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Has anyone done an Alaska cruise before??

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1. Posted by JerseyBoy88 (Budding Member, 52 posts) 15 Aug '13 13:05

Has anyone done an Alaska cruise before?? Are they worth it? Am i better off landing in Anchorage and renting a car or do you get your moneys worth and see more on a cruise?

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3491 posts) 15 Aug '13 15:22

I went with Holland America May 2012. I wrote a blog about my experience. I felt it was a worthwhile trip and would go again. I think you will see more of Alaska by renting a car, but the distances between cities is substantial. Good luck with your planning.

3. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator, 1839 posts) 16 Aug '13 14:22

My next door neighbors did two in three years, both on Carnival Cruises. It is their opinion that some of the best things to see are the gigantic glaciers you pass in Canada and southern Alaska on the way along the "Inside Passage" from Vancouver up to Anchorage.

Also, they enjoy having nightly entertainment, elaborate buffets, and not having to drive, but rather just enjoy the scenery while sitting on the balcony of their cruise ship suite (they booked a "higher end" room each time). They did this trip up and back, but made sure they had the view on the way up--then invited people they met with a suite on the other side of the boat to join them for champagne on their balcony--(and thus usually enjoyed the view on the way back at the other couple's suite when the cruise ship was sailing south to Vancouver).

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Aug-2013, at 14:23 by Calcruzer ]

4. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3491 posts) 16 Aug '13 22:09

Gary,
Your friends had a fatter wallet than I did. I was in steerage! so no view from my room. Mike and I headed up to the view decks when there was something worth seeing. 'Sleep cheap' and use the money for other things. Like playing hold 'em poker for example!

5. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member, 276 posts) 7 Sep '13 21:54

We just returned from a seven day cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Pearl and would go again in a minute. The experience of seeing Glacier Bay up close and personal cannot be underestimated. We opted for a balcony room for the views but you can save a lot of money if you are willing to take an inside cabin and just go topside to sightsee. These types of cruises have a lot of onboard entertainment and frequent port stops in places like Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C. Canada.

If your travel needs can get by on a bit more spartan conditions, consider the Alaska Marine Highway System, the southern embarkation point is Bellingham, WA north of Seattle. The meals are cafeteria style and cabins are extra. Friends who have taken these "poor man's cruises" speak highly of the adventuresome experience as they are considerably cheaper than the full service lines.

6. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1934 posts) 8 Sep '13 11:07

You could also save big money by taking the Alaska Marine Ferry to SE Alaska from the Seattle area (Bellingham) - this is a very scenic part of the state but it does not include Glacier Bay

(sorry, I failed to read the last post before posting)

[ Edit: Edited on 08-Sep-2013, at 11:09 by Daawgon ]

7. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru, 1342 posts) 8 Sep '13 11:16

Another thumbs up for the ferry, it's a great option for a budget traveller.

Cheers,
Terry

8. Posted by SoCalDave (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 10 Dec '13 19:35

Quoting JerseyBoy88

Has anyone done an Alaska cruise before?? Are they worth it? Am i better off landing in Anchorage and renting a car or do you get your moneys worth and see more on a cruise?

The wife and I took a Princess Cruise out of Seattle and back a couple years ago.
We had a great time. No rain anywhere...lucky.

Keep in mind cruises are like appetizers, you don't get the full meal, meaning in this case, the cruise doesn't offer an in depth way to visit Alaska, but
gives you an idea of what you might want to come back and see. The excursions are good, but can be expensive. Having said that, the boat itself was great. Lot's of older folks though. One thing we noticed is that that crowd doesn't like missing a meal, they eat early, and then off to bed...after bingo.

With that in mind we hit the later dinners and had the place to ourselves. Worked out great on 'lobster night'. I had 9 lobster tails...yes 9, but they are relatively smaller portions. We were one of only a handful of tables that were occupied.

Another thing, we went up to the night club...there were 7 people in there at 10:00 pm. We ended up in the wine bar for the evening.
Overall, it's a relaxing cruise, worth the money. Oh, we had a suite with a balcony and it's worth the money for the views.
You can sit out on the balcony with a bottle of your favorite varietal and watch the whales and the icebergs...pretty cool.

SoCal Dave

9. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member, 252 posts) 22 Dec '13 16:50

Quoting JerseyBoy88

Has anyone done an Alaska cruise before?? Are they worth it? Am i better off landing in Anchorage and renting a car or do you get your moneys worth and see more on a cruise?

Just about everyone I know who has cruised to Alaska raves about it.

There are sometimes some good deals offered by cruise lines, although still not cheap. Try subscribing to a few that go there.

An other way to research this is to look for cruise TOURS on their sites as opposed to just cruises. These are not cheap either but they go inland, sometimes very far inland. I think I read that Princess cruises even have their own Lodges and train carriages.

Everyone has a horror story to tell about a cruise but cruises in general are IMHO a fabulous way to travel.
Clean flush toilets. Great food. A new place or country every day even. Be sociable or not. Get off the boat or not. And a major reason ONLY UNPACK ONCE.
Play James Bond - will that be shaken or stirred? Live like a millionaire - you deserve it. Did I mention flush toilets.

Do some price comparisons between a shore based trip & a cruise, taking into account as much as you can think of. You might be surprised.

Steve

10. Posted by blissbliss (Budding Member, 14 posts) 24 Dec '13 23:20

For Alaska, it has to come down to itinerary. Both Holland America and Princess are superb for Alaska. You won't go wrong with either. The "style" of both lines is very similar: traditional, with contemporary touches. Have you done any research yet on scenic cruising, and the tidewater glaciers visited?