Alaska Cruise on Celebrity Solstice

May 15th, 2014, 11:54 AM
  #1  
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Alaska Cruise on Celebrity Solstice

This summer, my family is taking a trip from Seattle through Alaska on the Celebrity Solstice. Have never gone to Alaska or travelled with Celebrity before. Anyone out there have any experiences to share? If so, any good things to recommend about the ship, excursions. anything to be forewarned about?
Birdie1962 is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 03:23 PM
  #2  
 
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If you have already booked your cruise then I would suggest you go to www.cruisecritic.com website and look for Roll Calls. Find your cruise line, then look for your cruise date and you can see what tours others are doing or have organized, get good ideas, etc. We love Celebrity, one of our fav cruise lines! Alaska is a great place to go, spectacular scenery, etc.

Good luck.
Luv2travel15 is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 04:44 PM
  #3  
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Trip has been booked and I've looked at cruisecritic.com and Celebrity's site, lots of places. Only been on one other cruise (to the Caribbean) and was looking for any insight with the Alaska trip. Probably have all the info I need, but just want to be prepared.
Birdie1962 is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 04:54 PM
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Birdie1962, what ports are you stopping at? I haven't traveled on Celebrity, but have done 1 Alaska cruise and will do another in a couple of weeks.

Alaska is pretty informal - on land, dress up is more in the line of clean jeans and quality outdoor wear. You should prepare for temperature variations, so layering is the way to go.

Since it's out of Seattle, is your first stop Ketchikan? If so, there is great shopping there. Wait to buy fleece wear then; you will also find what I think is a really good selection of locally-made and First Nations-made crafts.
sludick is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 05:13 PM
  #5  
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Ketchican, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria. Aware that layering is the way to go. It's going to be fun to bring clothes to layer when there's limited storage space in a cabin
Birdie1962 is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 06:17 PM
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Skagway - a number of options. Waiting for others on this.

Victoria - have never been on a cruise stop, but often on other vacations. Suggest you don't plan on much in the limited time you have, other than walking around the shops near the ship. This is a stop just to quality as international to meet requirements. You'll still really enjoy some of the shops and ambience.

Juneau - lots of excursions but on our next trip we are doing our own thing. Be aware that there is city transportation that goes to Mendenhall Glacier. You might want to either do things on your own, or excursion.

We did Ketchikan on our own last time and will do so again. Our friends did a zip line and loved it, but had no time to visit the rather unique shops. Your decision.
sludick is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 08:33 PM
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If your ship offers a cameraman excursion that starts right off your ship in Tracy Arm and goes to the Sawyer Glaciers, then I'd recommend that excursion. It's AMAZING.

We enjoyed the train ride in Skagway. We did the boat tour to Misty Fjords from Ketchikan, but it was a little on the boring side and I wish we had been able to spend more time at Misty Fjords for as long as it took to get there and back. We liked walking around Ketchikan on our own.

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 09:02 AM
  #8  
 
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I took that cruise on the Solstice last summer. The Solstice is a really nice ship. The hot glass show was something different and I liked the seating around the lawn, though on nice days it was pretty crowded. Seas were pretty rough the first day out of Seattle, but was fine the rest of the cruise.

Waking up early in the morning as we went through Tracy Arm and sitting on our verandah was great, but don't forget to go topside to get some panoramic views of the scenery.

The buffet area was somewhat frustrating in that there were always groups of people camped out at tables (playing cards, reading, etc) while tons of people were walking around with trays in hand, looking for someplace to sit and eat. Finding a table to sit and eat was always a challenge.

This was my second cruise to Alaska, so I didn't do too many excursions. However, the flightseeing tour of the Misty Fjords National Monument I did in Ketchikan was excellent.

There's not a lot of time in Victoria as the ship arrives around 6 pm and departs at around 11. Given that the cruise also ended the next morning, we just walked around a bit in the downtown area and got back to the ship to make sure our luggage was put outside on time.
chepar is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 06:14 AM
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Anyone go on private excursions and not ones arranged through the ship? Like the idea of being on a ship arranged excursion m case you run into trouble/running late.
Birdie1962 is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 07:32 AM
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We did our own excursions when we went.

JUNEAU - just got off the ship and there were lots of vendors there selling tours, etc. We bought a combo ticket that took us to top of Mt. Roberts in a tram (great views on ride up/down), walked around, hiking trails, etc. and saw the bald eagle that had been injured and was in a cage, took lots of pics. There is a small theater w/ a film you can view but we didn't take the time to do this. Restaurant, etc.

