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Hubbard Glacier vs Dawes Glacier Cruise on Celebrity

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Hello.  We are planning an Alaskan cruise with my daughter, her husband, and their 7 year old son.  We are trying to decide on  Hubbard Glacier which is round trip from Vancouver or Dawes Glacier Cruise, round trip from Seattle.  We all live on the west coast of the US so air is not a consideration.  Also we will be going on Celebrity.  Any suggestions on which on would be most appreciated.

Also, for a round trip does it matter which side of the ship we choose?  We are going through the Inside Passage.

Again thank you for any help.

Joanie

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Sailing from Vancouver is lovely and it includes more inside passage time.  Hubbard Glacier is huge.  However, it can have it's own weather system including low ceilings and fog.  I am not familiar with Dawes Glacier.  The most amazing for us is Glacier Bay but Celebrity does not approval to sail there.  That could change.  For us, we love Vancouver and more truly inside passage cruising.  Have sailed both port and starboard. We like sun in the afternoon on the balcony so we choose based on how many days provide that. Whatever you choose, Alaska is amazing.

 

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We've done both on Celebrity, and honestly I can't choose a favorite!   But, I do like Vancouver much better than Seattle.  We were just on the Eclipse out of Vancouver  a couple of weeks ago.  I'd choose based on the ports of call vs. the glacier.  Sailing to the glaciers is really cool and very exciting, however its just a few hours out of your cruise.   When we went on the Solstice out of Seattle, we went to Skagway, Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria Island.   The one we just did out of Vancouver went to Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau.   Skagway has the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad, which is one of my favorite excursions I've ever done, and since you will have a kid with you, would be fun.  However, you can't go wrong with either itinerary. 

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Thank you.  They have taken out Sitka and put in Icy Strait Point on the Vancouver sailing.  I would really like to go out of Vancouver, but am torn about missing the train in Skagway.  

Also, does it matter which side of the ship you are on for the scenery?

 

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We have done an Alaska cruise on X out of Vancouver on the Infinity. 

 

Very impressive experience! Hubbard Glacier was phenomenal, but I have to say that the weather was absolutely perfect for us: Beautiful Sunny day, high cloud ceiling. We could see the top of the mountains, the top of the glacier, the blue skies and floating melted glacier pieces. The Infinity did a 360 in front of the glacier and the helipad was open, so the side of your stateroom did not really matter. It was easy to observe the Glaciers’s calving (and to hear it) from multiples areas of the ship. Very impressive moments of observation of nature in action! 

 

During this trip, I have learned that Alaska is home to the second largest rain forest. For the locals, four days without rain is a draught.  

 

Regarding Icy Straight Point. Our experience there was really nice! When the ship arrived in the harbour, humpback whales were present to welcome us. Furthermore, during our excursion, we were fortunate enough to see a brown Pacific Coastal Bear and the famous White Spirit Bear. Adding to our experience was the observation of Bald Eagles. Observing nature and wildlife was the main objective of our trip, and it was fulfilled! 

 

All that to say that we really enjoyed our experience and were very fortunate to enjoy nice weather for the whole week! (I have unfortunately not seen Dawes Glacier, so I can’t compare).

 

In my opinion, Alaska is beautiful! I don’t believe it is possible to make a bad choice. Enjoy your cruise! 

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Have been to both, Dawes is fantastic if you can get to it. Seems there is one cruise each season where the ship can’t get close enough to see it. We were on that cruise in May. Hubbard is amazing as well. I always suggest RT Vancouver if it is feasible . You will see more of the inside passage where Solstice from Seattle does a good portion of the inside passage at night. Vancouver is also an amazing city, worth spending a couple of days. Which ever you choose, Im sure you will love Alaska!

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I was on the Millennium in late May and did a back-to-back (two weeks) from and returning to Vancouver. I had heard that Vancouver was preferable for both scenery and avoiding seasickness. I have read that Seattle can be a bit rocky. Flights were significantly more expensive to Vancouver, however, and I had quite a wait though immigration/customs. 

 

Anyhoo, I was at Hubbard twice and it was fantastic. The calving was unlike anything I had experienced. It’s almost magical, and Hubbard calves almost constantly. Now, everyone is correct about the weather. On the way to Seward, the weather was amazing. On the way back, it was okay, but we were in danger of being fogged in. I did an excursion that took us up even closer to the glacier, and, while pricey, it gave a very different perspective. It was the first time they had offered that excursion, so we were guinea pigs. 

