Alaska May, 2013 Cruise line HELP!


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#1
5 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
We are going to book an Alaskian Cruise for end of May 2013. Priority is cruise line from Seattle going to Glacier Bay. We have narrowed it down to Princess Star (sailing May 25th), HAL ms Westerdam (sailing May 25th) and Norwegian Pearl (sailing May 26th). I have read so mush on each and am more than indecisive - Suggestions PLEASE!

Sailing with: Hubby, Daughter (25) and son-in-law (25), daughter (21), son (19)
#2
QLD--AUSTRALIA
9,176 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Norwegian pearl ..especially better for the young ones...sooooooo much more to do on board for them...
More restaurant choices, more activities, more relaxed code of dress..no formal attitude needed.
And a much more fun ship than the other two.
Its a no brainer for your age groups..
Hal is a nursing home at sea, and Princess a close second.
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B2B Singapore- Abu Dhabi / Abu Dhabi to Rome spreadsheet link
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JANN & JOHN
CRUISES DONE..
STAR GEMINI .... MARCH '97- ASIA
OLYMPIC COUNTESS ...SEPT '98 - GREEK ISLANDS & TURKEY
STAR GEMINI ..SEPT '99 -ASIA
STAR GEMINI ..FEB '00 ..-ASIA
SAPPHIRE PRINCESS ...SEPT '04 - ALASKA
NCL JEWEL ..SEPT '05 CANADA / NEW ENGLAND
RCI VISION OF THE SEAS ..SEPT 06 ALASKA
NCL PEARL ...APRIL 07 STH CARIBBEAN.
SAPPHIRE PRINCESS...MARCH 08 AUSTRALIA to NZ
HAL VOLENDAM...MAY 09 JAPAN, EASTERN RUSSIA, ALASKA
CELEBRITY INFINITY...NOV 09 PANAMA CANAL WESTBOUND
NCL JADE..MAR 2010 SPAIN,ITALY,GREECE,TURKEY,EGYPT, MALTA
NCL JADE..APR 2010,SPAIN,CASABLANCA,AQADIR,CANARY IS, FUNCHAL ,GRANADA
CELEBRITY MILLENNIUM..MAY 2011...ALASKA
SUN PRINCESS....NOV 2011 AUSTRALIA to NZ
CELEBRITY MILLENNIUM...APR 2013 HK,TAIWAN,KOREA,JAPAN,CHINA
RCCL QUANTUM of the seas..MAY/JUNE 2015 DUBAI OMAN INDIA MALAYSIA SINGAPORE
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE..FEB 2016...NZ TO PERTH, AUS

NCL JADE ..JULY 2017...HAMBURG..NORWAY..ICELAND ..SCOTLAND


Next .........
CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION... 7 APRIL 2018..INDIA & SRI LANKA..TO DUBAI
CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION...22 APRIL 2018..ARABIAN SEA & SUEZ CANAL..ROME
#3
Whittier, CA
817 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Wow, that is a hard one. I am a Holland Lover so my pick would be the Westerdam, she is a Vista Class ship, so she is the larger of the HAL ships. A Princess person is going to recommend Princess and likewise for NCL. Put them into a hat and pick. You didn't mention if you have sailed before, that might help with your decision. It may just come down to price if cruising before doesnt apply, you can't go wrong with any choice. You might want to read about the cruise lines on their critic boards. I wish you luck on your decision and look forward to hearing whom you choose.
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Teri
36 Cruises
Holland America 17 Cruises 159 days
Disney 4 Cruises 24 days
Princess 4 Cruises 22 days
Royal Caribbean 4 Cruises 30 days
Celebrity 1 Cruise 7 days
Carnival 4 Cruises 26 days
Regency 1 Cruise 5 days
The Big Red Boat 1 Cruise 3 days
#4
Whittier, CA
817 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by jannandjohn
Norwegian pearl ..especially better for the young ones...sooooooo much more to do on board for them...
More restaurant choices, more activities, more relaxed code of dress..no formal attitude needed.
And a much more fun ship than the other two.
Its a no brainer for your age groups..
Hal is a nursing home at sea, and Princess a close second.

