Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Cruises
Reload this Page >

Celebrity w/o Glacier Bay or NCL w/Glacier Bay (Alaska)

Celebrity w/o Glacier Bay or NCL w/Glacier Bay (Alaska)

Old Aug 11th, 2010, 12:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 122
Celebrity w/o Glacier Bay or NCL w/Glacier Bay (Alaska)

We're trying to decide between these 2 cruises, price is a little cheaper on Celebrity. We've never been to Alaska before or on a cruise before. NCL seems to cater to small kids more and goes to Glacier Bay but I've read so many negatives about the food, etc. on NCL that I hesitate b/c I'm worried it will turn us off cruising. We'll be booking an oceanview, no balcony, if it matters (need 2 connecting rooms).

Any thoughts?
JennyL is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2010, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 618
We went on NCL to Alaska in August a few years ago. It was our first cruise. We leave in 2 weeks for our 5th cruise with NCL. We love it. The food is great. We usually eat in the main dining rooms, but have also gone to the specialty restaurants. NCL has a lot of choices. I love sitting on the back (aft) outdoor deck for breakfast. We took our then 14 year old daughter. She made so many friends. She still says it's the best vacation we've ever done and we've taken her all over the world. Have a great time!
cristeen is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 63
My parents been on NCL cruises. They said they loved it. It has different dinning options. They loved the shows and the free-style theme. We were on Carnival for Alaska and we did see Glacier Bay and it was cold outside so make sure to pack warm clothes(we went on the last cruise of the season), the scenery was pleasant and I got to see a humpback whale. My advice is to research both cruise lines and see which one meets your needs such as: location, price, activity, ports, and time.

P.S. If you like Bingo, they will only do it when the ship's in International waters due to gambling isn't allowed in Alaska(this is what I was told on my cruise to Alaska).
sunny515 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,739
My first choice would be based on the itenary, and Glacier Bay is high on the list. Glacier Bay is in a proetcted area and there are quotas for cruise ships to enter into the Bay.

It is nicer to have a balcony for the Alaskan cruise as you can have the view (the inside passage, the glacier etc) right in the comfort of your cabin. The captain typically will position the ship so one side will face the Glacier for about an hour and turn it around for the other side. You may opt for a cabin with Balcony, and have an inside cabin across the hall for the kids if you are comfortable enough to leave them alone at night.

Typical crusie ships don't have too many adjoining cabins (i.e. with doors in between) so your adjoining cabins may be just next to each other, without a door between the two cabins. Double check on that! If it is just next to each other without a door in between, you are leaving them alone anyway, so there is no difference if it would be across the hallway.

I am surprised to hear that Celebrity is cheaper than NCL. You have to compare identical cruise. One way North or South bound and inside passage round trp cruises typically have different price tags.

The problem with NCL is not the food. It is the inconsistencies, and it drives you crazy. I have friends who travelled with NCL all the time and they swear by it. For me, I just find that for the same money spent, I can do better with another cruise line.

If you have never crusied before, you will have no reference points for comparison. You will love everything that NCL does. Once you have been on a few different cruise lines and see what everyone else is doing, then you have a reference point for comparison and will form an opinion that certain crusie lines do certain things better.

Don't let the negative comments on NCL sway you, although I have not cruised on NCL for a while. However, it won't hurt for you to look at Princess or HAL as they both travel to Glacier Bay, and with more frequencies.
Eschew is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2010, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 39
I definitely recommend you choose an itinerary that includes Glacier Bay. Otherwise, you will not have the typical cruise ship brochure Alaska photo scenery of the ship amongst icy white walls - you'll just see green. Not going into Glacier Bay was my biggest regret of our Alaska cruise on RCI 3 years ago. I second Eschew on the balcony cabin for you, and an inside cabin directly across the hall way for kids. We did this the first time when the boys were 10 and 12 and had no problems. You will want the balcony for the scenery, and it makes your cabin seem so much more spacious. And budget a LOT for shore excursions, we spent more on excursions in Alaska than we've spent on entire vacations before. But for the most part, you won't see much of Alaska if you don't. Do not be afraid to arrange them on your own - with Fodorites' advice, we saved a lot of $$$ booking independently and I think got better trips.
anniemac is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2010, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 738
We did the Celebrity Alaska cruise - and it was fabulous! You were so close to Hubbard Glacier that you could see eveything - even the little seal swimming along near the glacier. I don't think there is a bad choice (have never done NCL) - but Alaska is amazing, and we were with friends that had children, and they loved the children activities on the ship. We left out of Vancouver and headed North - loved that. It just got prettier and prettier...... Also agree with the "get the balcony". It was nice having coffee in the morning and being able to watch the scenario (and once a whale) as we sail up the passage.... Loved it.
Debi is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2010, 03:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,739
Hubbard is nice ... but College Fjord is more spectaular. Glacier Bay definitely is the highlight.
Eschew is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2010, 04:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 113
We were on the Vancouver-Alaska-Vancouver Celebrity cruise in July and got very close to the Hubbard Glacier. The naturalist on board stated that we would not see anything as spectacular on Glacier Bay as what we saw.

The food was excellent in the dining room where we had all of our dinners. The breakfasts were great as were the lunches and lots of food available at all times.

Loved the Alaskan cruise, but it was cold and cloudy when we were there - wear lots of layers when in port or on deck.
timsmom is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2010, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,739
Of course they will say Hubbard is nicer as Celebrity does not have any quotas to go to Glacier Bay. I have been at both and we were really close to both.

I think Harvard Glacier (at College Fjord, Glacier National Park) is wider and taller, almost 20 storey high. There is also more wild life and things to see on the way in and out. The College Fjord is composed of over a dozen Glaciers.

Hubbard Glacier is unique with the Oiser Island just outside it's path.

You will have 2/3 chance of cloudy weather (or light rain). When the ship is approaching the Glacier, the wind from the Glacier along with the speed of the ship will creat a draft that is very cold. Dress warm and bring water proof gear, dress in layers and waer gloves and scarf.
Eschew is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 07:27 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
I have been to Alaksa twice by ship. It is an amazing experience and well worth going. The first itme I took a Princess ship and was more than happy but it was only for two people. The second time I took my family and a few friends (38 of us). The NCL ship couldn't handle our group with the dining options and the only way to have a meal at the same time (to discuss our daily adventures) was to wait in a line for the main dining hall-a big pain and we still couldn't sit together. I feel that if you are paying for a ship and are on vacation, why should you have to stop and make reservations or think about how to meet up. A big pain on NCL with large groups. The bad part is that NCL has the hold on Glacier Bay and if you want to go here (well worth seeing) then you are quite stuck on this cruise line. It would be better if at least more than NCL were doing Glacier Bay. I have no idea why NCL gets to corner this market. I did try to give NCL another try in Hawaii (group of 14) but again ran into problems and again this is the only ship that could do the Hawaiian islands so we had to use them. I guess you can tell I'm not excited about the dining options on NCL especially when traveling with large groups.
Kabrina_Means is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2012, 12:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,139
Princess does Glacier Bay. We've just completed an Alaskan cruise with Diamond Princess and I noticed that some of the balconies have a door to the next balcony. This would give you two connecting cabins but you may not want the children to have free access to their own balcony.
marg is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2012, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,739
Actually Princess and HAL have thr majority of the quotas (805 or more). Disney has 1 permit per week. Celebrity & RCL did not ahev any and NCL has some as well.
Eschew is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Feb 16th, 2016 07:26 PM
United States
Feb 16th, 2016 09:13 AM
Mar 31st, 2015 03:03 PM
Jun 17th, 2007 02:07 AM
May 4th, 2004 03:43 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information