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Old April 25th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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Default Which cruise line to Alaska?

Which cruiseline is everyone's favorite for Alaska? (Northbound with a cruise tour) My travel agent really likes Celebrity, but I keep hearing great things about Princess and Carnival. We are a family of 4, kids ages 13 and 14, but they don't branch out much... they prefer to hang with us.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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Although, I have not done it yet, I would recommend Royal Caribbean because of the class ship they use. The Radiance Class ship has so much glass....you would have great views all the time. They also offer some cruise cruise tours in Alaska. Let us know what you decide.
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Old April 25th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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I'm sticking with Royal Caribbean - my wife and I were totally amazed by the Radiance of the Seas last May, and will be on her again in a few weeks. We were on a Costa ship in the Caribbean a couple of months ago, and there was just no comparison with the food and service we got with RCI. The Radiance-class ships are great for kids, too.

Murray
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Old April 25th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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I've sailed 5 different lines to Alaska and RCI would be at the bottom of my list. On the one ways they do not include College Fjords and no ship naturalists.

All lines do a good job with kids, but overall, my preference is HAL, and yes I've gone with my kids. The programs are excellent with plenty of Alaska activities and sometimes a link with the ship naturalist which my son loved.

But my opinion only- cruisetours are NOT the way to go with a family. Extremely costly option and being on such a fixed schedule with long transit times is a poor choice in my opinion. Superior is to go independent, RV's are just a wonderful choice with kids and very easy to drive in Alaska. Going with a rental car offers you the best in freedom for those ad lib stops that the tours completely miss. And seeing attractions of your interests rather than waiting for buses to leave, unload etc. etc. No meals are included on the land portion, a significant savings if you have more options you can hop into your car and get to, including a grocery store. Just a suggestion.
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Old April 26th, 2006, 06:03 PM
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cokerjoanne,

Which cruiseline is everyone's favorite for Alaska? (Northbound with a cruise tour) My travel agent really likes Celebrity, but I keep hearing great things about Princess and Carnival. We are a family of 4, kids ages 13 and 14, but they don't branch out much... they prefer to hang with us.

If you have found a cruise line that you like and that's a good match for your tastes and lifestyle, stick with it. If not, get a guidebook to cruising (Fodor's, Sterns, etc.), read the decriptions of the lifestyles of the vaious lines, and go with the line that sounds like the best match.

Once you pick a cruise line that matches your tastes and lifestyle, be sure to book a cruise that goes to either Seward or Whittier -- then book the "Grandview Rail Transfer" between the pier and Anchorage International Airport. You and your teens will be much more comfortable on the train where you can get up and move around, get beverages or snacks, etc., and the rail line passes through some absolutely gorgeous terrain.

I agree with the suggestion to rent a car or a motor home in Anchorage and visit the interior yourself. This is the "Good O'l Ewe Ess of Aye," after all, so it's not like you are going to a foreign country with stange customs and a language that you don't speak. The land tours offered by the cruise line are fairly expensive. I would arrange the land travel to include a weekend in dowtown Anchorage, if possible, and I would definitely reserve accommodations for the entire land portion of the tour because the summer is the busy tourist season in Alaska.

Norm.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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Hi there. My ten cents worth is a suggestion that you go with a cruise co. that has access to Glacier Bay. Not all can go there and it is not to be missed. I went with Princess a couple of years ago for this reason and it was a very special experience. The land tour was even better than the cruise!

I would agree that this is not a trip on which to take the children. Generally the passengers tend to be a more mature. I didn't see any children at all during my holiday and the activities and the excursions are geared to a more mature person. At 38 I was probably at the lower end of the age range on board.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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jool.s,

Hi there. My ten cents worth is a suggestion that you go with a cruise co. that has access to Glacier Bay. Not all can go there and it is not to be missed. I went with Princess a couple of years ago for this reason and it was a very special experience. The land tour was even better than the cruise!

I think that College Fjord is much more spectacular than Glacier Bay, and it's accessible on day boats from Whittier for anyone who spends a few days in Anchorage before or after the cruise.

In any case I would not let this be the deciding factor in my choice of itinerary because all of the cruise lines visit one inlet or another to see glaciers.

I would agree that this is not a trip on which to take the children. Generally the passengers tend to be a more mature. I didn't see any children at all during my holiday and the activities and the excursions are geared to a more mature person. At 38 I was probably at the lower end of the age range on board.

In which month did you go?

I also disagree completely with just about everything that you said. Cruises to Alaska during the school vacation period (June-August) usually have a good number of children of all ages -- but you might not have noticed them even if you went during this period because the cruise lines have very good programs that tend to keep the children and teens away from teh adult activities. There are also many shore excursons and other activities in all of the ports of call that would really excite most children, from the indigenous dances in Ketchikan's Saxman Village to the Russian folk dancers snd the raptor center in Sitka to a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route in Skagway. In Glacier Bay, the park rangers do separate programs for children of all ages.

Norm.
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Old May 6th, 2006, 11:54 PM
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Default Go Alaska either with Princess or HAL

Being an Alaskan by birth and both of us often world cruisers, we have traveled almost exclusively with Princess and HAL. Reason we have chosen those two: they have gambled immense expenditures in visitor investments in our state. Please don’t trivialize the “gambled? as so many have lost their rears trying the same. However, after all that and after many cruise experiences we have found that they are the best bet worldwide. Do we own stock? Sure wish we did.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
jool.s,

.

