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Oct 3rd, 2008, 07:42 AM
  #1
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Choose cruise

I am choosing a first Alaksa cruise Sept 2009. I THINK my original choice of NCL Pearl may not be as good a choice because of seatime vs inside passage beauty. I fear seasickness.
I have free tickets for 48 states so Seattle would be free. I have FF miles that could get me to Vancouver.

Question: Which departure city is best?
If Vancouver, which cruise ship out of Vancouver would you recommend.

Seems from what I have researched (HOURS and hours) has me concluding NCL Pearl out of Seattle and HAL out of Vancouver for the itinerary.
Seems that HAL out of Vancouver may have best itinerary.
What is the best overall ship AND itinerary? Ah, so many questions....
We love casual but again, I enjoy well prepared food. My husband isn't concerned about that. We both value the beauty of the outside - trees, lush forest, foliage....and of course, majestic glaciers and mountains. We are turning 60 so we plan on celebrating and making memories with excursions.
I am a novice hoping for experienced advice and maybe even balance to my over the top time invested in this ! Thanks so much for helping us make this memory while we have one

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Oct 3rd, 2008, 08:15 AM
  #2
 
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I have not done a cruise to Alaska,but 2 different friends have just returned from this cruise 2 ladies in July and a couple in their 70ies returned last week. They went on Holland America out of Vancouver. They loved the Holland America ship and found the service on it great. They also did the bus tour,but say they would only do the cruise if the choice was made again.
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Oct 3rd, 2008, 08:46 AM
  #3
 
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We did a Celebrity cruise out of Vancouver. Loved the cruise line, loved the city. I get violently seasick (I LOVE that patch), and I was totally fine....
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Oct 3rd, 2008, 11:15 AM
  #4
 
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You need to be well prepared for motion sickness on ANY cruise, sailing out of Vancouver is NO guarantee of smooth sailing. One trip I did had 3 rough sailing days on a round trip Vancouver. Consult your health care professional for advice for you.

You can have significantly more scenic sailing out of Vancouver vs Seattle.

You can also EASILY get between Seattle and Vancouver, available will be ship contracted buses, Amtrak, Quickshuttle bus, one way rental car. I have done them all, except ship contracted buses.

I suggest you might want to pick the first week of Sept. vs later, which will have the worse weather potential of the entire season.
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Oct 3rd, 2008, 01:01 PM
  #5
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thanks for the input. Sounds like VANCOUVER is the preferred choice. We are going Sept 6 right now but can change that to sooner and actually would prefer going in mid August but the posts seemed to say too crowded, too expensive, etc.

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Oct 4th, 2008, 02:32 PM
  #6
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We will likely fly to Seattle and maybe go to Victoria before or after (cruise date is Sept 2) . Any suggestions for best way to go SEA to the ferry and then to Vancouver for ship?
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Oct 5th, 2008, 04:10 PM
  #7
 
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"You can have significantly more scenic sailing out of Vancouver vs Seattle."

I have sailed out of both and can not understand why Vancouver would be more scenic. The route is basically the same if the itineraries are similar. On our last Seattle departure, the sight of Mt. Rainier dominating the horizon behind Seattle was one of the highlights of the trip.

The HAL ships are all very nice and so is the NCL Pearl. I just think it's easier getting to Seattle and without the customs headaches.

The main thing to consider is the time of year to sail. June and July are much better, in my opinion, than August or September. The days are longer and there is more snow on the mountains. We have been on four Alaska cruises (on four different cruise lines) and we have always been lucky with the weather and also have never experienced any type of sea-sickness.
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Oct 6th, 2008, 05:16 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Author: pdamiani
Date: 10/03/2008, 10:42 am
I am choosing a first Alaksa cruise Sept 2009. I THINK my original choice of NCL Pearl may not be as good a choice because of seatime vs inside passage beauty. I fear seasickness.
I have free tickets for 48 states so Seattle would be free. I have FF miles that could get me to Vancouver.

Question: Which departure city is best?
If Vancouver, which cruise ship out of Vancouver would you recommend.

