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Alaska Eclipse or Solstice, Hubbard or Dawes? Vancouver or Seattle?


flarad
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Help, trying to decide what to book for May/June 2021. We were booked on Solstice last June so we have a credit. DH is now eyeing the Eclipse instead. We’ve cruised the Solstice in the past but he’s concerned she’s getting old and missed her dry dock. I don’t know anything about the Eclipse, cruising out of Vancouver or that itinerary. Anything you can say about it would be welcome. 

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As we live in the Seattle area we have cruised to Alaska a number of times. June 2021 we are booked on Celebrity Millennium. With Celebrity you have 3 options for Alaska. While I would cruise on any of the three options. We booked Millennium cruising out of Anchorage (Seward). My favorite glacier is Hubbard Glacier. Millennium has been Revolutionized. Eclipse is a newer ship. Getting on the ships in Vancouver will require you to go through both US and Canadian customs before Celebrity check in. After your Eclipse cruise you will go through US customs at Vancouver airport. 

In your case I would not book Solstice. 1) Age of Solstice ship. 2) And the main reason is you dock in Victoria BC at 5:30pm. Just does not give you time to enjoy Victoria. Many cruises enjoy going to Butchart Gardens outside of Victoria.

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I'd be hesitant to book any cruise sailing into or out of a Canadian port in the first half of next year. There is no indication that Canada will open its borders to nonessential travel until the COVID pandemic numbers justify it.

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3 hours ago, mom says said:

I'd be hesitant to book any cruise sailing into or out of a Canadian port in the first half of next year. There is no indication that Canada will open its borders to nonessential travel until the COVID pandemic numbers justify it.

If Canada is closed then Solstice will not be able to stop in Victoria. That would also mean no cruises to Alaska out of Seattle. Must stop at a foreign port. Since we book, our cabin has gone up $2700 USD. We will be using our FCC that we already have. The OP implied they would be using a FCC. Our cruise is June 4, 2021. We can cancel up to June 2, 2021 and get our FCC back. Our back up cruise to use our FCC in Aug 2021.

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3 hours ago, bigbenboys said:

If Canada is closed then Solstice will not be able to stop in Victoria. That would also mean no cruises to Alaska out of Seattle. Must stop at a foreign port. Since we book, our cabin has gone up $2700 USD. We will be using our FCC that we already have. The OP implied they would be using a FCC. Our cruise is June 4, 2021. We can cancel up to June 2, 2021 and get our FCC back. Our back up cruise to use our FCC in Aug 2021.

Agreed.  No risk in booking. If they cancel we get a full credit. We are not putting any money out as the cost of the cruise is currently less than our credit and airfare from Florida is incredible right now. Just have to Pick a ship.

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Well I'm not biased or anything but I say sail out of Vancouver.  First of all our country is on sale with the CDN $ about 3/4 of the USD.  Secondly, when you sail out of Vancouver you will sail up the inside passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland which is incredibly scenic.  Sailing out of Seattle you sail off the west coast of Vancouver island in what can be quite rough seas and no scenery. 

We have sailed more on Eclipse than any other Celebrity ship although Millennium is close.  In fact we were on Eclipse when everything went haywire in March with COVID.  We will be on her again in May 2022.  Whatever you do, I hope you have a great cruise.

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We looked at the itineraries for Vancouver and Seattle and decided on the Eclipse.  The cruise out of Vancouver sails the Inside Passage.  We understand that the cruise is more smooth than the Solstice  sailing out of Seattle. We were scheduled to go this past August, but did a lift and shift for 2021.  

 

Good luck. We're concerned about cruising as early as August, however we're hopefully optimistic.

 

Mike

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We did the Eclipse cruise in June of 2019. We really enjoyed it. The inside passage will definitely be calmer than out in the open Pacific. If the stop in Victoria makes the Solstice itinerary look good, there isn't enough time to really do anything in Victoria.

I would suggest doing the Eclipse itinerary out of Vancouver, perhaps arrive a little early and enjoy the area If Victoria seems like a place you would like to visit then plan to spend the whole day at least. Maybe head home through Victoria after the cruise spend the night and carry on to Seattle either by Air or the Victoria Clipper. 

Enjoy our cruise, I hope this is helpful.

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1 hour ago, MJL said:

We looked at the itineraries for Vancouver and Seattle and decided on the Eclipse.  The cruise out of Vancouver sails the Inside Passage.  We understand that the cruise is more smooth than the Solstice  sailing out of Seattle. We were scheduled to go this past August, but did a lift and shift for 2021.  

