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Once in a lifetime cruise: Best options?

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Hello!

 

 

I've decided to take a cruise (Vancouver to Alaska) on Celebrity Cruise lines. This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm wondering what the best options are to make it as amazing as possible!

 

 

AquaClass's amenities sound appealing, but so do the Suites'. Food and drink will be a big part of the experience. What dining and beverage packages are available? Luminae or Blue? What are your dining experiences at those restaurants? What are their menus like, and which is better?

 

 

What have your overall cruise experiences been like?

 

 

Hoping to have a wonderful cruise!

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Man, I don't want to rain on your parade, and I enjoy the dickens out of Celebrity, but if this is your ONLY lifetime trip to Alaska, go on Princess, because Princess goes to Glacier Bay.

 

 

No matter which cruise line you end up choosing, include at least a few days on land, because the ship doesn't go to Denali or Kenai or Copper River.

 

 

I know it sounds snarky, but if you are really interested in the food and drink and the suites vs AquaClass, you are kind of missing the point of Alaska? Sorry. It's just that Alaska is an expensive, port intensive trip, and as long as you are in a balcony cabin you will get the most important part of ship experience - and even that is not that important, we had a balcony in Alaska, but spent more time up on the top of the deck. I think the ship experience of food and drink is way more important in say the Caribbean where you might spend more time at night enjoying all that. Alaska is like a Europe cruise - you should be too tired to care if you have top shelf gin and tonics, :)

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I'm smiling for you. Back in 2002 my husband surprised me with an Alaskan Cruise. We both thought it would be a once in a lifetime trip. Now 9 cruises later we always say "this will probably be the Last one" , Alaska is a beautiful part of the country. You won't be disappointed. I know that Alaska is port intensive (meaning that there are many places to see and many things to do), so you don't really spend much time in the cabin. We have been more than satisfied with a Veranda cabin. We haven't tried a Suite or Aqua Class cabin. Those perks are really nice. I do hope that you have an opportunity to do a land tour along with the cruise. Celebrity goes first class all the way with their hotels and land transport. You won't regret it. Have a fun trip.

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It's a great trip and a land excursion added to it. We flew to Anchorage, rented a car & drove to Denali National park . We stayed at a hotel at the entrance & took the park tour. We then returned to Anchorage, took the train (wonderful experience) to Seward where we boarded the ship & cruised south to Vancouver.

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I am a big fan of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean BUT I agree with cangelmd. I have been on cruises to Alaska on Celebrity and Princess. Princess cruises go to Glacier Bay and that is spectacular. Also rather than spending money on a suite I would take a land tour to Denali (with the cruiseline or on your own). I am not an animal scenery person but Denali is an absolute must see if you can possibly swing the time and money. We did the Tundra Wilderness tour in Denali getting to the bus at 4:30 in the morning - and it was worth the early early morning.

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Hello!

 

 

I've decided to take a cruise (Vancouver to Alaska) on Celebrity Cruise lines. This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm wondering what the best options are to make it as amazing as possible!

 

 

AquaClass's amenities sound appealing, but so do the Suites'. Food and drink will be a big part of the experience. What dining and beverage packages are available? Luminae or Blue? What are your dining experiences at those restaurants? What are their menus like, and which is better?

 

 

What have your overall cruise experiences been like?

 

 

Hoping to have a wonderful cruise!

 

Since you stated that food and beverage are a big part of your vacation, I recommend you consider a suite and Luminae... both will be wonderful at the end of day and you just want that extra space and time to chill...

 

 

By doing suite, you may have a specialty dining package included, check that out, yet with only two (2) SD's on Millennium, not to worry about that, much.

 

Were you wanting a vacation with little to no real thought about who, what, when and where, explore X's land tours of Alaska otherwise you may want to consider planning and going at your own pace and hitting the highlights of choice... You can peruse the Alaska board here on CC as well to get some good ideas as to activities and etc...

 

While it is true that X does not sail into Glacier Bay, there are other glaciers X sails into and in a port or two you can get a tour into a few more.... We drove to one, I flew into and landed on one... and X did a 360 in waters of one.

 

At any rate, you will have lots of research to do and things to consider.

 

bon voyage

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I love celebrity suite perks, far superior to rccl and Hal, great suite lounge and suite restaurant , I would splurge on something bigger than a sky suite

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Having done both a cruise (on RCCL) and having spent a fair amount of time on land (relatives live in AK), I suggest you divide your questions.