I would agree that this is not a trip on which to take the children. Generally the passengers tend to be a more mature. I didn't see any children at all during my holiday and the activities and the excursions are geared to a more mature person. At 38 I was probably at the lower end of the age range on board.

In which month did you go?

I also disagree completely with just about everything that you said. Cruises to Alaska during the school vacation period (June-August) usually have a good number of children of all ages -- but you might not have noticed them even if you went during this period because the cruise lines have very good programs that tend to keep the children and teens away from teh adult activities. There are also many shore excursons and other activities in all of the ports of call that would really excite most children, from the indigenous dances in Ketchikan's Saxman Village to the Russian folk dancers snd the raptor center in Sitka to a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route in Skagway. In Glacier Bay, the park rangers do separate programs for children of all ages.

Norm.

You have missed the point completely. The previous post was referring to the LAND PORTION via a cruisetour. I too, never recommend this for families, just too costly and limiting with kids. Kids have a great time on HAL and Princess.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:41 PM
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Karen,

You have missed the point completely. The previous post was referring to the LAND PORTION via a cruisetour.

If so, that was not at all obvious. The post in question contained no mention whatsoever of either "land tour" or "cruise tour."

I too, never recommend this for families, just too costly and limiting with kids.

I agree that the land tours in Alaska are quite expensive, but the cost is not significant for some people. Also, some people are reluctant to drive in Alaska because they have heard of miles and miles of two-lane and sometimes unpaved roads through remote wilderness. I had similar misgivings until I drove from Anchorage to Talkeetna for the first time last summer and found the main roads to be in very good condition and comfortably wide with adequate rest and service stops, albeit only two lanes wide. Now, I would highly recommend renting a vehicle in Anchorage and driving -- but only with confirmed and guaranteed reservations for each night's lodging since summer is the peak season.

Kids have a great time on HAL and Princess.

Yes, I can say from personal experience that Princess's children's program is a class act -- the youngsters love it and teens also seem to have a great time.

Norm.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 10:34 PM
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Default which line to Alaska

We are sailing on the Princess Diamond Sat. This will be a northbound sailing from Vancouver to Whittier. This is my first Alaskan cruise. I will post when we return on our thoughts. I can't imagine they will be anything but awesome. Ohio Cruisers
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Old May 11th, 2006, 07:36 AM
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It looks like we're going with Princess Saphire in summer of 2007 (Northbound). A mini-suite with an inside stateroom across the hall for grandma and niece. We're also including the 5 night land tour.

Thanks for all of the info!
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Old May 11th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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This will be our second Alaskan cruise on Carnival. Have twin girls 15. They love the boat..

Kathy
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Old May 11th, 2006, 05:12 PM
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Joanne,

It looks like we're going with Princess Saphire in summer of 2007 (Northbound). A mini-suite with an inside stateroom across the hall for grandma and niece. We're also including the 5 night land tour.

You might consider a full suite instead. The sitting rooms in full suites usually have sleep sofas that will accommodate two people and the heads configured for access from either the bedroom or the sitting room. The third and fourth passengers in the suite pay a greatly reduced rate, so it might be less expensive in spite of the higher fare for the first two passengers.

Norm.
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Old May 11th, 2006, 08:11 PM
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Joanne
good choice stick with it.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cokerjoanne
It looks like we're going with Princess Saphire in summer of 2007 (Northbound). A mini-suite with an inside stateroom across the hall for grandma and niece. We're also including the 5 night land tour.

Thanks for all of the info!
I do suggest you do your homework and understand fully what you are purchasing in your cruisetour. 5 days can be a rushed option with too much of the time in transit. Most important is your Denali Park tour- be certain it includes the Tundra Wilderness tour. As an option also look at independent using www.toursaver.com can offer considerable savings and the ability to plan according to interests. Princess tours, most often miss completely the gem of Seward, one of the two top recommended areas in my opinion. Here are some photos to perhaps look at for the varied wildlife viewing opportunities available. http://community.webshots.com/user/budgetqueen
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Old May 12th, 2006, 09:19 PM
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Karen16,
I agree with all of your postings, but some people don't have all of the time or finances/resources to do what you recommend. At least with some of the cruise line tours you can get a good taste of Alaska. We are taking our fifth cruise to Alaska soon with some friends that have never been there and who do not want to spend a lot of time or money. So we booked it all with the cruise line so they could at least get a good taste of that area. They will probably never cruise again, so we hope they will enjoy it. Personally, we have booked some private tours on the trip, and have directed them to go with the line.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRZYCRZR
Karen16,
I agree with all of your postings, but some people don't have all of the time or finances/resources to do what you recommend. At least with some of the cruise line tours you can get a good taste of Alaska. We are taking our fifth cruise to Alaska soon with some friends that have never been there and who do not want to spend a lot of time or money. So we booked it all with the cruise line so they could at least get a good taste of that area. They will probably never cruise again, so we hope they will enjoy it. Personally, we have booked some private tours on the trip, and have directed them to go with the line.
My information is only a suggestion, but even with cruisetours- I still strongly recommend you do your homework. I get emails every day from purchasers who made the wrong choice and looking for a fix. My information about Denali park is a main concern that with an initial booking, most people do not have a clue about the significant differences there are with Denali Park tours. I will continue to never recommend the Natural History- essentially equal to going to Disneyland and never getting out of the parking lot.

And your "budget" concern, with a cruisetour has you opting for the most costly method of traveling interior Alaska. It can be significantly cheaper independent and with www.toursaver.com usage, even more.

Well informed travelers make the best decisions for their needs. Having several options to consider makes the comparism for what is right for them.
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