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Old June 28th, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Default Alaska in September

I know that the question of balcony or not to balcony has been asked before, but I have a more specific question for all you cruisers...

We are booked for September 2012 to Alaska, round trip from Seattle, with a balcony room. We have never had a balcony before and decided to treat ourselves on our first long trip away from the kids.

However, the leader of the group we are going with advised me that the weather will be cold and at twice the cost of the interior rooms, we may not utilize it as much as we would think.

So, how cold will it be on the balcony in September and is it worth it?

Thanks!!

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Old June 28th, 2011, 09:20 AM
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Balconies are totally personal choice, for us a balcony is a must-have, especially for Alaska, the views are breathtaking, as for the weather, you can have some large temperature variations during the day, dress in layers, bring a raincoat and besides cool weather means snuggle time with your honey under a blanket on your balcony with a warm toddie taking in the scenery
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:12 PM
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Talking Balconies

This is a very personal question. It is very true that the balcony can be quite cold in Alaska. While the ship is moving, you would have to bundle up very warm to use your balcony. Also, you are only seeing one side of the ship. Those cool pictures of people sitting on the balcony watching whales jump are publicity, not reality.

For glacier viewing, the balcony can be wonderful. Normally the Captain swings the ship so each side gets a good view. But honestly in Glacier Bay, the best place to be is out and about the ship so you can go from side to side. It seems when the naturalist says "There is a beautiful waterfall" or "there is an eagle" or especially "There is a pod of orcas" they are always on the OTHER side of the ship.

Balconies are very popular in Alaska. Note what Lisa says in the post above! For this reason (supply and demand) they are VERY expensive, sometimes double the cost of an outside cabin. We don't book them, although the couple of times we have gotten an Upgrade Fairy gift we have used them some.

My advice would be to book a standard outside and use the extra money for the very expensive excursions like helicopter landings.

Last trip we got an Upgrade Fairy balcony. You can see it at
http://www.bully4.us/alaska2010.html

Have a GREAT cruise!

(and PS thanks for livening up this board ... )
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:30 PM
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Sept is cold and weepy! Dh and I had a balcony and LOVED it! Nothing like bundeling up with a hot toddy and watching the ice go by! We were out on our balcony a LOT as there was so much to see. To each his/her own, but I couldn't cruise without one.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 04:25 AM
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All this talk of cuddling up on a cold balcony sounds great! I guess we will keep our current room choice. Thanks for the tips!
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Old June 29th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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I always spend a good amount of time on any balcony, either in the Caribbean or Alaska, but specially Alaska. I am sure you will use it and say, "it is worth the extra dollars"....I've been in Sept. too and while it may not be as warm as in the summer months, it shouldn't be freezing either.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 11:46 AM
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We used our balcony a lot. When our room was facing away from the glaciers, especially the Margerie Glacier, we just went outside to the other side of the ship. No elbowing crowds on the balcony however. Our balconies were covered so even when some rains came we were still dry. And as mentioned, we just bundled up on the cold days. We used our balcony more than any other part of the ship.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 08:31 PM
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We went to Alaska on the Golden in a cabin with a balcony this past May and after we got back from that trip we booked the Sapphire to Alaska for Sept 2012. In my research I found the temps between the 2 months to be similar. In May we were on the Golden 90% of the time it was in Glacier Bay and spent much time there on other days. We brought sweat pants/shirts, gloves and got the blankets they had available on Glacier National park day. When we booked our next trip it wasn't a question of "IF" we get a balcony, it was where on the ship do we want it. Because of the lower cost of cruising in Sept we opted for the lowest category full suite with a balcony.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Default Alaska

We were on the Island in September a few years ago. Wouldn't trade the balcony for anything. We booked the last room on Dolphin deck, starboard side and it had an extra bonus. Balcony wrapped around so not only was the space much larger, but we also had a view of everything that was behind us as well. Have a great cruise.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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If it is cold...pull the curtains open, sit inside and enjoy the scenery....and Yes, we have seen whales breach from a balcony...and dolphins playing along side of the ship especially as you go through the narrows.....and near Glacier bay...It is the luck of the draw but I have been on 4 Alaskan inside cruises as I live here.....and I have seen lots from my balcony....quite close.....bring binoculars so you can glass the shoreline....and the mountains...Also,Sept. and May are my favorite time to go....Weather tends towards blue skies....and sun...No guarantees of course but July and August are our rainy months.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 12:58 AM
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The balcony is the only way to go. The beauty of Alaska is something you don't want to miss. You will have a chance to take some great pictures, and smell the air and feel the wind from the ice. Have a great cruise.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 06:37 AM
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Another advantage of cruising Alaska in Sept., since it is almost the end of the season up there for cruiseships, the shops will have sales...
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Old July 30th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna View Post
Another advantage of cruising Alaska in Sept., since it is almost the end of the season up there for cruiseships, the shops will have sales...
What they consider a "sale" is on the high end of what we see in the lower 48 states. We've never seen anything cheap in Alaska.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 08:29 AM
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Keep the balcony: You will be sailing the Inside Passage and just the view is worth it. In terms of "cold". I have sailed Alaska twice in September and the temps were fine. The coldest was in Glacier Bay and we had to put on sweaters to view the Glaciers.

