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Alaska Cruise June 2011 - Help with excursions, etc.

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Mar 22nd, 2011, 10:44 AM
  #1
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Alaska Cruise June 2011 - Help with excursions, etc.

My husband, father and I will be taking an Alaskan cruise on Holland America Line. The ports we will stop at are Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria. Any suggestions on what to do? We are in our early 50's and my dad is 89. My dad gets around quite well for his age although he does use a cane to help with his balance. We are all seasoned travelers but this is my husband's and my first cruise (I went alone on a cruise 28 years ago to Mexico for a week). My dad has been on cruises but this is his first to Alaska. My dad is the one that wanted to go on the Alaskan cruise.

Thanks for any help you can give. We are scheduled for open seating at the moment (6:30 pm is full). Any other suggestions for my dad to meet other singles would be appreciated. Thanks for any and all help!
TerryLFred is offline  
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 05:44 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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Things that we did and liked:

Juneau: State of Alaska Museum, State Capitol, Mt. Roberts Tram, Mendenhall Glacier. We also took a boat trip to see the glaciers at Tracy Arm, but that was an all day trip.

Ketchikan: SE Alaska Discovery Center, Totem Bight State Park, Totem Heritage Center,D eer Mountain Tribal Hatchery & Eagle Center.

Sitka: Russian Bishop's House, St. Michael's Cathedral, Sheldon Kackson Museum, Sitka National Historic Park. We also went on a wildlife watching boat trip and a semi-submersible boat trip, both of which we liked.
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 12:34 PM
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I would certainly go out to see glaciers on at least one stop. It is quite easy to pick up a local, private tour at the docks. At any of those stops, you can also walk around the town on your own. It seems to me that the call at Sitka was tendered, but Sitka itself is small and easily toured. We liked the land tour (Anchorage to Fairbanks) very much. Is that part of your cruise? Also take some warm clothes. We went in late July and on deck it was very cold, especially near thye glaciers. I would not worry about the seating for dining. Open seating gives you flexibility and if you don't find your tablemates congenial, you get a new set the next time. You can also make reservations for a set time, but the are usually full almost when they open. We have done the open plan twice and never had to wait.
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 01:12 PM
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KVR
 
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We are doing our first Alaskan cruise in Sept. on Princess. We have done 3 other Carribean cruises. We are going with my 74/80 year old parents.

In Juneau we booked the whale watching and Mendenhall glacier tour.

In Ketchican we booked the float plane tour to Tracy Arm Fjords

In Victoria we arrive 7pm to midnight. We plan to just get off the ship and walk around and find a place for dinner.

We have anytime dining. Will not do a cruise line that doesn't offer it. We can go to the dining room anytime between specific hours and get a private table for just us. I don't like to each with others. That's just a personal preference. Look at your port time schedule and tour times and determine what time would be better for dining. You don't want to rush to be late or have to wait excessivly for your dining time.

Go to CruiseCritic.com to your ship's roll call and introduce yourself. They usually set up a 'Met and Greet' when you get on the ship. You'll be able to met people on-line before ever stepping on the cruise ship and then can met up with when your ship sails.
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 05:07 PM
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I'm happy to hear that the open seating worked well. I think that will be best so that we don't have to rush back to the ship for the early seating. We could still get dinner in the dining room even later.

I went to CruiseCritic.com to sign up on the Meet and Greet but I didn't see one for the Holland America Line.

We will not be in Anchorage/Fairbanks. We go round trip from Seattle stopping at the ports I mentioned.

I hear you can bring your own wine on board to consume personally. Does anyone know if that is in your own room only or can you take your wine into the dining room to have with dinner?

Thanks again for all the helpful input.
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Mar 24th, 2011, 08:25 AM
  #6
KVR
 
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Here's the roll call thread for Holland American. Just click on the name of your ship and then click on the date your ship sails.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=86

If you take wine into the dining room to drink with your meal they will charge you a corkage fee. Depending on the ship it can be anywhere from $15 to $25. You can drink it in your room for free.

We are doing round trip Seattle also. Do you plan on spending anytime in Seattle pre/post cruise? We're doing 4 days.

Instead of Sitka we are going to Skagway. We booked the train ride.
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Mar 25th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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We did this cruise last August. In Juneau, we did Mt. Roberts and the evening whale-watching.There was a local family band at Mt. Roberts that was kind of hokey, but also kind of fun. In Sitka, we went on our own and did the national historic site and the Russian Cathedral. In Ketchikan (our shortest port stop), we did Totem Bight. We wound up missing Victoria due to weather. In all ports, we used any available time for shopping and wandering.

My trip report is at we2onthego.wordpress.com; I think there's also an abbreviated version here.
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Mar 26th, 2011, 07:45 AM
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There are hundreds of excellent tours to consider. You need to look over a shore excursion list and narrow down your interests. Then repost a more managable list for further details.

Independent vendors for some tours are superior, including some recommended above, so if you are open to independent plenty of information available.
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