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NB vs SB Voyage of the Glaciers (Princess)


go4ak
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What are the advantages of NB vs SB Voyage of the Glaciers on Princess - other than looking an length of port times?

I've done SB a couple of times and "need" to go to Alaska again in 2020.   I love the SB itinerary but wonder am I missing anything by not trying NB.

It looks like most of the excursions are the same - except of course the disembarkation point.

 

Thanks.

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Tricky.

I have sailed out of both Whittier and Vancouver and both are spectacular ports for sailaway, although I would argue sailing out through Prince William Sound is better. Also I think SB gives you better scenery through the narrowest part of Inside Passage on the final sea day by daylight. Also consider any DIY travel in Alaska, do you want to do that before the cruise (SB) or after (NB)?

 

Hope that  helps!

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I took back-to-back cruises on the Island Princess this summer. I enjoyed that the northbound cruise had longer time in the ports. There wasn't much to do in Icy Strait Point unless you purchased an excursion. The passengers I talked to who did whale watching there enjoyed it. The ones who went on a bear watch were extremely disappointed that they didn't see any bears. I enjoyed the walk to Hoonah and the displays in the cannery at the port. On my southbound cruise, we went to Ketchikan instead, which is much better for those wanting to do things without purchasing an excursion through the cruise line.

 

Hubbard Glacier on the southbound cruise was a better glacier experience than College Fjord. I'd be very disappointed if I were on a ship that had to skip it. Glacier Bay was spectacular both ways. Doing the back-to-back cruises, though, gave me the opportunity to do the 26 glacier small boat excursion on my turn-around day. That was fantastic.

 

If I were doing a cruise tour, I'd probably still prefer to do the land portion first followed by the cruise. I'd love to take back-to-back cruises to Alaska again next year. I've also looked into sailing on two different ships so as to have time to do things on our own in the state between them. 

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In general, I don't think that it would make much difference.  However, we just did a northbound cruise and we traversed the Lynn Canal which is an absolutely spectacular fjord shortly after we left Skagway for Whittier.  Unfortunately, when going north, we ended up going through the Lynn Canal during sunset and during early dusk which meant that we could not see much and the light was bad for pictures.  A real bummer!!!  Not sure when you go through it if you do a southbound cruise.

 

DON

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We’ve done 2 of these b2b. I think for the reason Coral mentioned, as well as Hubbard Glacier being missed due to fog or ice sometimes, we prefer the northbound.  College Fjord can be exceptional and the new Hubbard Glacier excursion seems a bit expensive for what you get. 

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If only doing a one-way, we'd prefer SB; we love Hubbard Glacier and tend to sail much closer to land as we head toward this area so it's awesome scenery for that day; also enjoy the scenery as we're sailing through the narrow passages on the last sea day before Vancouver, which we miss when we sail NB.  It's also easier for us to fly into Anchorage the day before the cruise with better flight options out of Vancouver when we're heading home vs NB, where our only options are late-night flights, which makes for a killer-long day for us in Anchorage.  Either way though, both cruises are wonderful!

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5 hours ago, Glaciers said:

We’ve done 2 of these b2b. I think for the reason Coral mentioned, as well as Hubbard Glacier being missed due to fog or ice sometimes, we prefer the northbound.  College Fjord can be exceptional and the new Hubbard Glacier excursion seems a bit expensive for what you get. 

 

During the right circumstance - College Fjords can be stunning! My first time, Princess sent helicopters to photograph our ship in front of the glaciers. 

 

I have had poor luck with Hubbard glacier. The one time I did get close - it was amazing. Most of the other times we were miles and miles away.... My TA is signed up to go on the Hubbard glacier excursion next week. I sent her some reviews and I think she is going to do it.

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On 7/21/2019 at 4:37 PM, go4ak said:

What are the advantages of NB vs SB Voyage of the Glaciers on Princess - other than looking an length of port times?

I've done SB a couple of times and "need" to go to Alaska again in 2020.   I love the SB itinerary but wonder am I missing anything by not trying NB.

It looks like most of the excursions are the same - except of course the disembarkation point.

 

Thanks.

Having completed a few B2B and spent years cruising Alaska, my preference is always the SB cruise. On the SB you miss the scenic cruising before arrival Whittier, but arrive early into Anchorage and take the Phillips 26-Glacier cruise.

 

The SB visits Hubbard, of which I have only missed once due to ice. It also provides an excellent daytime cruise down the BC Inside Passage from Port Hardy to Campbell River. On the NB, this area is at night.

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Thanks so much to everyone for your information.    I think we're going to stick with doing the SB and fly into Anchorage a couple of days early to enjoy it.

 

Happy Travels everyone.

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Other reasons I'm planning a land-based DIY tour first, followed by south bound cruise:

 

1) If I get sick from the cruise,  I'm closer to the end of the trip. 

( ... Assuming it's statistically more likely to get sick while on a cruise than on land. 

I realize anything is possible, and flights are an independent variable.) 

 

2) A DIY land tour presents more things to consider, plan for, worry about.   I'd rather schedule that at beginning of trip vs end of the trip.   

 

Then I will simply embark the ship*, chill, and let someone else 'drive'.   

On the ship I hope the most difficult decision will be:  salmon or crab for dinner.

 

 

* is it redundant to say "embark the ship" ? 

Does embark always imply ship? 

Edited by SempreMare
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We just got back (July 17) from a southbound cruise after a land tour. Every recommendation we had seen said to do the land portion first, and I can see why. Schlepping luggage from place to place (yes, Princess did pickup and dropoff at each lodge) vs. having everything unpacked in our stateroom was a huge difference.

At the Captain's Circle event late in the cruise, the captain mentioned that we *almost* didn't get to see the Hubbard glacier due to heavy fog and ice, but they were in contact with another smaller ship who were closer to the glacier where the fog had lifted, so we pressed on. Glad we did!

We're considering a return to spend more time in the Kenai area, so I think we might do a NB followed by an extended stay in one place on land with day trips in the area, vs. the long distance/multiple moves we had with the land tour.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's a thought out of left field...for Americans only....if you travel NB, you are finished with Customs and Immigration. You can buy what you like and take what you like home...as you won't be leaving the USA after you depart Vancouver. If you travel SB, you have to consider Canadian Customs and Immigration requirements at the end of the trip. 

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