What is the best Cruise Line from Seattle or Vancouver BC to Alaska?

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#1
Eastern Washington State
70 Posts
Joined Aug 2017
Will be scheduling a 2019 summer cruise to Alaska in a few months and will have an aft balony, and because of a need for shade will be looking for a shaded swimming pool and/or jacuzzi/hot tub.
Was a ship inspector for the Coast Guard and liked Norwegian ships, but the current decor on Norwegian ships in not my style.
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HAL...Eurodam, Sept 16-23, 2017 Alaska

.HAL, Westerdam, April 12, 2018 Hawaii

Carnival Legend... Alaska, Aug 2018. because other cruise line was late in booking my Cabin #..


HAL or Other line to FL via Panama Canal from Vancouver, BC or Seattle. 2019.


Alaska again 2019 and 2020.


Remove the stabilizers so we can have a natural cruise. Luv "Ocean Motion" cruises.

usn 6, uscgr 10, usnr 6 = 22 . . . . nws 33 . . . North nam Vet.



#2
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
29,481 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
There is no one "best" cruise line for everyone, or for every situation. As we don't know you, it is very hard to recommend a cruise line for you. A travel agent can be of assistance for you.

Most cruise ships have shade around their pool areas, although the pools may not be fully shaded at all times.

Some reading on the Alaska board, here:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=55

will get you a lot of info on the aspects of cruising Alaska, which may help you narrow this very broad question.
#3
4 hours and 38 minutes from the closest cruise terminal
10,679 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Many of the ships that sail in Alaska will have an indoor (glass covered) pool. Some will have a dedicated indoor pool while others will have a main pool with a retractable roof. Check out various deck plans to see which ship layout apeases you.

As far as which cruise line is best for Alaska, it will be a bit hard to give you advice based on the limited information that you've provided. Are you looking for an easy roundtrip option from Seattle? Are you looking for a one way cruise that allows you more time in port and an opportunity to see more of Alaska? Are you planning on combining your cruise with a land tour? Are you interested in specific destinations? Do you have a preference for glacier watching destinations?

The two biggest cruise lines with the most number of ships in Alaska are Holland America and Princess and they will give you the most varied itineraries. They also have the most permits to transit Glacier Bay which is one of the most sought after destinations. Other cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity don't have permits to go to Glacier Bay so they will go to Hubbard Glacier or Tracy Arm instead. Norwegian and Carnival do have permits to go to Glacier Bay but in more limited quantities.

Overall, I'd recommend that you look at itinerary FIRST and then see what cruise lines and/or ships offer that itinerary. You can then narrow things down further based on your personal preferences. Are you looking for the high energy of Royal Caribbean? The elegance of Princess? The timeless, traditional experience of Holland America? The casual and relaxed atmosphere of NCL? The modern luxury of Celebrity? You mentioned that NCL's decor is not your style. Are you looking for something more upscale and refined? Or for something more casual and relaxed?

We selected Holland America for our Alaska cruise. We wanted a Saturday or Sunday departure, roundtrip from Seattle, and an itinerary that visited Glacier Bay. That narrowed things down considerably. When we learned that Holland America was offering a kids sail free promotion, we chose the Westerdam. The ship had a pool and jacuzzis covered with a retractable roof as well as a full service spa with thermal suite and thalassotherapy pool. We used these facilities frequently during the cruise. The ship was smaller than other ships we've sailed on recently, and the ambiance was more subdued and classic (no rock climbing walls, zip lines, ropes courses, water slides, IMAX theaters or any other litany of things that are more commonly found on newer larger ships these days). But one thing that you'll learn about an Alaska cruise is that these sailings are mostly about what's outside than what's inside the ship, so once again, select your itinerary wisely.


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#5
Greenville, SC, USA
52,280 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
As said above, "best" is subjective. We have been to Alaska 3 times with Princess. One of them included a one week land tour. We loved them. SO we would vote for Princess.
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Paul
#6
90,020 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
As mentioned there is no best.

So many factors to include include the cost of the cruise.

I would get a TA to help you with this. First figure out what lines sail the itinerary. Look at costs to see which ones fit your budget and then do the research to see which line/ships appeal to you.

Keith
#7
Las Vegas
11,135 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by klfrodo
The BEST?

Alaska State Ferry
+1. I love the ferries. They do a better job of cruising AK than any of the cruise ships.

DON
#8
108,085 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We have been to Alaska quite a few times, various itineraries on 3 different cruise lines.


A really great itinerary is HAL's 14 day cruise round trip out of Seattle. Besides visiting Homer, Kodiak and Anchorage which most cruise lines don't visit, you also go to Tracy Arm and Hubbard Glacier.
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#9
The Third Coast - Nashville
7,879 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Carnival also does Glacier Bay on a couple of sailings per year. In fact, my best trip to Alaska of the 4 I've done was an 8-day on Carnival, leaving from Seattle and returning to Vancouver. Weather was perfect and Glacier Bay was magnificent.

