Alaska cruises

May 21st, 2009, 04:45 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2
Alaska cruises

We are thinking about a cruise to Alaska. Can anyone advise on the best time of year for wildlife , whales etc. or the time to be avoided?

I dont want to repeat what we did a few years ago and travel to Vancouver Island to find all the whales had gone !


Alex R
alexa1 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 05:11 AM
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The whales of Vancouver Island, northern and southern pod orcas were NOT gone. They are residents, there all the time. IF a priority,you have to invest in several trips, since they have a big range. Do your homework and find out the details.

As for humpbacks, they are in Alaska the entire cruise season as well. With a priority then book a tour out of Juneau or Hoonah.

Bears- don't consider going before mid July. Then you will need a fly in tour. Pack Creek out of Juneau, Anan out of Ketchikan are my top picks.

Put Sitka on your list and then an independent boat tour, loaded with varied wildlife.

IF going interior Alaska the best bargain wildlife show is Denali park, needs at least 3 extra days/nights post cruise.

Add Seward and a Kenai Fjords boat tour, of at least 6 hours on the water. Another wildlife loaded option.
BudgetQueen is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 09:32 AM
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We went on a one-way cruise from Whittier to Vancouver last June. At Denali we saw a moose family, multiple bears, other mammals and lots of eagles. On the Kenai all-day boat trip we saw whales, otters, more birds - always something - and also the glacier calving. Also saw more distant sea mammals from cruise ship. Yes, June is too early for bears - but with almost 24 hours/day of daylight (it never really got completely dark) more hours to sightsee.
gail is online now  
May 22nd, 2009, 07:32 AM
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Went on a Holland America Alaska cruise two yrs ago...the most memoriable cruise ever! Mid July first nite out...Captain said if any one is awake around 2am the ship would be going thru an area known to be heavily pop. with whales...of course I was up and out on the deck I went. Full moon, water like a mirror, and wosh wosh wosh, directly below me are 3 whales just tagging along beside the ship with Dolphins (humm or Porposes don't know which is in our neck of the woods) about five of them leading the way...I will never forget this site! The rest of the trip was magical.
Oh and I grew up in Alaska and had never done an Alaska Cruise, we drove the Alcan Hwy instead. While I no longer live in Alaska I visit family a couple times a year....Take the train to Denali if you is a not to be missed opportunity.
nana541 is offline  
May 22nd, 2009, 09:36 AM
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Neither my husband nor I have ever been on a cruise before. We are considering making our maiden voyage on a cruise from Seward to Vancouver. Our plan basically is to fly to Anchorage,spend a few days in and around Denali and then go on the cruise. I need some advice on booking the cruise.It looks like Holland America has an 'oceanview' stateroom for $599... then I found out about the 'other charges' so the total is really around $750. I don't know if there are other charges added to that.Like are gratuities set up in advance? if so what can I expect? I'm not cheap, just want to get a clear picture of the total cost. What can I really expect? what's the best booking site? I am asking you because you sound experienced in such matters. Thanks for your knowledge.
aaa999 is offline  
May 22nd, 2009, 10:01 AM
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Extra charges...hummmm, organized trips by cruise line, drinks (booze,wine and soft drinks) tips??? If you don't do any shore excursions and are a lite drinker then I don't think you will have much in the way of extras. Trips and booze are the biggies!!! Gambling could be but my hubby is always VERY lucky on the ships. Now the trip to Denali is going to be $$$, take the train it is wonderful and other than bus, you do know that you can't just drive into Denali don't you? Anchorage where I am from is just like any other big city soooo I would hit the train and get the heck out of town! hope this helps....really really liked Holland America but be sure and check Princess and Royal Carb.
nana541 is offline  
May 22nd, 2009, 10:49 AM
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I like a glass of wine and my husband likes a beer now and then, other than that we don't need it.The extra charges of port fees and taxes and fees on the taxes and taxes on the fees(Ted Stevens needs his cut).Any ideas on where to stay($100-$150 per night) to experience Denali?Is Talkeetna a good place to base out of? Getting from the Anchorage airport to the train station? Booking sites for booking the cruise?(Orbitz?Hotwire? etc etc). As for the cruise, you mentioned that the side trips are expensive. Can you give an example.
aaa999 is offline  
May 22nd, 2009, 11:09 AM
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You need to take the train to Denali and stay in the park...go online and check out prices, they range from very spendy to friendly (basic)...train leaves either from the airport or from the downtown station....unless something has really really changed you can not I repeat can not drive into the park....can enter by bus or train only or hike in with a permit. As for booking the cruise either go thru your travel agent (get resource) or directly with the Cruise lines...check specials on each of the sites...they are giving those cruises away this far as Talkeetna take your bug spray or save the money and take the train directly to the park....
As to cruise line excursions...the pricing is on all the websites or your Travel agent can get that info.
hope this helps, Travel agents (and I am NOT one) are your best resource.
nana541 is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 10:43 AM
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regarding this cruise...

Is food included in the price? Are there buffets?
jetsetj is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2009, 04:25 PM
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The best time to go is July. That tends to be warmer which in Alaska terms its when the wildlife comes out. I love Alaska its very peaceful. You may want to consider NCL. They have 2 new ships sailing RT out of Seattle. This will save you money on the Air. You may also want to check out it has a search engine with every possible Alaska cruise you can consider. The prices are also amazing.
AnthonyBarnett is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 03:04 AM
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Suggest you also look at the Alaska CC board. That's where I spent hours before our trip a few years ago on Regent's Mariner. Agree that it is worthwhile to go to Denali either before or after the cruise. We went there pre-cruise. Picked up a car at the Anchorage airport, drove up to Denali--you don't have to take the train--and spent a couple of days there and a couple of days in Talkeetna. Budget Queen, who posts all the time on the Alaska board is a wealth of knowledge. I have corresponded with her personally and she made valuable suggestions that I incorporated in our itinerary.
Dreps is offline  
Jun 8th, 2009, 10:22 AM
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For your cruise, you also need to budget about $12per day per person, for tips/service fees. Don't cruise without this, in my opinion.

As for Denali Park, you need to add at least 3 days. AND if you want to take the Alaska RR, another day. It's a 8 hour train ride, hardly worth it to arrive at 4pm, one day in the park and leaving at noon the next day. Better off driving, and seeing more along the way, making better use of time.

Best would then be to pick a Seward cruise then enjoying the day touring the area with a Kenai Fjords boat tour.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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BeachGirl247 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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aaa999 when are you planning to go on the cruise you mention above. Where did you find that price quote? I'd love to know
hpeabody is offline  

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