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Old 05-06-2014, 01:21 PM   #1
Stinkerbe11
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Secrets, Tips and Tricks for Alaska Cruises

Let's make a list for us first time Alaska cruisers

-I've never been to Alaska, but I can imagine that the "secret" deck 7 will really come in handy on Tracy Arm day!

-I would also advise bringing a warm robe (if you have room in your luggage) for getting out of the pools/hot tub. This was a life saver on the Mexican Riviera when it was chilly outside.

Alaskan Veterans, please help us out and add to the list
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:36 PM   #2
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If you don't live in a really cold climate (i.e. sub-freezing for 6+ months of the year), bring a warm jacket (parka), toque (knitted or fleece hat), and mittens. Sailing next to the glaciers can be quite chilly. Even seasoned cold climate folks wore sweaters or jackets that day.

Almost everything is within walking distance of the pier and almost every stop has a self-guided free walking tour you can download before you go or pick up at the information desk.

The Mount Roberts Tram (Juneau) is only a few metres away from the pier... check the ticket prices online and for the DCL tour and pick the cheaper one. If the weather is nice, there are some beautiful hiking trails at the top most people forget about... they visit the information centre and go back down, but feel free to stay a while and go exploring.

Same for the Skagway train... compare prices for the DCL tour and doing it on your own. The station isn't very far away if you board as a member of the public instead of from the ship (where the train picks you up at the pier.) I don't know much about availability for the public on cruise days, so call and ask.

And the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, depending on where the ship docks, is really close too. We found it much less crowded to visit the museum on our own before/after the tour group times.

Many of the shops in Skagway offer discounts to people who visit really early in the morning, so do your shopping first.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:11 PM   #3
goofynut41
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Where does everybody stay in Vancouver before the cruise?
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:29 PM   #4
lilpooh108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinkerbe11 View Post
Let's make a list for us first time Alaska cruisers:good vibes

-I've never been to Alaska, but I can imagine that the "secret" deck 7 will really come in handy on Tracy Arm day!

-I would also advise bringing a warm robe (if you have room in your luggage) for getting out of the pools/hot tub. This was a life saver on the Mexican Riviera when it was chilly outside.

Alaskan Veterans, please help us out and add to the list
Re Tracy Arm day --- I was surprised at how many "bad vibes" were all around with people simply refusing to move (even a bit) for you to get in a picture with a glacier or passing waterfall, especially when the ship finally reaches the glacier.

So this is my biggest tip of all --- don't stress about it. The people who are refusing to budge have been out there since 8am, so let them be grumpy about it. We noticed that Deck 10 magically emptied out about 20 minutes after actually to the end of the Fjord, and we took whatever pictures we wanted, on whatever side of the ship we wanted, etc. The ship sails out of the Fjord so the scenery is the same without a million people blocking your view, etc.

If I were to go back, I'd skip all that hype about getting a spot and would get up late, eat outside at the buffet (grilled salmon & steak), go and take a warm break in the afternoon and head back out when you finally get to the glacier.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:34 PM   #5
gotomu212
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My tip would be to check the forecast a week before. We were there at the end of August and it was 70s and even 80. We had planned to pack sweaters, robes, etc and swapped out for lighter layers and t-shirts.

We were still glad we had hoodies for Tracy arm but it was the difference of 1 hoodie and 6 tshrts we actually took and needed versus 6 sweatshirts and 1 tshirt I had pre planned to pack.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:39 PM   #6
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Alaska is amazing - the first timers are in for a treat!

Last summer was unseasonably warm and honestly it was a lot warmer than we expected and we ran out of t-shirts! We came prepared with long t shirts, North Face waterproof jackets, jeans, etc. however once it hit the 70's and with all the walking around the t shirts (with no jacket) was plenty. SO- just be prepared for any weather and bring the layers and I know is posted several times.

The barbecue on Tracy Arm day does get very crowded so just be prepared to wait in line a little bit and it was a bit hectic, but very cool.

In Vancouver we stayed at the Pan Pacific and we LOVED it and it was a highlight for us. Vancouver is an awesome city so another tidbit - come 2 days early to enjoy it and get over the jet lag and get used to the timezone change (if applicable).

