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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 27th, 2005, 10:48 AM
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Default Need input: giving senior parents an Alaskan cruise

Hi all,

We are planning to give my parents an Alaskan cruise as a Christmas gift. All I know about cruising is what I've read; they've never been on a cruise. My Dad has always wanted to go to Alaska. They're not particularly sophisticated, and my Mom's mobility is limited (she has emphysema). I am looking for advice about cruise lines, shore excursions (nothing too strenuous), intineraries, etc. My Dad is very outdoorsy (loves wildlife), and he lives to fish, so that is a must!

Thanks for any advice you can give.

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 27th, 2005, 05:09 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,539
Default Re: Need input: giving senior parents an Alaskan cruise

First off, determine what area and how much time you are allowing? If you are considering 2 weeks, a cruise and land tour option is excellent offering varied Alaska. If you are looking at a cruise only, I give a big edge to Vancouver round trip HAL ships with Glacier Bay. Once you determine WHAT option and ship, then fill in with tours. When considering options- look at ports, time in ports, route, glacier, price. Fishing is just tops out of Ketchikan, so a priority there would be a long port time- too many ships are only in for a half day- longer would be better here.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old April 27th, 2005, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Need input: giving senior parents an Alaskan cruise

Michele, can I be your temporary parent??
What a nice gesture. My elderly in-laws (in their late 70s (her) early 80s (him) and neither in good health--he's "brittle diabetic" she's heavy smoker with breathing problems (probably emphysema) and back problems, went on an Alaska cruise-only with Carnival two years ago, and said it was the best vacation EVER and want to do it again!
So, you won't go wrong with your idea. I'm going to Alaska on a Princess cruisetour next month.
From my research, Princess and Holland America (HAL) are the best lines for Alaska. For shore excursion, particulary fishing for your dad, I know the princess.com website has detailed shore excursion descriptions, and I assume HAL does, also.
I think you could simply book their cruise, then let them decide what excursions to do.
If you decide to tack on the cruisetour (which means a few days touring in Alaska's interior), I'd advise scheduling that part prior to the actual cruise. The "tour" part can be a bit taxing with having to scramble to a new location every day. So, it's nice to do that first, then relax for a week on the ship.
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Old April 28th, 2005, 08:00 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,539
Default Re: Need input: giving senior parents an Alaskan cruise

If you are booking a land tour package. MOST important is to choose one with at least 6 extra days. Any shorter has way too much time in transit. But there are superior independent tour that take smaller groups are are way superior for their scheduling and activities available. I believe there is a review of them www.explorenorth.com These tours- should NOT be hectic and on the go all the time, but most are. So look very closely and be very knowledgable on WHAT you are purchasing. I would spectulate that most people are not. Meaning close to 90% find out some "surprise" they didn't realize. Head to your library and take out Alaska books, the more you know the better your choices will be for your parents.
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Old May 1st, 2005, 04:32 AM
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Default Re: Need input: giving senior parents an Alaskan cruise

One nice shore trip for them in Juneau will be a ground tour that includes Glacier Gardens. Glacier Gardens was specifically designed so that those who could not hile could expereince the Rain Forest. The take you to the 800 foot level in multi-person golf cart.

You can check out their site.

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old May 8th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: Need input: giving senior parents an Alaskan cruise

An Alaska cruise would be great for your parents. There were 8 of us Senior couples that went on one in 1998. They all had a great time, & we all did different things. We loved it so much, we took an interior trip in 1999 & another cruise in 2002. I'm sure they will have a wonderful trip.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: Need input: giving senior parents an Alaskan cruise

I took a cruisetour with HAL that started with the land portion out of Anchorage and ended with the ship docking in Seatle. At 52 (and my wife 51) were were very close to the youngest on the trip. We were moved around in groups of 50 and probably 40 of those were older then us, some in their 70s and one lady from Canada that was mid 80s. We also had one younger lady (mid 40s) that was wheelchair bound. Our land portion was 9 days long.

Age and physical status stopped no one. The buses had wheelchair lifts, as did the trains. EVERYONE had one heck of a good time and age and physical condition made no difference, save for the excursions where physical conditioning did come into play.

As Karen points out though, the days are long and there is a lot of traveling time (one day was 4:30 get up time arriving at our destination at 9 pm) , I mean,,, shoot, Alaska is huge!

What did crack me up is many times in the late afternoon you would see a lot of people taking naps on the bus to refresh and invogorate themselves for the evening fun.

HAl does seem to realize the bulk of their clientel are older and they prepare for that. And sophistication,,there was one guy who never took off his farmer overalls and he was just fine treking across the tundra (he didn't get on the ship though and i don't think the overalls would have played out big in the dining room).

Your parents will have a ball,,really!!
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