Go Back   CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums > Destinations > Alaska
Register Forgot Password?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old June 16th, 2009, 12:43 PM
Junior Member
Familiar Face
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 17
Default Help me with a cruise to Alaska

My family and I have been on several cruises, primarily either Eastern or Western Caribbean/Mexico all 7 days. We all decided on the last cruise we'd like to try something different and everyone had always wanted to visit Alaska. We also wanted to do something "bigger" as kind of a splurge. There would be 6 people in the Party 55F/45M/35F/30M/22F/21M are age/sex just to give an idea. We've tried several lines, but have had wonderful luck with RCCL for value/price so we'd likely want to do them again. Given all that I'm leaning doing an Alaskan 12-14 day cruise in 2010. The RCCL 12-14 seem to be in May or September.

The idea of being in Alaska sounds wonderful, but I guess what scares me is typically a cruise includes a lot of laying out by the pool or "beach" related activities during all the downtime on a ship. I know at the right time (whenever that is) Alaska is very mild and not at all freezing cold, but it's also not getting a hot tan weather either. So here's my questions I or the group have come up with...

1) When is the best time to visit Alaska is May or September ok? Also what kind of weather would we expect?

2) Is this a good use of a 14 day cruise? It seems to visit a ton of ports which should be wonderful, but how is downtime typically used? It's just a little paradigm shift from a "beach cruise"

3) Is RCCL's Alaska package relatively good? They've been great to us in the Caribbean.

4) Any other major differences 5 time Mexico/Caribbean cruisers would be shocked by in doing the Alaskan trip?

Thanks for your help, we're very excited about the idea, but with the obvious expense and time requirement I want some basic questions answered before I delve too deep into research on it. Thanks a lot!

4)
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old June 16th, 2009, 04:21 PM
PeterC's Avatar
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 533
Default

You'll find in an Alaskan cruise that it will be a much quieter trip. No bellyflop contests or reggae bands at the pools. It's very peaceful and scenic. Many of the indoor activities such as auctions, etc will be the same.

If you do like to lounge around the pool I suggest you find a ship with a covered pool. I don't know if RCCL has that or not. HAL does on some ships. Our cruise on Celebrity Mercury had a small indoor pool and 2 large uncovered outdoor pools.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old June 16th, 2009, 05:00 PM
Senior Member
First Mate
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: USA-New England
Posts: 412
Default

I'm cruising with Princess to Alaska on Sapphire end of August, they have an indoor(covered pool and hot tubs). Since I haven't been yet, I can only offer you what I have read in books and online.

In Sept, many things (excursions, museums, etc.) can close after Labor Day. Most of the mountain snow has melted over the summer but the trees should be showing their colors.

In May, I believe, it might be a bit colder for some. There might also be times when your ship can not make it close enough to some glaciers due to ice pack. There again, it depends on your itinerary (ports and ship) and also on what you have in your mind set for must-do/see activities. Some have told me there is more Whale action in May?

Check the different lines websites for their ports, excursions, on-board activities, etc. to help you decide what is best for you and yours.

You will probably see 'our' Donna post here also, she went to Alaska in May and is very helpful.

Sweet Sailing!

p.s. If you saw what I am doing on my cruise/tour, you will wonder when I will be able to get some sleep.
__________________
Peg











Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old June 16th, 2009, 05:30 PM
Donna's Avatar
Moderator
Admiral
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: on my computer
Posts: 26,428
Send a message via AIM to Donna
Default

Last year on Star Princess, the indoor pool was used a lot, both kids and adults...

I know what you are talking about when cruising the Caribbean, any nice down time days are spent in the sun by the pool. In this case, you'll still be outside, but not in a pool. There is so much to see and great excursions, I don't think you'll be bored at all.
__________________

Message Boards Moderator
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old June 17th, 2009, 12:07 AM
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 529
Default Re: Help me with a cruise to Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam61
My family and I have been on several cruises, primarily either Eastern or Western Caribbean/Mexico all 7 days. We all decided on the last cruise we'd like to try something different and everyone had always wanted to visit Alaska. We also wanted to do something "bigger" as kind of a splurge. There would be 6 people in the Party 55F/45M/35F/30M/22F/21M are age/sex just to give an idea. We've tried several lines, but have had wonderful luck with RCCL for value/price so we'd likely want to do them again. Given all that I'm leaning doing an Alaskan 12-14 day cruise in 2010. The RCCL 12-14 seem to be in May or September.

The idea of being in Alaska sounds wonderful, but I guess what scares me is typically a cruise includes a lot of laying out by the pool or "beach" related activities during all the downtime on a ship. I know at the right time (whenever that is) Alaska is very mild and not at all freezing cold, but it's also not getting a hot tan weather either. So here's my questions I or the group have come up with...

1) When is the best time to visit Alaska is May or September ok? Also what kind of weather would we expect?

