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Newbie needs advice on Alaskan Cruise -NCL Haven or Viking or ??


mnmama43
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I have need of help from all you experienced cruisers!! My husband and I (mid 50s) have been on exactly ONE cruise;  a 6-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic in a Haven suite.  I really liked the 'smaller ship within a ship' aspect. When we first considered booking we were most concerned about crowds and long waits.  We are serious foodies, and we like relaxing, enjoy some shows, and hate crowds and waiting with the masses (sorry if too snobby). Thus, when I did some initial research, the Haven appealed to me. I especially liked the private pool area, the restaurant/lounge and such but really didn't need the butler (we aren't THAT well off).

 

We are now considering an 7-10 day Alaskan cruise (my husband's bucket list item). I am a little overwhelmed by the choices between going again with the NCL Haven (which is seriously pricey) or perhaps trying another line like Viking or Regent. I like the idea of a smaller ship being able to get into areas not usually accessible to the giant liners except I am concerned about about which level of suite to choose. I am willing to pay for less crowds and definitely shorter wait times with boarding and disembarking but I don't need to pay for crazy exclusive perks like a butler or a huge suite. That being said, this will likely be our only Alaskan cruise so I'd like to make it worthwhile.

Basically, would we be happy in a basic cabin on a line like Viking or Regent after having experienced the Haven or should we still upgrade even on those ships? Or should we stick with the Haven and sail the NCL ( I'm assuming we would pick the Bliss)? Thanks all!!!

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2 hours ago, mnmama43 said:

I have need of help from all you experienced cruisers!! My husband and I (mid 50s) have been on exactly ONE cruise;  a 6-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic in a Haven suite.  I really liked the 'smaller ship within a ship' aspect. When we first considered booking we were most concerned about crowds and long waits.  We are serious foodies, and we like relaxing, enjoy some shows, and hate crowds and waiting with the masses (sorry if too snobby). Thus, when I did some initial research, the Haven appealed to me. I especially liked the private pool area, the restaurant/lounge and such but really didn't need the butler (we aren't THAT well off).

 

We are now considering an 7-10 day Alaskan cruise (my husband's bucket list item). I am a little overwhelmed by the choices between going again with the NCL Haven (which is seriously pricey) or perhaps trying another line like Viking or Regent. I like the idea of a smaller ship being able to get into areas not usually accessible to the giant liners except I am concerned about about which level of suite to choose. I am willing to pay for less crowds and definitely shorter wait times with boarding and disembarking but I don't need to pay for crazy exclusive perks like a butler or a huge suite. That being said, this will likely be our only Alaskan cruise so I'd like to make it worthwhile.

Basically, would we be happy in a basic cabin on a line like Viking or Regent after having experienced the Haven or should we still upgrade even on those ships? Or should we stick with the Haven and sail the NCL ( I'm assuming we would pick the Bliss)? Thanks all!!!

Foodie? 
Consider Oceania (“Ultra Premium” brand in the family that includes  “mass market” NCL and “luxury” Regent). “O” has been praised by the likes of Bon Appetit, Saveur, Conde Naste et al. for having the “Finest Cuisine at Sea” (thanks in part to the line’s long time relationship with Jacques Pepin whose signature restaurant is located on O’s two “larger” (1200 passenger) ships (Marina and Riviera).


O’s Regatta, at 670 passengers, does the Alaska cruises and the cabin fare includes air tix (or air credit), internet, beverages, all specialty restaurants and a choice of an O Life complimentary perk from among tours, booze or SBC. FWIW: the major difference from sister line Regent is that Regent is more all-inclusive (though at a heftier base price), while Oceania has a more “a la carte” approach to the included amenities.

 

I suggest that you follow some of the CC forums for lines you are considering AND talk with a Cruise Specialist TA who primarily handles premium and luxury lines. 

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While I agree that Oceania might give you the exclusive experience all over the ship, so would Viking, Crystal, Seabourn...  But they do not offer the one port that I consider mandatory for a bucket list cruise, one time only.  That 'port' is Glacier Bay.  Doing a search on cruisetimetables.com for 2022, using Glacier Bay as port of call, I find only two lines other than NCL that could meet your criteria.  One is Seabourn, early and late in the season, and Cunard with Queen Elizabeth, as few cruises in the middle of the season.  On QE you would need to be in a Grill suite, probably Princess Grill as they are more reasonable, in line with Haven pricing.  EM

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1 hour ago, Essiesmom said:

While I agree that Oceania might give you the exclusive experience all over the ship, so would Viking, Crystal, Seabourn...  But they do not offer the one port that I consider mandatory for a bucket list cruise, one time only.  That 'port' is Glacier Bay.  Doing a search on cruisetimetables.com for 2022, using Glacier Bay as port of call, I find only two lines other than NCL that could meet your criteria.  One is Seabourn, early and late in the season, and Cunard with Queen Elizabeth, as few cruises in the middle of the season.  On QE you would need to be in a Grill suite, probably Princess Grill as they are more reasonable, in line with Haven pricing.  EM

Glacier Bay is nice. But, “up close and personal” with the Hubbard Glacier is an equal sight to behold. And, though a whole other trip, “bucket listers” looking for glaciers may want to think about the Chilean Fjords.

 

On a separate (yet slightly related) issue: I have it on very reliable authority that Viking is for sale. 

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