 

First, what are you hoping to get out of AK? Do you want to see glaciers? Do you want to go whale watching? Do you want to see wildlife (bears, goats)? Do you want to fish? Do you want to do white water rafting (really fun!)? The answers to the above will help you decide what cruise you want to take based on where it goes and and whether you should do a land tour as well (you should if you really want to see AK!).

 

Your cabin is another issue. Everyone has price points and, without knowing yours, folks here can only tell you what you will get for your added dollar and how much time you'll have to enjoy it.

 

I recommend a balcony cabin because there is a lot to see and it's nice to be able to watch the glacier, etc. without having to dress in warm clothes to go up on deck. As to whether to splurge for a suite . . . you won't spend much time in your cabin in AK because you will likely be in port all day. You also may not spend as much time in Michael's as on certain other cruises -- and it's not a huge benefit if you have a drinks package. And, if you want to splurge on food, you can always get a specialty dining package. So, is it worth the extra money for Luminae and Michaels and extra space? . . . only you can answer that.

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I agree with ggo85. If this is to be a once in a lifetime cruise, I would go with AQ class as it is half the price of a suite (unless you get a bargain on a suite). Frankly, we were in Luminae and then Blu on the next segment of a cruise and we preferred Blu to Luminae. You could get a 3 day Specialty restaurant package if you want some special meals and with the money you saved over a suite class, you could cruise a second time!:)

 

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic.

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Celebrity is our brand of choice but after doing extensive research on Alaska went with Princess and have no regrets. Alaskan cruises (at least for us) are not relaxing, sit by the pool vacations. They'e port intensive and to get the most out of them you will be off the ship for much of the day, only returning to eat and sleep.

 

As has been recommended by several, rather than a suite believe you'd be better off booking a veranda and applying the savings to a land add-on. Spend a couple of days in Denali (take the 8 hour tour) and ride the glass domed Alaskan Railroad.

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Hello!

 

 

I've decided to take a cruise (Vancouver to Alaska) on Celebrity Cruise lines. This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm wondering what the best options are to make it as amazing as possible!

 

 

AquaClass's amenities sound appealing, but so do the Suites'. Food and drink will be a big part of the experience. What dining and beverage packages are available? Luminae or Blue? What are your dining experiences at those restaurants? What are their menus like, and which is better?

 

 

What have your overall cruise experiences been like?

 

 

Hoping to have a wonderful cruise!

 

IMO, you could spend less on a balcony stateroom and still get the same scenic views. Most of the time, cruising the Inside Passage, Hubbard Glacier, or Glacier Bay National Park is best seen from outside decks.

If it’s going to be a once in a lifetime Alaska experience, have you considered a Cruise Tour combining land + cruise? Alaska is huge, and more to see than just from a cruise ship.

Besides Celebrity, have you looked into Princess, another mass market cruise line? Also, if cuisine is important to you, look into a luxury cruise line like Oceania. IMO, the service, cuisine, and 600 passenger small ship ambiance is a cut above 2000+ passenger Celebrity. Princess or mid level cruise lines.

So, why not treat yourself to a luxery cruise line experience if it’s going to be a once in a lifetime experience?

Enjoy your cruise. :)

Edited by Kingofcool1947

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Hello!

 

 

I've decided to take a cruise (Vancouver to Alaska) on Celebrity Cruise lines. This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm wondering what the best options are to make it as amazing as possible!

 

 

AquaClass's amenities sound appealing, but so do the Suites'. Food and drink will be a big part of the experience. What dining and beverage packages are available? Luminae or Blue? What are your dining experiences at those restaurants? What are their menus like, and which is better?

 

 

What have your overall cruise experiences been like?

 

 

Hoping to have a wonderful cruise!

 

Can’t go wrong with Celebrity in Alaska, same experience as Princess, except Celebrity goes to Hubard glacier. Princess does offer more choices of itineraries due to the six ships in the region versus only two for Celebrity. Balcony room is a must.

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Man, I don't want to rain on your parade, and I enjoy the dickens out of Celebrity, but if this is your ONLY lifetime trip to Alaska, go on Princess, because Princess goes to Glacier Bay.

 

 

We just got back from Alaska with Holland America - they share a lot of things with Princess. Definitely do a land portion - we had cruised to Alaska 3 times before but this was our first to Glacier Bay and Denali. So worth it!

