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SeeDiver
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Loc: Des Plaines, IL
Alaska Cruise
      #1530859 - 08/26/13 12:54 PM (71.201.78.161)

Our 20th anniversary is next year, and Lisa and I are considering Alaska for our anniversary trip.
I must preface this by stating that while we are not cruise fans, we believe the best way to experience the sights would be via water, as opposed to land-based.
We're thinking a one-way, 10-day cruise would cover the most territory, and let us spend a few pre- or post- days on land.
We do not want one of the Mega- size floating cities
We definitely want a balcony, good food, smaller-to middle sized ship from the more reputable lines.
It appears the best weather window is in late July-early August.

We've begun looking at travel sites on the Web, but would appreciate input from others with experience to help us weed out the outliers so we can focus on the let's say top 5-7 choices.

Thanks for any input

--------------------
Roger

Cenosillicaphobia - Fear of an empty glass

[url=http://www.TickerFactory.com/]

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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1530862 - 08/26/13 01:13 PM (71.101.34.243)

Holland America and Princess have by far the most 'presence' in Alaska. As far as HUGE ships, Princess has, unfortunately, succumbed to some extent to the huge ship craze, although their ships are not as large as Oasis of the Seas and NCL Epic, etc. It's been a long time since we cruised Alaska, but it USED to be that you almost needed to do either HAL or Princess among the larger cruise lines in order to get into Glacier Bay, which is a real must, especially if you think you will only do Alaska once. It used to be that the National Park Service only gave out just a limited number of permits for Glacier Bay, so you should check that out, to see if your ship would visit Glacier Bay or not. HAL and Princess both have lodges which they own in Alaska and you can book package deals which include the land lodging with the cruise price. You should at least LOOK at both of them before you look at anything else. Both have plenty of balcony cabins. HAL has traditionally been an older crowd than Princess, but Alaska in general is an older crowd than the Caribbean. HAL will have smaller ships than Princess and the food will be slightly better. But Princess will have a livelier crowd onboard.

As far as the others, I really don't know what they have to offer these days, but I would check out Princess and HAL first and then compare them to the rest.


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swg
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1530868 - 08/26/13 02:00 PM (24.152.255.162)

You also should check out Celebrity Cruise Line.

We like their itinerary. I am not aware of any of the mega ships cruising in Alaska, but it has been a while since I checked out cruises to Alaska.

Sue


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: swg]
      #1530877 - 08/26/13 03:24 PM (71.101.34.243)

Just curious--does Celebrity go to Glacier Bay? As years ago, when we went, they were not able to.

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Snorkeller
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1530878 - 08/26/13 03:41 PM (108.4.112.247)

We cruised Alaska with a family group this past June (2013). We did a 7 night RT Seattle primarily because of a family member's medical restrictions which limited us to a US port. Because we wanted to go to Glacier Bay, we had a choice between HAL and Princess - at least with mass market ships. We went HAL. I am hearing that there is not a lot of age difference on HAL and Princess in Alaska - both have a fairly old crowd - any one cruise can be different. We usually go with Royal Caribbean but HAL was very nice - we got one of the SC Neptune Suite aft corner cabins - which was really great. You could do what I do and send an email to Bonnie Buchanan and make her work at getting you an explanation of your options. That's is what I do.

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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: Snorkeller]
      #1530886 - 08/26/13 04:59 PM (71.101.34.243)

So--that is still the case--that other mass market ships can't get into Glacier Bay? That in and of itself is a major reason to book Princess or HAL. And yes, Bonnie works very hard!

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SeeDiver
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1530948 - 08/27/13 12:16 AM (71.201.78.161)

Carol,
Thanks for the tip about Glacier Bay. it may be the key to narrowing down the list.

--------------------
Roger

Cenosillicaphobia - Fear of an empty glass

[url=http://www.TickerFactory.com/]

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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1530969 - 08/27/13 08:19 AM (108.117.85.24)

No problem. I know that USED to be the case in Alaska, but it's been a while. Glacier Bay is amazing. All of Alaska is amazing. Enjoy!

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GaKaye
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1531029 - 08/27/13 12:50 PM (70.193.4.62)

Yes, Carol, thank you for posting this, as I was also unaware that all of the ships couldn't enter Glacier Bay. We're probably not going for a few more years, but when we do we definitely want to cruise Glacier Bay, so we'll be sure to do the necessary research before we book.

--------------------





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SeeDiver
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: GaKaye]
      #1531033 - 08/27/13 01:06 PM (71.201.78.161)

It also appears that Northbound vs Southbound makes a difference. My reading says northbound between Ketchikan and Juneau ships pass through Snow Passage - a very beautiful area known for sightings of humpback whales. Northbound most of the season ships transit this area after dark however southbound it is during the morning.

