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Giantfan13

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We are looking to do a last minute cruise booking to alaska. We were wondering which would be a better ship for a one way southbound cruise:Vision of the Sea, Dawn Princess, Sun Princess. It looks as though their itineraries are about the same. Any help on the ships and which may be better. We are two adults over 50. Thanks for any help
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I've cruised on other Royal Caribbean and Princess ships, but not these in particular...

But, here's what I can tell you: The Sun Princess and Dawn Princess are sister ships, so they are practically identical...77,000 gross tons, the Sun being two years older, built in 1995, the Dawn in 1997...

The Vision is a little over 78,000 tons--basically around the same size... and a little newer, built in 1998...

From my experience, I'd say the Vision will attract a slightly younger crowd than the Princess ships (younger here means YOUR age)...

The itineraries are actually different in one major respect: The Princess cruises stop in THREE ports, the Royal Caribbean itineraries stop in four. Princess uses that fourth day at sea sailing into Glacier Bay...RCI instead makes a port call at Icy Strait Point, Hoonah...from where you can get a flightseeing excursion over Glacier Bay or do a variety of other things...

Some folks say Glacier Bay is a "don't miss", some like the idea of visiting Icy Strait Point, a brand new port stop just opened to ships this year...

Personally, I'd go with the Vision...but, I'm sure lots of folks would opt for Princess--they have quite a following in Alaska...

Good luck...

Summit, July 3, 2004: Alaska: 13 night cruisetour
Constellation, July 16, 2005: Northern Europe: 14 nights
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I think the princess ships superior for the routes and Glacier Bay. Includes College fjords and has superb front deck viewing space. The exception- IF you plan a day or two in Seward- but if you are just passing through then it won't matter Seward/Whittier. But what a missed opportunity. [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
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When we were on RCI they didn't have a naturalist or any onboard personnnel who knew a flip about Alaska.. fortunatly it was our fourth trip. I hope this has changed. This wasn't the case on Princess or HAL and I understand Radisson also has an excellent onboard program. Perhaps some of you who have sailed RCI have had a better experience? THe ship was lovely, the tours we did (some ship, some on our own) were wonderful -- just a shame no onboard narration in Misty Fjords or Hubbard area for the newbies.

Host Caroline
<font SIZE="1">[B]Join me on the beautiful Diamond Princess in July 2005 for Cruise Critic's Awesome Alaskan Adventure --You'll have a whale of a good time![/B] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

Sept 04-Royal Hounds Mariner of the Seas
Feb 05-Partae Pirates Carnival Miracle
One can [I]never[/I] have too many days at sea..</font>
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We had an excellent naturalist on our Carnival Spirit 5-26-04 southbound cruise! And I loved the extra port of Sitka. The Spirit had lots of viewing space - never was crowded - service, ship and food exceeded our expectations. Since Spirit leaves on a Wednesay, we were able to have 4 days pre-cruise for excellent touring with rental car.
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We are planning the same Spirit trip but leaving 5/25/05. Any helpful hints or suggestions? Are you glad you picked this ship and this time frame? Did you book excursions thru the ship or on your own? How dreadful was the embarkation/debarkation process?
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I agree - Dawn and Sun are sister ships and will be identical. I have sailed both ships and like them both. I also give the edge to Princess due to College Fiords and Glacier Bay.

2 years ago, Royal Caribbean didn't have a naturalist on board. I have had on on all 3 Princess trips.

I also give the edge to Princess for onboard Alaska activities/seminars, etc. . I loved the sessions on Alaska the naturalist gave on Princess. We had Libby Riddles (first female to win Ididarod in 1985) come on board in Juneau on all 3 of my Princess sailings and did a fantastic presentation and signed autographs before and after. Other guest lecturers were also on board at different ports.

I am 34 years old and have never felt too young or out of place on my Princess sailings.
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It's amazing to me that RCI doesn't get with the program and at least have naturalists onboard during Hubbard and Misty Fjords but from the above post, our cruise wasn't a fluke....

Host Caroline
<font SIZE="1">[B]Join me on the beautiful Diamond Princess in July 2005 for Cruise Critic's Awesome Alaskan Adventure --You'll have a whale of a good time![/B] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

Sept 04-Royal Hounds Mariner of the Seas
Feb 05-Partae Pirates Carnival Miracle
One can [I]never[/I] have too many days at sea..</font>
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Desilu,
We were also on the 5/26/04 Carnival Spirit. We thought the time frame was very good. Temperatures were comfortable, on shore the fragrance from everything blooming was remarkable, little rain (this was supposed to be the driest time of the cruising season). We saw many whales, eagles, sea lions, sea otters (from the deck of the ship). This is too early for the salmon runs, but I've been told that if you get too late into the salmon runs the fragrance is not blossoms, but rotting fish.
We were extremely satisfied with the Spirit, however this was our first cruise. We shared ports with some other ships and from what I could see, the outside deck areas were more open and usable on the Spirit.
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GRtyler,

We're on the Spirit 1 Sept. Would like to hear your thoughts on the ship. Did you have a balcony cabin? How were the shows and food? Fellow Passengers? Did you do ship excursions or your own?

DMS
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=00ffff&cdt=2004;9;1;19;0;00&timezone=GMT-1000[/img]
Carnival Spirit 9/1/04
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Yes we had a port side cabin empress deck and
loved it, balcony is needed on an Alaskan cruise.
Daylight is so long and sitting on the balcony while sipping your morning coffee is quite an experience.
We really enjoyed Matilda (a comedy) and the
food was good if a little repetitive for breakfast and some lunches. You do have choices.
We mixed the excursions, Train in Skagway was
with the ship, also a duck tour in Ketchikan,
but an airflight with Carlin Air was set up
before the trip and we just walked up to Mt. Roberts tram and got tickets there no problem.
We took over 400 pictures on a digital, put it
on a disk made copies and they go out with souvenirs to friends. We already have some
that want to go after seeing our pictures.
This was our first cruise so we can't compare
it with others but what a trip.
We hope you have a wonderful time whatever you
choose to do and remember to take lots of pictures, they say how beautiful it is better
than words ever could. Enjoy!!!
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