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Minybear
02-16-2003, 12:43 PM
I am considering doing an Alaskin cruise through DVC. Unknown if we will do it this year or next year. Has anyone booked an Alaskin cruise thorugh DVC? I looked at the guide book and it said 211 points for inside/outside stateroom for 7 nights. Does DVC only book one catagory of room? or is this an example of points?

I would like to get as much info from all my DVC friends on doing points with this cruise.

I have requested a brochure through Holland America so I can research that cruiseline and to see how their rooms are.

WDWguru
02-16-2003, 12:55 PM
We just booked this a few months ago. We actually have been on HAL's Alaska cruise (a few years before we bought DVC) so we already know it's a great trip. We knew we wanted to go again and when we saw that it was a tradeout through DVC we knew we'd do it at some point.

We're going July 24th this year. The 211 points per person listed will get you the highest category outside cabin before you get to the ones with verandas, mini suites and suites. Having been to Alaska before on HAL, we knew we wanted a veranda. While DVC only gets you to a certain level on points, you can upgrade with cash. For our mini-suite with veranda, we paid the 211 points per person (just DH and me), plus $300 each. We also paid the $75 exchange fee and port taxes. The total was about $1,000 total on top of our 422 points.

Is it "worth" it? For us, the answer is yes. We were going to take this cruise anyway and, in the middle of summer, you're not going to find a lot of deals to Alaska. The cabin we were looking at booking on our own would have cost about the same or a little more (using point "worth" of about $6), so we felt it was worth it. Not just for the money, but the convenience of calling DVC and just having it taken care of.

We were able to request and get a specific cabin and dinner seating. We did call HAL directly to add our Mariner numbers (their club for prior cruisers) and could also have arranged ground transfers through them. However, we're flying into Seattle and driving up rather than flying into Vancouver.

On the cruise itself, I can't stress enough how AMAZING Alaska is! We're not big cruisers (in our early 30s and childfree, not big beach fans) but we absolutely loved HAL's ship and the itinerary. They have fabulous shore excursions and are able to get into Glacier Bay, which not all cruiselines are. I'd say definitely get at least an outside cabin, and a veranda if you can afford it. The scenery is amazing! If you don't have a view from your cabin, you can hang out on deck with (lots of) other passengers. HAL is terrific in that they have included a lot of things that other lines nickle and dime you for - like hot chocolate and cider out on deck while you're glacier watching.

Sorry this is so long, but I'm trying to include everything here. If I've missed something in my excitement, pm me or post again.

kem330
02-16-2003, 01:10 PM
sent you a private message

Minybear
02-16-2003, 02:20 PM
WDWguru
Thanks for your infomation. Looks like we will have excess points to use and I am considering doing an Alaskan cruise. It's great to hear that I can upgrade to a veranda suite for an additional cost due to I want a veranada. We were on DCL and had a veranda and loved it. Now to speak to my better half :).

rae519
02-16-2003, 03:40 PM
How was the weather there? We are concerned about the cold and drizzle - we are "old foggies" and can't tolerate too much cold!!

Rae

CaptainMidnight
02-16-2003, 03:47 PM
The cabin we were looking at booking on our own would have cost about the same or a little more (using point "worth" of about $6)
So it sounds like that if you use a more realistic point value of $9.00 per point, the DVC point exchange approach is a more expensive option. $6.00 seems pretty low to me. Thanks for sharing your experience for the cruise.

WDWguru
02-16-2003, 03:50 PM
It depends on when you go. We were there toward the end of September and it was in the 50s and rainy. This time we're going in July and our research tells us to expect 70s. Rain is always a distinct possibility as much of southern Alaska is rainforest, but if you go prepared it's not too bad. If you go earlier, like late May through June you'll experience solstice - where the sun only sets for a few hours each day.

Just take lots of layers with something waterproof on top and you'll be fine.

WDWguru
02-16-2003, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by CaptainMidnight
So it sounds like that if you use a more realistic point value of $9.00 per point, the DVC point exchange approach is a more expensive option. $6.00 seems pretty low to me. Thanks for sharing your experience for the cruise.

