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Old May 11th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Default Inside Passage? Wellll, not really

We are scheduled to sail on the Golden Princess out of Seattle next week. We booked an "Inside passage" cruise to enjoy the cruise up the Straight of Georgia and inside the Queen Charlotte islands. At least in one direction! We were looking forward to cruising up through Campbell River and Port Hardy. But I've been tracking the positions and bridge cams of both the Sun and Golden Princesses on their first Alaska "Inside Passage" cruises of the season, and both have gone west out to sea on both legs. I'm crushed. Does anybody know if the Cruise West folks do the real inside passage itinerary? I guess the operative word here is ALASKA inside passage as opposed to the Canadian part. Is it a way to run the casino? or does BC allow for ship gambling in their territorial waters anyway?
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Old May 11th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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I thought you must be mistaken since Victoria is a port, but I see that even on the Princess site, the map shows the Golden going west of the Island both ways. That sucks!
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Old May 11th, 2007, 04:50 PM
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Princess round trip Seattle sailings have never sailed inside Vancouver Island, for years.

This itinerary has always sailed outside Vancouver Island- west side. IF you wanted inside Vancouver Island you need to sail out of Vancouver, most always on the regular cruiselines. Celebrity- used to have an itinerary that sailed one direction inside Vancouver Island from Seattle, don't know if this is currently available?

This is a big negative of round trip Seattle. Also you are going early for access to the Sawyer Glaciers. If you want a glacier viewing, best would be at the least, get to Mendenhall and/or plan another glacier activity. You aren't likely to see them on your sailing.

Cruise West has some fantastic itineraries and definately superior routings.

As for the casino, it is open most of the sailing time, usually within an hour of port, and yes, operates all Inside Vancouver Island, it is closed all during Glacier Bay sailing.

The cruiselines can advertize "Inside Passage" and be totally correct, you can not get to any of the Alaska ports without sailing it.
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Old May 11th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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Tracy Arm is completely clear of ice and debris this week. Of course it can change at most any time, any boat this first few weeks of season that "can't get in due to ice" isn't really trying.

Cruise West has some great itineraries that are truly "inside", just as Princess and HAL used to run in the old days. As the ships get bigger over the years, however, many of the old ports become unreachable and obsolete. You can't get to Sitka via Peril Strait and Surgess Narrows by large ship, Petersburg and Wrangell are off all but the smallest lines' itineraries, etc.

With large line pricing staying up, and small ship cruising prices dropping, I've been in favor of Cruise West, Wild Alaska, Lindblad, or even private yacht charters for several years now.

-Case
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Old May 11th, 2007, 10:06 PM
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>>With large line pricing staying up, and small ship cruising prices dropping, I've been in favor of Cruise West, Wild Alaska, Lindblad, or even private yacht charters for several years now. <<

Rack rates maybe, but right now I can get on RCI, HAL or Princess for under $600, a fraction of the little guys. The big ships want those cabins filled at any price so you buy excursions and go to the casino where the real money is - as you know the little guys don't have that luxury.

Murray
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Old May 12th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon
>>With large line pricing staying up, and small ship cruising prices dropping, I've been in favor of Cruise West, Wild Alaska, Lindblad, or even private yacht charters for several years now. <<

Rack rates maybe, but right now I can get on RCI, HAL or Princess for under $600, a fraction of the little guys. The big ships want those cabins filled at any price so you buy excursions and go to the casino where the real money is - as you know the little guys don't have that luxury.

Murray
I picked up a bottom rate for July a couple weeks ago, which is about what my next week rate was, both on NCL. No where near the pricing of the small ships. They certainly do a fantastic job, but the pricing is way up there for me.

Maybe some day.
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Old May 12th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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American Safari and Maple Leaf cruises/adventures in particular are among the things that keep me going to the lottery ticket booths
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Old May 14th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Karen16,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
This itinerary has always sailed outside Vancouver Island- west side. IF you wanted inside Vancouver Island you need to sail out of Vancouver, most always on the regular cruiselines. Celebrity- used to have an itinerary that sailed one direction inside Vancouver Island from Seattle, don't know if this is currently available?
The route that the ship takes (inside or outside of Vancouver Island, or anywhere else for that matter) is completely up to the master of the vessel, who takes sea conditions and navigational issues into consideration. With regard to Vancouver Island, though, most masters now opt to take the outer route because that part of the transit usually occurs at night, when you're not going to see anything anyway, and piloting through a relatively narrow channel requires additional personnel (what the U. S. Navy calls the "special sea and anchor detail") on watch. As the name of the detail implies, the ship usually mans the fo'c'sl and anchor windlass, with the anchor ready for release in case the ship starts to drift into dangerous waters, in addition to a piloting team on the bridge. Thus, ships typically use the inside route only when there's a storm in the gulf that would make the outside route rough.

Norm.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 11:19 AM
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>>With regard to Vancouver Island, though, most masters now opt to take the outer route because that part of the transit usually occurs at night, when you're not going to see anything anyway...<<

For northbounds, nearly half the length of the Island is in daylight, and for southbounds the entire passage is daylight (most of the large ships now get to Victoria about dinner time).

