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jlub Mar 12th, 2016 09:35 AM

One-way cruise to Alaska June 2016
Hello Fodorites,
I believe it is getting late to plan but looking into an Alaska cruise mid to late June. Would prefer a one-way cruise (I think), but one big concern is stability of the cruise ship (i.e. sea-sickness). I find that Princess has one-way cruises that look good. Any tips, suggestions, things to avoid (especially with respect to aforementioned), would be appreciated. Best ideas to do while in Alaska possibly for a few days before flying back?

rjgdjg Mar 12th, 2016 05:48 PM

We did an Alaska roundtrip with Princess and had a fabulous time. We left out of Seattle and did the trip through Glacier Bay, which was particularly memorable for its towering blue glaciers, ice-studded water and ethereal beauty. I would highly recommend choosing an itinerary that takes you there.

Princess has been doing Alaska for many years and has it mastered. There were great guest lecturers, a seafood buffet and many ther wonderful surprises.

In terms of the ship's stability, we never had any issues. We went over Memorial Day and while the weather could have been better (you're smart to go later), the seas were calm and we weren't aware of much in the way of movement. - Musing About Cruising

marg Mar 14th, 2016 02:14 AM

My recommendation would be a cruise/tour with Princess or HAL. We sailed from Vancouver, left the ship at Whittier and spent five days coach touring (Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks)and then flew Fairbanks to Seattle. We had the pleasure of seeing Glacier Bay and experiencing a little of mainland Alaska.
My husband gets very travel sick and had no problems at all.

jlub Mar 17th, 2016 10:12 AM

Hello rjgdjg and marg,
thanks for the inputs. We're still trying to confirm my wife's vacation approvals and finalize cruise dates and bookings. I'm finding Princess to be generally cordial, usually quite helpful or trying to be helpful but not always totally clear. But generally I'm quite happy with booking agents so far. With the one-way cruise we will apparently spend a lot of time in the "inside passage", thinking about taking the float plane in Ketchikan to Misty Fjords and possibly training to Denali in Alasak upon arrival. I need to confirm that we can fly into Vancouver same day as cruise departs. I think the cruise departs late afternoon, but I'm not sure yet. Also reading reviews about the Island Princess (most likely ship) which are mostly good, but some say "showing age" a little bit. Also found that our balcony is on the port side of the ship (which on northbound cruise) is not optimal.

Any other tips would be greatly appreciated.

jlub May 22nd, 2016 09:10 AM

Our off again cruise is on again. Leaving in less than a month, have not enough time to renew our passports without expediting fees. Taking the round trip cruise Seattle to AK and back we understand we don't need passports. But I'm not sure about driving in Skagway across the border if we would need them?

marg May 22nd, 2016 03:24 PM

Earlier this year we did a half-day coach tour from Skagway which went into Canadian territory. We were told that we had to carry our passports as we had to go through the US border control before returning to Skagway. On a previous cruise, we did the White Pass & Yukon railway and didn't need passports on that.

jlub May 22nd, 2016 05:18 PM

Hi marg, Thanks for the feedback. Cruise line (NCL) agent told me that she believes that getting off the ship in Victoria is not a problem because it's a closed jaw cruise. But she thinks driving across in Skagway is different. Avis website says the same, so we're going to bite the bullet and see if we can get renewals for 2 adults and a minor in the next 4 weeks.

emalloy May 23rd, 2016 05:29 AM

check out Eschew's TR on Alaska Shore Excursions on the Cheap.

mlgb May 23rd, 2016 01:52 PM

I wonder if taking the train as mentioned by marg in stead of driving gets you out of the passport requirement?

marg May 23rd, 2016 03:53 PM

I don't think the train trip went into Canadian territory. Both the train trip and the coach trip were good - the road trip went into the Klondike area and we were fortunate to have an ex-national park ranger with us who was an excellent guide.

burta May 23rd, 2016 08:47 PM

Re motion sickness solutions: My husband is very, very sensitive to motion and gets sick at the drop of a hat. On one of our recent cruises, I stopped by the sundry shop on our Princess ship and picked up a box of ginger pills called "Sailors' Secret". He said it worked almost instantly, which is quite a testimonial. We have since recommended it to a number of friends who found the concoction helpful.

It is available at Amazon, but cheapest, we think, at the products own website: It was something like $7.50 for a box of 36 capsules. Shipping is free if you purchase 2 or more boxes.

