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PLEASE HELP...Diamond Princess or Carnival Spirit


JoeLisaAlli

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Hi,

 

We are booked on two cruises to Alaska...the Diamond Princess and the Carnival Spirit. We originally booked on the Diamond Princess ($3,757.63 - Mini-Suite - E725); however, we found a great deal on the Carnival Spirit ($2,175.35 - Extended Balcony - AFT 4239). The cost difference is $1,582.28. We would also have to pay a $300 penalty to change our flights since the departure/return days are different. I don't want the price to be the only driver in our decision though.

 

ANY information/feedback you can share that might help us make our decision would be GREATLY appreciated. I have read through so many posts that I'm feeling overwhelmed.

 

Also, we decided last night that we are not going to do any pre/post cruise land tours this time...other than spending an extra night or two in Seattle.

 

Just a little background information...

We are a family of three (me, my DH and DD - 10 years old). We have sailed on 7 previous cruises...Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norweigian, Disney, Carnival...all Caribbean.

 

Thanks,

 

Lisa

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There is no reason to dismiss Carnival in my opinion. They do an excellent job in Alaska and have a top ship naturalist, who really can enhance your trip even more, if of interest. (hopefully Michelle is again with them this year :) )

 

I do suggest you may want to consider taking advantage of going on a Prince William Sound boat tour, a top must do choice, always for me. :)

 

Sitka is a fantastic port, again, a boat tour is my top recommendation here and your only inside passage accessable area, if you want to see puffins.

 

I have taken 5 different cruiselines in Alaska, including your two listed. My first choice would be Carnival. :)

 

Your significant savings could go a long way toward your extra port touring. :)

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THANKS! You are so knowledgeable! I should just let you plan my trip.

 

Do you know anything about the cabin that we have booked...Diamond - E725 (Starboard) and Carnival - AFT 4239? Are they covered? We had an aft balcony on the Caribbean Princess and loved it; however, I wasn't sure if it would be a good choice for Alaska. It seems like it might be better to be on the side so you can see what the naturalist is talking about from your balcony if you choose not to go out on deck.

 

Are the ship activities basically the same on both ships (lectures, bingo, etc.).

 

Does either ship have a covered pool? Movie theater?

 

We'll definitely look at doing the boat tours you recommended. We definitely want to see puffins, so which boat tour and tour company do you recommend for Sitka?

 

What about a good port to go fishing? My husband mentioned wanting to do this and was looking at Sitka.

 

Thanks again.

 

Lisa

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Since you asked - I would choose Carnival Spirit to save a bundle of money, but I would also use the money saved to pay for a few days in Alaska pre or post-cruise. Airfare to Alaska is expensive, and you never know when you might have an opportunity to go there again. I've read plenty of comments from people who wish they had been able to spend more time on the land portion of their Alaska trip. I don't recall ever reading that someone wished they had just gone right to the airport and skipped the land trip.

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I do suggest you may want to consider taking advantage of going on a Prince William Sound boat tour, a top must do choice, always for me. :)

 

BQ- I see you hyping the PWS boat tours, the Kenai Fjords tours, and the Tracy Arm tours.

 

How do you rank the 3 of these? :D

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The Diamond Princess is an amazingly beautiful ship and the Mini-suite you've picked is a great place to spend a week!

I really like Princess because of all the storage they offer in drawers/closets and shelves in their cabins (it's important to me.) They also keep a cleaner ship. And, in my and my families opinions their food is better.

I can't take the constant PA (loudspeaker) reminders on Carnival ships.....it's so disruptive and intrusive on my quiet/relaxing mind onboard a cruiseship. I also think Carnival is a bit lax in their cleanliness. The decor is a bit "loud" as well. But, the kids love it!!!!!

All of your choices are good ones, we just happen to like Princess better!

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We, too prefer Princess.

 

Having sailed on both Princess and Carnival, I definitely have to agree that Princess takes much more pride in the cleanliness of their ships and the quality of their food (although many say that food is subjective). IMHO, Carnival is cheaper for a reason.

 

Another thing to consider is the age of the people sailing as well as to the type of amenities you prefer. Some prefer a ship with nightclubs and a kids club that stays open until late. For this there is Carnival. However, if you prefer the piano bar, shows that end at 10 pm and are early to retire (like me and I am in my mid-30's) then Princess may be for you.