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Hi there,

 

We cruised Celebrity Solstice from Vancouver a few weeks ago. We highly recommend it. We chose an aft sky suite and enjoyed the balcony, cabin size and perks. Although we were able to view the glacier from the heliport our return to our cabin offered equally fantastic views. With Luminae we never felt a need for specialty dining.

 

Enjoy it. Once you determine your must sees, there are plenty of excursions available to choose from. We did not feel as though we missed out. We will remember our trip forever!

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Agree with the others who are celebrity fans but would virtually always suggest HAL or Princess for Alaska.

 

I'll also add that one of my biggest travel regrets is NOT doing a land cruise trip when we did AK. We made the mistake of only doing the cruise.

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Man, I don't want to rain on your parade, and I enjoy the dickens out of Celebrity, but if this is your ONLY lifetime trip to Alaska, go on Princess, because Princess goes to Glacier Bay.

 

No matter which cruise line you end up choosing, include at least a few days on land, because the ship doesn't go to Denali or Kenai or Copper River.

 

I am a big fan of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean BUT I agree with cangelmd. I have been on cruises to Alaska on Celebrity and Princess. Princess cruises go to Glacier Bay and that is spectacular. Also rather than spending money on a suite I would take a land tour to Denali (with the cruiseline or on your own). I am not an animal scenery person but Denali is an absolute must see if you can possibly swing the time and money. We did the Tundra Wilderness tour in Denali getting to the bus at 4:30 in the morning - and it was worth the early early morning.

 

We are X fans and I work in the cruise industry, I agree comletely with the above.

When we take our next trip to Alaska, (we did our first on Celebrity), it will be with Princess.

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It's a great trip and a land excursion added to it. We flew to Anchorage, rented a car & drove to Denali National park . We stayed at a hotel at the entrance & took the park tour. We then returned to Anchorage, took the train (wonderful experience) to Seward where we boarded the ship & cruised south to Vancouver.

 

We did the same and it was awesome! We also sailed on Princess to Glacier Bay. HAL also sails in Glacier Bay. It is gorgeous!

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.... We both thought it would be a once in a lifetime trip. Now 9 cruises later we always say "this will probably be the Last one" , Alaska is a beautiful part of the country.

 

So funny ... because that's exactly what we said on our third through our eighth time up in Alaska. We are booked for later this summer for our 12th sailing up there. I now just say, we book Alaska at least once every other year. ;)

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I love celebrity suite perks, far superior to rccl and Hal, great suite lounge and suite restaurant , I would splurge on something bigger than a sky suite

 

Yes Celebrity is my go to cruise line and I really enjoy Millie. I can think of 4 cruises on Millie. We did Jan 2017 and March 2018 and 2 more some years back. We had done Alaska I'm thinking 5 times now. We live outside of Seattle, so it is a easy cruise of us. Today I was trying to get my parents to book an Alaska cruise tomorrow. As the last minute deals come out on Tuesday.

While other talk about Glacier Bay, I think Hubbard Glacier is the glacier to see.

We love the Suite Life. I do like Aquaclass and Blu is very nice. They really do take care of you in Sky Suites or higher. You can book your suite with all 4 perks if you wish.

As to Princess Cruise line. We have cruised with them 5 or 6 time, but not in their Club Class Mini Suites. Princess from their website do talk about a sectioned off area of the main dining room of suite guest. Celebrity has a private dining restaurant Luminae for suite guest. You can order off the Luminae or Main Dining Room menus. If you book Aqua Class you will dine in Blu. It is very nice and I have enjoyed many of meals at Blu.

Everyone budgets are different. Only you can decide what fits for you and your family. Enjoy your cruise.

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Hello!

 

 

I've decided to take a cruise (Vancouver to Alaska) on Celebrity Cruise lines. This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm wondering what the best options are to make it as amazing as possible!

 

 

AquaClass's amenities sound appealing, but so do the Suites'. Food and drink will be a big part of the experience. What dining and beverage packages are available? Luminae or Blue? What are your dining experiences at those restaurants? What are their menus like, and which is better?

 

 

What have your overall cruise experiences been like?

 

 

Hoping to have a wonderful cruise!

 

As in my previous post, we've cruised up in Alaska a number of times and Celebrity is our favorite cruiseline on which to do this itinerary.