Seems from what I have researched (HOURS and hours) has me concluding NCL Pearl out of Seattle and HAL out of Vancouver for the itinerary.
Seems that HAL out of Vancouver may have best itinerary.
What is the best overall ship AND itinerary? Ah, so many questions....
We love casual but again, I enjoy well prepared food. My husband isn't concerned about that. We both value the beauty of the outside - trees, lush forest, foliage....and of course, majestic glaciers and mountains. We are turning 60 so we plan on celebrating and making memories with excursions.
I am a novice hoping for experienced advice and maybe even balance to my over the top time invested in this ! Thanks so much for helping us make this memory while we have one





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Author: maryanne1
Date: 10/03/2008, 11:15 am
I have not done a cruise to Alaska,but 2 different friends have just returned from this cruise 2 ladies in July and a couple in their 70ies returned last week. They went on Holland America out of Vancouver. They loved the Holland America ship and found the service on it great. They also did the bus tour,but say they would only do the cruise if the choice was made again.



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Author: Debi
Date: 10/03/2008, 11:46 am
We did a Celebrity cruise out of Vancouver. Loved the cruise line, loved the city. I get violently seasick (I LOVE that patch), and I was totally fine....



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Author: BudgetQueen ([email protected])
Date: 10/03/2008, 02:15 pm
You need to be well prepared for motion sickness on ANY cruise, sailing out of Vancouver is NO guarantee of smooth sailing. One trip I did had 3 rough sailing days on a round trip Vancouver. Consult your health care professional for advice for you.

You can have significantly more scenic sailing out of Vancouver vs Seattle.

You can also EASILY get between Seattle and Vancouver, available will be ship contracted buses, Amtrak, Quickshuttle bus, one way rental car. I have done them all, except ship contracted buses.

I suggest you might want to pick the first week of Sept. vs later, which will have the worse weather potential of the entire season.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Author: pdamiani
Date: 10/03/2008, 04:01 pm
thanks for the input. Sounds like VANCOUVER is the preferred choice. We are going Sept 6 right now but can change that to sooner and actually would prefer going in mid August but the posts seemed to say too crowded, too expensive, etc.





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Author: pdamiani
Date: 10/04/2008, 05:32 pm
We will likely fly to Seattle and maybe go to Victoria before or after (cruise date is Sept 2) . Any suggestions for best way to go SEA to the ferry and then to Vancouver for ship?



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Author: Supercilious
Date: 10/05/2008, 07:10 pm
"You can have significantly more scenic sailing out of Vancouver vs Seattle."

I have sailed out of both and can not understand why Vancouver would be more scenic. The route is basically the same if the itineraries are similar.


The route is not always the same. Seattle sailing usually sail outside of Vancouver Island so you have the Pacific.. open ocean on port side.Vancouver sailings sail inside Vancouver Island so you have land on both sides. We have done both and find the Vancouver sailing is much more interesting.
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Oct 6th, 2008, 04:20 PM
  #9
 
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You can fly to Vancouver. It is a fantastic city and the harbor is beautiful. HAL sails from a convenient spot in Vancouver. HAL will also bus you from SEA, but it is not a lot of fun. I like HAL, and heard things about NCL that make me uneasy. Don't expect fantastic food on most cruises. It is good - like a mid scale chain restuarant. They make it sound better than it is. The Lido food is tasty. I wouldn't go or not go on a cruise because of the food. Timing a cruise to Alaska is important. We went in July and it was COLD much of the time. It may be more crowded and expensive, but I can't imagine going in September.
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Oct 6th, 2008, 05:15 PM
  #10
 
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I just got back from my Alaskan Cruise. It was the best. I went on the Carnival Spirit. It was the last cruise of the season in Alaska then the Spirit headed to Hawaii. My family and I traveled out of Vancouver and we spend a couple of days there to see some of the sites.

I would love to see Seattle and from what you listed, I think you should go with Seattle to save money cause Alaskan cruises can be expensive. In Vancouver, the port is Canada Place and we had no problems getting on or off the ship and customs was a breeze. And I saw other cruises like HAL, PCL, and NCL there as well. My advice is to research both locations of port and cruises that fits your itenerary. My iternerary on the cruise was Jueanu, Glacier Bay, Skagway, and Ketichucan.

