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Old May 3rd, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Default Supprise for the Wifes Birthday

Hey ya'll, first time poster/traveler here. I dont know what started me on this idea, but I got thinking about my Wifes Birthday in September, and about how she wanted to take an Alaskan Cruse for our Honeymoon which we never did. So I thought, why not give her our honeymoon for her birthday. Anyways, I guess my basic question is where would I look for the best deals? We're both Military so obviously I dont want to spend an arm and a leg on this but at the same time I would like to avoid sleeping on a Cot in the engine room I apologise if my questions seam basic, I'm a n00b when it comes to this stuff. I just want to give my wife the best trip i can afford, shes worth it.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 10:14 AM
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Hi Navy Guy,
What an excellent idea...I'd start looking for cruises now, not sure if there are any deals, but if you want to go in Sept., try to go as early as you can before the weather is much cooler. Do some homework and decide which ports you want to see and what you want to do and then search for ships. I'd suggest looking at Princess, they seem to have the most ships in the area there and really know how to do Alaska. Best of luck and I'm sure your wife will be very suprised at this wonderful gift.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 02:35 PM
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What kind of cruise are you looking for??? One way, round trip?? How many days? These all need to be figured out, before you dive into bookings.

I would not consider past the first week of Sept. the worse weather potential of the season, is in Sept.

I suggest you do your homework first. Find out about routes, glaciers, ports. What activities are of most interest, and budget. THEN when all this is done, you can start looking at cruises to fit these priorities.

As only a suggestion- involve the wife in these plans.

Head to your library and get Alaska By Cruiseship, along with other Alaska travel books. The more you know, the better your choice will be for your priority.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:07 PM
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Very quickly - Carnival has military discounts and Carnival Spirit is usually one of the better values for cruising in Alaska.

It sails roundtrip from Seattle.

Alaska 2010 Cruising Begins

By Paul Motter We gave you our first Alaska 2010 outlook last February. Now the Alaska season has officially started so it's time to see how those prices are holding up.

Last February we recommended booking Alaska early. The number of available berths this summer is down by over 140,000 and less capacity drives up demand and prices. Indeed, the bargains were better a few months ago, which indicates prices going higher as the season gets later. Now is the time to book Alaska if you haven't booked already.

Some of the biggest bargains are in the repositioning cruises originating in California and going to Alaska. You can sail a 10-day cruise from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Alaska for about the same price as a seven day round-trip cruise from Seattle or Vancouver. Those are now last minute bargains, so let's take a look:

Radiance of the Seas, one of our favorite Royal Caribbean ships for its roomy interior, is sailing a 13-night cruise departing May 8 from San Diego to San Francisco; Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier and Sitka, Alaska; Nanaimo, and Victoria, British Columbia; Vancouver, British Columbia. You can still get a balcony cabin on this cruise for just $1519 per person at royalcaribbean.com. Inside staterooms are as low as $899 per person.

Seattle Now Dominates the Alaska Cruise Market
This year the port of Seattle as a departure point for Alaska cruises has captured a significant share of the market. There are benefits to departing from the U.S. port. It has become much more difficult to cross the U.S. / Canada border without a passport. Furthermore, Canada has been known to detain or even deny entrance to Americans who have been convicted of offenses like drunk driving, even if it was 20 years ago.

If you do not have a passport you can still enter Canada with a driver's license and proof of citizenship, but you stand a very good chance of being subject to long delays as they verify your identity.

Furthermore, the Canadian dollar, aka the Loonie, is very strong right now, being on par ($1.00 U.S = $1 Canadian) with the U.S. dollar. Although this sounds like it wouldn't matter to Americans, since the Loonie normally trades much lower than our dollar, all Canadian purchases appear to be very expensive to Americans right now.

When your ship stops in Canada (all ships sailing from Seattle must visit at least one Canadian port to satisfy the Jones Act and PVSA) if you do not have a passport you might consider staying on the ship or risk undue delays onshore.

Although Vancouver used to be the de rigueur port of call on cruises from Seattle, now many more ships are visiting Victoria and some even go to a small city called Nanaimo which just this year voted to build a cruise ship dock. In 2010 Vancouver only has 179 ship visits, compared to 256 last year.

Summing up; the Alaska state government just passed a law reducing the head tax which may lower future Alaska cruise prices in theory, but as the economy recovers all cruise prices should go higher, so you might as well grab the bargains while they are available.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 11:05 AM
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[QUOTE=



If you do not have a passport you can still enter Canada with a driver's license and proof of citizenship, but you stand a very good chance of being subject to long delays as they verify your identity.


