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First Time Luxury Alaskan

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I have been on about 10 cruises all with major lines (mostly disney with our kids).  My wife and I are looking to take our first cruise to Alaska, and our first couples cruise without kids.  We think we want a luxury cruise, but Im having a hard time discerning which would be best.  I understand there are so many variables, and at this moment I am leaning towards a Seabourn cruise, but am open to any suggestions for a fantastic luxury cruise with late july early august window.  Many thanks in advance to any input.

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The  choice of  "Luxury" lines doing Alaska  are

Regent , Silversea, Seabourn, Ponant

Have look and  see what they offer that suits your  needs/wants

 

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Thanks for the reply LHT28.  I should have specified that I have researched the luxury lines both on company websites and on these boards, but without experience of my own I was hopeful that there may be some that have sailed some or all of the players in the class and give some experience based opinions on what they liked and did not like.  Thanks again for the response.

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Hope someone  has some Opinions for you 

We have not done any of the luxury lines mentioned above

 

We prefer  Oceania  for many reasons  but they are not considered luxury  so will probably get  berated for mentioning them on the LUXURY forum 😎

 Good luck with the research

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You also need to check itineraries carefully. I’m no expert on Alaska cruises, but I understand that  only certain cruise lines are allowed to close to certain areas of Alaska. As I understand it Princess & Holland America are best for this - but they’re certainly not luxury brands.
 

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If possible, you should select a cruise that goes to Glacier Bay. The view of the glaciers is spectacular. Most luxury cruises do not cruise Glacier Bay, as access is limited and HAL and Princess dominate the Alaska market. 

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We have sailed three of the four major luxury cruise lines and have done Alaska on all three (have not been on Seabourn).  My only concern is the time of the year that you are going.  You are finally doing a cruise without children but will find thousands of them in Alaska in June through mid-August.  This may not be an issue for you but you should be aware of this.

 

Crystal, Regent and Silversea all have great service and good to great food.  All three also include tips, speciality restaurants and alcohol (mostly high end alcohol).  However, only Regent includes air to and from Alaska and a pre-night hotel stay (if you are in a concierge or above suite).  If you prefer to do your own air and/or hotel,  you will receive a credit.  

 

Most importantly in Alaska, Regent includes many (but not all) excursions.  The excursions with a cost are generally less expensive than if you took the same excursion on another cruise line.  

 

It is hard to make a wrong choice when it comes to luxury cruise lines.  Hope that you thoroughly enjoy your cruise.

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On 2/23/2020 at 1:43 PM, Cruisemonty said:

If possible, you should select a cruise that goes to Glacier Bay. The view of the glaciers is spectacular. Most luxury cruises do not cruise Glacier Bay, as access is limited and HAL and Princess dominate the Alaska market. 

I would agree.  For an Alaskan cruise you might wish to consider foregoing a luxury cruise in favor of one that has access to Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier.   

 

I've been twice and had a great time on both cruises (HAL and Princess).  For the Princess cruise we chose a date after Labor Day, to have fewer kids on board, but ended up with poorer weather (though weather in Alaska can be very variable any time of the year).

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We honeymooned in a junior suite on the Star Princess in 1993. In those days, only Hal and Princess cruised Alaska, and only suites had balconies. We departed on September 11 (at that time, the last sailing of the year) and the weather was great. We enjoyed a sunny day in Glacier Bay, which is very unusual. We were told that it snowed that week the previous year. One other bonus of sailing in September: the mosquitos were gone.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Cruisemonty said:

We honeymooned in a junior suite on the Star Princess in 1993. In those days, only Hal and Princess cruised Alaska, and only suites had balconies. We departed on September 11 (at that time, the last sailing of the year) and the weather was great. We enjoyed a sunny day in Glacier Bay, which is very unusual. We were told that it snowed that week the previous year. One other bonus of sailing in September: the mosquitos were gone.

 

 

 

Princess in 1993 vs. today is a whole world apart. Yes, the cabins are nicer. That's about it.  People who want to sail on luxury lines are looking for the whole package to be luxury. 

