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Old 06-03-2013, 09:10 PM   #1
luvgoing2disney
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Need advice on Alaskan cruise

We are in the VERY early stages of planning our first Alaskan cruise and wanted to get opinions on different cruise lines, iteneraries, beginning points etc. right now we are considering Royal Carribbean but that can easily change. I know some enjoy Princess line as well.

I read a lot of threads on the Cruise Critic forum but wanted ideas and suggestions from fellow Disney folks. BTW yes we have looked at the Disney cruise line!
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:16 PM   #2
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We loved our 2010 Royal Caribbean Alaskan cruise. We enjoyed the ports, the food, and the activities. Found it very reasonably priced. We were on Radiance of the Seas.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:20 PM   #3
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We went in 2008 on the Norwegian Pearl. We went roundtrip from Seattle. I love the NCL anytime dining especially with such a port intensive cruise. The ability to eat on my schedule was great.

I recomment an itinerary that goes through Glacier Bay. But really, cruise critic really is your BEST source of information. I spent a year planning our cruise and that site is the only one I used. I booked all our tours privately through recommendations on their site and wasn't disappointed once.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joviroxx View Post
We went in 2008 on the Norwegian Pearl. We went roundtrip from Seattle. I love the NCL anytime dining especially with such a port intensive cruise. The ability to eat on my schedule was great.

I recomment an itinerary that goes through Glacier Bay. But really, cruise critic really is your BEST source of information. I spent a year planning our cruise and that site is the only one I used. I booked all our tours privately through recommendations on their site and wasn't disappointed once.
I've spent the last several days "cruising" with a poster over there who includes LOADS of tips and pictures. She is traveling now so it's fun to tag along with her. She is on the Radiance of the Seas
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:44 PM   #5
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Although I can't give any recommendations or not, DS's comments have made Alaskan Cruises sound so wonderful. He works on Princess Cruise lines, and has spent 3 of the recent summers in Alaskan waters. When they go into the waters of the Glacial Fjords, the ship stops and pivots around very slowly. Although he does it every 2 weeks all summer, he says "I always feel like I'm in the middle of a post card, it's so beautiful'. Enjoy!
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvgoing2disney View Post
We are in the VERY early stages of planning our first Alaskan cruise and wanted to get opinions on different cruise lines, iteneraries, beginning points etc. right now we are considering Royal Carribbean but that can easily change. I know some enjoy Princess line as well.

I read a lot of threads on the Cruise Critic forum but wanted ideas and suggestions from fellow Disney folks. BTW yes we have looked at the Disney cruise line!
We've done 2 Holland America cruises (one with a land tour).

Alaska is all about the scenery. I'll second picking a cruise that has Glacier Bay. HAL and Princess have been doing Alaska the longest and have the most Glacier Bay permits. But there are other cruiselines that go there also.

Really booking an Alaska cruise has more to do with figuring out what you want to see and finding the cruise ship (regardless of line) that will give it to you.

I'll also suggest you check out the cruise critic Alaska board:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum...prune=100&f=55
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:25 PM   #7
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Love Holland America, we have done two Alaska cruises with them. LOVED Glacier Bay, it is just an amazing place. I would also consider Royal Caribbean.

We enjoyed a couple of days in Vancouver before the cruise. So that is something else to consider. You might also think about what you want to do on land. We hiked the Chikoot Trail the second time (really fun, not hard). The first cruise included Sitka, I enjoyed the Russian buildings and the show.

Cruise Critic has a ton of information. Great resource we used before cruising in Mexico.
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:08 PM   #8
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It's been a few years, but we sailed Celebrity to Alaska. Have also sailed RCI and Princess and would recommend any of the three.

I also vote for finding a Glacier Bay itinerary and Alaska is definitely the time to spring for a veranda cabin if you can afford it. Husband spotted a pod of whales one morning off our veranda while I was in the shower and it's still one of my favorite experiences: viewing them while barefoot, dripping wet in my robe...

Have fun planning!
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:34 AM   #9
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DW and I did an Inside Passage on Princess. We also saw humpback whales from our balcony and in the ports the salmon were running. Best sighting was in Ketchikan where I got a shot of a Bald Eagle coming into its nest.

Princess gives a whole Alaskan experience by having a naturalist on board who gave very interesting talks during the cruise. Their big draw is Libby Riddles who won the Iditarod and comes aboard for one port day to talk.