Have fun,
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotomu212 View Post
My tip would be to check the forecast a week before. We were there at the end of August and it was 70s and even 80. We had planned to pack sweaters, robes, etc and swapped out for lighter layers and t-shirts.

We were still glad we had hoodies for Tracy arm but it was the difference of 1 hoodie and 6 tshrts we actually took and needed versus 6 sweatshirts and 1 tshirt I had pre planned to pack.
OMG - lol - we were posting this at the same time! Boy can I relate

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DCL (Gold!): 6/2012 (KSC & Dream), 8/2012 Dream, 12/2012 Fantasy (Mom & I), 6/2013 Wonder(Alaska!), 9/2013 Dream (girls cruise) & 12/2013 Dream (girls cruise), 1/2014 Magic, 4/2014 Fantasy & 9/2014 Dream (Mom and I) Next: 12/2014 Wonder & 6/2015 (Magic-Europe)
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:57 PM   #8
lorimay
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We also stayed at The Pan Pacific before our cruise, we loved it and also loved Vancouver.

For us having a balcony on Tracy Arm day was perfect. We went out to deck 10 and it started to rain so went back to our cabin and enjoyed a beautiful day there.
It was chilly near that glacier, so being able to run back inside was a plus for me.
Being from Florida, the 40's are out of my comfort zone, even dressed warmly.

My biggest regret of trip was that I was afraid to get into a helicopter and get to see the sights from above and the chance to walk on a glacier.
Please do it if you have the opportunity. I will do it next time for sure.

You are all in for a wonderful journey, enjoy!
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:51 PM   #9
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Is the Pan Pacific very expensive? do they offer Military discount? that's where I was looking at but the prices scared me...
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:54 PM   #10
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Is the Pan Pacific very expensive? do they offer Military discount? that's where I was looking at but the prices scared me...
Which military? Since it's in Canada, it's quite possible that, even if they had a military rate, it wouldn't necessarily apply to any military from any country.

Or it could. The only way to be sure is to contact them and ask.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:29 PM   #11
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Is the Pan Pacific very expensive? do they offer Military discount? that's where I was looking at but the prices scared me...
I would check Priceline or Hotwire. It's listed as a 5 star and can be found for around $200 sometimes.
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:09 PM   #12
Stinkerbe11
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Is the Pan Pacific very expensive? do they offer Military discount? that's where I was looking at but the prices scared me...
The Pan Pacific does offer a U.S. military discount. I had originally reserved a room there (the rate was 165.00/night) but we decided to use Hilton points instead.

ETA:
I just checked and the rate is actually $169.00 and it is listed under International/Consular Government. It's tricky to get it to show up sometimes; You may have to click edit and refresh the page a few times, but it eventually showed up for me. I also called to be sure that it actually included active duty U.S. military and I was told yes.
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Last edited by Stinkerbe11; 05-06-2014 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:59 PM   #13
Freesia123
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If you arrive early, drop off your bags and take an hour to walk across the street to the seats tower . It is literally a five minute walk from the terminal and you will get the view of a lifetime!
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:40 PM   #14
tweetybebe
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Don't forget deck 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinkerbe11 View Post
Let's make a list for us first time Alaska cruisers

-I've never been to Alaska, but I can imagine that the "secret" deck 7 will really come in handy on Tracy Arm day!

-I would also advise bringing a warm robe (if you have room in your luggage) for getting out of the pools/hot tub. This was a life saver on the Mexican Riviera when it was chilly outside.

Alaskan Veterans, please help us out and add to the list
I actually like deck 4, the Promenade, better at Tracy Arm. The captain does turn the ship port side and then starboard side. I find that deck 4 is usually much less crowded and at a level that is actually better in taking pictures. Then again, if you have a verandah, you have your own space.
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:04 AM   #15
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Stay at the Pan Pacific we booked a year out and out rate was $225/$245. So easy the am of the cruise. Tracy Arm we did not get there until early afternoon. You may have your character breakfast on this day too. If you have late seating the ship will empty and have great photo ops. There is a Barbq lunch out by BBB. Skagway. Town is close you can walk or take the shuttle.
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