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golfer1903

Alaska 2020

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Have you done or have an opinion which do you like.

Bliss or joy bliss does skagway and the glacier bay where as joy does icy strait and so.e other cruise which I dont understand what it is actually and it states overnight.  So its a little more confusing.

I assume jot many have been on joy to give ship opinions since it's new to usa 

Also has anyone used this promo in the past with the reduced airfare and if so do you get to pick seats to sit together. Are the flights long layovers and odd travel times of day. And it which airline.

I would assume if there doing it all seats would jot be together and no chose on times or departures 

Oh and the free dining if I have 3 in room what's cost for the extra person and is it good for all the pay food places or only certain  ones.  Or would it be cheaper to just pay ala cart for the third person. And u see actual menu with prices anywhere

Any In site.  Thanks.  

 

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While I have not used NCL air - we did look at it for our Hawaiian cruise - the would have booked us on a United flight with a layover in SFO - we were able to find a direct flight from PDX on Hawaiian Airlines for less.

 

As for Alaska - I would pick Skagway and Glacier Bay over ISP and Holikum Bay (which BTW is either Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier or Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier as the Bay is the entrance to both).

 

Also check the date - I remember looking at the schedules and saw where the Joy was doing GB early in the season. I also alternated between Skagway and ISP. This was for 2019 as I don't think the 2020 schedules are out yet.

 

IMHO both of these ships are too big for AK - I prefer the Jewel class or even smaller for AK as they are easier to maneuver and the docks in AK are not really set up well for these mega ships.

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12 minutes ago, bonvoyagie said:

IMHO both of these ships are too big for AK - I prefer the Jewel class or even smaller for AK as they are easier to maneuver and the docks in AK are not really set up well for these mega ships.

 

So you're saying you've had to maneuver these new ships? What impact does the ship's maneuverability have on passengers? 😕

 

 

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1 hour ago, Outerdog said:

 

So you're saying you've had to maneuver these new ships? What impact does the ship's maneuverability have on passengers? 😕

 

 

Possibly one issue would be the critical height of both the BLISS and JOY in making a port call at

Vancouver. The superstructure of the ship is too high for clearance with the Lion's Gate Bridge and

thus these ships with barest of clearance must sail with the LOW tide. Thus sailing with the tides

may not be the most convenient time for arrival or departure missing some other aspect of the

cruise itinerary.

These mega ships may have a greater draft (clearance of the hull from the harbor bottom) requirement

and can not be berth next to the pier until the bottom is dredged out deeper.

Another factor is these ships are about 100 or more feet longer and take up more pier space perhaps

making it only possible for one ship to park i.e. at Ketchikan has space for 4 ships - 3 right in front of

the main activity of the port - with either one of these and a Princess (Coral class) and only two of these

berths could be used or simultaneously both the JOY and BLISS would prevent a third ship for using the

3 main berths.

A closing note: the gangway may have to be much longer and sloped to mate with the ship or be of a

gradient such that safe wheelchair scooter use would be a safety issue.

 

What does this have to do the passengers - simply the feature of convenient timely access. 

Edited by don't-use-real-name

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21 minutes ago, don't-use-real-name said:

Possibly one issue would be the critical height of both the BLISS and JOY in making a port call at

Vancouver. The superstructure of the ship is too high for clearance with the Lion's Gate Bridge and

thus these ships with barest of clearance must sail with the LOW tide. Thus sailing with the tides

may not be the most convenient time for arrival or departure missing some other aspect of the

cruise itinerary.

 

Cruises that begin and end in Seattle usually do not call at Vancouver; neither the Joy nor the Bliss is scheduled to call there, so the tide there makes no difference for them. It should tell you something that NCL will have two large ships on Seattle itineraries and only one, smaller, ship sailing to/from Vancouver. If there were more demand for Vancouver itineraries, or one-way itineraries, other ships could be assigned.

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1 hour ago, golfer1903 said:

Have you done or have an opinion which do you like.

Bliss or joy bliss does skagway and the glacier bay where as joy does icy strait and so.e other cruise which I dont understand what it is actually and it states overnight.  So its a little more confusing.

I assume jot many have been on joy to give ship opinions since it's new to usa 

Also has anyone used this promo in the past with the reduced airfare and if so do you get to pick seats to sit together. Are the flights long layovers and odd travel times of day. And it which airline.

