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Old April 6th, 2010, 09:42 PM
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Wondering which cruise line to take to Alaska. I've been on a Carnival cruise, and am planning on booking another one for later this year with them, but do I want to take Carnival to Alaska? Holland America? RCI? I thought Norwegian, but I've heard so many bad things about them. Help me decide which cruise line to use next year to see Alaska, please.
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Old April 6th, 2010, 09:54 PM
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My personal recommendation is: Princess, Holland America or NCL and do an itinerary that does Glacier Bay.

Princess and Holland America have an excellent Alaska program. They've been doing it the longest, especially if you are doing a cruise tour. They have similar environments but Princess, IMO, is better at multiple dining choices and activities.

My overall favorite is NCL. I really enjoy Freestyle Cruising and Dining. I do add $100 - $150 to my cruise budget to take in the alternative restaurants and by doing so I get some of the best food at sea. Freestyle is great for a port intensive cruise like Alaska. No rushing to get back to the ship and/or you can have time to relax after a long day of walking before rushing off to dinner.

No matter which one you choose you will have a good time. I can't think of what could happen on a cruise, short of raw sewage in the cabin and nowhere to move, that could ruin the beauty of Alaska.

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Old April 7th, 2010, 10:06 AM
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I believe Princess has more ships up there, both from departing from Seattle and Vancouver. I would look into those and decide how you want to go. I'd suggest going from Vancouver over Seattle, just a more scenic cruise all together, I won't make that mistake again.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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I agree with the above regarding Glacier Bay and Vancouver for a first Alaskan cruise. We sailed NCL and were plenty happy. They did a great job. I also really liked the Freestyle option.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 07:13 PM
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I did Princess last year, this included the cruise 'tour'. Nothing would stop me from booking with them in Alaska again. They know how to do Alaska right.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 10:40 PM
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Thanks from the input. I notice that flights to Seattle are quite a bit cheaper than to Vancouver. Is there a cruise transfer from Seattle to Vancouver, and how much? Would it be worth it to fly to Seattle and take a shuttle?
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Old April 8th, 2010, 10:45 PM
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Princess does have a bus transfer to/from Vancouver . You might have book a hotel one night (not sure ). Also check the airfare thru the cruise line. Our airfare for the Panama Cruise last December was almost $500 /person cheaper than booking our own.
You could also fly to Seattle and take a transfer from Seattle to/from Vancouver
via
Greyhound
Greyhound Home

Amtrak
Amtrak

Quick Shuttle
Vancouver, Seattle Bus Transportation

take a day or two extra and visit Vancouver . There are a lot of attractions to see
in Vancouver.
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Old April 8th, 2010, 10:58 PM
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Thank you doopydozer. I just used Amtrak for my last cruise. I hope to not have to use them again anytime soon. I think a few days in Vancouver sounds wonderful.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 09:41 AM
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I suggest you find out more about Alaska, first, before getting into what cruiseline. You need to decide first, how much time you have and what route. I never do any one ways without at least another week for interior Alaska touring. Consider taking advantage of being all the way there.
I have little good to say about cruisetours, and have found, over many years, that most people do not research them fully and do not know some significant features that they should. Group point to point travel is not ideal and cruisetours are many times, the most costly way to go.
An alternative is also to consider independent, very simple to do, if of interest.

A round trip cruise is a great option, but be aware- round trip Seattle is the least scenic of Alaska sailings, more open ocean.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 10:41 PM
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I'm leaning heavily toward NCL at this point.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 08:33 PM
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In today's mail, just received a flyer with some really good Alaska cruises with Princess.....just may-be...
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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:09 PM
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Maybe. I don't know. I'm going to look over all of the cruise lines before I book next month. Who would have thought this was going to be so difficult?
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Old May 15th, 2010, 07:50 AM
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Just continue to weigh all your options, there are many....Its like a once in a lifetime vacation and they don't come cheap. Make sure you get to some glaciers and do a few really nice excursions, you just can't do enough homework for a trip like this....Its almost half the fun.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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You are right. Planning is half the fun. I hope this will be just a first cruise to Alaska, but we will see.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 06:31 PM
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Oh, it should, I'm looking to doing a third :-)
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Old May 16th, 2010, 02:35 AM
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I enjoyed the Libby Riddles (Iditarod winner) lecture on the Princess ships, but I'm not sure who speaks on the other lines. We did very little other ship activities, as we were mainly viewing the scenery & watching for wildlife.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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Thanks all. I've made up my mind. It will be the Norwegian Pearl. I'm going to book it in a few weeks. The Pearl has everything I need for this particular cruise: it is roundtrip Seattle, does the Inside Passage, and does Glacier Bay. I know the cabins will be small and the food so-so, but I'm going to see Alaska. I don't plan on spending much time in my room and food is just not high on my list, ever.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 06:45 PM
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Moiraine,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You View Post
Wondering which cruise line to take to Alaska. I've been on a Carnival cruise, and am planning on booking another one for later this year with them, but do I want to take Carnival to Alaska? Holland America? RCI? I thought Norwegian, but I've heard so many bad things about them. Help me decide which cruise line to use next year to see Alaska, please.
All of the major cruise lines offer the same set of three basic itineraries, with ionly minor differences.

>> Gulf of Alaska Northbound (Vencouver to either Seattle or Whittier)

>> Gulf of Alaska Southbound (either Seward or Whittier to Vancouver)

>> Inside Passage Round Trip (from either Vancouver or Seattle)

Basically, each of these itineraries at three of the four major ports of call along the inside passage (Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, and Skagway) and spends one day visiting one of the major glacier areas. Some additionally stop at a minor port of call (which will be a Canadian port on cruises that operate round trip from Seattle) while others visit another glacier area.