We used $6 as a "real cost" value. Taking our original cost plus dues and dividing it by 40 years. Obviously we know we could rent them for much more than that, but frankly we didn't want to go through the hassle.

rae519
02-16-2003, 04:07 PM
Thanks Kim - we've always dreamed of an Alaskan cruise and would rather do something through DVC than anyone else (just so we won't be disappointed) and if DVC says HAL is the way - then so be it!

Looking forward to our Alaskan cruise as soon as I get enough points built up!

Rae

erikthewise
02-16-2003, 04:08 PM
Thanks for the info! An Alaskan cruise was the only one that held any interest for me before I heard about Disney cruises, and I still hope to go someday. Can you say anything about individual ships in HAL that are on the Alaska route?

WDWguru
02-16-2003, 04:38 PM
We were on the Ryndham on our previous cruise, this time on the Maasdam. They are older ships than some of the other lines, but very classical in design and kept up quite nicely. You won't find the Vegas at sea decor on HAL.

One thing we LOVED about the Ryndham was the wrap-around promenade deck - you could walk around the entire ship without going inside! We have heard that most of their ships are similar in design, just larger or smaller. My mom and stepdad have travelled on HAL several times as well (not to Alaska) and have always had good things to say about the ships.

There are a few sites with tours (HAL's site has some photos and layouts) and there are boards at cruisecritic.com that have given us good information during our planning.

justcruisin
02-19-2003, 08:13 AM
What is the age range for kids on the Alaska Cruise? Would elementary school age kids enjoy it? Is there a kids club?

Minybear
02-19-2003, 11:03 AM
WDWguru

Out of all the Alaska Holland America cruise tours which one would you recommend highly (ie Alaska Explorer cruise, Glacier Bay Inside Passage, or Glacier Discovery cruise). for a first cruise to Alaska? We are not really interested in the ports of call we are more interested in the sailing and seeing specacular views from the ship itself.

Also do you have any suggestions on which ship to pick?

Do you have any photos to share with us. My DH and I would love to see some photos of the signts and some photos of the ship itself. If you have any to share with us. (you can PM me if you want).

Thank you for your above posts. We are really considering this for next July, August or September of 2004. Thank you also for letting us know how much we would probuably put down to secure the reservation and with the upgrade to the veranda suite.

Any suggestions you would have for us would be helpful :).

Thanks again
Minybear

WDWguru
02-19-2003, 01:11 PM
just cruisin:
Sorry, but I really can't answer your question very well. DH and I are childfree and I don't remember seeing many kids on the cruise we took. Of course, it was late September and school was in session. I do think HAL has a kids club, but don't know any details. HAL tends to attract an older crowd and there are more sophisticated activities on the ship rather than the party atmosphere of some lines. It's not stuffy, but definitely not Carnival. Alaska IS incredible and beautiful, but with kids I would probably recommend a land tour instead, or maybe a land/sea package. I would guess they'd enjoy the ports more than sitting at Glacier Bay all day, amazing as it is. I guess it really depends on your kids.

Minybear:
Really all the itineraries all very comparable. If you can get aone that goes to Glacier Bay, do that over any others. We also really liked Ketchikan, which most of them go to. The ports are all quite similar, smaller seaside towns and very quaint. You may be surprised how much you enjoy the stops!

If you're interested in more at-sea days you may want to consider one that goes one-way rather than round trip. Our first cruise was southbound from Seward to Vancouver - this one is round trip in and out of Vancouver. They also do northbound routes. It's a bit trickier on the airfare, but not too bad. They have roughly the same number of ports and are the same length, but we won't see as much of the coastline and likely won't get the one or two days of semi open sea cruising that we got coming out of Seward. (That can be good or bad - on our cruise we had 30-foot seas and 90% of the ship was sick the first two days. They had to cancel a port and do an extra glacier stop to get out of the open water faster.)

As for ships, all of HAL's ships are quite comparable. I don't have enough experience to recommend one over another. My mom and grandparents have been on several and have raved about all of them, so I don't think it will matter much. I'd decide based on itinerary.

Photos -- I have a ton of them but just can't find them! I know I took my 35mm so there's a chance I never scanned them in. Eek! If I find them, I'll post to this thread.