Murray
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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:11 PM
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Murray,

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Originally Posted by You
For northbounds, nearly half the length of the Island is in daylight, and for southbounds the entire passage is daylight (most of the large ships now get to Victoria about dinner time).
Yuck! If' my ship is going to Victoria, I want a full day there!

Most of the itineraries that I have seen leave Vancouver at 5:00 PM, so you're in a passage until dark either way, and they are well north of Vancouver Island by sunrise on Day 2. Southbound itineraries are the reverse, with arrival in Vancouver for disembarkation early in the morning.

The southbound leg of itineraries operating from Seattle might reach the northern part of Vancouver island before sundown on the last day, but probably late enough so most passengers are either at dinner or getting ready for dinner, and thus won't be able to watch the scenery anyway.

Norm.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:24 PM
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No matter what itinerary you choose, make sure the inland pilot or captain is looking out for Hanus Reef! ;-)

-Case
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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
The southbound leg of itineraries operating from Seattle might reach the northern part of Vancouver island before sundown on the last day, but probably late enough so most passengers are either at dinner or getting ready for dinner, and thus won't be able to watch the scenery anyway.

Norm.
The southbound leg on the Golden would (operative word would) pass through the Straight of Georgia during the day since it docks in Victoria at 7PM. But alas they have been going out to the west of Vancouver island on both legs. In fact they even go outside, that is to the west of the Queen Charlottes. It looks as though they are totally avoiding entering Canadian jurisdiction for some unknown to me reason because going out west of Queen Charlotte then cutting sharply to the east to head for Juneau is an easy excess 200 miles.

I realize that it gets tight sailing through the Campbell River area, particularly during tidal surges. I once watched a large tug-cable-barge rig , struggle for over four hours without making any headway at that very spot.

As far as it being up to the master, I doubt it. On one cruise where we were dancing around a hurricane the master was absolutely bound to make no decisions on his own but to confer constantly with headquarters. And that is the way he announced all change of movements to the passengers.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 07:51 AM
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Rev, since you've apparently never been on an Alaska cruise (as you constantly give wrong information), check the photos/reviews at http://www.youralaskacruise.com/reviews/index.html (the Radiance is a Vancouver departure, the Vision a Seattle).

Murray
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Old May 15th, 2007, 06:55 PM
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Murray,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon
Rev, since you've apparently never been on an Alaska cruise (as you constantly give wrong information), check the photos/reviews at http://www.youralaskacruise.com/reviews/index.html (the Radiance is a Vancouver departure, the Vision a Seattle).
Actually, I have been to Alaska on cruises more than once and am ready to go back. And the information that I gave here is not exactly wrong.

Norm.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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reefisher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
The southbound leg on the Golden would (operative word would) pass through the Straight of Georgia during the day since it docks in Victoria at 7PM.
Yes, a ship that docks at Victoria at 7:00 PM would transit by Vancouver Island during the daytime.

But what a horribly timed itinerary! A 7:00 PM arrival in Victoria would have me looking elsewhere without thinking twice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
As far as it being up to the master, I doubt it. On one cruise where we were dancing around a hurricane the master was absolutely bound to make no decisions on his own but to confer constantly with headquarters. And that is the way he announced all change of movements to the passengers.
Maritime law is very clear that the master has absolute authority over and absolute and final responsibility for the safe navigation of the vessel. Any guidance from the cruise line's headquarters is strictly a recommendation.

Of course, a prudent master will use all information available to him or her indluding information on weather conditions, currents, other traffic, or other conditions that may favor one route over another, that the cruise line's headquarters may provide, and the master may even choose to consult with the brain trust at the corporation's headquarters regarding choice of route. Nonetheless, the final decision on all matters of navigation and the legal responsibility for such decisions always rest with the master alone.

Norm.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
But what a horribly timed itinerary! A 7:00 PM arrival in Victoria would have me looking elsewhere without thinking twice.
As you'll see at the port schedule at http://www.claalaska.com/pdf/2007/2007_Victoria.pdf 98% of ships now give Victoria only a few late-evening hours. Whatever the city did to annoy the cruise lines last year, it must have been bad.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
Murray,

[



The southbound leg of itineraries operating from Seattle might reach the northern part of Vancouver island before sundown on the last day, but probably late enough so most passengers are either at dinner or getting ready for dinner, and thus won't be able to watch the scenery anyway.

Norm.
I agree with Murray- You have the WHOLE day outside Vancouver Island on the SOUTH bound sailing to Seattle, I am just again, off a Seattle round trip. There is some scenic sailing, heading into Victoria, for a couple hours.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 09:26 PM
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Yukon,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
As you'll see at the port schedule at http://www.claalaska.com/pdf/2007/2007_Victoria.pdf 98% of ships now give Victoria only a few late-evening hours. Whatever the city did to annoy the cruise lines last year, it must have been bad.
Given that choice, I'll go out of Vancouver instead. Ships that cruise from Vancouver don't have to stop in Victoria to make the itinerary legal.

