RCL Radiance of the Sea v. HAL Westerdam? Glacier Bay v. Hubbard Glacier?

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#1
9 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
Hi there, We are a multi-generational family of 6 (2 grandparents in their 70's, parents in late 40's, and two teenagers). We have now whittled our cruise decision down to RCL Radiance of the Seas or HAL Westerdam, doing either the northbound or southbound cruise - between Seward and Vancouver. Both have decent times in Juneau and Skagway (though the Southbound itinerary of the Westerdam stops in Haines instead of Skagway). The Westerdam has less time in Ketchikan (either 11-7 or 7 - 3 depending on route) compared to RC which is there 6-4.
Two big itinerary differences:
1) RC Radiance cruises by Hubbard Glacier (appears to be 2 hour window) and HAL Westerdam spends day in Glacier Bay
2) RC Radiance stops in icy strait (so 4 ports in which you can get off the boat)

In terms of the ship, from what I read seems like food in MDR is better on Westerdam than RC Radiance and there may be more activities that appeal to grandparents on Westerdam and teens on the Radiance.

Would deeply appreciate any feedback on the itinerary differences as well as the ship differences.
Thanks!!
#2
Southern California by way of Kentucky
21,934 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
RCI Radiance is a beautiful ship for Alaska cruises. Hubbard Glacier is just amazing. You get four great ports and times. We have done the northbound 4 times and loved each one even when is was just the two of us (mid 60's) or also with extended family (grandbabies and adult children) ranging in ages from 23 months - 30 years of age...Great choice in my opinion....and also everyone else's that cruised with us.
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#3
951 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
We were on the Radiance of the Seas in Alaska in May of 2017 and loved the ship and itinerary. Icy Strait Point had great whale watching and we had enough time in Juneau to do the Tracy Arm excursion with Adventure Bound, which was excellent.

I have been to Glacier Bay and Hubbard. Both are impressive. The main advantage with Glacier Bay is that it is rarely missed due to fog or ice, while Hubbard sometimes is.

I have not taken HAL in Alaska, but just got off the Rotterdam yesterday on a Western Caribbean itinerary. We were very disappointed in HAL. We found Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian all had better food, entertainment options and service.

Based on my experience, I would choose Radiance for the ship and itinerary. It offers an extra port and more onboard options for all ages.


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2018 - Jewel of the Seas - Barbados / Dominica / Grenada / St Maarten / St Thomas
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#4
26,864 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Going to suggest Glacier Bay as it never seems to be missed. Hubbard glacier is missed frequently.

I will also give an edge of Holland America over RCCL.
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#5
Centerville, Ohio, USA
10,153 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Originally posted by Coral
Going to suggest Glacier Bay as it never seems to be missed. Hubbard glacier is missed frequently.

I will also give an edge of Holland America over RCCL.
I agree with this poster's comment that Hubbard Glacier might be missed. But, in my two cruises that were supposed to visit the Glacier, it was not missed.

Just off the Zaandam's South America/Antarctica cruise and my opinion of Hubbard Glacier is that it is superior to any of the glaciers I saw in the Chilean Fjords.

It's a difficult decision as to which area is best. Princess offers an itinerary--southbound from Whitter, I think, that includes both Hubbard and Glacier Bay.
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53 cruises: 32 Holland America, 4 Princess, 4 Carnival, 3 Pacific Far East Line, 2 Cunard, 2 Royal Viking Line, 1 each: Celebrity Cruises, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Sitmar, American Hawaii Cruises, Home Lines
#6
Midwest USA
2,045 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Can’t give you any info on the two ships, never sailed them. We visited Glacier Bay on our first Alaska cruise this past September. Though we have not seen other glaciers, Glacier Bay is amazing, it’s not to be missed. The weather was misty, overcast, foggy, and cold. We spent all day there. At the entrance to the Bay is a parks ranger station. We picked up two rangers and they gave running commentary as we cruised the Bay. Then one ranger gave a talk in the theater.
Just prior to Glacier Bay is a prime whale watching area. This is prior to picking up the rangers. You have to get up early. ISP is excellent for whale watching excursions.
#7
26,864 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by rkacruiser
I agree with this poster's comment that Hubbard Glacier might be missed. But, in my two cruises that were supposed to visit the Glacier, it was not missed.

Just off the Zaandam's South America/Antarctica cruise and my opinion of Hubbard Glacier is that it is superior to any of the glaciers I saw in the Chilean Fjords.

It's a difficult decision as to which area is best. Princess offers an itinerary--southbound from Whitter, I think, that includes both Hubbard and Glacier Bay.
I have missed Hubbard a few times. The first year I went, it was missed all year that year. The last few years there were multiple accounts of ships not getting closer than 9 miles away which you can barely see the glacier from that distance. If you miss Hubbard, there is no substitute. Just something to consider if you are only going to Alaska once in your life (which is what most do who do go).

I agree - Southbound Princess cruises visit both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. I strongly recommend 2 glaciers, especially since Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm are often missed.
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