Minybear
02-19-2003, 01:35 PM
WDWguru

Thanks for everything. Right now I am leaning for the Glacier Bay for our first Alaskan cruise. Now to get the brochure in from HAL to get more educated. I have also looked at the cruisecritic.com web site and that has lots of info on that sight. Now I have to start saving for that cruise, besides our next DCL cruise and our stay at BCV in November.

Minybear

reneesam
02-19-2003, 01:46 PM
Yes, thanks for such an interesting and informative post. I hadn't really considered an Alaska cruise, but your favorable reply got me thinking.....

Do you think a May cruise would be too cold?

Minybear
02-19-2003, 02:26 PM
WDWguru

I have another question. You said in another post that on one cruise that 90% was sick due to rocky seas. How is this cruise in pretaining to rockyness? I was just wondering if its really rocky or once in a while depending on the seas.

WDWguru
02-19-2003, 03:21 PM
Late May/early June is actually peak time to visit Alaska. I would guess temps would be closer to what we experienced in September - 50s and maybe 60s. Honestly though, once you get there you won't even notice the weather. The absolute best time we had during the whole trip was during a wildlife cruise in Sitka -- it was about 45 and raining and we were the only ones out on deck taking pictures!

Regarding the rocky seas - that was a sheer fluke. They had a big front come in and whip things up just as we happened to set sail. I don't think 30-foot seas are anywhere NEAR the norm during summer in Alaska! When coming south from Seward, you actually arc out a little bit into the ocean, then come back in to the inside passage, so you're only out in the main body of water for a day or so. After that, you're between islands and the coast and it's not bad at all. I would guess that normally even that part isn't that bad, and if you're on a round trip itinerary you won't even leave the inside passage. If you're concerned or prone to sickness, just use seabands or get some sea sickness medication (they also give these out free on the ship). You would also want to try and book a room close to the center of the ship in both directions - a mid-level deck and a cabin equidistant between bow and stern.

Minybear
02-19-2003, 06:29 PM
WDWguru

When do you suggest I book this for next year due to this is DVC and using points? I was wondering if I booked closer to time (Jan/2004) if that would be too late?

WDWguru
02-19-2003, 07:39 PM
I really don't know for sure. Most cruises start to book up pretty steadily for popular times about 9-10 months ahead of time. If you were looking for one of the few suites or the penthouse suite, you'd want to do it even earlier as those rooms are in high demand and there are few of them. for a veranda mini suite like we have, we had no problem about 9 months out. For Alaska it will heavily depend on when you want to go as their season is much shorter than some other areas.

From what I understand when talking to DVC, they don't hold a certain "block" of rooms for trades, so if it's available for cash, it's available for trade. I would think in January you'd be able to get something. You may have to be flexible and go later or earlier in the season than your ideal, but you'll get something.

Minybear
02-19-2003, 08:21 PM
WDWguru

Thanks for all of your GREAT advise. I will hopefully book this 10-9 months prior or sooner then that.

I assume I have to pay everything at the time of booking with DVC (ie like the $1000 you paid for your room)? I wish they were like CRO just put a deposit and pay 45 days later.

Thanks again for answering all my questions :):):):):).

BVC4us
02-19-2003, 09:32 PM
Hi, we are taking the Holland America inside passage cruise to Alaska this July. We've never cruised before so I'm really looking forward to it. I know Holland America has a "no tip required" policy but I'm sure everyone does tip something. Can you give me any idea on how much we should tip on this cruise? This is all new to me.
This may sound stupid but I have read that room service is included. What do you tip on "free" room service.
Thanks for all the info that you have provided so far.

WDWguru
02-19-2003, 09:53 PM
You're very welcome! I wish I could answer more specifically on some of this stuff. (FYI, I'm leaving the country for a week tomorrow, so hope someone else can jump in or you can wait till I return to answer more!)

Yes, you do pay for all of your fees upfront. We just put it on a credit card over the phone. Took all of fifteen minutes to book - MS puts you on hold while they talk to HAL and may come back to ask you questions or clarify something. They send you some kind of form to sign and send back within 10 days (iirc, it had something to do with the trade-out contract), then you get your confirmation after that. Once that's done, you make any additional arrangements directly with the cruise line.

