Author Topic: Alaskan Cruise  (Read 922 times)

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goldilocks

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Alaskan Cruise
« on: January 15, 2013, 04:56:18 PM »
My best friend and I are planning a cruise to Alaska with our DH's.  We want to go in May.

any advice?

We are currently debating leaving from either Seattle or Vancouver.   

Winterlight

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 05:10:58 PM »
Be sure to take the train up to Fairbanks- Denali should not be missed! Check the schedules, though- winter season (mid-September to mid-May) the train only runs to Fairbanks on Saturday.
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Thipu1

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 06:35:06 PM »
We've done two Alaska cruises and enjoyed them thoroughly.w

How long will your cruise be?  What lines are you considering?

Please provide more information. 

PastryGoddess

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 08:41:16 PM »
May is a good time to go, the prices are cheaper. My personal fave is Celebrity, but I've been on most of the other lines.  Norwegian is a good value for your money.  Holland is nice, but it does cater to an older more traditional crowd.  If you want an all inclusive cruise Crystal is FANTASTIC but expensive.

I like leaving from Vancouver, you get the inside passage that way
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Rohanna

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 08:54:33 PM »
My father in law did an alaskan cruise with RCI- they're doing a lot of ship upgrades recently too. I've cruised with them 4 times and always had great trips- they're particularly good for mixed age group crowds and people that like lots of activities to do.
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lkdrymom

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 10:12:00 PM »
Did one in August 2006. It actually snowed one day. Be prepared, if you are out on deck while the ship is moving it is COLD.

kareng57

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 10:51:10 PM »
I too would endorse Vancouver, unless the price-difference is so great that it's impossible to ignore.  Departing from Seattle would mean missing the magnificent Inside Passage.  There's also the possibility of flying into Seattle and taking ground transportation to Vancouver.

I think that Holland America's reputation as being "for older people" is undeserved.  No, you won't find fellow passengers doing beer-can-building contests during the wee hours - but it's also not as though the whole ship shuts down after 9 pm.  We took a cruise 15 years ago on the last season of the old Rotterdam - our sons were 9 and 10 and had a wonderful time.

Do some research before automatically booking ship-excursions for the ports-of-call.  Some, you can easily do on your own at a fraction of the cost.  Some examples:  the Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Sitka - an easy 20 minute walk from the harbor.  Or, the horse-drawn carriage town tour in Ketchikan and the hop-on-hop-off town trolley in Juneau.

May will likely be rather chilly, but it's a good value - and really, no one books Alaska and expects to sit out on the pool deck all day.  However, if you really want inland travel (and I certainly recommend it) you might want to look into a bit further into the season.

Snooks

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 06:30:11 AM »
I'm planning an Alaskan cruise next year (thread here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=112278.0) and quite a few tour companies do the Inside Passage from Seattle.  We're planning on going with Princess because they were roughly the same price as Norwegian doing the same cruise (including Glacier Bay) but a little internet research told me that Norwegian serve Pepsi and Princess serve Coke so we used that as the decision maker.

Kiara

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 09:02:10 AM »
Because no one's brought it up yet....  ;D  Cruise Critic is a GREAT site with message boards about all the cruise lines, ports of call, tour information, travel info (such as the always important "Never fly in the day of your cruise."). 

We're going to Alaska at some point...my family is getting all the "active" trips out of the way first while my parents are still able to do it.  Then we'll be back to cruising for a while.

goldilocks

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 12:47:18 PM »
OP here.   We are looking at HOlland America.  We are all in our late 40's, so we are not old!!!! but also don't party all night anymore either!

My biggest concern now is airfare booking.  The cruise line wants $1100 per person, but I believe I can book separately for $500 per person.  HOwever, I'm going to have to fly in the day before because you apparently can't get from Memphis to Vancouver by a reasonable hour.

Shalamar

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 01:07:28 PM »
Quote
If you want an all inclusive cruise Crystal is FANTASTIC but expensive.

I feel like an idiot - I had no idea all-inclusive cruises existed!  Crystal sounds AMAZING - I think my husband and I are going to book one of theirs when we go on another cruise (probably in 5 years for our 25th anniversary).  Thanks, PastryGoddess!

Kiara

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 01:29:45 PM »
OP, you want to fly in the day before anyway.  I have read too many stories of delayed flights/late planes and people missing the cruise as a result.  Plus, if you're worried about making it, you start the cruise stressed.   :P


Shalamar - Seabourn, Regent and Oceania are also good all-inclusives.

Girlie

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 01:50:20 PM »
OP here.   We are looking at HOlland America.  We are all in our late 40's, so we are not old!!!! but also don't party all night anymore either!

My biggest concern now is airfare booking.  The cruise line wants $1100 per person, but I believe I can book separately for $500 per person.  HOwever, I'm going to have to fly in the day before because you apparently can't get from Memphis to Vancouver by a reasonable hour.

Not trying to sway your vote - you have to do what's best for you. But maybe this will help someone else in the future:
My mom actually works for Princess (which is owned by the same company as Holland America) up in Alaska. She ALWAYS recommends booking everything through the company because, as she says, "They take real good care not to lose you."

kareng57

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 02:12:49 PM »
OP here.   We are looking at HOlland America.  We are all in our late 40's, so we are not old!!!! but also don't party all night anymore either!

My biggest concern now is airfare booking.  The cruise line wants $1100 per person, but I believe I can book separately for $500 per person.  HOwever, I'm going to have to fly in the day before because you apparently can't get from Memphis to Vancouver by a reasonable hour.

Not trying to sway your vote - you have to do what's best for you. But maybe this will help someone else in the future:
My mom actually works for Princess (which is owned by the same company as Holland America) up in Alaska. She ALWAYS recommends booking everything through the company because, as she says, "They take real good care not to lose you."


My son's GF worked for Princess for years during the Alaska season.  My understanding is - if you've booked through the cruise line and they book a flight that lands on the same day as the cruise departure - they will delay the departure if the flight is late.  But if you've booked your own flight, you're on your own if it's late and you miss the ship.  They could try to get you to the next port-of-call but then you could run into all kinds of complications due to the Jones Act....therefore, definitely fly in the day before if you're doing your own booking.

However, the ports-of-call on an Alaskan cruise are very safe, and as long as passengers have a good watch I don't think it's necessarily worth the extra expense of booking shore excursions through the line.  One exception would be adventure-tours such as rafting or helicopter tours - the cruise line will have vetted the tour company for its safety record.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Alaskan Cruise
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 03:09:30 PM »
Quote
If you want an all inclusive cruise Crystal is FANTASTIC but expensive.

I feel like an idiot - I had no idea all-inclusive cruises existed!  Crystal sounds AMAZING - I think my husband and I are going to book one of theirs when we go on another cruise (probably in 5 years for our 25th anniversary).  Thanks, PastryGoddess!

Crystal and Regent are my favorite.  You'll pay more, but they are soooo worth it
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