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Ruby Princess vs Celebrity Solstice


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We are looking to cruise to Alaska next August and are trying to decide between the Ruby Princess and Celebrity Solstice. The itineraries are similar, with the Ruby Princess visiting Glacier Bay and the Celebrity Solstice visiting Endicott Arm.  If anyone can offer any insight, it would be greatly appreciated.

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I've been on both ships.  I love the Ruby but if you're looking for a trendy ship with a lot of nightlife, go with the Solstice.  Although the Ruby is pretty and intimate, the Solstice is impressive and awe-inspiring.  It carries more people though and doesn't go to Glacier Bay and that is the BIG attraction in Alaska.  If this is your first time to AK, go to Glacier Bay.  

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48 minutes ago, IsanTom said:

I would go on Celebrity Solstice. I enjoy smaller ships and intimacy, which Celebrity has! 

Alaska is all about the itinerary and there is a huge difference between Glacier Bay and Endicott Arm. Ships that can't get permits to Glacier Bay end up at Endicott Arm.

 

Tonnage of Ruby Princess is 113561 tonns

Tonnage of Solstice is 121898 tonns

 

Solstice is larger.

 

 

Edited by Coral
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4 hours ago, DrivesLikeMario said:

I've been on both ships.  I love the Ruby but if you're looking for a trendy ship with a lot of nightlife, go with the Solstice.  Although the Ruby is pretty and intimate, the Solstice is impressive and awe-inspiring.  It carries more people though and doesn't go to Glacier Bay and that is the BIG attraction in Alaska.  If this is your first time to AK, go to Glacier Bay.  

Umm, a little incorrect  info there, particularly that Solstice carries more passengers. That's quite incorrect, Solstice is 2850 while Ruby carries closer to 3500 (both numbers being at capacity double occupancy).

I'd also beg to differ in the "lot of nightlife" - but I suppose that's subjective. 

 

6 hours ago, NYCruiser64 said:

We are looking to cruise to Alaska next August and are trying to decide between the Ruby Princess and Celebrity Solstice. The itineraries are similar, with the Ruby Princess visiting Glacier Bay and the Celebrity Solstice visiting Endicott Arm.  If anyone can offer any insight, it would be greatly appreciated.

All things considered, I'd absolutely pick Princess for Alaska, hands down. And we've sailed both in Alaska, and both numerous times.

There's simply no comparison between Enidcott and Glacier Bay.  Glacier Bay every day and twice in Sunday.  Maybe if you'd been already, then Endicott may be interesting, but nope - first time, no doubt about it, Princess and Glacier Bay.

Princess (and HAL) have Princess on lock down, best naturalists, best programs, Glacier Bay access, etc.  

 

Solstice is lovely, don't get me wrong and same age as Ruby. Ruby does have a larger passenger capacity, but more lounges, better outdoor viewing overall, less class division (no separate dining rooms or lounges for suites or Aqua, etc, although even Princess is inching this direction) and lower onboard costs (although that gap is rapidly shrinking, and not in the passengers favor, lol) )

Enjoy OP!

Edited by reedprincess
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14 hours ago, reedprincess said:

Umm, a little incorrect  info there, particularly that Solstice carries more passengers. That's quite incorrect, Solstice is 2850 while Ruby carries closer to 3500 (both numbers being at capacity double occupancy).

I'd also beg to differ in the "lot of nightlife" - but I suppose that's subjective. 

 

. . .

Per Wikipedia the Ruby Princess carries 3,080 pax, so only a few hundred more than the Solstice.  They both were launched in 2008.  Solstice is slightly longer at 1,003 ft vs 951 for Ruby--presumably not really noticeable.  So IMHO the physical aspects are similar, but what happens onboard is a bit different in our experience.  We've been on the Ruby 3x for a total of 32 days and on the Eclipse (very similar to Solstice) for 14 days.  We prefer Princess as it's usually less expensive than X for a similar cabin and for its generally better onboard offerings.

