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Old September 16th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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Default Hubby has a brain tumor :( bucket list on a budget?

I'm really in need here of great advice. We live in TX, and hubby isn't sure how long he will be healthy enough, but he really wants to cruise Alaska, have lots of whale experiences and some land experiences as well. We are on a budget obviously. Poor guy also wants to squeeze in Disney with grandson in the next year, I have no idea what or how this will be accomplished...I'm just in tears.

Number one priority is balcony. No sense in bothering with out that option, as he'd sleep out there is it was possible, he's in love with the views and has never experienced it but on tv.

We can do 5,000 but I'm finding it difficult at best, he wanted a 9-10 day cruise experience. Who's GOOD but a bit cheaper. He's cruised carnival only so he's good with them, so ultra luxury isn't required. We've always booked excursions on own. Is it cheaper flying into Washington, Fairbanks? Vancouver? Is it best to wait or book early? Such a HUGE price difference in June and mid August, is it super cold then? Is that why? I'm so nervous! I want it special for him, but I'm still left having to potentially raise and educate my son, make house payments ...on my own and really need to make it great but not hurt my future to much or my sons. Sounds horrible of me doesn't it

Thanks, Liz
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Old September 16th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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Did I mention he wants to bear watch? He really wants to see grizzlys...he fascinated by them.
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Old September 16th, 2014, 04:44 PM
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Hi Liz, I can't be of much help with your equiry, other than to ask if you've thought about renting accomodation ashore and taking day trips out on the water and inland for the bears.

The real reason for my reply was to send prayers, best wishes and word of support to you. Take care of each other & I hope you can get the list done to your budget.

Alan & Katrina
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Old September 16th, 2014, 05:00 PM
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Yes, you can get some better pricing early in the season and again later in the season. Days are longer and warmer in July and August. You may want to look at some Princess ships, they have quite a few good tours and google all the ports, you may save some $ booking excursions on your own.


Thoughts and prayers going out to your husband, hope you can find the cruise he and you will love...
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Old September 17th, 2014, 02:38 AM
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So would you book NOW for next year or wait till a couple months prior? Is there a better pricing venue or direct? We've traveled with carnival a few times, but wouldn't mind skipping the points. Yes he'd love to spend land time as well. Can't talk him out of the balcony tho. Is it better to ask for a certain side of the ship???
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Old September 17th, 2014, 10:23 AM
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Hi Liz,remember me? So sorry to hear about your husband's health, but thrilled he will be able to get to his dream spot. You really need the expertise of a cruise travel agency to walk you through the ins and outs of these specialty tours, much more involved than say Caribbean tours...good luck and keep us posted!
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Old September 17th, 2014, 02:59 PM
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Liz,

I may be swimming against the current here but my recommendation would be to wait until March or April to book a May or June cruise to Alaska.

Based on what I saw this year there was some deep discounting on May, June and September sailings.

This is a risk but if you aren't "overly" concerned about where your balcony cabin will be I would go this route rather than pay the higher prices that are currently being offered.

You could also book now and see if the price drops and use your agent to get the lower price or on board credit.

I agree that a balcony is the way to go for Alaska and I would also suggest booking a cruise that goes to Glacier Bay. It is spectacular.

Princess and Holland America will be the best choices for an extended cruise tour but that is an added expense and the food at the hotels is not included in the land portion of the cruise tour.

Perhaps a one way from Anchorage to Vancouver may be an idea. Fly into Anchorage a few days early, rent a car and take in the sites and even take a day or two to go to Denali.

If your husband is like me and has good days and bad days then I would opt for a cruise only and do the excursions he feels up to.

I hope I haven't confused you more.

Both of you, take care,
Mike
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Old September 17th, 2014, 04:30 PM
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NurseyPoo...

Also my heart & prayers go out to you.

If he likes Carnival, I find they consistently have the best prices in Alaska. The Legend has a September cruise for just $1159 pp. It sails from Seattle (most convenient I believe).

7 Day Glacier Bay Cruise From Seattle, WA | Carnival Cruise Lines

Best of all, it goes to Glacier Bay. If you really want to see Alaska glaciers (important to me) don't take a chance on Tracy Arm, the approach is often blocked by ice. But any trip with Glacier bay will automatically include great glacier watching.

For whale watching I recommend a shore tour in Juneau. Every time I have done it we have seen whales up close. I just read that June & July are the best months to see them.
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Old September 17th, 2014, 05:20 PM
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Also - you are very unlikely to see wild bears in Alaska from a cruise ship - especially grizzlies - but in Juneau, when you are done whale watching staop at the Mendenhall Glacier park (it is on the way back to the ship from the Auke Bay where they start the whale watch tours). You can stay there about an hour on most whale excursions. They have a bear watching platform where I have personally seen wild bears - even a mom with cubs.


Other than that - there is a wild bear rescue facility in Sitka that I highly recommend (but this cruise doesn't go there, it goes to Skagway instead which I have never been to). You can see wild bears that got too friendly and the only choice was to hoot them or put them in captivity, so they do the latter. It is not like seeing them in the wild, but it is interesting and they are adorable.


However - Grizzlies are mean, so they are not allowed near civilization, so they are also rarely rescued (don't need to be, because as soon as they get even close they get moved far away again), but brown bears will be known to the locals by name for quite awhile before they get to be considered too dangerous and need to be rescued.


There is a joke about how you tell the difference between brown bear & grizzly bear poop - one smells like berries & pepper spray, the other like pepper spray and humans - or something like that.


By the way - if you enjoy Carnival, Legend is a big ship but it is the itinerary that makes the Alaska cruise. Some people may say to opt for HAL or Princess instead, and to go the cruise/tour route. But if you want to budget your vacay (perfectly understandable and not a mean thing at all) then I think a good Carnival itinerary, along with the right shore tours, is a great way to really see Alaska without spending a fortune.


Just remember:


Whale watching in Juneau, followed by the wild bear platform at Mendenhall Glacier. Note: you can get this same tour through Dolphin Tours for much less.
http://www.dolphintours.com/tours-sc...-glacier-combo or http://www.dolphintours.com/tours-sc...hing-adventure

A cruise that includes Glacier Bay.
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Old September 18th, 2014, 01:17 AM
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My heart is so very full. I thank you all for taking the time out to help me. Paul, you may have hit the nail on the head. I hate on board paid excursions so finding reputable people who do great excursions, well I've usually had a better one then If I paid three times more on board.

I'd rather spend more time on board then on shore, just the meals alone make it worth it.

That being said, we never know what can happen, so insurance and planning are a must. I have to take vacation, so I am unable to do any last minute deals, unfortunately. I hope to join a group or get some discount that makes it better. Airfare from Dallas tx is going to be a beat down!!! Someone said fly into Washington and drive or take ferry over, I am not even sure that's possible lol! Ugh sure is harder than driving 4 hours to Galveston!!
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