Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
dee1321

Alaska cruise help

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Just in the beginning stages of planning an Alaskan Cruise. We have been on many Caribbean cruises so we are not new to cruising just new to planning an Alaskan cruise. We are loyal Royal Caribbean cruises, however everything I research leads me to Princess for an Alaskan cruise and after reading many reviews I agree we would like to try Princess. We are looking at August 2020 or June 2021. Freedom of the Seas has been our favorite RCCL ship and from what I have found out... the Coral, Royal, Island, and Golden are the Princess ships that go to Alaska. I believe my husband would like sailing through the inside passage.... can y’all advise us as to which ship we should be pricing and looking into for our vacation? I am considering a mini suite cabin as this will be a once in a lifetime cruise for us. Thank you for your help!😊

Edited by dee1321
Spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just a thought since you are still in the early preparation ... give great consideration to doing a Princess cruise/tour ... with the tour first ... we've only been to Alaska once, back in 2007, but when we go back ... we will definitely be doing a land tour first thru Princess staying at the Princess lodges, then doing the 7 day cruise

 

land portion tours range from 3 - 10 days if I remember correctly

 

we'd give up the balcony, if necessary , to be able to do the land ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Princess boards.  I have been on two Princess cruises.  Sailed Emerald Princess roundtrip from Seattle to Alaska. We did Tracey Arms, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and Victoria.  Here is my take on Princess. They will have a naturalist onboard; who spends the week with you on the ship. they will hold forums to explain about the ports of call.  As you sail up the passageway, they will point out different things to you.  they hang out in the bridge with the captain and will get on the microphone and tell you about things they see.  We saw whales swimming next to the ship. Bald Eagles flying around the coastline.  In Juneau, they brought Alaskan puppies onboard.  These are the dogs they will be trained to do the iditarod race. Princess does not have all the stuff like Royal Caribbean has.  No flowrider, no promenade, no rock climbing wall. What they do have is a great staff, great ships, and good food. The main area of their ships is the Piazza; which is the central area of the ship on Deck 5 and 6. The international cafe is open 24 hrs a day. The pizza is good.  I suggest you look at booking a Club Class mini suite.  Club Class is a dining option that was started in 2017.  One section of the dining room is sectioned off for club class cabins.  You never wait to be seated for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It is a great option.  You eat when you want.  Hope this info helps.  Oh,  We were on Caribbean Princess in Feb.  This was the first ship with the new ocean medallion and medallion net wifi.  Great ship.  Super fast wifi, and you can read up on the medallion program on one of the Princess threads.   Have a great day  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coral is my pick - have sailed her multiple times (usually b2b Alaska) and find that her smaller passenger count, public decks, and Horizon Court buffet located at the bow rather than aft are terrific for scenic viewing.  She sails the true inside passage in/out of Vancouver which is a gorgeous part of the experience for us.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would definitely recommend a Cruisetour to see more of interior Alaska. Cruisetours are either pre or post cruise. I prefer the pre-cruise, with slightly higher fares. Tour first then relax on the ship for a week. Cruisetours sell out well in advance. The 2020 season is available now. I would expect the 2021 season to be available in the fall. The ships sailing Alaska in 2020 may not be the same as in 2021. In 2020 the Grand, Royal, Pacific and Coral are sailing the one way inside passage voyages between Vancouver and Whittier. These are the voyages that can be booked as cruisetours. Of the four I prefer the Coral. It is a 2,000 passenger ship with lots of viewing areas and plenty of entertainment venues for evening activities. If you want to experience a small ship, 670 passengers, you may want to try the Pacific Princess. It’s a different cruising experience. The Royal is a newer and larger ship, 3,600 passengers. But, newer does not necessarily mean better. It does not have a lot of viewing areas, no 360 degree promenade. The Royal does have the best buffet area I have seen. The Grand has an excellent layout for an Alaska cruise. It’s an older ship, 1998, but in good condition. The Emerald, Ruby Golden and Star are sailing RT Alaska from different ports. The Emerald and Ruby are sister ships, 3,100 passengers. The Star and Golden are similar to the Emerald and Ruby, but they have one less deck, 2,600 passengers, and indoor pools. All are excellent choices. The Island Princess is is not in Alaska in 2020. I would also try to avoid the Island if it returns in 2021. Main reason, Princess added cabins for 200 additional passengers taking away public venues, not adding any additional dining space and other changes I don not prefer. The Golden will not be in Alaska in 2021 as it will be leaving the fleet and heading to Australia. You will not find rock climbing walls, surf riders, etc on Princess ships. An Alaska cruise is nothing like a Caribbean cruise. Alaska is port, sight seeing and scenic viewing intensive. Not a lot of lounging around the pool. Below is a link to some photos of the Emerald Princess in Alaska. Note the passenger's dress.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We only went once but it was an amazing vacation.  I did a lot of research both on this site and other travel websites.  Here is what I’d suggest considering. 1) loved the Coral ( did the Panama Canal on her also), never crowded, excellent service.  2) a mini suite is nice , we had one only because the pricing was similar to a balcony, otherwise we’d have been just as happy in a Caribe deck balcony.  It’s important to note that on the Grand Class ships the deck 10 (Caribe) balconies are extra large 9 ft x 9 ft.   This includes the Coral. It is not like this on Royal/Regal. So, depending on the ship, do compare these oversized balconies to the mini suites as to what is most important to you vs price. 3) consider doing a one- way with 3-5 days on land pre or post cruise rather than RT Seattle 4) you can plan your own land tour if you are willing to do the research, with probably less cost and more flexibility than a Princess Cruise tour.  There are many threads on the Alaska board with information from very knowledgeable travelers on planning your own tour. We spent 3 nights in a creek side cabin near Denali and got a full day south of Anchorage before flying home.   Reserve your rental car at the Anchorage airport as early as possible for the best price.   Whatever you choose to do, be adventurous! You may only be there once!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make a fist with your thumb pointing down .

