Very excitied. Just booked our 31st cruise for next summer, Island Princess to Alaska. Looking for hints, suggestions, tips, etc. for Alaska Cruise. I know the weather can be unpredictable and I hear you shoud dress in layers of clothes, and don't forget your camera or binoculars; but what else? I know a lot of "Cruise Mates" have been to Alaska and I'm looking for any helpful tips or suggestions I can get. I only have 11 months to wait......I'll have plenty of time to learn about Alaska but I'd like to hear from people who have been there. Thanks in advance.
Excursions are expensive and you can save money by booking independantly online or by phone, go the the Alaska boards and have a look at what other cruisers have done and what they thought of the different tours (try cruisecritic too as they have a large message board dedicated to Alaska). Glacier landings are very popular and you need to book in advance to get the days/times you want whether booking ind. or through the cruise line. If you do book independant tours it's a good idea to do them early on in the day as the ship will leave if your not back when it's time to go, although tour operators do know of the time constraints just let them know what time you dock and time you are leaving.
Anchorage, Skagway and Ketchikan are not big downtown areas and can be walked quite easily, go to the information centres in each town if your interested in a walking tour or just to get info on the area. I found one day in Anchorage was plenty to see everything, if your planning on staying a couple of days there before or after your cruise then you might look at hiring a car so you can do your own touring in the area. Outside all the townships is beautiful and plenty to see.
Make sure you take a waterproof jacket with a hood (you don't want to be lumbering an umbrella around with you) as weather is unpredicable. Also, gloves, knitted/warm hat, a good pair of binoculars and camera are a must if your interested in standing out on the ships decks to do any viewing.
Also, the dress code is a little bit more casual for Alaska than for other desinations.
I'm sure others will post with more info and tips.
Re: Re: Alaska Cruise Booked Today-Need Helpful Tips & S
Your photo are fantastic. You did a great job. I hope you bought one of those Alaska photo albums to keep them it.
We did the Alaska Seward to Vancouver in July. My photos are on www.webshotcommuntiy under user name Emmak114
I am a many time visitor. Plenty to keep you busy during the year, get to your library and take out, Frommers Alaska and Fodor's Alaska- good concise information. Also contact and request each city's visitor guide. My self- I never book more than a couple months ahead for any of my trips. I don't know what I would do with all that time??
Wow 31 cruises, I thought I was doing well with 7. We have just returned from Alaska on the Dawn (Aug). We did shorex in each port and this is what we thought.
Ketichkan - Kayaking around Pennock Island, fantastic, we loved this. Easy trip to do, loads of info on kayaking tips, and the scenery fabulous. Saw so many eagles it was amazing. Kayaked right up to a beach of sorts and a beautiful Bald Eagle was just sitting there looking right at us, truely a close encounter and great photos.
Skagway - We did the White Pass Rail - kind of boring, nice scenery, but long. Passengers were actually sleeping. Once back, jumped on a helicopter to the glacier for a scenic flight and dog sleding - this was the highlight for me as I am a dog nut. I have heard that all dog sleds have been cancelled this summer due to weather, hope it will be better for you next summer, but do the helicopter trip anyway, its a lot of fun.
All Helicopter Flights and float planes got rave reviews. Its expensive but definately worth it.
Juneau - Tram to the top, great views, definately worth it. We did the Whale watching trip in the afternoon. Most of the passengers thought this was really good, but we have the whales passing us on Straddie Island on there annual migration north and we see more here than I did on the trip, and the constant pushing and shoving by passengers to get the best views frustrating. Research was definately needed here.
Many of the passengers who did the fishing trips raved about it, the Neets Bay Bear Adventure in Ketichkan also got rave reviews. One passenger got within 30 metres of a mother and her cub and had photos to prove it. I should have done the bear trip.
Mendenhall (sp) rave reviews, the only excursion that got canned was the 4wd trips.
Our highlight - we did the land extension from Anchorage to Fairbanks. The train was a lot of fun, kept us all interested. I found that the lodges were ok, but Denali a bit dissappointing. So to lift our spirits we took the Summit Flight over Denali and this was truely amazing. Do this if you can. To fly over, around, up and down over this majestic mountain is something I will never forget.
We found the shopping to be a carbon copy of the Caribbean, Tanzanite International, Diamonds International, Del Sol etc, if you have done 31 cruises, I am sure that you have been to the Carribean, so shopping was not high on my list. One of our group spent a small amount of time shopping for jewels and thought the prices were reasonable, and if she made for the door, they came down more.
You will love the Island, we were on the inagural voyage of Coral and she spoiled us.
We have travelled on Princess 4 times and tend to book our shorex directly thru them. We travel as a family group and all separate in ports, with booking with Princess direct you will never be left behind as I am sure you are aware and it saves a lot of anxiety for family members. One would not like to be on that list of names that they read out just before sailing.
Happy exploring and researching, and if you decide on Heli/Flight trips, book early.
PS - Someone on these boards had a great tip - take a power board, never enough power outlets. Always shuffling between charging movie camera, digitial camera, hairdryers, laptops etc. Very frustrating. I will take a power board in future.