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Celebrity Cruises offers a great combination: a classy, tasteful, and luxurious cruise experience at a moderate price -- it's definitely the best in the midpriced category. The line's ships are real works of art; the cuisine is above the norm; the service first-class, friendly, and unobtrusive; and the spa facilities among the best in the business.

A typical day might offer bridge, darts, a culinary art demonstration, a fitness fashion show, an art auction, a volleyball tournament, and a not-too-shabby stage show. Resident experts give lectures on the various ports of call, the Alaskan environment, glaciers, and Alaskan culture. For children, Celebrity ships employ a group of counselors who direct and supervise a camp-style children's program. Activities are geared toward different age groups. There's a modest kids' play area and a lounge area for teens.

Celebrity, like sister company Royal Caribbean, visits the tiny port of Icy Strait Point between Juneau and Glacier Bay; the port offers a prime vantage point for whale- and wildlife-watching and easier access to the Alaskan wilderness. The company offers 7-night Inside Passage and 7-night Gulf of Alaska itineraries.

Passenger Profile -- The typical Celebrity guest is one who prefers to pursue his or her R & R at a relatively relaxed pace, with a minimum of aggressively promoted group activities. The overall impression leans more toward sophistication and less to the kind of orgiastic Technicolor whoopee that you'll find, say, aboard a Carnival ship. You'll find everyone from kids to retirees.

Ships -- Sleek, modern, and stunningly designed, the 1,814-passenger Century and the recently overhauled, 1,950-passenger Infinity and Millennium have a lot of open deck space and lots of large windows that provide access to the wide skies and the grand Alaskan vistas. All the ships (but especially Century) feature incredible spas with hydrotherapy pools, steam rooms, and saunas, plus health and beauty services and exceptionally large fitness areas. Sample nightly rates per person: Lowest-price inside cabin $128, lowest outside cabin $150, lowest suite $757 for a 7-night cruise.