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Old August 16th, 2006, 04:30 PM
CJL CJL is offline
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Default WHICH ALASKA CRUISE??

Trying to help a friend interested in an Alaska cruise. They have 2 teenage boys. Which cruise would be advised? What month would be the best ? What cruise line offers a roomy inside cabin for 4.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 04:42 PM
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Are they looking at round trip or one way?? Will they be adding time with a one way for Interior Alaska travel??

There is no "best" time for sailing, from mid May to the begining of Sept. offers plenty of excellent adventures. Go with what their timeframe fits best.

I suggest planning Alaska for the adults, kids will have a great time on any cruise. There are several differences to consider if "Alaska" is the priority. Ports, time in ports, glacier, ship naturalist, route, price. Then fit in the ship.

All standard quad rooms are about the same size and will be crowded. Go for suites etc, if the space is a significant concern. Again, especially sailing this area, my opinion only, the above factors are far more important than the cabin.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 05:55 PM
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Either round or one way depending on the cruise. When kids are out of school during the summer months is when they want to go. What is the difference I see where it says inside passage? They want to do a salmon fishing excursion. Value wise, 2 inside rooms or a suite? Thanks for your help.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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I would suggest that unless you're doing a land option to Denali and that part of Alaska, you should do a round trip from Seattle or Vancouver.
Also try to decide what is important to see up there. I always suggest for a first Alaskan cruise to find a ship that goes to Glacier Bay. This will help narrow down ships and options as well. Once you've chosen an itinerary then you can try pricing out the different cabin options such as size, how many, balcony?
Go to one of the travel websites such as expedia and you'll be able to really narrow down itinteraries and ships and what the pricing will look like. After the decision is made then find a cruise travel agent for your booking. You'll get many good suggestions for that from this site.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 07:51 PM
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CJL,

Either round or one way depending on the cruise.

>> 1. I highly recommend stopping by your local bookstore (Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.), picking up a guidebook to cruising so you can read about the styles, etc., of the various cruise lines and using it to narrow the choice down to three or four cruise lines that would match your family's preferred lifestyle -- and the major cruise lines are all over the map, from plain to fancy, from "in your face" to very refined, etc. Once you narrow down the choices, you can get brochures for those lines from your travel agent and compare their offerings.

>> 2. I recommend a "Gulf of Alaska" cruise, which goes up the Inside Passage from Vancouver and then crosses the Gulf of Alaska to either Whittier or Seward (or vice versa). If you don't want to book a cruise-tour (the land tour portion of which does tend to be rather pricy), you can plan to stay in Anchorage for a few days and do some exploring on your own. Anchorage is a really "happening" city, especially on weekends, with anice downtown where you can walk the streets at any time of day or night and lots of nice restaurants, etc. There are also a lot of attractions that are a fairly easy day trip from Anchorage.

>> 3. Above all else, introduce your friend to a reputable travel agent who specializes in cruises or in travel to Alaska. A travel agent who "knows the ropes" is an invaluable assest, especially if you are in unfamilar territory. It won't cost any more to book the cruise through the travel agent, and most travel agencise do not charge for booking fligts, hotel stays, etc., in conjunction with a cruise package.

When kids are out of school during the summer months is when they want to go.

"When school is out" would be the best time with teenagers. At that time, they are pretty much assured of finding plenty of other teenages and a teen program going full swing aboard the ship.

What is the difference I see where it says inside passage?

An "Inside Passage" cruise would operate round trip from either Seattle or Vancouver, but you would not get to see any of Alaska's interior, retracing a region that you have already seen. Most of the major cruise lines offer both itineraries.

They want to do a salmon fishing excursion.

There are "catch and release" fishing excursions in some of the ports of call, but the better bet might actually be a side trip from Anchorage to spend a couple nights at a lodge on the Kenai Peninsula that offers salmon fishing as one of its activities.

Value wise, 2 inside rooms or a suite?

That varies considerably from line to line and sometimes even from departure to departure on the same line, so you'll have to check the fares after you decide what you want to do. With two teenage boys, though, two cabins probably would be the better arrangement if prices are comparable.

Norm.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 12:13 AM
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Fishing is excellent out of Ketchikan, no need to go to interior Alaska. I also would not go interior is you only plan on seeing Anchorage, there is WAY more outside of this "city" to consider.

A good alternative to costly book purchases and what I always recommend, head to your library. Take out the Alaska travel books, Fodor's and Frommer's Alaska are expecially good.