QUOTE]


You only have HALF the requirement. To get BACK into the US, this will not do. You have to have an enhanced driver's license, passport, or specific documents, listed on the Homeland Security site. Take a look.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 11:27 AM
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Karen - of course you are right, but I took for granted that anyone booking a cruise would already know the requirements to get back into the United States.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 03:08 AM
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Thanks all for the tips, my Wife is going to LOVE this. I'm looking at a round trip. We live in Northwest Washington state so Seattle isnt that far of a drive. I'm looking at one from NCL that seams to be a nice cruise. Looking at the 18th for a departure, that would put is in Juneau/Sawyer Glacier on her Birthday. My question is, I really like the idea of the Freestyle dining, does anybody know if that is an option when going through the booking process through NCL? Also, I go to Seattle quite regularly but have never been to the docks where the Cruise ships come in, what is the parking like? Would I be able to park my truck there for the week or would it be better to get a ride?
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Old May 6th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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Can't answer for parking, but any of the NCL ships do the freestyle dining, that is part of the deal so you don't have to ask for anything special. We did the Alaska cruise in 2006 on the NCL Sun out of Seattle and had an outstanding time! Enjoy
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Old May 6th, 2010, 03:09 PM
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Yes, there is plenty of parking nearby pier 66, where NCL leaves from.

I do, however, give a BIG edge to NCL Pearl over the Star, due to Glacier Bay, which is a "do not miss" in my opinion.

As only a comment. IF you continue with the NCL Star, I find that that itinerary, it is "absolutely" "Necessary", for you to purchase the add on Tracy Arm boat tour. IT is SIGNIFICANT and a grossly superior option for touring. I put together a small photo sample, to illustrate the big differences. First off, the cruise ship, in no way, sees significant wildlife, and this route is loaded. The cruise ships also, do not get anywhere close to the glacier, and only about 25% of the cruiseships, make the full transit and have a view of the South Sawyer Glacier. In my particular photo sample, this cruise was the third week of July. That also was the FIRST time, that season, that the ship- got within view of the glacier. The photo also shows, with a normal lens, the CLOSEST the cruiseship got. Compare the photos. http://community.webshots.com/user/budgetqueen
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Old May 10th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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At least splurge on a balcony cabin. That would be an added bonus.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 08:27 AM
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Have to agree with the balcony, especially in Alaska, hope it will fit the budget, surely look into that. When booking, you may be able to book a guarantee balcony cabin, where you don't actually pick the specific cabin, but just a balcony one, can save a few $..
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Old May 12th, 2010, 11:12 AM
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I know that RCL often does military discounts, too.
My sister and her husband ended up paying less than $900/pp for a nice balcony cabin.
Good deal!
Make sure to ask about it.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 07:02 PM
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NavyGuy2007.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You View Post
Hey ya'll, first time poster/traveler here. I dont know what started me on this idea, but I got thinking about my Wifes Birthday in September, and about how she wanted to take an Alaskan Cruse for our Honeymoon which we never did. So I thought, why not give her our honeymoon for her birthday. Anyways, I guess my basic question is where would I look for the best deals? We're both Military so obviously I dont want to spend an arm and a leg on this but at the same time I would like to avoid sleeping on a Cot in the engine room I apologise if my questions seam basic, I'm a n00b when it comes to this stuff. I just want to give my wife the best trip i can afford, shes worth it.
We welcome basic questions, as there are always new people looking for helpful information.

Now, what others may not have told you is that the cruise industry is not exactly monolithic. Each cruise line has its own style and personality, and you and your wife will have the best cruise experience on a line that matches your own style, personality, and demographics. I'm not saying that you'll have a terrible experience on a line that is not the ideal match, but rather that you'll have a better experience on a line that's a good match than on a line that's a poor match. And in Alaska, all of the major lines offer very similar itineraries (typically three of the four major ports of call along the inside passage, a day of glacier viewing in one of the major glacier areas, and either a minor port of call or a second day of glaciers in another area) so the only real differentiator is the personality and style of the line.

If you have not already booked, I recommend stopping into a local bookstore to buy a guide book to cruise lines and cruise ships (or, for that matter, a guide book to Alaska that discusses Alaska cruises) and reading the descriptions of the major cruise lines. This will give you a very good sense as to which cruise lines would be the best match for you and your wife. You can then book accordingly.

Also, it's quite proper to wear your uniform (Dinner Dress White Jacket or, if you don't have the white dinner jacket uniform, Dinner Dress White except in May and September, when Dinner Dress Blue Jacket or Dinner Dress Blue would be proper) for the "formal" evenings -- and most cruises to Alaska have two (2) of them. This will spare you the expense of renting or buying formalwear.

Norm.
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