Take care and enjoy!

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Old July 30th, 2011, 12:48 PM
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5 cruises to Alaska and the best weather I have experienced there was early Sept. Might have been unusual but it happened and we LOVED it! And far less mosquito activity by then.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 12:58 PM
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September is still technically summer. Im California it is often the hottest month.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 07:17 PM
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You should see sales with 50% off in Sept. The merchants want to sell through their inventories...I did have a problem finding something when I was there in Sept., so there is that negative for cruising later in the Alaska cruise season.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 05:25 PM
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I agree with the above posters that a balcony is the best way to see Alaska. It is a personal choice and depends on whether or not you mind a little cold while enjoying Alaska. On all of my cruises to Alaska, I have enjoyed having a balcony and use it a lot in good weather and bad. There is nothing like a nice cup of coffee while sitting on your balcony enjoying the beauty that is Alaska.

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Old August 6th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Question Balcony

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurse Debra View Post
I agree with the above posters that a balcony is the best way to see Alaska. It is a personal choice and depends on whether or not you mind a little cold while enjoying Alaska. On all of my cruises to Alaska, I have enjoyed having a balcony and use it a lot in good weather and bad. There is nothing like a nice cup of coffee while sitting on your balcony enjoying the beauty that is Alaska.

Debra
Well, to each their own.

Now my personal preference is a nice cup of hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps while sitting snug and warm in the observation lounge enjoying the beauty that is Alaska.
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Old November 1st, 2011, 07:51 PM
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We are going to Alaska in September 2012. 1st cruise.... After reading posts, I am glad we went for a balcony..... Just a lot to find out, but we have time...
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Old November 1st, 2011, 09:36 PM
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Hi Jeanie,
Congrats on your first cruise....Yes, you will love having a balcony for your Alaska cruise. What ship are you on?
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 04:46 PM
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It seems to me that a good place for a balcony to Alaska would be aft facing the back of the ship. You may not get as much wind but would have more view.
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 07:32 PM
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OH, I totally agree, an aft balcony would be awesome, especially for Alaska...
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Old November 4th, 2011, 12:35 PM
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Question Aft balcony

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Originally Posted by Donna View Post
OH, I totally agree, an aft balcony would be awesome, especially for Alaska...
Well, honestly, an aft balcony would not be so good for Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier or Tracy Arm. Usually you get commentary as you approach the glacier and an aft balcony is always going to be hearing, "There is a waterfall on the port side," or "There is an eagle just ahead on the starboard side"!

Although -- as I have said -- really in the glacier areas you DON'T want to be on your balcony anyhow, you want to be out and about in the public areas of the ship for the best viewing.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 08:46 PM
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Very true Mike, you'd need to be on an upper deck watching and listening. Your balcony is good for the in between....Although when in Hubbard Glacier, our capt. turn the ship a 360, so if you were on your balcony, you'd get a great shot as well.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 02:01 PM
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Default Alaska in September

We always get a balcony no matter what. We love them.
We went on a land/cruise tour on Holland two years ago toward the end of September. Alaska was closing behind us. Holland was a big disappointment. It was like everyone who worked on the ship knew it was the last trip and did not over extend themselves.
It was very cold much of the time but not so bad on the balcony. We watched a lot of the scenery from there. At the glaciers we went out on deck. I ducked inside more than DH. He is heartier than me. Everyone was bundled up.
We are going to go again sometime but not on Holland. And we would go earlier. It was our first trip on Holland.
We are doing our first cruise on Princess on November 28 10 days to Southern Caribbean. Maybe our next cruise to Alaska will be on Princess.
I kind of liked the idea of the hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and staying warm in the observation area. But it is fun mingling with other cruisers on deck while watching special sights.
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Old November 13th, 2011, 04:22 PM
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I think you may be happier next time on Princess, I was very pleased with our Princess cruise to Alaska. We also went in July, weather was beautiful, even a day or two, you could wear shorts...
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