 

We are also booked on the Diamond Princess but our mini suite is little more than half of what your costs are for the same itinerary. We saved $2400 on our sailing with a past passenger discount. Since you are a past guest on Princess, have you checked to see if your sailing applies for the 2 for 1 sale? There have also been price drops for certain sailings. Have you checked your dates to see if you have had any reductions? Your TA will not contact you if there have been price drops, you will need to tell them. I'm hearing this a lot for the June sailings; particularly the minis.

 

The problem you will most likely run into is that 3rd person prices on Carnival will be much cheaper than Princess' 3rd person rates. Check the rates on princess again and let us know if there is any decrease. If that is the case, there should only be a couple hundred dollars difference in the rates in which case I would go with Princess. Keep us posted.

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We, too prefer Princess.

 

Having sailed on both Princess and Carnival, I definitely have to agree that Princess takes much more pride in the cleanliness of their ships and the quality of their food (although many say that food is subjective). IMHO, Carnival is cheaper for a reason.

 

Another thing to consider is the age of the people sailing as well as to the type of amenities you prefer. Some prefer a ship with nightclubs and a kids club that stays open until late. For this there is Carnival. However, if you prefer the piano bar, shows that end at 10 pm and are early to retire (like me and I am in my mid-30's) then Princess may be for you.

 

QUOTE]

 

 

I'm assuming you have not sailed to Alaska, since this is not a valid argument there on Carnival. In the Caribbean there are big differences in ship activites and passenger demographics, NOT so in Alaska, where you will find them to be very similar on ALL lines, including Carnival.

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BQ- I see you hyping the PWS boat tours, the Kenai Fjords tours, and the Tracy Arm tours.

 

How do you rank the 3 of these? :D

 

"Hyping"???? :) :) :) I post based on my actual experiences, and these are tours I go on over and over and find them top tour choices for Alaska. Some may find it a big difference compared to posts recommending tours they haven't even been on yet. :)

 

Frankly, I go on each, when I'm in the areas, so no favorites of these 3. I do make more of an effort to get to, with extended staying time in Seward, since my priority is always wildlife.

 

I can not recommend one over the other. :)

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First you are paying too much on Princess. Prices have been reduced some time ago. Go to Princess.com log in and check the price. Our Island Princess mini (AB) was less than $2000.00 a third birth sb around 50%.

 

Second there is a big difference (my opinion) between Princess and Carnival makes no difference where you are cruising to.

 

Third check the passenger to space ratio, Princess is better. Do some research and I think you will find Princess is preferred over Carnival by most, not all, who have done both.

 

Forth. Princess has a superior past passenger program.

 

Fifth. And yes in IMH biased opinion Carnival is cheaper for a reason too.

Jack

for the lovely

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You may want to check out current pricing for Princess. We just got a great deal on an Alaska cruise on the Diamond (June 6th). You may be able to get a reduction in your price or an OBC, to reduce the difference. While Princess normally charges a lot more for a third person in a room (the main reason we even consider other lines since Princess is our favorite), we are only paying $199 for our daughter this time.

We have only been on Carnival twice (14 day transatlantic on the Freedom and 7 day Caribbean on the Liberty). We thought the ship/food/service on those ships were comparable to Princess. Loved the transatlantic on the Freedom and would definitely consider Carnival for that type of trip, but not for a 7 day Caribbean. If the passenger demographics in Alaska are comparable for Princess and Carnival, I would consider them if the savings were large enough.

Do like the Anytime Dining on Princess (which I think is only available on a few Carnival ships). We find that it works great with younger kids. Our June Alaska cruise will be my 20th on Princess, and my 4th Princess to Alaska. Love the cruise line, the ship, and the itinerary.

I would suggest spending your few extra days in Vancouver. Seattle is a very nice city, but Vancouver is one of my favorites.

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Sailed Carnival Spirit to Alaska and Sapphire Princess (twin to the Diamond) to Alaska. Other than the superior naturalist and the possibility of getting to Sitka (we didn't make it on our Spirit sailing), Princess wins with us, no contest. Princess also offers Glacier Bay in addition to College Fjord, a big consideration.

