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Old 09-29-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
Laurie26739
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Alaska or Europe for next cruise....

Just got off the Fantasy last week from the Western Caribbean. It was awesome!!!! Booked a dummy cruise and now trying to decide where to go. Alaska or Europe. Any one been on either of these and can offer some advice. The air fare is $$$ to Spain anyone know where to get some good deals?
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:06 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Laurie26739 View Post
Just got off the Fantasy last week from the Western Caribbean. It was awesome!!!! Booked a dummy cruise and now trying to decide where to go. Alaska or Europe. Any one been on either of these and can offer some advice. The air fare is $$$ to Spain anyone know where to get some good deals?
The following thoughts are my personal opinion only. Traveling to Alaska - you need to figure out whether you want an Alaskan experience or a Disney experience with Alaska on the side. There are other cruiselines that have better itineraries to Alaska (longer in port times, and more scenic cruising).

When we did our Med/WBTA cruise we used DCL to purchase the airfare. Their cost was slightly (about $100 for both of us) higher than booking ourselves. I had been checking on kayak as well as Travelocity for airfares and they couldn't really do any better. Plus with DCL airfare, we knew that we would get to the ship if anything delayed the flight.

ETA: we're likely to go to both places again.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:21 PM   #3
tajz90
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Our first Med and Disney Alaska are our top two cruises. You can't go wrong with either. . Both have their positives. Disney Alaska was our 2nd time to sail Alaska and we much preferred it with Disney.

I'd say book one and do the other the next year.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
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It's really up to you. We have done both and will do them both again.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:20 PM   #5
Donna3271
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We did Alaska this summer with our kids on the Wonder, and are doing the Med with them next August. Alaska was great. I think the extra year will give my kids more time to mature and enjoy the history of Europe.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:07 AM   #6
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We did the Med this summer and will be doing Alaska next summer. We loved the Med, but it took a lot of planning on our part due to excursions, planning our pre-day stays in Spain, flights, etc.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie26739 View Post
Just got off the Fantasy last week from the Western Caribbean. It was awesome!!!! Booked a dummy cruise and now trying to decide where to go. Alaska or Europe. Any one been on either of these and can offer some advice. The air fare is $$$ to Spain anyone know where to get some good deals?
I've been to both locations and enjoyed them both very much but obviously they are two totally different cruises. I agree that airfare to Spain can be very $$$ and the way I justify going to Spain is to use my frequent flyer miles which I am using for my transatlantic cruise next year. If that is not an option for you I would suggest you book the Alaska cruise because I'm sure you will not be disappointed.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:42 PM   #8
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We were having the same debate but finally booked for Europe. We went on the magic this year around the med and had a fab time but there is so much that we didn't see and the boat will have been changed so much I feel it's the right decision for us. When I priced it up it works out over fifteen hundred dollars cheaper as we are based in the UK. For us that's almost the equivalent of a short break at Eurodisney. We will do Alaska at some point I'm sure, hopefully when the Wonder has been refitted.

The one thing I will say in regard to Europe is that it can be some distance from the port to the cities. Rome was ninety minutes on the coach, Pisa an hour I think, and Florence two hours, so if the kids don't like coach journeys Alaska might be better (and less stressful for mummy).
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie26739 View Post
Just got off the Fantasy last week from the Western Caribbean. It was awesome!!!! Booked a dummy cruise and now trying to decide where to go. Alaska or Europe. Any one been on either of these and can offer some advice. The air fare is $$$ to Spain anyone know where to get some good deals?
Check out Iberia airlines. It's a Spanish airline. Sign up for their emails. They by far had the best airfares to Spain when i flew there in 2010.

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Old 09-30-2013, 06:54 PM   #10
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This is a tough choice for sure and hard for me to pick for a few reasons. I grew up in Europe (military brat) and therefore I've been to most of the European countries so it feels like "home" sometimes and therefore special, however my DH has only been to Germany with me before DS was born and DS has never been to Europe so it's on the list now that he is almost 10.