I had the seasick problem myself. The Patch and the motion sick braclets helped alot. Good luck and I know you'll have the time of your life.
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Oct 6th, 2008, 06:56 PM
  #11
 
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"Seattle sailing usually sail outside of Vancouver Island so you have the Pacific."

I don't believe this is the case. Our NCL cruise from Seattle sailed the Inside Passage and we went by Vancouver twice, once at night and, on our return, we sailed by it in the early evening and could see the cruise ships leaving its harbor on their trip going north.

I have researched these trips extensively and have never seen a route that goes out into the Pacific except on a re-positioning cruise.
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Oct 7th, 2008, 04:56 AM
  #12
 
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Seattle sailing usually sail outside of Vancouver Island so you have the Pacific."

I don't believe this is the case. Our NCL cruise from Seattle sailed the Inside Passage and we went by Vancouver twice, once at night and, on our return, we sailed by it in the early evening and could see the cruise ships leaving its harbor on their trip going north.

I have researched these trips extensively and have never seen a route that goes out into the Pacific except on a re-positioning cruise.

Take a look at the route maps, this is an exception, NCL does NOT go inside Vancouver Island on a regular basis, and Celebrity is the only line sailing from Seattle that does do this one way. ALL others sail outside Vancouver Island, open Pacific.

I have personally sailed NCL on all their Alaska itineries and out of Seattle, the route was not Inside Vancouver Island.
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Oct 10th, 2008, 12:29 AM
  #13
 
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Everyone has preferences and mine would be from Vancouver. Beautiful city to spend a few days before the cruise.

Again, personal choice, one way north bound over inside passage return trips. The ships will be full regardless of season. Less family (kids) in September as they are back at school. Weather is cooler and bargins can be had as well.

More personal preferences: Princess is the middle of the road. They do everything decent with no major surprises, and they should not disappoint. HAL and Celebrity would be good choices too. I have had bad experinece with NCL. But then, I am sure others had bad experience with Princess, HAL and Celebrity as well. You can check out the cruisecritcis.com and read their reviews and comments.

For sea sickness, ginger works the best. The Chinese has used it for thousands of years. The mythbusters had a show about sea sickness and found that ginger pills worked best. Of course, always consult your doctors.

I personally have not come across any "rough" water on any Alaskan cruises. Either I am lucky or I have higher tolorence. I have seen some pretty rough water on Caribbean and Mexican Riveria cruises. Atlantic crossinga are probably more "rough" but I did not find Pacific crossings rough at all but then I have limited experinece there, and probably get luck with the weather.

Of the Pricness fleet that sails in the area, I like the Diamond the best. It is a beautiful ship, very nicely decorated. Was on it last September (long weekend) and liked the ship's lay out, lots of common area and not feel crowded at all. I prefer "anytime dining" and that's why I choose Princess. The Diamond has 4 themed dining rooms to choose from, as well as the traditional two seatings dining room, a 24 hour buffet, and specialty restaurant. They also have special set ups around the pool serving specailty lunches like sushi, make your own soup etc, a very good variety. They usually has a naturalist on board and held seminars on sea days and the naturalist also give talks atthe glacier scenic cruises.

Persoanlly, I will pick a cruise with scenic crusiing at Glacier Bay National Park.

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Oct 10th, 2008, 06:34 PM
  #14
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The Cruise is chosen! Holland Volendam out of Vancouver and "she" goes to Glacier Bay. We needed it to be round trip this time because of air travel.
Thanks all for the help. Between "you" and Cruisecritic, I have so much good information to make choices I know we won't regret. Leaving Sept 2. My husband is so great to agree to travel knowing he has to wear a suit twice so hats off to a flexible spouse! The anticipation is ALMOST as good as the trip itself...remember, I said ALMOST
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Oct 15th, 2008, 11:15 PM
  #15
 
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Volendam is beautiful ship and it should not disappoint. Glacier bay is breath taking.

Dress warm and bring rain gear. In September, the weather becomes a bit more unpredictable and a very good chance that you will come across rain and wind.

Cheapest souvenir is at Ketchikan. You should just catch the start of teh end of season sale. bought a fleece lined waterproof wind breaker for $20.

Anticipation is great. Planning the trip, the shore excursions etc are part of the fun as well. Enjoy!
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