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As many already know, there will be no sailings to Alaska this year since Canada will not open their port until October 31st and they are a required stop.

 

I would look at next year.  Crystal will resume Alaska itineraries.  We have sailed Alaska on Regent, Crystal and Silversea.  While we prefer Regent, as long as we do not sail in June - mid-August, there are few children which is what we are looking for (have "been there - done that" with children - now is our time).

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Regent got the best periods covered for cruising. Yes, you can always pick Crystal or Silversea but in the end you will end up getting a quite boring cruise cause the period is not the high one and most of the people traveling will be old people or lone sailors. To be honest.. you actually never know. You can get a nice company with you on board or the other way around 

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58 minutes ago, Roger88 said:

Regent got the best periods covered for cruising. Yes, you can always pick Crystal or Silversea but in the end you will end up getting a quite boring cruise cause the period is not the high one and most of the people traveling will be old people or lone sailors. To be honest.. you actually never know. You can get a nice company with you on board or the other way around 

 

I do not get your point about Crystal or Silversea. What do you mean by "the period isn't the high one". Crystal has the fewest cruises, but they are in July and August, what I always considered the high period for Alaska. 

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When we went to Alaska on Crystal last year (September), we went to Glacier Bay (the place that is restricted for many cruise ships).  It was lovely but I prefer Hubbard Glacier which Regent goes to.  It is personal preference as well as the experience one has at the two areas.  When we were in Hubbard Glacier, there was a lot of calving - the sound was so loud that it was like thunder.  Really amazing.  Glacier bay is beautiful but we did not see anything out of the ordinary.

 

Roger 88 -- what you posted is not true for summer cruises on luxury lines.  Most even have activities for children when they are not ashore.  There will always be less children on a luxury line that on other cruise lines and the age during the summer skews much lower than during the rest of the year.  

 

 

 

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Interested. Former Princess cruiser.  Looking at either Oceania or Regent for our 25th in a couple of years. Both seem to sail LA to Alaska, so we'd only have to fly one-way.  Been to Glacier Bay before, so not a deal-breaker for us - interested in the experience.  Appreciate advice - not going to book for another year or so... just checking things out right now.  TY

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3 hours ago, Dee4990 said:

Interested. Former Princess cruiser.  Looking at either Oceania or Regent for our 25th in a couple of years. Both seem to sail LA to Alaska, so we'd only have to fly one-way.  Been to Glacier Bay before, so not a deal-breaker for us - interested in the experience.  Appreciate advice - not going to book for another year or so... just checking things out right now.  TY

I would go to the respective forums for the lines  & read about the difference  of the ship & what is & is not included

 

One is all inclusive  & one is semi inclusive

Just depends on what would work best  for you

if the itinerary   is the main focus pick the one that hits the ports  you want to see

JMO

 

We are Oceania fans  ..it works for our needs/wants

 

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Be sure to price Oceania with Regent (their sister cruise line).  When you add in all of the things that is included with Regent, the prices may be closer than your think (and you don't have to worry about signing for things as is done on Oceania).  We have sailed on Oceania twice (did not mention this earlier since this is a luxury board).  Their two newest ships (Marina and Riviera) are beautiful but we felt that the older ships had staterooms that were not laid out well (tiny bathroom for instance).  

 

There is a "class system" on Oceania that does not exist on luxury cruise lines.  They have areas that only people in certain categories of staterooms/suites can enter (and to add insult to injury, there are glass doors so people can see in but not enter.  On Regent, for instance, once you walk outside of your suite (with there exception of a few suites on one of their ships, Regent ships are all suites all balconies) everyone is treated the same.  No one cares which level of suite that you are in.

 

Whichever cruise line you select, Alaska is amazing and I hope that you have a wonderful time!

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Thank you Travelcat 2 for your very detailed explanation of the two lines - it is very helpful & appreciated!  As I have only sailed on Princess before (once to AK) , I do not have much to compare with.  You make a very compelling case for Regent!  I don't think I would care for a class system - have seen enough of that on Princess when we did the mini-suites vs full suites. And I would like a full BR.  Our 25th anniversary would be our third trip to Alaska (one cruise on Princess and a land trip years ago) and  we are really intrigued at the luxury line appeal after being so let down this year by P.C.  Greatly appreciate your advice!

