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should I plan a road trip in around Vancouver or a cruise to Alaska?

should I plan a road trip in around Vancouver or a cruise to Alaska?

Old Feb 5th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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should I plan a road trip in around Vancouver or a cruise to Alaska?

Family of 4; have points that we could use to fly to Vancouver (or in/out of another city)...am debating if it would be better to just get on a cruise out of Vancouver to Alaska? 2 teens traveling w/us....hotel prices seem very high; wondering if a cruise would be more economical? We just want to explore a new part of the world (we are from Southeast US) for our summer family trip...trying to keep spending at a minimum....cruise for 4 is quoted at $2300/7 nights....hmmm ideas?
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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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done both options you mentioned and I am actually going again this summer with your same dilemma.

Alaskan cruises are hit or miss from what I understand. I was greatly disappointed on the Alaskan cruise we went on b/c I expected the vast majority of the trip to be sailing between narrow passages but this was not the case much of the time. First morning I woke up after leaving Vancouver we were out at sea. I have since learned that some cruises go out to sea from Van. and some go up the passage - big difference. The entire region has sooo much to see that you can't go wrong with a land trip.

We have two weeks and I am trying to plan our trip right now. Looks like a few days in Vancouver, 1 night in Victoria, a couple nights in Tofino and then we head off to Banff in the CR's.
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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 02:10 PM
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My friend Bob, who's both rich and does a lot of travelling, took an Alaska cruise and raved about it. And I trust his judgement.

But he would have travelled in the nicest part fo the ship, etc.

Me, I'm not rich, but I've driven around Vancaouver -- defining driving around as getting as far away as Banff National Park, and Seattle -- and I think this is a great part of Canada and well worth driving around.

Some cruise ships bore teens to death, and othrs have great facilities, so I think it's necessary to really check out the ship and the crusise line.

Can you tell us the ship's name?

As for driving... if you've got enough time, and depending ont he intrests of the kids... you can rent canoes, rent kyaks, go hiking, eat very different food, take boat rides, watch seaplanes land on the ocean, go skiing n sks with little wheels...

So, (says a father of a teenager and two former tenagers) the acual bot needs to be known in order to be really sure it's better than the driving.

Ad the driving, with good planning, is going to be great.

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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 07:45 PM
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I strongly discourage taking teenagers on an Alaskan cruise. My parents (who are in their fifties) recently went on a 7 day Alaskan cruise and complained that they felt like the youngest ones there. While this will vary depending on the cruise line the general Alaskan cruising crowd is quite old.

It is also worth noting that cheap activities on land in Alaskan port cities are very limited. The shore excursions offered through the cruise are very costly and could easily turn your $2300 trip for four into $5000. Excursions start at $150 a person and run upwards of $1000 per trip.

I have lived in Vancouver my entire life and would strongly recommend an extended stay, especially for first time visitors. There are plenty of cheap and free things to do around the city that could keep you more than occupied for the duration of your trip.

As for the hotel a new Coast Hotel just opened in Coal Harbour (a perfect place to stay while visiting). The hotel is a bargain given its location and room decor, it is worth checking it out.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 06:31 PM
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Thanks for all the great info. The best cruise pricing I have received so for was for Holland America/Rydam...we've cruised quite a bit with the kids, just not to this part of the world. Details of the cruise are below:

Starting in Vancouver with stops in Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Seward
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 04:14 AM
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We did this cruise only southbound a couple of years ago and loved it. Have you factored in the cost of getting home? We took the train from Seward to Anchorage, there are also buses. And we flew home on Frontier, which was the cheapest we could find (such a looooong flight from Orlando!), about $300 per person.

Agewise, we ranged from mid 30's to about 60 for the six of us. There were lots of family groups, with both younger and older. But this is not one of those "floating city" type ships, so think about what type of entertainment your teens might enjoy, and look at whether it may be available for them. As adults, we spent a lot of time in the lounges and on deck enjoying the glaciers. There's a nice pool (with a glass roll-back roof, it will be quite comfortable whatever the weather.

We did find those excursions to be quite pricey. Planning another trip, but we will only do one excursion (zipline in Ketchikan). In Juneau, next time we'd take a regular shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier for the day vs. the full day tour of Mendenhall/whale watching/salmon bake. They only give about an hour at the glacier, and that is not nearly enough. Just my two cents, though.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 11:58 AM
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Thanks for sharing your place of origin. That helps a lot.

For a family of 4 including two teens, I think I would let myself be content with getting to and seeing the Pacific Northwest (Seattle and Vancouver).

Normally I would be wholeheartedly endorsing Priceline.com for hotels in either Seattle or Vancouver, but I'm a little scared in a situation where you need to house 4 people.

Mind you, the most probable (roll of the dice) would land you a pair of king/queen-sized beds, and you could probably work-out acceptable sleeping arrangements given such luck.

At any rate, check out www.biddingfortravel.com, and in particular the rates paid for Seattle-area and Vancouver-area hotels.

Hopefully everyone has a passport or some other official means of crossing the international border.

If you can keep your hotel costs to $100 a night and food for four near $150 a day, you still have a little room under that $2300/7 days comparable figure for the cruise.

With teenagers, I just think that each wanting to do his/her own thing is more worthwhile to facilitate than is the view of Alaska from the water.

Vancouver alone is simply awesome (watch the upcoming Olympics for various views and observations)... and it is so far away from you that I'm sure it alone would be an impressive destination.

(note: IF contemplating flying to Vancouver... and IF you want to visit Seattle, you'd have to be sure the rental car company would allow a U.S. citizen to bring a Canadian car back into the U.S.)

MIGHT be better off to fly to Seattle and rent a car (here) for your eventual visit to Vancouver.

I'm quite sure that Seattle and Vancouver combined, during a week, is plenty enough for two teens to stay engaged in their surroundings. And if you need mountains (like in Alaska), they aren't very far away from either spot.

But at least look into Priceline... as it would tend to afford you much nicer accommodations at a price you'd typically pay for much less. Another option would be to book TWO rooms at a lesser hotel/motel... at maybe $50 per room per night.
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