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Old January 16th, 2015, 09:04 PM
Desert Rose Desert Rose is offline
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Default Cruising Newbie...so many questions...

Hubby and I are thinking about a cruise to Alaska sometime this year spring or fall. We live in AZ so we know we will have to fly to Seattle or Vancouver BC. We would like to hear from cruiser that have taken Holland America from either port (pro's and con's). We have been to Alaska before, in fact we lived there for about 4 years, although we have not been to SE Alaska. This trip is to celebrate our 40th anniversary and we want to do something special.

The more we read the more confused we get.... I am pretty sure we will use a travel agent for this trip instead of trying to do the booking ourselves. Any advise about Alaska cruises would be appreciated. The one thing that has me a little confused is in the review of Holland America it said that jeans are not allowed in the dining rooms or any public area is this true? I understand the dining rooms, but the public areas I don't understand can someone clarify this for us? Thanks!
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Old January 17th, 2015, 09:41 AM
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A HAL cruise from Vancouver to Seward was the first I ever took, almost 14 years ago. DH and I will be doing a cruisetour with them, Vancouver to Fairbanks, this August. Because we have to fly from New England, we always plan on arriving a day early, just to make sure our luggage also makes the cruise with us. Last time we liked the little bit of Vancouver we got to see so much that this time we're going TWO days early, so that we can see a bit more of it.

Definitely, use a travel agent. It costs no more, and a good one can help iron out any wrinkles you might encounter. If you can find one with the right experience he can also help you decide what excursions would most please you.

I've been on several HAL cruises, and on occasion worn jeans, and seen many other people wearing them. They are very appropriate for some of the excursions. HAL attracts a reasonably mature crowd, though, and I've never seen anyone wearing ratty ones or even the intentionally slashed stuff some kids think is stylish. I have never noticed them in the MDR, though I would not be surprised to learn that some were there; probably the ban you read about relative to the MDR and public areas had to do with formal nights. Even then, there are always passengers who don't like to "dress up" who dine in the buffet wearing shorts or jeans.
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Old January 17th, 2015, 12:12 PM
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Welcome to Cruisemates!! I would think on an Alaskan cruise you would see more jeans, onboard this itinerary worn all the time. The demographics do skew a bit older, so I'd think evening festivities would mean a more casual elegant dress code. Please come back and share your thoughts!
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Old January 17th, 2015, 04:12 PM
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Not sure about the "jean" thing, but when I cruised Alaska, jeans were pretty much the norm, but still not in the dining room for dinner.

There are so many options when cruising Alaska....is there some reason why you only want NCL? Princess has lots to offer as well, just something to check into.
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Old January 17th, 2015, 08:27 PM
Desert Rose Desert Rose is offline
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We totally get the no jeans in the dining room now that we have done a lot more reading. DH is actually thinking about getting a nice dinner jacket.

We are leaning towards Holland America for a variety of reasons, mostly because of the age demographics & cruise dates. Our 40th is June the 3rd so we are thinking about the May 30th cruise out of Vancouver. We are not huge partiers or drinkers so we thought we would fit into Holland America much better. We are into the outdoors, we love to watch wildlife & hubby loves to take pictures.

We are trying to talk his sister and her husband into joining us they are retired and we think this cruise line would work best for them as well. His sister has the inside passage on her bucket list...

Now to my next question. Is cruise insurance worth the expense? Is it per booking or per person?

Sorry for some of these questions but inquiring minds want to know.
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Old January 18th, 2015, 03:21 AM
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You really need to talk a an agent, preferably a Cruise Specialist who has been there and done that so they can answer all your questions. They'll be able to provide you all the information you need so that you can select the right cruise for you. What is good for one may not be good for someone else, so it's important to find the best cruise for you based on your needs, budget, and lifestyle. You have to decide where you want to go and what you want to see. For example, if you want to see the glaciers, deciding which one or both will narrow down your choices of cruise lines. As a point of fact, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity don't go to Glacier Bay, so if you want to go there, you'll have to find another cruise line.

There are many options and you need to look at all of them to find the right one.