 

Good luck. We're concerned about cruising as early as August, however we're hopefully optimistic.

 

Mike

 

You will be glad you made that decision. 

 

I answered this on another thread and wanted to share some other reasons:

Living in a Seattle suburb I can tell you that there is no way I would sail to Alaska from Seattle. Not now or in the foreseeable future.

 

With the upcoming huge cuts to Seattle's police and the police that are left having to watch every little thing they do, the homeless problem has gone crazy. We used to go into downtown all the time but the city has changed. We won't go anymore after dark. People urinating and defecating in public and drug use downtown is rampant. I love Seattle. It's an awesome city but it is going in the wrong direction right now. Many of the businesses in the downtown core are shutting down. Some have had plywood in their windows for months. Almost all the downtown parks and courthouse grounds are huge homeless encampments. 

 

All that and then there is the most important reason you want to sail out of Vancouver and not Seattle, the Canadian Inside Passage. 

 

When you sail out of Seattle you sail north and take a hard left turn at the Straits of Juan de Fuca. You then sail out into the Pacific Ocean. For the next day and a half you get to be at sea with nothing to see besides the coast line of Vancouver island in the distance. You also get to really feel the sea. If there's a storm you are rocking and rolling. On the return trip you have to leave Alaska early so you can make your 6:00-12:00 pm stop in Victoria. Not enough time to do a lot and less time in Alaska. The same is true on the way back. Your sea days are truly out at sea.

 

When you sail from Vancouver your first sea day is entirely in the Canadian Inside Passage. It's like sailing on a river with forested mountains on both sides. You see beautiful small towns and wildlife on the shoreline as you sail. And it is often beautiful and sunny when you sail that way. Never any problems with sea movement while in the passage. On the way back since you don't have to go to Victoria, you ship stays in Alaskan ports a little longer and you come back through that glorious Canadian Inside Passage again.

 

We have done Alaska eight times (when you live in SEA that's where you go when you just want to cruise) four times we have gone from Seattle and four from Vancouver. We left from Seattle when the ship was the most important part of the trip. For instance, last year we went to Alaska with our grandkids so we sailed out of Seattle on Ovation of the Seas. Our trip was all about the great big ship with lots of stuff for the grandkids to do. But when it's just us and we want to see Alaska, we sail out of Vancouver. Those have been the best Alaska cruises we have had. If we have friends who want to go to Alaska, we always recommend Vancouver. 

 

Besides, with the exchange rate, Vancouver is a real bargain...about 35% off and a super city with tons to see. What's happening in Seattle is just sad. I hope I can report that it is safe to come back soon.

 

Jim

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The best route is actually the Inside Passage from Seward to Vancouver.

You sail the Hubbard Glacier in the afternoon after the morning fog has lifted. We've done it both ways and were so glad that we had the wonderful afternoon turning 360 degrees and sailing in the channel when there was abundant sunshine.

The other reason to head south is proximity to home for the long flight. Vancouver is over 1,200 miles closer to Florida than Anchorage. Just as an FYI, if you are planning on using Delta, under their current schedule, their now once a day flight is a red eye to Atlanta. I'm waiting for the late morning flight to return from YVR so we can book our June flights after another blissful visit to Alaska.

We are keeping our fingers crossed and wish everyone good health and a return to cruising.

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10 hours ago, DrKoob said:

 

With the upcoming huge cuts to Seattle's police and the police that are left having to watch every little thing they do, the homeless problem has gone crazy. We used to go into downtown all the time but the city has changed. We won't go anymore after dark. People urinating and defecating in public and drug use downtown is rampant. I love Seattle. It's an awesome city but it is going in the wrong direction right now. Many of the businesses in the downtown core are shutting down. Some have had plywood in their windows for months. Almost all the downtown parks and courthouse grounds are huge homeless encampments. 

 

All that and then there is the most important reason you want to sail out of Vancouver and not Seattle, the Canadian Inside Passage. 

 

But when it's just us and we want to see Alaska, we sail out of Vancouver. Those have been the best Alaska cruises we have had. If we have friends who want to go to Alaska, we always recommend Vancouver. 

 

Besides, with the exchange rate, Vancouver is a real bargain...about 35% off and a super city with tons to see. What's happening in Seattle is just sad. I hope I can report that it is safe to come back soon.

 

Jim

 

I an glad Jim posted his thoughts. It confirms my recent cancelling of our SEA mid June AK cruise.  After all the turmoil going on there, I don't wish to be exposed or contribute to their economy.  Plus in our case, flying across country, It almost became a no brainer. 

