inside passage Cruise advice needed

Jul 14th, 2004, 06:59 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 85
inside passage Cruise advice needed

I'd like to take a cruise up the inside passage to Alaska next summer. I'd prefer a ship with a naturalist to tell me what I'm seeing, and give lectures on the sights/natural history. I want a one-way cruise, either north or south, it doesn't matter. I'm not into mega-luxury, or heaps of food, I'd rather spend my money on a good guide, quality food, and plenty of photo ops. That's not to say I'll sleep on the deck, I'm too old for that!

I'd appreciate any cruise lines Fodorites could recommend that might fit my needs. I realize that the Alaska Marine Highway might work for me, but from what I've heard that's TOO spartan (picky, aren't I <grin>).
Thanks in advance.
Bashaw is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 04:17 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I never recommend sailing one way to Alaska without adding at least 5 additional days for interior touring- independent, 7 on a cruisetour. You get only one day difference on the cruise portion compared to a round trip. I also won't consider a one way without College Fjords and give a big edge to Seward for all the excellent touring opportunities. But frankly- most people just pass though- don't be one of them. It is costly in time and money to get in/out of Anchorage- take full advantage of being all the way there. So- my choice would be HAL- superb deck viewing, naturalist, Seward, Glacier Bay, College Fjord.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jul 15th, 2004, 09:54 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Definitely go with HAL--double check that a naturalist will be on board. Make friends with him/her upfront. Bring binoculars. Buy the cheapest cabin, because you don't need a window where you sleep, and there is a great open 'front of deck' area, plus a full promenade around the ship. Plan to spend several hours one night out on the deck, lie down, and take in the most gorgeous stars and if you're really lucky, some Northern Lights. Count your blessings.

Fly into Anchorage, rent a car, drive to Denali, stay 2 nights in a local B & B, take the Denali park tour (bring a pillow for your butt--these tours are done on a schoolbus!) Drive back to Anchorage, spend a night there, return your car to the airport, and get on either the bus or train to Seward to pick up your ship. There is no good way to keep your car and drive to Seward--Hertz has the rental car monopoly and doesn't allow one way rentals. Board your ship and enjoy. Take a few shore excursions NOT from the cruise line. Fly home from Vancouver or Seattle, whichever is cheaper (renting a car or taking a cruise ship bus if Seattle is alot cheaper). If possible, stay a night or two in Vancouver. And finally, bring TWICE the amount of film you think you'll need! Need more info? Be glad to help.
moondoggie is offline  
Jul 16th, 2004, 04:16 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
For clairfication- Hertz does do one way car rentals Anchorage/Seward. I only rent one way for as long as I need it. Otherwise I have a cheap round trip Anchorage car. The regular run of the Alaska RR fits nicely with Kenai Fjords boat tours leaving at 11:30am- DON'T miss it - it is a top tour in Alaska.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 02:11 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 307
Bashaw,

Look at Cruise West cruise line. They run several smaller ships in the Inside Passage that have about 100 people max. They have different levels of cabins, but nothing super luxurious, but nice. Supposedly very good dinners. Concentration is up close to glaciers and shorelines for viewing. They have a naturalist or two on board. Gets very good reviews. Go to cruisewest.com, I think. Or do a search for it. We may go one of these years. It is pricey though. Good luck!

Ginny
gopack is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 02:52 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 307
Bashaw,

You may know this from reading postings, but someone recommended this website that has info on many small ship cruise lines. www.smallshipcruises.com. Try that. Also, The Clipper ships look like a nice line. Saw one docked in Alaska and it was sparkling clean and modern looking.

Ginny
gopack is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 03:51 PM
  #7  
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All great responses and VERY helpful - thanks! I should have mentioned that we've been to Denali for an extended vacation, and want to see just the inside passage this time. I agree, going to Alaska and not seeing the interior would be a loss!! Denali was unbelieveable!!
Bashaw is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 08:38 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 102
You can do one way car rentals from Seward to Anchorage - we just returned from a Holland cruise and stayed a few days in Seward - reserved our car in advance - there is a Hertz rental at the cruise terminal. After our touring in Alaska - we returned the car at the Anchorage airport as we departed.
applejack is offline  

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