Which Alaskan cruise should we pick? (NCL Jewel, Celebrity Eclipse, Carnival Legend)


I am wanting to take my mother on an Alaskan cruise for her 50th birthday. Her birthday is in December so we want to go in September 2019 as that is as close as we can get to her actual birthday. We are deciding between these 3 (listed from cheapest to most expensive):

1. 7 night Norwegian Jewel, September 30th-October 7th, Itinerary: Vancouver, Cruising, Juneau, Skagway, Cruising, Ketchikan, Cruising, Vancouver
2. 7 night Celebrity Eclipse, September 15th-22nd, Vancouver, Cruising, Icy Strait Point, Cruising, Juneau, Ketchikan, Cruising, Vancouver
3. 9 night Carnival Legend, September 17th-26th, Vancouver, Cruising, Icy Strait Point, Cruising, Sitka, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Cruising, Vancouver

Things that might be worth mentioning:

-My mother is a first-time cruiser. I went on a Mexican cruise last year on the Carnival Triumph and loved it (besides stopping in Progreso, ick!)
-My mother gets carsick and seasick (never been on a cruise ship but does on small boats)
-My mother is disabled and requires a wheelchair/scooter most of the time so the more activities on the ship and at the ports that she could do in her wheelchair, the better!
-We are both avid Diet Coke drinkers. Not a "make it or break it" point, but we noticed that Norweigan serves only Pepsi which made us like it a little less, lol
-We are trying to stay pretty budget conscious. So will most likely be getting an interior room.
-We probably won't be swimming so we're more interested in food options/quality, shows, etc.
-I know it's not likely, but if at all possible we would LOVE to see the Northern Lights!
-My mom loves cold weather and is excited to see glaciers and whatnot. I am obsessed with Beluga Whales (not sure if that's relevant but thought maybe one of the ports might have a beluga watching excursion or something!

We would be open to a different Alaskan cruise than the ones listed but determined that those 3 would most likely be best based on price and locations (we heard that departing from Vancouver was better for people who get seasick than departing from Seattle).

I would appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks!

11 Answers

It seems like Celebrity fits the bill pretty well. I just went on The Summit and it was really wheelchair friendly. Their food is excellent. And yes, I am an avid Diet Coke drinker too and they have that in spades!

Based on your post I would lean towards Celebrity. Alaska is a beautiful place. Enjoy your cruise. Just remember to look out the windows or be on the open decks when cruising through the passage you never know what will pop up.

There are a few things you may want to consider. First - itinerary, is there a particular place you wish to see or do not wish to see. Second would be price.The 3 lines you compare have differing price points. Third would be the accessibility issue. All of the cruise lines are able to accommodate your needs but are those cabins available for the cruise you are looking at. Not all cabins work for wheel chairs so best to reach out to the cruise lines to see what is available. And last when you see what cabins are available you want to make sure that you are mid ship and on one of the mid to lower decks and not up high for the motion issues. Good luck and Cheers.

I'd choose Celebrity also.

I'd go with Celebrity. The Solstice class is a nice large ship, very smooth cruising (I did a transatlantic on one of here sister ships) The Celebrity ships also have more space per guest, not as crowded when moving around the ship, could be better for mom. Celebrity also has better food IMHO then the other lines.

Celebrity is a premium cruise line Carnival and NCL are not. Also Celebrity tends to have less children.

Based on the ports, I would choise the Carnival Legend. September is one of the most active months for the Northern Lights from what I remember, having lived in an area where we saw them a lot, and they are spectacular. We’ve seen Orca whales crossing from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, so hopefully you will see whales too along the coast.

Whichever cruise you choose, I hope you and your mom have a fantastic time.

We have been on Carnival Legend out of Seattle last year. Also we sailed on Carnival Spirit out of Seattle also. We stay on deck 6 aft always. We have not encountered any rough seas during our sailings. We always sail in August. Legend sails into the Northwest passage and you can see glaciers, real beautiful view. Diet coke: Carnival has all types of sodas(extra cost), they allow you to bring a 12 pack of your own sodas on board. We do this. Excursions: call carnival rep and they will tell you which excursions handle wheel chairs. We saw some on our excursions we took. Legend has great shows and food, when in port no shows, but eateries open. We been on 14 cruises so far all on Carnival, so in 2020 we are going back to Alaska to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary(3rd trip there). We are happy with Carnival, but everyone has their likes and dislikes. Our opinion.

My personal preference for these round robins is to get on a cruise that voyages through the "Canadian Inside Passage" as well as the "Alaska Inside Passage". Meaning, they travel to the east of Vancouver Island as opposed to the west of the island, west of the island places the vessel out into the North Pacific where scenic voyaging is limited to non-existent, rougher water there too, sometimes. Vancouver is the best port for this.

Both NCL and Celebrity do both inside passages, both north and south. I can't say for certain which route Carnival takes on their cruise. Their information is very sparse in this regard, which leads me to believe they are hiding something, meaning they cruise west of Vancouver Island both directions.

Since you plan on cruising around equinox time there is a chance you will experience more weather than at other times during the cruise season. If so the open ocean might get pretty sloppy. Carnival apparently does do Glacier Bay while the other two do not. However Celebrity goes to Hubbard Glacier which I prefer over Glacier Bay. When cruising to Hubbard you will leave the confines of the Southeast Alaska inside passage after rounding Cape Spencer though, meaning cruising in the open Gulf of Alaska for quite a while. NCL doesn't do much in the way of Glacier viewing as far as I can see, they don't go into much detail in this regard either, maybe they go up Tracy Arm, but that isn't anything like Glacier Bay or Hubbard.

We don't cruise on any of the three, but if I were making this selection I would go with Celebrity.

Legend is a nice ship, great crew and not too big.

I vote for Celebrity. I have taken two cruises on Celebrity Eclipse Back to Back. One went to Bermuda and the passengers were mostly younger. Then I took the ship on a longer length cruise up to Canada & the passengers were much older. I enjoyed the ship with both types of passengers but the cruise was a different experience each time. The food service and entertainment were fine. Take sea sickness pills with you for Mom. The Inside Passage, though, should be pretty smooth sailing. Have fun & enjoy your cruise. What a lively way to celebrate Mom's birthday. She is a lucky Mom.


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