Hawaii vs. Alaska

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Ask a Cruise Question
Post your general cruise questions here.
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 06:05 AM.
#1
hi
174 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
For those of you who have and those of you who have not-I would love to hear your thoughts...
Which would/did you enjoy more? Which one did you look forward to the most? What did your love/dislike about each? We plan to do both in due time..but I would love to hear what you thought about each of these two trips:

14or15 day Hawaii out of San Diego RT in January or
7 day Alaska RT out of Seattle.

I understand this is like comparing apples and oranges, and I will try and book both-but in the meantime I would love to hear how what you thought of the two trips-for those of you who have done both.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carnival Pride~Mexican Riviera 2004-My first cruise-now Im hooked!
Royal Caribbean~Monarch of the Seas-Baja 2005-Honeymoon cruise
Carnival~Splendor-Mexican Riviera 2010-5 yr wedding anniversary cruise
Carnival~Valor-Caribbean Islands 2011-we will set sail this September to celebrate 10 years together (dating+marriage)

#2
Pittsburgh, PA
1,806 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Could you have picked two more disparate places? I doubt it.

While I enjoyed Hawaii a lot, Alaska is more amazing and overwhelming, at least in my opinion. Between going above the Arctic Circle and seeing how people carve out a life in such extreme places, Denali and its unbelievable sights and wildlife (grizzlies, caribou, moose and Dall sheep among others), the scenery traveling between the major points, and then the whales, glaciers, and other wildlife and things to see along the coast.

Don't get me wrong. Hawaii is stunningly beautiful too, but only the active volcano holds a candle (perhaps an odd choice of words) to what nature has created in Alaska. If you want warm weather, and seeing sights in shorts and a T-shirt, then Hawaii is a place to go.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Ben and Susan



Previous cruises:
Oceania REGATTA - Scenic Panama Canal - Dec. 5 - Dec. 21, 2014
Uniworld RIVER AMBASSADOR - European Splendors, June, 2013
Disney DREAM - 4-Day Bahamas - January, 2013
Oceania RIVIERA - Accent on Italy - Oct. 24 - Nov. 3, 2012
MV ECLIPSE - 7 days in the Galapagos - June, 2012
HAL STATENDAM - 7 day Glacier excursion - June, 2010
Disney WONDER - 3-night Bahamas - Dec. 27-30, 2009
Oceania REGATTA - Scandinavian Splendors - Aug 8-22, 2009
Carnival FANTASY - 3-day 1990 or '91
USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) Two WestPac cruises 1969-71 Oops those weren't pleasure cruises!
#3
hi
174 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
thanks for the details! I know they are very different-I just really want to do both and was curious to see what people had to say about them.
I am hoping to book Hawaii for January and Alaska for September.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carnival Pride~Mexican Riviera 2004-My first cruise-now Im hooked!
Royal Caribbean~Monarch of the Seas-Baja 2005-Honeymoon cruise
Carnival~Splendor-Mexican Riviera 2010-5 yr wedding anniversary cruise
Carnival~Valor-Caribbean Islands 2011-we will set sail this September to celebrate 10 years together (dating+marriage)

#4
Colorado
7,815 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
We've done both cruises. You're right, they are apples and oranges.

We greatly prefer the Alaskan cruises for the scenery and are returning for cruise #6 there this summer. For us the cruise from Vancouver is SO much more scenic than from Seattle (we've sailed from both ports). It would take a very extraordinary reason for us to sail to Alaska from Seattle again (and the lower cost of airfare to SeaTac doesn't cut it - there are reasonable ways to get to Vancouver from Seattle).

Our Hawaii cruise was about the relaxing sea days there and back. If we'd wanted to really see Hawaii we'd have taken a land vacation there, rather than a cruise. However, DH and I both lived in Hawaii for short times as children, so actually spending time there wasn't of particular interest to us.
#5
Boca Raton, FL
3,040 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Since you are considering 14-day cruises, look at the HAL Amsterdam from Seattle (which sails the same scenic route as from Vancouver northbound); that is a great itinerary.
#7
1,178 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
I have cruised both (well 7 day RT from Honolulu vs 14 from San Diego)

I enjoyed them both very much.... I would suggest that for Alaska you investigate a one way to Seward followed by a land tour to at least Denali, if not Fairbanks.

I had a balcony cabin in Alaska; I have VERY fond memories of waking up and being able to see the snow capped mountains! My 2nd favorite balcony moment was getting ready for formal night; tieing my bow tie while watching humpbacks from my balcony!

Enjoy the planning!

Aloha,

John
#8
Ontario, Canada
1,827 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
How about doing one of those Hawaii to Vancouver repo (mid/late April for RCL I think) then follow by a B2B Alaska crusie then you'll have both?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Next cruise: 3/2017 Anthem of the Seas - Bahamas
#9
Las Vegas, NV
3,718 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
We have done both cruises, but favor Alaska for the reasons that MaryEllen and others have stated.

Also, I recommend that you visit Alaska in May or early June, if possible. We have sailed to Alaska 7 times, once in August, once in September (did not see a single bald eagle) and 5 times in May. Many say that May is the driest month and we agree, even though it can rain at any time up there.