I would assume if there doing it all seats would jot be together and no chose on times or departures 

Oh and the free dining if I have 3 in room what's cost for the extra person and is it good for all the pay food places or only certain  ones.  Or would it be cheaper to just pay ala cart for the third person. And u see actual menu with prices anywhere

Any In site.  Thanks.  

 

LINK to the NCL cruises:

 

https://www.ncl.com/vacations?destinations=Alaska_Cruises

 

The BLISS and the JOY do closed loop cruises - Seattle Ketchikan Juneau Skagway Icy Strait Point/Hoonan GB -

Holikum Bay (which BTW is either Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier or Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier as the Bay is the entrance to both) and Victoria BC returning to Seattle. Not all ports are called in that order - not all itineraries cover all these ports.

 

If you are interested in a port call at Sitka (the old Russian Alaska capitol city) you will have cruise on another cruise line.

 

The JEWEL does the one-way trips from Seward to Vancouver and then return one-way back to Seward - ports/cities -

are much the same as the above and again not all cities/ports are called - not all glaciers are visited.

The JEWEL offers the opportunity to combine cruise and land based tours (Denali NP) of 3-5 days Fairbanks Denali

Anchorage Homer and others...

The BLISS and the JOY do not cruise to Anchorage (Seward) and do not connect with the land based tours and sadly

NCL is missing an opportunity here but this does change the 7 day itinerary to something else.

 

Check the above LINK for the scheduled itinerary for 2019 - 2020 will not be much different.

 

A question you will have to answer for yourself is do you want the pleasures of a cruise or a port scenic intensive cruise ?

The BIG ships offer the cruise and the crowds while the JEWEL offers the best of port scenic cruises seeing more of

Alaska and Canada.

 

There is a lot of information to digest planning your 2020 cruise and you will not be able to even scratch the surface

with one cruise - so if you are planning just one cruise - go for as much as you can get - I recommend the JEWEL for this.

Airfare to Anchorage Fairbanks and Vancouver is going to cost more than the Seattle round trip from where you are.

Seattle fares are competitive and least expensive compared to Vancouver.

Airline flights are just one part of the cruise vacation - remember to have a safety cushion of a day or two early arrival -

don't miss the ship because of tight planning.

When booking air travel with NCL - NCL will block a section of seats on a contract airline (name to be determined later)

and you will be seated together in your party within that blocked section.

Normally the flights will be timed with the NCL cruise with sufficient time for an overnight stay and check-in the next

day for the cruise typical plan for Hawaii as well as other cruises. You don't like these arrangements plan the flights

on your own and take a credit if possible from NCL from the free airfare plan.

.

You have a limited season from about mid May to the end of September - the cruise fares ebb and flow - peak best

weather is generally in August. Visiting viewing Mt. Denali is a one in three chance of seeing the summit.

With global warming sadly the glaciers are not like what they used to be. In some cases the cruise ship has not been

able to get up close to view the calving.

 

Take a look at the shore excursions being offered this year so you have an idea what to book in 2020 -

Zip lining/Salmon canning museum (Icy Strait)  - train rides/Canadian excursions (Skagway) - fishing just about everywhere -

glacier excursions (Juneau Mendenhall) tram lift (Mt Roberts) scenic fjord viewing (Ketchikan) - Butchart Gardens (Victoria) -

just a fraction of some that are available - something for most anyone.

 

As for dining and menus these change often but the basic programs stay pretty much the same. Menus and prices can

be found by following along with threads and post of the ships BLISS JOY JEWEL - in some cases CC members have

taken photos of the menus and posted them here - if you have the dining package SDP you really should not be concerned

about the pricing - it is when you don't have the plan or have used it up that pricing comes into play - generally the most

one would expect to pay is about $40 pp for Teppanyaki - $30 for Cagney's and about $20 for La Cucina. Suggestion use

SDP on the most expensive restaurants and then dine free at those with no cover charge i.e. Buffet and O'Sheehans.

 

There is so much more to read and absorb and plan and then go back to the drawing board for plan B !

 

I have had 5 cruises to Alaska - 2 from Anchorage and 2 from Vancouver and 1 from Seattle and there is so much more

to see and take in and YES I have been blessed to see the Mountain - Mt. Denali !

