I am planning a cruise for late May 2010 to Alaska. I have previously sailed with Carnival on a 4 Day to the Caribbean, and want to explore another line this time. I am also going to be a solo cruiser, so this is an important consideration. I am in my late 20s(30 next year in fact), and thought since I am going to be in Vancouver anyway for cruise3sixty(a trade show focused on the cruise industry for travel agents), I would take a cruise to Alaska right before. I have narrowed it to Celebrity, Holland America, or Princess. I know that Celebrity is owned by Royal Caribbean and the other two are owned by Carnival Corp. Not a heavy party person, but do like to find a good lounge or piano bar for later in the evening. From your experiences, which line would you recommend for me?
I have cruise Celebrity Infinity 2006 from San Francisco to Alaska and I have cruised the Star Princess 2003 from San Pedro to Mexico. Alaska is a wonderful place, but I don't enjoy the Celebrity cruise. The food in the main dining room was terrible and not enough activites were planned on sea days. Also the public areas of the ship weren't kept clean. However, I did enjoy the entertainment (main shows) and the serve in the dining room was top notch (it really was a shame about the food).
Princess Cruise we did personal choice dining the food and service was very good. However, we took that cruise before Carnival took Princess over.
I haven't cruise Holland America. Celebrity normally has you cruise to the Hubbard Glaicer, which is a huge an amazing glaicer. I haven't cruised Glaicer Bay so I don't know how it compares. Here is some rough video of the Hubbard Glaicer from our cruise. YouTube - Hubbard Glacier Alaska
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Freedom of the Seas 2012
Carnival Splendor 2010
Carnival Freedom 2008
Carnival Elation 2007
Celebrity Infinity 2006
Carnival Ecstasy 2005
Carnival Paradise 2004
Star Princess 2002
Viking Serenade 1994
I find any of these three cruise lines to be very acceptable. I would make sure that Glacier Bay is included in any Alaska cruise I took. None of the glacier days are as amazing as Glacier Bay. Sitka is my favorite port city in Alaska.You may also want to weigh the pros and cons of sailing out of Seattle vs. Vancouver.
You can save money if you are in the U.S. by sailing out of Seattle but you will miss out on some of the inside passage views. I've done both and have started sailing out of Seattle just because it is easier and cheaper to get to and from.
Overall Celebrity, Princess and H.A.L. are the three mainstream cruise lines we prefer. They always vary a bit but are generally of fine quality and good value.
I'm with Chuck. Pick the one that goes to Glacier Bay. Been there twice, once on HAL and once on Carnival and those two trips to Glacier Bay are still 2 of my favorites days on a cruise. You may not find very much social activities on any of these three choices, but I love HAL, so I vote for that one.