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Old August 17th, 2009, 06:53 PM
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Default best cruiseline for alaskan tour

can anyone help me with selecting the best Cruiseline and route for august 2010. this will most likely be our only Alaskan cruise and we would like to see as much as possible.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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1 - You will need to decide how much time you have to cruise. 7 or 14 days.
2 - Budget don't forget airfare to Seattle , Anchorage or Vancouver
3 - What do really want to see
4 - activity level

The most important get a good travel agent to help you.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 10:45 PM
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There really is no best route for an Alaskan cruise. It all depends on how much time you have available. If this is a one time trip, then I would try to see as much of Alaska as possible.

You will see a lot more of Alaska if you take a one way cruise. My recommendation would be to take one of the cruises from Vancouver that goes one way, to or from, Alaska. Seeing Glacier Bay is the highlight of any Alaskan cruise, so I would book a cruise that does go to Glacier Bay. Many cruise ships that go to Glacier Bay also spend a second day in College Fjord. Also if you can work it in try to spend a week on land either before or after your cruise to Alaska. My favorite thing to do is to rent a car and drive around southern Alaska and drive to Denali for a week at my own pace rather than being part of a large cruise tour group.

With a little effort and doing your own homework, you can get a lot of information on these boards, from the library and cruise line brochures. IMHO using a Travel Agent is really not necessary to plan an Alaskan cruise.

IMHO, Princess has the most experience and does the best job in Alaska.

Hope some of this helps.

Debra
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Old August 18th, 2009, 10:41 PM
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I've only been on two cruises to Alaska; one on Celebrity Mercury and one on Island Princess. The latter one was this past May, during the first cruise week of the season (the other cruise was also the first week of the season). The latest included a seven-day cruise from Vancouver to Whittier, followed by a four-day tour from Whittier to Fairbanks via the Alaskan Railroad, with stays at Princess Lodges (McKinley, Denali and Fairbanks). It was a fantastic trip. The accommodations were very nice at each stop. Plus, Princess upgraded us from inside cabin to a balcony; and, at a very good price.

Since I've only done the two trips, both in the early part of the season, I can't really speak to what things are like in the later part of the season. However, I would offer the following:
(1) Lots more snow to see in the early season;
(2) The mosquitos haven't quite figured out that they are supposed to bite you yet;
(3) Small crowds at the beginning of the season;
(4) The service staff hasn't gotten sick of cruisers/tourers yet;

Since we only did a land portion with Princess I can't compare a similar experience with Celebrity. I really like Celebrity more than Princess for a cruise. But, we had a great time at a great price on Princess.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 10:53 AM
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Personally Princess some of the best deals out there for cruise tours. My ta let me know about the ones they offer which really did well for us. I know you have to book early. email my friend she can tell you about them better then me but it was great. cruisewithnancy@msn.com
ricky
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Old October 5th, 2009, 12:24 AM
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I've done a Princess cruisetour, and highly recommend Princess. Their lodges are very nice (not the fanciest places in the world, but great locations, attractive, comfortable, well maintained and CLEAN!) The McKinley Lodge has the most spectacular view I've ever seen, especially if Mt McKinley is out (unfortunately, not that often). The Kenai Lodge is spectacular. Wonderful cabin-like rooms, beautiful views, beautiful grounds.

The tour & cruise themselves were great. Princess (as well as HAL) have their own personal cars on the Alaskan Railroad (I don't know if any of the other cruiselines have this. In 2006, it was only Princess & HAL). They have domed windows, comfortable seating, plenty of room, and a private dining car downstairs. WONDERFUL way to travel. When we didn't go by train, we had an extremely nice motorcoach.

I recommend doing the land portion first (as it involves early mornings and more running around, and not all meals are included, etc) followed by the Southbound cruise. This way is WAY more relaxing. You move into your cabin for the duration of the cruise, and then get pampered. We came across several people who were taking a cruisetour in the opposite direction, and they said they WISHED someone had told them to do the land portion first.

If you can give the detail doopydozer asked for, I'm sure several of us can give you the opinions/info you're looking for!

Sayhello
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Old October 5th, 2009, 08:55 AM
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There are many factors to consider in a cruisetour choice. Being that the above have recommended them, I'll post from another point of view. Cruisetours are the most costly interior Alaska touring option seeing the least. You are best to do your homework and find out WHAT you are looking for. In my opinion, even though the above raves about their 4 day cruisetour, many times these are a poor choice, due to so much time in transit, and little at destinations. Especially if they only include the Natural History of Denali Park, in my opinion they are significantly shortchanging themselves.

It is extremely important that you do your homework. It will make all the difference in an informative choice. Most people book cruisetours, and don't know exactly what they are purchasing- and all the features. It is best to understand everything fully before, since it's a tough fix if you find out something you don't want later.

