Hello...just wanted to know if anyone could help me out. I'm from Salt Lake City and I'm wanting to take my mother from Wyoming on an Alaskan Cruise sometime in the summer of 2004. I know nothing really of cruises, other than the fact I want to go really bad and my mom wants to go even more. I would like some advice on when the best time to go is, who to contact for the best deals, any tips or travel advice to make this trip worthwhile. My father just passed away and I want to make this trip to Alaska very memorable for my mom. If there's anyone that could help me out or give me any advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Barry
Wow, what a wonderful idea for both you and your mom. We did our first Alaska cruise last year and I wondered why we waited so long. You'll need to decide exactly where in Alaska you want to go, we did an inside passage and I loved it. I did see a great show on Radiance in Alaska which brought back many memories.
Once you have an itinary and ship narrowed down, you can easily post in the "bargain finder" here at Cruisemates and travel agents will e-mail you what they have with prices. Its a great way to start and see whats available and what it would cost you.
There are so many great cruises in Alaska, its not easy to pick, wishing you luck and I know mom will love cruising and Alaska.
Barry, i would suggest you contact a local travel agent. Sit down with them, tell them exactly what you are looking for, they will narrow it down for you so it won't be so confusing. Let them do all the leg-work for you.
We just got back from Alaska and loved it! When I started planning our cruise, I asked a friend who goes on 2 - 3 cruises each year about which cruise line. She said that HAL and Princess were the 2 to choose from. Since then, I have found this web site and see so many others mentioned that sound good also. I think Princess and HAL have the most to offer for pre- or post- cruise travel.
I'm sorry about your father. I know it would be especially hard for you mother. Does she like to do research, planning, etc.? Planning our Alaska cruise is what kept me sane when our daughter married someone we didn't really approve of. If your mother likes to plan, letting her do research through this site and Cruise Critics and others might help her through the grief process.
I agree with LindaE. about letting mom do some of the excursion research and " talk" to people on these boards. I just started reading this site a few months ago and most of the people are so helpful and so friendly that your mom could heal through some of the hard days ahead. Go into the other categories also where a lot of the experienced cruisers "hang out". You will get advice about shore excursions and check out the Alaska section. Just click all over the message boards to find a topic that interests her.
She will get hooked on these boards along with getting hooked on cruising.
Good Luck finding that perfect cruise for her and that is so sweet of you to do this for her. And also my sympathies to your family.
All my Alaska cruise experiences have been positive ones. HAL was excellent, as was Norwegian. If you are looking for a "traditional cruise", you might want to avoid Norwegian, since they specialize in Freestyle Cruising, which I love, but isn't for everyone. I haven't been on Princess to Alaska, and although I have some personal problems with them, I know others who have had a wonderful time, so this is not a negative recommendation in that regard.
You've got plenty of time -- and there's tons of material on the internet. In addition to the others mentioned, check out cruisediva.com -- lots of good info for 1st timers.
We just came back from our Sun Princess southbound cruise of Alaska and here are some tips from me to you.
If you stay more than one day in Anchorage, hire a car. Downtown Anchorage is very touristy and restaurants are expensive. If you start your holiday here don't spend too much money on gifts as they are cheaper at your ports of call. The Saturday markets are well worth going to. There is so much to see in this part of Alaska you will miss it if you only stay in Anchorage.
The cruise itself was very good, we enjoyed our time on the Sun. You can gain a lot of knowledge about the different cruise lines from reading others experiences on these message boards.
Excursions are quite expensive so if your on a budget look for one or two that really interest you and just do those. Unpredictable weather plays an important part in planning your excursions, sometimes it's best to wait until you get into port to decide what to do and don't over do it with excursions or you will be too exhausted to enjoy your cruise and you'll need a holiday when you get back home! Some people want to do it all and see it all in one trip... you can't so don't try.
If we went back again I would go at the end of July or August when the salmon are running, this would have been great to see and am sorry we didn't get to see it but we were unaware when we booked that they have such a short season. I believe bear viewing tours are available at this time as well.
Learn as much as you can about the areas you will be visiting to get the most out of your time there. Have fun researching... I did.
what a wonderful thoughtful thing for you to do for your mother.
i have some friends who took their first cruise last fall to alaska. they got on the ship in vancouver, and sailed to anchorage. they did alot of sightseeing and things once they got there, (the train ride in the park and lots more things ). they had a wonderful time and he said if he were 30 yrs younger he would move there and start his life over. the only thing they would do different is do the southbound or roundtrip cruise instead of the northbound. they were totally wore out when they got home because they sailed first and then did their shore trips. it was a 12 day trip.
what ever you decide i am sure it will be wonderful and a great experience. i am going for the first time ( a cruise and alaska ) this sept. cant wait. i am taking the carnival spirit and doing the 7 day inside passage trip. i went through vacationstogo.com for my trip and am happy with them. have a great time.