Cruises to Alaska for Dummies

Old Sep 8th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Cruises to Alaska for Dummies

I'm just starting to research cruises to Alaska. Probably will sail out of Vancouver in August '09. Would be interested in hearing about your experiences, recommendations, pricing tips, etc.

Will do a search here and elsewhere, too, but just wanted to get some firsthand info from the knowledgeable before continuing the research. Thanks.
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Old Sep 8th, 2008, 10:14 PM
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In July we were on our second Alaskan trip. This one was a 14 day Princess cruise out of Vancouver. We had the full package including the pre-cruise hotel, which was directly above the cruise terminal. The reason I chose this cruise is that it went to Seward, Kodiak and Valdez and many ships haven't gone to those ports in recent years....Even if we'd never gotten off the ship, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous and I would go again tomorrow. Our ship had 870 people, though all I spoke with agreed if we were on a longer cruise, we'd like a larger ship because of more activities offered. I loved seeing the three most western stops, wonderful surprises of such nice little towns...also liked Sitka.
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Old Sep 9th, 2008, 01:03 AM
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Since you are just starting your research, I assume you are also starting your pricing. Excusrions are really really expensive, even if you book them privately. It is much less possible to do ports on the cheap than on a Carribbean cruise - just walking around (port cities offer little else than jewelery and t-shirt shops) or hopping a cab someplace close will really limit what you see.

The things people here and on cruisecritic rave about (as did we in June) were glacier landings, float plane trips, longer train rides - the type of things that cost.

Sure it is possible to cruise Alaska without spending money on these things, but you miss a huge part of the experience.

Just wanted to give you a heads up as you plan on costs.
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Old Sep 9th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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I am a frequent many time Alaska visitor. There is so much to see and do, that I suggest you head to your library and take out Alaska by Cruiseship, along with Fodor's Alaska.

Determine what your priorities are and then look for a cruise that offers them.

I second, budget for excursions, you get half a trip without them.
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Old Sep 9th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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Thanks to all so far for the tips (espcially about the costs and necessity of excursions). Am also looking at cruises out of Seattle, too.

Any and all help appreciated.
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Old Sep 10th, 2008, 12:25 AM
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Consider a one-way cruise and spend a week or so on land in Alaska before/after.
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