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Old April 2nd, 2011, 05:30 PM
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Default Alaska Cruises- Which is best?

I have been on three Caribbean cruises (all Carnival), and my parents have been on five Caribbean cruises (1 RCI, 4 Carnival). We are looking to venture outside of a warm tropical cruise and into an Alaskan cruise for the summer of 2012. I am incredibly excited and have spent a lot of time researching cruises. We definitely are interested in Glacier Bay, which rules out Carnival for the time we're looking to go. I have been looking at Princess, Norwegian, and RCI. I have read some good thing about Holland, but our travel agent spoke against it. I will be 19 at the time of our cruise, which puts me in that "awkward cruise age group". On two of my previous cruises, I reaped all the benefits from the teen clubs, and had a great time, even remaining friends with a few people to this day. My main concern is that I won't have as good a time if I don't have a club to go to and meet people. I know on Carnival there are 18+ clubs, and under 21 gets kicked out at a certain point in the night. Do any other cruise lines have this opportunity? Any advice or experience in traveling with a young adult who was also in the awkward age group?

And overall, which cruise line would benefit my parents and I the best? Princess ocean-view is at least $500+ than the other two cruise lines I'm looking at, which is a lot times three. I've read that the dining hall food on Norwegian isn't spectacular, which is unfortunate since food is usually a big part of cruising. I think I'm leaning toward RCI, any tips?

Last edited by morninsun86; April 2nd, 2011 at 05:39 PM.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 06:18 PM
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I think if you look at Princess, you will have more ships and itinaries to choose from.. An Alaskian cruise is so totally different than a Caribbean cruise. YOu will be more into seeing the sights in Alaska and doing excursions. I am sure there will be people in your age group, but the atmosphere is so different. Alaska is amazing, an almost once in a lifetime kind of cruise...Just be sure to look at all the itinaries, and I agree, seeing Glacier Bay or any glacier is a must.

Also look at the different excursions in each port and pick accordingly, keep in mind they are all pretty pricey, so be sure to do the ones that you really want...

What port are you cruising out of??
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 09:39 PM
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Thanks for your reply! My parents and I discussed it and we've actually decided on a Western Caribbean (Belize, Isla Roatan) cruise of some type with Carnival. Thank you for the advice; I'll be sure to remember it in a few years (we're thinking Alaska for 2015)
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 07:43 AM
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Great,
A cruise is always someting to look forward to, let us know what ship you will be cruising on...
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 12:52 PM
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Donna is right. Alaska IS a once in a lifetime cruise. That's why we've done it 3 times.
Oh, and when you finally get to Alaska don't rule out HAL. Plenty on younger people on Alaskan cruises, even HAL.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 02:38 AM
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Default Age if a separate cabin

We had a funny issue on another board I'm on so I thought I'd bring this up.
If you have your own cabin vs sharing with your parents.
As you are 19 years old then you are aware of cruise line cabin age restrictions and the funny parts they have. Princess only wants to know an adult 21 and over is responsible for the passengers in that cabin while some other lines want the adult (21+) in the cabin.

Sounds like you will not worry in a few years.
Alaska is great place to visit and the food is good on most of the lines. I'd ask your TA why they think Holland America is not good if you are with your parents as you are a family but as a single person you might find the lack of evening entertainment limited as a lot of folks are in bed by 11pm.
Otherwise the service , food, staff , excursions are well provided

Have a great cruise and welcome to this board.
Thanks for allowing us to share and offer some help
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Old July 7th, 2011, 03:24 PM
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Default Which ship? Advice galore needed!

We are 4 in our group ages 50, 55, 56, 60. We want to sail Northbound the 1st week of June.
Our priorities are Whales! and scenery, birds, glaciers.

We are on a budget so we have decided to book inside cabin so we can afford to do the tours.

As for the ship: We want to sail into Seward since we are touring that area

That leaves our choice of ships to a few:

Holland America Statendam and Zaandam

Celebrity Millennium

RC Radiance of the Seas

*Since we are in an inside cabin "which ship" has the MOST "comfortable"
(as in: windbreak areas or "lots" of glassed in viewing) areas to see the whales close to the waterline?

Which ship has the MOST public areas to walk around. We are "walkers"! We can't sit still!