--------------------
Roger

Cenosillicaphobia - Fear of an empty glass

[url=http://www.TickerFactory.com/]

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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1531045 - 08/27/13 01:43 PM (71.101.34.243)

It depends. Many people recommend southbound, however we did northbound and were very happy we did. The further north you go, the more spectacular the scenery is. The first day or so out of Vancouver or Seattle, frankly, the scenery is a bit boring, compared to further north. The Inside Passage is ok, but Glacier Bay, etc., is really spectacular. If you want to have the most spectacular scenery at the BEGINNING of your cruise, it seems to me that you will be disappointed, the further on you go during the cruise. That's why we booked northbound, so that the most spectacular sights were at the end. It depends also on what you are going to do AFTER your cruise. We did a few days in Denali after the cruise, so if you're going to do that, it really makes more sense to me to go northbound.

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SeeDiver
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1531055 - 08/27/13 02:39 PM (71.201.78.161)

This is a neat tool. Daylight Hours Explorer

Late June at 58.3deg north shows 17.9 hours of daylight.
Same time in the BVI at 18.4deg has only 13.1 hours.

--------------------
Roger

Cenosillicaphobia - Fear of an empty glass

[url=http://www.TickerFactory.com/]

[/url]


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suntwo
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Joined: 08/18/08
Posts: 90
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1531096 - 08/27/13 07:04 PM (72.148.177.145)

Quote:

SeeDiver said:
It also appears that Northbound vs Southbound makes a difference. My reading says northbound between Ketchikan and Juneau ships pass through Snow Passage - a very beautiful area known for sightings of humpback whales. Northbound most of the season ships transit this area
after dark however southbound it is during the morning.




We did a 7-day northbound followed by 7-day inland ending up in Fairbanks. We chose to cruise north because we had never been there and for us it was like peeling back an onion. The scenery became more beautiful each day. And we found it different that when we got further north, it never got darker than dusk.We cruised on Celebrity and enjoyed it very much. The inland portion (by bus and train) was well worth it and we got great views of Mt. Denali and an enjoyable day traveling into Denali NP. We also added a couple of days at the end to go above the Arctic Circle. The flights home from Fairbanks to Florida were long but we're glad we went northbound. On our next Alaska cruise we will try it southbound.

--------------------
Manawa iki ola pau'ole


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bbuchanan
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1532012 - 09/03/13 03:10 PM (97.115.237.223)

Celebrity and Royal Caribbean do not cruise Glacier Bay.

--------------------
Best Regards,
Bonnie Buchanan,
Master Cruise Counselor
CruiseOne Tucson Arizona
www.cruiseone.com/bbuchanan


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Wayne
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1532498 - 09/06/13 12:37 PM (66.153.240.194)

You may want to take a look at Oceania. We just returned on the Regatta and it was a wonderful cruise. It is a little upscale but an excellent line. The one we were on left Vancouver and stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, Cruising the Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, Vancouver Island, Astoria, OR and San Francisco. The ship in small and we got to within a mile of the Glacier which I'm told is pretty good.

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stuckinma
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: Wayne]
      #1534704 - 09/18/13 08:26 AM (174.59.228.196)

Has anyone been on the Norwegian cruise in Alaska?

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eastoceanview
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: stuckinma]
      #1554439 - 12/29/13 10:56 AM (72.218.168.10)

We went in late July, early August on Princess. We're not cruise people and were a little apprehensive. Picked Princess because of their longtime presence in Alaska. IIf you do a cruise and cannot do Glacier Bay don't go.Service and food were wonderful. The longistics behind the cruise is amazing. We worried about the amount of people but never felt crowded even on boarding compared to the airlines. Do your homework on excursions. The cruise lines sell their excursions by guaranteeing that if the excursion is late the ship will wait but the will leave you if your indepent trip misses departure time. We booked independently, saved 70% and had no problems. We were also lucky with the weather and enjoyed the land portion of the trip.

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stuckinma
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: eastoceanview]
      #1555422 - 01/02/14 06:36 PM (174.59.228.196)

eastoceanview Would you share which excursions you did and would recommend? Thanks

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CrazyCanuxx
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Re: Alaska Cruise [Re: SeeDiver]
      #1557646 - 01/09/14 08:49 PM (24.67.14.23)

there is also another option of which many british Columbians partake.. though I never really paid much attention as I see no need to go anywhere colder!

every spring and fall the cruise lines reposition their ships. it is more economical to go one way during this period. once in Alaska, you can rent a vehicle to drive south (beware of Alaskan highway if you are crossing the border, u won't have much left of your vehicle/winnebago).

another option (not suiting the op initial requirements but so much adventure) is to fly to queen charlotte islands (sandspit airport from Vancouver) and take the overnight bc ferry up (you will remember the ferry sinking because of feuding ex lovers/employees doing the nasty... hmmmm). though I understand depending on the time of year and direction, you sleep thru most of the BC Coastline (hence how the two employees got away with their 'extra duties'). this does not take you to Alaska but then you have the option to take an Alaskan cruise back down.

I understand the scenery is spectacular and that the Alaskan whale day trip is a rip off due to Alaskan environmental laws prohibiting much whale sight seeing - too far away may as well stay onboard and view the same thing)

enjoy our coastline... it is supernatural british Columbia... like nowhere else! (enjoy Alaska's too)

for Vancouver departures, check out travebestbets.com or expedia.

--------------------
Cheers,
CrazyCanuxx



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