 

We've eaten in Luminae once ... it was absolutely amazing! We've also booked Aqua Class and eaten in Blu on one Alaskan cruise. It was really great, too. The options on both menus were good, but overall, Luminae wins that contest!

 

With that being said, we've only booked a suite on a cruise once. Ahhhhhh....that was the best!! But, I agree with the others that Alaska will be amazing regardless of the cabin you choose. We've had anywhere for inside, oceanview, balcony, concierge, aqua and the one time in a suite and we've had an amazing time in each every time. One of our all time favorite sailings was on the Infinity in a midship inside cabin ... go figure!

 

Some suites will offer you free unlimited specialty restaurant dining. I highly recommend taking advantage of that if the category of the suite you might choose is offering that option. Most promos include the go best perks (premium beverage package, gratuities, onboard credit and unlimited internet) when you book a suite. Other cabin types will give you at least one or two of those perks but replace the premium beverage package with a classic package.

Specialty restaurant packages can be purchased pre-cruise where sometimes they have a deal if you purchase a 6+ dinner package. Or you can purchase one at the beginning of the cruise. You have to purchase one per person, you cannot share a 6 dinner package for 2 passengers. The 4 dinner package is pretty much best deal if you don't book a suite that offers the unlimited specialty dining.

It if were me, I would book a regular veranda and the 4 dinner specialty package ... and would probably still come out way ahead. It all depends on the pricing and perks being offered.

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I realize you have decided on Celebrity and we are devoted Celebrity Cruisers. But with that said, 2 years ago we sailed to Alaska on Holland America on their 14 night itinerary, and it was amazing! It is a true 14 night round trip out of Seattle, with many ports not usually called on when just going north or south bound.

 

We had an inside farthest forward and down as one could be but the room was secondary as most of our time was spent on deck.

 

The cruise was wonderful the fellow cruisers great company, seeing so many people every day they became like neighbors. It rained every day (July into August). And we had the most wonderful time.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Can’t go wrong with Celebrity in Alaska, same experience as Princess, except Celebrity goes to Hubard glacier. Princess does offer more choices of itineraries due to the six ships in the region versus only two for Celebrity. Balcony room is a must.

 

I have done Alaska on X and Princess twice and personally think that Princess does a better job overall, but Hubbard glacier is my favorite and I enjoy it more than Glacier Bay.

 

Also, if food is important to you then I would plan on eating as many meals on shore as possible - especially if you like seafood.

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We haven’t sailed to Alaska so I will just comment on the room choice. Definitely go Aqua Class or Suite. Although the food is very good in the MDR it’s just too loud for us. Dinner is much more relaxing in Blu or Luminae. Although we like Blu the best we also like Michaels Club for sea days. For port intensive cruises we choose AQ since we won’t spend a lot of time in the cabin or Michaels Club. Keep in mind if in a Suite you can eat in Blu on a space available basis and can also order off the MDR menu (which we did quite a few times. )

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You are clearly going to get suggestions that are all over the place. The most important decision before considering cabin level or dining venue is to choose a cruise that has the port stops you want to see most. Definitely start or end your cruise in Vancouver. This way you'll transit the full length of the inside passage (absolutely beautiful). We've cruised Alaska twice, once on Celebrity, once on HA. We definitely liked the Celebrity cruise more. The Millennium was able to get up close and personal with Hubbard glacier. It is immense! We cruised Glacier Bay on our next trip, which was pretty, but nothing like our Hubbard experience. Celebrity also stops at Icy Straight Point, which still has an old time Alaska feel and definitely the best whale watching around. If you go there try to book a private whale watch that spends time at Point Adolphus. As for where to sleep and eat, as others posted, Alaska is so beautiful that you won't care. Daylight hours are long, so we tended to stay out on deck until late at night. There is so much to see and do in ports that we were exhausted each day and had to force ourselves to bed so we could be up super early the next day. If you are an excursion lover you can sometimes squeeze in more than 1 excursion at some of the port stops, which can become expensive if you want to do a heli landing on a glacier, dog sled, go fishing, etc. My advice would be to book the lowest balcony cabin you can, book a specialty dining package, and save your cash for excursions of a lifetime. If you're able to afford a side trip to Denali then I'd add 5 nights to the tail end of the trip and fly home out of Anchorage or Fairbanks.

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