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Old August 16th, 2009, 12:06 PM
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Default Alaska cruisetour or luxury cruise? Opinions welcome

I'm planning a trip to Alaska for summer 2010 and trying to decide between a 10 or 11 day cruisetour (Princess or HAL perhaps) or just doing a round-trip cruise from Seattle or Vancouver and upgrading to a luxury cruiseline or a concierge-level suite on a premium line.

We would love to do some of the train travel in Alaska but the packages seem to spend very little time on the trains and the comments I have seen about the hotels and such for the cruise tours are less than enthusiastic.

Additional info: We have never cruised as a family so don't have a strong opinion regarding different cruiselines other than a wish to avoid the crowds on Carnival and such. My husband has been to Alaska before for work but we have not. We like to dance (ballroom, swing, latin...) and would love to find a ship where we can hit the dance floor. We are middle aged and would be traveling with an 11 year old boy and perhaps our 19 year old if we can convince him to join us.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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You probably will prefer HAL or Celebrity.
HAL is doing 14 day cruises from Seattle next year on the Amsterdam.
It is going some new ports
1 - directly to Anchorage (not Seward)
2 - Kodiak Alaska
3 - Homer Alaska

With a NB/SB from Vancouver you'll see the same ports twice
except for Haines/Skagway
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Old August 18th, 2009, 06:14 PM
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Default Cruise over cruisetour...

I was thinking about one of the seven day roundtrips instead of fourteen days, but the sentiment that more time and effort spent on the cruise than a cruisetour sounds like it makes sense.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: Alaska cruisetour or luxury cruise? Opinions welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by drmomcup
I'm planning a trip to Alaska for summer 2010 and trying to decide between a 10 or 11 day cruisetour (Princess or HAL perhaps) or just doing a round-trip cruise from Seattle or Vancouver and upgrading to a luxury cruiseline or a concierge-level suite on a premium line.

We would love to do some of the train travel in Alaska but the packages seem to spend very little time on the trains and the comments I have seen about the hotels and such for the cruise tours are less than enthusiastic.

Additional info: We have never cruised as a family so don't have a strong opinion regarding different cruiselines other than a wish to avoid the crowds on Carnival and such. My husband has been to Alaska before for work but we have not. We like to dance (ballroom, swing, latin...) and would love to find a ship where we can hit the dance floor. We are middle aged and would be traveling with an 11 year old boy and perhaps our 19 year old if we can convince him to join us.
I have cruised to Alaska on Princess HAL and Celebrity and would recommend Princess as the best cruise line for an Alaskan cruise. HAL would be my second choice and also offers a great experience. Both lines do have cruises that go to Glacier Bay and many also spend a second day of glacier cruising in College Fjord. Princess and HAL also have a very reliable record with all of their ships. RCL and Celebrity are not allowed to enter Glacier Bay, which is one of the highlights of any Alaskan cruise.

If you are going to spend time in Alaska before or after your cruise you might want to consider renting a car and driving yourself. The savings would be significant for a family of four.

One heads-up that I could offer is that an Alaskan cruise is not like a cruise in the Caribbean. With all the ports and activities on an Alaskan cruise the night life on all cruise lines does not last into the wee hours.

My experience has been that the first couple of cruises of the season do have fewer ships in port and the prices are usually the best of the year.

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Old August 26th, 2009, 03:05 PM
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We just returned this week from a 2 week cruisetour in Alaska. We sailed on the Coral Princess. The land portion started in Fairbanks. Next was Denali, then McKinley Wilderness Lodge then the Kenai Lodge. We would love to go back to Alaska and we would cruise again, but we would never do the tour part of the package again. The majority of the trip was spent on trains and motorcoaches. We would arrive late in the day at the lodge and have to leave early the next day. We had one full day at Fairbanks and one at Kenai. At Fairbanks the excursions were already planned and included in the tour. The lodges, which were all very nice, were also very remote and the only options you had were the very limited ones given by the cruiseline. You can only buy snacks, meals, drinks, etc from them. And the cost of meals is not included in the land portions. There was not enough time to do excursions.
The employess were all very wonderful at the lodges and on the cruise. But for the money, doing the land portion on your own would be more economical and more enjoyable unless you just like riding for 7 days. There is very little in the way of "scenic" to enjoy on these rides. Mostly you are in the interior of the state and just looking at trees on both sides.
Again, everyone at Princess was great, the lodges were beautiful and the Coral Princess was also. But really research before deciding on the land portion of the cruisetour.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 07:23 PM
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[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovedcruising
We just returned this week from a 2 week cruisetour in Alaska. We sailed on the Coral Princess. The land portion started in Fairbanks. Next was Denali, then McKinley Wilderness Lodge then the Kenai Lodge. We would love to go back to Alaska and we would cruise again, but we would never do the tour part of the package again. The majority of the trip was spent on trains and motorcoaches.
Thanks for the frank opinion. I was starting to get the feeling that the cruisetours aren't completely worthwhile. I'd rather do just a cruise and be happy with it than spend a good portion of the vacation not satisfied.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 01:09 PM
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The above report is typical of cruisetours, too much time in transit and waiting. I just don't ever recommend them.

You also are making a big mistake, considering a 10-11 day cruisetour, even more time in transit and less at destinations. Most all of these, only include the Natural History tour at Denali park, a complete waste of time, not even getting you into the Park.

With a family even a worse choice. Kids just aren't on cruisetours, group point to point touring definately not the best choice, and lastly, you can have significant savings going independent, seeing twice as much.
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