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Old June 3rd, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Default First time cruiser- going to Alaska

Hi everyone. I finally talked my husband into a cruise. He said he wanted to go to ALaska. I would prefer the Carribean but I am willing to go any where to get him on his first cruise. Since I want this cruise to be the best ever ( I am sure once we cruise I will not have trouble getting him on another one) I will have many questions I am sure. My first question is which cruise line to take to Alaska. I know my husband wants a balcony room but other that that which cruise line and ship did you take (and love) and why? Thanks
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 05:19 PM
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We cruised Alaska last year on Holland America's Zaandam and again a few weeks ago on the Sun Princess. Of the two, we thought the Holland America cruise was a better shipboard experience. We couldnt have asked for a better crew, the ship was beautiful, and the food was delightful. Thats not to say that the Sun Princess was a bad cruise, we just felt that the crew was just not quite as friendly and we didnt enjoy the food as much as Holland America. I would recommend regardless of the cruise line an itinerary which included Glacier Bay. Our Princess cruise visited Tracey Arm instead and I thought Glacier Bay was much more scenic. I dont think you can choose wrong with Alaska, the beauty of the area will overwhelm you!
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Thanks for your info. I will certainly keep that in mind. I think I posted this on the wrong board. I will try the newbie board.
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Old June 5th, 2007, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: First time cruiser- going to Alaska

mdmc,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Hi everyone. I finally talked my husband into a cruise. He said he wanted to go to ALaska. I would prefer the Carribean but I am willing to go any where to get him on his first cruise. Since I want this cruise to be the best ever ( I am sure once we cruise I will not have trouble getting him on another one) I will have many questions I am sure. My first question is which cruise line to take to Alaska. I know my husband wants a balcony room but other that that which cruise line and ship did you take (and love) and why? Thanks
All of the major cruise lines have offer three substantially similar itineraries -- (1) gulf cruise northbound (from Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier), (2) gulf cruise southbound (from either Seward or Whittier to Vancouver), and (3) inside passage cruise (round trip from/to either Seattle or Vancouver), with more or less the same ports of call in the inside passage and a visit to one set of glaciers or another on all itineraries (the Seattle itineraries will stop in Vancouver, Victoria, or Prince Rupert to meet the requirements of U. S. law). Thus, the major differentiator is the personality and style of each cruise line -- and the right question is not which cruise line is best, but rather which cruise line is the best match for you, taking your personal style, tastes, etc., into account. There is nobody on this board, or any other board, who knows you well enough to answer that question. Rather, the best advice is to go to your local bookstore, get a travel guide to cruise lines and cruise ships, and read the guide's reviews of each of the lines to determine which line would be the best match for you, your personality, and your preferred lifestyle. If you have trouble narrowing it down beyond two or three candidates, a competent travel agent will gladly help you to finalize your selection.

On whichever line you chose, I do recommend either of the gulf itineraries over the inside passage (round trip) itineraries. Anchorage is a fabulous city with a great -- and very safe -- downtown area that features great restaurants, shopping, an outdoor market and street festivals (on weekends), and many points of interest that you'll encounter as you stroll through the area. It's worth booking at least a couple nights in a hotel there. If you rent a car in the city (this is the good ol' U. S. of A....), there are also several great "day trip" options using Anchorage as a base. Unfortunately, the "inside passage" itineraries don't make it that far.

Have a great cruise, whichever line you choose!

Norm.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 12:46 AM
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Thanks Norm. I guess I have some work to do, and since we won't be going till next year I will have plenty of time. Thanks again.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 09:37 AM
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I felt the same as you when we cruised to Alaska. It was always my husband's dream to go there, not mine. Of course I agreed to go, any vacation is better than none!!! Anyway, I have to say it was the best trip we even had taken. We have been to many places but this was over the top! The scenery moves you to tears. We also had great weather, we went in June. We cruised with HAL and loved it. However, we are now Hooked on Princess so that's what we do now. Have fun, and remember this time of planning is the greatest! We just booked our cruise for next May, a long way off, but checking on all these boards every day helps!!!
Marguerite
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Old June 6th, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Thanks Margaret. I am sure I will have a great time. It has taken me a very long time to get him to agree to a cruise, so I really want him to enjoy it (I am sure I will ) so we can go again.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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mdmc,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Thanks Norm. I guess I have some work to do, and since we won't be going till next year I will have plenty of time. Thanks again.
You're welcome. Well, a little homework -- but I find that doing the "homework" to plan a cruise is almost as much fun as the cruise itself.

BTW, I should have mentioned that Alaska really is perhaps the most awesome of all cruise destinations. The major ports of call offer more variety of shore excursions and activities than any other cruise destinations because they have an incredibly diverse spectrum of attractions. What awaits you?

>> 1. Absolutely gorgeous terrain with incredible vistas, pristine waters, lush vegetation, and spectacular glaciers

>> 2. Nature at its best, presenting a spectacular display of indigenous flora and fauna, including many species that you won't find anywhere else in the United States

>> 3. The indigenous cultures of both American Indian (Aleut and Tlingit) and Eskimo tribes

>> 4. The Russian heritage and culture, especially around Juneau and Sitka

>> 5. The history and culture of the gold rush era, which brought many settlers to the region and brought Skagway to great prominence as the gateway to the Yukon

>> 6. The seafood industry, best noted for its salmon and Alaska king crab

>> 7. The influence of modern commerce, including the petroleum industry and the famous Alaskan pipeline

I could go on, but there really is something for everyone! I really doubt that the exprience of "etsumom" is at all unique! I have cruised to Alaska twice, and really look forward to doing so again because there's so much more to explore and to do.

Norm.
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