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Old 05-03-2012, 06:40 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by squirk View Post
I apologize if this has been asked and answered, but I couldn't seem to craft a thread search that gave me the results I wanted:

In terms of the unique aspects of this cruise (whales, glaciers, northern lights, etc.), is there a particularly good or bad time of the year to cruise? I want to be as economical as possible, but I also don't want to cruise when all of the "good stuff" is at an ebb.

My best guess is, the closer to the winter months, the better?

Thanks!
Some of the excursions are considered seasonal and are not offered on all cruise (bears, for example). Also, several of the excursions which included special arrangements for kids with the counselors weren't offered when kids were most likely in school (we wanted to do train in Skagway where kids would get to ride down with activities). If I remember correctly, the very first and a few of the last cruises did not offer all excursions (we were on last AK cruise last year). My suggestion is to decide what you'd like to do then call DCL and ask if that excursion would be offered when you are thinking of going.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:34 PM   #212
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That's kind of the rub - the most economical are typically the ones with the lowest possibility for good opportunities. And especially for whales from what we were told on our excursion, later in the season is when chances to see typically go downhill quickly as they migrate to the south pacific for the winter. Also keep in mind what they have for summer up there is a very narrow window, the further you go early or late in the season, your chances for good weather will decline.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:49 PM   #213
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If you don't mind me asking... who did you use, and how did the cost compare to if you had booked through DCL?

can I ask some more questions?

What did you see, in comparison with others on the ship who took a whale watching excursion? Did you get to compare notes with anyone else?

Did you also get to visit Mendenhall at all? (this is included with the DCL excursion, and we can't decide if we feel the NEED to go or not!)

There's 4 adults going, none of whom have a strong feeling either way! HELP! lol
We're using Harv and Marvs and they have a stop on the way back at Mendenhall. It's 15 minutes but they have told us that we can stay and take the city bus or a cab if we decide when we are there that we want to stay longer.
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:17 AM   #214
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That's kind of the rub - the most economical are typically the ones with the lowest possibility for good opportunities. And especially for whales from what we were told on our excursion, later in the season is when chances to see typically go downhill quickly as they migrate to the south pacific for the winter. Also keep in mind what they have for summer up there is a very narrow window, the further you go early or late in the season, your chances for good weather will decline.
We were on the last Alaskan cruise last year and went whale watching in Juneau. We saw a pod of orcas including two babies who were so new their bellies were still pinkish. We also saw 4 humpbacks so we had pretty good luck late in the season.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:09 PM   #215
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Is there a character breakfast on the Alaskan cruises?

Do normal US cellphone plans work in Alaska?

Last edited by MASrules; 05-18-2012 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:21 PM   #216
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Do normal US cellphone plans work in Alaska?
Yes, you're just traveling to another state. But don't expect your phone to always work on the ship unless you're close to shore and a cell site.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:08 PM   #217
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Is there a character breakfast on the Alaskan cruises?

Do normal US cellphone plans work in Alaska?
They may work, but you may be surprised by a big bill!! Check with your provider, as it will depend on your phone, what service you have purchased, and what service your provider offers there. When we called Verizon last year before our Alaskan cruise (we called several times) we got a different story each time we called, but all stories added up to extra charges if we used the phones there. We turned them to airplane mode and left them that way. Verizon told us they only offer service in one Alaskan city, and it wasn't any of the ones we were visiting! Not sure how true that is, but the bottom line is, check with your cell phone service provider to make sure you don't have any unpleasant surprises when you get home.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:20 PM   #218
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They may work, but you may be surprised by a big bill!! Check with your provider, as it will depend on your phone, what service you have purchased, and what service your provider offers there. When we called Verizon last year before our Alaskan cruise (we called several times) we got a different story each time we called, but all stories added up to extra charges if we used the phones there. We turned them to airplane mode and left them that way. Verizon told us they only offer service in one Alaskan city, and it wasn't any of the ones we were visiting! Not sure how true that is, but the bottom line is, check with your cell phone service provider to make sure you don't have any unpleasant surprises when you get home.
I used my Verizon phone in Skagway to get very important brand new baby news- no extra charges. Other providers seemed not to have service.

I did not try my phone in any other cities.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:31 PM   #219
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Is there a character breakfast on the Alaskan cruises?

Do normal US cellphone plans work in Alaska?
Yes to the character breakfast as well.
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Old 05-19-2012, 12:54 AM   #220
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Originally Posted by MASrules View Post
Is there a character breakfast on the Alaskan cruises?

Do normal US cellphone plans work in Alaska?
We have Sprint and had very spotty coverage last year. Here's a link to a map that shows coverage. As you can see, it's roaming.
http://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.jsp?INTNAV=ATG:FT:Cov
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:12 AM   #221
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I used my Verizon phone in Skagway to get very important brand new baby news- no extra charges. Other providers seemed not to have service.

I did not try my phone in any other cities.
I do think it depends on your phone and level of service. They were adamant that we would be roaming in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. And of course, in Canada, we would be paying international rates. I'm glad you were able to use yours to get your very special news!
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:59 PM   #222
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Yes to the character breakfast. We were assigned one on a sea day.

We have AT&T iPhones in my family. Whenever we could get a signal (even when moving but in the US) we were able to use them and not get an extra charge. Had to be careful in Canada though. YMMV
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:20 AM   #223
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We used Rum Runner Charters.....

.....There are blue buses at the dock that will take you to Mendenhall and Captain Chris will pick you up there and take you whale watching or drop you there after whale watching depending on what time of day you go. I would actually recommend booking the longer excursion with him as we didn't want ours to end.
I'm so glad I found this thread! We have booked with Rum Runner for next summer (the 4 hour trip) and wondered if we would be able to fit in a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier as well. Glad to see that we can be dropped off there after the boat trip.

Thank you for sharing your photos.

I'm hoping that the DCL tour times will be similar to the ones posted for 2011 since next years cruises will also be out of Vancouver.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:39 AM   #224
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I'm so glad I found this thread! We have booked with Rum Runner for next summer (the 4 hour trip) and wondered if we would be able to fit in a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier as well. Glad to see that we can be dropped off there after the boat trip.

Thank you for sharing your photos.

I'm hoping that the DCL tour times will be similar to the ones posted for 2011 since next years cruises will also be out of Vancouver.
Yes you can as long as the port times are similar to when we sailed. Please let Captain Chris know where you heard about him. :-)
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