Some of the problem areas- I already mentioned Denali Park- this is probably the "biggest" highlight of your cruisetour. Pick the right tour, I only recommend a package with 2 nights. Get yourself a map. Distances are vast. Research areas and find out what is of interest for you?? Make sure you have the time available.

Go for as long as you can afford.

I don't agree with the "southbound" recommendations, being the "best". Two definately cases where it isn't- begining and end of season. The Inside Passage drops off significantly after the first week of Sept. AND Denali Park is far better at the earliest end of May, better still, in June.

I will speculate the above are mostly also talking about a single trip?

Bottom line, there are many excellent options to consider. "Princess" does not do cruisetours the "best". And no point in debating this either. Each company has their good points. Look at reviews- several of time and find out what will work out the best for your Alaska touring priority.

I definately do NOT agree on putting this recommendation in a TA's lap. Extremely few agents have even been to Alaska, and most who have, haven't more than a trip or two. If you care to invest some time, it will give you a far better edge to educate yourself.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen16
In my opinion, even though the above raves about their 4 day cruisetour, many times these are a poor choice, due to so much time in transit, and little at destinations.
Um... 14 day I hope you meant.

Quote:
It is extremely important that you do your homework.
Not going to get into an argument with you, but you make it sound like I didn't research my cruisetour for a year and a half before signing up for it. I *did*, and after sorting through the MYRIAD of options out there (including arranging all this by myself) decided that the Princess cruisetour best suited my needs, and I still believe that. Lots of people do the research, and STILL come to the conclusion that a cruisetour has a lot of advantages as a way to see Alaska, particularly as a first trip. We know EXACTLY what we've signed up for, and what we're getting.

I also found the Natural History Tour to be fun and informative, and we saw TONS of wildlife. I could not IMAGINE being on that bus for another 3-5 hours. I was just in Alaska again, and after much deliberation, decided not to do the longer tour yet again. Some folks did, but, based on the descriptions and pictures they brought back, I still feel I made the best decision for me. I saw FABULOUS scenery & wildlife on the independent hike I went on instead.

And we spent multiple days on the Kenai Penninsula as a part of my cruisetour, which was really one of the highlights of the cruisetour. We had PLENTY of time to explore the area, take tours of the Fjords, hike, etc.

And my TA was invaluable in helping me make my final choice after I'd done my research. If you ask around, you CAN find TA's who specialize in Alaska, and know what they are talking about.

Sayhello
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Old October 7th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen16
In my opinion, even though the above raves about their 4 day cruisetour, many times these are a poor choice, due to so much time in transit, and little at destinations.
Um... 14 day I hope you meant.

Quote:
It is extremely important that you do your homework.
Not going to get into an argument with you, but you make it sound like I didn't research my cruisetour for a year and a half before signing up for it. I *did*, and after sorting through the MYRIAD of options out there (including arranging all this by myself) decided that the Princess cruisetour best suited my needs, and I still believe that. Lots of people do the research, and STILL come to the conclusion that a cruisetour has a lot of advantages as a way to see Alaska, particularly as a first trip. We know EXACTLY what we've signed up for, and what we're getting.

I also found the Natural History Tour to be fun and informative, and we saw TONS of wildlife. I could not IMAGINE being on that bus for another 3-5 hours. I was just in Alaska again, and after much deliberation, decided not to do the longer tour yet again. Some folks did, but, based on the descriptions and pictures they brought back, I still feel I made the best decision for me. I saw FABULOUS scenery & wildlife on the independent hike I went on instead.

And we spent multiple days on the Kenai Penninsula as a part of my cruisetour, which was really one of the highlights of the cruisetour. We had PLENTY of time to explore the area, take tours of the Fjords, hike, etc.

And my TA was invaluable in helping me make my final choice after I'd done my research. If you ask around, you CAN find TA's who specialize in Alaska, and know what they are talking about.

Sayhello
You got lucky, with your wildlife sightings, MOST of the time, it is very skimpy and Certainly, far less compared with getting into the park, and having more TIME viewing. The scenery is also grossly superior, with Polychrome pass, something you don't know about.

This is what worked out the best for you, all that matters. My comments are general with having the experience of more varied touring in Alaska.

My reference is to a 4 day add on cruisetour to a 7 day cruise. It's many times, a poor choice as I have already mentioned.

Who is talking about you, about doing homework??? Since you did this, then it appears you are in agreement about this recommendation??

What cruisetour has "multiple" days on Kenai Peninsula?? How many are you referring to as "multiple" and where. There are a few two day - Kenai Peninsula area cruisetours, but none that I know of which include Homer. A few with a day in Girdwood, which doesn't have much, and is superior staying at with your own transportation. And, with Princess, being on a two hour/day round trip "transfer" from Cooper Landing, isnt' ideal either.

A continued, general comment. Do your homework, and find out what the areas can offer you. The more you know the better.
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