I don't know anything about taking an Alaska cruise. My elderly mother and sister want to take a cruise to Alaska. Can anyone give me some hints on which cruise line would be good for Alaska, and which ports would be good to stop at. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Princess and HAL are the lines that have been doing Alaska the longest so they are the most popular and do a great job. This doesn't mean there are not other lines to consider including NCL. A lot depends on your likes and dislikes, what you expect from a cruise and what lines you have cruised before. We did NCL for our Alaskan cruise. That was several years ago.
HAL will have larger cabins if 3 of you are going to share. NCL is more relaxed and will require you to bring less chothing which is good as the weight restrictions now are pretty tight.
All the lines will have great ports, seeing a glacier and doing the inside passage are probably the two things that are a must. As for poets, our favorite is Skagway, followed by Juneau.
Hope this gives you a little food for thought. What time of the year are you thinking of doing this and if this year you had better book like yesterday. One more thing, getting a balcony cabin for Alaska iwould be my choice unless I was cruising in may. The early part of the season it is still very chilly.
They are thinking of going in May. Is there a better month to go? Which months are cheaper? They can go anytime. Also will they need a pass port or will their birth certificates work for Alaska?
the least expensive months are May and Sept. They are also the coolest, but if you pack layered clothes you will be comfortable. Right now the birth certificate and one other form of ID will work, for how long who knows? They have been attempting to change this for over a year now. If you do not have passports I would suggest you cruise asap.
As for prices I have clients cruising in May and some in July. Those going in July are paying about 1/3 mroe than those cruising in May. BTW, right now NCL does have the lowest rates I think.
I cruised Alaska on the NCL Pearl at the end of May 2007. This was my first cruise, so I don't have a lot to compare it to, but we had a fabulous time!
A balconey cabin is great if you can afford it. There is a ton of scenery, and we were able to see whales, dolphins, bears and wolves from our cabin as we cruised! (bring binoculars!) If you don't have a balconey suite, you can also spend time up on the pool deck on a double lounger...they provide blankets and it was really cozy. We had fabulous weather (it was in the 60s) and since we're Canadian, we wore shorts and t-shirts!
I thought Juneau was fine, we did a whale watch tour there. Skagway was neat, we did the Whitepass railway which was FABULOUS. Many others did Medenhall Glacier and loved it. You absolutely must have an itinerary that goes through Glacier Bay...it was the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen, an absolutely magical day. My favourite port of all was the tiny town of Ketchikan in the Alaska panhandle. This was our only day of rain, but we enjoyed the quaint town, and especially loved Creek Street.
We choose balcony vs. inside cabin cruise by cruise, depending on what our goals are for that holiday. But for Alaska we went with an inside cabin and were thrilled with it.
The fresh air on deck was exhilarating and, as with many sites, we didn't want just one view -- being on deck and having a 180-degree or even up top or front or back and having 360-degree view is best. NCL ships have plenty of great public indoor spaces with view so when we wanted to be indoors watching the scenery that worked too. I'll never forget our window-seat lunch in Versailles on the Star while in the National Park...
We went the first week of June last year. Weather was good, not very cold and only a light rain in Ketchikan.
In Juneau, there was an excursion that left at the same time the ship left port. It took you on a smaller boat that brought you very close to the glacier then met up with the ship. I wish I had taken that excursion, looked awesome. Next time.
I took my mother on the HAL Noordam last May 20 and we loved it! We had a suite which gets all kinds of fabulous perks and the cabins were HUGE! You can go to my photo site at http://sakedad.smugmug.com/gallery/2911393_tPEQr to see the cruise pics. The weather was perfect then. We only had one day of rain and that was a sea day. It was actually warm sometimes.
Stage Manager - Disney Cruise Lines 2011
3 Days Bahamas - NCL Sky Balcony 9026 12/10/10
Stage Manager on the Eurodam New Build & Inaugural Summer '08
NCL Star Repo Aft Cabin 10730 4/24/08
Holland America Noordam Suite SA7086 - Alaska 5/20/07
Monarch of the Seas April '06 JS1580 Ensenada
Victoria Empress Cabin 235, Yangtze River China, 10/05
Windjammer Barefoot, Grenadines (Gay Group)Admirals Cabin, Mandalay 8/02
See my Cruise Photos at www.sakedad.smugmug.com
We went on the Pearl to Alaska last Sept. We had a wonderful time. The Pearl is a great ship. We had a balcony and just loved it. You can also go up on top if you choose, but we spent a lot of time on the balcony and so all kinds of wildlife. The weather was beautiful, too. We were very lucky.
Definitely do the Whitepass Railway -- breathtaking scenery.