And as for travel insurance, it's something I always suggest and the price is based on the total cost and the ages of those involved. You can get a policy just for you, just for your cabin, or for all of those who are going. Again, this is something you need to discuss with your agent. And the insurance offered by the cruise line is almost always not the right way to go.

Pete
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Old January 18th, 2015, 06:31 AM
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I would highly recommend getting the travel insurance....It really is a small price to pay in case anything should go wrong. Yes, it is per person.
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Old January 18th, 2015, 04:23 PM
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Please do not underestimate the need for travel insurance, take it from someone who used it. Talk to professionals,and buy it from a third party, not the cruise line. You can also go to insuremytrip.com and get side by side comparisons for coverage and pricing.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 10:54 AM
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As a person who had to use their trip insurance; I highly suggest you buy it. Last minute surprises happen; and when they do you want to be insured. Thats why we buy car and health insurance; to defray the high cost if something does go wrong.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 02:08 PM
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Not to belabor the point, but travel insurance is not just about you, it's also about your family. For example, our son got ill literally hours before we were to fly to Europe for a 2-week vacation, which included a one-week river cruise. We had to cancel last minute and our travel insurance paid for everything we lost.

But it's for all those reasons you're not ready for that travel insurance will help with.

Small price to pay to protect an expensive vacation. Just keep in mind that big name is not always best service. So work with your agent to find a good policy with good service.

Pete
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Old January 21st, 2015, 04:39 PM
BernieG BernieG is offline
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We have cruised HAL to Alaska. We did a 7 Day Vancouver round trip that included Glacier Bay. Very good itinerary. I didn't like HAL but that's a whole other story. They are still a bit more formal that other lines. For instance, most of the main stream lines now have their Specialty Restaurants Smart Casual on Formal Nights..HAL is still Formal. I don't think you can go wrong with Princess in Alaska and they allow Jeans in the dining room on non formal nights.

And get the insurance... you honestly have no idea what could go wrong and one medical problem could wipe out your savings.

Princess also does a 10 sailing out of San Francisco which might be closer for you.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Rose View Post
We totally get the no jeans in the dining room now that we have done a lot more reading. DH is actually thinking about getting a nice dinner jacket.

We are leaning towards Holland America for a variety of reasons, mostly because of the age demographics & cruise dates. Our 40th is June the 3rd so we are thinking about the May 30th cruise out of Vancouver. We are not huge partiers or drinkers so we thought we would fit into Holland America much better. We are into the outdoors, we love to watch wildlife & hubby loves to take pictures.

We are trying to talk his sister and her husband into joining us they are retired and we think this cruise line would work best for them as well. His sister has the inside passage on her bucket list...

Now to my next question. Is cruise insurance worth the expense? Is it per booking or per person?

Sorry for some of these questions but inquiring minds want to know.
Personally, I really like Holland America to Alaska. They've been doing it longer than any other major cruise line, have more ships there, own not only their own resort, but also all their own hotels. I like Princess next because they have the second biggest presence in Alaska, followed by Celebrity. I base this on personal experience, but also base it on itineraries they offer, both on the sea and on land, and lodging options during tours.

We did a 2-week cruise tour, which is an outstanding way to see Alaska both by sea and by land. It was awesome! HAL took very good care of us and could not have been better.

Doing a cruise is one thing, but you only get to see the 'tail' and really don't get into the 'heart' of Alaska. If you have the time and money, doing a cruise tour is the best way to see this magnificent State. After all, it may be the only chance you get and you don't want to say, "I wish I would have....."

Pete
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Old March 27th, 2015, 07:59 AM
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Hello, I would definitely second what other people are saying here about travel insurance for cruises. In my opinion itís a must-have considering the cost of the cruise Ė you say itís a special event and you no doubt want to spend as much as you can on the trip. We got insurance through NRIOL.NET: Trip Cancellation Insurance: Cancel for medical, hurricane, any reason because we were worried that if something happened and we couldnít take the cruise as planned, we would end up with all of the cost and none of the benefits! Luckily we didnít need to use it but itís a small price to pay for peace of mind.*
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