Jump to content

Encore or Sun to Alaska?


Recommended Posts

Looking at 7 day round trip out of Seattle due to convince.  First time visiting Alaska, family cruise, ages 23-77, in-laws are not the most mobile (difficulty walking long distances).  Is a balcony stateroom a must have for Alaska or would an ocean view be sufficient?  We have never cruised on a larger ship, just the smaller ones (Pride of America, The Dawn and The Jade).  The mega ships seems awesome for families with younger children, but our children are in their 20’s.  It would be nice to cruise a newer ship, but would we get more out of the smaller ship going into Alaska where the pool and slide won’t be such a draw for our party due to the cooler weather.  Reviews of these two ships are all over the place as most reviews are!  Just thought I’d ask all of you experienced cruisers what your thoughts and experiences were like on these two ships, especially from anyone who has cruised on them (or their sister ships) to Alaska.

 

Thank you!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I chose the Sun for this August ..... A 12 day with my family of four. The smaller ships go on longer cruises and hit some of the places that the Ships like the Encore don’t get into. The prices are better .... it was like $1000 more to sail the Bliss/Encore for 7 days then it was for my 12 day on the sun. I’ve sailed the Sun before and the Bliss. I have two kids so an ocean view was fine for us as we plan on being on deck a lot for the best view. Alaska is a destination cruise for us. There is no doubt that the Encore is a better ship but we are going for the experience and we have lots of excursions planned. Better ports, longer, better price made it a no brainer for us to take the Sun. She’s in great shape still ..... Pools won’t matter to us with the expected cooler weather . The Sun has some decent hot tubs that would serve us better. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have done Alaska on both the sun and the bliss...both are beautiful, and IMHO a balcony is a must.  Cruising the glaciers with the balcony you have the unique advantage of not fighting for space on deck or in the observation lounge.  You can turn your tv to the ship channel and hear the rangers...from our balcony we have seen seals, bears, eagles, humpbacks and orcas..all while cruising the bays.  Out at sea whales and dolphins.

 

between the sun (ncl’s smallest passenger capacity ship in their fleet) and the bliss, I think we would choose the sun again...we are not big on crowds and gobs of people.  We tend to like the more medium size ships.

 

either ship you choose will be fantastic.  Alaska is beautiful and is one of our favorites, so much so that we do an Alaska cruise then someplace else and back to Alaska. We have to force ourselves to not do Alaska every time.. soak in your surroundings and enjoy

Link to post
Share on other sites

SUN and the BLISS/ENCORE two different itineraries - add the JEWEL for another measure

They all port call at the basic 3(4) Ketchikan Juneau Skagway & Icy Strait Point

The SUN adds Sitka and Victoria -

The glaciers visited differ Glacier Bay Hubbard and Dawes Endicott Arm

Quite a variety of dates 7 - 9 - 11 and 12 day sailings

 

Port or Starboard doesn't make much difference - when at sea - land is distant - when viewing

the glaciers it is common for the ship to be rotated 360 ° so with the exception of the inside cabin

everyone gets a view - you are free to walk the decks creating your own views - some ships (SUN)

have a forward observation area as well as aft Great Outdoors buffet deck with lots opportunities.

Don't forget that when the variable weather takes a turn there is the sheltered Promenade deck

for viewing also.

 

Oh so much to take in and doing it in one cruise is going to leave you breathless for another and another !

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Love2CruiseMore said:

One more vote for the Sun!  Thank you for your thoughts on the balcony.  Do you think Port or Starboard matters much?


as far as cruising the bay. I don’t think it matters..going north will be open sea on port and land in the distance going south...reverse it for starboard.

 

we do a “balcony” photo each cruise...what that means is DH stays on pier,  I run up to room with most everything, drop on bed then step out on balcony for DH to take photo.  Silly yes, tradition at this point...we have stayed port on all ncl cruises and have been lucky to get the photo because it seems they are docking starboard...we also like to watch for pier runners.  Which side we dock I thing is purely coincidental (I hope so anyway) I don’t know that it’s not at any rate. Our next ncl is port again...

 

not helpful I know

Link to post
Share on other sites

Will be on the Sun in two weeks so will let you know my thoughts on her then.    Have been on the Spirit twice and we love the smaller ships so my recommendation would lean toward the Sun.    Balcony is a must - the views cruising through Alaska are so wonderful.   

Cruising Glacier Bay.JPG

IMG_1368.JPG

IMG_1327.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also vote for the Sun. We have travelled on the Sun twice (neither to Alaska) and did the Joy in Alaska last summer. First, I loved Sun and think the smaller ship might be able to get into places a larger ship can't. And your mobility limited in-laws would appreciate the smaller ship. I walked 13,000 steps on our first sea day on the Joy! I also second the balcony vote and would recommend an aft balcony...you just can't beat those views!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Early 30s - Encore will have way better night life than the Sun. Like hands down. With both being 7 days I'm guessing the itinerary is similar so I'd pick a ship that I'd have fun on. Not sure if Encore followed suit, but Bliss has heated water in the pools and slides. 

