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Old April 6th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Default First Alaska cruise with 16 & 13 yr. old

Hi, we are planning a cruise in August with our two girls 16 & 13. None of us have cruised before. Our travel agent is suggesting either the Princess line or the Norwegian Cruise line. I'm not sure which way to go. We want our kids to be entertained. One itenerary includes Glacial bay while the other itinerary includes Seward Bay. We would be leaving from Seattle.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: First Alaska cruise with 16 & 13 yr. old

Bluejbc100,

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Originally Posted by You
Hi, we are planning a cruise in August with our two girls 16 & 13. None of us have cruised before. Our travel agent is suggesting either the Princess line or the Norwegian Cruise line. I'm not sure which way to go. We want our kids to be entertained. One itenerary includes Glacial bay while the other itinerary includes Seward Bay. We would be leaving from Seattle.

Thanks for any suggestions.
Yes. Before you book anything, go to your local bookstore and pick up a guidebook to cruise lines and cruise ships, read the descriptions of ALL of the cruise lines that cruise to Alaska, and pick out no more than two or three lines that seem to match your personal style. If either Princess Cruises or Norwegian Cruise Line make that list, great -- go ahead and book it. If not, go back to your travel agent and have a "heart to heart" about the line(s) that seem to be the better match.

All of the major cruise lines offer substantially similar itineraries, all of which call at three of the four major cruise ports (Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, and Skagway) and perhaps a minor port (Haines, Hoonah/"Icy Strait Point," etc.) along the inside passage and visit one or another of the major glacier areas (Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, or College Fjord), and all of the major cruise lines offer similar shore excursions in each port of call. All of the major cruise lines also have excellent teen programs for your daughters. In reality, the style of the cruise line is the most significant differentiator between a cruise on one line and a cruise on another line. You and your daughters will have the best experience of the cruise on a line that's a good match for your personal style.

The styles of the various cruise lines are, quite literally, all over the map. Some cruise lines are more "upscale" than others, some are dressier, especially in the evening, than others, etc. The descriptions in a guidebook would be your best indicator of comparative styles.

Have a great cruise, whichever you decide!

Norm.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 10:56 AM
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Head to your library and take out Alaska travel books, Fodor's Alaska, Alaska by Cruiseship and Frommer's Alaska are especially concise.

Your cruise ship list is two different routes, for Princess to have Glacier Bay, you are looking at a one way cruise Vancouver/Whittier. Seward is a city, that RCI and HAL sail to, neither NCL or Princess go there.

Round trip Seattle Princess sails Tracy Arm, overall I don't like this itinerary with Princess. Poor routing, port times and no guarantee of a glacier viewing in Tracy Arm.

Round trip Seattle on the NCL Pearl is a winner itinerary with Glacier Bay. Freestyle works out perfectly in Alaska and the more casualness may be better for some people. Princess has something similar with personal choice for dining.

Look also at other cruiselines sailing out of Seattle. Things to consider- route, time in ports, glacier, ship naturalist, PRICE- budget for shore tours, you get half a trip without them in my opinion.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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Our first cruise was on Royal Caribbean and while my husband and I loved it, our son was looking forward to more kids his age onboard.

Our next cruise was on Carnival. We picked that cruise line specifically for him. He had a blast. Lots & lots of kids his age and a great teen club. Everyone had a great time.

Our son is now 16. My DH and I decided on either an Alaskan Cruise or Maui for this year's vacation. We decided to let our son make the final decision. He picked the Alaskan cruise on Carnival.

We're sailing north from Vancouver to Anchorage, through the inside passage and will see glaciers along the way. We stop at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka. We also pass through the Prince William Sound and view College Fjord. We also made sure we got a balcony room on the land side so we can see these sites at all times. The scenery along the way is supposed to be spectacular.

I'm not in any way telling you to pick Carnival, just ask your travel agent to consider all the cruise lines and which one would be best for your kids. When they have a good time, the vacation's great...but when they don't, it's..well you know. They can truly make or break your vacation.

Whichever one you pick, I hope you and your family have the best vacation.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 09:07 PM
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I am in a similar situation. I am planning to take my 12 year old grandson on his first cruise, which will be my first Alaska cruise, from Seattle. I am unable to give you any specific information on this trip. I have, however, travelled on many ships and several cruise lines, including Princess and NCL. I have some general tips I share with first time cruisers.

. Princess has a youth program, but will staff the program only during weeks where there are 20 or more young people aboard to attend the program. Otherwise, you are on your own to keep the kids occupied. I don't remember about NCL.