REALLY??? By the looks of your past cruises you don't sail on HAL or Princess too much so you may not want to judge until you experience it more for yourself. We are in our mid 40's and would rather float on one of your "nursing home at sea" than with a bunch of rowdy drunk unruly kids. Post that statement on a HAL or Princess board and see what kind of response you get there. As far as activities, again "Have you been on a cruise or seen the daily program to judge?". You will find all sorts of people on every cruise line, that is your opinion and I hope the OP takes it with a grain of salt.
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Teri
36 Cruises
Holland America 17 Cruises 159 days
Disney 4 Cruises 24 days
Princess 4 Cruises 22 days
Royal Caribbean 4 Cruises 30 days
Celebrity 1 Cruise 7 days
Carnival 4 Cruises 26 days
Regency 1 Cruise 5 days
The Big Red Boat 1 Cruise 3 days
#5
Portland, OR
587 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
We chose HAL's Oosterdam, doing the same itinerary as the Westerdam is now. We were 4 women in our early 40s & 50s, and we had a ball. It was not a "nursing home" environment. The Alaskan cruises are very port intensive, so we were up early most days. We had the later seating for dinner, and with the show afterwards, it made for long, full days. Can't speak for the other lines, but HAL opens up the bow of the ship for Glacier Bay. Getting to view a calving glacier from the rail is an experience I'll never forget.

From other posts, all of the lines have a broad age range for their Alaska cruises. HAL also stops in Sitka, as opposed to Skagway. Sitka's a cute little town with a ton of Russian history, and it was where Russia turned over Alaska to the US.

Whatever you chose, Alaska is spectacular. We disembarked the ship already planning when we were going to return.
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#6
QLD--AUSTRALIA
9,176 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by pepsigirl64
REALLY??? By the looks of your past cruises you don't sail on HAL or Princess too much so you may not want to judge until you experience it more for yourself. We are in our mid 40's and would rather float on one of your "nursing home at sea" than with a bunch of rowdy drunk unruly kids. Post that statement on a HAL or Princess board and see what kind of response you get there. As far as activities, again "Have you been on a cruise or seen the daily program to judge?". You will find all sorts of people on every cruise line, that is your opinion and I hope the OP takes it with a grain of salt.
3 on princess ,(1 more than your list) so thats enough to make my judgements ...AND yes only one HAL( and will be the only one), so my experience with them, maybe not so much, but that cruise was so bad, that we refuse to take another HAL...the most drab we have ever been on...we actually thought some in the lounges had "passed"..
You obviously love Hal, and thats your choice.
And yes, we have been on a cruise, comparing our two lists it seems we are fairly even., And we have been further afield, so I guess I am as entitled as you to give a suggestion.
We do like Princess, I never said I didnt...I said it was a close second.

I was looking at the age groups of the OPs group, that is what I based my SUGGESTION on..nothing else..
nothing to do with a brand of cruiseline..
We like Ncl For fun, but although you have alluded to unruly kids , we have never seen any of those on Ncl..
.I think you are confusing Ncl with some other line, and as your list doesnt show any NCL , well I guess you cant judge either..
We actually prefer Celebrity over all, but the Op didnt give Celebrity as an option..and
Anyway, it was MY suggestion, that what was asked for..

