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Old February 22nd, 2006, 11:49 PM
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Default Best cruise for young couple, 1st cruise? Advice please

My husband and I are planning a trip this May on an Alaskan cruise. We haven't yet booked out trip - still making our way through all of the options available. I could really use some advice/suggestions from those who have previously been on any Alaskan cruises.

We are hoping to find a ship that typically has a younger crowd - or in part. We are both 28 and, although don't mind a variety in ages at all, just don't want to feel uncomfortable if we accidently get on a ship that typically caters to an older crowd. If anyone knows of any ships/cruises that might work for us we would greatly appreciate the recommendation.

This is our 1st cruise - so of course any other advice would be great! Any ports that are "must-see"? If you had to pick one?

Thanks so much!! Greatly appreciate it!
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 05:30 PM
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Hi kids..... I think it's great that you're able to try cruising at such a young age, and before the children I guess.... I would start looking at lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, then Princess....the first 2 being your greatest chances for a younger crowd.... stay away from Holland America and Celebrity if age is important... those lines do have an older clientelle...decide what your priorities are, ports, round trip vs north or southbound... and budget.... you can either spend your $$$ on a balcony cabin or excursions at ports like helecopter glacier landings and such....do lots of research, these cruise forums are great for getting lots of info....have fun....
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Old February 24th, 2006, 12:00 AM
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I think forthis year you might be a little late in booking, maybe think of next year
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Old February 24th, 2006, 02:57 PM
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I agree, you might be a little late getting a cruise to Alaska this year. We booked in Sept. and got a great rate! I checked the other day and there was a difference of over $500 per person for the same cruise. We're going May 17th, Carnival Spirit, Northbound, and I just spoke with my vacation planner and she said there were a few cabins left.
If you would like her name, she is with Carnival, you can email me and I'll give you the information for her. She has been WONDERFUL!!!!!
judysalyers1951@hotmail.com
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Old February 24th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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Celebrity and Holland have younger crowds in Alaska than their other sailing areas. There will be plenty of other passengers near your age group on those lines in Alaska.

IMHO for a first cruise to Alaska....Glacier Bay is a must. This eliminates Celebrity however.

Look at NCL as well. They have a younger crowd and you would probably get a better value through them. Many experienced cruisers complain about NCL not being up to their standards. NCL is probably a tad below the others in quality and service but IMO it's not much lower. And for a first cruise you won't believe that's possible. You'll love it.

We've sailed NCL, HAL, Celebrity, and RCL and if the itinerary and price were right I wouldn't hesitate to sail NCL again.

You'll be stopping in Ketchikan and Juneau for sure. Most ships stop at Skagway and a few will stop in Sitka instead. We preffered Skagway over Sitka.

2 fun excursions you could look into......In Juneau take a whale watch trip. Orca ent. is very good. In Skagway the White Pass RR is wonderful, expecially if you like history and/or trains.

Good luck
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Old February 25th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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I've sailed 5 different lines in Alaska and frankly, passengers are similar in age, middle aged and above the majority, but all ages sailing. EVEN Carnival has this demographic- don't expect the party crowds of the Caribbean.

Overall, for me passengers make no difference, I sail Alaska for what is outside the ship, meaning, routing, and ports. HAL offers what I consider to be one of the best round trip Vancouver itineraries with Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm. My opinion only, I never do any one ways without spending at least another week for interior Alaska travel, take advantage of being all the way there.

Plenty of choices to make, consider ports, time in ports, glacier, route, ship naturalist, price. Budget fully for costly excursions, you get only half a trip without them.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Karen- Are you saying if you take a Vancouver round trip and not many shore excursions....would the trip still be worth while?
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Old March 16th, 2006, 07:55 PM
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debbiep,

My husband and I are planning a trip this May on an Alaskan cruise. We haven't yet booked out trip - still making our way through all of the options available. I could really use some advice/suggestions from those who have previously been on any Alaskan cruises.

We are hoping to find a ship that typically has a younger crowd - or in part. We are both 28 and, although don't mind a variety in ages at all, just don't want to feel uncomfortable if we accidently get on a ship that typically caters to an older crowd. If anyone knows of any ships/cruises that might work for us we would greatly appreciate the recommendation.

This is our 1st cruise - so of course any other advice would be great! Any ports that are "must-see"? If you had to pick one?

Thanks so much!! Greatly appreciate it!


As a destination, Alaska attracts a much younger crowd overall than most others so any of the major lines except Holland America Lines (which parent company Carnival Corporation has historically marketed as a traditional cruise for older people) should be fine. Contrary to another poster, Celebrity's Alaska itineraries do attract a fair number of young adults and young families. It would be best to pick up a guidebook that describes the various cruise lines, read the descriptions and evaluations of the various lines therein, and choose the line that seems to be the best match for your tastes and style.

