Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (https://www.fodors.com/community/)
-   Cruises (https://www.fodors.com/community/cruises/)
-   -   Is the Alaskan cruise balcony a must? (https://www.fodors.com/community/cruises/is-the-alaskan-cruise-balcony-a-must-803481/)

klutt22 Aug 28th, 2009 08:26 AM

Is the Alaskan cruise balcony a must?
 
This is a very special trip for my mom and I and I want to do it right. However price is always in the back of my mind and given a balcony is about $500-$600 more per person, in your opinion is it worth it?? Thanks everyone!!

chepar Aug 28th, 2009 11:09 AM

I think that of any of the popular cruise destinations, Alaska would be the one to splurge and get a balcony for. IMO, an Alaska cruise is all about the scenery (and it is gorgeous) so having a balcony is the best way to enjoy it.

I'm pretty cost conscious when it comes to cruises - if I think I'll hardly be in the cabin I'd definitely go for an inside - but if I did another Alaska cruise, I'd definitely get a balcony.

Imagine this - sitting with your mom on your private balcony, sipping a glass of wine while you enjoy the passing scenery or perhaps a beautiful sunset vs. sitting in one of the public areas of the ship with another 100 or so people.

jacketwatch Aug 28th, 2009 04:52 PM

Well is it a must? No. However it sure is nice. I'll never forget the views we had from our balcony while passing through Tracy Arm. You have a budget to consider and you have to allow for the excursions too which is more a "must" than the balcony. Ultimately it depends on you budget. I would advise to budget the excursions first. If you can after then get a balcony by all means. Good luck. Larry :-)

Meme5 Aug 29th, 2009 06:03 AM

To my husband and I (we took the Alaskan cruise 3 years ago) the balcony is a must- especially on this particular cruise because you are cruising close to land, glaciers, etc. It made our trip so incredible to sit on our balcony and see whales, the beautiful land formations, and just see the little Alaskan cities as we cruised into port. You will love it all- good luck.

thesavvyoldlady Aug 29th, 2009 07:40 PM

We took the Alaskan cruise last year on the Tahitian Princess. Having a balcony made it so much more enjoyable. My husband and I really loved being able to spot the humpback whales, dolphins and orcas. If there is one cruise I would encourage anyone to take a balcony on it would definitely be the Alaskan cruise.

If you go to http://thesavvyoldlady.com and click on cruise reviews then click on Why Alaska? You will find pictures of the whales and glaciers that we took from our balcony. There are also pictures of the tours and scenery.

Wishing you calm seas and blue skies.

Hugs,
The Savvy Old Lady

Islandprincesscruise Aug 29th, 2009 10:44 PM

For an Alaskan cruise a balcony is really nice. Since you are looking at this from the fiscal sense I can tell you that if you are booking your trip on a smaller cruise ship, you might look into a larger ship as the rates will be somewhat less expensive, but of course you will give up some of the intimacy that a smaller ship provides. If you do choose to go with an inside room you might want to consider planning to take your cruise in July or August, these months will be the warmest and this will make it more comfortable for you while standing out on the deck, rather than enjoying the view from your room. Either way, an Alaskan cruise is an unforgettable experience.

viktoriaB Sep 3rd, 2009 10:04 PM

We did an Alaskan cruise in '07 and had an oceanview cabin. It was alright, but didn't take long to realize how great a balcony would be to view all of that awesome scenery! Now we will be going on another Alaskan cruise next May, and this time we will have a balcony! But of course, if you can't do that, then at least have an OV cabin! You want to have the ability to look out from inside your room whenever you like. Whatever you decide on, you will still love the cruise! Have a great trip!

socaltraveler Sep 4th, 2009 08:31 AM

We had a balcony on our cruise in June; sitting outside at all hours (it was light until the wee hours) was fabulous; the scenery spectacular.

SDGlenn Sep 4th, 2009 12:00 PM

While I also agree that the balcony added to our experience, I do add one caveat. The whole trip we'd hoped to see puffins but didn't. Later on we learned that there had been a number topside which we hadn't been able to see from our balcony. But otherwise, it was just so nice to sit there (with a blanket on your knees, if necessary) and watch the glaciers as you pass, and the sea otters down below.

