Alaskan cruise through DVC

Discussion in 'DVC Member Services' started by Minybear, Feb 16, 2003.

  1. Minybear

    Minybear BCV/VGC Owner

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    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.
     
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  3. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

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    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.
     
  4. kem330

    kem330 <font color=red>Thinks the TF is an Illinois thing

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    sent you a private message
     
  5. Minybear

    Minybear BCV/VGC Owner

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    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 :).
     
  6. rae519

    rae519 <font color=6666CC>DIS Veteran<br><font color=CC00

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    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
     
  7. CaptainMidnight

    CaptainMidnight DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  8. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

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    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.
     
  9. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

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    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.
     
  10. rae519

    rae519 <font color=6666CC>DIS Veteran<br><font color=CC00

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    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
     
  11. erikthewise

    erikthewise Guest

    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?
     
  12. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

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    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.
     
  13. justcruisin

    justcruisin Guest

    What is the age range for kids on the Alaska Cruise? Would elementary school age kids enjoy it? Is there a kids club?
     
  14. Minybear

    Minybear BCV/VGC Owner

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    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
     
  15. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

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    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.
     
  16. Minybear

    Minybear BCV/VGC Owner

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    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
     
  17. reneesam

    reneesam DIS Veteran<br><font color=purple>Tag fairies do n

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    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?
     
  18. Minybear

    Minybear BCV/VGC Owner

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    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.
     
  19. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

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    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.
     
  20. Minybear

    Minybear BCV/VGC Owner

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    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?
     
  21. WDWguru

    WDWguru aka tivogirl, keeper of the live WDW webcams at ht

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    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.
     

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