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Old August 27th, 2015, 10:13 AM
Burchillb Burchillb is offline
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Default What should I expect ???

I have secretly planned to take my wife on an Alaskan cruise for our 50th wedding anniversary. Because family is so important to her, I would like to be able to take my immediate family, wife, 2 adult children, 3 grandchildren and 2 spouses. Trip should be sometime in 2017.

I'm trying to get an idea on what a trip like this will cost for the above mentioned crowd. I'm thinking about the line that does not require the formal dining. I have never been on a cruise and need all the info I can come up with to see if its something I can afford. Where should I go to gather all the info I need? Thanks for any info you can provide
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Old August 27th, 2015, 10:34 AM
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The first thing you need to do is to find a good Travel Agent who specializes in cruises. Once you do that you can get all the answers you need plus he or she can steer you in the right direction and find out what is best for you.

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Old August 27th, 2015, 01:09 PM
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Looks like you'd need 3 cabins? You and your wife, each adult child with their spouses and kids. Big price range possibilities. All balconies? No balconies? All inside, combinations?, etc etc etc. I'm a "must have balcony for Alaska cruise person but you'll see many that disagree with that. So you need to figure that out first before you start pricing. It's pretty easy to research on Travelocity or similar sites although I wouldn't use them to book the trip. Of course, after you price it you might go WHOA!, and make changes.
Also with this research try and decide your itinerary. One way (either way) between Seward and Vancouver or Seattle? Seattle round trip? Vancouver round trip? For a first Alaskan cruise I'd suggest one that goes to Glacier Bay. This would reduce cruise line options though since they don't all visit Glacier Bay. We found the research to be a lot of fun. And when you have questions arise we're here to give opinions. And you'll get tons of varying opinions.
After you get somewhat of a handle of what you think you'd like then you'll be ready to start the booking process. And I agree with Manuel. Find a cruise specialist travel agent who'll be able to fine tune it all for you.
As far as I know all the major cruise lines still have the "Formal" dining nights. But these aren't like the old days where women need evening gowns and men need tuxedos. Much more relaxed than that these days. I'm not even sure if men need ties anymore. But in any case there are other eating options on the ships. Buffet, burger joints, alternative pay extra fancy restaurants. I don't think you need to concern yourselves about the formal dinner night. Oh, and depending on the kids ages, they do have kids menus. There are also kids "clubs" on the ships broken down by age groups so the grand kids will have a good time too.
Good luck and have a fun time planning it all out.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 01:51 PM
BernieG BernieG is offline
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Keep in mind with your request for no formal that most major lines will have options if you don't want to participate. NCL has no formal requirement. HAL just dropped their's to only include a shirt and tie, Princess and Celebrity and probably RCL only require formal in the Main Dining room so that leaves speciality (pay extra) dining venues smart casual and there's always the buffet.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 04:20 PM
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Don't discount the buffet, our last cruise on Princess in Alaska, we ended up in the Horizon Court most evenings...just easier coming back from a land tour and not have to shower and dress to attend a long 2 plus hour dinner and miss a show. We started just going to the buffet and were pleasantly surprised at the selections and service, plus it was half the time and we made the shows we wanted to go to.

You may want to check out Princess, only because they have the most ships up there in the summer, with more ports and different glaciers. Just be sure what ever ship you go on, that there is a glacier stop.

You will need to decide where you want to cruise from, Seattle over Vancouver, etc.

Best bet, talk to a good cruise travel agent and they can steer you in the right direction.

You may also opt to get one balcony cabin for yourself and wife and book 2 other iside cabins close by for the two adult kids and your grandkids....just an option...

At least you have plenty of time to plan, etc. Keep us posted.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 05:10 PM
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I agree with Donna. If you have the budget, one balcony and 2 inside. Balcony's can be small but 6 adults could share it (standing) to watch Glaciers, etc.
Of course, there are plenty decks on the ships for viewing nature.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 09:57 PM
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Obviously, I'm prejudice on the matter, but I wholeheartedly agree with others that you really need to find a good agent, preferably a cruise specialist, because their help can be invaluable to you. Plus, they charge nothing for their services and can often find you better deals. Definitely do not want to book directly through the cruise line or through an online site.

With that said, there are many wonderful options for Alaska and it's important to find the right one to fit your needs, lifestyle, and budget. Don't just automatically pick a cruise line because they don't have any formal nights because, as others have already mentioned, there are always other options available. Plus, when cruising in Alaska, the most I ever did was wear a tie.

But a 50th wedding anniversary is something very very special and you definitely want to make sure you get a cruise that will make it especially memorable.

We did our 40th wedding anniversary to Tahiti and it was awesome!

You've got plenty of time to plan, but most cruise lines don't post their cruises until about 18 months in advance. But with Alaska, it's usually less than a year.

So, to give you an idea of what prices are going to be like, I suggest taking a look at next year's prices and then adding about 10%. May not be that much, but it'll give you a rough idea and a place to start for budgeting purposes.

Alaska is one place that I always suggest looking at itineraries to deciding what ports are the most important to you. For example, if you said you really wanted to see Glacier Bay, then you would have to exclude Royal Caribbean and Celebrity from your consideration because they don't go there.

If glaciers are important, then you have to decide whether you want to see Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier or both. If you don't want to see glaciers, then consider what other ports are important.

Keep in mind that you'll definitely want to spend money on shore excursions in Alaska. There are many to choose from, but it gives you a great way to see this amazing State. I'm not one to suggest excursions through the cruise line, so look at independent excursions and get some ideas and pricing so you can budget for those accordingly.

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