Bettina222 Sep 5th, 2009 02:38 PM

We thoroughly enjoyed having a balcony on the cruise to Alaska that we did in July.
We passed through College Fjords early in the morning and it was to just sit on our balcony to enjoy the beautiful views.
One thing to ask your travel agent about.........we had cover to our balcony so we could sit out even when it rained.
Not all balconies had cover to them.

mikesmom Sep 6th, 2009 04:56 AM

I just returned yesterday from cruising Alaska for the first time on the Zaandam (Holland America). Because I was in a cabin alone (and had to pay a supplement), I could only afford an inside cabin. Of course, it would have been nice to have a balcony, but, my cabin was very comfortable and I was on the Lower Promenade deck, which allowed me to just walk out of my cabin and be on deck in less than a minute.

If the difference in cost is not a big deal to you, choose the balcony. However, you can still have a good time without the balcony.

Have fun - Alaska is awesome.

BudgetQueen Sep 10th, 2009 09:07 AM

I have been to Alaska many times, so, for me it's all about cheap frequent travel. :) I always enjoy deck viewing, since I'm a "snob" and have to see more expansive views than side viewing. :) I would ask- is getting the balcony affordable to you? Are you going over the top, or skimping back on excursions?? In those cases, I would think it through carefully. What is outside the ship may be just as important, or even more important. For me it is.

For clarification- the only accessable puffin rookery on the Inside Pass is out of Sitka via boat tour to St. Lazaria Island. I've seen them in Glacier Bay, and there is also a rookery to the left of the Margerie Glacier. BUT, it is extremely difficult for most people to see them from a cruise ship. Necessary is TIME out on deck with a good pair of wide angle binoculars of at least 10 power. And even then, you will need good luck.

Kenai Fjords is loaded with puffins on the boat tours, Gull Island, minutes from Homer as well. Also out of Valdez.

Dayenu Sep 10th, 2009 09:01 PM

I am in the minority here, but doesn't having a balcony isolates you from others? I understand the desire to be with a loved one, but there are so many activities, and why have breakfast alone when you can share your prior day adventure with others? We didn't have a balcony, and both didn't feel sorry. For us it was worth saving money.

BudgetQueen Sep 11th, 2009 08:12 AM

I kind of like my personal space too. BUT deck viewing also offers more eyes on upcoming sights. This is fantastic for marine wildlife. :)

roy Sep 11th, 2009 02:03 PM

We just returned from an Alaska Cruise/Land tour on the Coral Princess earlier this week. We have had balconies on 7 of our 8 cruises (all but the first) and personally I wouldn't go without the balcony. Once you have had one, you are spoiled forever. We actually spent much of the day in Glacier Bay in an enclosed public area with seats by the window with friends, but the downside is that the railings are situated right at eye level when seated, so you still have to go outside where it can be very brisk when something worthwhile is in sight. Around Glacier Bay, something worthwhile is always is sight. After awhile we tire of the masses and prefer some quiet solitude in out cabin even though the view is less panoramic.

Laurp63 Sep 13th, 2009 09:27 AM

I would have to agree with others who had a cabin on the Alaskan cruise. I just returned from a cruise aboard the Norwegian Sun and we had an inside room, I had a great time but it DID get busy when whales, glaciers or other points of interest came to view.

Having a balcony would be very nice especially on a cruise like this, I would pay extra for the privilege next time.

nightxsky Dec 11th, 2009 12:09 PM

My husband and I took an Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon. We wanted to splurge on excursions, so we went with an ocean view room. It would have been nice to have a balcony, but it's not a "must" for me. The top decks weren't crowded, so we just relaxed up there with a wide view of everything :)

Eschew Dec 15th, 2009 02:08 PM

There is no such thing as a must. If I can get away with it, I'll be a stow-away on a cruise ship and pay nothing.

A balcony is nice. A suite is even nicer. But they are luxury. An outside windows is nice. But is it necessary?

With everything said and done, if I am going to spend $500 in Alaska, I'll spend it on a sea plane trip flying over Misty Fjord rather than a balcony.

Okay, the sea plane trip is for a few hours and the balcony is for a week. What will you remeber most after the trip? The balcony or the sea plane trip?

If you are on a tight budget, spend the money on shore excursion.

sunny515 Dec 16th, 2009 05:02 PM

I had a balcony room for my cruise to Alaska. The main reason was there were three occupants in on cabin(me, my mom, and nana). We needed a sofa bed. With the ship I was on, only the balcony cabins had sofa beds. Still it was worth seeing the scenery as we enter ports. We didn't go out much on it. It depends all on what cruiseline, the shore excursions, etc. Talk it over and plan it together.

brandonmd Dec 20th, 2009 04:27 PM

We went on the Coral Princess 6 years ago, and it was well worth it to have a balcony... I wouldnt go on another cruise without one.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:21 AM.