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Celebrity in general is more class separated on board than Princess. The only class separation on Princess is Club Class Dining, which is a section of the MDR, same menu - improved service, for those in full suites and club class mini suites. Full suite passengers also can go to the Crown Grill each morning a basically prepared to order mimosa breakfast.

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Thanks for correcting me on the size.  My error.  I should've said the Solstice feels a lot bigger and more crowded IME.  And the nightlife is much more happening at night compared to the cruises I've done on the Ruby.  Celebrity does the Silent Disco too and that is hilarious.  The officers mingle and interact with the passengers way, way more than they do on Princess.  The perks are not as good for repeat passengers with Celebrity though and yes, there is definitely more of a "class system" on their ships.  You really just need to think about what's important to you and where you'll fit in best.  I've enjoyed my cruises on both ships but always feel more at home with Princess.

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I haven't sailed on Celebrity, but I say ditto to the Ruby recommendations. We did an Alaska itinerary with Princess 5 years ago (including Glacier Bay), and had chosen Princess specifically because they are known for doing such a great job in Alaska. The programming is much more Alaska-specific than other lines (except HAL, which is similar but trended older than our crowd). We loved it, and are going back on the Ruby in June 2020. 

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2 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

Per Wikipedia the Ruby Princess carries 3,080 pax, so only a few hundred more than the Solstice. 

I wouldn't depend on Wikipedia in this instance (although it is generally very good and I find myself using it a lot or having Google searches come up with a Wiki article).  Just as easy to check the actual source - Princess - which states the same 3,080.  Just thought it was worthwhile to post the actual source number agreeing.

 

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Ruby: Glacier Bay

More Relaxed / Less class distinction

More passengers, including more kids and foreign tour groups

More lines / waiting times on board (English Pub Lunch, Afternoon Tea, etc)

Longer Port of Call times in Skagway & Juneau

 

Solstice: Endicott Arm (in the morning, then Juneau at 1:30 PM)

Fun Night Life (Martini Bar, Shows, etc)

Fewer kids, hardly any tour groups

More 'Adult' / Sophistication

Longer Port of Call times in Ketchikan & Victoria, BC

 

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17 minutes ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

 

 

Solstice: Endicott Arm (in the morning, then Juneau at 1:30 PM)

 

For the short time in Juneau - I would not choose the Solstice. So many people book cruises with crappy times in Juneau and then come and complain on the Alaska board that they can't do the tours they want to do due to the time in port. Most excursions do not operate at night in Juneau so getting in 2 tours is almost impossible. Even one long tour is not possible.

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On 10/13/2019 at 5:52 PM, IsanTom said:

I would go on Celebrity Solstice. I enjoy smaller ships and intimacy, which Celebrity has! 

The two ships are only 200 pax different so essentially the same size (Solstice-2,852; Ruby-3,080).  Perhaps the layout gives the impression of being smaller.  We've been on the Ruby and most all the other Princess ships and on the Eclipse and other older, smaller Celebrity ships.  Solstice is a sister ship of Eclipse, Equinox and Silhouette.  I would say the Atrium is one of the most different between the 2 ships.  Eclipse's is a vast 3-deck high space where nothing ever happens except what goes on at the "front desk".  Ruby's atrium is smaller, but is the center of many onboard activities including a bar and the Intl Cafe (food, coffee).  I prefer Princess cabins to those on the Eclipse (e.g. closets are better and more convenient).  All that plus Solstice's shorter time in Juneau and no Glacier Bay would make me choose the Ruby.  We've sailed to Alaska 4x on Celeb. (1), HAL (2), and Princess (1).  Whatever you choose, enjoy your first Alaskan cruise!

Edited by BarbinMich
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One thing that nobody has mentioned here is the difference in the total number of passengers boarding on each day at the pier in Seattle when the 2 ships are in port.  On Fridays the passenger loads will be up to 1000 or 1500 higher than on Saturday which makes embarkation a bit more stressful on Friday than it is on Saturday with lines to get into the terminal itself more common on Friday. That also causes an increase in traffic coming onto and off of the pier. Last year embarkation and disembarkation on Saturday went much more smoothly on Saturday than it did on Friday.