Most travel agents have little or no experience in Alaska and even fewer have any experience with independent touring. It will pay greatly for you to do your homework, then decide.

All Alaska sailings do "inside passage", you can not get to Juneau or Skagway without it. Round trips are an excellent option and for clairfication, they do not "retrace a region" as mentioned. They loop offering some great sailing. So don't cross that off your list, if you aren't considering adding another week for independent travel.

I also NEVER recommend a cruisetour with kids, it is the most expensive option by far and the fixed schedule and lack of freedom is usually not the best choice.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 10:58 AM
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Thanks to eveyone I now have good info for my friend.
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RCCL Mariner of the Seas, Western 2/07
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Old August 17th, 2006, 01:43 PM
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Karen,

Fishing is excellent out of Ketchikan, no need to go to interior Alaska.

True, but the Kenai Peninsula is also noted for excellent fishing and Ketchikan -- Alaska's fourth largest city -- offers a host of other worthwhile activities that young teens would love. The Kenai Peninsula probably also would have restaraunts or shacks that would prepare and cook your catch for you, so you would be able to keep the fish that you catch rather than releasing them.

I also would not go interior is you only plan on seeing Anchorage, there is WAY more outside of this "city" to consider.

That's very true. I had intended the suggestion to be to use Anchorage as a base for exploring the surrounding area, but the wording obviously did not come across that way.

Round trips are an excellent option and for clairfication, they do not "retrace a region" as mentioned.

I'm standing by my original statement on this point. If you look at a map of the area, you'll see that the entire Canadian segment of the inside passage, where ships on "round trip" itineraries spend the first day underway and the last day underway, has only one route (Hecate Strati, Queen Charlotte Sound, Queen Charlotte Strait, Johnstone Strati, Discovery Passage, Strait of Georgia). Thus, a "rount trip" itinerary either retraces that segment or leaves the "Inside Passage" to cruise on the high seas instead.

Norm.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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Who said anything about releasing fish??? On Ketchikan fishing charters, nobody does, except undersized. All areas have fish processing, and it's shipped home for you. If fishing on the Kenai, and your plans allow- make this your "last" stop, have the fish packed and take it with you. You don't sound like you have ever fished in Alaska!!! Having it cooked for you is the minority, I don't know of anyone who does this??
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Old August 17th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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Karen,

Who said anything about releasing fish???

The descriptions of the fishing excursions that I have seen -- including all fishing excursions offered by the cruise lines -- hae said "catch and release" quite clearly.

All areas have fish processing, and it's shipped home for you.

I would expect that local operators offer excursoins on which you can keep your fish. Nonetheless, the cruise itinerary issuch that you have only one day in each port of call. thus, I would recommend taking that day to see what's there -- and nearly all of Alaska's ports of call have a LOT of worthwhile attractions -- and save the fishing for a post-cruise stay when it's not taking time from one's only chance to see something else.

You don't sound like you have ever fished in Alaska!!! Having it cooked for you is the minority, I don't know of anyone who does this??

No, I have not gone fishing in Alaska, but I'm from coastal New England. Around here, we eat fish while it's fresh. If we can smell a fish at all, we pitch it.

That said, having one's catch processed and either shipping or bringing it home certainly would be another option.

Norm.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 08:36 PM
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If you aren't fish eaters, I don't recommend the "catch & release" programs.

Unfortunately, the hooks do damage the fish's mouths. People who don't fish or who don't have a clue, violently rip out the hook sometimes ripping apart their throats and jaws. Most of the time when they are released - they do not survive 24 hours.

It's really no different than you catching your mouth on a hook & someone ripping it out of you. Obviously its going to cause pain & damage. And most of these tour groups are not going to tell you the "dirty little secrets" of what happens afterwards.

Many of the Enviromental Protection groups are trying to ban excursions like these and at other places. It's the cruelty to animals thing & frankly - unncessary.
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Old August 26th, 2006, 12:30 AM
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WE just planned our first Alaska cruise and I came across an exellent website that had all the ships listed and where they went with starting prices. Do a search on the web, that's all I did, and came across this website. My hsuband did a research on one ship and that was that, we're using it. Good luck and happy researching.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 05:02 PM
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Check out the Coral Princess. The itinerary is great with long days in port, Glacier Bay and College Fjord. The price is right, too, and Princess has a whole slew of landtours to choose from.
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