This is probably going to be a dumb question but here goes. My husband and I are planning our first Alaskan cruise and are trying to decide between an oceanview cabin and a balcony. The price of a balcony is quite steep and we really are wondering if it is worth it. Also (here comes the dumb question) if you have a balcony cabin wouldn't it be better to be on a certain side of the ship. If you were on the wrong side, wouldn't you be defeating your purpose of a balcony because you wouldn't see land? Any advice would be helpful.
We had a balcony on our Alaskan cruise. It's great because you can see humpback whales and dolphins right from your balcony. Also if you are going on the inside passage then you will see land on either side of the ship.
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Yes I would get a balcony. Which one are you going on? Northbound or Southbound. Because I am doing the Southbound on the Carnival Spirit over 4th of July.
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First of all, I'm a "Must have balcony" person for Alaska. Yes, you can and should use the upper decks for viewing too but I love sitting on the balcony whenever possible. It's a must for us.
Are you going to Glacier bay (you should). If that's the case I suggest portside for the balcony. As you're heading into the bay all the glaciers are port and this is when the Ranger/guide person is narrating. View of course would be the same on starboard as you leave the bay but the narration is done.
Next to consider is the route you'll take. Round trips from Seattle see more open sea. Round trips from Vancouver, at least when we last cruised to Alaska in 2003, we were near land in the passage and the view was the same from both sides of the ship...and spectacular I might add. For a good chunk of the trip we were really close to land.
One ways between Vancouver and Seward you'll be in the open sea more, however we never did that.
I had to have a verandah and when our cruiseline was reported in the paper to be frequently breaking down (I posted this elsewhere) we had to change our plans at the very last minute. We signed up for RCCL Serenity out of Vancouver. The stress of changing was horrible, but the room was incredible. No Verandahs were left and we were told to consider a rather large room in the nose of the ship. Still disapointed, I had to resign myself to a new cruise line and no verandah. That is until we entered our room. IT was PERFECT. We were on the 7th floor, and there were 4 front rooms, we had the one to the starboard side. We overlooked the helicopter pad, and that was where everyone went to look our at the scenery. I did too. It meant going down two floors and walking up one. Simple.
When the weather was bad, I could look out of our port hole windows. We had 2 windows that were about 4 feet across. When it was night and the air was chilled, we could look out and not leave our room.
The room was several hundred dollars cheaper than our original verandah room on a different cruiseline. Not only was there a queen size bed with a curtain that could be closed around it, there was a love seat, an arm chair, a coffee table, two built in dressers, a desk, fridge, microwave, another small bedroom with two beds..one was a pullman. I counted the steps to walk from the windows to the desk and I think it was 8 steps. I am nearly 6 feet tall and have a long stride. The only thing small was the bathroom. I can live with that. I'd ask for the same room again.
Unless money isn't an issue at all, go for the oceanview and spend the money you save on great excursions so you get to really see Alaska up close. I'd love a balcony but then would have no money left to go flightseeing, whalewatching and all the other neat things we do.
It's all about budget and what's important to each individual traveler. I much prefer to spend the extra money on a balcony instead of an expensive helicopter flight (over $700 for 3 of us back in 2003) to land on a glacier for an hour or two.