Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
etravel

FOR ALASKA: REGAL PRINCESS VS NCL BLISS

Recommended Posts

Posting this in the Princess area, but want some opinions...going to do an inside passage cruise June 2021 (Regal Princess or NCL Bliss)...right now both Princess and NCL have their freebies at sea with the drink packages, wifi, etc etc..so both great there...NCL also includes the 3 night specialty dining package...Princess includes the gratuities....we like having the access for the Thermal spa rooms so with Princess if we do a suite it's included and if we do the Spa Mini suite it's included with NCL....basically they are the same price to do the spa mini-suite on NCL or the Princess S5 suite....toiling over which would be the better itinerary if NCL includes Icy Strait Point and Princess includes Skagway..which of those two would be the better port to visit, for a first timer to Alaska? They both visit Ketchikan, Juneau, and Endicott Arm....We want to stick to just a 7 day b/c my DH can't be off for more than a week...We have never been on a Princess but have done a few NCL cruises and we always go for a mini-suite and have done the Haven once too, which we loved! They are both very good deals I feel with the kind of cabins we can do (suite on Princess of course would prob be the better value!) and with all the great perks included...just trying to decide between the two slightly different itineraries and the 2 ships! We are both 60, and seems NCL may have more kids...so that leans us a bit more to Princess but we also love the entertainment on NCL with their Broadway shows and other great entertainment options on  board....Sorry this is so long! Opinions? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can not speak for NCL, however, we have cruised Princess 7 times and it is our

favorite. We can only compare it to HAL and Celebrity. I think you will like the demographics

and the atmosphere on the ship. Though in June, there may be quite a few children. If you consider May or September, they will be hardly any.

 

Regal is our favorite, but please be careful is selecting your mini- suite as balconies are

either basically non-existent or pretty nice. 

Look at the deck plans on the Princess website and you will see what I mean.

 

This is your first time to Alaska, and I think you would enjoy Skagway. There is so much history

there and the White Pass Train is really enjoyable, (hopefully it will be sunny skies). We prefer the excursion of taking the train up and the bus back down. That affords you different scenery and some photo stops. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome! I think you have a good dilemma right now, and that's nice when you get to cruise somewhere new. The two ships you've narrowed it down to are great. However, with Alaska, I feel the itinerary is a much stronger consideration you should make, and with this being your first-time, you might also want to look into the itineraries visiting Glacier Bay. 

 

From your signature, it does appear you're OK with more kids, and I don't think an Alaska cruise will be necessarily more crowded with kids than a Caribbean cruise. So, in the case of Norwegian, I think you should look into the Norwegian Encore's 7-day itinerary instead, which visits Glacier Bay, as, like many have said in the past, it's a not-to-miss event. I also looked into Bliss's itinerary and found that it does the scenic cruising in Endicott Arm later in the day and then well into the night, which means there could be less time (though of course, the sun won't set for very long) in the rest of the day to soak it all in. This is, of course, in contrast to Regal's itinerary with a very early visit to Endicott Arm. The Encore and Bliss both have a Haven, so you're also in luck with that. The only misses with Encore is open deck space, but if you buy Vibe passes/have a Haven suite, you won't need to worry as much.

 

In the case of Princess, I actually think you should look into the Emerald Princess, which also leaves from Seattle. Emerald is definitely not as luxurious-looking or as large as Regal, but again, Emerald's itineraries mostly visit Glacier Bay. The balconies on Emerald are much larger than on Regal as well, and you'll find a lot more convenient scenic viewing spaces than on Regal. 

 

I know you're also leaving from Seattle, but another suggestion would be a 7-day round-trip from Vancouver on the Sun Princess. Sun is much smaller and older than any of the above-mentioned ships, and may also have older clientele, given that it has less bells and whistles, but if you're just in need of a good experience to view and experience Alaska, the Sun can really do you no wrong. Also, a mini-suite on Sun is no comparison to the mini-suites on other Princess ships -- they are far superior.

 

Re: kids and entertainment options -- I strongly believe we'll see more kids on Alaska cruises over the coming years, as more and more people "discover" cruising Alaska as a viable and suitable vacation option. All of the cruise lines are targeting the family market, but I do think there will be more of them on NCL and RCI because of the bells and whistles they're marketing. However, I will agree that NCL's Broadway shows are not comparable to Princess' shows, and could be better and more entertaining, depending on your entertainment preferences. I will conclude with this, however: as your first time in Alaska, I highly recommend you to throw the ship amenities aside, and find an itinerary that best captures the Alaska experience in the small amount of time you have. Don't overthink the ship as much as the itinerary and the experiences you'll want to make in the ports. 

 

I also recommend the forum here: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/33-alaska/ for all your port questions!  Hope this helps a little!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking for myself, there is no way I would want to take a floating amusement park to Alaska.

Alaska is about waterfalls, not water slides, rock walls in fjords, not rock walls on deck 15.

Alaska is about calm, scenic, natural beauty; not go-kart tracks and kids screaming. Imo, these ships belong in the Carribean or MR. More of a party atmosphere there.

 

Edited by EDDY0827

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We actually preferred Hubbard Glacier to Glacier Bay but both

are wonderful. 

I understand what EDDT0827 is saying. I guess that is why we have never

cruised on NCL or RC. I really do not want ice skating rinks, a Sea World,

rock wall, or whatever on my cruise ship. 