**MOST important is which ship will we NOT notice the smoke from the Casino??? I can't breath when there is cigarette smoke!

Please give me you opinions on each ship if you can!

There is so much to see and do I am finding it hard to narrow down what we can do!

We discussed doing cruisetours but feel we like freedom on our own is more our style.

We are not going to do any flightseeing (don't like small planes).

We want to do a short train tour and heard the Seward - Anchorage is the best but White pass comes a close second. Any opinions?

We are thinking of taking a whale watching tour in Juneau. Any tour company recommendations? Catamaran vs small boat? I do get sea sick though.

We are thinking of staying a few days in Seward or Homer because we want to do a Kenai Fjords Northwestern Fjord Cruise to see whales, puffins etc. ( This is my #1 thing I want to see!)

Are there some other great things to do in the Kenai peninsula are?? Wildlife sightings?

We will not fish or do bear sightings.

We've seen moose and bear a lot so that is not a priority.

IF we rent a car and did not do Denali what other area(s) is just as fabulous?

Any suggestions are most graciously received!!

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Old July 8th, 2011, 10:57 AM
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Question Questions

Wow, a lot of questions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by whizkidcat View Post
We are 4 in our group ages 50, 55, 56, 60. We want to sail Northbound the 1st week of June.
Our priorities are Whales! and scenery, birds, glaciers.
....
There is so much to see and do I am finding it hard to narrow down what we can do!
.....
We want to do a short train tour and heard the Seward - Anchorage is the best but White pass comes a close second. Any opinions?
I will skip the ship questions, as your priorities there are not really our priorities so I haven't really noticed things like smoke from the casino. Maybe somebody else can help you.

The first thing to check if glaciers are your priority is that your itinerary goes to Glacier Bay! I think that rules out RCI. Hubbard Glacier is a good second choice. For comparisons of the Alaska Glacier experiences, go to my page at Alaska Glaciers

The two train trips you mention are quite different. Seward-Anchorage is a modern train, along a mostly flat path near the water. With great good luck you may see belugas in Turnagain Arm. Check out our trip report and pictures at Cruising HAL Volendam to Alaska.

The White Pass RR is a reconditioned antique train. For train buffs it is quite a trip. It is up and over a mountain pass on a very narrow track. The scenery can be magnificent. However, the train is not all that comfortable (hard wooden seats and lots of rocking and bouncing) and to be honest, for long stretches the scenery is just a rock wall on one side and the spruce forest on the other. When a good view is coming up, the guide will announce it and everybody will flock to that side with their cameras. Check out our trip report and pictures at Alaska Cruisetour, Skagway to Fairbanks

Another great option in Skagway is to rent a car and drive over the White Pass yourself. Check out our trip report and pictures at http://www.bully4.us/skagway.html

Quote:
We are thinking of taking a whale watching tour in Juneau. Any tour company recommendations? Catamaran vs small boat? I do get sea sick though.
If you want to see whales, a whale watching tour is a definite MUST. Whale sightings from on board the ship will almost always be distant and chancy. From a whale watching tour you almost always get sightings, normally quite close. Be aware however, that the spectacular breeches and bubble feeding are rare and usually you just see a spout, a rolling back, and the flukes as the whale dives.

There are basically two choices: Small boats like Orca Enterprises, which many people enjoy, or the ship's excursions on Allen Marine's large comfortable boats especially designed for wildlife viewing. Especially if you have a tendency to seasickness I would recommend the large boat. Actually our best whale sightings ever came in Sitka, not Juneau, but the experience is similar. Check out our trip report and pictures at http://www.bully4.us/alaska2010.html for a good look at the Allen Marine boats. The ones in Juneau are substantially the same.

Quote:
IF we rent a car and did not do Denali what other area(s) is just as fabulous?

Any suggestions are most graciously received!!

Well -- NO other area is as fabulous as Denali!! That's why it is the National Park.

This is another great opportunity to take a train. The Alaska rail cars are reasonably comfortable, but a cruisetour will use specially designed coaches that are even nicer. Check out our trip report and pictures at Alaska Cruisetour, Fairbanks to Denali for Denali and the train.

Some other Alaska excursions we have enjoyed are at Alaska Excursions Guide

Have a GREAT cruise!
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Last edited by MercedMike; July 8th, 2011 at 11:09 AM.
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