2) Is this a good use of a 14 day cruise? It seems to visit a ton of ports which should be wonderful, but how is downtime typically used? It's just a little paradigm shift from a "beach cruise"

3) Is RCCL's Alaska package relatively good? They've been great to us in the Caribbean.

4) Any other major differences 5 time Mexico/Caribbean cruisers would be shocked by in doing the Alaskan trip?

Thanks for your help, we're very excited about the idea, but with the obvious expense and time requirement I want some basic questions answered before I delve too deep into research on it. Thanks a lot!

4)
Hi Adam61,

I will try and answer your questions as best I can. I went on what I thought was a one time cruise to Alaska and just returned from a b2b Alaskan cruise which makes it more than a dozen cruises to Alaska for me.

To answer your questions:

(1) My favorite time to visit Alaska is mid to late May. There is still snow on the mountains and the weather, while unpredictable, is usually been very good for us in May.

(2) I would recommend taking a one way cruise North or South and then spending a week on land before or after your cruise. You will see so much more of the true beauty that is Alaska when on land. Renting a car and driving on your own is IMHO the best and cheapest way to go.

(3) RCCL and Celebrity are not alowed into Glacier Bay National Park and that for me is one of the highlights of cruising in Alaska. I feel that Princess does the best job in Alaska and gives you the best cruise value.

(4) An Alaskan cruise is not quite the same as a Carabbean cruise. You will find the night life slows down around eleven o'clock. You will also find that the sun goes down very late and comes up very early!

I think you would enjoy a cruise to Alaska, but do your own research and plan your own fabulous vacation.

Hope this helps,

Debra
__________________
With integrity nothing else matters; without it nothing else matters.

Winston Churchill

email: debra2106@yahoo.com
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old June 17th, 2009, 03:12 PM
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 598
Default

RCCL has a cover pool.

I have been told that a land tour should be done before the cruise b/c it's a nice way to rest and recover from all that sightseeing.

How about taking one cruiseline north and another south?

Start saving your pennies -- Alaska excursions are pricey.
__________________

Disney Wonder
RCCL Serenade of the Seas
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old June 17th, 2009, 03:59 PM
Junior Member
Beginner
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5
Default

You should cruise to alaska in september because there will be less bugs,less crowd and you will get very good deals at that time.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old June 18th, 2009, 08:16 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 4,771
Default Re: Help me with a cruise to Alaska

adam61,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
My family and I have been on several cruises, primarily either Eastern or Western Caribbean/Mexico all 7 days. We all decided on the last cruise we'd like to try something different and everyone had always wanted to visit Alaska. We also wanted to do something "bigger" as kind of a splurge. There would be 6 people in the Party 55F/45M/35F/30M/22F/21M are age/sex just to give an idea. We've tried several lines, but have had wonderful luck with RCCL for value/price so we'd likely want to do them again. Given all that I'm leaning doing an Alaskan 12-14 day cruise in 2010. The RCCL 12-14 seem to be in May or September.

The idea of being in Alaska sounds wonderful, but I guess what scares me is typically a cruise includes a lot of laying out by the pool or "beach" related activities during all the downtime on a ship. I know at the right time (whenever that is) Alaska is very mild and not at all freezing cold, but it's also not getting a hot tan weather either. So here's my questions I or the group have come up with...

1) When is the best time to visit Alaska is May or September ok? Also what kind of weather would we expect?
In May or September, the weather probably will be quite cool. I really recommend going in June, July, or August if you can.

With regard to weather:

>> Ketchikan, situated in the heart of a temperate rain forest, is the wettest city in North America, with an average of more than 260 days of rain per year.

>> Juneau is at the northern fringe of the same rain forest, so it's not quite as wet but rain is still very likely.

>> Skagway has been sunny, with temperatures around 80F, on both of my visits.

>> In glacier areas, you definitely will appreciate a winter jacket, hat, and gloves even in the summer. The "calving" of the glaciers deposits a steady supply of ice into the bays around them, with the consequence that the bays are full of ice water (32F). The air above them does not get much warmer; temperatures in the upper 30's F are typical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
2) Is this a good use of a 14 day cruise? It seems to visit a ton of ports which should be wonderful, but how is downtime typically used? It's just a little paradigm shift from a "beach cruise"
Actually, I would opt for the seven night cruise from Vancouver to Seward (or vice versa) and spend the rest of the time on land exploring Alaska's interior (Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks). IIRC, Royal Caribbean's fourteen night cruises are repositioning sailings that go between San Diego or Los Angeles and Vancouver by way of the inside passage, and never reach Anchorage. You could book a cruise-tour package through Royal Caribbean, but it probably would be less costly to rent a vehicle and make your own arrangements to go where you want to go on land. If you opt to make your own arrangements, I strongly recommend reserving your hotels in advance because destinations are further apart than you will want to drive if you encounter "No Vacancy" signs where you intend to stay.

