seattle alaska

Nov 5th, 2003, 03:22 AM
  #1  
duh
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seattle alaska

We would like to leave from seattle(the air fare is more reasonable)Looking to go in June. Looking at many of the new ships and suggestions???Freestyling andHAL no tipping looks good. Also Mercury Celebrity.
 
Nov 5th, 2003, 05:52 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
For clairfication- HAL is NOT no tipping. It is an advertising ploy - "no tipping required". This is for ALL cruise lines- tipping is NEVER required anywhere- so for the excellent service tipping is in order on HAL. As for Seattle sailings- a negative is more outside passage sailing, usually shorter times in ports and a "wasted" mandated too short port stop for Victoria. Vancouver is less than 4 hours away and offers plenty more cruising options. Choose carefully.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 07:16 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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My take is, if I see "no tipping required" policy, that tells me that someone has to go above and beyond before they deserve a tip.

Most if not all of the other cruise lines give recommended guidelines for tipping. I always factor this in as an additional cost to the cruise. I usually tip higher or lower, depending upon the quality of the service.

HAL, in my opinion, is doing its crew a great disservice with their "no tipping required" policy, especially if the crew are not compensated in some other way.

I prefer Celebrity. Haven't been on the Mercury, but have been the Horizon, which I think is the sister ship.
Budman is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 08:54 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I've been on Celebrity cruise to Alaska on the Galaxy, the sister ship of the Mercury and it was wonderful. I highly recommend a Celebrity cruise. I've cruised with them 10 times, and have booked curise #11 and 12 with them.

Budman: the Horizon is not the sister ship of the Mercury. The sister ship of Horizon is the Zenith.
Mary2223 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 09:20 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Mary, thanks for correcting me. I wasn't sure. I get my astronomy all mixed up.

We're going on Galaxy in 9 more days, but who's counting. We love cruising on Celebrity.

Tell me more about the Galaxy.

Budman is offline  
Nov 5th, 2003, 10:48 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We are sailing roundtrip out of Seattle on the new Sapphire Princess on
July 11, 2004. This is our first Princess Cruise and our first cruise to Alaska. Really looking forward to it. I did quite a bit of research and I think Princess is highly thought of and a good line to take to Alaska. They also offer Personal Choice Dining. Not sure yet whether we are going to try that instead of Traditional Dining, but at least we have a choice.

Anyway, enjoy the planning of your trip.
antmaril is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 03:05 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Budman: You will love the Galaxy. We did an Alaska and Panama Canal repositioning cruises on her a few years ago. She's larger than the Horizon, but you don't have have that large ship feel. Very well appointed. Staff, crew, everything was first rate. Of all the Celebrity fleet Galaxy is still my favorite for some reason. I liked the ship so much that I've been considering cruising on her again just for the ship and not for the itinerary. Since I like longer cruises I've been thinking about a transatlantic cruise. Oh well ...
Mary2223 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 03:22 AM
  #8  
duh
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ok you don't like hal. what line has the best INSIDE passage from vancover. I dont think I can afford to fly out of fairbanks ,
 
Nov 6th, 2003, 04:03 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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All your Vancouver sailings offer the most inside passage sailing- BUT for clairfication- ANY ship can go out of passage sailing for a variety of reasons- weather, time, captain's preference- and who knows?? So there are no guarantees on routes. And I DO like HAL in Alaska- certainly has superior deck space. If you are planning on extensive outside viewing- you may want to get a ship without the wind screens- this is a priority for me and a major reason for not choosing RCI and the new Princess ships (some??). Look closely at other factors rather than solely the ship- time in ports, glacier, price. Be certain to budget for costly excursions- skimp elsewhere.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 10:51 AM
  #10  
duh
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budget queen you seem to know your stuff so i'll keep asking. how would i know if the ship has a wind screen or not. yes i would like to view from deck if possible. i decided not to get a balconey and save the money for another part of the trip. have never cruised .i think i got it down to celebrity (mercury),hal (oosterdam,amsterdam)ncl (sky or star).....but really am undecided!!!
 
Nov 7th, 2003, 12:28 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,898
Of all the cruises to have a BALCONY, I highly recommend one on ALASKA....
Re-think your priorities and reflect on the incredible scenery you will see for a once in a lifetime experience...

We are doing a balcony cabin on HAL Oosterdam this July...and I cannot wait!
andy is offline  
Nov 8th, 2003, 02:47 AM
  #12  
duh
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For the extra money of a balcony in june, we could do many other things. Someone mentioned if its rainy/misty/foggy you will not use your balcony. still deciding but i think i would rather be out walking on deck or sitting in a lounge people and scenery watching. personal choice for sure. hope to meet nice blue,white and purple collared workers!!!!
 