 

I would have preferred sailing out of Vancouver but the DW wanted SEA.  We previously had a Vancouver sailing we couldn't make a few years ago because American Air never sent our plane to pick us up then rescheduled our replacement flight to arrive after the ship sailed.  Maybe we're just not destined to see AK.

 

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11 hours ago, Blackduck59 said:

We did the Eclipse cruise in June of 2019. We really enjoyed it. The inside passage will definitely be calmer than out in the open Pacific. If the stop in Victoria makes the Solstice itinerary look good, there isn't enough time to really do anything in Victoria.

I would suggest doing the Eclipse itinerary out of Vancouver, perhaps arrive a little early and enjoy the area If Victoria seems like a place you would like to visit then plan to spend the whole day at least. Maybe head home through Victoria after the cruise spend the night and carry on to Seattle either by Air or the Victoria Clipper. 

Enjoy our cruise, I hope this is helpful.

Our June 2021 is from Seward to Vancouver on Millie. We are cruising with friends from England. We plan on renting a car and driving to Victoria and spending a few days. Then taking the Victoria clipper back to Seattle.

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1 hour ago, dani negreanu said:

 

So sorry to read about Seattle, Jim & K.

 

Hi Dani,

It is very sad. In non-Covid times we had theater and concert subscriptions. Now you need an armed guard with you. Day before yesterday a man was arrested after he walked up behind a woman downtown and just hit her in the face. She went to the hospital. Lost some teeth. He didn't know her and they had not interacted.

 

Jim

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3 hours ago, ChucktownSteve said:

 

I an glad Jim posted his thoughts. It confirms my recent cancelling of our SEA mid June AK cruise.  After all the turmoil going on there, I don't wish to be exposed or contribute to their economy.  Plus in our case, flying across country, It almost became a no brainer. 

 

I would have preferred sailing out of Vancouver but the DW wanted SEA.  We previously had a Vancouver sailing we couldn't make a few years ago because American Air never sent our plane to pick us up then rescheduled our replacement flight to arrive after the ship sailed.  Maybe we're just not destined to see AK.

 

 

Tell DW that she should go from Vancouver. Not sure why she would want to sail out of SEA. Eclipse and Solstice are almost identical and the trip out of YVR (Vancouver airport designation) is soooo much better. Plus you get longer times in Alaskan ports because you don't have to make that stupid stop in Victoria. 

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We've sailed to Alaska 3 times on Millennium.  Next year we had booked Millennium and the Canadian Rockies Cruise Tour.  Then I realized we could sail from/to Vancouver on Eclipse and still do the cruise tour.  A bonus is a new port for us, Sitka. 

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Seattle's problems should not deter you. Most cruisers either fly in the day before and stay at an airport hotel, then bus directly to the cruise port. Others fly in the same day and then bus directly to the cruise port.  Some cruisers will stay at a downtown hotel, then taxi or uber to the cruise port. Most tourists only explore the waterfront tourist traps. No rioting has happened on the waterfront areas. You will meet a panhandler or two.

I have cruised out of Seattle 4 times and Vancouver twice. Both cities are great. But in Vancouver I had the customs wait from hell. Plus, Americans have to go through customs twice to get on the ship sailing out of Vancouver. Sailing out of Vancouver is beautiful, but so is the Seattle sailing. Most cruisers are busy exploring the ship on the first day. I have yet to have a bumpy ride sailing west of Vancouver Island. Yes, the port time in Victoria is way too short. Beautiful city. On my first Alaska cruise, we sailed out of Seattle and did the inside passage. We stopped a Prince Rupert, BC instead of Victoria for almost a full day. Why did the cruise lines stop doing this itinerary?

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10 hours ago, DrKoob said:

 

Tell DW that she should go from Vancouver. Not sure why she would want to sail out of SEA. Eclipse and Solstice are almost identical and the trip out of YVR (Vancouver airport designation) is soooo much better. Plus you get longer times in Alaskan ports because you don't have to make that stupid stop in Victoria. 

 

I agree with the "stupid stop" comment in that it is far too short. You can't really see much of Victoria in a full day let alone a few hours.

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On 10/9/2020 at 2:25 PM, hosscow said:

Seattle's problems should not deter you. Most cruisers either fly in the day before and stay at an airport hotel, then bus directly to the cruise port. Others fly in the same day and then bus directly to the cruise port.  Some cruisers will stay at a downtown hotel, then taxi or uber to the cruise port. Most tourists only explore the waterfront tourist traps. No rioting has happened on the waterfront areas. You will meet a panhandler or two.