As for tipping, I'm really NOT an expert on that part. The "normal" way to tip on cruises is to make envelopes for everyone (cabin steward, waiters, etc) and give them the week's tips at the end of the cruise. I would guess room service stewards would work the same way. In fact, I think the cabin steward does deliver room service as well as his/her other duties, but I'm not positive. While HAL is "no tipping required" most people still do tip if they feel the service warrants. As for amounts, I'm clueless, but I know cruisecritic.com could definitely help there.

kem330
02-19-2003, 10:47 PM
Re: time of year, July is probably the best time weather wise and you will find more bear out, etc. as well as the salmon running. We went the very end of May- beginning of June and the weather was decent but not as many bears. Saw lots of orcas, seals and a distant humpback. It was not very crowded which was nice as most schools get out later. But July would be better in terms of your children making friends and having more companions in the kids program. I would encourage you to do shore excursions- you can bypass the ship and book them directly at the pier or ahead of time online and save a few $$. I think your kids might enjoy the train ride into the Yukon Pass at Skagway, among other things.

Mary Ellen
08-15-2003, 05:29 PM
We've been on 7 HAL cruises now, so I do have some experience with their tipping.

Their company policy doesn't allow them to suggest how much or to whom you should tip. Some other lines deliver addressed envelopes (with tip amounts on them) to your cabin. HAL does not.

The 'industry standard' is $3.50 per person, per day to each - cabin steward and waiter and $1.75(?) per person, per day to your asst. waiter. This comes to about $100 for a couple on a 7-day cruise. Our service on HAL has always been SO wonderful that we've tipped more than this amount. I get a variety of small bills before leaving home and envelopes for the tips.

Enjoy!

WDWguru
08-15-2003, 05:50 PM
We just returned a few weeks ago and, as expected, loved it even more than our first cruise. You are exactly right about the tipping. They do it the way they do to avoid the crass solicitation of tips that happens on other lines, but tipping is expected as part of most of the staff's salary and is greatly appreciated. We tipped a little higher than the recommended standard.

We did most of it at the end of the week with envelopes, but did a few dollars here and there in some of the bars and for room services -- the services where you don't usually get the same people each time.

Minybear
08-15-2003, 07:31 PM
WDWguru

Welcome back. Do you have any photo's of the ship and of the cruise? I (and maybe others) would love to see them :). Points for the Alaska cruise for 2004 still has not come out :(.

WDWguru
08-16-2003, 01:57 AM
Are you kidding?! These are just the digitals...

Click here... be sure to click the "more photos" link at the end of page seven. The second set has most of the ship pictures! (http://www.mcdanieldesk.com/Alaska2003/Alaska2003.html)

Keep in mind we paid additional to upgrade to a category B verandah mini-suite when we booked, then even more at the last minute when we found out a full suite was available. The room we got for our points plus about $1000 is about half this size, but still very nice.

eva
08-16-2003, 05:01 AM
That suite looks fantastic. Do you mind me asking, how much more did you pay over the $1000 for that suite? After seeing those pictures I'm sold on the cruise.

Minybear
08-16-2003, 10:44 AM
Thanks WDWguru for posting those photos.

WOW :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: Those photos are FANTASTIC. Ok DVC where are the POINTS for 2004 :confused:. I have things to do. Reservations to make (ok there goes Hawaii).

Mary Ellen
08-16-2003, 08:47 PM
Thanks for the pictures. We had a similar suite on the Zaandam this year, DH is now spoiled.

We paid a special HAL alumni price of about $1600 per person - for 2 adults, NO points, in late May. Last years cat. B mini-suite on the Amsterdam was about the same price for late Aug. With the Alumni pricing, we've just paid $ and saved our points for WDW.

Janet2k
08-16-2003, 09:36 PM
Wow! What great info in this thread and what wonderful photos. Minybear, if you book that cruise, we'll be expecting a complete report upon your return (with photos, of course). ;)

Minybear
08-17-2003, 01:20 AM
Now I have to decide. Hawaii (Oahu) on cash or Alaska cruise on points. Hummmmmm. Wish I could have both. Those photos were great :).

