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-   -   Help me pick the best Alaska cruise for our family (https://www.fodors.com/community/cruises/help-me-pick-the-best-alaska-cruise-for-our-family-722411/)

gail Jul 20th, 2007 02:30 AM

Help me pick the best Alaska cruise for our family
 
June 2008 after dtr graduates from HS and son from college. We have all traveled extensively in US and some international but have difficulty agreeing on what to do on vacations. Looking to do a cruise plus some sort of land tour - either on our own or organized. My strong preference is to do land portion on our own, but husband and son both prefer an organized tour since they become frozen with indecision on vacations and resent dtr and me planning tour.

As far as what type cruises/ships we prefer - we have done NCL to Bermuda and would rate it as fair. Did not like short RCCL cruise - too many young rowdies (went without kids). Did Celebrity Carribean cruise without older son and we loved that.

One final question - so wants to see glaciers. Excuse my Alaska ignorance, but I am assuming glaciers are visible from cruise ship - is this so?

Debi Jul 20th, 2007 07:44 AM

We have booked a Celebrity Alaska cruise for 3 August of this year. We're doing the 7 night cruise north from Vancouver, then a land portion that does the train through Denali to Fairbanks - I've heard rave reviews about this. Yes, you can see the glaciers from the ship - but what is supposed to be amazing is the excursion which takes you over the glaciers, and you land on one - we're doing that by helicopter, and the photos I've seen are amazing. Go to cruisecritic.com and see some of the photos people have posted from their Alaska cruises-that in itself should make you want to go as soon as possible..... We're really excited about it, and really - go to the website - look at ship reviews, look under the Alaska thread - you'll get all the information you could possibly want...

chicgeek Jul 20th, 2007 04:18 PM

If DS wants to see glaciers, I highly recommend choosing a cruise that includes Glacier Bay.

Theresa Jul 20th, 2007 05:07 PM

Definitely do Glacier Bay!

Alaska and the Caribbean have entirely different types of passengers.

frugaltraveler Jul 21st, 2007 06:55 PM

We just returned from a 19 day Alaska trip. My husband drove (1850 miles) 12 days and then we took a 7 night cruise southbound from Whittier to Alaska. We did the land portion first from Anchorage to Denali to Fairbanks, to Valdez, back up to Glennallen, then to Girdwood, then to Seward, then to the Kenai Peninsula and Homer, back to Anchorage, Whittier and then the cruise. We took our girls, 18, & 16, and had separate cabins on the Coral Princess. We saw alot of glaciers driving, and a few that you could walk up to. I booked our excursions for the cruise ports independant of Princess on PortPromotions.com. You would be surprised what a mark up the cruise lines charge for their excursions. My 16 yr old and I did a helicopter ride and landed on a glacier for $210 apiece - that was my highlight. If you would like more information, let me know.

therenaissanceman Jul 23rd, 2007 09:31 AM

I couldn't disagree more with the previous post. I have been on Alaskan cruisetours with both Princess and Holland America, and Holland America was far superior. The tour group was smaller, the hotel in Denali was closer to the action and the tour there went further into the park, the price was slightly less, and all the arrangements were first class. I guess you have to experience personally the difference to appreciate it.

cherylwalz9956 Jul 24th, 2007 06:56 AM

My husband, 15 year old daughter and I went July 2006 on a 7 day Princess cruise (from Vancouver) and 6 day land tour that began in Whittier and finished in Fairbanks. It was FANTASTIC. I always do my own planning and was a bit hesitant about taking the land tour portion thru Princess, but I have to say it was handled extremely efficiently. I thought for sure with all the transportation and accomodation transfers there would be lots of problems, but all went perfectly, and I was very impressed with their efficiency. We traveled both by bus and train from Whittier (near Anchorage) to Fairbanks and stayed in Princess's lodges (guest rooms were clean, pretty comfortable, but very simple. If you like "fancy" lodgings, these are not.) The lodges themselves were lovely, especially the one outside of Talkeetna, with on site restaurants, fireplaces, etc. Lots of folks who had been on our cruise were also on the land tour, so we were able to continnue the friendships with the folks we had sailed with, especially exciting for our daughter.
Be sure to book a balcony cabin for the cruise. We sailed thru college fjord and saw glacier after glacier from the comfort of our room. When it began to sprinkle or when we felt cold, we could go right inside. Especially liked that we did not have to stake out a spot on an outside deck with a crowd fighting for railing positions. The naturalist who was narrating as we sailed is piped in thru the ship's channel on your cabin TV. We turned up the sound, went on our balcony and listened to her program. The captain turned the ship around, so we got to see both sides of the fjord, which was spectacular! Be sure to bring binoculars for the best views!
I would also recommend the Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching tour in Juneau. The whale watching was phenomenal! We saw so many, plus eagles, sea lions, etc. At Mendenhall they have Park Service personnel who can answer questions, plus a movie. My only complaint there was that they did not stay there long enough.
Have a great trip, whatever you decide. I am from NY and saw things in Alaska that I will remember always. A moose and her baby walked just a few feet in front of us on a path in Denali National Park. It was awesome!

belimorako Aug 6th, 2007 06:08 PM

I went to various cruises in different areas (Caribbean, Alaska, European cruises) and Alaskan cruises are probably the best cruises, especially for those in 50+ Golden age range.
You can check out www.al-cruise.com for price comparisons.


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