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HAL vs Princess Suites & LandCruise Alaska 2018

Alaska - boards.cruisecritic.com
Hello! I'm planning our first cruise (me, husband, 8yo son). This is a dream trip! We don't get enough quality time together so when we do get away, we like some pampering. We do spend a decent amount of time relaxing in our hotel (even at Disney). We usually book rooms that are at least 700sqft in land hotels. Hence I'm looking into ship suites. Not a lot of choices this late in the game (so maybe I should wait till 2019?). And we'd like to do an organized land tour. After much research (including reading these boards!), bouncing off our preferences and work schedule, I'm left with the following dilemma of which plan to go with (both are land first then SB cruise--makes flights easier from NJ, both starboard):

Golden Princess about 16K C421 Penthouse (hoping there is in fact a privacy curtain) on OB5 Connoisseur tour 1xAnchorage, 2xDenali lodge, 2xMcKinley lodge (most meals included) in early August

OR

HAL Westerdam about 18K mid-August Pinnacle 7045 on D6L 1xAnchorage, 2xDenali (no meals)

My questions:

1. If we do spend a decent amount of time in-room, which room is more enjoyable for relaxing and seeing sights off our balcony? Still plenty to see on starboard? Or should we do C751 on Golden aft but with obstruction? Will aft be too choppy this first time for my son?

2. Is the 2K difference worth it? I know we'll have to spring more for meals on the land portion with HAL. But when we are there and when we look back, will we regret the smaller space on the Golden? Funds aren't unlimited and I haven't even tallied excursions yet.

3. More land portion on Princess. Is that a good thing or will it be overwhelming? When my son is older, we will likely do a non-cruise trip to Alaska. Should we instead do a round-trip cruise without land portion?

4. What is the difference in perks between the suites? We aren't heavy drinkers other than water, and Princess says daily bottled water in suite.

Thanks SO much for your advice!
Date: Dec 7, 2017   


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