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There is no class system on Oceania

just like any other line if you book a top suite you get more perks that you do with an inside

 

The so called "Class System Jackie is referring to are the 2 lounges one for PH & Top suite guest  & one for Concierge guest

They serve snacks/ non alcoholic drinks  no big deal IMO

 

Celebrity/Cunard/NCL & some others  have a class system where  they have their own dining room for Suite guests

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Thank you for clarification LHT28.  Appreciate 🙂  Obviously, I have some research to do in the next couple of years 🙂  Plenty of time before booking, and hopefully we will all be in a better place!

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On 6/17/2020 at 11:50 AM, LHT28 said:

There is no class system on Oceania

just like any other line if you book a top suite you get more perks that you do with an inside

 

The so called "Class System Jackie is referring to are the 2 lounges one for PH & Top suite guest  & one for Concierge guest

They serve snacks/ non alcoholic drinks  no big deal IMO

 

Celebrity/Cunard/NCL & some others  have a class system where  they have their own dining room for Suite guests

 

Celebrity is a premium cruiser line, NCL is a mainstream cruise line and Cunard is a mix of luxury and mainstream (mostly mainstream) so one would expect the class system on that cruise line.

 

Having sailed on luxury lines for 16 years (as well as on a premium and mainstream cruise line), there are major differences between the level of cruise lines (too many to even try to detail in a post).

 

On Oceania, one cannot order a hot breakfast delivered by room service and yes, there are lounges for PH and top tier guests.  Since Oceania wants to be considered one tiny step below luxury, they need to dump the lounges and give all guests hot breakfasts through room service. Of course, Oceania also has inside cabins which no luxury cruise line has.  And, luxury cruises lines have been going to "all suite - al balcony" accommodations for a few years.  

 

As I mentioned, the two newer ships on Oceania are beautiful and the service is very good.  However, the food in their buffet restaurant and MDR was so poor that we wanted to skip breakfast and have a bite at the pool rather than dining in a restaurant that, to us was sub-par.  Having said that (and having sailed on Celebrity and NCL once each), if you only have sailed on premium  and/or mainstream cruise lines, the buffet on Oceania looks great.  Just wish that the quality was there.  Note:  On our 7 night Celebrity cruise, we left the ship at each port to have lunch ashore as their buffet was not to our liking.

 

Speaking of food, on Regent and other luxury lines, with 24 hours notice, they will prepare a special meal for you (think high end dishes like Chateaubriand, as well as ethnic dishes - Indian, Indonesian, or whatever you wish if they have the ingredients onboard.  On Oceania, this is not the case (unless it has changed).  

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TC 

Your info is not correct on the Hot breakfast issue

 Concierge level  "A"   & above  do indeed  get hot breakfasts  via  room service 

 GDR/Terrace & WAVES  also serve hot  breakfast

 

 

We know you do not like Oceania   so let's just leave it at that

Please to not make stuff up  to dissuade  others from trying them  just because  you don't like them

JMO

 

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8 hours ago, LHT28 said:

TC 

Your info is not correct on the Hot breakfast issue

 Concierge level  "A"   & above  do indeed  get hot breakfasts  via  room service 

 GDR/Terrace & WAVES  also serve hot  breakfast

 

 

We know you do not like Oceania   so let's just leave it at that

Please to not make stuff up  to dissuade  others from trying them  just because  you don't like them

JMO

 

 

You actually made my point!  Not all passengers can get a hot breakfast from room service.  On a luxury cruise line, you can be in the lowest category suite and can order anything from the same menu as passengers in the top suites.  

 

I did enjoy our cruises on Oceania but feel that you get more for your money with Regent.  Please do not accuse me of making up things.  I absolutely would not do that. Since you have not sailed in Regent, I'm not sure how you can make a comparison.  Your one luxury experience was on Crystal and you did not care for it.  Crystal is a very different experience than Regent!

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