I'm making final decison on Inside Passage (Diamond/Sapphire) vs the Gulf of Alaska Cruise (Coral/Island). The Inside Passage Cruise is much more convenient (r/t out of Seattle) and a bit cheaper. I also like the Flex Dining plan as I will be taking my 9 year old and that seems to suit him more.
Am I missing a lot by not seeing Glacier Bay and the College Fjord or will there be enough ice/scenery on the Inside Passage Cruise to keep myself and my son happy?
Personally I prefer the Gulf of Alaska to just doing the inside passage. I feel the best views from the ship are between the Inside Passage and Seward or in this case Whittier. Glacier Bay is the best of the glaciers areas to see. You however say you are going with your 9 year old and it is true on an Inside Passage cruise you can get roundtrip air plus the air flight will probably be much shorter than going up to Ankorage. You will see many beutiful things in the Inside Passage and there will be a lot of wildlife for your 9 year old to see. You can also take the 9 year old into Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau which is real nice to see.
In other words I would say that the Inside Passage would work well for you and your 9 year old.
Thanks, that's kind of the take I had. He really loves the outdoors and wants to see some ice, but between Mendhall and the Tracey Arm I think he can get his fill. I can drive to Seattle (I'm in Portland) which makes the whole concept easier than doing the border crossing to Vancouver or paying airfare there and then from Anchorage. I also
think the new ships (Sapphire/Diamond) are more suited to him, especially with the dining plans.
This is probably a one shot deal and I just didn't want to miss something that was an absolute must.
Do not be surprised if an Alaskan cruise turns out to be more than a one shot thing. Alaska is extremely beautiful and it does seem to draw you back. I have cruised Alaska multiple times and I am doing so again in May and I am amazed everytime I go. Alaska is never the same twice because you never know when and where you see wildlife and the glaciers are constantly changing.
It will be a compromise. But I disagree- there will be a "lot of wildlife" , any wildlife will require a tour for extended viewing. Land animals just are not common on the inside passage and marine wildlife requires a GREAT deal of time invested without tours.
I have never gone to Alaska without seeing wildlife even without a tour even in the Inside Passage. Perhaps the fact that I am use to always looking for wildlife where I live makes a difference because I am aware of what to look for but I have never missed out on seeing wildlife both on land and in the sea even while cruising by on the ship.
You can see all types of birds especially eagles everywhere near the land. You can also see mountain goats on many of the mountain sides. I have seen bear, black bear and Kodiak everytime but sometimes they blend in so you must look carefully. The bear are very good at blending in to the surroundings. I have seen moose on the shores and also on the roads and near the towns.
In the water I have seen many Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Dalls porpoise, Orca's and Humpbacks. I have seen all of these without taking a tour from the ship. I have also seen them while taking tours.
It is true you have to look for these things but they can bee seen they will not make themselves obvious to you. All you need to do is keep your eyes open and look for a movement whether in the water or on land. It truly is not that hard and it never hurts to carry binoculars.
You may want to take in one of the lectures by the naturalists because they will give tips on what to look for.
I mean no disrespect to Karen16 response but I have NEVER been unable to see wildlife in Alaska yet. Alaska is so beautiful it is not hard to keep your eyes open and looking around. If you take video's you may actually be surprised when you watch them that you have caught some wildlife on film that you did not notice when you were filming.
I too spend all my sailing time out on the front deck with a pair of binoculars- just had my 17th trip to Alaska. My point is - it requires a great deal of time invested to be "looking". AND the cruise brochures are greatly enhanced. Some people are under the impression- whales are breeching, bears catching salmon, moose strolling by- all close up and for extended viewing. This has not been the case for my trips. I hear over and over- that wildlife was not seen or disappointment at only a 5 second view of a distant whale tail. Yes- I certainly see more than my share of wildlife- but I also know where to look and have the "time" to do so. The Naturalists are indeed a great source of information and I always try to link up with them if possible.
I suppose it depends on the bridge crew whether or not you see the wildlife. I was on the Norwegian Sky and the bridge crew continually pointed out land animals such as bears, etc and sea life such as whales, etc.