We didn't have Glacier Bay as part of our itinerary but went up Endicott Arm. The blue of the ice was incredible and the captain got us to within 1 mile of the glacier wall.

Go to the Princess website and watch the Alaska video, it will inspire you no matter what line you end up choosing. Enjoy.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:45 AM   #10
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One more thing, keep in mind what time of the summer you wish to go. If you go near the beginning May/June, you will see more snow and be able to ride an actual dog sled in a sled camp but not see salmon running or very few bears as they are still hibernating.

If you go late July/August you will be able to experience the salmon and bears fishing in the creeks/rivers.

You really just need to decide what you want to see and do and then find the cruise that accommodates you. And I agree about the balcony cabin. If you can spring it, do it. It was sooo worth it.

For the record, we went whale watching in Juneau, took a helicopter to a dog camp atop a glacier and went dog sledding, rented a car and drove the Klondike highway to Emerald Lake instead of taking the train, and took a Fjords plane ride. We spent a lot of money but it was an incredible trip. I want to go back in July/August and experience more bears and the salmon.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joviroxx View Post
We went in 2008 on the Norwegian Pearl. We went roundtrip from Seattle. I love the NCL anytime dining especially with such a port intensive cruise. The ability to eat on my schedule was great.

I recomment an itinerary that goes through Glacier Bay. But really, cruise critic really is your BEST source of information. I spent a year planning our cruise and that site is the only one I used. I booked all our tours privately through recommendations on their site and wasn't disappointed once.
We went on the NCL Star. I agree with the bolded. It was a fabulous cruise!! Highly recommended.

Do not forget to get a rain jacket. There's a good chance you'll need it. Unfortunately, we needed ours every day.


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Old 06-04-2013, 08:14 AM   #12
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We went on the NCL Pearl in Aug. 2009 and loved it! Traveling with two teens and wanted anytime dining but had to have an itinerary that included Galcier Bay.

Ship was new and beautiful with lots to do for entertainment.

We also did an amazing whale watch in Juneau and rented a car and went up to Emerald Lake.

Seattle was beautiful and we also loved Victoria and Butchart Gardens...fireworks were amazing at end of evening.

We liked NCL because we wanted a more casual feel on board and we also wanted to minimize how much we had to bring with us for clothing, etc.

Start to explore destinations and itineraries and then look for pricing options.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:37 AM   #13
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I have cruised to Alaska twice. The first time on HAL Zaandam in 2009 and last year on The Golden Princess. Loved both of these cruises. HAL does cater to an older crowd if that matters to you. I was 58 at the time of that cruise and I felt YOUNG! The service on HAL was outstanding. The Princess cruise had a younger vibe. Both of these cruises went to Glacier Bay, which is not to be missed, if you can help it.

One thing I want to mention is the need for a balcony. Many people will say you have to have a balcony in Alaska. I cruised twice in an inside cabin, and it was fine. The first cruise I was alone in the cabin (so the price was almost doubled) and the second time, my friend was on a strict budget. You really get the best views from up on deck anyway, so if you can't swing a balcony, don't worry, it will still be spectacular!

I would cruise to Alaska again in a heartbeat. It is amazing. We had great weather in late August and lousy weather in late June. You just never know. Layering is key.

Enjoy!
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:03 AM   #14
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My priority would be the wonder of Alaska that I was planning to go see.

Not all cruises and cruise lines are created equal.

I am thinking that Princess might be the only cruise line that offers cruises that include both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay.
Their Voyage to the Glaciers, SOUTHbound, from Anchorage/Seward, is huge on my bucket list.

Some cruises my not visit either of these sights.
I, personally, would never consider one of those cruises.
I have heard a lot of negative feedback on NCL in Alaska.
After reading tons of reviews, and knowing people who have tried it... marked it off my list very quickly.

If my objective was just to be on a cruise ship, that could be done more easily and much more cheaply than going to Alaska. (and then missing the grandest of what you are going to Alaska to see)
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:54 PM   #15
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We did a day cruise on our last family trip there, and it was the highlight of our trip. I'm from there, and didn't expect to be super impressed. I was wrong. I was amazed by the scenery & the wildlife we saw. I didn't think seeing a whale would be as exciting as it was!
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