Alaskan Cruise for young kids, parents and grandparents
We are considering an Alaskan Cruise this summer (August) and would like to take my parents who have some health issues and as well, my father specifically requested NO Disney Cruise. He is deaf in one ear and loud, noisy places with lots of kids bothers him. We are from Florida, so we are kind of Disney'd out. We also want a ship that would have a quiet place for him to go read a book, his favorite activity. We are not getting a balcony due to cost.
Our kids will be 6 and 8 and would love LOTS of kids activities. So far we have been recommended RCI and Disney as the most family-friendly in Alaska, by a travel agent. I don't want to go on a cruise with mostly seniors and very few children.
If RCI, which route, round trip from Seattle, or North/South Vancouver to Seward, or vice versa? Is the one way trip worse for sea sickness? Which is more interesting?
I would also check out Princess for Alaska. They do have a few ships up there all summer and since most kids are off of school during the summer, there is bound to be kids onboard. You will find that during the day, most cruisers are off on excursions anyway, all of which I bet the kids would enjoy as much as the adults.
Just explore all your options, since an Alaskian cruise is expensive, expecially when doing some good day tours.
Thank you, I will check out Princess. We were originally going to attend a conference on Holland America Westerdam. But my husband is thinking since he would be stuck at the meeting, that would not be so much fun. Also I noted that some of the times of excursions were strange, such as 7 am to noon one day and 6pm to midnight on another. Not so sure if that sounds "family" oriented? Would a 12 year old like either of those two or Princess?
Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
In your case, I would check out both Princess and Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean is a bit more family orientated and has the rock climbing walls. I do not think that any RCCL ship that does the Alaska route has the skating rinks on board. Both lines have great kid's clubs.
As for the timing of the shore excursions, remember you are heading west, and an excursion that starts at 6 AM will actually be 10 AM your local Florida time. And remember, in summer daylight lasts much longer up in Alaska. And port times are different because of the distance between ports and tidal schedules.
Both RCCL and Princess will have quiet areas for your Dad to sit down and read and relax.
As for round trip out of Seattle versus the North or Southbound 7 day cruises from Whittier/Seward to Vancouver and vice versa..........there are positives and negatives for both. For the round trip Seattle cruises airfare will be much cheaper than flying one way from Vancouver and Anchorage. The cruise will be more inside passage with calmer seas. You will see Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway and maybe Victoria, BC, Canada and Hubbard Glacier. For the 7 day north/southbound route, you will get the more spectacular scenery.......Glacier Bay and College Fjord; you may have rougher seas crossing the Gulf of Alaska (been there, done that, got the t shirt! lol).
If price is a concern and this is your first Alaska cruise, personally I would do the round trip Seattle cruise and when you have your first taste of Alaska and you decide you just have to do it again, the next cruise I would do is the 7 day north/south bound.
Crown Princess 1/18/14....the NEW Me, Myself and I cruise!
We did a 7 day northbound cruise to Alaska on Princess sailing from Vancouver with our two daughters and my husband's parents. At the time of the cruise my daughters were 10 and almost 4. The only cruise that my husband, the kids and I had been on prior to this was Disney. All three generations were very happy with Princess. It was the first time that my daughters had ever gone to a kids club and they loved it. Summer vacation had just started (end of June) and, if I remember correctly, there were something like 150 or 200 kids aboard. The kids program was great - they had Alaskan themed activities and when we sailed in Glacier Bay there was a park ranger in the kids club to teach them about glaciers at a level that they could understand. Our ports of call were Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway and we did a 5 day land tour afterward that went as far north as Fairbanks. We loved the Alaskan cruise!
Since then we have also sailed on Holland America in the Caribbean, Princess in the Baltics and this summer we are going on Celebrity in the Mediterranean. Of the ships that we have been on my kids say that they prefer Princess. I know I may be in the minority but I honestly wouldn't go on a Disney cruise were the ports of call are more important to me than the ship.
I have photos and a description of what we did with the kids in Alaska on my travel blog and you are welcome to have a look if you like. You can find it at Gone with the Family
I would be happy to answer any questions you have about our cruise to Alaska or our experience on Princess.
Lisa, That is exactly the Alaska cruise I want to do someday, just a one way....I had been looking a few months ago, but it was too late for this season, not much to choose from and of course the air is the killer in this one, but I think all in all, well worth it. My last Alaska cruise on Star Princess got me to really loving Princess all over again.. Do you recall what ship you were on?
We were on the Diamond Princess sailing northbound. Most people seem to recommend doing the land portion first followed by the cruise but I liked the idea of sailing to Alaska and then traveling inland and we thoroughly enjoyed doing it that way. After disembarking from the ship we boarded a train to Princess Mt. McKinley Lodge for a night then 2 nights at Denali Princess and 2 nights in Fairbanks. It was a wonderful vacation!
THanks Lisa, Sounds absolutely wonderful. Also good to hear the kids really enjoyed it as well. As you can see, some would be Alaska cruisers are concerned as to how the kids would enjoy it, I think just as much as the parents, and expecially if they had fun with other kids.