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HAL or Celebrity? Stuck on the fence!

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For those folks that have experienced both, how do I choose? I've been a faithful Celebrity cruiser with a couple of strays into Norwegian and RCL. Was slightly underwhelmed with our last 2 Celebrity cruises (mostly food and service quality) and thought I'd decided on HAL for an Alaskan cruise this summer. My sticking point is that HAL is only offering a small cash back incentive and Celebrity is offering their sail beyond event where you can choose 2-4 perks, including a beverage package which my DH and I would get regardless of the cruiseline. Comparing similar itineraries, HAL's base price is lower but when I add 2 beverage packages it puts it significantly higher than Celeb. I've read so much about how great the food is on HAL though and that's compelling. Can you feel my pain? The indecision is crippling me! Your feedback is most appreciated!

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Last summer we cruised Alaska on Celebrity Millennium (B2B) and Holland America (Vancouver to Vancouver).  We enjoyed both cruises although I would definitely give the edge to Holland America for their food and service.  You didn't mention your itinerary.  From your post, it sounds like perks are more important than itinerary?????  If perks are more important, I suggest you go with the cruise line that meets that criteria.  I monitor my cruises for price drops and was very fortunate last year to have found good perks for both my cruises. 

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If you have never been to Alaska - you may want to post the itineraries here. In Alaska, itineraries are more important than ship.

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We have been on both 3X (HAL in AK).  Normally I would say Celebrity.  However for AK HAL probably has an itinerary that includes Glacier Bay so I would go in that direction.  That said, you should know that we are not loyal to any line.  Whoever is going where we want to go at a price we are willing to pay gets our business.

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With Alaska very port intensive, you won't be on the ship very long each day to take advantage of a beverage package unless you can squeeze a lot of drinks in the evening hours.

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We have done Alaska with both HAL (Maasdam and Zaandam) and Celebrity (Solistice). The smaller HAL ships are made for Alaska with multiple viewing locations throughout the ship. If you are going to SEE Alaska, it is easiest on a small ship. That said, Celebrity has by far the best Naturalist. We choose Celebrity for the same reasons that you give. With a balcony they included the perks that you describe. On the other hand , we found ourselves constantly returning to our balcony because the best viewing areas were few and always crowded. Life on a small Hal ship is very sedate and relaxing. You get to know and interact with the crew. On the Celebrity ship you are entertained. It's your choice, only you know your reasons for cruising.

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If this is your first AK cruise, rule number 1 is that if it doesn't go to Glacier Bay - don't take it.

 

DON

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I do not know how long of a cruise you are looking for but the 14 day HAL Alaska cruise  is wonderful, you go to ports that other ships don't and the scenery is breathtaking.  We will do the cruise for the third time this June. 

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For what it is worth, the Celebrity Millennium is reported to be in dry dock for refitting. It will be like a new ship for cabins.

 

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After I hooked my cruise on Celebrity to Alaska, I have learned that only two cruises are allowed per day to enter the Glazier Bay, while Holland America is one of the company that have most of the slots.

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We chose Celebrity last year because of the perks but we were not thrilled with the food etc.....We were very hesitant to try Holland America for a few reasons but the itinerary is very good with Glacier Bay and Sitka included so we booked a Holland America for this year, the price at the time was very good. We have been on 25+ cruises and this will be our first Holland America. Alaska is more about the ports than the ship  and since we did not go to Glacier Bay decided to do it again this year. No matter what you choose make sure you enjoy the Alaskan crab if you eat seafood. We plan on having a bucket in every port this year 😃

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We've cruised Alaska 4 times:  once on Celebrity (1996), twice on HAL (2004,2005) and once on Princess (2014).  We really enjoyed Sitka on one of our HAL cruises.  The Celebrity ship did go to College Fjord, which is beautiful, so that made up for not going into Glacier Bay.  Can't really go wrong in Alaska with those 3 lines IMHO.

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