I appreciate the fact that planning this trip can be complicated. I was overwhelmed initially. But, not caring what I see when I travel (particularly when spending a considerable amount of money) is not my normal perspective. I wanted to go to Alaska to see the most spectacular glaciers I could and to have certain experiences (cultural, wildlife, wilderness, etc). This just inherently requires time and research because it is a personal choice based on personal interests. Of course this is a matter of degree. Most alaskan cruises give you time at one glacier or another and they almost all go to Ketchikan and Juneau with about an even divide on Skagway and Sitka. But, I wanted to squeeze the very best out of my first experience to Alaska because I didn't expect to go back for quite awhile. After going on the cruise, I really appreciated the advice that itinerary is the key planning factor and that everything else was almost irrelevant. As for complications, it gets even more involved when you start looking into excursions.
If your parents don't care what they see, I guess the question becomes what your parents do care about on their vacation. More expensive lines like Crystal and Celebrity will have better food if that is what they want. Some lines have dining options that let you pick your dinner time each night. Some lines have a lot more activities than others (whether its ballroom dancing or rollerblading) or different types of activities (a pottery class for instance). Some have covered pools if that is what your parents want. HAL has a reputation for a comparatively older crowd than some of the other lines. Different ships have different features (hence the discussion re: covered balconies). There are cruises of different lengths maybe they have a preference in that regard. If none of these are things your parents care about, you could just pick the cruise by price.
Please don't read me as trying to be insulting. I'm just honestly trying to understand what your parents are looking for so we might be of assistance.
Post Edited (10-08-04 21:18)