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MaryBethV

Which ship for Alaska?

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I could really use some help. The only Princess ship we've been on is the Regal (earlier this month-still working on that trip report!) and I'm already trying to plan an Alaskan cruise for June 2020. We would consider a round-trip cruise - or a B2B since it is easier for us to fly in and out of the same location.

 

We will have our two teenagers with us - 15 and 17. They are pretty quiet/laid back kids, but do like to have the teen lounge and meet other kids. On the Regal a few weeks ago there were only 11 other teenagers on the ship and our two were often the only kids in the teen lounge - at least until the last couple of days.

 

Wish List:

  • 2 inside rooms (so easy access to outside areas on the ship) or 1 inside room/1 balcony room close to one another
  • reliable internet (for DH's job-can't do without it)
  • teen lounge with at least a decent number of teens (hoping for 20ish or more teens on board since it will be summer break) 
  • good food (main dining room, International Cafe)

 

Thank you so much!

 

 

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Since internet is necessary for your husband's job, you should know that you may not have a connection through the ship's internet at all on the day the ship's in Skagway. If your sailing goes to Skagway, that is. Things like this change all the time, but we've never had ship-based internet there.

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In June there are normally more teens because school is out!

Coral Princess is a good choice for a cruise to Alaska.  

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We went last year on a B2B on the Golden in late August and first part of September. Our children were missing the first week of school. There were not many children on the ship. The Kids' Club was mostly empty, but apparently the cruise before had been full of kids. This year we are going up again, but we leave on August 10. The ship will be full of kids (good for our kids, maybe not as good for adults). 

 

The internet was slow and at times unavailable for much of the trip. I think that is common once you get past Ketchikan.

 

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We did a 10 day round trip out of San Francisco on the Grand in 2013.  Don't know if they still offer that itinerary .. but it was GREAT.

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Does Royal have the Medallion Net? Do you think that would be better for internet access?

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6 minutes ago, bigeagle12 said:

We did a 10 day round trip out of San Francisco on the Grand in 2013.  Don't know if they still offer that itinerary .. but it was GREAT.

 

They do still offer it! We're going on the Grand out of SF in July. It'll be our second time taking the 10 day Alaska out of SF, and I agree it's an awesome cruise.

For the OP - cruises during the school year (pretty much mid-August until mid-June) is going to be really light on kids (except maybe the under 5 set). If you're planning to go during the summer, your teens should have a lot more peers onboard. Whether or not they go to the youth club will depend on the particular group of kids on that sailing. But they may have luck finding other teens by the pool or other common areas as well.

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13 minutes ago, Dani24 said:

 

. . . But they may have luck finding other teens by the pool or other common areas as well.

How much is the pool used on an Alaska cruise?

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2 hours ago, Sea Hag said:

Since internet is necessary for your husband's job, you should know that you may not have a connection through the ship's internet at all on the day the ship's in Skagway. If your sailing goes to Skagway, that is. Things like this change all the time, but we've never had ship-based internet there.

OK, maybe true for ship's Internet, but I have had no problem getting Internet via my iPad and iPhone, both using AT&T.  So, if all you need to do is check/send email or text messages, or check voicemail, you can do it in Skagway😌  Go to the side of the ship where you can see the town, if you are docked over by the rocks.

 

i have been on 14 Alaska cruises⛴🐻🐬🛳🌈🐋😉🐳

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As CruiserKenn indicates, since Alaska is in the USA, there is no penalty for using your cellular communication devices in any of the AK ports--cell phones, SmartPhones, IPads.  My wife has never had a problem going on line via cellular (both AT&T and Verizon) in any AK port.

 

Another poster mentioned MedallionNet.  This is a new facility that is being rolled out to Princess ships, and the initial reports that I have read is that it is very fast.  If internet speed is important, and you are interested in sailing on Princess, check out this description at the Princess web site that also tells which ships have it:

 

https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/ocean-medallion/medallionnet/

 

Also, as others have indicated, there will be more school-age children cruising with their families during the school summer vacation weeks.  I would suggest July.

 

Have a great cruise.

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2 hours ago, Cruiserkenn said:

OK, maybe true for ship's Internet, but I have had no problem getting Internet via my iPad and iPhone, both using AT&T.  So, if all you need to do is check/send email or text messages, or check voicemail, you can do it in Skagway😌  Go to the side of the ship where you can see the town, if you are docked over by the rocks.

