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Shidah

Help with Alaska itinerary

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Looking at possibly booking an Alaskan cruise for next summer or fall.  Bliss Haven prices are crazy high, but the Joy is actually a bargain.  The Joy has two different itineraries.  I know nothing about Alaska.  Is one better than the other?  Both start and finish in Seattle.  But one lists overnight glacier viewing and the other one day is inside passage viewing.  Also, one of them is late September.  Is that too late in the season? Thanks in advance for any help.

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Glacier Bay is generally considered the preferred itinerary.  That would be all the Bliss sailings, or the first and last 2 of the season on Joy.  If you do take one of the other itineraries, you can take an excursion when the ship leaves Juneau that takes you on a smaller boat up close to the glacier.  The ship will probably stop about a mile away from the glacier.  It's cheaper to go before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, but some attractions may not be open yet or already be shutting down for the season.

 

Joy has additional Haven cabins outside the Haven area on Deck 15 that Bliss does not have.  This contributes to the lower prices, but also means The Haven may be more crowded.

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Posted (edited)

I agree. For a first time Alaskan cruise, Glacier Bay would be a better itinerary.

 

If you cloose the itinerary with glacier watching, that is normally on Juneau afternoon and runs from 1:00-6:30 pm. If you want a peak at what the itinerary looks like, we did a live post from the Bliss this year (click on link below)

 

Edited by BirdTravels

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Posted (edited)

While I do agree that Glacier Bay is a must do, I got better picture's and I think both Dawes and Hubbard glacier's are more scenic. Neither of the cruises out of Seattle will do a full inside passage through the British Columbia portion of the inside passage. While the scenery throughout the inside passage is breathtaking the British Columbia portion with it's narrow passageways for me is as much of a must see as Glacier Bay is.

 

Honestly I don't think you can go wrong with any of the itineraries in Alaska, so look at port times and research excursions for what you want to do in each and choose the itinerary that best suits the port times for what you would like to do.

Edited by RD29P5

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For the best port times and overall glacier viewing do a one way from Vancouver BC to Seward or Whittier AK.

 

The main ports in AK are Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway - each has their own special attractions - see more about them a www.cruiseportinsider.com  Icy Straight Point is sort of new and is becoming an alternative to Skagway as more ship ply the AK waters.

 

Glaciers - NCL is advertising Holkham Bay - Holkham bay is the entrance to either Tracy Arm or Endicott arm so by saying this, they can go to either fjord without anybody complaining they did not see Sawyer Glacier (it is at the end of Tracy Arm). The glacier at the end of Endicott Arm is Dawes Glacier. Both are tidewater glaciers - I believe that Tracy Arm is more scenic.

 

Glacier Bay is just that - several glaciers some tidewater some not. A naturalist from the park service will board the ship and narrate the tour of the bay - your ship will sit in front of one of the larger glaciers and will do several slow spins to allow everyone a view. The transit in and out takes several hours and consumes the better part of a day.

 

Hubbard Glacier - I have not been here - but have seen pictures  - it is just above glacier bay and is a huge tidewater glacier. Hubbard Glacier is often on the one-way cruises

 

Don't expect to see everything in one cruise - I have been there three times now and still have way more to do and see.

 

The peak season is July and Aug The season starts in April and ends in Sept. The most daylight is the time around the solstice in mid June - by Sept there is less daylight and tours are often cut short. I have gone in June and usually had reasonable weather and daylight - plus all of the tours were operating.

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Thanks to everyone.  All the info helps.  That was my concern with September, that the area would be already shut down for the season.  Talking with a rep from NCL, they mentioned that later in September has a greater chance of experiencing northern lights.  Not sure if that is true though.  Also, the pricing isn’t that much different, there was a glitch on their website today so it appeared certain rooms were cheaper than they actually are.  But on the Joy some of the owners suites are still available, and I think it would be awesome to experience the view on that balcony.  But we couldn’t do the April or May one leaving just September.

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