We are happy to mix it up,with different cruiselines, so why would I want to post this on a Princess or Hal board, just to get bounced on for giving MY opinion.
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B2B Singapore- Abu Dhabi / Abu Dhabi to Rome spreadsheet link
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
JANN & JOHN
CRUISES DONE..
STAR GEMINI .... MARCH '97- ASIA
OLYMPIC COUNTESS ...SEPT '98 - GREEK ISLANDS & TURKEY
STAR GEMINI ..SEPT '99 -ASIA
STAR GEMINI ..FEB '00 ..-ASIA
SAPPHIRE PRINCESS ...SEPT '04 - ALASKA
NCL JEWEL ..SEPT '05 CANADA / NEW ENGLAND
RCI VISION OF THE SEAS ..SEPT 06 ALASKA
NCL PEARL ...APRIL 07 STH CARIBBEAN.
SAPPHIRE PRINCESS...MARCH 08 AUSTRALIA to NZ
HAL VOLENDAM...MAY 09 JAPAN, EASTERN RUSSIA, ALASKA
CELEBRITY INFINITY...NOV 09 PANAMA CANAL WESTBOUND
NCL JADE..MAR 2010 SPAIN,ITALY,GREECE,TURKEY,EGYPT, MALTA
NCL JADE..APR 2010,SPAIN,CASABLANCA,AQADIR,CANARY IS, FUNCHAL ,GRANADA
CELEBRITY MILLENNIUM..MAY 2011...ALASKA
SUN PRINCESS....NOV 2011 AUSTRALIA to NZ
CELEBRITY MILLENNIUM...APR 2013 HK,TAIWAN,KOREA,JAPAN,CHINA
RCCL QUANTUM of the seas..MAY/JUNE 2015 DUBAI OMAN INDIA MALAYSIA SINGAPORE
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE..FEB 2016...NZ TO PERTH, AUS

NCL JADE ..JULY 2017...HAMBURG..NORWAY..ICELAND ..SCOTLAND


Next .........
CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION... 7 APRIL 2018..INDIA & SRI LANKA..TO DUBAI
CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION...22 APRIL 2018..ARABIAN SEA & SUEZ CANAL..ROME
#7
90,361 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
A few suggestions. Be sure to check out the Alaska Ports Of Call board as it has a wealth of information.

I would recommend an itinerary that includes Glacier Bay if that is on one or more of the cruises you are considering.

Keith
#8
QLD--AUSTRALIA
9,176 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
These restaurant lists alone would help me sway towards Ncl Pearl( apart from the Bowling Alley..climbing walls, 16 bars ...many many things for lotsa fun!!)
I probably missed some of the Westerdams food venues, or maybe I didn't, I admit I am not sure, as this below is all that shows on the hal site for that ship.

But to compare just Hal, and Ncl, (without doing Princess, which is similar to Hal....With Restaurant venues)
...........................
Westerdam

Vista Dining Room:
Pinnacle Grill:
Lido Restaurant:
Explorations Café
Room service
............................

NCL

Blue Lagoon
Cagney's Steakhouse
Garden Café/Kid's Café
Great Outdoors Bar
Indigo Main Dining Room
La Cucina Italian Restaurant
Le Bistro French Restaurant
Lotus Garden Asian Restaurant
Moderno Churrascaria
24/7 Pizza
Room Service
Sky High Bar & Grill
Summer Palace Main Dining Room
Sushi and Sashimi Bar
Teppanyaki
Topsiders Bar & Grill


And thats just the food dept... nothing else
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B2B Singapore- Abu Dhabi / Abu Dhabi to Rome spreadsheet link
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
JANN & JOHN
CRUISES DONE..
STAR GEMINI .... MARCH '97- ASIA
OLYMPIC COUNTESS ...SEPT '98 - GREEK ISLANDS & TURKEY
STAR GEMINI ..SEPT '99 -ASIA
STAR GEMINI ..FEB '00 ..-ASIA
SAPPHIRE PRINCESS ...SEPT '04 - ALASKA
NCL JEWEL ..SEPT '05 CANADA / NEW ENGLAND
RCI VISION OF THE SEAS ..SEPT 06 ALASKA
NCL PEARL ...APRIL 07 STH CARIBBEAN.
SAPPHIRE PRINCESS...MARCH 08 AUSTRALIA to NZ
HAL VOLENDAM...MAY 09 JAPAN, EASTERN RUSSIA, ALASKA
CELEBRITY INFINITY...NOV 09 PANAMA CANAL WESTBOUND
NCL JADE..MAR 2010 SPAIN,ITALY,GREECE,TURKEY,EGYPT, MALTA
NCL JADE..APR 2010,SPAIN,CASABLANCA,AQADIR,CANARY IS, FUNCHAL ,GRANADA
CELEBRITY MILLENNIUM..MAY 2011...ALASKA
SUN PRINCESS....NOV 2011 AUSTRALIA to NZ
CELEBRITY MILLENNIUM...APR 2013 HK,TAIWAN,KOREA,JAPAN,CHINA
RCCL QUANTUM of the seas..MAY/JUNE 2015 DUBAI OMAN INDIA MALAYSIA SINGAPORE
CELEBRITY SOLSTICE..FEB 2016...NZ TO PERTH, AUS