That is the state of Alaska.

An Inside Passage 7N r/t cruise you will visit just the tip of your thumb.

Go for at least a 7N North or Southbound cruise or even better a cruise/tour (if your budget allows) to see more of Alaska.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all the tips... I was definitely leaning toward Coral Princess and y’all have confirmed my research. I will also look into Club Class and will look at booking land tour pre cruise. Any other information is very welcomed!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was hesitant to book the Island Princess, but the price made it the best option for me this year on back-to-back cruises. There were a few things that would have been better if the ship still had the Universe Lounge at the aft of the ship--Klondike night, trivia, Captain's Circle party. But I still had a great time and enjoyed what the Island offers that the Royal doesn't--a walkable Promenade Deck for viewing the glaciers. It never felt too crowded when the ship was at the glaciers because of all the room.

 

For me, Alaska is not a once-in-a-lifetime cruise. Now that I'm retired, I hope to go more frequently. These were my fourth and fifth Alaskan cruises. I'd love to do it every year even if it means going in an inside cabin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed Alaska.  I did a 14 night cruise on Tahitian Princess..  Great cruise ship, but Princess no longer has it (I think).  We did not go into the interior of Alaska, stayed in the port areas, plenty of history there to see.

What I found as a great help to me, was to know a little about the history of the Gold Rush before I went there.  I read several book about it.  Once up there, the reading helpped Alaska come alive for me.

Some of the book are.

Klondike Fever  and Women of the Klondike both by Pierre Berton

Good Time Girls by Lael Morgan
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dee1321 said:

Thank you for all the tips... I was definitely leaning toward Coral Princess and y’all have confirmed my research. I will also look into Club Class and will look at booking land tour pre cruise. Any other information is very welcomed!!

 

We've cruised Alaska five times.  The worst one was wonderful.  Number six is booked for this September.

 

I have no particular advice for you.

 

You're going to have a great time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, dee1321 said:

the Coral, Royal, Island, and Golden are the Princess ships that go to Alaska.

If you want a "big" balcony in that Mini...don't choose Royal. Almost all balconies are tiny compared to the other ships.

On the Golden (never been on the Coral or Island):

Caribe deck has the biggest balconies, but no Minis on that deck.

There are some nice Minis aft on the Emerald deck. They're totally covered and they go FAST.

The rest of the Minis are on Dolphin deck. Uncovered (if that's an issue for you) and the very last one has the largest balcony. It was designed for handicap but didn't pass muster for some reason. The bathroom is a HC bathroom (enormous shower), no tub.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, geocruiser said:

I really enjoyed Alaska.  I did a 14 night cruise on Tahitian Princess..  Great cruise ship, but Princess no longer has it (I think).  We did not go into the interior of Alaska, stayed in the port areas, plenty of history there to see.

What I found as a great help to me, was to know a little about the history of the Gold Rush before I went there.  I read several book about it.  Once up there, the reading helped Alaska come alive for me.

Some of the book are.

Klondike Fever  and Women of the Klondike both by Pierre Berton

Good Time Girls by Lael Morgan
 

Correction.  Women of the Klondike was written bu Frances Blackhouse and the forward to the book was written by Pierre Berton.

Sorry for the mistake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only true inside passage trips are southbound from Anchorage (Whittiier) to Vancouver or Northbound from Vancouver to Whittier.  Anything from Seattle is not going to show you the inside passage.

Definitely consider the cruise/tour that Princess offers. We have done 2 and loved them. Start in Fairbanks, spend a few days working your way south (the 2 night stay in Denali is fantastic), embark in Whittier and disembark in Vancouver. Take the land tour for as long as you can.  Great trip and lots to see in Alaska.

If you expand my signature you'll see we love Alaska! 😄

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In early summer 2020 Golden Princess will sail the round/trip Los Angeles to Alaska. After which she is leaving the fleet.

Island Princess will spend Summer 2020 in Europe rather than Alaska. Where she will be Summer 2021 is very much up in the air.

 

As others have suggested a pre- or post-cruise land tour the four ships doing the open-jaw Vancouver-Whitter in 2020 are Royal, Grand, Coral and Pacific Princess. My personal choice will be to start with Grand Princess and base your decision on how pricing and dates work out (several other threads on this topic seemed to have found better pricing on Grand than Royal or even Island).

 

For 2021 the assumption is a second Royal-class ship (Regal Princess) will be moving to Alaska. We won't know her exact 2021 deployment until much later this year.

 

So even for just the Vancouver-Whittier (or reverse) sailings you have the choice of the most modern Princess ship(s) (Royal and Regal) or the most intimate (700-passenger Pacific Princess). But the intermediate ships (Grand or Coral) will have the best on deck viewing areas and be far lest crowded than Royal or Regal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I spent four weeks in Alaska this summer on the golden which was fantastic. I was a little hesitant considering it was an older ship, but it was probably one of my best cruises I've had because the crew really made the trip. Fantastic team on there

Edited by Jeter02

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeter02, I believe the crew makes the biggest difference.  If the ship is old or a little worn; the personality and willingness of the crew is what makes the cruise.  So I agree with you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have sailed the Coral twice, including an Alaska Cruise-tour.  The Royal we have sailed three times but never to Alaska.  We just concluded our planning for another Alaska Cruise-tour and booked a July 2020 cruise on the Coral Princess.  Weighing all the pros and cons we felt that the Coral is the best choice for us.  Additionally we chose a mini-suite on Deck Ten Forward.  This was because these mini-suites have a covered balcony.  

Share this post


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
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
      • Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo invites you to #CrewUpWithWomen
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...