 

I'd take an oceanview or inside sailing on Princess one-way rather than a balcony on Carnival for Alaska. But, that's just my opinion, having been there, done that.... :)

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I am booked on Carnival Spirit for this summer based on Budget Queen's advice (and against many others :D ).

 

That said, I talked to a Princess rep at one point who told me that in order to get a 2-for-1 deal, I should sign up on their website, then begin, but not complete, an Alaskan cruise reservation. I did this, and lo-and-behold I received a 2-for-1 coupon deal via email good on any of the summer Alaskan cruises, about 3 weeks later. This brought Princess and Carnival prices for balcony about identical and Princess slightly cheaper for the interior rooms.

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I called Princess and they said that we are getting a "past passenger" rate, but not the 2 for 1 special. She said that they randomly selected the past passengers for that special. I just looked at the website and the price is still the same for our sailing (June 6 - Diamond - AD - $3,757 for 3 people). We would be willing to drop down to a balcony; however, they are more expensive than the mini-suite.

 

Lisa

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You may want to check out current pricing for Princess. We just got a great deal on an Alaska cruise on the Diamond (June 6th). You may be able to get a reduction in your price or an OBC, to reduce the difference. While Princess normally charges a lot more for a third person in a room (the main reason we even consider other lines since Princess is our favorite), we are only paying $199 for our daughter this time.

We have only been on Carnival twice (14 day transatlantic on the Freedom and 7 day Caribbean on the Liberty). We thought the ship/food/service on those ships were comparable to Princess. Loved the transatlantic on the Freedom and would definitely consider Carnival for that type of trip, but not for a 7 day Caribbean. If the passenger demographics in Alaska are comparable for Princess and Carnival, I would consider them if the savings were large enough.

Do like the Anytime Dining on Princess (which I think is only available on a few Carnival ships). We find that it works great with younger kids. Our June Alaska cruise will be my 20th on Princess, and my 4th Princess to Alaska. Love the cruise line, the ship, and the itinerary.

I would suggest spending your few extra days in Vancouver. Seattle is a very nice city, but Vancouver is one of my favorites.

 

What are your recommendations for things to do in Vancouver?

 

Lisa

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I called Princess and they said that we are getting a "past passenger" rate, but not the 2 for 1 special. She said that they randomly selected the past passengers for that special. I just looked at the website and the price is still the same for our sailing (June 6 - Diamond - AD - $3,757 for 3 people). We would be willing to drop down to a balcony; however, they are more expensive than the mini-suite.

 

Lisa

I just checked the Princess web. It looks like they are starting to fill up with some wait listed but there not completely full. You might check their web site every day for a while. If there not on whatever their schedule is for sales those prices will change. I also checked a reliable web discount agency that advertises on CC and they were high also.

Even with my prior post $1200.00 is a lot of dollars and it is not looking super good. For me I would still do the Diamond but I would check the price every day and if your booked directly with Princess I would set my computer up to get several discount web agencies prices also each day.

Sorry and good luck.

Jack

for the

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<P>

What are your recommendations for things to do in Vancouver?</P>

<P> </P>

 

<P>Lisa

  • Gastown
  • Chinatown
  • Robson Street
  • Stanley Park is fabulous (walk the seawall, rent bikes and bike around the park, aquarium, etc.)
  • Granville Island
  • Hop on hop off bus

Other possibilities are Bard on the Beach (if the season has started), ferry to Vancouver island/Victoria and go to Butchardt Gardens, drive to Whistler (downhill ski location for the 2010 winter olympics in Vancouver).

I'd recommend getting a hotel downtown (near Robson Street). Fun to eat on Robson Street (many of the restaurants have patios or rooftop restaurants on/overlooking Robson Street). Lot of activity with people walking down/shopping on Robson in the evening. Save room for dessert at "Death by Chocolate". We are going to be spending our time pre-cruise in Seattle, because my oldest daughter lives there--otherwise we'd be in Vancouver. It's my favorite North American city.

