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Old May 19th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Default I want opinions! How important is a balcony in Alaska?

We are going on our second cruise, first to Alaska. I have been told that a balcony is imperative. Then others say they would rather spend the money on an excursion. Okay, I need more opinions please.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Whenever this question comes up there seems to be about an even amount of yes get a balcony and no, don't do it.

I'm a yes person. For Alaska a balcony is a must. The scenery is too awesome there and I want to miss as little of it as possible.

And no, I don't spend all my time out there. I do go on the decks for wildlife searching, etc. Some think we balcony lovers never leave the cabin. Believe me, we do.

I think it depends on what your likes and dislikes are. We don't gamble or go for many of the planned activities the ships offer. Our main enjoyment is kicking back and relaxing. And a balcony is perfect for that.

I prefer paying for a balcony over an expensive 2 hour flight-seeing trip as well.

But if you're the type of cruiser that likes the socializing, games, casino, art auctions, etc then probably you wouldn't need a balcony.

So basically if you like to watch nature roll by slowly...yes a balcony
If you only spend time in the cabin to sleep and shower and change clothes....probably not.

I do suggest that if you do decide to get a balcony, get one that's covered. You'll most likely run in to some rain on the trip. You'll be able to still go on the balcony when it's raining.

Enjoy your trip.......and here come the counterpoints
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Old May 19th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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I'm sailing tomorrow in an inside cabin, so guess what my answer is? Would I prefer a balcony -- sure, but when I was booking, it was almost double the cost of the inside and I just couldn't justify that.

We did have a balcony on our first cruise to Alaska, and frankly, we didn't use it much. I found the noise from the wind extremely irritating for some reason. We sat inside on the couch and looked out the balcony doors quite a bit, but I didn't spend anywhere near enough time on it to justify double the cost this time.

Alaska shore excursions are expensive -- and by not booking a balcony, I'm basically paying for my whale watching trip, my Mistry Fjords cruise excursion (not a plane ride), and the long Skagway - Carcross train ride from the money I saved by booking an inside.

If you don't care about the excursions and are planning on mostly wandering the towns, I'd probably book a balcony. If you're interested in seeing differing scenery from what you can see from the public areas on the ship and want the excursions, I'd book an inside.

There's no right or wrong answer, it's just a matter of preference.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 08:38 AM
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We are balcony lovers and for a cruise to Alaska the balcony is worth every penny.

We sat and had coffee in the mornings, enjoyed the evening cruise views and slept with the door open at night. Granted we cruised mid July and the weather was perfect.

I just can't imagine not waking to the sounds, smells (cleanest air we've ever breathed!) and of course sights of Alaska you experience with a balcony!

It's all a matter of how you want to spend your money, plain and simple. But when we cruise Alaska again we will certainly have a balcony!
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Old May 20th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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It sounds like alot of fun to have a balcony. And darn it, we get a discount so it makes it more worth it.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 10:17 AM
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Well shootfire, if you get a discount then book the balcony!!!!
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Old May 20th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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yeah, if you get a good rate on balcony, go ahead and grab it. But I am planning to spend most of my waking time walking around the upper deck, so i decided to save the money for excursion. I think the only compelling reason for me to ever use balcony is to know when the sun comes out so I can get up..
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Old May 20th, 2007, 02:32 PM
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Im going to Alaska in September and there is NO WAY I would do that cruise without a balcony, NO WAY.

Imagine sitting on your balcony sipping something, hanging out, seeing the ice and mountains.

Now imagine your face pressed up against a dirty, nasty port hole window trying to make out big white things as they go by, then relenting and having to go up to a deck to see it. What a pain.

This is Alaska, not the Bahamas, its worth the $

Rob
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Old May 20th, 2007, 09:05 PM
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Well Rob, you sure put it in perspective for me.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 05:55 AM
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While I always love to have a balcony, Alaska is one cruise that its almost a must. The beauty is amazing and you don't want to miss a thing.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 02:56 AM
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We just returned from our second trip, the first was last summer. A
balcony is a MUST. So much to see and experience.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 11:56 AM
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For those of us who don't have the same amount of money to spend on our vacations, it comes down to deciding on what is more important: being able to sit on a balcony or being able to do some wonderful port excursions or maybe add on a brief landtour.

For me, the balcony loses out every time. I do prefer an outside room so I can look out early in the morning to see what the weather is like. I don't know where Sirobin found "dirty, nasty portholes". The time I had a porthole, there was nothing dirty or nasty about it, and it was quite adequate for watching the waves come up to our level one night during a hurricane. Last time I had a window, which was nice. But since I spend almost all my time away from the room, I could easily make do with an inside room.

However, if any of you are offering to pay for an upgrade to a balcony for my next Alaska cruise, I happily accept!
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Old May 29th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Born2cruise,

I have to reply to your post.

I agree that you can only do what you can afford. I also think Alaska is something you should wait to do until you can save enough to do both, its worth the wait.

