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Savoyard

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  1. Remember that, between upgrades and cancellations, many cabins open up some time after being booked. So if you've decided you definitely don't want Cabin X for whatever reason, and it's not showing as available, you can't assume you're safe from getting it if you opt for a guarantee. "Guaranteed cabin" means the opposite of what someone new to cruising would expect. Granted, you're guaranteed the category you paid for or better... but "better" by the cruise line's definition. The way to assure yourself of a specific cabin is _not_ to book a GTY.
  2. AKStafford, I appreciate your input, especially since you've seen the packaged option firsthand. Do you have any favorite portals for choosing and booking one's own components, particularly lodging? The TripAdvisor reviews of properties near the Denali entrance are more negative, on average, than I'd expect from folks in a holiday mood.
  3. Has anyone done a cruise with packaged land tour on both Holland America and Princess? If so, can you comment on particularly the land portion? Background: We are 70ish, reasonably healthy, moving slower than we used to but still without canes or walkers. We were on the Celebrity Millennium Vancouver-Seward a few years ago and loved it. We like nature and culture (e.g. Native) more than either high-speed excursions or glitzy entertainment (though we don't mind an occasional corny dinner show). We've cruised with NCL, Celebrity, RCCL and HAL. We like the 2,000 passenger ships and loved the slightly smaller Rotterdam VI. I'm looking at June 2022 for our 35th anniversary. HAL and Princess appeal because they've been in Alaska long enough to have it down to a system, they both go to Glacier Bay, and they both have several options for Denali. We're pretty good at DIY, but after reading reviews of the lodges by independent travelers, I'm really tempted by Princess's Connoisseur option, where you reportedly get the best rooms everywhere. Also, after looking at meal prices, the Connoisseur price doesn't look outrageous considering all breakfasts and dinners are included. The only thing I don't care for is that most of the Princess options seem to include only one leg on the train; we'd much rather ride a train than a bus any day. (We visited Anchorage on our own once and took the train RT to Seward for a Kenai day cruise; we also opted for the rail transfer after our Celebrity cruise.) So... is there anything I should know about either HAL or Princess tours that I might not have learned from the company literature or recent trip reports?
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