WDWguru
08-17-2003, 02:08 PM
Normally, you would have a travel agent who would speak to the cruise line and request you be notified when/if a paid or complimentary upgrade becomes available. In our case, DVC was our "agent" and no help at all after the transaction was complete.

We got lucky and found a contact at HAL in their special services department who gave us great advice. With a few phone calls and a strategically timed fax, we were offered the upgrade about a week out for $300 additional per person. That brought our total to 422 points and $1600, taxes and port charges included. That may seem high but consider the retail value of the suite is about $5,000-$6,000! We were quite pleased. Considering it was high season in Alaska and the cruise was completely sold out, we got VERY lucky!

MaryEllen, re: using points... We actually did consider just paying for this one, or renting points and using the cash, but when we priced what we wanted it turned out to be about even. Since we wanted a higher category and were going at prime season, there were no deals on the price of the cruise even as a Mariner member. Since we own 700 points and it's just the two of us, we figured why not use the points? That's why we bought them and we're lucky enough to have plenty.

Minybear
08-19-2003, 11:30 AM
I just called MS about the points for 2004. They have gone up 6 pts :( from 211. They are now 217 per person and if I want to upgrade to the verandah suite its $375 (gone up $75 from last year). If we want to get to upgrade to the mini suite is $515 per person.

Ok now I have to decide Hawaii or Alaska for 2004.

WDWguru
08-19-2003, 12:02 PM
What ship is this on? The verandah suite and mini suite were the same thing on the Maasdam and her three sister ships -- categories A and B. Are you sure the designations they gave you were right? Because if the $515 is for a full suite, like we were in, I'd jump on that!

I just looked at the deck plan on HAL's site and it looks like they're changing some room designations after her drydock this fall. They're taking away the name "mini suite" and just calling the A and B categories "deluxe verandah outside" and the full suites "deluxe verandah suites". It sounds to me like they haven't raised the upgrade rates... we paid $375 each to upgrade to the mini-suite (now called deluxe verandah outside) with DVC - including the port charges. Are you sure they aren't quoting you the $75 port charge with that figure? If so, it hasn't changed.

I'd confirm this with MS ... get the actual letter designation of the cabins from them and then check the HAL site. If that $515 is for a full suite, that's quite a deal! We were quoted $1000 each to upgrade to that before deciding to wait.

Oh, and to me the six points aren't that big a deal. It's too bad they have to go up, but last year (or maybe the year before?) they actually went down. Completely worth it for the experience. At a "net worth" of $6 (dues plus cost over the life of the loan), you're spending an extra $72 for two people. If you prefer to use the $10 rental rate, then it's an extra $120. Considering the cost of a HAL Alaska cruise for cash, that's not enough to cancel the trip over, imho.

Minybear
08-19-2003, 12:09 PM
WDWguru

The MS quoted me on the Amsterdam. I called and just wanted how many points it would be for 2004 Alaska crusie and she gave me these quotes for the Amsterdam. I didn't ask her for the different ships.

Minybear
08-19-2003, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by Minybear
WDWguru

The MS quoted me on the Amsterdam. I called and just wanted how many points it would be for 2004 Alaska crusie and she gave me these quotes for the Amsterdam. I didn't ask her for the different ships.

Yes you are correct the mini suite is now cat A.

WDWguru
08-19-2003, 12:49 PM
Just looking at their staterooms online, it seems similar to the Maasdam in terms of the difference in A and B. The cabins are identical, but the As are in a more desireable location (mid ship as opposed to forward or back). It's not worth the price to upgrade just for location unless you get extremely seasick, imho.

I think it's funny there's such a big difference. The retail price is almost the same for an A or B, but it does depend on the ship. They have different layouts and the same letter assignment can mean different things on different ships. You should spend some time on www.hollandamerica.com and go through their online booking process. You can cancel out at any time, but it would at least allow you to choose the itinerary and sailing date you most likely would take. This will give you the exact ship you would be on, then you could find out exactly what the categories and prices are for that ship. I wouldn't get too upset about it until you have information on the exact cruise you would most likely book. Even on the same line, the ships and room designations can vary greatly.

Minybear
08-19-2003, 01:02 PM
Thanks for your expert advise WDWguru. I will definately look at the HAL web site more carefully and their brochures and videos to pick the ship and the date we really want to do. At this point we may have to put off our Hawaiian trip to do the Alaska cruise (DVC) instead.