 

That said I wouldn't be against the Sun since it has some cool RT itineraries that are longer than 7 days. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Love AK and NCLs smaller ships - From you mention of the Encore, you must be looking at 2021. We last did that same itinerary on the Pearl in 2012. I believe that a balcony is necessary for AK as the public areas tend to fill up quickly. As for Glacier Bay, the rangers come on for the entire day, but the main talk is on the way into the bay. Most of the glacier action is on the Port side during this time - on the way out the rangers go to the theatre to give a lecture on the history of the bay. My Daughter and her husband went on the Bliss last year and had a good time - however they did say that most of the time the upper deck activities were closed except when in port and there they wanted to do excursions so they really did not take advantage of things like the ropes course and the go carts. I am fairly sure that the Encore will be similar. With the Sun you would not have those same trappings but in AK you really don't need them esp if you are into wildlife, scenery, and doing things in port. 

 

We are doing a one way on the Jewel in June of 2021 - mostly to see the interior of AK - but also to see a different side of the same old ports - only this time we will have the better part of a day in each port - and yes we are on the port side of the ship.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will add this, a standard balcony on our upcoming 12 day Sun cruise to Alaska is over $2000 more than our ocean view. The pricing difference between the two cabins is astounding and not what you’d typically find on a Caribbean cruise. We could not justify that at all .... it’s the biggest price difference in cabins I’ve ever seen in all our cruises.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, tallnthensome said:

I will add this, a standard balcony on our upcoming 12 day Sun cruise to Alaska is over $2000 more than our ocean view. The pricing difference between the two cabins is astounding and not what you’d typically find on a Caribbean cruise. We could not justify that at all .... it’s the biggest price difference in cabins I’ve ever seen in all our cruises.  

I plan on mid September to do this cruise, so watching pricing even past final when they seem to drop prices, then I'll book

Link to post
Share on other sites

We did the Jewel to Alaska in 2016 and, in my opinion, having a balcony was a really big deal.  There were a lot of people on deck trying to see and get good pictures.  We were very happy to be able to see so much from our balcony and spent a ton of time sitting out there enjoying the view.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, tallnthensome said:

I chose the Sun for this August ..... A 12 day with my family of four. The smaller ships go on longer cruises and hit some of the places that the Ships like the Encore don’t get into. The prices are better .... it was like $1000 more to sail the Bliss/Encore for 7 days then it was for my 12 day on the sun. I’ve sailed the Sun before and the Bliss. I have two kids so an ocean view was fine for us as we plan on being on deck a lot for the best view. Alaska is a destination cruise for us. There is no doubt that the Encore is a better ship but we are going for the experience and we have lots of excursions planned. Better ports, longer, better price made it a no brainer for us to take the Sun. She’s in great shape still ..... Pools won’t matter to us with the expected cooler weather . The Sun has some decent hot tubs that would serve us better. 

 

We are also on the 12 day on the Sun on August 13-25. Have you joined the roll call?

 

We've been to Alaska twice, once on Princess and in 2018 on the Jewel. We love it.

 

We chose the Sun because we like smaller ships. We are in our 60s but active. This looks like a great itinerary. 

 

We use the NCL credit card so we were able to use points for a free upgrade from inside to balcony. Did the same on the Jewel. We consider a balcony a must in Alaska and really for all of our cruises.

 

Can't wait for August!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll buck the trend and say the Encore.  To me, the 24 hour pub is important.  I'm not opposed to the quality of the food in the buffet but I find it to be a bit of a hassle.  Having someone wait on me is part of the pampering I enjoy on vacation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the information!  I’m really feeling like we should book the Sun ☀️ I agree that with my in-laws the smaller ship will be easier to navigate for all of us.  Hopefully our 20 somethings won’t be too bored 😁  It’s funny but my parents have done a similar itinerary and they said an ocean view room would work well as people gather in other areas to view the scenery.  I’m feeling booking balcony staterooms is the way to go!  THANK YOU ALL! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Megalyn said:

I'll buck the trend and say the Encore.  To me, the 24 hour pub is important.  I'm not opposed to the quality of the food in the buffet but I find it to be a bit of a hassle.  

Huh? I’m sure 99.9% of people trying to book a cruise to Alaska with a preferred cabin for viewing couldn’t care less about The Local hours especially when it’s someone else seeking advice. 

Edited by tallnthensome
Link to post
Share on other sites

We did the Jewel last year.  Loved it, booked an inside cabin and got up graded to a port hole.  We were happy with that!  The SUN has the very nice observation lounge as well as the front deck up on deck 12.  I wuld say that is the place you want to be if the weather is very inclement.   Save the extra money get the OV and use the savings for some really bang up excursions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We did what Sauer-kraut suggested...ocean view with money left over for excursions. Balconies are about 2x price of OV on our 11 day Sun. We are steps from the Promenade deck, works for us. DH wants to do fishing trip and glacier hike, and I've told him to do whatever excursions he wants as cabin price was relatively inexpensive. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sauer-kraut said:

We did the Jewel last year.  Loved it, booked an inside cabin and got up graded to a port hole.  We were happy with that!  The SUN has the very nice observation lounge as well as the front deck up on deck 12.  I wuld say that is the place you want to be if the weather is very inclement.   Save the extra money get the OV and use the savings for some really bang up excursions.

That’s what we did ..... we have an amazing sea plane excursion booked for the four of us .....Pricey but it’s a bucket list event for us and the kids. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Thank You for 25 Years - Click for Fun Stuff!
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: American Queen Steamboat Company - Celebrate Your Freedom
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com - June 2021
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...