Help With First Cruise to Alaska

Old Jul 4th, 2017, 05:59 AM
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Help With First Cruise to Alaska

My husband and I (both in our early 30's) are considering doing a cruise to Alaska next June 2018. We are planning on using Princess cruise lines (or should we consider HAL)? I have heard Princess and HAL seem to be the two lines that are best for Alaska? I was just concerned that HAL will have an older crowd compared to Princess?

I am having trouble deciding if we should fly from NJ to Anchorage (sail on the Coral Princess: Southbound) to Vancouver

OR

Fly from NJ to Vancouver (sail on the Coral or Star Princess: Voyage of the Glaciers Northbound) and cruise to Anchorage

OR

Fly from NJ to Vancouver (sail on the Island Princess: Northbound with Icy Strait Point) to Anchorage
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Old Jul 4th, 2017, 11:59 AM
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The best Alaskan cruises are on small ships such as Lindblad. They are able to visit many towns and afeas the big ships can't get to.
Fly to Anchorage, visit Kenai Peninsula, Turnagain Arm is beautiful! Then Seward, Homer, North to Denali.
Then fly to Juneau to board ship and tour SE Alaska.
Fly home from Sitka.
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Old Jul 4th, 2017, 05:51 PM
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Whichever mainstream cruise line you choose, be sure to do the inside passage. That's where the most beautiful scenery is.
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Old Jul 8th, 2017, 02:32 PM
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We did a roundtrip in and out of Seattle to Alaska with Princess a few years ago and I highly recommend it. They've been doing Alaska for many, many years and have really mastered it. A few of the highlights:
* A terrific naturalist provided a number of lectures and narrated our journey through Glacier Bay (an amazing experience)
* Guest speakers that were top notch, including a female winner of the Iditarod dog sled race
* Salmon buffet

The whole trip was focused on Alaska--you can't go wrong with Princess.

Hope this helps a tad. - Musing About Cruising
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Old Jul 10th, 2017, 05:18 PM
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Is it better to do a cruisetour?? Or will just doing the cruise along with excursions be ok?
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Old Jul 12th, 2017, 01:40 PM
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Cruise tour is the land portion of a tour pre or post cruise and is different from your shore excursions. Alaska cruise tour typically will take you to a lodge out by Mt McKinney.

There are many options for Alaska cruise. IMHO, the preference is the north bound cruise, cruise tour after the cruise and fly home from Alaska.

All the mass market ships have similar itinerary. The only thing that I would look for is a scenic cruising through Glacier Bay national Park. Not all ships will sail through Glacier Bay as it is restricted and there is a quota that the cruise lines has to bid for.

If you really want to see Alaska at it's best, you have to get away from the mass market ships and go into the much smaller ships. Of course, the cost would also goes up significantly. You get what you paid for.

My personal favorite port is Sitka and not too many mass market ship actually stops there.

Some stops such as Icy Strait was constructed for the mass market passengers, complete with zip line and all. It's fun, but you can do zip lines else where.
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Old Jul 17th, 2017, 04:10 PM
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We enjoyed our cruise BUT we saw more of Alaska driving around for 2 weeks. I found this cruise which stops in Sitka which many people love ( I Have not been there) and it includes Victoria which I loved.) It begins and ends in Seattle. http://www.vacationstogo.com/fastdeal.cfm?deal=34820
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Old Jul 17th, 2017, 09:31 PM
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deladeb, your vacation to go link points to a subscription page and not the cruise you indicated. Do you have the ship name and dates or the cruise line?
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Old Jul 19th, 2017, 01:50 AM
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Whatever you decide to do, do NOT sail on the GRAND Princess.
Just returned from 10 days on her. Loyal Princess cruisers
of many years were very disappointed.

While the ship is slightly older, the organization on board
is chaotic along with mediocre food and unvaried for 10 days.
Daily activities were mainly geared to $$-producing events
such as all Spa products, art, bingo, jackpot etc

Disembarkation in ports were tedious also.
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Old Jul 19th, 2017, 04:59 PM
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7 nights departing June 3, 2018 on
Holland America's Amsterdam
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Old Jul 19th, 2017, 06:58 PM
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Thanks deladeb, found it!

I've been to Sitka about 5 or 6 years ago and wanted t go back and explore some more but not too ships stops there these day.

While I was looking for your cruise, I found a 14 night Alaskan Fjords cruise starting from Ketchikan and ending in Sitka where I can stay for a few more days and fly home from Sitka.

Have your ever heard of Un-Cruise Adventures?

https://www.uncruise.com/destination...ate-expedition
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Old Jul 20th, 2017, 06:04 AM
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In answer to your Question:
Love2TravlCC on Jul 10, 17 at 6:18pm

Is it better to do a cruisetour?? Or will just doing the cruise along with excursions be ok?

YES, definitely. A lot is missed not doing any inland. Both Princess and HAL offer cruisetour packages of various types. Do make sure that your are on a special glass domed train car. I had a nightmare 9 hour train experience.
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Old Jul 25th, 2017, 07:41 AM
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I did a straight cruise (HAL Zaandam) a few years ago. I also did a 3 day repo cruise on Island Princess.

If I went back I'd probably look at HAL again (I liked that ship better than Island which blocked their walking track with more rooms. If you want to go Princess look at Coral which didn't make the same remodeling changes and I think might have International Cafe which Island doesn't (Island didn't actually have 24 hr dining on our repo cruise to Vancouver). Also IIRC Island had blocked off some of the prime upper deck viewing spots and I remember thinking I wouldn't want to do Alaska on that ship.

I know there are people who are loyal to Princess but it didn't impress me any more than some of the lines which don't get as much lover here.

I was on Sun for 2 weeks in South America and found the service better than on any of the other three mass market lined (RCL, HAL, Princess) although I think the food was the most boring

I liked doing Alaska on Zaandam which is a smaller ship for mass market and had a good viewing deck. I went before the 2015 refurbishing and don't know what has changed though.

I also cruised on Norwegian NCL Sun in South America and thought the service better than either HAL or Princess, especially if you don't want to dine at a giant table with people you don't know.

For routing I did Anchorage to Vancouver with Glacier Bay and Haines. I chose that because the flights worked out better that way. I wanted one way and not round trip, and didn't want to spend any time in Seattle. In Vancouver it is very easy to use the public transit from downtown to the airport, or you can rent a car and tour a little (bad traffic headed to the Airport and expensive parking rates but I doubt Seattle is any better.)

You can add days before or after the cruise at either end if you want to do land touring but you get a nice taste during the cruise stops. I was very lucky with weather (went in September) and no rain until we got to the Inside Passage).
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