 

Captain Theo was fantastic—as was the entire crew on the ship. I was traveling solo and they all treated me like family. I still keep in touch with a couple of them. Many people do the Vancouver to Seward itinerary and fly home from Anchorage after visiting Denali. 

 

Whatever you decide, you’ll have an AMAZING time. 

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Posted (edited)

My preferences are in descending order:

1) Vancouver to Seward (or reverse)

2) Vancouver RT

3) Seattle RT

 I prefer Vancouver over Seattle because the ship sails the Inland Passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The scenery is great and the water is smooth. In contrast, Seattle RTs head out though the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the open Pacific and then sail offshore on open waters up to Ketchikan. There is no scenery on this stretch because the ship is too far from land. They repeat this on the way back.

 

Of the two Vancouver options, I prefer 1) because you don't spend time backtracking to Vancouver. You get more time in Alaska on a one way cruise. The prices are generally lower too, offsetting some/all of the cost of flying to Anchorage.

Edited by Mercruiser

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1 minute ago, Mercruiser said:

My preferences are in descending order:

1) Vancouver to Seward (or reverse)

2) Vancouver RT

3) Seattle RT

 I prefer Vancouver over Seattle because the ship sails the Inland Passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The scenery is great and the water is smooth. In contrast, Seattle RTs head out though the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the open Pacific and then sail offshore on open waters up to Ketchikan. There is no scenery on this stretch because the ship is too far from land. They repeat this on the way back.

 

Of the two Vancouver options, I prefer 1) because you don't spend time backtracking to Vancouver. You get more time in Alaska on a one way cruise. The prices are generally lower too, offsetting some/all of the cost of flying to Anchorage. The car/train trip between Anchorage and Seward is some of the most spectacular scenery in America. We have seen bears and moose by the highway both times.

 

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Vancouver definitely wins as regards scenery and seas, although we have sailed out of Seattle several times with little wave action.  The more time in the inside passage the better IMHO.  We also really love to visit Vancouver - a lovely city (just don't rent a car - horrible traffic!)  I don't think it really matters which side of the ship you are on - in particular during the Inside Passage portion there are views on either side.  Sometimes one side is preferable for docking purposed, but we have sailed to Alaska at least 7 times and the ships we have been on do not always dock facing the same way so I don't think there is a guarantee on that.

 

We have seen Hubbard Glacier several times, and each was amazing.  Have never seen the other you mention.

 

It is very unfortunate that they have taken our Sitka as that is one of our favorite ports, and one on which Celebrity rarely calls.  That said, we also like Icy Strait Point a lot.  Last time we were sitting on our balcony and saw a number of whales swimming and breaching right off the side of the ship!!  We had a better view than those who paid lots of $$ to go on the whale watching trips!  That doesn't happen every cruise of course, but each time we have been there (probably 5 or more) we have seen some humpback whales from the shore, and one time some orcas.  Amazing!  

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I want to thank you all for the wonderful information and suggestions.  We will be going out of Vancouver to Hubbard Glacier.  

The people on Cruise Critic are the best!  So helpful and so willing to give of their time and expertise.

Thank You!

Joanie

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Our TA says the port side is always best because the ship will berth facing land on the port side. I say who cares? You're in Alaska!

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42 minutes ago, Schlepporello said:

Our TA says the port side is always best because the ship will berth facing land on the port side. I say who cares? You're in Alaska!

Respectfully, you need a new TA asap!!  "Port side" is the LEFT side of a ship, and does not refer to "seeing the port while docked." A ship can dock on either side, in any direction, or be anchored in any given port.

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20 minutes ago, julia said:

Respectfully, you need a new TA asap!!  "Port side" is the LEFT side of a ship, and does not refer to "seeing the port while docked." A ship can dock on either side, in any direction, or be anchored in any given port.

I am well aware of this. And I have experienced being docked on both sides. Advice like this, when it concerns Alaska, means little to me because "You're in Alaska!" And as for finding a new TA, naw. It ain't gonna happen. On everything else, she goes above and beyond what she needs to do to help us out.

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I'm thinking we have done the Alaska cruise 5 times out of Seattle. Hubbard Glacier is our favorite. We are planning to do the Alaska cruise again in 2021 with friends from the UK. I'm wanting to stop at Icy Strait Point to do the zip-lining.

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