Old Jan 28th, 2016, 05:37 AM
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Hi all never have cruised Alaska before and need some help narrowing down a few things,
I have cruised the Caribbean several times and have been pleased. Really enjoyed the Royal Caribbean.
I've read not-so-good things about Norwegion, which used to be my first choice.
Here are some factors for our clan.

1. family of 5 - 3 teens
2. active
3. like entertainment
4. don't like to be nickled and dimed on ship
5. appreciate good service
6. clean, well run ship

itineray: south or north glacier bay first - aiming to please teens

Looking to depart from Seattle....any recommendations if we should arrive early or where to stay night before to easily get to ship? Really appreciatea ll your help,
selges is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2016, 06:00 AM
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I strongly suggest that you travel northwards. First, the food is better because the ships are stocked in Seattle or Vancouver.

Second, and more important, when travelling northwards, the scenery becomes increasingly dramatic. On the northbound routes, Glacier Bay will be the last stop and sort of a climax. Also, Seward as a destination harbour is great (add at least a day and do the Kenai Fjords tour).

I think that only two cruise lines have permission to cruise into Glacier Bay. It costs extra fees, so the cruises which include Glacier Bay are a little more expensive.

We made the Alaska cruise with Holland America from Vancouver. Vancouver is a fantastic city and probably more interesting for teens than Seattle. We also have cruised Royal Carribean (but not in Alaska).

Comparing HAL and RCL, I must say that HAL is on a slightly higher level: general quality of food, service and everything is a bit higher. Drinks are much cheaper on HAL ($7.95 for a cocktail) than on RCL (12.00), so the nickled-and-dimed factor speaks for HAL. (Always calculate the total cost and see not only the cabin price.)

Entertainment is different. Generally, Alaska cruises are less entertainment-oriented than other destinations because you have more the outdoor-typed passengers on board. This is especially true for HAL (but, of course, they have a disco). Entertainment on RCL ships tends to be generally more partyish.

Be aware that the organized excursions are always rip-offs, especially in Alaska, regardless of the cruise company (or is there one which included excursions?).

Actually, with our family of five, we booked no excursion at all, but rented cars and saved $$$$ (in Skagway, total cost was $100 for five compared to $1.250 for five if we had taken the cruise ship's excursion - and we saw much more).

You might be interested in reading my extensive trip report:

(Post a comment to push it up to the top again.)
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 01:29 PM
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HAL and Princess own Alaska, stick with one of those.
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Old Feb 1st, 2016, 02:07 PM
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Agree that Vancouver is a fabulous starting point. Rent bikes in Stanley Park for the day with your kids.
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Old Feb 16th, 2016, 05:37 AM
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I'd always recommend arriving early. Treat Seattle as another cruise port. It's an awesome city with a lot to do and see near the port.

If you're looking for hotels, there isn't much near Pier 91, but Pier 66 is downtown so there are tons. Here are some options:
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Old Feb 16th, 2016, 02:39 PM
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Hi S,

Good advice above.

I suggest fewer excursions from the ship and at least one extra day in Vancouver.

Ships setting out from Seattle go outside Vancouver Island. The Pacific can get rough.

If you leave from Vancouver you go by the more scenic, and quieter, Inside Passage.

There is a very nice Aquarium in Seward.

We chose the short tour with
Loved it.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2016, 10:34 AM
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Check this thread by another here:
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Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 11:36 AM
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I don't see any real reason to start at one end vs the other.

If you can cruise one-way, vs round trip you can add time at either end for sight seeing.

I did Holland America from Anchorage to Vancouver, and yes, Glacier Bay was our first stop. I did a tour/transfer from Anchorage to Seward, which I thought was good. But you could rent a car with a family.

In fact I think that having GB first might be better, chances are you will not yet be down with any of the various cruise ship maladies early in the trip...not just Norovirus, but the constant coughing and flu-like illnesses that hand washing can't really address.

Holland America does not have very good entertainment, compared to the only other cruise line I have experience with. But what I did like, was the library, and the free room service!
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 10:00 AM
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We cruised from Vancouver but flew into Seattle and spent 2 days there first. We took a train from Seattle to Vancouver that was like a tour itself - beautiful scenery, comfortable ride, super easy.
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 11:58 AM
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What train did you take from Seattle to Vancouver? How much was it per person? Was it hard to get to if we are flying into Seattle? There are 7 of us.
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 02:33 PM
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On our Alaska adventure, we flew into Seattle, spent 3 days there, and then Princess had a van to take us to Vancouver.
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