Which Company/Ship for Alaska Cruise?


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#1
UK
125 Posts
Joined May 2015
We’ve enjoyed 2 Med cruises on Oceana over the past 2 years but would now like to plan an Alaskan cruise. We don’t really know where to start.
What do P&O ers who have done this think are the main considerations/differences?
We can do without formal evenings and prefer Freedom Dining but we do enjoy good quality food.
We would also want a cabin with a balcony.
How do the various lines compare with P&O and each other?
I’ll be posting on the Alaskan forum but thought asking for advice from P&O ers would be a good place to start.
#2
Staffordshire
1,171 Posts
Joined May 2011
We have been to Alaska twice, both times with Princess. The first time we combined it with a trip through the Rockies and would do It again in a heartbeat. The second time we flew to San Francisco and went up the west coast of USA so that we could meet up with family who live over there. We loved both trips and would do either again if we were still able to fly. My favourite was definitely the first time because the week through the Rockies was spectacular. My sister did it on Celebrity and said that it was the best cruise they have ever done. Whatever line you choose have a balcony.
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#3
1,362 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
We prefer the Celebrity Solstice Class over Princess Grand Class.


Balcony cabins are larger, being more the size of a P&O deluxe balcony (mini suite on Princess) on Ventura, i.e.they have a sofa area as well as the bed.


The other big bonus, particularly on an Alaskan cruise is the large Crows Nest bar on Celebrity. There is no such bar on Princess Grand Class, in fact finding anywhere on a Grand Class where you can see outside is difficult, so its balcony or open decks.


No formal evenings on Celebrity. Freedom is available. Food is Similar to P&O, varied with plenty of ever presents. Buffet is a food court with food from all corners of the Globe. If you want a full English, American even a Chinese or Indian breakfast it is provided.


Ensure you get a drinks package as part of the booking, drinks are crazy money on both lines.
#4
London
656 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
We went with HAL on a sister ship to Arcadia. So all very similar. They said there were formal nights so we took usual black tie stuff. We were the only mugs on board who bothered. Most yanks stayed in shorts and tee shirts. Next time we are planning to use Princess, but after reading above I will check out Celebrity too.


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Van Gogh - Fjords - 2006 Athena - Iceland - 2007
Artemis - Baltic - 2008. Arcadia - Fjords - 2009
Balmoral - Spitzbergen - 2010. Zuiderdam-Alaska -2011
Balmoral - mini - 2012. Queen Victoria-mini
Rachmaninov - Moscow/St Petersburg - 2012
Oriana - Iberia - 2013. Bremen - Antarctica - 2014
Adonia - Caribbean - 2015. Expedition - Arctic - 2015
Riviera - East Med - 2015

SplendourOTSeas - Dubai-2016
Queen Victoria - CapeTown/Soton - 2016
Arcadia - Fjords - 2016
Oriana - Northern Lights 2017
#5
Southern UK
170 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
We did the San Francisco flight, 3 days taking in that area then 10 days on Golden Princess. The contrast between the heat of SF and the cooler northern climes added to the holiday.

I feel P&O and Princess are very similar, with Princess costing a little more and therefore, as one would expect, ‘edging it’ just a little. The food is more North American, very meat-heavy, but is good if you chose wisely. Certainly as good as P&O.

In my experience, Princess excursions are excellent. The geographic and wildlife expert on board was also top notch.

The passengers were mostly American; a great many were Californian. There were formal evenings but plenty did not dress up.

I’m sure you will enjoy Alaska, whichever line you chose
#6
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
828 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
It also depends what you want out of the trip. I am in the process of planning this for 2019 and I want to do a land-tour in Alaska too. This means between 5 & 7 days touring Alaska, going to Denali National Park and then a 7 night one-way cruise. I am concentrating on Princess and HAL as they seem to offer the best choice of cruise-tours.
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Andrew

Past: Cunard QE2 & Queen Elizabeth; P&O Victoria, Oriana, Arcadia, Aurora, Oceana, Azura; Sea Princess; Celebrity Summit; Fred Olsen Black Watch, Saga Ruby, Portuscale MV Funchal, MS Mayfair (Nile River Cruise), Marella Discovery 2.

