity, for us Alaska was all about glaciers so we did a Southbound Island Princess that stopped at both Hubbard and Glacier Bay, sailed inside Vancouver Island. We added a Prince William Sound smaller boat cruise in Whittier. While the Island was a nice ship, that would not have mattered for us. We spent all our time outside enjoying Alaska and did not see a show, a band, or participate in pretty much any ship activities--which is the direct opposite of our pattern in the Caribbean. Absolutely visit the Alaska board and do your research BEFORE you book anything. I have encountered lots of people with buyers regret that booked before knowing what they really wanted to do. Happy planning!
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  #15  
Old January 22nd, 2011, 07:59 PM
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We have sailed both Princess and Celebrity and chose a Celebrity Millennium Cruisetour two years ago that included Denali, Talkeetna, and Fairbanks. It was amazing! In researching Princess vs Celebrity, here are the key differences we found... Celebrity includes a Tour Guide AND Motor Coach driver on every tour. You have to pay extra for a Tour Guide on Princess (otherwise the motor coach driver doubles as your guide). Big advantage to Celebrity. Princess lodges are very nice, but not necessary in prime locations. Example was in Talkeetna where all the shore excursions left. Celebrity's lodge (sorry can't recall the name but it was BEAUTIFUL with an amazing view of Mt. McKinley from the hot tub on the deck) was within walking distance to Talkeetna (which we enjoyed in the evening), while the Princess lodge was 45 minutes away. Both companies glass dome train cars and motor coaches were nice, although I did notice that the Celebrity train cars were located before Holland America and Princess, so we had the best viewing of wildlife! I'm sure the moose and bear we saw were startled by our Celebrity train car and probably heading for the woods by the time the Princess and Holland America cars passed (Princess was the last car on the train.) You'll have an amazing time on either cruise line. Hope our observations help.
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  #16  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 09:26 AM
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I would look at the times in port also. For example, some ships were in Victoria late, late afternoon and evening. We chose one that arrived hours earlier.

I have cruised both inlets of Glacier Bay and Hubbard. Both are impressive. We could really grasp the enormity of Hubbard glacier as we sailed away and a HAL ship took our place. It was dwarfed by the wall of ice. Size in Alaska is difficult to comprehend.
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