OTOH, JTOL, there's so much to do in Alaska's ports of call that putting two seven night "one way" cruises back to back to make a round trip would be pretty good. You would have the turn-around day in the middle to explore Seward if you do this round trip out of Vancouver.

As to time ashore, Alaska's major ports of call offer more variety of activities and attractions than the ports of call in any other cruise destination in the world, including the major cities of Europe! IIRC, the cities of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway offer over eighty (80) distinct shore excursions -- everything from encounters with nature and indigenous cultures to the gold mining, salmon fishing, and timber industries to the modern era. You won't have time to do everything that you want to do.

3) Is RCCL's Alaska package relatively good? They've been great to us in the Caribbean.

All of the major cruise lines offer three basic itineraries -- "Inside Passage" (round trip from either Seattle or Vancouver), "Gulf of Alaska Northbound" (from Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier), and "Gulf of Alaska Southbound" (from either Seward or Whittier to Vancouver). There are minor variations, but all of these itineraries typically include three of the four major ports of call (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka) and a visit to one of the major glacier areas (Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, and College Fjord). Some lines include a minor port of call while others visit a second glacier area. Overall, the major differentiator is the shipboard experience. If you are satisfied with Royal Caribbean, you would do well to stay with that line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
4) Any other major differences 5 time Mexico/Caribbean cruisers would be shocked by in doing the Alaskan trip?
There's a lot more to see and to do in most of Alaska's ports of call than on most Caribbean islands and in most ports of call on the Mexican Riviera. You won't run out of things to do ashore, even if you visit each port three or four times!

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old June 19th, 2009, 10:05 AM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,539
Default

For better weather, mid May, through the first week of Sept, generally are better than early May and 2nd 3ed week of Sept- which the later, has the worse potential for weather of the entire season. With the addition of dusk by 7pm, so port times and scenic sailing is cut.

Most tours are still running in this timeframe, with the above not accurate.


The longer cruises are repo, can be good deals. But if you have 14 days, a split land and cruise certainly offers you plenty in Alaska. Do your homework, head to your library and take out Alaska travel books, and Alaska By Cruiseship.

IF you go with a cruisetour- be CERTAIN you know and understand, fully everything about it. Most people do not. It is also simple and superior for seeing and doing more to go independent.
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old June 19th, 2009, 06:14 PM
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 529
Default

One other thing that I forgot to mention is dressing in Alaska. The best way to go is to dress in layers. Temperatures can change quite a bit as the day wears on. Generally a sweater and light jacket are sufficient. Also be sure and bring rain gear as there probably be at least one day when you will need it.

The post about needing winter coats when near a glacier is not correct. Temperatures in the upper 30's, in summer, would be anything but typical. If you were standing right on the Glacier this claim might be correct, but on a cruise you will be at least a quarter of a mile away from the glacier. You will find that the temperatures might be 10 degrees cooler when you are near a glacier but that is about it. Unless you are really affected by cooler temperatures, IMHO, a winter jacket, hat and gloves would be way over kill. Maybe someone who has been to Alaska can offer an opinion about this. I was on the Island Princess which began on May 11 of this year and the weather was great, with temperatures a little cooler than our past cruises, but still I found a sweatshirt and light jacket were plenty.

Another thing to consider is that if you take a cruise that goes to Hubbard Glacier in May or June, is that the ice flows sometimes keep ships from getting anyway near the Glacier. In College Fjord and Glacier Bay getting close to the glaciers is not a problem, even the first cruises in early May. As I said before, for me, Glacier viewing is the highlight of any Alaskan cruise.

Princess, Holland America and a couple of other cruise lines do offer many cruises with two days of glacier cruising with one in College Fjord and then another day in Glacier Bay National Park. If seeing glaciers is a priority, you might want to consider a cruise line that offers two days of glacier cruising.

Debra
__________________
With integrity nothing else matters; without it nothing else matters.

Winston Churchill

email: debra2106@yahoo.com
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old October 20th, 2009, 03:52 PM
Junior Member
Beginner
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Default

I would say visiting in the Autumn is good > so i have seen from pictures
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
alaska, coller, cruise, fjord, freezing, glacier, hubbard, people

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Alaska cruise 8-3-08, cruise roommate needed frednd Seeking Cruise Companion 4 July 23rd, 2008 10:17 PM
Best Cruise line and best time of year to cruise Alaska lkirkland Alaska 8 February 18th, 2007 10:18 AM
Alaska Sun Cruise to Alaska Gayle Norwegian Cruise Lines 1 July 9th, 2004 08:30 PM
Alaska Cruise Help - Have it between 3 cruise ships!! bmbeasley Alaska 11 January 20th, 2004 05:57 AM
Alaska Cruise Tinker Alaska 6 June 3rd, 2003 11:45 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:05 AM.
design by: Themes by Design

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1