Future: CMV Marco Polo to Iceland (2018), P&O Azura to Amsterdam(2019), Coral Princess to Alaska (2019).
#7
1,331 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
The good news is that the three main cruise lines in Alaska [Princess, HAL, Celebrity] are all much better than P&O, so whichever one you choose will be of a superior quality than Oceana.
#9
Malvern, Worcestershire, England
645 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Originally posted by Britboys
It also depends what you want out of the trip. I am in the process of planning this for 2019 and I want to do a land-tour in Alaska too. This means between 5 & 7 days touring Alaska, going to Denali National Park and then a 7 night one-way cruise. I am concentrating on Princess and HAL as they seem to offer the best choice of cruise-tours.
We did similar last May, and chose Princess particularly because they seemed to offer good land-based tours. Ours started in Fairbanks and ended on the Kenai peninsula (and included Denali, of course, and one leg by train), followed by one way cruise south to Vancouver, and the organisation was outstanding. We also believe Princess has more licences to visit Glacier Bay than the others, although I suspect HAL has plenty, too. Please ask if you want more info.

PS To echo simonpjd, any stated evening dress code was a waste of time, many passengers seemed to interpret smart casual as scruffy, and like Simon, I was one of just a handful in black tie on the so-called formal evenings.
#10
1,331 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
I have never been to Alaska but I was told by a travel agent to go with Princess or HAL as they licences to enter Glacier Bay. Not sure how true this is now.


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That is correct.

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#11
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
828 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by Sekhmet
We did similar last May, and chose Princess particularly because they seemed to offer good land-based tours. Ours started in Fairbanks and ended on the Kenai peninsula (and included Denali, of course, and one leg by train), followed by one way cruise south to Vancouver, and the organisation was outstanding. We also believe Princess has more licences to visit Glacier Bay than the others, although I suspect HAL has plenty, too. Please ask if you want more info.

PS To echo simonpjd, any stated evening dress code was a waste of time, many passengers seemed to interpret smart casual as scruffy, and like Simon, I was one of just a handful in black tie on the so-called formal evenings.
Many thanks for that. Any thoughts you have on the Kenai part of your tour would be welcome. Apologies to the OP for butting in!
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Andrew

Past: Cunard QE2 & Queen Elizabeth; P&O Victoria, Oriana, Arcadia, Aurora, Oceana, Azura; Sea Princess; Celebrity Summit; Fred Olsen Black Watch, Saga Ruby, Portuscale MV Funchal, MS Mayfair (Nile River Cruise), Marella Discovery 2.

Future: CMV Marco Polo to Iceland (2018), P&O Azura to Amsterdam(2019), Coral Princess to Alaska (2019).
#13
Malvern, Worcestershire, England
645 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Originally posted by Britboys
Many thanks for that. Any thoughts you have on the Kenai part of your tour would be welcome. Apologies to the OP for butting in!
The Princess lodge in Kenai was our favourite of the four we stayed in (Fairbanks, Denali and McKinley were the others), partly because it was the smallest with just 84 rooms compared with the 300+ to 600+ of the others. The rooms were in log cabin blocks of 4, with a private porch and log-burning stove. There were various walks in the grounds available, in woodland or along the river bank.

We also took a trip down the peninsula to Seward, about an hour away along an official Scenic Byway, and spent a few hours starting in the excellent Visitor Centre and then just general exploration. When we left the Lodge, at a civilised hour, it was about a two hour drive to the cruise terminal at Whittier.

I'd also just add that the staff and people we encountered, not just in Kenai, but all over Alaska, were amongst the friendliest and most helpful we've been lucky enough to meet in all our years of travel. I'm sure you'll enjoy Alaska whichever combination of land and sea you choose.
#14
UK
125 Posts
Joined May 2015
All comments most welcome and useful.
It is the cruise details which we are most interested in.
We love Alaska.
5 years ago we hired a motor home in Anchorage and travelled around for 2 weeks. We stayed at a camp site right in Denali for 4 nights and spent some time in Kenai.
We also saw the brown bears feeding on salmon in Katmai NP during a camping trip.
Now we would like to see the parts of Alaska which you can only see from the water and as we are both in our 70s we think a bit of comfort is overdue!