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Old 01-17-2011, 03:19 PM
 
12,345 posts, read 18,445,635 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK802 View Post
Exactly. We have friends that live in Alaska, both in totally different regions. Both told us to never take a cruise ship to their state, since you won't see much. They said to fly in, rent a car, drive all around, then return at another airport and go home from there.
I've been to Alaska twice, in a rental car. Their aren't many roads in Alaska but you can see a heck of alot just taking the road from Anchorage up to Fairbanks, or continue to the the arctic circle on the Dalton Highway if one wishes. It's a different type of vacation, no fake tourist gold mines and gold rush bars, mostly nature and scenery and outdoors. And of course you see the glorious Denali national park. The thing is also that the Inside Passage, geographically, has as much in common with the interior of Alaska and the flora and fauna that is found there as, lets say, Florida does. Anyone that says they've "been to Alaska", but only on a cruise, has to put an asterik on their claim.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Denver
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Some friends noticed that it was an elderly crowd when they went.

Last cruise I went on happened to have a re-union of WWII vets. I love older folks for their class and toughness...but they were not what I had in mind when I signed up.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:25 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHAdams View Post
Some friends noticed that it was an elderly crowd when they went.
As the old saying goes, "Cruises are for the newlywed, overfed, and nearly dead." Got that right!
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
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Just a suggestion regarding taking the Alaska Marine Highway instead of a cruise ship. If you decide to take the Alaska Marine Highway, which I think is an excellent idea, you need to make your plans as early as possible. Getting a stateroom at the last minute is next to impossible during the summertime.

One other suggestion. Get a copy of "the Milepost". Whether you are taking a cruise, driving, flying, or even walking there is useful information in it.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:59 AM
 
14,273 posts, read 24,029,111 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Mutt View Post
Just a suggestion regarding taking the Alaska Marine Highway instead of a cruise ship. If you decide to take the Alaska Marine Highway, which I think is an excellent idea, you need to make your plans as early as possible. Getting a stateroom at the last minute is next to impossible during the summertime.

That is my only problem with the AMH. I would love to take a long trip on the ferry but unfortunately, I cannot plan a trip that far in advance during the summer months.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:52 AM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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We took a week long Alaska cruise that started and ended in Seattle. It was lovely since we stayed at a B & B in Seattle for a week first. The B & B on Capitol Hill is a lovely place and less expensive than hotels! We didn't rent a car but took public transportation all over although a cab to the cruise ship was easier than figuring how which bus to navigate, especially as by that time we had more luggage. We went to Seattle with just carry on luggage and then shopped at thrift shops for warm and formal things to wear on the cruise. Then we gave the stuff back to the thrift shop afterwards and didn't have to pay for luggage on the airline.

We chose Holland America Line since it was our first cruise and we wanted "traditional". There never seemed to be long lines or long waits for anything on the ship. The food is best in the main dining room, although we didn't sign up for any of the surcharge type restaurants. The hot tub was nice even if it was a chilly sprint when we got out. The time in port didn't seem long enough, we would get in town just about long enough to find out what we really wanted to do but there wasn't any more time for. We didn't take any ship's tours, mostly just wandered around the ports. In Juneau we walked on a trail above town and visited the glacier, went to a used book store and met the Governor's wife. In Sitka we wandered some back streets, saw a fish hatchery, got a hair cut and visited some thrift shops and chatted with some folks who lived there. In Ketchikan we did more of the touristy things, watching an eagle eat minnows at the stream running through Creek Street, took the funicular to the next level up and wandered around past a totom pole place. By the time we got to Victoria we were tired of walking so we hired a convertible with a nice driver and she took us on a driving tour of Victoria. It would have been nice to spend more time in that town, too.

We really liked the cruise and are planning on taking another one sometime. It seems there are two basic Alaska cruises - at least in the one week cruise versions. You can round trip from one port or start at one end and end up at the other. If we can figure out how to get the airfare resonable, we may try the start at one end and get off at the other type of cruise.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:16 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,352,791 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK802 View Post
Exactly. We have friends that live in Alaska, both in totally different regions. Both told us to never take a cruise ship to their state, since you won't see much. They said to fly in, rent a car, drive all around, then return at another airport and go home from there.