I also agree with the poster who suggested HAL's 14-day Alaska cruise-you will see the best of Alaska in one shot, without a lot of sea days (and this is coming from someone who loves sea days). The only down side of the 14-day cruise is that it originates from Seattle. Nothing against Seattle at all, but with crusing out of Vancouver, you are transiting the beautiful inside passage within a couple of hours.

On the Hawaii cruise, we found our port days were way too short-very limiting as what we could see or do. I did enjoy the sea days, though.

Hope all of this helps!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Bill
-------

Click Here to Email Me
#10
New Cumberland,PA, USA
25,948 Posts
Joined May 2000
Sure is like apples and oranges. Personally, the idea of cruising to and from Hawaii does little to get us excited. The reason is that we love Hawaii and cannot think of a worse way to see the islands then on a cruise ship. Hawaii is a place that is worthy of several weeks (especially if you are going to 4 islands). As to Alaska, it is perfect for a cruise (and even better for a cruise/tour) since parts of Alaska really need to be seen from the sea (such as Glacier Bay). My advice is to visit Hawaii on a land trip...and visit Alaska on a cruise/tour.

Hank
#11
5,518 Posts
Joined May 2004
IMO:

Alaska - do at least a 10-day cruise/tour.

Hawaii - do at least a two-week land trip, seeing at least two islands.

In either event, bring $$$$$$$$$$$$$$!! Shore excursions for Alaska cruises can be very expensive, as can hotels, rental cars, gas, food, etc. in Hawaii.

Enjoy! Both are lovely and scenic locations with vastly different histories and expectations.

If you have nothing better to do in the next year or so, read James Michener's books "Hawaii" and "Alaska". They will each give you a good idea about these destinations!
#12
British Columbia
6,315 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by ampleiwb
For those of you who have and those of you who have not-I would love to hear your thoughts...
Which would/did you enjoy more? Which one did you look forward to the most? What did your love/dislike about each? We plan to do both in due time..but I would love to hear what you thought about each of these two trips:

14or15 day Hawaii out of San Diego RT in January or
7 day Alaska RT out of Seattle.

I understand this is like comparing apples and oranges, and I will try and book both-but in the meantime I would love to hear how what you thought of the two trips-for those of you who have done both.
Take Hawaii, the longer cruise, with all the paper work and preparation, I find that a 7 day cruise is not worth the effort.

john
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
2010SEE THE WORLD. I do my best!

Homeric 1 Quebec 1955.
Windward Pacific Coastal 1996.
Song of America Mexico 1997.
NCL Wind Alaska 1998.
NCL Wind Caribbean 1999.
Westerdam [Ex Homeric 2] Alaska 2000 -- Norway E Caribbean Big Band 2000.
Sun Princess Panama Canal 2001---NCL Sun, Canada, New England 2001.
Dawn Princess Hawaii 2002.
Statendam Sea of Cortez and Pacific Coastal 2003.
Coral Princess Alaska and Coral Princess Alaska 2004.
Mercury Mexico 2005.--- Sea Princess Caribbean ---2005
Statendam Osaka Trans Pacific 19 day 2006.
Star Princess, British Isles and Trans Atlantic 2006.
Coral Princess Panama Canal 2007.
Zaandam, Hawaii, round trip from Vancouver 2008.
Coral Princess Sept 2009 Vancouver Whittier B/B
Coral Princess May 15th 2010 Vancouver Whittier B2B.
Zaandam, Hawaii, round trip, Vancouver, 2011.
Coral Princess May 14th 2012 Vancouver Whittier B2B.
Zaandam Vancouver-Mexico, return, Oct 9th-23rd 2012.
Zaandam Hawaii round trip, April 18th 2013.
Coral Princess,Sept. 11th-25th, 2013. 14 day Alaska, Vancouver return.
Golden Princess, Hawaii, Tahiti, Apr 1st-29th 2014
Grand Princess Van-Hawaii, return Apr 6th to 21st.
Grand Princess April 21st Van. -Pacific, return, 10 days 2015
#13
California
262 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
We have done the 14 day cruise. It was a lot of fun but frusterating that we couldn't spend more time on the islands. The trip back was cold so we didn't spend a lot of time at the pool, therefore we got a little bored. The kids were a little stir crazy by the end. The highlight was the Volcano National Park. We rented a car at each of the ports and took off for the day. It was fun, but Alaska sounds great also! Good Luck.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#14
USA
8,952 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Hawaii: have thought cruise and everytime do a land, or should I say an island-island hop. Why there is little advantage to cruising, on each island so much to see, can stay in one hotel and rent a car and drive to and see everything. So much of the fun is the hike, laying by the beach or discovered little things that you linger at. I cruise with only 12 hours in port seems so limiting. When I reflect back so much of the fun have been the breakfast ( fresh local fruit ) and dinners ( local flare and stuff ). Be a waste to do a cruise and feel the pressure to go back to the boat for the freebie.

I'd say two weeks you can do 4 Islands; Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahau wow 3-4 days on each.

Alaska, that is easy too so much can only be seen by ship and scenic cruising.

