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Old October 23rd, 2005, 08:17 AM
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Default NEED HELP FROM EXPERIENCED ALASKA CRUISERS

Hi, we are travelling from Australia and want to cruise the inside passage in May 2006. We have a 2 boys aged 12 and 17 and are undecided about which cruise line would best suit us as a family. We have been told Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are the best for teen programs and NCL seems to be much cheaper. The Norwegian Wind would be the ship we'd be travelling on if we chose NCL. Anyone been on this ship with kids? Look forward to any advice at all, we're clueless! We're obviously coming a long way and want to get it right.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 10:29 AM
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If you "want to get it right", forget about the kids, they will have a great time on ANY line. All have kids programs etc and kids always seem to adjust great.

Far more important is to consider Alaska, meaning- look at ports, time in ports, glacier, routing, ship naturalist, price.

I'm not sure of you ship departure, but far superior for scenic sailing are ships out of Vancouver, Seattle sailings most always go outside Vancouver Island. It's extremely easy to get from Seattle/Vancouver if you are flying there but it does take an extra day.
As for ports, time is the important factor and more is better, again Seattle sailings usually have the poorer schedule since they have to include that "foreign stop". Glacier- priority for most is Glacier Bay, in May I would avoid Tracy Arm (twin Sawyers) as they are frequently iced out in the early season. A ship naturalist is very helpful for first timers. Neither of your choices have them, They are on Carnival, Princess, HAL, Celebrity. I would suggest you may want to consider round trip Carnival in May, they do an EXCELLENT time and visit Glacier Bay. Price - be certain to budget fully for costly excursions, you get only half a trip without them. At the very least plan one big excursion for the 4 of you, involve the kid's decisions. This is a big point.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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Hi Aussie Girl,

We haven't corresponded since Mike and I were planning our cruise downunder a couple of years ago.

At any rate, I know that you've cruised a lot, but maybe not with the children. I would suggest Princess. The RT Vancouver or Seattle cruises might be more tempting, but you're going to be spending a whole lot of money on the trip, and I'd suggest a one-way Vancouver-AK cruise, with a tour at the end. RCCL also does them, but Princess has much more experience. Their children's program is excellent, too.

Yes, we have been on the NCL Wind and also its twin, the Dream. They are both old, by today's ship standards. Cabins are small, and they are both down at the heels, so to speak. I think that you'd be happier with either Princess or RCCL.

Our family will be on the Diamond Princess, departing Vancouver May 27, so I've been checking this out a lot lately.
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May you have fair winds and following seas,

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28 cruises down, next up: Carnival Victory May 17; Royal Princess July 7; Sapphire Princess September 12
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Old October 27th, 2005, 10:34 AM
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I don't recommend a one way cruise without adding at least 5 days independent or a week with a cruisetour (not a good option with kids). My opinion only. If you get all the way there, take advantage of being there with some just excellent touring adventures in Alaska. Top areas are Denali Park and Seward.
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Old October 30th, 2005, 12:23 AM
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Go with a Princess cruise....Vancouver to Anchorage or vice versa.Great kids program, better food than Norwegian or RCL (but not Celebrithy)...Determine your priorities. Also, since you are coming from Australia, either investigate a cruise tour or plan to spend some time in Alask independentaly.....your own tour.
KatenJack
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 06:18 PM
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Just thought I would let you know what I decided. My family with dgt. 15 and son 10. Have to wait till after school. Can not take off as many days as needed for a one way plus land. since it is only the cruise we are taking, we chose round trip in Seattle on the Nor. Star. One we could get 4 frequent flyer tickets to Seattle and not anywhere else, I tryed for months. Also everyone said if you go, do Glacier Bay. And the Nor. Star does this trip. I also think Nor. Star is newer than the Wind or Sun. I also heard because it is easier to get families to Seattle, NOr. has alot of kids for Alaska.Alot of people say the area out of Vancouver is very pretty. But you can't have everything. Also we will be heading out late afternoon-evening, and will probably be trying to find our way around and eating dinner etc. I think we will have a great time, I'm sure you will too.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 07:56 PM
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Have an absolutely fantastic trip! There are always fault finders who will tell you to do one thing or the other, based on their financial situation and past experiences. Some of us have already been and want to now do other things. However, this is your first time, and your children will think that you and the trip is wondermous. Have a great time.

Charlotte
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May you have fair winds and following seas,

Mike & Charlotte
28 cruises down, next up: Carnival Victory May 17; Royal Princess July 7; Sapphire Princess September 12
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