First Time Alaska Cruise - Celebrity??

Oct 6th, 2003, 04:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 325
First Time Alaska Cruise - Celebrity??

My husband and I will be cruising for the first time for our 10 year anniversary. Based on the information that I have found so far, I am leaning toward Celebrity with a land tour as well. But.... because I am new to all of this am looking for any helpful advice. Thanks.
lindsyb is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 04:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,244
You picked an excellent cruise line for your first cruise. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Not sure exactly what type of information you are looking for, but I will try to help you.

Tipping -- The standard per person/per day is $3.50 for your cabin steward, $3.50 for your waiter, and $2.00 for your bus boy. I normally give extra for those that go the extra mile. Some cruise lines recommend tipping the head waiter and matre'd, but most of them rarely do anything for you except smile when you enter the dining room. I did have one head waiter that actually did something, and I tipped him.

Keep some singles in your safe for room service. You don't have to, but I normally tip $2.00 for room service, and have found that future service is quicker & faster. The words seems to filter down to the rest of the staff and they remember your stateroom number.

I bring my own wine to dinner, so in addition to paying corkage, I always leave something for the wine steward.

Shore Excursions -- I find that the ship excursions are very expensive. If you are adventurous, you can do them on your own by taxi, rental car, etc.

I don't know if you are bringing any children on board, but I would advise you to opt for the second dinner seating which is about 8:30. That way you don't have to rush back to the ship from shore excursions to get ready for dinner at 6:00, especially on the formal nights.

Bubble wrap a bottle of your favorite spirits in with your luggage to keep in your cabin during the cruise to nip on occasion.

Above all, have a fun and relaxing vacation.
Budman is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 06:08 PM
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Thank you Budman!

Our anniversary is Memorial Day - is end of May/beginning of June too early for Alaska? should we wait a little?

I heard that the excursions can be quite expensive - are there any "must do's?"

Is the land tour portion of a cruise worth it?

I am trying to make my decisions and there is so much information out there! Thanks for your help.
lindsyb is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 06:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,244
I think someone else could better answer your question as to time to do Alaska Cruise. I've always wanted to do the Alaskan Cruise, but my wife only likes the warm weather.

Take a look at your cruise itinerary, the excursions they offer, and look to see what appeals to you. Do searches on line and gather info. You would probably do a lot on your own.

I'm not sure what land portions of the cruise they offer. Are they before the cruise? If so, if you are adventurous, I would recommend doing some homework and doing it on your own. It will be much less expensive and you will have some flexibility.

Now, I'm only speaking for myself. I am the adverturous type and like to wing it. My wife has her apprehensions, but she's never been disappointed (knock on wood).
Budman is offline  
Oct 8th, 2003, 04:42 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 79
My sister and I just got back from cruising Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity. What a truly phenomenal experience! My sister is a veteran cruiser and said this ship was by far the best she's ever sailed on. Some excursions are more pricey on the ship, but some are within a few dollars and the advantage is you get transportation to where you need to go. In Juneau we did not take the ship excursion to Mendenhall Glacier, we went into the city (2 block walk) and took the bus for just $6.00 each way. In Skagway we did took the train excursion - it was only $5 more on the ship and picked us up right at our dock- don't miss this one! Make sure you get a room with a veranda - it's well worth the extra dollars. We took the 6:15 seating because we like to go the theater every night after dinner instead of before. This ship has a different show every night and it's always great. The formal nights were on sea days anyway so there wasn't any worry about being back in time to get ready. We didn't pick any of our excursions until we got on the ship and there was plenty of time to do so, so don't feel stressed about getting that done. This ship also has a fantastic spa and work out room if you feel like indulging yourself. It was my first cruise although I do travel a lot, and it was a trip of a lifetime. Enjoy!
LuvToGo is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 510
On our Alaska cruise we finished on Memorial Day.

We couldn't have asked for better weather.

Have fun :-B
ed is offline  
Oct 11th, 2003, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
A northbound, end of May cruise/interior trip is a great time to go. But rethink Celebrity- it is not a good choice for Alaska due to no visit to College Fjord, a significant reason to sail one way. I would never consider a one way without it. You want an interior arrival after June 1 for Denali Park to be mostly open. MORE important- be very informed and certain of what land tour you are purchasing, my opinion only but they are intentionally vague. Plan on at least 7 days in addition to 7 days on the cruise. Any less will have more time in transit. No meals are included for budget about 50% more than you would at home- to give you a cushion. They are no bargain and costly for what you get. Far better in my experience is to go independent. You will see twice as much for 1/2 the cost. Very very easy to go on your own, so do consider it. Group travel is also less desired on an anniversary, I would think?? There are EXCELLENT B&B's and few roads, head to your library and take out all the Alaska tour books including THE MILEPOST. If Denali Park is a priority for wildlife- understand there are several options. You don't want the Natural History tour - only 16 miles in, Tundra Wilderness tour- mile 53, BUT my min. distance in is Eielson mile 66 on the shuttle, 1/3 the cost of the tours. As for shore excursions- I never book any ship tours and always direct with the operator. Don't skimp- tours are Alaska and excellent adventures are to be had!!! Plenty of regrets from people who compromised on what they were interested in - causing return trips!!! I always recommend having plans and reservations IN PLACE before you leave- time is too short to decide once you get there. So, hopefully I have given you plenty to think about.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Oct 11th, 2003, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 686
I would only do a one way if it included Glacier Bay and College Fiords. These are a must for one ways in Alaska and the main reason I would do a one way.

I would look into Princess and HAL. HAL and Princess have the best reputations in Alaska since they have been there the longest and are more established. A friend sailed last year on Celebrity and they didn't have a naturalist on board - this is very important - I would verify this with Celebrity before you book.

Also, Princess offers Personal Choice dining - you can go to dinner whenever you want - this is imporant in Alaska, especially if you want to stay in port longer and then return to the ship. You are not tied to one specific dining time.
Theresa is offline  
Oct 12th, 2003, 05:57 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Thanks Budget Queen and Theresa! I will look into Princess and HAL as well. I have been reading all of the boards and it is so much information for someone who hasn't done this before so your guidance and insight is appreciated.
lindsyb is offline  

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