NCL JADE ..JULY 2017...HAMBURG..NORWAY..ICELAND ..SCOTLAND


Next .........
CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION... 7 APRIL 2018..INDIA & SRI LANKA..TO DUBAI
CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION...22 APRIL 2018..ARABIAN SEA & SUEZ CANAL..ROME
#9
Whittier, CA
817 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by jannandjohn
These restaurant lists alone would help me sway towards Ncl Pearl( apart from the Bowling Alley..climbing walls, 16 bars ...many many things for lotsa fun!!)
I probably missed some of the Westerdams food venues, or maybe I didn't, I admit I am not sure, as this below is all that shows on the hal site for that ship.
Yes, I will say HAL doesn't have the food venues as the much larger ships have, nor does it have a bowling alley, climbing walls or a bunch of bars. Other than the Vista class ships, Westerdam and others, HAL is smaller ships. It is all about what one prefers or needs to have a good vacation. The above mentioned items are things that we don't need to have a great vacation. It all comes down to personal likes, you like NCL and Celebrity maybe Princess and not HAL. That is why there are choices, but my main comment was based on your "nursing home at sea", based on one HAL cruise. I am sure the OP will read both of our comments with a bit of salt as we both have agreed to disagree about whom we like. Maybe someday you will try HAL again to see we are not all in need of a nursing home, and maybe someday I will give NCL a try.
HAPPY CRUISING
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Teri
36 Cruises
Holland America 17 Cruises 159 days
Disney 4 Cruises 24 days
Princess 4 Cruises 22 days
Royal Caribbean 4 Cruises 30 days
Celebrity 1 Cruise 7 days
Carnival 4 Cruises 26 days
Regency 1 Cruise 5 days
The Big Red Boat 1 Cruise 3 days
#10
108,182 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by jannandjohn
These restaurant lists alone would help me sway towards Ncl Pearl( apart from the Bowling Alley..climbing walls, 16 bars ...many many things for lotsa fun!!)
I probably missed some of the Westerdams food venues, or maybe I didn't, I admit I am not sure, as this below is all that shows on the hal site for that ship.

But to compare just Hal, and Ncl, (without doing Princess, which is similar to Hal....With Restaurant venues)
...........................
Westerdam

Vista Dining Room:
Pinnacle Grill:
Lido Restaurant:
Explorations Café
Room service
............................

NCL

Blue Lagoon
Cagney's Steakhouse
Garden Café/Kid's Café
Great Outdoors Bar
Indigo Main Dining Room
La Cucina Italian Restaurant
Le Bistro French Restaurant
Lotus Garden Asian Restaurant
Moderno Churrascaria
24/7 Pizza
Room Service
Sky High Bar & Grill
Summer Palace Main Dining Room
Sushi and Sashimi Bar
Teppanyaki
Topsiders Bar & Grill


And thats just the food dept... nothing else

HAL ships also have the Canaletto. And you didn't mention the Terrace Grill.

Now these 2 ships don't do Alaska, but the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam also have the Tamarind Restaurant should you decide to sail on HAL.

Personally we don't choose a cruise line just because it has more restarants than another cruise line.
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Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#11
108,182 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by adsma
We are going to book an Alaskian Cruise for end of May 2013. Priority is cruise line from Seattle going to Glacier Bay. We have narrowed it down to Princess Star (sailing May 25th), HAL ms Westerdam (sailing May 25th) and Norwegian Pearl (sailing May 26th). I have read so mush on each and am more than indecisive - Suggestions PLEASE!

