It depends on what kind of cruising experience you are looking for...HAL guests tend to be older, quieter and the cruise will tend to more formal. We did HAL Alaska at the end of the season, and there were only 3 children on board - it was a wonderful experience, the food and entertainment were exceptional. I am not familiar with Princess, we haven't sailed that line, so I can't make a comparison between the two. But if you are looking for a grooving night life, I would suggest not HAL. (Personally, I love sailing HAL)
Dave and Carrie, as Susanmax indicated, it really depends on your expectations. Both are great ships, it just depends on what you are more comfortable with. I wouldn't discount the Norwegian Star from Seattle either if you are younger and looking for a more unique dining experience.
Tough decision, but they are all great. The worse case scenario is that you will still have a great cruise. BTW, May is the very best time to cruise Alaska in my opinion.
Welcome to cruise-chat. Susanmaz is correct about the age factor. Alaska cruises traditionally appeal to older passengers for starters and HAL passengers are usually an older demograpghic to begin with - so depending on your age, each ship has its appeal. There will definitely be more night life and activity aboard Princess. Both ships offer an excellent Alaska product - so that's a toss-up. If you are going to do a cruisetour, I think I would lean toward Princess, just because their hotels are a bit nicer.
Having done Alaska twice with Princess I would highly recommend it.
I was on the Diamond this past July. She is a beauty of a ship.
Have not done the land package, but, do know that Princess offers some great ones. You can write or call to get the Princess Alaksa Cruise Companion, it would be helpful to you.
Good Luck & enjoy!
10-4, thanks all!
We are a very laid back couple of 30 year olds. Not really looking for anything spring break-ish. We're more of the M'ville and Pat 'Os type and not the MTV or anything "gone wild" type. Good food, good entertainment, good service, and we'll take care of the rest.
We're leaning more towards Princess for the Anytime Dining and balconies. However, we've found that a verandah balcony on HAL may be a better value.
anyway, thanks for the info and please post more as we will be checking back in regularly.
Just got off of the Diamond. A beautiful ship. It was a quiet laid back crowd even though it was a Mexican cruise. I would also take Princess for the availability and affordability of the balconies. We had a balcony on the 9th deck. Would recommend this. It a large balcony that is open and you can get a good view of everything. It was rather cool and windy on the balcony even though it was in the 60's as we sailed north to LA. We were talking about this since our next crusie will be an Alaskan. Take warm clothing so you enjoy room service for breakfast while sitting on the balcony. Either one would be a good choice since they are both good lines.
We saled on the Star Princess from Seattle last Labor Day Weekend. It was all great. This was our first "big ship." First week of Sept. was getting chilly, and I think May would be COLD. A balacony is a must, especially to be up at 6 a.m. to view the icebergs in the Inner Passage. Do book the trip to the Yukon...unforgettable.