MinnieFan4ever
08-19-2003, 04:44 PM
I just saw this post and had to comment because I just put the salmon we caught on our cruise in the freezer not 10 minutes ago.

We were on an alaskan cruise this July 29- Aug 6th. Not with Holland but with Radisson Seven Seas and our ship was the Mariner. Like everyone else has stated, it is beyond beautiful!!! We had very nice weather, around 60 or so each day. We had 1/2 day of rain in Juneau and the rest of the time it was sunny.

Have a great time!!!

WDWguru
08-19-2003, 11:30 PM
Minnie, check your private messages :) I'm curious to hear firsthand about RSS!

CWD
10-07-2003, 10:13 AM
A question for those veteran DVC/Holland America Alaska Cruisers... Does anyone know if it is possible to use DVC points for the Sea portion of a Holland America Alaska Land/Sea Tour? We would really like to the land portion as well as the cruise and it would be great if we could use DVC points and then pay the difference in cash. Any information is appreciated.

Thanks,
CWD

erikthewise
10-07-2003, 11:21 AM
Originally posted by MinnieFan4ever
I just saw this post and had to comment because I just put the salmon we caught on our cruise in the freezer not 10 minutes ago.

We were on an alaskan cruise this July 29- Aug 6th. Not with Holland but with Radisson Seven Seas and our ship was the Mariner. Like everyone else has stated, it is beyond beautiful!!! We had very nice weather, around 60 or so each day. We had 1/2 day of rain in Juneau and the rest of the time it was sunny.

Have a great time!!!

I'm also curious about RSS, but even more curious about where that salmon has been for the last two months!:confused:

WDWguru
10-07-2003, 11:29 AM
CWD, I don't think you can. What you're basically doing is trading a theoretical reservation for the cruise, so it's not like their deal with DCL where it's more direct. However, if HAL does their own land package, separate from any cruise, you could book the cruise on points as a cruise-only, then pay cash for a land-only tour. I'm not sure if HAL offers any land-only tours, but there are lots of companies out there who do. I'm sure any one of them could arrange it so you got to your designated port (or started from your disembarkation port) at the right time.

Erik -- check the date on her post. This is an old thread that just won't die! LOL

MinnieFan4ever
10-07-2003, 11:49 AM
Hey Erik... Yes, this is an old thread. We recieved our Salmon about 10 days or so after we returned home. They will FedEx it overnight. Let me just say, it was wonderful!!! We only have around 5 left.

Have a good one:D

Minybear
10-07-2003, 12:22 PM
Hi WDWguru

Boy this is an old thread. I started this in Febuary WOW ::yes::.

I booked our Alaska cruise for 8/28/04 on the Zaandam inside passage from Vancouver. The points for this is 205 pp due to its standard season (they now have several seasons and several different points for each season:confused: ). We just recieved the liability waiver yesterday and we sent it back today all signed. Do we get any type of confirmation about our HAL cruise from MS? Where do you suggest staying the night prior in Vancouver? Should we go with what hotel HAL suggests with their transfers or book another room in Vancouver????

pirate: ::MickeyMo ::MinnieMo

rae519
11-29-2003, 07:53 AM
We have always cruised with a verandah (in the Caribbean on DCL, of course) so would we be satisfied with just a large porthole??

Rae

Mary Ellen
11-29-2003, 11:24 AM
Yes, this is an old thread, but I'm glad to see that someone is using the search feature to resurrect it. I had noticed that there was a new thread on the same subject, but not being the world's greatest typist, I was resisting answering the same questions again.

Minybear - We stayed at the Pan Pacific last year. This is a wonderful hotel (and $$$$$) right above the cruise terminal HAL uses in Vancouver. It was fantastic to wake up each am to see the cruise ships sailing under the Lions Gate Bridge. It is just an elevator ride down to the terminal. I was able to use our Entertainment card to get a better rate than I found elsewhere.

