I am planning a cruise to Alaska to see Glacier Bay for next summer and wanted to know if it was worth it to spend the extra money for a balcony or would a room with a view be good. As well, if you have gone to Alaska what cruise line did you take and how was your experience. Thank you for any help/input you have.
This would be the one time you could splurge for a balcony cabin for sure. My last Alaska cruise was on Princess and it was wonderful.. They seem to have the most ships up there, although there are other good cruise lines as well. The best way to decide, is to search for an itinary that looks good to you..
Obviously, there are two different views on this matter. One is that having a balcony is the only way to do an Alaskan cruise. The other is that why spend the extra money when you can see more when topside, plus you don't spend alot of time in your cabin, plus it affords you extra money to spend on shore excursions, which is something you really want to do in Alaska.
Personally, we prefer the latter. The ship is not close enough to land during most of the time, so sitting on the balcony is really only worth it when coming into or out of port, or when sailing in the fjords. But when we were sailing in either of these situations, we were topside so we could walk from side to side and get pictures from both sides of the ship. When you're on your balcony, you only get one side to view from. And while you might be watching the scenery, you could be missing the whales breaching on the other side of the ship. But if you're sailing into Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier, the ship does a 360 degree turn so everyone can get to see everything.
We much prefer to save the money on the cabin and use it to purchase shore excursions. For example, we spent quite a bit of money on a once-in-a-lifetime excursion where we flew by helicopter from the airport in Juneau over Mendenhall Glacier, then landed on another glacier where we met our dog sled. We took a ride around the glacier for about an hour, then climbed back onto the helicopter to fly over a third glacier before flying back to Juneau. It was utterly amazing!!
There's so much to see and do that you really have to plan on spending money doing some wonderful excursions.
Of course, if money is not an option, then definitely go for the balcony.
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It's a tough decision. I'm with Donna about this. Alaska for me a balcony cabin is a must. We spend a lot of time on the balcony watching the world go by, whether near the shore or not (there were times we were really close to shore). But it's fun to roam the upper decks and promenade too. Lots to see. We don't go for the casino or towel folding type activities however.
So if you want to do a bunch of on board activities you might not need a balcony, but if you want to enjoy the actual on the water time, go for the balcony. I'd rather spend the extra money for a week with a balcony than an expensive couple of hour tour no matter how nice the tour is.
To each is own right? Figure what you like to do and where the best bang for your buck is and you'll be fine. There's no right or wrong choice.
My wife and I took a Princess cruise to Alaska this past June. Since we expected this to be a once in a life time trip, we splurged on a balcony and excursions. Unfortunately, the trip exceeded our expectations. We hope to cruise Alaska again and will definitely book a balcony.
I agree with booking a balcony. Sitting on the balcony while cruising the Inside Passage and seeing the beautiful tree covered mountains is one that I will never forget.
If you are cruising Glacier Bay I suggest booking a port side balcony cabin. The glaciers will be on the port side of the ship as you enter Glacier Bay. The ship takes longer to go into the bay and is closer then it is when it goes out.
If your budget is stretched I do agree with Cruise Planner and book an outside and go up on deck for the views and save your money for, at least, one big excursion. Flightseeing, helicopter trip to a glacier, dog sledding on the glacier are all excursions that aren't cheap but ones you will never forget.
If your budget allows it then definitely book a balcony and the big excursion.
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We have done Alaska on a couple of different lines, but by far we enjoyed our trip on Princess the most. We have had a balcony, obstructed ocean view, and an interior. If you think this will be your only trip to Alaska, then I would recommend a balcony. It is amazing to sit on your balcony as you cruise by glaciers. You can make pictures from your own balcony without having to jockey for rail position. The obstructed ocean view was ok. The interior cabin encouraged me to stay on the upper decks.
If you go into Skagway, be sure to ride the White Pass & Yukon railway.
Alaska is a beautiful trip. Hope you have a great cruise!
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Your best bet is to go through all the excursions offered by the cruiseline and try to pick some of interest. Good idea to whale watch in Juneau. Also, another good one is the White Pass railroad, it is on the long side but very scenic and interesting bits of history of that area. Many more to choose from, taking a helicopter ride to a glacier, fishing, etc. Just beware, almost all of them are pricey, so pick and choose wisely.