Originally Posted by thefreedmans
I have started researching - but am so overwhelmed with all the options I can't even get started... If you could help me narrow it down it would be greatly appreciated.
We will be cruising for the first time as a family to Alaska this summer. I have children ages 11, 7 & 3. They are all excellent travelers. I want a cruise ship that has kids activities - but I don't want a kids cruise (i.e. Disney). I also want activities like cooking, art, sports, outdoor activities, not video game rooms and movies (okay sometimes, but not for all the time on the ship). We want GOOD food and a nice dining setting (my kids are little gourmets and very well behaved).
A smaller ship would be preferable as well. Most of all we want to make the most of our cruise and really enjoy the scenery on shore excursions.
Thank you in advance.
I would agree with Donna and based on you description, I think a ship that goes to Glacier Bay would be your best choice to really experience Alaska. Ten year contracts were just awarded to Princess, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Cruise West. Unfortunately, for Celebrity and RCCL, both were banned from Glacier Bay National Park several years ago.
I have sailed to Alaska on Princess, Holland America and Celebrityand based on my experience, I would highly recommend either Princess or Holland America for an Alaskan cruise.
If budget is important Cruise West offers a very small and intimate ships, but the price is four times what the mainstream cruise lines charge. Cruising to North or South to Glacier Bay and College Fjord gives the most dramatic views of Alaska in my book. I would recommend Princess because of their access to Glacier Bay National Park and also for many other reasons, such as their superior past passenger program, well maintained ships and children's programs among many other things. Princess also has a naturalist that will come onboard and give everyone all the history and current information about Glacier Bay.
If you are flying into Seattle it is very easy and reasonable to get to Vancouver by train at somewhere around $25-$30. As far as price goes right now Princess is offering very low prices on all Princess cruises, especially to past passengers. We could not turn down a deal on a Princess cruise to Alaska, with a balcony, for right around $700, including all taxes and fees. If time permits and yo do take a one way cruise to or from Alaska, try and allow as much time as you can to explore Alaska before or after your cruise.
Princess also does have round trip cruises from Seattle but I don't believe any of those cruise stop at Glacier Bay National Park.
Hope this helps.
Enjoy your cruise, whatever you decide to do.