Just across the (small) street is the Fairmont Hotel - EASY walk even with luggage. It is another very fine hotel and I imagine there are lovely views from many of the rooms. Under the Fairmont is a shopping area with a food court. This is also connected to the Pan Pacific/cruise pier by a tunnel. We ate some meals there as they were much less $$ than the hotel restaurants. There are also many restaurants within walking distance of both hotels.

We used a limo service from/to the Vancouver airport. There is a information booth as you leave the secure Customs and Immigration area. I just booked our round trip there. It was about $80 CDN r/t for the limo. This is about $5 more than a taxi should be - IF there aren't any traffic problems (NOT uncommon in Vancouver). The meter will be ticking away on the taxi, while the limo fee stays the same. You'll need to let them know that you want to be picked up at the Cruise Terminal, rather than at the hotel where you were dropped off.

DH was quite surprised to see an actual white stretch limo. He was expecting a shuttle van 'limo' when I said we were taking a limo to/from the pier.

By using the limo service, we were able to go to the limo area and show the dispatcher our voucher. He then called our limo up to the front. We could see the long, long, LONG line for taxis across the way. By using the offical airport limo we saved quite a bit of money. As we were waiting for our limo to pull up, another couple came by to see about a limo rather than waiting for a taxi. They were quoted $75 CDN one-way to the airport (using another limo service). We didn't have any traffic problems with our cruise, but later in the summer I was in Vancouver again (touring other cruise ships) and it took us about 2 hours just to get to the border from the pier (normally it is 2 1/2 hours all the way to Seattle).

rae519 - This is a tough call about a verandah. We have sailed HAL to Alaska the past 2 summers, both times we had our own verandahs (cat. B and a S suite). We've also sailed HAL to Alaska twice before without a verandah. The only reason we had the verandahs is because we were travelling with family (step-mom is claustrophobic) and we booked adjoining cabins. We didn't use our verandahs very much, it is a little nippy while sailing in Alaska. While in Glacier Bay we prefer the views from the Crow's Nest lounge, right above the Bridge. Look at a HAL brochure. The cabin windows (no portholes unless you are up in the bow - not a place I'd recommend anyway) are quite large and there is PLENTY of open deck space for viewing. I do prefer the layout of the outside cabins to the A or B mini-suites, but if you have the cabin made up with one bed - it is under the window in the outside cabins. With 2 beds, they are on either side of the window.

Would we get a verandah again to Alaska? I don't know. Would we be interested in a verandah in the Caribbean? Most likely.

Hope this helps.

Minybear
11-29-2003, 12:47 PM
Hi Mary Ellen

Boy this thread has gone on so long. First I was thinking about doing an Alaska cruise on DVC points and approx over 6 months later I made the resv and now I am working on where to stay the night prior. Wow this thread is amazing.

Right now I have 2 separate resv's for the night prior to see where our money is. One is at the Pan Pacific (ocean view) and the other is a the Renassance Marriott with a package deal that includes dinner (only a $100 difference in the 2 rooms). Also I was told if we book air and the hotel (Pan Pacific) through HAL then our transporation from the airport to the hotel and hotel to the terminal would be free. I am wondering if it would be better if we did this or do the air and hotel ourselves and somehow get ourselves to the terminal. I know the Pan Pacific is right at the terminal so HAL will take us from the hotel to the terminal. If we stay at the Renassance Marriott then we have to get our own transporation to and from. Need opinions on this.

WDWguru
11-29-2003, 11:03 PM
I'd do the Pan Pacific. We spent about $30-$40 in cab fare to and from the airport, which you'd be saving. If the transportation is round-trip to and from the airport, definitely do it. The Pan Pacific is right across the street from the cruise terminal, so you can easily walk to it.

On the verandah question, having sailed with and without we'd definitely prefer having one. We could run in and outside at will to warm up or see scenery and had a great view without fighting a crowd for rail space. We did also go out on deck at times, but loved that we could just see what was going on from our own room when we wanted. Yes it's cold, but not unbearably so. We had two nice wool blankets provided on our verandah to bundle up with, too.

NCRedding
11-29-2003, 11:58 PM
We stayed at the Farimont in July prior to our cruise. It was a great location, wonderful hotel, and the views were terrific. We had a waterview suite, with a 3 night package that included vouchers for the trolley and for the aquarium. It would have been a great location if our ship sailed from Canada Place. Unfortunately, our ship sailed from Balltyne which meant we had to take a taxi (@16 CDN) to get to the ship.