The bottom line here is that the major differentiator between one cruise line and another is the personality and style of the line and its ships. You will have the best experience on the cruise line that is the best match for your personal style and tastes.

If you found Carnival to be a good fit for you, by all means stay with Carnival. OTOH, if you think that another line would be a better fit, you're certainly welcome give it a try.

Norm.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 06:51 PM
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I did notice one major difference when sailing from Seattle versus Vancouver....Vancouver is inside and even though it says inside from Seattle, it was always so far away from land, just a totally different cruise. I would go next time from Vancouver for sure...
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Old June 1st, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Default don't want to discourage anyone...but

I think a balcony would be best for such a scenic cruise.

Not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings....

Sometimes getting there is half the battle.

Sweet Sailing, no matter how you do it.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 07:05 PM
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I will Donna. I'm going with a family member this time and the cruise needed to be simple. I would love to do a north or south bound from Seward some time, but that's several years away. For now, I'm excited about this one.

I bought airfare for the Mexican Riviera cruise this fall the other day. Now I need to think about shore excursions for that one. Thinking about going independent there because the cruiseline SEs are always so expensive.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 07:08 PM
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Yeah, a balcony sounds great. Don't know if it will happen, but it sounds great!
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Old June 11th, 2010, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moiraine View Post
Thanks all. I've made up my mind. It will be the Norwegian Pearl. I'm going to book it in a few weeks. The Pearl has everything I need for this particular cruise: it is roundtrip Seattle, does the Inside Passage, and does Glacier Bay. I know the cabins will be small and the food so-so, but I'm going to see Alaska. I don't plan on spending much time in my room and food is just not high on my list, ever.

Something significant that you don't realize, is ALL Alaska cruises can state "inside passage", since you can NOT get to Skagway or Juneau without transiting it. BUT, this is a VERY general term, and you have chosen the LEAST scenic of Alaska itineraries. Your first and last sailing days, will essentially be open ocean, with this, the greatest potential for rough seas.

I have sailed NCL many times in Alaska, so I am not negative on NCL, if that comes across to you. Glacier Bay is a winner.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 08:04 PM
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We had a wonderful cruise with HOL
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Old June 11th, 2010, 10:11 PM
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Yeah, I realize it may not be the most scenic, but I really need this to be roundtrip Seattle. I still have not booked though, so things can change on which line it will be. Who has the most scenic, with Glacier Bay roundtrip Seattle?
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Old June 12th, 2010, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moiraine View Post
Thanks all. I've made up my mind. It will be the Norwegian Pearl. I'm going to book it in a few weeks. The Pearl has everything I need for this particular cruise: it is roundtrip Seattle, does the Inside Passage, and does Glacier Bay. I know the cabins will be small and the food so-so, but I'm going to see Alaska. I don't plan on spending much time in my room and food is just not high on my list, ever.
Moiraine,

I have cruised to Alaska many times and except for one I enjoyed all of my more than a dozen cruises to Alaska on several cruise lines. You are in for a fantastic experience in Alaska. I have not yet sailed on the Pearl, but have read many good reports about the ship. The fact that it goes to Glacier Bay National Park is a huge plus.

Enjoy your cruise your cruise.

Debra
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Old June 13th, 2010, 12:33 AM
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Thank you. I think it will be great.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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worthew8,

Quote:
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I think a balcony would be best for such a scenic cruise.

Not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings....

Sometimes getting there is half the battle.

Sweet Sailing, no matter how you do it.
Having been there twice, I don't think that a balcony -- or even an outside cabin -- really matters. Here's why.

>> 1. If you want to see marine wildlife, the promenades, which are accessible to all passengers, are the place to be. On most cruise ships, the cabin balconies are at least two or three decks above the promenades, so the promenades are considerably closer to the water and thus provide a better view of the marine life.

>> 2. If it's a cool day, there are plenty of public lounges with plenty of windows located on lower decks. Again, you'll have a better view of wildlife and passing scenery from the public lounges than from most balconies.

>> 3. Most of the time spent transiting the various legs of the inside passage is at night, anyway, because the ship is in port during the day. And at night, the most of the shoreline is pretty dark because it's untamed wilderness so you won't see anything anyway.

But if you really want to spend your money on a balcony rather than on wonderfully scenic shore excursions... well, your choice!

Norm.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
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Yeah, I realize it may not be the most scenic, but I really need this to be roundtrip Seattle. I still have not booked though, so things can change on which line it will be. Who has the most scenic, with Glacier Bay roundtrip Seattle?

In my experience, HAL is the "winner" with round trip, Seattle, Glacier Bay, itineraries especially if they include Sitka.

Although NOT the case with my recent HAL cruise, HAL in the past has had superb ship naturalists, which can really enhance your trip. NCL does not employ any.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 06:32 PM
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Contrary to one poster's opinion, a balcony is a big plus on an Alaskan cruise, if your budget allows it. For starters the open areas are often very crowded on glacier viewing days. There is also daylight from 5:00am to 11:00pm in the summer in Alaska, leaving a lot of time to enjoy the scenery. Having breakfast or lunch on your balcony while cruising Alaska just can't be beat.

Now when cruising the Caribbean in the winter, when it is dark at 5:00pm and does not get light until 8:00am would lend some credence to just getting an inside cabin.

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