I have cruised out of Seattle 4 times and Vancouver twice. Both cities are great. But in Vancouver I had the customs wait from hell. Plus, Americans have to go through customs twice to get on the ship sailing out of Vancouver. Sailing out of Vancouver is beautiful, but so is the Seattle sailing. Most cruisers are busy exploring the ship on the first day. I have yet to have a bumpy ride sailing west of Vancouver Island. Yes, the port time in Victoria is way too short. Beautiful city. On my first Alaska cruise, we sailed out of Seattle and did the inside passage. We stopped a Prince Rupert, BC instead of Victoria for almost a full day. Why did the cruise cruises stop doing this itinerary?

Thank  you for posting another viewpoint.  We are sailing out of Seattle to Alaska on Solstice in September of 2021.  We will stay on Solstice B2B for the Trans Pacific from Vancouver to Yokohama.  I think we will get to enjoy the inside passage sailing into Vancouver.

 

 We have visited Seattle in the past and are planning to fly in later the day prior to departure and spend the night at an airport hotel.  I am wondering about your comment about a bus from the airport to the cruise port.  When we looked, we did not come across anything except the train to Seattle with a taxi/Uber onward to the port.  With luggage we would prefer a  direct bus so I am wondering if you know of an alternative transfer.  We do not want to deal with the Celebrity transfer because of their price.  We are making our own flight arrangements.

Any additional information would be appreciated.  Thank You

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My personal preference has always been to sail out of Vancouver.  I love Seattle (and so sorry to hear about all the current issues and hope they are mitigated soon!), but the Vancouver sailings are just nicer.  Inside Passage and more time in ports clinches the deal for me.  We also hate the Vancouver airport experience (and the customs agents are often so rude and cold!) but it is worth it to us as the sailing experience is so much nicer.

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On 10/8/2020 at 12:33 PM, flarad said:

Help, trying to decide what to book for May/June 2021. We were booked on Solstice last June so we have a credit. DH is now eyeing the Eclipse instead. We’ve cruised the Solstice in the past but he’s concerned she’s getting old and missed her dry dock. I don’t know anything about the Eclipse, cruising out of Vancouver or that itinerary. Anything you can say about it would be welcome. 

My DW thinks I'm getting old, but she's still taking me on Eclipse in June. I hope she don't put me in the dry dock first though🤣

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Yes, the City of Seattle is in a terrible state....

 

My Cruise Critic name is deceiving as I live south of Seattle.

 

I have not ventured into the City, but I would not hesitate to cruise out of terminal 91 which is located north of the city proper.  

 

Take Uber or a cab from the Airport to the terminal.  The train is useless.

 

With that being said, we sail out of Vancouver when ever possible for the previous reasons others have stated especially the inside passage is amazing!

 

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On 10/11/2020 at 12:20 PM, SHIP TRAVELER said:

Thank  you for posting another viewpoint.  We are sailing out of Seattle to Alaska on Solstice in September of 2021.  We will stay on Solstice B2B for the Trans Pacific from Vancouver to Yokohama.  I think we will get to enjoy the inside passage sailing into Vancouver.

 

 We have visited Seattle in the past and are planning to fly in later the day prior to departure and spend the night at an airport hotel.  I am wondering about your comment about a bus from the airport to the cruise port.  When we looked, we did not come across anything except the train to Seattle with a taxi/Uber onward to the port.  With luggage we would prefer a  direct bus so I am wondering if you know of an alternative transfer.  We do not want to deal with the Celebrity transfer because of their price.  We are making our own flight arrangements.

Any additional information would be appreciated.  Thank You

I was thinking of the cruise lines buses in my previous post. Your best bet then would be taxi or uber. The train is too far of a walk to the Celebrity/Princess/Holland piers. The NCL pier is walkable from from the airport train. Mostly downhill, but a long walk and annoying with luggage.

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20 hours ago, Sam.Seattle said:

Yes, the City of Seattle is in a terrible state....

 

My Cruise Critic name is deceiving as I live south of Seattle.

 

I have not ventured into the City, but I would not hesitate to cruise out of terminal 91 which is located north of the city proper.  

 

Take Uber or a cab from the Airport to the terminal.  The train is useless.

 

With that being said, we sail out of Vancouver when ever possible for the previous reasons others have stated especially the inside passage is amazing!

 

Seattle is NOT nearly as bad as you falsely rant about, it just is not.

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