We cruised to Alaska this past June and LOVED IT! It was the best vacation and cruise we had ever taken. We thought we might do the Med next time around in 2015, however we loved Alaska so much we lean heavily on going back there again.

I'm torn on the Med because it's very port intensive and therefore we would need or want to book several excursions to experience it and as others have mentioned, the travel time to/from the ship is lengthy too. I also might want to do Europe on our own but we love Disney and being taken care of.

We'll see and you are right - airfare is a kicker and might be a deciding factor. We paid about $680 p/p to fly roundtrip from the East Coast to Vancouver and highly unlikely Europe would be near that. I believe I saw about $1400 p/p on the average when I checked this summer.

Either cruise will be awesome for sure but I'd lean towards Alaska!

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Old 09-30-2013, 07:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie26739 View Post
Just got off the Fantasy last week from the Western Caribbean. It was awesome!!!! Booked a dummy cruise and now trying to decide where to go. Alaska or Europe. Any one been on either of these and can offer some advice. The air fare is $$$ to Spain anyone know where to get some good deals?
Don't know if it will help, but here's my trip report from Alaska 2013:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3150787

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Old 09-30-2013, 08:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Crackleandpop View Post
We were having the same debate but finally booked for Europe. We went on the magic this year around the med and had a fab time but there is so much that we didn't see and the boat will have been changed so much I feel it's the right decision for us. When I priced it up it works out over fifteen hundred dollars cheaper as we are based in the UK. For us that's almost the equivalent of a short break at Eurodisney. We will do Alaska at some point I'm sure, hopefully when the Wonder has been refitted.

The one thing I will say in regard to Europe is that it can be some distance from the port to the cities. Rome was ninety minutes on the coach, Pisa an hour I think, and Florence two hours, so if the kids don't like coach journeys Alaska might be better (and less stressful for mummy).
This was the one negative for me.


OP, we did Med last month and Alaska last year. They are such different experiences it's hard to compare. As Crackleandpop stated it's a far drive from the port town to main tourist attractions in Europe. For the 3 Italian ports we hired a private driver/guide, RomeInLimo.com. They were great but still the tour day is 8am-5pm, 8 hrs, add in 2 hrs of driving and it cuts your touring down to 6 hrs per day.
I did a 14 nt Perillo tour of Italy with a classmate when I first graduated college. I thought at the time that seemed rushed since every 2-3 nts you pack up and switch hotels. (My parents were joining this time & I felt cruising would be easier for them.)
Seeing Barcelona & Nice/Monaco was ok but I really wanted to show Italy to my kids. (I'm half Italian.)
Looking back, I feel like going by cruise made it waaay more rushed. Instead of really spending any time at anything, we saw/drove past it. If we were lucky we got out of the car and looked at it. If it was really important, we could go in or take pictures of it and pictures of us with it. Between the rushing around we tried to cram in some time to shop too.
Really it felt like you get one lick of a lollipop then hop back into the car until the next lick. No time to savor anything or see it at night. I would have loved to show my dad Venice at night. Bella!!
Hindsight is 20/20 though.
For the amount of time I could get off work (12 days-2 days of flying-1 day of recovery before returning to work = 9 days) we could have flown directly to Rome, spent 3 days there, 3 days in Florence and 3 days in Venice.
We would have only have to "move" twice and would have had much more leisurely touring.
I didn't compare pricing this way though.
We had enough miles with USAirways to get 3 seats free and only had to pay for one. ~ $1150 IIRC.

I felt the excursions in Alaska to be crazy expensive though I guess it doesn't have to be depending on what you choose. For my family of 4 we spent over $3k on excursions.
Skagway: (through DCL to use OBCs) railroad one way and bus to Liarsville then bus back to port. Then dh & our boys did zip lining over waterfalls.