I find that cruise ships tend to dump you in less desirable locations. Case in point, Grand Turk. I find it hilarious when people say they hated Turks & Caicos but have only seen Grand Turk from a cruise, the cruise ship capital of the islands. TCI is the most beautiful Caribbean island, in our opinion. Of course, Grand Turk doesn't count towards that beauty since Margaritaville isn't exactly representative of the island!
The cruise terminal on Grand Turk was built by Carnival and all its cruises out of Florida stop there; even its upscale Seabourn brand But, really, there is no excuse for just hanging out at the terminal and Margaritaville. $5/person gets you a taxi ride into town and you can walk about to your heart's content. Our taxi driver was great and gave us a running commentary all the way in. Local taxis will also do extended island tours and it is usually a lot cheaper and better than the organized tours from the ship.

I have been told by other experienced cruisers that Alaska is a disappointment. They recommend Norway where you get the same kinds of spectacular scenery but where the stops are not too touristy .... yet.

We love cruising but you really need to define what you want from a cruise and do your due diligence. There is a cruise line for everyone! And then do your research on the ports you are visiting and be just a little bit adventurous. We have done river rafting in Mexico, rain forest walks in Costa Rica, taken the local bus in Malta, local taxi tours in Italy (Lipari island) and St. Barts and just walked around plenty of other destinations.
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Seldovia
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Always tough to answer these without more info. Is this a family cruise, couple cruise, or single cruise. Family cruise avoid Royal Carib. not family oriented and lots of add ons on board, Disney best way to go for Family. Next question, cruise to Alaska because you like to cruise or want to see Alaska. Like others have said, very few cruise ships actually allow you to see much of Alaska unless you do a land sea package and the folks I have talked to that did those all said they would not do it again. They would cruise to Alaska and then go self guided from there. I live in Alaska so I don't count because I see the state as much as I want all the time. Never get tired of it either. I have been to Sitka when the ships arrive and it is a different twon when they hit. Sitka is fantastic when a ship isn't there. The folks are still great but the crowds are tough to deal with. Juneau is Juneau. I haven't been to Skagway since the cruise ships started coming there but I can tell you that Skagway is one of my all time favorite places. But then I am a Golden Garter recipient so I am biased. The next question is how long are you going to go for. If you only have a week then cruise ships can be great. You can see southeast which is incredible and do it in style. And as far as costs it is hard to beat the price. Airfare to Alaska is about 7-800 a person depending on how far you are away, and then food and car rental and hotels or camping on top of that. So cruising can be economical. Another question to ask is how old are you? Geriatrics are less apt to camp in a tent and when traveling on Alaska Marine Highway you might have to be willing to do that at times. The same with traveling with children. Bottom line suggestion from me is if a cruise is what you can afford and all that you have time for then do the cruise, you won't be disappointed. If you have a few weeks and more resources then fly up and travel the road system. You will see more of Alaska that way. The only warning I have is be careful when coming to Alaska, the place is contagious and you just might have to stay. In the immortal words of Robert Service "the land of gold was always cold and it seemed to hold me like a spell". And while Alaska is not always cold it does seem to hold us like a spell. The mountains call us, the glaciers sing, the rivers draw us, it is a spectacular thing.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:29 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,689 posts, read 40,050,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Mutt View Post
Just a suggestion regarding taking the Alaska Marine Highway instead of a cruise ship. ...
Yeah, reserve in advance for your vehicle and a cabin, but tents work pretty well in lieu of a cabin.
http://www.akferry.com/
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Yeah, reserve in advance for your vehicle and a cabin, but tents work pretty well in lieu of a cabin.
Alaska Ferry Adventures - Welcome to Alaska
Not sure what their policy is regarding where you can have a tent. It use to be ok to put up a tent outside of the solarium area as long as it was out of the way. The problem with putting up a tent in the solarium is the passengers that have little or no respect for the other passengers always seem to end up camping out in the solarium. If you manage to get a prime location, then you end up having to guard it the whole trip.
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