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Old January 14th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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Default I'm looking for advice

I'm planning an Alaskan cruise for 4 adults (age 37-65 fairly energetic).

This will probably be a one time only trip, so we want to make the most of it. There's so much information on the internet that I'm not sure which itinerary or which cruiseline. I have so many questions, I don't know where to begin.

We're looking to do 3 nights on land first and 7 nights on a cruise. Is Anchorage a good place to start? We're looking at the month of August. I've read that's a good month for weather and whale watching. What about Fog? Are there certain times of the year that fog interferes with the view? Pricewise, what are the best months?

I'm guessing we'd depart from Anchorage and sail to Vancouver. I believe most itineraries include Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, College Fjord, Glacier Bay National Park. Would we be missing anything by choosing this itinerary?

We are also interested in cruiseline that doesn't require the formal dress code. We're going for the sights, so I imagine our days will be fairly busy, just looking for casual evenings. The boys particularly want to be able to wear cotton pants and shirts in the evenings. If we miss the evening shows, that's no big deal to us. And we don't care about gourmet dining. I know that's the tradition of cruising, but we're only choosing a cruise because I understand it's the best way to see Alaska.

So basically, I'm looking for advice in every area.

Thanks
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Old January 14th, 2006, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: I'm looking for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcqmam
We're looking to do 3 nights on land first and 7 nights on a cruise. Is Anchorage a good place to start? We're looking at the month of August. I've read that's a good month for weather and whale watching. What about Fog? Are there certain times of the year that fog interferes with the view? Pricewise, what are the best months?
Fog can happen any time, but most often in September and the late season cruises. It is sad, because a clear day you can see a lot of land going by, but on fogged in days you see nothing. Worth paying extra to go peak season. Still a gamble, though.

I'm guessing we'd depart from Anchorage and sail to Vancouver. I believe most itineraries include Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, College Fjord, Glacier Bay National Park. Would we be missing anything by choosing this itinerary? [/quote]

Those are the most common highlights - lots to see there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcqmam
We are also interested in cruiseline that doesn't require the formal dress code. We're going for the sights, so I imagine our days will be fairly busy, just looking for casual evenings. The boys particularly want to be able to wear cotton pants and shirts in the evenings. If we miss the evening shows, that's no big deal to us. And we don't care about gourmet dining. I know that's the tradition of cruising, but we're only choosing a cruise because I understand it's the best way to see Alaska.
NCL is the most casual, but Carnival and Princess would also be pretty casual and if you don't feel like drssing up at all you can go to casual restaurants for dinner.

So basically, I'm looking for advice in every area.

Thanks [/quote]
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Old January 14th, 2006, 10:53 PM
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Holland America, Princess, NCL and Carnival all do Glacier Bay. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean International don't. Cruises that start or end in Anchorage are Southbound and Northbound. Carnival does not include Glacier Bay on their South and Northbound cruises. NCL I believe does not do a South or Northbound cruise. Someone will correct me if I am wrong. I have been told by my TA if you are only going to do an Alaska cruise once, you should do a South or Northbound cruise to experience the beautiful scenery. Also I have heard and read on these posts that Glacier Bay is a MUST.
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Old January 15th, 2006, 05:10 AM
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Since this is your "one time trip" (so was mine ) you need more time, 3 extra days is nothing in interior Alaska and will be greatly limited in what you can do. Denali Park will be out in this timeframe, which is the Alaska highlight and a must do in my opinion. If you can get 5 days you could include Denali park and Seward which will at least offer you some fantastic touring opportunities loaded with wildlife and scenery. At all possible do consider it. Going independent with a rental car is the way to go with Alaska RR to/from Seward.

Take a look at some photos, if my words don't impact enough http://community.webshots.com/user/budgetqueen

I do give Seward sailings a big plus and with short time, make the best of it. So I suggest you consider HAL for their Glacier Bay sailings and look for College Fjords included.

Princess sails out of Whittier, possible to transfer Seward/Whittier via shuttle or cab. Carnival, RCI, Celebrity do not go to Glacier Bay, which I consider a must do on an "only" trip. All Alaska ports are worthwhile, but you may want to request visitor guides if you have priorities?

There is no guarantees on weather, and fog can happen anytime. You need to be well prepared in your attire. As for formality- there is plenty of dining available, buffets in the evening off some good food if you don't want the fixed dining- which will require some dress codes. Room service is a good option too. My opinion, food is a very low priority for me in Alaska, I never hesistate to ship meals and last trip only made the dining room 3 times at dinner. Princess does have personal choice which does give an edge in Alaska for the non fixed times. Any trip will be a compromise, the more you know the better, do your homework. Enjoy Alaska!!
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 07:13 PM
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We are going Aug 2nd; on Princess 3 day land tour and 7 day cruise from Whittier to Vancouver. I know our 3 day land tour will be quick, but at least it will be a taste of Alaska - we'll stay in Denali and Mt Mckinley.
We are doing the casual dining on the Princess.
This is our first cruise and first time to Alaska (maybe the only one).
But reading others comments our itinerary seems to be a good one.
Oh we splurged for a balcony room.

Our travel agent helped with the decision. The internet was information overload.

Janet
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Old January 24th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfh
We are going Aug 2nd; on Princess 3 day land tour and 7 day cruise from Whittier to Vancouver. I know our 3 day land tour will be quick, but at least it will be a taste of Alaska - we'll stay in Denali and Mt Mckinley.
We are doing the casual dining on the Princess.
This is our first cruise and first time to Alaska (maybe the only one).
But reading others comments our itinerary seems to be a good one.
Oh we splurged for a balcony room.

Our travel agent helped with the decision. The internet was information overload.

Janet
Janet, if this is your "only" trip (certainly hope not ) be CERTAIN you have the Tundra Wilderness tour included and not the Natural History tour. The NHT is a complete waste of time. Denali Park is your highlight- be sure to see it from the inside not from the "parking lot". All the scenery and wildlife opportunities are on the longer tour. Big difference 53 vs 16 miles.
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