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Old 12-10-2012, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Florida
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My sister and I want to plan a cruise in Alaska, either in May or August of 2013. Need recommedations as to what line to consider and the path of the cruise. Seven days, we will share a room with a balcony, not to exceed $1,500 each (without airfare from fl).

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:37 PM
 
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Does that $1500 include tips, taxes, port charges, and shore excursions?
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollydo View Post
My sister and I want to plan a cruise in Alaska, either in May or August of 2013. Need recommedations as to what line to consider and the path of the cruise. Seven days, we will share a room with a balcony, not to exceed $1,500 each (without airfare from fl).

Thanks in advance.
Here are some suggestions: first, you will want to do May because I doubt you will find any Alaskan cruises in Aug for $1500 a person: balcany...remember the price also does not include other expenses like drinks, excusions, specialty dining etc...nor does it include gratuities...It does include meals in the main dining room and the buffets, as well as entertainment, etc.

Your age and interests will determine what line would be best. Flying in and out of Seattle is less expensive than flying to Vancourver and back from say, Anchorage...

If you want a totally relaxed experience and good ports, but not a lot of frills, I would suggest either NCL or maybe RCI. I am partial to NCL for total relaxation, being able to eat when and where I want etc, but that is strictly a personal preferance.


The two lines that are a little more upscale with better food, but also a higher price tag are Holland AMerica and Celebrity.Princess is another popular line for Alaska.

You will get an older and more reserved group of cruisers on Holland America and PRincess.

Hope this helps you a little. I will add a couple more things: I wouldn't even think about doing Disney. I would say, regardless of what line you choose, the mass marketed lines are more alike than different.

As I said, NCL would be my first choice and Holland America next.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:44 PM
 
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One thing to point out about Alaska is that the shore excursions tend to be very expensive and there isn't much to do in many ports if you don't take one. Factor that into your budget along with tips and transfers between the port and the airport.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Florida
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The $1,500 does not include all the extra fees.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Orlando
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I don't have a recommendation regarding a cruise line, but having cruised Alaska twice, I have the following suggestions:

1. I wouldn't pay extra for a balcony, just get an outside room with a good-size window that you can sit in front of. It was too cold outside, even in midsummer, to make use of the balcony. Go up on deck if you want to sit outside.

2. If you go to Alaska and don't visit Denali park, you've wasted your money. The cruise experience is great, but Denali park is spectacular.

3. Take along some warm outer wear, even if you're going in midsummer. The first time I went it was over July 4th week, and when the ship came near to glaciers and I was up on deck to see the action, I was freezing! You need a hat, gloves, heavy jacket, all that stuff.

4. The Inside Passage is very calm and nice, but getting across the Gulf of Alaska (if your cruise departs from or ends up in Seward) can be very very rough.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Florida
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"3. Take along some warm outer wear, even if you're going in midsummer. The first time I went it was over July 4th week, and when the ship came near to glaciers and I was up on deck to see the action, I was freezing! You need a hat, gloves, heavy jacket, all that stuff."

Will need to buy all new "stuff" we both live in Florida! Thanks for the helpful information!
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
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Having only done one AK cruise, on the Diamond Princess, here's my 50Cts:
-a balcony is very nice, if it fits in your budget. We were there in June and it was never too cold, day or night.
-If you avoid the daily beers/cocktails and up charge restaurants, it saves some money.
-As mentioned, the shore excursions are pricey, and the Princess line among others, forces one to sign up pre-cruise, making it sound as if there are no alternatives. Then, for example if it is an absolute wash out rainy day and you don't feel like doing an outdoor excursion that you signed up for, you get charged anyway.
-There are 'excursions' available on every port dock you stop at, pitching you as you disembark.
-If you are adventuresome and willing to spend ~$300, a helio ride to a glacier is a remarkable experience, imo.
-besides some lightweight cold/cool weather layers, some decent rain gear is a must: lots of rainy days in several of the stops.
-One poster raved about Denali: it was the most overrated experience for us, in a 2+ month road trip, having seen a dozen plus other Nat Parks, but everyone has their own expectations.
-Most cruises have land excursions pre or post cruise: be careful on how many days and nights they will literally move you around from place to place = moving nearly every morning, long bus rides, etc. The train ride to the interior from Whittier toward Denali is 10+ hrs and interminable, imo. Bus is faster, same boring 'scenery'.
-If you are embarking, or disembarking from your cruise in Vancouver, and haven't been there before, I highly rec'd spending a couple days there: wonderful city and area.

A good site for AK cruise info, (maybe too much info and opins!):
Alaska - Cruise Critic Message Board Forums

Some wonderful scenery and funky tiny little tourist towns; weather can be iffy, precipitation-wise. The long days are fun and the chugging up the inland waterway passage is worth hanging on the balcony to view. If you get to College Fjord, Glacier Bay, that is really the denouement, imo.
GL, mD







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Old 12-13-2012, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Orlando
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We did the Celebrity Infinity June 2010. We had balcony concierge class deck 9. Our cabins were $1430.00 per person. The only thing I would have changed about that would been the Deck. It had the overhang from deck 10. Deck 8 would have been my choice. Probably wouldn't do concierge class again. wasn't worth it for the bad wine and nasty snacks. Extra room in the cabin was nice tho.
No regrets on paying for the balcony. We sat and watched the beautiful scenery.

My favorite stop was Skagway. Instead of the excursions we rented a car and drove into Canada. It was nice to get away from the crowds and we pretty much had the roads to ourselves. I believe the cost was no more than $105.00.

The only excursion we did (and we do regret not doing more) was the Salmon fishing for DH.

For excursions you might want to check out Shore Excursions - Cruise Excursions & More | ShoreTrips. While we didn't use any of then, the website came highly recommended.

The gift shop will sell fleece jackets. I don't remember what they cost but I remember I didn't faint.

In June we didn't need our big heavy coats. A couple of layers under the fleece was wise.

If you see the suggestion of taking clothes pins to keep the curtains closed... that really is a good idea. We were there June 20...longest day of the year. It was light out at 3am. It messed with our sleeping the 1st two nights.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Granny Sue View Post
.

My favorite stop was Skagway. Instead of the excursions we rented a car and drove into Canada. It was nice to get away from the crowds and we pretty much had the roads to ourselves. I believe the cost was no more than $105.00. ...
In June we didn't need our big heavy coats. A couple of layers under the fleece was wise. ...

If you see the suggestion of taking clothes pins to keep the curtains closed... that really is a good idea. We were there June 20...longest day of the year. It was light out at 3am. It messed with our sleeping the 1st two nights.


All good points I had forgotten to include in my 50Cts.

In Skagway, we rented from Sourdough Car Rental, (pre-ordered so they had a car), and did the ride north out of Skagway on CDA Rt 2, up into the Yukon Territory to Emerald Lake, Caribou Crossing, etc. A very scenic, easy half day, in landscapes you won't see often and won't forget.




Also in Skagway we hooked up with Temsco Helicopter for a couple hour shot to Meade Glacier: it is worth the cost, imo.
Temsco Helicopters, Inc.



I realize the OP and most people have a 'budget', but how often does one do a trip to AK?

GL, mD
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