After our descent on the tram we took the bus out to Mendenhall Glacier. Bus dropped us off a short distance from entrance to theater to watch a film (admission fee to film of $3. pp) and then you are free to walk about the glacier. Awesome to see! Back on bus and dropped off near port.

http://www.alaska-discounts.com/serv...nside-passage/

There is a 2 for 1 ticket on above website for Mt. Robert Tram.

If we went back I would simply buy a ticket to Mt. Roberts and take the blue bus out to Mendenhall, cheaper doing this and you would have more time to explore.

MGT’s “Blue Glacier Express”
This is our no-frills experience, offering direct transportation from downtown Juneau to the Mendenhall Glacier. This is 20 min narrated ride. The bus runs every 30 minutes beginning at 9:00am til 6:00pm most days. Let our bright Blue Bus take you out to the “Blue Ice Cube.”

http://mightygreattrips.com/


Here's a really nice website w/ great info on Juneau!

http://www.cruiseportinsider.com/jun...rown.html#tram

Tram is $32. pp which is expensive! Blue bus is $16. pp so it can be expensive to go both places. I would see what prices they offer at the port. If I had to make a choice think I would skip tram and visit Mendenhall Glacier, then walk around town and do some shopping, visit Red Dog Saloon (it's an experience) but very crowded. We walked in and out because there was no place to sit in there!

Don't forget that if you are going in summer, you will have long daylight hours.

KETCHIKAN: we booked a floatplane trip before we got there. It was pricey but so worth it. Plane can take 6 passengers and you will be awed by what you see. Think we pd. about $200 pp but this was our big excursion.

Weather was actually beautiful when we went first of July so we didn't need to layer. Only place it was chilly was when we were in Anchorage and we bought fleece jackets at a flea market for cheap $$.

Have a great cruise.
Luv2travel15 is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 07:39 AM
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Ketchikan is very easy to do on your own. Here are some things you can do.

http://www.cruiseportinsider.com/ket...own.html#misty

After we did our floatplane trip (the company we used picked us up at the dock and brought us to where the plane left from) and then back again after the tour. We walked along Creek St., did some shopping, lots of great restaurants to have chowder, salmon, etc. There are several large shopping stores where you can souvenir shop right next to where ship docks. You can get some other ideas on the website.
Luv2travel15 is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 07:44 AM
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Here's the souvenir shop on the dock we shopped at:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/tongass-trad...pany-ketchikan

Tongass Trading Company - it's huge and they have everything!

http://tongasstrading.com/store/

They even were giving out large shopping bags to hold all your souvenirs! LOL
Luv2travel15 is offline  
May 18th, 2014, 06:13 AM
  #13  
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Thanks for all of your ideas.
Birdie1962 is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 11:08 AM
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Alaska is one of the few places that you can easily do it on your own and don't even have to be adventurous. They are not cheap though.

Dress warm, layers, comfortable shoes and rain gear (ponchos will do).

Trip report: Alaska shore excursions on the cheap ...
http://www.fodors.com/community/crui...-the-cheap.cfm

Please post trip report on the ship as we will be on the Solstice in November!
Eschew is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 06:15 PM
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Do you need a passport for an Alaska cruise due to stop in Canada? Mine expired, leaving in 2 weeks.
fishee is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 06:29 PM
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fishee, I hope I am wrong on this but I don't believe they will even let you get on board the ship without a valid travel document, usually a passport. They will accept a WHTI compliance enhanced driver's license. You should call the cruise line ASAP.

You may find this link useful.
http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/fil..._factsheet.pdf
Eschew is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 07:19 PM
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Thanks Eschew -- I think you're right. If I can't come up with an original birth certificate, I'll need to expedite my passport this week. Looks like my baby will be OK as long as I can show a certified copy of his birth certificate but I'll check on that too.....
fishee is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2014, 05:10 AM
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We docked Vancouver after our cruise and flew home from there and did need our passports! I have seen websites w/ expedited passports offered. You can probably go to your local city hall and get a birth certificate there. I would also suggest you call your cruise line if you haven't done so.
Luv2travel15 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 11:41 AM
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Right, as Eschew says. On the cruise we just returned from a couple of weeks ago, a valid passport was required to even complete check-in. HAL would not even allow passengers to board unless they could verify your passport at least 90 minutes before boarding. Expedite.
sludick is offline  
Jun 26th, 2014, 08:51 AM
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Birdie1962. Am wondering if you were on the Solstice Cruise last week. We boarded on the 13 and one week from today were on our way to Victoria!! I really enjoyed my first cruise. DH didn't like the gray skies and moisture but - hey, that is the Northwest Pacific coast! We were prepared with the right clothing, he just likes a little more sunshine. We had not been to Seattle prior. After seeing Victoria, I think that is where I would return for a short visit!
Dyer is offline  

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