I highly recommend the balcony. We've cruised DCL 3X with a veranda, then did Alaska with a veranda, then a DCL without. I would go back to the Caribbean without a veranda, but I would not do Alaska without. I spent so much time on our Alaskan cruise watching the scenery. When we did the glacier, I spent 2 1/2 hours straight outside on the balcony.

I would also recommend the limo from/to the airport. We used a taxi both ways, and for just a few dollars more, we could have been in a stretch limo, instead of a smelly, non-a/c cab.

lookingforward
12-18-2003, 10:50 PM
We sailed in Alaska this June and loved it. We brought our three children and although we sailed on RCCL and not HAL I can honestly say that kids have a great time on this vacation. The weather is good in June, not really cold and the mosquito season has yet to begin.

We went on priceline and got the Westin hotel for $40 a night. It was lovely and provided transportation. Vancouver was really fun. The kids caught a huge alaskan king salmon one day, we rented a float plane over the misty fjords in Ketchikan and took the white pass railroad (this was over three hours and I don't recommend it for little ones!).

I highly recommend a veranda in Alaska. It is beautiful and so nice to be able to sit on your deck and count ice caps, whales, etcc. We saw bears, whales, otters, bald eagles and the most beautiful land in the world.

If you travel in May or September you may be able to get great discount rates and save your points. This shoulder season is typically much cheaper than late June and July. Have fun!

rae519
12-19-2003, 07:35 PM
Wow - 2005 is a long way off especially when I read such great reports like yours. Thank you so much!!!

Rae

TenThousandVolts
11-23-2006, 09:00 AM
Reviving a terribly old thread here-
Does the HAL Alaskan cruise through DVC sail from Seattle? Or which city?
Also- I see they have points for 3, 4, and 5 passenger- I am confused about this as I am unsure how the rooms can accomodate 5 people.

Mary Ellen
11-23-2006, 02:38 PM
Does the HAL Alaskan cruise through DVC sail from Seattle? Or which city?
Also- I see they have points for 3, 4, and 5 passenger- I am confused about this as I am unsure how the rooms can accomodate 5 people.You have your choice of HAL Alaskan cruises. Round trips from Seattle or Vancouver, or the one-way Gulf of Alaska cruises. Our STRONG preference are the r/t from Vancouver in a non Vista-class ship. [The Vistas are the compass directions; Westerdam, Noordam, Zuiderdam and Oosterdam.]
In our 2007-2008 DVC Vacation Planner (p. 58) the points are only for 1-4 passengers. None of HAL's cabins accomodate 5 (even if 1 is under 2 ;) ). NOt sure where you saw points for a 5th passenger.

Luvdisney
11-25-2006, 10:04 AM
Good luck getting a cruise booked using DVC Points. I tried for last summer to book for summer 2007 was not able to get anything. I heard it was DVC and HAL had never finalized a contract. Hopefully you will have better luck.

TenThousandVolts
11-27-2006, 07:34 AM
The points chart I was looking at is in the DVC Dream book- the purple book they are sending out now.

Starr W.
12-09-2006, 12:38 PM
HAL is the one line I have missed in my travels. Princess is my measuring stick as I have been to Alaska with them twice(once even on the original Love Boat). RCCL, NCL, Carnival,Costa and Cunard, been on most the major lines

I have the new 2007-2008 planner and HAL Alaska cruises are listed.

We'll probably go sometime with the DS's, whether we use our points or not.

Lisa0503
12-18-2006, 11:31 PM
Good luck getting a cruise booked using DVC Points. I tried for last summer to book for summer 2007 was not able to get anything. I heard it was DVC and HAL had never finalized a contract. Hopefully you will have better luck.I was originally going to book an Alaskan Cruise with points for next summer too but had the same problem with their "contract not being finaliazed" I did read on another board that the contract with HAL was finalazed in NOVEMBER and they were finally taking ressies for 2007 but by then DH & I decided that we would take another Disney Cruise in 2007 instead. I am hoping that the rumors are true that Disney Cruise Line will be Sailing in Alaska at some point in the future....