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The other thread on general Alaskan travel prompted me to start my own thread.
We're planning on doing an Alaskan cruise this summer. Dates and cruise lines TBD. We have cruised once before (Carnival, the Caribbean) and liked it a lot and we've always wanted to see Alaska.
Anything specific we should know or consider before taking an Alaskan cruise?
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You will love Alaska!!! The scenery is absolutely stunning. If you like to fish it has world class fishing. The only drawback, on a cruise, I can see is most of the Alaskan cities are small and when more than 1 cruiseship stops there it kind of overwhelms the town. We have been there 4 times and are planning another trip this summer with 3 of our grandkids (We are driving the Alaskan Hwy). Alaska is expensive especially when you get away from Anchorage. We paid $4.00 for a Qt. of milk at a store north of Denali National Park. If you go make sure you take the bus trip into Denali National Park. You will see many different animals (moose, grizzly bears, mt. sheep, goats, cariboo, etc.), and if you are lucky you will get to see Mt. Denali (Mt. McKinley). You may want to consider taking an Alaska ferry from Seattle up the inside passage. You can take you car and they have berths with beds & baths. We took the ferry up last year and drove back on the Alaskan Hwy and we loved the trip.
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Agree re:small towns/overwhelmed. The trick, IMO, is to get off the beaten path quickly - i.e. don't go into the main downtown tourist-oriented strip. Instead, either plan ahead or simply walk where others aren't so you get a sense of the place. The thing to remember, too, is that if you want to do more when you're off-ship, those will be added charges - e.g. you can take a train up into the mountains, or a helicopter ride, etc... but it's definitely cheaper if you book outside of your cruise (though they will be more than happy to make reservations for you and take their cut!).
"In the absence of clarity, diversification is the only logical strategy" -= Larry Swedroe
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We chose an active cruise, daily kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding on a small boat. What sold us was that although we have a general itinerary, the Captain may do things that the large boats can't do. Also if a sight to see is reported off we go no biggie. With a smaller ship you can get closer to glaciers or go up river when the big ships have to stay in the shipping lanes. Here is our operator.http://www.innerseadiscoveries.com/
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- Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:52 pm
We cruised Carnival many times and liked it. This past June we cruised Princess round trip out of Seattle up to Alaska. It was wonderful. Go to cruise critic.com and go to the Alaska boards. Wealth of information! Holland America and Princess have the best itineraries because they have cruised there for so long. Glacier Bay is beautiful but I think those two cruise lines might be the only ones allowed in there. Do some research of what you would like to see and then figure out which cruise line offers what you would like. Have fun planning!
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We've cruised Princess many times and liked it.
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You'll probably want to take an itinerary that brings you into Glacier Bay national park. Very few boats are allowed in (like two cruise ships a day). Princess is one of the lines with more boats that head that way.
If you want a good deal, wait until you are within 60 days from when the boat leaves. It's possible that the price drops at that time, at the risk of the cheap cabins selling out. Remember when shopping to include taxes and port fees. The sticker fare doesn't mean much because there are 3 mandatory components of a cruise fare: the fare itself, taxes, and port fees. If you want a quick and easy way to accurately price out cruises, try browsing for cruises on Cruise & Vacation Desk.
Excursions sold by the cruise line cost too much. Much better to pick up excursions after you get to the towns. In Juneau, if you want to save some $, you can get within a mile of Mendenhall glacier's visitor center by using a public bus.
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