Cruising out of Seattle is so easy for us, however, cruising out of Vancouver

is also so impressive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow...you guys are amazing...thanks SO much for the info! It really does help a lot! I think that is a really great idea to focus more on the itinerary and less on the ship (although that's hard for me, that's usually my focus!!! But those are mostly when we've done the Caribbean itineraries)...I was on one of the inaugural sailings of the Encore so that's the only reason I kind of shied away from sailing on her again, but I may take a look again since the itinerary seems good as well...And I will definitely take a look at the Princess Emerald and Sun!!! Thanks for all the help!!!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done a southbound on the NCL Sun, a northbound on the Coral (and HAL Westerdam), and a Seattle RT on Sapphire.  All were amazing!  What Princess had that others didn't was great on board naturalists.  NCL had none and the one on HAL was simply not good at all (I'm no expert, but was better informed than him).  The naturalists on Princess held informative discussions, got on the PA when whales, other sea creatures and terrestrials critters were spotted. 

 

As for Hubbard Glacier vs Glacier Bay, both are indeed great, but you spend an hour or so at Hubbard Glacier, but you spend a full day in Glacier Bay, and it is as much about the critters you encounter as it is about the multiple glaciers you get up close and personal to.  My preference is for Glacier Bay. 

 

Skagway over Icy Straight Point (Hoonah), great hiking trails right off the ship and the White Pass & Yukon train is incredible!  On two of my visits I rented a car and drove across BC to Yukon Territory, the most incredibly scenic drive I've ever taken; once to Emerald Lake and once all the way to White Horse.

 

I'd also give strong consideration to Emerald Princess.  It does not look like Regal goes to Glacier Bay.  Some Emerald itineraries do, some do not.  But the size of the balconies is a big consideration for me.  I'm lanky and cannot sit in a chair on a standard Royal balcony without my knees jammed up in my chest (although I've since discovered some balconies that are larger).  But two people on a standard Royal balcony is a joke IMO. 

 

Share this post


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

Wow...you guys are amazing...thanks SO much for the info! It really does help a lot! 

 

I've been on both ships (not for AK) but will say both would be nice.

 

I lean towards the Bliss because of the outside viewing areas at the back of the ship and also the Observation Lounge (see pic) which is perfect viewing to see Alaska in all her glory. Bliss had great restaurants and plenty of great onboard entertainment plus numerous bars and lounges.

 

If I had to do Alaska again I would look for the smallest ship with the most times in port.

 

Bliss Pics:

IMG_2238.jpg

IMG_2234.jpg

IMG_2132.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, etravel said:

...we like having the access for the Thermal spa rooms so with Princess if we do a suite it's included,,,,

 

Access to the thermal spa rooms is not included with suites on the Regal Princess. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been to Alaska several times, but always on Princess.  Never have sailed NCL.  On our last trip we did go to Icy Strait Point.  Personally I would much prefer Skagway to ICP.  Much more to see and do.  Just my humble opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did read in some of the forums that the Coral and Sapphire are really good for Alaska too, even if we decide we want to do the Southbound..still interested in the NCL Bliss or Encore too although I know they are huge ships! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really love the Regal  Having said that,  this ship is only doing inside passage and no Glacier Bay.  There is just something about spending hours in that quiet natural grandeur. 

The one really good thing about this itinerary on Regal is if you can get off the ship while at Endicott and do a smaller boat excursion of Tracy Arm Fjord.  We were not able to do this on our sailing, but from what I understand this would be just amazing!   A must if we were to return to Alaska 

That, again,  would be more up close and personal experience spending a length of time just being in that incredible natural place 

Edited by Wishing on a star

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note:   Has Princess changed policy on booking the Thermal Suite Spa Area?   Or is it still upon boarding first come first served?   On a cooler Alaskan cruise it could be a challenge to get in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've sailed Celebrity, Princess & NCL.  No matter what the ship name is. Princess is much better than NCL.  In My Very Humble Opinion. of the 3 lines, NCL has a firm grip on 3rd place. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Wishing on a star said:

Note:   Has Princess changed policy on booking the Thermal Suite Spa Area?   Or is it still upon boarding first come first served?   On a cooler Alaskan cruise it could be a challenge to get in?

From what Princess told me (I can check again to make sure..The Royal Class including the Royal or the Regal have access to the Enclave Thermal area...I shall make sure)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, etravel said:

From what Princess told me (I can check again to make sure..The Royal Class including the Royal or the Regal have access to the Enclave Thermal area...I shall make sure)

When booking a suite that is! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a cruise booked on Bliss and canceled it after my brother in law came back from his Alaska cruise, and we were comparing notes, as we were on the Grand just a week apart. The difference in what you get Princess vs NCL, seems like a bunch of more upcharges, from room service to getting food. I was confused about learning how to dine on NCL vs how it is done on Princess. While I understand Princess can have the upcharges as well, it just seemed everything was turning into one with the other line. 

I loved the education and lectures Princess had about Alaska. I feel like I learned more on that ship that I did in school. lol For us cruising is about staying relaxed and I find that with Princess. Sure, the night scene could be a little more colorful, but we make due. 😉 I have not been on a Royal class ship.. yet. 😉 I did like the Emerald and Grand when we were on them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, etravel said:

So Ox Fan, you prefer Celebrity? Didn't even really look at them yet...

We've sailed Princess once and Celebrity 7 times. Princess was our 2nd or 3rd cruise. But we found them to be neck & neck with Celebrity. We sail the Sky Princess on her Transatlantic from Copenhagen to NYC in September. 

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
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance w/ Steve Dasseos of the TripInsuranceStore.com June 2020
      • 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

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...