Nov 8th, 2003, 09:19 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 34
Took an Alaska cruise in September. It was RCL Radiance of the Seas. A beautiful ship & highly recommend it. Our room has balcony on deck 9. You really want a balcony room going to Alaska. If you get cold staying outside the balcony, just step back into the room. If you're out on the deck (pleny of outside space on deck 5 and top deck), it was very windy & gets cold sometimes. When we arrived at the glacier, we stayed in the room, viewed the glacier from the balcony,no need to join the crowds on the deck and fight for spot to take pictures. The TV in room has a special channel that you can listen to the commentary and see the bridge.
Our trip was Vancouver round trip. Cons about leaving from Vancouver is that we flew into Vancouver from the U.S. So we had to wait for over for immegration at the Vancouver airport. There were thousands of people arriving at the same time. We took taxi from the airport to the port. Had to wait in long line for check in. Then wait for 2 hours for U.S. immigration. All in all, we spent a lot of time waiting for immigration between the Canadian custom and the U.S. custom. I would recommend people to flight up to Anchorage from the U.S., then take a south bound cruise from Anchorage to either Vancouver or Seatle to avoid immigration.
Inside Passage: Our ship was supposed to leave Vancouver at 5 PM and cruise the inside passge to Alaska. However, it was delayed for 5 hours and we left Vancouver at 10 PM. The captain ensured us that we would not be late for our first port of call in Juneau. So we cruised very fast to make up the time. So we were not in the inside passage. We were out ther somewhere didn't see land for a day going fast. Then we had a medical emergency to drop off a passanger to a hospital. We re-route to near some Canadian island (didn't dock at the island). The Canadian coast guard met up our ship, transfered the passangers from the cruise ship to the coast guard boat and took them to the hospital. Then our cruise speed up again to make up the time. As the captain promised, we arrived at Juneau on schedule. This is to tell you that the ship can change course without any notice. We did see the inside passage on the way back to Vancouver. It was beautiful and we also saw Orca.
Weather can also be very unpridictable. We had beautifully suuny days in Skayway and Hubbard Glacier. Had a unlimited visibility of the glacier. We were told that was very unusual. There was much icebergs so our ship was able to get very close to the glacier for viewing. If the weather bad, you'd only see mist from a distant. However, we hit a storm at one night. It was very windy 50+ miles wind, wave was over 25 ft. hight. We were on deck 9 and our balcony was hit by the waves, too. All outside doors were closed/locked at the public areas. We dare not open the deck door. The boat was rocking hard, but we didn't feel any danger. The gala buffe with ice sculptures stood still during the storm. That was really amazing.
The other factor on choosing a ship is the clientel. HAL is gear toward senior citizens and RCL has a good mix age groups. Whichever cruise you chose, balcony room is a must. You can save money on the shore excursion by not buying them from the ship. There are many vendors that offers tours for less money than the ship. Read about the ports and decided what you want to do. Then wait until you get the port to sign up for tours offered at the port by the locals. They're reliable and cheaper.
wt88 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2003, 12:50 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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RCI ships have windscreens and no naturalists so they aren't on my list. (unless significantly discounted). choose based on route, time in ports, glacier, price. There are several points that in my experience I disagree with in the above post. Of any time to be out on deck - your glacier viewing is one of them- dress warm and be prepared for the weather- there is nothing like a full front 180'+ plus view that balcony views just don't have. Interstingly- my 9-1 Sun sailing- the starboard side had NO views of Grand Pacific/Margerie Glacier. The ship turned starboard and left. no 360' turn. Hubbard is a very accessable glacier and most ships in season had very good visits here this year. It doesn't sound like the poster has been on HAL to Alaska- but actually- on all ships- average passenger age to Alaska is middle aged and above- even on Carnival. HAL has RCI beat in several points- superior open deck space, Glacier Bay permits and ship naturalists to name a few. Choose carefully for what is a priority for you. I also would NEVER recommend not having reservations and tours booked in advance if going independent. Getting off the ship for available tours will have a very limited selection. There is so much more to Alaska than "city tours" etc.. available by bus. Very unlikely for any flights to be available and it is not a good use of time trying to arrange something in port. Again- have plans and reservations in place before you leave. I never book any ship tours and always direct with the vender- extremely easy to do in Alaska.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Nov 9th, 2003, 11:30 AM
  #15  
cindiloowho
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We sailed as a family on HAL from Seattle to Alaska. Norwalk virus thrid day out shut down almost everything, including the Kids club which we had been relying on. Also, many, many other cruise boats everywhere whenw e got there, which sort of spoiled the feeling that you were going to the winderness!! Topns of people on the sidewalks and the shops all junk stuff (t shirts, etc.) Service, itself was good, disembarking was a royal pain---stood in three long sines for over an hour and half to get off the boat, which left a bad taste in our mouth to go again..the city just isn't prepared for the numbers, port is small and unfinished. All in all, I would go somewhere else next time.
 
Nov 9th, 2003, 12:36 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 312
We flew from Minneapolis/Baltimore to Anchorage, took the HAL inside passage cruise, debarked in Vancouver, and rented a car one way to Seattle where we caught flights home. It was pretty reasonably priced, plus we were able to spend several days in Denali prior to the cruise by renting a car from and back to Anchorage. We took my dad and his wife (65 and 73)and we all had a fabulous time. My husband and I took the shore trips, and they relaxed back on the boat. You will WANT to tip for the excellent service on the cruise. We had inside cabins, and did not miss windows at all--the prow of the ship had the best views of all. Go and ENJOY!
moondoggie is offline  
Nov 10th, 2003, 11:34 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Want to clarity my point. My suggestion for Alaska is for indenpendent travelers who like to arrange their own schedule, research the destination before the trip, & don't want to go to with the herd of ship tours. If someone don't mind spending money and follow the steps of many others, then take the ship tours and everything will be taken care of. Alaska is such a nice wilderness place and I don't think any nature lover like the idea of having helicopters flying over the glacier all the time to disrupt quiet private beauty.

It's not so much about which ship to sail, it's about enjoying Alaska. Like the other post said, all Alaskan ports are packed with thousands of cruise ship passangers. By the time you get there, the most important is how you enjoy the short time in port.
wt88 is offline  

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