 

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3 minutes ago, kochleffel said:

 

Cruises that begin and end in Seattle usually do not call at Vancouver; neither the Joy nor the Bliss is scheduled to call there, so the tide there makes no difference for them. It should tell you something that NCL will have two large ships on Seattle itineraries and only one, smaller, ship sailing to/from Vancouver. If there were more demand for Vancouver itineraries, or one-way itineraries, other ships could be assigned.

You are correct that NCL cruises with a closed loop from Seattle do not port call at Vancouver

(having something to do with the PVA act - not the Jones Cargo clause) -

 

BUT this was used as an example of maneuvering of the ships.

 

NCL may be planning to move one of these to replace the JEWEL but it is not in the schedule as of yet !

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In addition to what has been mentioned, a couple of years ago one of the larger ships rammed into the docks in Ketchikan because the wind whipped up and the captain lost control. The dock was out of service for a month.

 

Longer ships also mean that fewer can be tied up at any given dock- both Juneau and Ketchikan are very limited in the amount of dock space they have.

 

Tidal changes are bad enough with the smaller ships and can make for steeper boarding ramps.

 

Larger ships also take longer to disembark an issue when you have limited tour time.

I know that it can take quite awhile to disembark a 2400 pax vessel like the Jewel and Pearl.

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Icy Strait is the Ensenada of Alaska, sounds real nice until you get there. We did a ATV ride, (they call it an adventure), the guide spent more time bad mouthing the cruise lines than passing on any useful info. Oh we did learn that she used a .270 Winchester to take a deer earlier in the year. I took 7 picture's at Icy Strait the entire time we were there. I took almost 400 in Skagway/Haines. Choose carefully Alaska is great, personally having done both a round trip and a one way, I'll do the one way trip without any hesitation, but I'll relax on the ship at Icy Strait.

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Go to the ALASKA forum in Ports of Call.  At the top of the page you'll find several years worth of detailed trip reports.  Various cruiselines, various ships, cruisetours, one-way/RT, Seattle/Vancouver departures, etc.  Some are detailed photo journals with photos of the room, public areas, excursions, activities and even meals.  They will be a great resource for you.   https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/33-alaska/

 

As you compare itineraries, pay close attention to the port times. So you need to have an idea of what you want to accomplish at each port.  ie what can you do in Ketchikan if your port time is 6am - 1pm ? realistically what time will you be up, showered, fed, and off the ship? then you need to return by 12:30.  

 

Glacier Bay is not a stop .... you spend several hours cruising by the glaciers.  A Ranger comes on board to talk about this National Park.

https://www.nps.gov/glba/planyourvisit/cruise.htm

 

Some people LOVE Icy Strait, others think it's a wasted stop.  You need to do a little research and determine if it's right for you.  Google visitor information for Icy Strait Point and for Hoonah which is the actual town.

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11 minutes ago, golfer1903 said:

What about sitka better then icy ir skagway?

 

depends what your interests are.  You need to look at the Visitor Information sites for each location and see which port best supports your interests.

ISP doesn't interest ME in the slightest.  Skagway was interesting.   I'd love to visit Sitka as it would be new and I would like to see the Fortress of the Bears, Raptor Center, the Russian Dancers.     https://visitsitka.org/

 

Edited by mapleleaves

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2 hours ago, golfer1903 said:

What about sitka better then icy ir skagway?

Having the three for options first would be Skagway ( I am train lover) - second would be Sitka *** (much more of a historic

port with one of the best Raptor centers) and lastly Icy Strait Point (best Zip Line and a great salmon canning museum).

 

*** Of note I posted earlier to visit Sitka you would have to take another cruise line Princess and Holland America come to mind.

 

With travel to Alaska plan to get the most of what you can with time and budget.

Realize that to see the LAST FINAL FRONTIER of the USA it is going to take many many trips/cruises !

There is more to this state than the coastal scenery - the interior is full of awesome surprises and did I mention

on some of the land tours there will be PUPPIES (racing sled dogs) as well as other wildly assorted furry little

creatures and the big ones too Kodiak Brown Bears and grizzlies.

The birds and bears - then be wary of the itty bitty blood sucking mosquitos with a ravenous appetite for guest visit donations.

Be prepared for an occasional earth movement - Alaska still in the development stages - recent earthquakes.

Unfortunately during the summer months in the Land of the Mid-Night Sun the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is not

as spectacular but during the shoulder months May-June & September-October on a longer darker nights at sea these

are an impressive sight.

This is my Sound of Music place - I am deeply at peace with Alaska - come visit and enjoy - don't wait the glaciers are not !

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