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Old July 1st, 2006, 09:32 PM
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Default Which cruiseline for first trip to alaska?

We are planning a trip to alaska for August of '07. The problem is which cruiseline to pick. We want to see the spectacular glaciers as much as possible. But not being familiar with them should we do Hubbard glacier, glacier bay, college fiord? or something else?.... So many options and no idea what to do! Which would have the most chance of ice and not green? Then we could choose the cruise line by who goes there. Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 12:49 AM
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McAteeshaw,

We are planning a trip to alaska for August of '07. The problem is which cruiseline to pick. We want to see the spectacular glaciers as much as possible. But not being familiar with them should we do Hubbard glacier, glacier bay, college fiord? or something else?.... So many options and no idea what to do! Which would have the most chance of ice and not green? Then we could choose the cruise line by who goes there. Thanks in advance for any input.

All of the cruise lines visit attractions that others skip and skip attractions that others visit, but you'll find just as much variation among the itineraries offered by lines that send several ships to the Alaska region. College Fjord has the most impressive glaciers, followed by Glacier Bay, and Glacier Bay also has very impressive wildlife, but you'll skip other very worthwhile attractions if you choose an itinerary that visits these places. All of the major lines also offer cruise-tour packages that venture into Alaska's interior o visit Anchorage, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks.

Backing up a step, though, the lifestyles aboard cruise ships that go to Alaska run the gamut from very casual to very traditional and from "bargain basement" to ultra-luxury. You probably will feel like a fish out of water if you are a "champagne and caviar" person and you end up on a "pretzels and beer" cruise line or vice versa. Likewise, those who like to party all night might be frustrated by the lack of "action" on a line that draws an older crowd while those who like to retire early might be frustrated by the noise on a line that draws a party crowd. It's most important to choose a cruise line on which you will be comfortable -- that is, one that matches your personal style. I highly recommend stopping into a bookstore such as Barnes and Noble or Border's in your area, buying a guide to cruise lines and cruise ships that describes the various cruise lines, and reading the descriptions of all of the lines to determine on which lines you would feel most comfortable. Fodor's, Frommer's, and Stern's guides seem to be very good for this purpose. Once you pare the list down to three or four lines, get the brochures for those lines from your travel agent and look over their itineraries.

BTW, a reputable travel agent who specializes in cruises, or more generally in leisure travel, is also a great source of information. A competent travel agent can help you to determine which lines would be a good match and which lines would not. I recommend doing your homework (buying and reading one or another of the guides) first, though, so you'll have some idea of what questions to ask.

Norm.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 08:34 AM
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My opinion only, for Alaska the priority is what is outside the ship- itinerary, ports, time in ports, glacier, route, ship naturalist, price. Then fits in the ship. I have sailed all glacier areas called by the major cruise ships. Glacier Bay is the highlight in my opinion.

But you first need to determine, how much time you have and route. Are you looking at a one way?? I strongly suggest you also might want to consider adding days for interior touring. Take advantage of being all the way there. I find cruisetours, lacking in seeing Alaska, and the most costly option for what you get. Also if of interest look at independent, extremely simple to arrange and the freedom of doing what you want.

The top 2 attractions for me is Kenai Fjords and Denali park. Cruisetours do a poor job here- basically few offer Kenai Fjords and the cruisetours, at best get only a little over half way into Denali Park, at worse- a worthless included tour.

Either way you go- do your homework. It will pay off in getting a trip based on your priorities.

so if considering a one way, I suggest College Fjords and Glacier Bay- this will mean Princess or HAL, I give the edge to HAL for Seward.

With your glaicer priority, be certain to take a boat tour out of Whittier, way superior to anything seen from your ship.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 11:29 AM
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We just got back from Alaska, and we did Hubbard Glacier. It was awesome. However you need to pick which ports, glaciers that you are most interested in. Watch the travel channel for cruise shows to Alaska. That might help you to decide where you want to go. Then research what ships go to your preferred destinations. We took Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas............ AWESOME............ we fell in love with the ship. And all the activities on board. You won't be board that is for sure. Get a balcony room if you can afford it! It is so nice to be able to watch the scenery go by from your own balcony. It is a more traditional company and on a 7 night cruise has 2 formal, and one semi-formal (smart casual is what they call it) nights. We saw whales and dolphins also from the ship while cruiseing the inside passage.

Happy cruise hunting
Jane
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Old July 3rd, 2006, 12:33 PM
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It depends also on the size of the ship you want. The larger ships will get close to the glaciers (see the photo's posted at the Photo Gallery), but the smaller ships will get closer & go inside to some of the places the larger ships can't enter.

It's up to you. I can side with the above poster for RCCL's Serenade of the Seas. Beautiful ship! We plan on being on this ship for our Alaska honeymoon someday.

Also, over at the Photo Gallery, someone on a recent Alaska trip (last 2 weeks of posting I believe) did post photo's on Serenade & how close they got to the glaciers from their balcony room at one of the top decks. Great shots!!
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Old July 4th, 2006, 10:22 PM
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It's been a month since we returned from our 4th Holland America Inside Passage cruise. We took 3 friends with us for their 1st cruise. They loved it! Our cruises have all be inside passage cruises- 3 leaving from Vancouver & 1 from Seattle. All the cruises have been on Holland America ships of 1450 passengers or less. Our ports have been Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, & Ketchikan. We've cruised Tracy Arms & Glacier Bay. Both are amazing. My DH compares the inside passage as being in the Colorado Rockies without having to drive. We thought our 1st Alaska cruise would be once in a lifetime but we got hooked. HAL is wonderful with plenty of access to windows on the Upper, Lower, & Promenade decks. We still have not watched a movie in the theatre. Binoculars are all you need. Have fun planning...there's lots of options.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 11:00 PM
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We happened to choose RCCI based upon the ports we went to, the itinerary (we went southbound) land & then cruise and the TIME IN PORT! We wanted to make sure we had the most time in port & were very pleased. If you can get some days like we did with 10-12 hrs in port - great.

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