. More kids are likely to be aboard when school is out of session.

. On any cruise, the first day and the last day are not fun. Each counts as 1/2 day of the cruise vacation you pay for. I generally prefer cruises of 10 days or longer.

. On any cruise, the majority of people aboard will be over 50 years old. The longer and mores expensive the cruise, the higher the average age. For passengers under 30, there difference is usually few versus very few.
Passengers younger than 40 frequently book vacations to warmer destinations, rather than Alaska.

. Short cruise trips can be valuable to determine which people like cruising. Some people don't like cruise ships at all. I remember on one trip through the Panama Canal, a lady I met brought her 18 year old daughter. A trip of a lifetime. The whole trip, the kid was whining that she would rather be back in Chicago, hanging out on a street corner with her friends. Also, some people are very prone to sea sickness. The last couple ships I have travelled on have been so stable I could hardly tell we had left the dock. Still, some people complained the boat made them seasick.

. If you use Skopolamine patches to ward off seasickness, don't plan to drive for at least a day after the patch is removed. It often affects vision and balance.

. Get a passport. By next year, a passport will be required to go most anywhere out of the country. Even now, it is convenient to have.

. Start with a new wallet or purse. Bring on the trip only what you will need during the trip. Leave your regular wallet/purse home in a safe place, with everything else.

. If your state of residence issues an identification card, get one of those and bring it along. With that picture ID, you can usually leave your passport and driver license in the safe in your cabin. When you go ashore, only take what you will need during that visit. One of my friends had his pocked picked in Acapulco, and in Rio, reached into his pocket and found a strange woman's hand already there.

Good luck on your trip.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobRen
We're sailing north from Vancouver to Anchorage, through the inside passage and will see glaciers along the way. We stop at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka. We also pass through the Prince William Sound and view College Fjord. We also made sure we got a balcony room on the land side so we can see these sites at all times. The scenery along the way is supposed to be spectacular.

.
'

For clairfication, you really see very little glacier view "along the way" Inside Passage. If a priority best consider a cheap option of getting to Mendenhall out of Juneau. $12 round trip shuttle bus. The only glacier viewing on this itinerary is College Fjords, you need a port side for the viewing and commentary if you are only planning on viewing from your cabin. The glaciers are 90% on the port side. On the return, the ship speeds up and just sails by. This ship also ports in Whittier- interesting ride though the tunnel to leave. It is highly recommended IF glaciers are a priority to take one of the boat tours that leave out of Whittier, grossly superior to anything seen from your ship. Just spectacular.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 04:39 AM
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Karen,

After the ship docks in Whitter on Wednesday, we have until Sunday afternoon before our plane leaves from Anchorage. Do you think it's worth staying in Whittier overnight so we could take one of the boat tours? We plan to take the train to Anchorage where family will pick us up.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobRen
Karen,

After the ship docks in Whitter on Wednesday, we have until Sunday afternoon before our plane leaves from Anchorage. Do you think it's worth staying in Whittier overnight so we could take one of the boat tours? We plan to take the train to Anchorage where family will pick us up.
Nope- you can easily get a boat tour and still make the train at 6pm the same day.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 05:58 PM
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I think it would be better to select some short trip for the first time travelling with kids. You need to see if they are interested in this travelling.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 07:22 PM
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sedin,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I think it would be better to select some short trip for the first time travelling with kids. You need to see if they are interested in this travelling.
I agree.

But seven nights is a short cruise. I seriously would not recommend anything less for a first cruise because you need enough time to settle in and learn the routine before you can make a judgement as to how well you like it.

Norm.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 03:28 PM
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We have cruised Alaska twice on Carnival. My daughters were 15 and 11 at the time (twins). They enjoyed Carnival both times.

They will have fun on whatever you choose,
Kathy
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Old June 1st, 2007, 11:56 PM
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I took my 3 children the last week of May on princess cruise to alaska ages 9 11 16

My children get out earlier than most - so there were not as many children (as I understand) as during the summer but enough. They had a great time.

Yes the majority of passengers are over 50 (I am guessing) but not all.

This is a great experience, just make sure you plan excursions that they enjoy. We did whale watching, helicopter in Denali, ziplining and fishing, my two younger enjoyed the railroad more than the older teen out of skagway.

There are plenty of activities to keep them busy.

There only complaint my youngest was no free ice cream... if that was the only issue we were doing great!!!
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