I disagree, If you think those port holes are so clean go ahead and get nice and close to them every morning for the sunrise, just remember how many people have sneezed and coughed in that room over the years, not to mentioned whatever else is holding a party on the glass from kids who touch something in the bathroom and then go over to the window and touch it as an example.

Do you really trust the crew is really wiping the glass in each room every time the ship takes on new people? nahhh.. I doubt it.

Rob
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Old May 29th, 2007, 05:03 PM
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ROFL! If you think the windows are full of germs, what about door knobs, hand rails, table tops, dresser drawers, etc? Not to mention the doors to balconies. People have sneezed and coughed and touched just about everything in the rooms. No way are you going to avoid germs, no matter how much of an effort the staff makes to clean things.

If you won't book a cruise unless you have a balcony, that's entirely up to you. But how odd that you think I should feel the same way. I'm not going to "wait" and "save up" for a balcony. Not a priority with me.

Some people can afford to go on several cruises a year and have balconies every time. I'm happy for them. But my financial reality is different. Don't get me wrong, it would be nice to have a balcony. If I had lots of money, I'd cruise often and get balconies too. But I don't have lots of money. And since I spend very little time in the room, my well-considered preference is to go on a cruise every 2nd year rather than only one every 3 or 4 years so I can have a balcony. Different strokes for different folks.

Besides, it's a good thing that there are people who feel as I do. If the only cabins that sold were ones with balconies, either the ships would cancel most of the cruises, or the price of one would be astronomical. Whatever would they do with all those empty rooms?
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Old May 30th, 2007, 01:58 AM
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I am definately not in agreement, that you should wait until you can afford a balcony. I really have no money issues, and can travel just about as often as I wish- with 5 cruises this year- 2 Alaska, 2 Hawaii, and 1 13 day Baltic. And I choose a cheap inside cabin every time. I just love viewing from on decks, having all that space is wonderful for me as I spend a great deal of the sailing time out doors.

Those who purchase balconies and outside cabins are making the best choices for their travel priorities, as am I with the cheap insides.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 02:02 AM
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[quote="Born2Cruise"]ROFL! If you think the windows are full of germs, what about door knobs, hand rails, table tops, dresser drawers, etc? Not to mention the doors to balconies. People have sneezed and coughed and touched just about everything in the rooms. No way are you going to avoid germs, no matter how much of an effort the staff makes to clean things.
quote]


OH boy is this the truth. There was an article in Conde Nast a couple months ago about "Dr. Germ" and hotel rooms. Could definately be written about ship cabins.

Just to add to the list, think serving handles of self serving buffets- person ahead of you in line, sampling his plate, licks his fingers- then- touches that handle you are next for getting a direct link to his spit. No wonder, I go with wipes for everything.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Hey folks,

I was just giviing my opinion, I would not do Alaska without a Balcony. I said in my opinion you should save until you can do both. Not sure why this has become about not sailing unless its a balcony. This was about Alaska.

I am going on a cruise in a few weeks with a partially obstructed window. I am not above it, I just think Alaska is worth it.

As far as germs, your right, they are everywhere, while I was more or less joking about pressing up to the glass, technically, there could be something on that glass that you would not otherwise make contact with in the ship.

We don't need to get techincal about this point because its not worth it, I WAS KIDDING AROUND.

:-)
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Old May 30th, 2007, 05:56 PM
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I just returned from Alaska with a wonderful balcony view that didn't cost me any extra! It was the promenade deck on the NCL Pearl. Much wider than a regular balcony, with comfortable deck chaises and blankets instead of regular chairs. The only problem is that I did need to get up and get dressed before I wanted to be seen in public on it !

Not only that, it had the benefit of being set back far enough that we didn't have nearly as much noise from the wind as we did on our "real" balcony on the Sun. It also had vents that appeared to be blowing warm air -- still haven't figure out if they were meant to be heaters or not, but they had that affect.

With as few people who utilized it, it was really about like having my own private balcony. I was able to spend my $$$ on great shore excursions, instead of feeling like I needed to scrimp on shore excursions so I could sit in private.

Is it for everyone? Obviously not, but for my DH and I it worked just fine, thank you!
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Old May 30th, 2007, 07:49 PM
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Did you have an inside or an outside cabin?

Even though I'm a "must have balcony" person I've always felt that what you did, getting a room off the promenade deck would be a nice option.
I was concerned however about noise and privacy especially from an outside cabin.

People strolling the decks looking in cabin windows. Crew moving chairs and hosing down the deck. Shuffleboard courts. That type of commotion would concern me.

Obviously however it wasn't a problem for you.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 11:35 PM
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It was an inside cabin, up one deck from the Promenade deck. On the NCL Pearl, there are no cabins on the Promenade deck (deck 7).
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Old May 31st, 2007, 11:50 AM
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Thanks, I think that's a nice option if one doesn't want to spend extra for the private balcony.
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