Alaska? Large ship vs. small ship

Old Jun 14th, 2000, 08:38 AM
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Alaska? Large ship vs. small ship

We're considering an Alaskan cruise. I was wondering if there are advantages to being on a smaller ship rather than a large ship. On a large ship could you be too high up to have the best views of wildlife? Thanks. Tom
Old Jun 16th, 2000, 10:24 AM
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There are major advantages to sailing on a small ship if you want to see wildlife and scenery in Alaska. Small ship will get you much closer to the shore and to the glaciers. They generally have kayaks on board, so you can get right up to the shore. People we have booked on small ships have been so close to bears on the shore, they could hear the them tearing the grass out of the ground to eat it. I've also sailed many times on large ships. Generally, you don't see many land animals from the ship. The one exception was in Tracy Arm on one cruise last year. We saw 10 black bears along the inlet, but you needed binoculars to see them very well. The drawback of small ships is that they tend to be more expensive, but I always recommend to people who want to see lots of wildlife to spend the extra money. The other advantage of small ships, is their itineraries are more flexible, so if they come across a pod of whales, they don't have to speed off to make their next port. Lisa
Old Jun 16th, 2000, 12:51 PM
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It depends on what your interests are.

We took a large ship (500 passengers). Saw a little scenery, a lot of dancing girls, a lot of fancy clothes and food. Very relaxing, but not very interesting. We would not go on a large ship again if we had the choice.

A smaller ship also gives you a feeling of comeraderie.

Old Jun 20th, 2000, 04:59 PM
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I always prefr a small ship, but most especially in Alaska. The emphasis is on wildlife and scenery, not on midnight buffets and bingo. The small ships have naturalists on board, who will be there to point out the things you might miss on your own, like a bald eagle in a tall pine, just a couple of jundred yards away. You never get close enough to shore (except in the Lynn Canal) on a big ship to see anything. Besides, do you really want to be getting off the ship in an Alaskan port with 2,000 other passengers?
Old Jun 21st, 2000, 07:33 AM
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Isn't motion sickness more likely on smaller ships?
Old Jun 22nd, 2000, 12:28 PM
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Yes, motion sickness could be more of a problem on a small ship. Actually O consider a ship with 500 passenger pretty small. I guess everything is relative. Most of the large ships have naturalists on board and do a pretty good job with a lot of information. The very small to the very large are two totally different experiences. Both can be terrific! Kind of like driving a little sports car or a large luxury car. Neither is bad.....just different.
Old Jun 26th, 2000, 11:27 AM
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Dave, What was your 500 passenger ship and would you recommend it? Did you have a naturalist aboard to explain things and/or give lectures? We are travelling with another couple and they would like the dancing girls and buffets, but I am determined to LEARN about Alaska. Only have time for the Inside Passage, rest of the state will be for another trip. Thanks.
Old Jun 29th, 2000, 07:26 PM
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Actually, we just returned last week from Alaska on a rather large ship, RCCL Vision of the Seas, and while there are well over 2,000 people on board, the ship IS so large there is never a real crowd anywhere. The shore excursions desk was well-staffed and able to answer any of our questions about touring. The shore excursions information given by the resident excursions manager on board was played around the clock as were videos of all the tours offered. And as far as viewing wildlife, we viewed most of our wildlife on the excursions, but we also had the opportunity to see orca whales and dolphins while sailing back to Vancouver and a bear while cruising Misty Fjords. However, on our excursions, we encountered orca whales, humpback whales, sea lions, harbor seals, and bald eagles. The most impressive thing to view from the ship is the scenery, and that can be done on a small or large ship.
Old Jul 5th, 2000, 09:12 AM
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The ship was the Sagafjord, I believe from the Cunard Line. It was a very nice ship as "large" ships go. We had a very large room, with a king sized bed, 2 large chairs and small table, TV, and dresser. There were 10 people in our group, and ever night before supper, we gathered in our room which had enough space for 10, and had champagne which was given to us by the ship, and we ordered fruit and cheese and crackers which was delivered to our room free.

There no naturalists, but there were brief lectures about the town we would be stopping at next.

It was a good ship if that's what you want.

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