Eschew May 23rd, 2016 09:56 PM

Jlub, the modern cruise ships are huge and have stablisers. Unless the sea is really rough, you should not feel the movement (for motion sickness). With that said, book a lower deck mid-ship cabin will give you the best odds against sea sickness. That is the part of the ship that pitches the least in rough water.

If you take the round trip inside passage cruise, typically you will not encounter any rough sea as the ship travels in "protected" water. On the one way cruise, you will be on open water after the Glacier Bay National Park and towards Anchorage/Seaward or whatever port you ended up in Alaska.

Chances of rough water is not high but is possible. On one of the trips 5 or 6 years ago (in August) , the sea was so rough that tendering was suspended at Sitka so not everyone managed to get ashore.

I have said it often, and I will say it again, Whatever cruises you pick, make sure you select one that takes you to Glacier Bay National Park.

We have done both one way and round trip and they are different. If you are going to take an Alaskan cruise only one, take the north bound and stay over at Denali for a few days.

A lot of people recommended renting a car, I wouldn't bother.

You will need your passport to go anywhere outside the country. They may not even let you get on the ship without a passport. Don't risk it, and don't believe anyone who told you otherwise. That maybe the case 10 years ago, but not anymore since 2007.

Depending on how far you go, the Whitepass will takes you into Canada. If you take the train, they only need to "see" your passport, not examine it. You hold you passport high over your head, the border agent walks by and make sure you have one and that's it.

Not understanding why people wanted to rent a car in Skagway and drive to Canada. You miss all the scenery busy driving, it is twisty mountain road and you can't stop and admire the scenery or take pictures except at designated areas. Everything you can see on the highway, you can see from the train and then some, and there is nothing to see across the border up there either.

Skagway is inside a National Park, go visit the ranger station and get a free guided walking tour. After that, tour the town on your own. There are lots to see in town and all within walking distance, or take the all you can ride bus. Stop in the Jewell garden.

If you must take the train, book through the ship as they pick you up at dockside. If you book on your own, you have to get to the train station on your own. Trust me, it's worth the few extra bucks.

Motion sickness cure, raw ginger, ginger pills, ginger candy, real ginger. It works. The Chinese uses them for thousands of years.

Here is a cut and paste from elsewhere re sea sickness:
Motion sickness is generally caused by the brain receiving mixed signals form different part of the body and is having trouble interpreting the various sense as they don't match.

To simplify an example: the inner ear canal controls the balancing function of the body and the inner ear canal senses movements. The eyes look straight ahead and did not see any movement, the brain is confused and motion sickness set in.

The same goes for people watching an IMAX roller coaster ride. The eyes said everything is moving and the world is spinning. The ear canal said no, there is no physical movement. The brain get confused and that's when you feel nauseous.

If you don't get sick on the virtual roller coaster ride, more than likely, you won't get seasickness. If you are on a small boat and you feel the movement of the boat, you look out to the horizon and see movement, in theory, you should not get nauseous as the two signals matched.

If you get an inner ear infection, in theory, you will be more likely to have dizzy spells and motion sickness. If your inner ear canal fails you, and you have Vestibular Balance Disorders, motion sickness would almost be a certainty.

Eschew May 23rd, 2016 10:02 PM

emalloy, I am flattered that point people towards my Trip report! I should buy you a drink if our path cross. That was a post from 3 years ago and it is still active.

Here is the link to the trip report. With so many comments from so many people, it could be a touch long.

jlub May 26th, 2016 01:13 PM

Hi All,
Thanks for all the feedback. We will definitely look into one of the various ginger based remedies. Absolutely agree, the visual cues, not really the motion is what makes me nauseous.

Eschew (and emalloy), I've definitely read your TR.

As an update, our plans to take a one-way trip on Princess were canceled (for very convoluted reasons, I won't go into), but a few weeks later we found that our old friends were taking NCL on round trip (to / from Seattle) the same week we had originally planned. So the trip is back on again, "outside passage" (I think that's not really a correct term). On Norwegian Pearl which hopefully has aforementioned stabilizers but I'm not overly worried. We have an inside cabin "guarantee" due to late booking so we don't yet know what part of the ship we'll be.

Re Skagway, train vs. car, I believe our friends family with 5 of them will find it a bit too expensive to take the train at $199 each. We may just investigate Skagway and go no further. In fact, if our passport renewals are not completed in time, we may not have a choice.

Thanks for all the inputs!

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