Alaska's ports of call offer the most extensive variety of shore excursions anywhere, so you can be as physically active as you like. The region has several major attractions.

>> 1. The scenery, carved out by glaciers, is the most gorgeous that you will find anywhere and lush with vegetation -- except, of course, where it's still covered with glaciers. It's best to take the gulf cruise northward (from Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier, depending upon the line) because the scenery becomes more spectacular as you go northward. Alas, a lot of people realize this so northward itineraries are commanding higher fares.

>> 2. Nature abounds. If you spend any time out on deck or on nature tours, you probably will see whales, sea otters and seals, puffins, lots of bald eagles (to spot them, look for galf balls in the treetops), black, brown, and polar bears, dall sheep, reindeer, elk, and many other critters.

>> 3. The indigenous culture of the Tlingit and the Aleut is different from that of other American Indian tribes. Ketchikan has totem parks and cultural centers where you can learn about it.

>> 4. The Russian presence has left its mark. Sitka, the former Russian capital, has the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the bishop's house, among other significant sites, and Juneau has St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church. You'll also find Russian nesting dolls in some of the shops in this area.

>> 5. Alaska has been a major factor in several gold rushes, with major strikes around Juneau and Fairbanks. The port of Skagway became the gateway to the Yukon at the time of the Yukon Gold Rush. A rail line built to haul miners, equipment, and supplies from Skagway to Whitehorse still offers scenic rides through some incredible terrain in period coaches, so don't miss it. There's also a historic play called the "Days of 98 Revue Starring Soapy Smith" at the Elk's Hall in Skagway that's worth seeing. It's included on many of the tours.

>> 6. The samlon fishing and packing industy became a major economic force in the twentieth century. You can tour a historic packing plant at Huonah ("Icy Strait Point" on some itineraries) and take in salmon bakes in several of the ports of call. Some of the ports of call offer salmon fishing excursions, too.

>> 7. The U. S. Armed Forces arrived in force in World War II, when the outermost Aleutian Islands became the only U. S. territory actually occupied by Japanese forces during World War II, and subsequently built early warning stations (the famous "DEW Line") during the Cold War.

>> 8. Recent decades have seen the construction of the Alaska Pipeline and the development of Alaska's petroleum industry. You can visit sections of the pipeline at Valdez and several other places, and you can take a tour of the oil fields if you endure the drive of the Dalton Highway up to Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay).

If you can swing it financially, you might want to consider a cruise-tour package that goes to Denali and Fairbanks after you land in Anchorage. If not, at least (1) book the "Grandview Rail Transfer" between the pier in Seward or Whittier and the airport in Anchorage (it passes trhough some more absolutely stunning terrain) and reserve a rental car at the Anchorage International Airport and a hotel in downtown Anchorage for a weekend. Anchorage is a great city where there's something happening pretty enarly every weekend of the summer season. You also can take a day trip north to Talkeetna for lunch at the 62nd Parallel (there's actually an inn and a restaruant by that name) and a magnificent view of Mount McKinley, which is the tallest mountain in the world. If you are more adventurous, of course, you can drive to Fairbanks and stay a couple nights there, too.

You might also consider spending one or two nights in Vancouver before the start of your cruise. The Crowne Plaza St. George Hotel is in a great loation about four or five blocks from the pier (easily walked with "roller back" luggage, or you can take a cab), and very centrally located.

Have a great cruise, whatever you decide!

Norm.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 10:30 PM
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Princess was the first major cruise line to visit Alaska. I think they have developed the best options and itineraries. They also operate their own lodges. Departing on our fifth Alaska cruise June 15, 2006, 28th cruise overall. You will enjoy any Alaska trip you choose
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Old March 17th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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Being that the Caribbean is the most common and largest number of cruises, it certainly is in error the above post that Alaska has "a much younger crowd". It clearly does not, with the bulk of passengers middle aged and above on all lines. But certainly all ages sail. For Alaska with so much outside the ship, I still recommend go for "Alaska" with preferences given to ports, time in ports, glacier, route, itinerary, price etc.


My opinion only, budget fully for costly excursions, you get only half a trip without them. I would never recommend foregoing them.

From Whittier, the Seward Highway is the EXACT same routing as the RR, so it is not recommended unless you take the regular run, the cruiseline contracted is too costly.