Now which one is like asking do you like an apple or orange so different.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Princess: 1999, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015 Disney: 2000 Carnival:2005
#15
Florida
18,918 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
I would vote for Alaska
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
We've been on
Carnival: 27 voyages 184 days
Celebrity: 3 voyages 24 days
Holland: 26 voyages 494 days
Norwegian: 2 voyages 16 days
Princess: 16 voyages 154 days
Royal Carib: 5 voyages 35 days
Vantage:River 2 voyages 39 days
GRAND TOTAL: 81 Cruises 946 days

NOT YET SAILED
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/17-111 days
Rotterdam Voyage Vikings 8/17 - 38 days
Maasdam Boston to San Diego 9/17 18 days
Veendam Atlantic Crossing 10/17 - 49 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/18 - 113 days
Rotterdam crossing. 6/18 - 32 days
Prinsendam 8/18 - 96 daysAmsterdam 1/19
#16
104,276 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
we have done both

much prefer alaska -- so beautiful
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#17
Oklahoma City, OK
11,247 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
The two week Alaskan cruise on the Westerdam would be the best pick if you are definitely wanting to cruise. See as much of Alaska as you can. If/when you want to see Hawaii, like another poster, I agree it should be land based. Stay a 5-7 days on Oahu, 4-6 on Maui, a couple on either Hawaii or Kauai (or both if possible). Once you're off Oahu, the pace of life drastically slows on the other islands. There is much to see and do on those 4 islands.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carmen

Celebrity Galaxy 11/04
Grand Princess 2/06
Carnival Conquest 10/06
Celebrity Mercury to Alaska 9/07 very cool - literally!
Vegas, baby! 11/08
NCL Spirit 1/09, where everybody knew my name (which was strange and a little fun at the same time)
NCL Pearl 3/10
HAL Oosterdam 5/2011, back to Alaska we went!
RCCL Mariner OTS 3/2012 - another 1st!
NCL Star 12/2012 - more firsts!
NCL Jewel 12/2013 - Christmas on the water
NCL Jewel 11/2014 - and a few more firsts!
NCL Sun 5/2015 - North to Alaska, this time into Denali!
NCL Dawn 11/2015
NCL Dawn 11/2016. I'm really getting used to not cooking on Thanksgiving!
NCL Pearl 11/2017


Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
#18
New England
383 Posts
Joined May 2011
I've never done a Hawaii cruise, but I did a 7-day Alaska cruise two years ago. It was one of the best vacations of my life- I would return again in a heartbeat. I would vote for that.

We went in early July- saw LOTS of bald eagles. Two weeks later, apparently, it would have been prime bear/salmon season. Also, weather was beautiful in early July.

Good luck! Great choices!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Florida/Bahamas: NCL Gem- 7/16
Mediterranean: NCL Spirit- 7/15 (10th anniversary cruise)
Bermuda/Caribbean: RCCL Explorer of the Seas- 8/11 (Review)
Alaska: Island Princess- 7/09
#19
In the Valley, CA
22,848 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I have done both. Alaska is beautiful -- Princess has a naturalist onboard when you go through the glacier cruising.

I have been to Hawaii twice on land trips and twice on the RT from LA. The Princess RT on the Golden has something that I feel is unique to that cruise: a full fledged set of activities/entertainment that is geared to the itinerary. Onboard is a husband/wife team named Elua (she's a native of Hawaii) that provide Hawaiian music as well as activities (uke, hula, and lei-making classes). There are also lectures on the islands as well as many of the movies shown onboard are set in Hawaii.

I would definitely recommend both itineraries. For those who haven't been to Hawaii yet, the RT Hawaiian cruise will give you a good taste of Hawaii. You can see which islands you prefer to return to visit on a longer land trip.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Patty the Cruisin' Chick (may all your cruises be smooth sailin')

Hoping for another trip to the land of Aloha!

Carnival Jubilee - Mex. Riv.; Sensation - W. Caribb.; Holiday (2Xs) - Baja; Paradise - E Caribb; Ecstasy - Baja; Star Princess - Mex. Riv.; Sapphire Princess - Alaska; Island Princess - Hawaii; Golden Princess - Hawaii (one of the best cruises ever!!!!); another Golden Princess -- Hawaii

Read about my most recent cruise at
http://www.sites.google.com/site/holidayalohaii/home
#20
Eastern Washington
1,014 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
OP...who are the travelers? Age especially. We have been to both but both 7 day. Well and we did northbound out of Vancouver ... I would say the RT's aren't nearly as awesome since one ways you get to see so much more of Alaska. Donna
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature






RCL Enchantment of the Seas Sistercation 2.0 May 2015
Caribbean Princess Sistercation 1.0 May 2014
RCL Brilliance of the Seas Caribbean April 2013
CCL Splendor Mexican Rivera August 2011
X Summit Southern Caribbean April 2011
CCL Destiny Florida/Cozumel February 2011
Star Princess Baltics July 2010
NCL Jewel Western Caribbean April 2010
X Mercury PNW Coast October 2009
NCL POA Hawaii July 2009
Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean April 2009
X Summit Southern Caribbean Christmas 2008
Sapphire Princess Alaska July 2005 (still my favorite ship)