We are on the same cruise as you (June 6th Diamond). We have an 8 YO daughter with us. This is my 4th Princess Alaska Cruise (and 20th Princess overall). We weren't planning on taking this, but got some of Princess' promotional information and started looking. Ended up with an inside at about $1300 for the 3 of us. We are usually in a minisuite, but weren't interested in paying that much when we've been to Alaska before.

Let me know if you have any questions regarding Princess or Alaska. Join our roll call on the roll call boards, if you haven't already.

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Having cruised on the Carnival Spirit to Alaska, I can tell you it is a whole different Carnival experience.

We got off the ship in Whittier wondering how soon we could book another Alaska Cruise.

The Spirit and their naturalist was a wonderful experience.

We are finally returning in May but on Royal Caribbean only because this was our cruise mates choice.

You are the only one to make your decision but do not be afraid of Carnival.

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Having cruised on the Carnival Spirit to Alaska, I can tell you it is a whole different Carnival experience.

We got off the ship in Whittier wondering how soon we could book another Alaska Cruise.

The Spirit and their naturalist was a wonderful experience.

We are finally returning in May but on Royal Caribbean only because this was our cruise mates choice.

You are the only one to make your decision but do not be afraid of Carnival.

 

We can get a really great resident rate (California) on Carnival but I am so leery of that cruise line, which isn't really fair because I've never taken a Carnival cruise in the past.

 

Maybe I should take another look at the Carnival option.

 

We have a hold on a mini-suite on the Sapphire Princes but we're going to have to cancel it because our FF miles will not work due to an "open jaw" situation (from LAX to Vancouver and then from Anchorage back to LAX).

 

This is a good thread.

 

I have myself in a tizzy about which cruise to book and now I've researched far too much . . . down to which cruise has the worst CDC health rating.

 

(OCD - obsessive cruise diagnosis)

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We have cruised Alaska twice now both times with Carnival..That aft balcony you have on the Spirit...KEEP IT!!!!..Its an awesome location...The food was very good the service was excellent and the ship is beautiful..You get to see Sitka which not all cruises visit...Your on board Naturalist Michelle is awesome..and your port time in Juneau will allow you enough time to cruise Tracy Arm via small boat..That was the best thing we did out of both of our Alaskan Cruises..If you would like to look at our Capers from a few years ago feel free..It will give you a good idea of what kind of activities to expect on board! Heres the link to the Capers..

http://good-times.webshots.com/album/559974214eJxdDY

 

Kelly

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We can get a really great resident rate (California) on Carnival but I am so leery of that cruise line, which isn't really fair because I've never taken a Carnival cruise in the past.

 

Maybe I should take another look at the Carnival option.

 

We have a hold on a mini-suite on the Sapphire Princes but we're going to have to cancel it because our FF miles will not work due to an "open jaw" situation (from LAX to Vancouver and then from Anchorage back to LAX).

 

This is a good thread.

 

I have myself in a tizzy about which cruise to book and now I've researched far too much . . . down to which cruise has the worst CDC health rating.

 

(OCD - obsessive cruise diagnosis)

 

WELL..:)

You can always wait until 2010 and join us on Carnivals r/t Glacier Bay Sailing..We are just waiting for pricing to come out..So far about 50 cabins worth of interest!..This has some great potential to be a big Cruise Critic Group Cruise..

 

Kelly

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Just got a mailing in my inbox for Carnival Spirit that even I would have a hard time saying no to, if we hadn't already booked a round-trip Seattle on Princess (bargain, too, and convenient). And I said never again on Carnival to Alaska... :eek:... :)...

 

For the pricing that's out there now, I would eat my words!

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Just got a mailing in my inbox for Carnival Spirit that even I would have a hard time saying no to, if we hadn't already booked a round-trip Seattle on Princess (bargain, too, and convenient). And I said never again on Carnival to Alaska... :eek:... :)...

 

For the pricing that's out there now, I would eat my words!

 

*grin*..Teaches you to never say never..:)

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

We have a hold on a mini-suite on the Sapphire Princes but we're going to have to cancel it because our FF miles will not work due to an "open jaw" situation (from LAX to Vancouver and then from Anchorage back to LAX).

 

 

 

Whey can't you use you FF miles? We did so in 2003 for our Alaska cruise and are doing it later this year for our upcoming Canada/NE cruise when we leave from Boston and end in Quebec.

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