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Please help me decide! Celebrity or Norwegian to Alaska


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For weeks I have been trying to choose between two cruises to Alaska in September. They both come out about even price wise, so my deciding factors are ports and boats themselves (with more emphasis on ports). Anyone have thoughts on these? I'd really love some more input!

 

Here are the options:

1) Celebrity Solstice - 11 nights - 9/11 - 9/22

Seattle

Ketchikan

Tracy Arm

Skagway

Icy Strait

Inside Passage

Juneau

Victoria

Nanaimo

Vancouver

 

2) Norwegian Jewel - 10 nights - 9/19 - 9/29

Seattle

Inside Passage

Ketchikan

Juneau

Skagway

Glacier Bay

Icy Strait

Sitka

Victoria

Vancouver

 

The main differences are Tracy Arm vs. Glacier Bay and Nanaimo vs. Sitka.

 

Thanks so much for your help! I'll post this both in Alaska and main board.

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They come out even price wise? Typically that means the Celebrity cruise is a steal. In almost any case I would take the Celebrity ship over NCL in that case, but for Alaska, I would not miss Glacier Bay if you haven't done it before.

 

We have, so we're back to X for our upcoming trip.

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For weeks I have been trying to choose between two cruises to Alaska in September. They both come out about even price wise, so my deciding factors are ports and boats themselves (with more emphasis on ports). Anyone have thoughts on these? I'd really love some more input!

 

.....

 

The main differences are Tracy Arm vs. Glacier Bay and Nanaimo vs. Sitka.

 

Thanks so much for your help! I'll post this both in Alaska and main board.

 

To me, Alaska is about the ports, not the ship. I love Celebrity's S-class ships, but the NCL Jewel, on which I've also sailed, is fine.

 

Unsolicited comment: unless you are wedded to one of these itineraries, I would suggest looking into a one-way cruise that starts or ends in Alaska, so that you can spend real time in the state. An Alaska cruise is nice, but it's nothing compared with spending some time on land, even if it's a few days that enable you to see Denali, and/or Kenai Fjords National Park (via small boat from Seward), things like that. Really easy to drive yourself around.

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The differences in itinerary are actually subtle...You will be happy withe either of those itineraries...

 

But ship and cruise line make this a complete "No Contest"...

What you're asking is like asking "I can get a steak dinner at Denny's or at Ruth's Chris for the same price...which should I choose?"

 

Celebrity is EASILY the better cruise line, Solstice is easily the better ship...

 

And, as to various other itineraries, normally, I'd also say go with the one-way southbound...except these itineraries are somewhat unusual as they are 10 or 11 nights rather than 7 nights...The seven nighters that go, for example, Seattle Round Trip, take too much time backtracking...With 10 or 11 nights, you get a little more leeway...

 

And, having cruised with Princess my last two cruises, I would also tell you, as between Princess and Celebrity, take Celebrity...

 

A couple of other things to consider on the itineraries...

Most port hour are similar except you get 2 more hours in Ketchikan, 2 more hours in ISP and another 1.5 hours in Juneau on Celebrity...while NCL gives you 1.25 extra hours in Skagway...All of those ports really have sufficient time either way, but longer hours does give you some more flexibility...

The other big difference is the hours in Victoria...where Celebrity pulls in at 7:00 am while NCL arrives at Noon...Celebrity has you departing at 5:00, NCL stays until midnight...Midnight is okay if you're having dinner off the ship...If you're heading back to the ship for dinner and entertainment, Celebrity's hours are better...

 

AND, of course, Celebrity has that one extra at-sea day...and is one day longer overall

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At the same price I would definitely choose Celebrity over Norwegian. I find that X ships have more elegance and sophistication to them.

 

However, have you considered Holland America. We are cruising Alaska this summer and chose HAL because of their great land based tour. We are taking the two week option that will take us to the Yukon and multiple Alaskan sites including 3 days in Denali. We wanted to experience the interior and real nature, something that cannot be done from a cruise ship.

