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Old February 1st, 2006, 09:37 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 5
Default How to choose which ship

Good Morning,

My husband and I are planning on an Alaskan cruise this summer, AUgust to be exact. We have never been on a cruise before and all the reviews of the ships start to sound the same. I would rather have a budget cruise so we can splurge on excursions. We do want an oceanview room....

How much do you typically spend on "sprits?"

Do you book your own air, I know on Travelocity you have the optin of picking your own flights.

ANy advice, would be great!

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old February 1st, 2006, 01:40 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
Default Alaska on the Infinity (Celebrity)

Went to Alaska Jul 05 on the Infinity. My recommendation is try for a balcony. The scenery is really fantastic and with a balcony you do not have to look over anyone or get bumped while trying to take a picture of a waterfall or an eagle. Plus you can be there in your pajamas/bathrobe without anyone looking at you strangely.
However, if a balcony is too pricey you will have plenty of opportunity to see everything from the observation decks or the cafeteria area, whose outboard "wall" are glass floor to ceiling.
"Spirits" will cost maybe a little more per drink than you would spend at a decent local restaurant. How much you spend depends on how much you drink and what you drink.
Recommend you do your travel arrangements through a travel agent (TA). We made our own travel arrangements once and it proved to be a hassle. Flight times were changed - twice - (early booking) and while the airline moved the reservations they missed coordinating connecting flights and making new seating assignments. Also, the cruise line changed the port of departure. While they new port of departure was fairly close, it did present an additional planning "bump" - a good/competent TA would have been right on top of this and would have options.

Enjoy your cruise. Take a camera and be ready to be amazed.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 04:56 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 560

I would suggest first choosing an itinerary and then choose the ship. This will include which port you'll sail out of and in the case of a one-way, which port you'll arrive in.

IMHO Glacier Bay is a must for a first Alaskan cruise. Some HAL ships go to Glacier Bay and the Sawyer Glaciers which is even better.

Once you've chosen an itinerary you like then you can look at ships and pricing. A specific itinerary will eliminate many ships. For example, some lines do not go to Glacier bay at all. If you choose a line that does go to Glacier bay, not all of their ships go there.

I would suggest looking at NCL. They will probably be less pricey than other lines in Alaska. NCL is probably a tad lower than the others as far as quality but for a first cruise you won't believe that's possible. It'll be great. We've sailed NCL, HAL, Celebrity in Alaska and loved all 3 lines.

I also suggest finding a good cruise travel agent. They'll do better for you than Travelocity, Expedia, etc.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 09:53 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,539

Key here is to educate yourself and do your homework on what is available. TA's rarely have even been to Alaska and sell sometimes based on commissions or sales brochures.
Look at - ports, time in ports, glacier, route, ship naturalist, price- then find your ship.

I do think HAL has one of the best round trip Vancouver itineraries around that include both Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm. As for one way, same line if it includes Glacier Bay and College Fjords. Princess is a close second. NCL has the Star which has Glacier bay, but sails round trip Seattle, more outside passage sailing. ANY cruise will involve compromises and Alaska is never a one time trip.

So determine what route you are looking at- round trip or one way- my opinion only, I never do one way trips without at least another week to tour the interior. Take advantage of being there. Head to your library and take out Alaska travel books, Frommer's Alaska and Fodor's Alaska are especially concise. The more you know the better. I aways book my own air, simple, if going one way look at the multi city option and not two one way tickets.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 10:46 PM
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Location: Miz-sippy
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For what it's worth...here's my 2 cents worth.
I research different options as for for as ships and cruiselines. I then take my list to my travel agent and she calls each of the lines and whoever offers me the best deal gets my money. There are major differences in the prices I've been given. I pay for the cheapest room (inside) but request that the upgrade fairy pay me a visit. Out of 5 cruise, I've been upgraded to an outside 4 times. On the Oosterdam I payed for an inside but was upgraded to a Veranda. Would I pay extra for a veranda or do I feel that one is a "must" ? NO
I can't help you with the spirits question, but I can say that I find it cheaper to do my own air. :o
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