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Need help planning Alaskan 7-9 day cruise from Seattle

Need help planning Alaskan 7-9 day cruise from Seattle

Old Nov 27th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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Need help planning Alaskan 7-9 day cruise from Seattle

I've never been on a cruise before, and am planning a late Summer Alaskan cruise with my 78-year old parents. They are in good health but are slow in walking.

The trouble is I need to depart from Seattle, and have 7-9 days max for the trip. I've read the various cruise brochures, but it's unclear to me how much additional time you get at the various ports of call. I definitely want them to be able to go on land,and see wildlife like bald eagles and bears. The trip would be a disappointment if they couldn't.

Also, my parents are used to luxury, but they aren't inclined to want a very formal atmosphere so I'm looking for a less formal atmosphere.

With all of these considerations, what's the best cruise? And, more importantly, if you had to pick one area of Alaska to visit if you were short on time, what would it be?
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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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One thing to note is that the Seattle departures only travel round-trip to south-east Alaska, not one-way to Seward/Anchorage. Only the Vancouver BC departures do that (has to do with US maritime law.) So "...if you had to pick one area of Alaska to visit if you were short on time, what would it be?" has only limited meaning for Seattle-based cruises.

Regardless, though, all of the cruise lines are very accommodating to elder passengers. Some, like Norwegian or Princess, have reasonably flexible eating and attire alternatives, while Holland America seems to offer a more tradtional setting geared to older passengers.

You might pose this question on the Alaska board at cruisecritic.com - lots of experience and ideas on offer there.
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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Thanks...I'll take your advice!
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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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We cruised Alaska from Seattle last Aug. on the Sapphire Princess. They have both traditional seating and anytime seating so that should work. If you go to any on-line travel site that sells cruises such as Yahoo! or Orbitz and look for Alaska cruises you can get the time in port by checking the itinerary. We really liked Princess and thought the excursion booked thru them, and there are many available, were very well organized. Any other questions please ask. Larry
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Old Nov 27th, 2005, 08:57 PM
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Thanks...this is helpful information.
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Old Nov 28th, 2005, 03:41 AM
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From Seattle as you already know, is only round trip. A problem with this port is also the routing, it travels the most outside passage- meaning open ocean compared to any other cruise port. A big negative, my opinion only. But with a priority for eagles and bears, tours are required for the bears with August peak time with the fly ins from Ketchikan, however ALL require some walking so they may be far better off, chartering a plane and guide if slow ambulation is significant. Be advised these are also black bears not the browns- if that makes a difference??? www.islandwings.com Eagles can be seen most anywhere, IF they are willing to invest the time and have a good pair of binoculars, at least 10 power. Going to Haines - easy to get to from Skagway will see some eagles on a float trip.

Have your parents been on a cruise?? Luxury has slipped in my opinion on the major lines, perhaps also look at the small ships- Cruise West, Lindblad etc. Not luxury but more personal attention.
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Old Nov 30th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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If you decide you can leave from Vancouver, then definitely check out Radisson's Mariner cruises from Vancouver to Whittier. We took the reverse cruise in August 2004, and it was terrific. It is a luxury ship with 700 people and all suites with balconies. It is also country-club casual throughout the cruise--no dressing up, and all dining is open seating. If you'd like more info, e-mail me at [email protected].
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