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Kimberlyr22

Celebrity or Holland America for Alaska

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We are currently planning our first Alaska cruise (me, 38 and husband, 47). We are seasoned Caribbean cruisers and have typically opted for NCL or Carnival. I have cruised Celebrity once on a short 4-day on the Infinity and enjoyed the trip. As we are researching Alaska, we've narrowed it down to Celebrity and Holland America based on their itineraries, prices, and ship offerings. However, now my husband and I are struggling to finalize our ship choice. I don't think we can go wrong with any of the options, but wanted to get some insight from those who may have made this decision previously.

 

We're currently debating between a late-August or early September cruise on either the Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, HAL Eurodam, or HAL Koningsdam.  We're currently leaning towards Eurodam because the spa thermal suite looks amazing and that's one of my favorite things on my current favorite Carnival ships (Dream/Magic). I would immediately choose the Eurodam, but have read the spa verandahs don't include access to the thermal suite and you can only book it once onboard for an extra $300. Does this tend to sell out early?

 

I'd love any feedback on these four ships and which one you'd choose.  We like all of the itineraries equally and pricing for our preferred rooms and dates are within a reasonable $500 range, so that's not proving to help with the decision!  Both lines also both have really good promos right now that I'd love to jump on.  

 

Thanks!

Edited by Kimberlyr22

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In comparison to years offering Alaska cruises and tours, HAL far exceeds Celebrity.  If experience in the Alaska cruise/tour experience is important to you, that ought to be a consideration.

 

The Greenhouse Spa's Hydrothermal Pool/Thermal Suite on the Eurodam and also the Koningsdam (my experience at this venue was on her newer sister, the Nieuw Statendam; her facilities would be the same as on the Kongingsdam) are most enjoyable and are amenities that I really enjoy.  But, an Alaska cruise ought to be a sightseeing cruise experience.  One needs to be "out and about" on the exterior decks to have the best opportunities to see wildlife, etc.  Being inside, such as in the Spa, ought to be reserved when the ship is in port and/or after one returns from being ashore for the day.  The Thermal Suite on both ships have an exterior view.  The pools don't.  

 

I have no experience with the Spa cabins; can't offer any advice.

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Most the regulars here put the priority on the itinerary and the length of time in port with the ship being down the list a ways. You don’t mention anything about what your interests are outside of the ship. Are you interested in wildlife or Glaciers? If so, look at itineraries that would increase your chances of seeing them.  Are you interested in any port activities?  Juneau is a hot spot for humpback whale activity as well as a ton of other nifty stuff although some itineraries have a short port time in Juneau.

Holland has naturalists onboard and I just read that Celebrity does too. That’s a big plus as they can give you approximate times that you will be in wildlife viewing areas.

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Cruises to Alaska are so port intensive that you may not have daily time to use the Thermal Suite or Spa. I had free access to the Persian Garden on the Solstice (Aqua Class) and my husband and I only used it once.  I did buy a week Thermal Suite pass when we were on the Westerdam years ago and used it more, but I think it was more due to the therapy pool.  I believe that both ships offer day passes to these areas.

 

The Solstice has a great Naturalist on board - Brent Nixon.  He is very informative and entertaining.  Passengers just love him.

Edited by Ferry_Watcher

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6 hours ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

Cruises to Alaska are so port intensive that you may not have daily time to use the Thermal Suite or Spa. I had free access to the Persian Garden on the Solstice (Aqua Class) and my husband and I only used it once.  I did buy a week Thermal Suite pass when we were on the Westerdam years ago and used it more,

 

This was my experience on the Westerdam this July.  I bought the pass for the duration of the cruise.  As much as I enjoy the amenity, I used it much less frequently than I normally do.  I didn't get my moneys worth this time.   Would not book a cruise long pass again for an Alaskan cruise.

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Daylight hours for scenic viewing shorten as you move into September.  Weather may be better in August.  Glacier Bay should be included in your itinerary.   Choose a veranda cabin or suite but the spa cabin is not worth the upcharge.  The Eurodam is a very nice ship.  I don’t think access to the thermal suite will sell out early.  The spa will have an open house and tour of facilities on embarkation day.  

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On 11/29/2019 at 10:37 AM, Kimberlyr22 said:

We're currently debating between a late-August or early September cruise on either the Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, HAL Eurodam, or HAL Koningsdam.

 

I've been on the Eurodam a few times and my vote goes to the Koningsdam.  I hope to be on there in 2020 to check out this newer and bigger ship.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adcXWuFxTFg

 

  • Koningsdam offers
    • Vancouver is a great bonus Canadian port.
    • calmer and scenic waters of the South inside passage
    • Skagway and the White Pass railway
    • a Pinnacle class experience
  • Eurodam offers
    • Victoria for the evening
    • Icy Straight Point
    • Sitka

Think about which ports are more important to you.  Both Holland America ships offer Glacier Bay, important for a first time cruiser.

 

IMO.... try to consider a trip earlier in the summer (early July) for more daylight and a dryer climate. I have little interest in watching Ketchikan fill their rain gauge when my ship docks.  https://usclimatedata.com/climate.php?location=USAK0225

 

BTW... Seattle is a $35 train or bus ride to/from Vancouver.  I recommend flying into Vancouver to explore the city for a few days, go on the Koningsdam, then bus/train to Seattle to continue your Pacific Northwest exploration.

Edited by xlxo

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