The above resturant reference in Talkeetna is the Latitude.
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Old March 17th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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I've found no difference in the ages of passengers in the Caribbean and Alaska, but in Alaska people don't party nearly as much (too tired from long port stays and excursions?). Don't expect a large percentage of people in their 20s on any cruiseline, though - most folks in that age range seem to travel up the coast on the ferry. Since most of your focus is on Alaska, not on the ship or its passengers, that should be a very minor consideration, though - if you go Royal Caribbean, just hang around the climbing wall to find the younger crowd .

Murray
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Old March 26th, 2006, 12:27 AM
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Karen16,

Being that the Caribbean is the most common and largest number of cruises, it certainly is in error the above post that Alaska has "a much younger crowd". It clearly does not, with the bulk of passengers middle aged and above on all lines.

Egad! Have you ever taken a cruise to Alaska?

I have taken two cruises to Alaska, and have encountered a younger crowd on both of those cruises than on cruises on the same lines to both the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera.

It may surprise you, but Alaska attracts a very high percentage of first-timers and very few passengers who return there time after time. On my first Alaska cruise (aboard MV Sun Princess in August of 2002), I had the most days at sea with Princess on the ship -- the only time that I have been in the "top three" who receive awards (or at least who then received awards) on a Princess cruise.

My opinion only, budget fully for costly excursions, you get only half a trip without them. I would never recommend foregoing them.

That depends what you want to experience in your ports of call. In many cases, the moderately priced excursions such as a walking tour or the visit to Saxman Village in Ketchikan actually encounter more of the indigenous culture and the history of the region than, for example, a "flightseeing" or four-wheel-drive trip. I strongly recommend the ride to Summit Lake and back on the White Pass & Yukon Route in Skagway, though!

From Whittier, the Seward Highway is the EXACT same routing as the RR, so it is not recommended unless you take the regular run, the cruiseline contracted is too costly.

IIRC, there are a few spots where they diverge between the Whittier Cutoff (which the guides do point out during the ride) and Anchorage. In one such spot, the railroad literally runs along the side of a cliff broken by short tunnels and the view of the canyon is really awesome.

And in any case, the railroad offers (1) larger, more comfortable, seating, (2) the option to get up, wander around, and stretch your legs, and (3) food and beverage service that are not available on the bus. That alone is well worth the difference in price.

The above resturant reference in Talkeetna is the Latitude.

It's called "Latitude 62" rather than "62nd Parallel?" Okay, thanks for the correction.

Norm.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
Karen16,

Being that the Caribbean is the most common and largest number of cruises, it certainly is in error the above post that Alaska has "a much younger crowd". It clearly does not, with the bulk of passengers middle aged and above on all lines.

Egad! Have you ever taken a cruise to Alaska?

I have taken two cruises to Alaska, and have encountered a younger crowd on both of those cruises than on cruises on the same lines to both the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera.

It may surprise you, but Alaska attracts a very high percentage of first-timers and very few passengers who return there time after time. On my first Alaska cruise (aboard MV Sun Princess in August of 2002), I had the most days at sea with Princess on the ship -- the only time that I have been in the "top three" who receive awards (or at least who then received awards) on a Princess cruise.

My opinion only, budget fully for costly excursions, you get only half a trip without them. I would never recommend foregoing them.

That depends what you want to experience in your ports of call. In many cases, the moderately priced excursions such as a walking tour or the visit to Saxman Village in Ketchikan actually encounter more of the indigenous culture and the history of the region than, for example, a "flightseeing" or four-wheel-drive trip. I strongly recommend the ride to Summit Lake and back on the White Pass & Yukon Route in Skagway, though!

From Whittier, the Seward Highway is the EXACT same routing as the RR, so it is not recommended unless you take the regular run, the cruiseline contracted is too costly.

IIRC, there are a few spots where they diverge between the Whittier Cutoff (which the guides do point out during the ride) and Anchorage. In one such spot, the railroad literally runs along the side of a cliff broken by short tunnels and the view of the canyon is really awesome.

And in any case, the railroad offers (1) larger, more comfortable, seating, (2) the option to get up, wander around, and stretch your legs, and (3) food and beverage service that are not available on the bus. That alone is well worth the difference in price.

The above resturant reference in Talkeetna is the Latitude.

It's called "Ltitude 62" rather than "62nd Parallel?" Okay, thanks for the correction.

Norm.
Sorry, I don't want to sound harsh, but yes I have been to Alaska- 12 cruises, 20 trips, with 2 more this year. And add to that, cruise #37 next week, with most of the other cruises to the Caribbean.

But if you sailed Princess or HAL to the Carbbean- this is a skewed older group that does sail. But based on the other big lines with the bulk of the passengers, Carnival, RCI, NCL, it is definately a way younger crowd over all.
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