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Thank you all so much for your thoughts -- we have sailed both Norwegian and Celebrity and definitely know the difference in cruise line (but we did love both!). I want to pick the Celebrity sailing, but I also really want to go to Sitka and Glacier Bay. We are traveling with our new daughter this time around so would like to stick to the ease of "cruise only" vs including a land tour. My ideal itinerary is actually the 14 day Holland America cruise, but it's a little too pricey for us right now.

 

I suppose the next biggest thing I should consider is weather. The Celebrity option is earlier, so perhaps a little better. We don't mind rain or cool temperatures, but storms might make it a little more difficult - you just never know what you're going to get.

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We have done seven X cruises and five NCL. We prefer Celebrity.

 

We recently booked the northbound NCL Sun 5 Sept 16 from Vancouver.

 

I analyzed the prices with special offers from both.

We picked NCL over X because the ultimate cost for the basic cruise with bennies was hundreds of dollars pp less.

Also, we booked an aft balcony and our adult daughter stays with us in the cabin FREE.

Further, I compared cruisetours for both lines and NCL was cheaper.

 

Another note, we were advised by cc friends that the best Alaska cruises are northbound from Vancouver. You go through the inside passage and you see the best part of the cruise at the end, not the beginning.

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for weeks i have been trying to choose between two cruises to alaska in september. They both come out about even price wise, so my deciding factors are ports and boats themselves (with more emphasis on ports). Anyone have thoughts on these? I'd really love some more input!

 

Here are the options:

1) celebrity solstice - 11 nights - 9/11 - 9/22

seattle

ketchikan

tracy arm

skagway

icy strait

inside passage

juneau

victoria

nanaimo

vancouver

 

2) norwegian jewel - 10 nights - 9/19 - 9/29

seattle

inside passage

ketchikan

juneau

skagway

glacier bay

icy strait

sitka

victoria

vancouver

 

the main differences are tracy arm vs. Glacier bay and nanaimo vs. Sitka.

 

Thanks so much for your help! I'll post this both in alaska and main board.

 

without a doubt, any celebrity ship over ncl - anytime, anywhere!

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Based strictly on the itinerary, I'd go with NCL.

 

I've done both Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay, and while both are great, Glacier Bay is an experience of a lifetime. IMO, it's the most beautiful place I've ever visited on a cruise. Period. Tracy Arm Fjords is incredible and awe-inspiring, as is Sawyer Glacier, but it pales to Glacier Bay.

 

Just my 2¢.

Edited by Kevin T Brown
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I wrestled with the same dilemma, and ended up booking the Celebrity 9/11 cruise. I just like Celebrity so much more, even if it meant missing Glacier Bay.

 

I've heard that I'll probably fall so in love with Alaska that I'll want to go over and over .. maybe then I'll try a different line to get the different itineraries :)

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It's a classic case of ship versus itinerary isn't it. Just really want to sail with Celebrity but must see Glacier Bay (as an Aussie it really is too far to assume I will return).

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I wrestled with the same dilemma, and ended up booking the Celebrity 9/11 cruise. I just like Celebrity so much more, even if it meant missing Glacier Bay.

 

I've heard that I'll probably fall so in love with Alaska that I'll want to go over and over .. maybe then I'll try a different line to get the different itineraries :)

 

I think you made the right choice, ESPECIALLY if you may see Alaska again. We fell in love with Alaska last summer on Celebrity, and want to go back as many times as we can find a new interesting itinerary. ;)

 

Holland America has the majority of our interest moving forward, but I wouldn't turn down the cruise you just booked either.

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I sailed on the NCL Pearl to Alaska and I loved it. The ports swung our decision. If you can do the flight over the 5 glaciers stopping for lunch at Takku Lodge, this truly was a highlight as the flight was stunning and the BBQ salmon lunch delicious but when the bears came into the lodge area hoping to get any left overs this was amazing. Also if you feel up to it take the Glondike Gold train ride and book yourselves on the excursion to cycle back down. We hadn't been on a bicycle for about 30 years and we loved it 'all downhill' what could be better with wonderful scenery. Have a lovely trip whomever you chose to sail with.

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