ALASKAN CRUISE - MAY 2017

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Sep 29th, 2016, 06:08 AM
  #1
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ALASKAN CRUISE - MAY 2017

We have booked a cruise for 14th May next year starting and finishing in Seattle. We are stopping in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka & Victoria and viewing the Hubbard Glacier. I have been warned that it could be very cold which I don't mind as we will take layers and a warm jacket with us. Could someone who has cruised at that time confirm what the weather was like. Obviously it is still a long way off but what sort of tours are good if you are on a moderate budget? The cruise is coming at the end of our 3 week holiday so we may decide to splurge if we have the funds and go on a float plane trip. It would be nice to know which one is the best. In some places it may not be necessary to do a tour as one the couples who went to Ketchikan suggested. We are reasonably fit over 70s and l love photography so nature & wildlife are more important than museums. We also thought of doing the tour in Seattle on our return that finishes at the Airport. Has anyone done that?
Someone also mentioned that it is not so good to be high up in the ship as one feels the rocking and rolling. We are travelling on Holland America and our cabin is 7116 which I think is quite high. Any advice there. I look forward to some advice and suggestions.
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Sep 29th, 2016, 03:30 PM
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We did an Alaskan cruise leaving Seattle on May 10, so early in the season. We had sunshine every day, remember walking around Juneau in short sleeved t-shirt and jeans. However weather varies tremendously from year to year so you may not be as lucky.
You can take a shuttle bus from the dock at Juneau to the glacier at a much cheaper price than a tour, which also gives you the benefit of staying as long or as little as you like.
Ketchikan is an easy place to wander around and you can always get a bus to the totem park.
We only had a few hours late in the day in Victoria but walked from the pier around the harbour to the fishermen's wharf.
Some of our friends have just finished a cruise and did the tour at the end of the cruise which took them around Seattle and then left them at the airport in time for their flight. They thought it was good.
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Sep 30th, 2016, 10:40 PM
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We did an Inside Passage cruise in May last year. We were very lucky and the weather was mainly sunny and warm (70s). However, the weather there is truly unpredictable, so bring clothes you can layer, as well as a good hooded rain jacket. A waterproof jacket with a removable fleece lining is what DH took and it served him well.

As far as motion goes, we were on deck six (HAL Oosterdam) and rarely felt any motion at all. The Inside Passage part of your cruise is in sheltered waters and motion there really shouldn't be a problem.
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Oct 1st, 2016, 05:34 AM
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Thank you marge and dsquared for your info. It really helps to get advice from people who have been before. We will also be on the Oosterdam so that makes me feel better.
Will look at dong that shuttle bus in Juneau. Did you book it in advance or just when you got there?
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Oct 1st, 2016, 02:56 PM
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You'll find the shuttle buses near the dock. No need to book ahead, just hop on and pay.
We did a long cruise on the Oosterdam last year - loved it. Particularly appreciate any time dining, so much nicer than being forced to eat every evening with the same people.
Our particular place to relax was the library/bar/lounge on the top deck - can't remember what it was called. Holland America always seem to have the best library areas.
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Oct 1st, 2016, 03:12 PM
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I had a long post filled with info for you, and then my computer crashed. There aren't enough words to express my loathing of Windows 10. But I digress. Here's the very short version:

Ketchikan:
Totem Bight State Park - great photo opps, easy to get to by public bus which is $.50 per senior. There is also a shuttle from downtown up the hill toward the Totem Heritage Center and the Fish Hatchery. Taking the bus up and walking down through the Creek area makes for a pleasant experience.

HAL offers a number of nature-oriented shore excursions in Ketchikan, including floatplane and boat trips to Misty Fjords. It the weather is good, it is stunning. They also offer some bear-watching tours, but May is not prime bear-watching season - that's July/August.

Juneau:
We got our tickets for the shuttle bus to the Mendenhall Glacier at the kiosks at the docks. The buses were first come, first served, which can be problematic if there are a large number of ships in port. We had no problem getting out to the glacier (we got there quite early), but there were probably 100 people waiting for a 40 seat bus on the return a few hours later. Cabs and shore excursions are another option. There's a city bus, but it takes about 40 minutes and leaves you with a mile walk to the visitors center. Most people do the Photo Point trail; we walked the Nugget Falls trail (mostly gravel, 2 miles rt) which has a beautiful view.

There are any number of whale watching tours available at the dock kiosks; most guarantee whale viewing.

Like marg, I'm a fan of the Crow's Nest/Explorations Cafe area of the ship. Great views, usually quiet even when there a lot of people there.
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Oct 1st, 2016, 03:13 PM
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Oops! It looks like $50 above, but it is 50 cents. Decimals matter!
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 10:10 PM
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If you are going to Haines you might be able to drive youselves to good bear viewing.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 01:40 PM
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Thanks you once again for all that great advice. I have copied and pasted your info onto a sheet which I have put into my file.

I kept ignoring my computer when it tried to get me to load Windows 10 and now it has gone away. Glad I resisted the temptation!

We see lots of whales in Cape Town so we wont worry with that but would love to do some of the other things you mentioned.
Not going to Haines so the bears will have to wait til another time.

Still 6 months to go - Cant wait!!
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