Hi, I'm new to cruising. My husband and I are planning on our first cruise to celebrate our 20 yr anniversary. How far in advance can I book? I am looking for summer of 2005 but can't seem to come up with anything under my search critera (just searching by month/yr). When can I expect the cruise lines to open dates? And any suggestions on a good cruise to take to Alaska (7 days). This will probably be our only trip to Alaska and I want to take the most scenic route. Which cruise lines would you suggest? Thanks for the input!!
With only 7 days I would give an edge to a round trip Vancouver sailing with Glacier Bay. But never say never- 10 years ago my first trip was purchased as my one time trip. Sorry to say- it is now 16 trips later. I got hooked. As for when pricing comes out??? Start looking maybe May?
The earliest itineraries will be released in May if previous years are an indicater. HAL in the past, didn't release theirs until the end of the summer. Princess and HAL have the best access to the best viewing in Alaska. Princess does Glacier Bay on every cruise. Only a few ships are allowed into Glacier Bay each day for eco reasons, so other lines don't always get in. Glacier Bay is so beautiful that you wouldn't want to miss it. Most of the wildlife we saw was after Skagway on the way up the coast. Princess and HAL have more to offer for cruise tours since they own so many lodges etc. Like Karen, we found that once was not enough . We plan to go back in 2005, so I, too, am anxiously awaiting the 2005 schedules. Since we went on Princess before, we will probably go on HAL to get a slightly different itinerary. (Princess doesn't do Sitka which we would like to see.) We loved Princess. If they had any variety to offer, we would go with them again without even thinking of going on any other line. Many people will tell you that you shouldn't even consider a one-way if you aren't going to do a cruise tour pre- or post cruise, but I disagree. For us, the farther north we got, the more beautiful the scenery. And Anchorage has a lot to offer, so a one-way trip is our first choice with or without an inland tour.
I was looking for my 2004 trip last year. It wasn't until Juneish that some of the cruise lines had the itineraries out, but even later for some. Do all your research now as far as cruise lines, ports, etc. But it won't be until September or October that you'll be able to really look at specific cruises.