 

While the cruise itself is definitely the most important thing you should be concerned with and your arrival at and departure from the pier is probably way down the line in your list of considerations when choosing which cruise you want to take,  it might also be something you want to know about.  Whichever cruise you take, I hope ;you have a safe trip to/from Seattle and a great cruise!

 

Tom

 

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3 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

The two ships are only 200 pax different so essentially the same size (Solstice-2,852; Ruby-3,080).  Perhaps the layout gives the impression of being smaller.  We've been on the Ruby and most all the other Princess ships and on the Eclipse and other older, smaller Celebrity ships.  Solstice is a sister ship of Eclipse, Equinox and Silhouette.  I would say the Atrium is one of the most different between the 2 ships.  Eclipse's is a vast 3-deck high space where nothing ever happens except what goes on at the "front desk".  Ruby's atrium is smaller, but is the center of many onboard activities including a bar and the Intl Cafe (food, coffee).  I prefer Princess cabins to those on the Eclipse (e.g. closets are better and more convenient).  All that plus Solstice's shorter time in Juneau and no Glacier Bay would make me choose the Ruby.  We've sailed to Alaska 4x on Celeb. (1), HAL (2), and Princess (1).  Whatever you choose, enjoy your first Alaskan cruise!

I've never seen over 2000 on any Celebrity ship because I always take Transatlantics and the 3rd and 4th passenger are not aboard. My wife and I love TA's because no children or very few, so I'm surprised the Solstice can hold 2800+.

Edited by IsanTom
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4 hours ago, IsanTom said:

I've never seen over 2000 on any Celebrity ship because I always take Transatlantic's and the 3rd and 4th passenger are not aboard. My wife and I love TA's because no children or very few, so I'm surprised the Solstice can hold 2800+.

 

Every site I looked at said the Solstice is 2850 - double occupancy.  Unless there where a lot of singles on you T/A's -- it looks like there were a lot more people aboard than you thought 

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We have been on the Ruby a three times and enjoyed her very much.  To us the Solstice class of Celebrity blows it out of the water.  We feel the same way about all of the similar Princess ships that we've enjoyed - Crown, Star, and Golden.  

 

We would really be torn, but would likely choose the Ruby for Glacier Bay,  

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9 hours ago, IsanTom said:

I've never seen over 2000 on any Celebrity ship because I always take Transatlantics and the 3rd and 4th passenger are not aboard. My wife and I love TA's because no children or very few, so I'm surprised the Solstice can hold 2800+.

 

 

They can definitely take more than that. As you take mainly TAs, then your experience may differ but during peaks seasons, there are more pax and more children (I know as I travel with mine - teens now). If you’ve ever sailed on Reflection in the Med in the summer, you’d be very, very lucky to find a free sun lounger or inch of space on the lawn between all the bodies. 

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5 hours ago, villauk said:

 

 

They can definitely take more than that. As you take mainly TAs, then your experience may differ but during peaks seasons, there are more pax and more children (I know as I travel with mine - teens now). If you’ve ever sailed on Reflection in the Med in the summer, you’d be very, very lucky to find a free sun lounger or inch of space on the lawn between all the bodies. 

 

 

You are correct. My wife and I take TA's in the off season when children are in school. I hate flying and when your primary residence is in Thailand we can fly 30 hours from Tampa or take two TA's coming and going from Thailand and a nonstop 10 hour flight from Rome to/from Bangkok and we get to take the two TA's every year. We love cruising and the TA's are never crowded. We have taken two TA's on the Reflection and we love that ship, too. In fact, Reflections first TA from the shipyard in Germany, we were on board. It was a wonderful cruise. I do know that the Med cruises are full in the Summer months.

Edited by IsanTom
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