Norm.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 03:11 AM
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The choice by ship's captains have nothing to do with the route sailed to Alaska. The real reason is being able to keep a seven day schedule and meet the requirements of the "Jones act". That is why Victoria has a brief stopover. The only way ships sailing out of Seattle can keep a seven day sked is to sail up the outside of Vancouver Island as quickly as possible which due to the nature of the sea conditions on that route often make it very uncomfortable for passengers,it can be quite bumpy out there. While Seattle is my favourite US city I would never opt for the outside route over the more scenic and tranquil route out of Vancouver. Its also another by product of 9/11 where many US citizens are relucant to sail from foreign ports eg. Vancouver.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmac
The choice by ship's captains have nothing to do with the route sailed to Alaska. The real reason is being able to keep a seven day schedule and meet the requirements of the "Jones act". That is why Victoria has a brief stopover. The only way ships sailing out of Seattle can keep a seven day sked is to sail up the outside of Vancouver Island as quickly as possible which due to the nature of the sea conditions on that route often make it very uncomfortable for passengers,it can be quite bumpy out there. While Seattle is my favourite US city I would never opt for the outside route over the more scenic and tranquil route out of Vancouver. Its also another by product of 9/11 where many US citizens are relucant to sail from foreign ports eg. Vancouver.
One less pilot to deal with too. An update, on the southbound we traveled inside the Queen Charlottes then went west of Vancouver Is. On the northbound, after we dropped off the pilot at Port Angeles, we stayed south of the border out Juan de Fuca straight until out of sight of land before turning north. Totally avoiding Canadian waters until the southbound trip. Any speculation as to why?
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Old June 28th, 2007, 03:05 AM
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After the pilot was disembarked at Port Angeles your ship transited Juan de Fuca along a westbound traffic lane which is in Canadian waters while the eastbound lane is entirely within US waters. This area is part of the Canada/US Cooperative Vessel Traffic Service,at buoy J in the entrance to the Strait your vessel would then be monitored by the Canadian Coast Guard Traffic Centre on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Once the ship passed 127 west you are then outside this traffic zone. These are not pilotage waters nor are those waters inside the Queen Charlotte Islands. I asssume on your northbound lane you were west of the Charlottes, nothing like a good ocean voyage as opposed to the Inside Passage which really begins about two hours west of Vancouver heading up Johnstone Straits. As I previously mentioned it is all about scheduling and preferred sailing days eg Sat,Sun which has influenced the departure port. If the port of Vancouver had more berthing capacity for the cruise companies the situation would be somewhat different. BTW how did you find the "outside" portion of your trip?. As for the extra pilot, he would only be required if the voyage stayed east of Vancouver Island and followed the actual Inside Passage to the Alaska border where a Alaska pilot would then embark.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmac
After the pilot was disembarked at Port Angeles your ship transited Juan de Fuca along a westbound traffic lane which is in Canadian waters while the eastbound lane is entirely within US waters. This area is part of the Canada/US Cooperative Vessel Traffic Service,at buoy J in the entrance to the Strait your vessel would then be monitored by the Canadian Coast Guard Traffic Centre on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Once the ship passed 127 west you are then outside this traffic zone. These are not pilotage waters nor are those waters inside the Queen Charlotte Islands. I asssume on your northbound lane you were west of the Charlottes, nothing like a good ocean voyage as opposed to the Inside Passage which really begins about two hours west of Vancouver heading up Johnstone Straits. As I previously mentioned it is all about scheduling and preferred sailing days eg Sat,Sun which has influenced the departure port. If the port of Vancouver had more berthing capacity for the cruise companies the situation would be somewhat different. BTW how did you find the "outside" portion of your trip?. As for the extra pilot, he would only be required if the voyage stayed east of Vancouver Island and followed the actual Inside Passage to the Alaska border where a Alaska pilot would then embark.
The outside portion of the northbound trip was rough, but we were forward, just 3 cabins back from the most forward cabin. I got seasick and the wife did not, usually just the opposite. Next Alaska trip, if there is to be one, will be the real Inside Passage. Not so much for the comfort but for the additional scenery. We have even thought of taking one of those local (Vancouver Is., sunshine coast etc) small frieghters, that offer a few cabins, meals and a less predictable itenerary, for a small number of passengers.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Thanks jdmac and reefisher for all your info on this Seattle/Vancouver departure senario. We took the Inside Passage in 2004 and I am planning Alaska for 2009.
I was plannning my itinerary to include Sitka and trying to get a HAL ship.
We took a bus last time from Vancouver to the Amtrak station in Seattle (hubby doesn't fly), so all this info will come in handy for planning 2009.
Thanx again ~~~~~~
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Old July 5th, 2007, 02:32 PM
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Absolutely take the Princess round trip from Vancouver and you will experience the inside passage. It is the highlight of the cruise.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
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Absolutely take the Princess round trip from Vancouver and you will experience the inside passage. It is the highlight of the cruise.
Princess hasn't sailed round trip Vancouver in several years. And only one ship doing a unique extended costly sailing next year.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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You can still get a few Vancouver RT's ie Hal and Celebrity. I still think cruiser's are somewhat misled re Inside Passage but as they say "ignorance is bliss". If you like a sea voyage, and all that goes with it ,then Seattle is the port for you.
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