Juneau: helicopter onto glacier & then Mt. Roberts tramway for me & ds13.

Ketchikan: sea plane over Misty Fjords then Lumberjack show.(lame unless you're under 10.)

We could have saved a lot by going whale watching but that seemed a yawn compared to a glacier trek. We'll save the whale watching for when we're retired.

I think you can't go wrong with either. I loved both for different reasons but dh preferred Alaska. Mostly because it spends American dollars here in the US and supports American jobs.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:15 PM   #13
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Been on both also. Yes Europe was expensive (about $10,000 US. 2 adults,food hotel airfare souvenirs, booking 3 weeks in advance mind you) but it was our favorite trip we have taken EVER! We didn't have time to plan anything and just went with the flow. Truly the best way I have ever traveled (I'm a crazy planner type).

Alaska was beautiful and not nearly as expensive. But it can be expensive to fly into Vancouver, so look at your options (Flying into Seattle vs Vancouver). The excursions in Alaska are very pricey so look at that also.

That being said, while in the med this summer we rebooked another med for next year (though we will have to push it back to 2015 now but oh well, I can't wait to move back to California next year! Lol)
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:57 AM   #14
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Alaska was beautiful and not nearly as expensive. But it can be expensive to fly into Vancouver, so look at your options (Flying into Seattle vs Vancouver). The excursions in Alaska are very pricey so look at that also.
Flying into seattle, do you then have to rent a car?
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:40 AM   #15
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Flying into seattle, do you then have to rent a car?
If you can arrive in Seattle the night before the cruise, Amtrak is a great way to get to Vancouver. We did this in July before a Princess northbound cruise and really enjoyed the early morning ride up the Pacific coast - sights you'll never see driving on the interstate.

OP - I've done Disney Mediterranean (April 2010, following the EBTA), Disney Alaska (out of Vancouver, May 2011) and Princess Alaska (Northbound and Southbound Vancouver/Anchorage, June 2012 and July 2013).

I have spent so much more money on 3 port days in Alaska v an 11-day Med cruise, no matter which carrier. Alaska excursions seem to involve a boat, plane, helicopter, train... which just cranks up the cost. All have been good-to-great, but it might actually add up to more than airfare differences. We've done floatplane landing on a glacier lake, helicopter landing on a glacier, whale watching x 2 trips, Mendenhall Glacier every year, Zodiac boat, White Pass Railroad, Bike/Hike/Raft... No dog sledding ... yet.

In Europe, I did not feel the need to do so many tours, either cruiseline-sponsored or private. Europe is used to tourists and has the infrastructure that makes it easy (yes, I believe that) on your own. We took the public train to Pisa, then a one euro bus across town to the Tower; likewise, we used the public train for Rome, the ticket included all-day subway rides, also. The hop-on/ hop-off tourist bus and some preplanning allowed us to hit the highlights (but not both Vatican-side and Forum/Coliseum/fountains). In Nice, again, train and just wandering around the city (last port; we were chilled). From Naples, we took the Circumvesuvian ? (commuter train) to Pompeii and walked around. There were guides that could be hired if you like.

Other than the fact airfare is expensive (and more tax than actual airfare!), the difficulty is choosing which city to visit in some ports Pisa v Florence v Cinqueterra, Pompeii v Sorrento or Capri ...

... We missed our return flight from Europe due to the Icelandic ash cloud - we ended up on Air Berlin for a good price. Aerlingus is sometimes a good deal, as is Icelandic Air. Do a search for air carriers to Europe - not just sites like Kayak, which don't include a lot of the European carriers. Sometimes it's cheaper to fly to London and take a European hopper flight. Lots of work searching, but it can pay off (just watch those baggage fees - easyJet really doesn't allow you more than 20 kg checked - and strictly only one item for carry-on)

... and yes, a newly remodeled Magic over a not-so-fresh Wonder might make a difference in my decision.

Whichever you chose, Bon Voyage!
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