Roz
#10
Eastern Washington State
70 Posts
Joined Aug 2017
Originally posted by Roz
Carnival also does Glacier Bay on a couple of sailings per year. In fact, my best trip to Alaska of the 4 I've done was an 8-day on Carnival, leaving from Seattle and returning to Vancouver. Weather was perfect and Glacier Bay was magnificent.

Roz
.........................................
Sounds grrreat, but I like to return to the port I left on and drive home.
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HAL...Eurodam, Sept 16-23, 2017 Alaska

.HAL, Westerdam, April 12, 2018 Hawaii

Carnival Legend... Alaska, Aug 2018. because other cruise line was late in booking my Cabin #..


HAL or Other line to FL via Panama Canal from Vancouver, BC or Seattle. 2019.


Alaska again 2019 and 2020.


Remove the stabilizers so we can have a natural cruise. Luv "Ocean Motion" cruises.

usn 6, uscgr 10, usnr 6 = 22 . . . . nws 33 . . . North nam Vet.



#11
The Third Coast - Nashville
7,879 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Originally posted by HvySeezFcstr
.........................................
Sounds grrreat, but I like to return to the port I left on and drive home.
I would feel the same way if I lived in Washington State and could drive to my cruise.

Roz
#12
Eastern Washington State
70 Posts
Joined Aug 2017
Thanks for all the tips. I will be looking for a ship with copious amounts of shade available, and hope to cruise under ensconced skies.
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HAL...Eurodam, Sept 16-23, 2017 Alaska

.HAL, Westerdam, April 12, 2018 Hawaii

Carnival Legend... Alaska, Aug 2018. because other cruise line was late in booking my Cabin #..


HAL or Other line to FL via Panama Canal from Vancouver, BC or Seattle. 2019.


Alaska again 2019 and 2020.


Remove the stabilizers so we can have a natural cruise. Luv "Ocean Motion" cruises.

usn 6, uscgr 10, usnr 6 = 22 . . . . nws 33 . . . North nam Vet.



#13
RI
629 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
We were on RC Radiance of the Seas last month from Seward to Vancouver. Loved the ship, itinerary and the enclosed Solarium.

Karen
#14
Greenville, SC, USA
52,280 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by Roz
I would feel the same way if I lived in Washington State and could drive to my cruise.

Roz
Last year we took a one week northbond cruise from Vancouver to Whittier, a 7 day land tour and then a 7 day southbound cruise from Whittier to Vancouver. The trip was on Princess, but I think HAL offers similar itineraries.
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Paul
#15
Greenville, SC, USA
52,280 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by kgm0612
We were on RC Radiance of the Seas last month from Seward to Vancouver. Loved the ship, itinerary and the enclosed Solarium.

Karen
I believe that RCI is not allowed into Glacier Bay which is the best part of an Alaskan cruise.
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Paul
#16
The Big Easy
18,998 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by kgm0612
We were on RC Radiance of the Seas last month from Seward to Vancouver. Loved the ship, itinerary and the enclosed Solarium.
I did that same itinerary on Celebrity Millennium and it was excellent. I actually enjoyed that cruise more than my HAL cruise that went to Glacier Bay.
#17
Orange County, CA, USA
2,106 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
7-day: Inside Passage, HAL out of Vancouver up to and including Glacier Bay. There will be (at least) two ships doing this itinerary, one with weekend departure, one mid-week. Looks like the ship assignments have not been published for 2019; the pattern has been one of the Signature-class (larger/newer) ships for the weekend and one of the R-class (smaller/older ships) for midweek, with a few non-repeating runs by other ships, early and late in the season.
14-day: Great Alaskan Explorer, HAL out of Seattle up to and including Anchorage. On one of the R-class ships.

I can't speak to shaded pool/hottub areas because we don't use them. Seems like loungers are going to be in the sun as much as possible. All the HAL ships that would be doing either of these itineraries would have a retractable cover over the main pool most if not all of the time on an Alaska cruise! Here is the HAL sub-forum to ask about shade: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=171
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#18
Colorado
482 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by HvySeezFcstr
Will be scheduling a 2019 summer cruise to Alaska in a few months and will have an aft balony, and because of a need for shade will be looking for a shaded swimming pool and/or jacuzzi/hot tub.
Was a ship inspector for the Coast Guard and liked Norwegian ships, but the current decor on Norwegian ships in not my style.
I love all the three lines I have cruised. They offer different experiences. My husband is not a cruise fan but we took NCL to Alaska and he loved it. Probably the scenery but the experience was more "grown up" than Carnival. It was a very casual atmosphere but quieter than Carnival. We wore jeans and hiking boots on most tours and drank beer from buckets. No frue frue drink in sight. Love those but this cruise was just different.
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RCCI Vision of the Seas, January 2018
Norwegian Gem, September 2017
RCCI Adventures of the Seas, April 2016
Norwegian Sun, July 2013
Carnival Destiny, January 2011
Carnival Ecstasy, November 2008
#19
Charlotte, NC
2,776 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Just returned 9/9 on the HAL Eurodam - it was a great trip!
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9/2012 - Carnival Victory
5/2012 - Carnival Elation
6/2011 - Carnival Fascination