Sailing with: Hubby, Daughter (25) and son-in-law (25), daughter (21), son (19)
Welcome to Cruise Critic.

We have done the Westerdam itinerary and it is a great one being as you do go to Glacier Bay.
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Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#12
Columbus, OH
3,871 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by jannandjohn
But to compare just Hal, and Ncl, (without doing Princess, which is similar to Hal....With Restaurant venues)
...........................
Westerdam

Vista Dining Room:
Pinnacle Grill:
Lido Restaurant:
Explorations Café
Room service
............................

NCL

Blue Lagoon
Cagney's Steakhouse
Garden Café/Kid's Café
Great Outdoors Bar
Indigo Main Dining Room
La Cucina Italian Restaurant
Le Bistro French Restaurant
Lotus Garden Asian Restaurant
Moderno Churrascaria
24/7 Pizza
Room Service
Sky High Bar & Grill
Summer Palace Main Dining Room
Sushi and Sashimi Bar
Teppanyaki
Topsiders Bar & Grill
I'm curious those.... that's a lot of places listed, how many of them are for a fee places? I was under the impression that NCL has a lot of them that charge extra. While I am a foodie I don't want to have to pay for 75% of the dining venus on a ship.

Speaking of food (if we're going to use that as a comparison), how is the quality of the food on the other lines in comparision to NCL in the free venues? Does the dining room rate the same?

As for the comments about ages on these ships, they are long days and port intensive so how many people regardless of age really want to stay up late and party? An Alaskan cruise is about the ports more than anything else. I've done two Southern cruises (which are also port intensive) on Carnival (the party ships) twice and there wasn't much late night activity because everyone was simply worn out by the end of the day.
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HAL Westerdam / Eastern Caribbean /October 31,2015
RCL Adventure of the Seas / Southern Caribbean /January 25, 2015
HAL Veendam / Canada & New England /June 7, 2014
RCL Oasis of the Seas / Western Caribbean / February 4, 2012
Carnival Victory / Southern Caribbean / February 6, 2011
Carnival Destiny / Southern Caribbean / December 12, 2004
#13
The Third Coast - Nashville
7,890 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
None of the lines you mentioned are mushy. Sorry, couldn't resist.

As already stated, Alaska is more about the ports than the ship or onboard activities. I lean towards HAL and Princess. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the ships you've listed. You're correct in your assumption that a lot of the dining options on NCL are pay-per-view.

Roz
#14
633 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
bit rude saying princess and hal are geriatric cruise lines ,done alaske twice on princes and had a great time amongst folks of all ages .
each cruiser has their preferd line have a look at the cruise itinary itself where it goes then the cruise line .
alaska is a fantastic cruise holiday, seen whales galore enjoy
#15
Houston, Texas, USA
3,567 Posts
Joined May 2002
We've sailed to Alaska on Celebrity, HAL, and most recently on NCL. We're booked on the Grand Princess from San Francisco to Alaska in May of 2013. You'll have a great time on any line you choose.

Something to consider is docking position in port. HAL seems to have the best spots. It's really nice to walk-off the ship right into town. This year in Juneau, on NCL, we were docked several miles from town. Had to take a shuttle ($3 per person) or walk several miles.

Another thing to consider is the type of accommodations you plan to choose. HAL's cabins are larger and the finishes are better than NCL... except in the suite category. NCL's suite program is wonderful... especially in The Haven.

We have sailed to Alaska on Celebrity... it is somewhere between HAL and NCL, and prevails (in our opinion) with it's restricted smoking policy.

All of that being said, HAL knows how to do Alaska as they are the pioneer of Alaska cruising. But, NCL has more dining flexibility that works with late/multiple excursions. If you plan to spend most of your time off the ship with activities, I'd choose NCL. If you plan to enjoy the scenery, walk around town and then enjoy the ship/cruise, I'd choose HAL.

JMO....

B