 

i have been on 14 Alaska cruises⛴🐻🐬🛳🌈🐋😉🐳

 

50 minutes ago, XBGuy said:

As CruiserKenn indicates, since Alaska is in the USA, there is no penalty for using your cellular communication devices in any of the AK ports--cell phones, SmartPhones, IPads.  My wife has never had a problem going on line via cellular (both AT&T and Verizon) in any AK port.

 

Another poster mentioned MedallionNet.  This is a new facility that is being rolled out to Princess ships, and the initial reports that I have read is that it is very fast.  If internet speed is important, and you are interested in sailing on Princess, check out this description at the Princess web site that also tells which ships have it:

 

https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/ocean-medallion/medallionnet/

 

Also, as others have indicated, there will be more school-age children cruising with their families during the school summer vacation weeks.  I would suggest July.

 

Have a great cruise.

 

Very helpful - thank you! It does look like Royal and Ruby have the Medallion Net like Regal (which we were just on) has. We also have Sprint cellular and a Verison hotspot. 

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4 hours ago, RMMariner said:

We went last year on a B2B on the Golden in late August and first part of September. Our children were missing the first week of school. There were not many children on the ship. The Kids' Club was mostly empty, but apparently the cruise before had been full of kids. This year we are going up again, but we leave on August 10. The ship will be full of kids (good for our kids, maybe not as good for adults). 

 

The internet was slow and at times unavailable for much of the trip. I think that is common once you get past Ketchikan.

 

 

3 hours ago, Dani24 said:

 

They do still offer it! We're going on the Grand out of SF in July. It'll be our second time taking the 10 day Alaska out of SF, and I agree it's an awesome cruise.

For the OP - cruises during the school year (pretty much mid-August until mid-June) is going to be really light on kids (except maybe the under 5 set). If you're planning to go during the summer, your teens should have a lot more peers onboard. Whether or not they go to the youth club will depend on the particular group of kids on that sailing. But they may have luck finding other teens by the pool or other common areas as well.

 

Thank you both! I'm leaning towards the end of June or the first week of July - so hopefully there will be some kids since everyone should be on summer break then.

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When comparing itineraries - are there any stops/sights that you wouldn't want to miss? This may be our one and only trip to Alaska.

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9 minutes ago, MaryBethV said:

When comparing itineraries - are there any stops/sights that you wouldn't want to miss? This may be our one and only trip to Alaska.

 

My first priority would be taking one to Glacier Bay. There are a limited number of sailings that offer this, and only a select number of cruise lines that are even allowed in there. Glacier Bay is phenomenal, and many regard it as the best of all the glacier experiences offered by the Alaska cruises.

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9 minutes ago, Dani24 said:

 

My first priority would be taking one to Glacier Bay. There are a limited number of sailings that offer this, and only a select number of cruise lines that are even allowed in there. Glacier Bay is phenomenal, and many regard it as the best of all the glacier experiences offered by the Alaska cruises.

 

Thank you. This is helping me narrow things down!

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5 hours ago, MaryBethV said:

I could really use some help. The only Princess ship we've been on is the Regal (earlier this month-still working on that trip report!) and I'm already trying to plan an Alaskan cruise for June 2020. We would consider a round-trip cruise - or a B2B since it is easier for us to fly in and out of the same location.

 

We will have our two teenagers with us - 15 and 17. They are pretty quiet/laid back kids, but do like to have the teen lounge and meet other kids. On the Regal a few weeks ago there were only 11 other teenagers on the ship and our two were often the only kids in the teen lounge - at least until the last couple of days.

 

Wish List:

  • 2 inside rooms (so easy access to outside areas on the ship) or 1 inside room/1 balcony room close to one another
  • reliable internet (for DH's job-can't do without it)
  • teen lounge with at least a decent number of teens (hoping for 20ish or more teens on board since it will be summer break) 
  • good food (main dining room, International Cafe)

 

Thank you so much!

 

 

 

There were 550 kids onboard on one of our June/July cruises on Princess.  

When we went in late Aug we saw none.  

 

If it It is your one and only, DEFINITELY choose an itinerary which includes glaciers. Our favorite itinerary was the one that started near Anchorage and ended in Vancouver. We were able to get into College Fjord and Glacier Bay. Hubbard is awesome. We’ve been to Glacier Bay twice and although it was very nice, Hubbard was more spectacular.  

And we had a lot of teen onboard during a different July cruisecthan the one mentioned above, and yes, plenty of people who were IN the pool watching the movie screen while we departed Skagway at 8:00 pm, still daylight, perfect weather.  No breeze. 

 

We were here in the hot tub for one sailway ( 9 pm, full sunlight) on one Alaskan cruise. 

 

The weather has always been pretty cooperative except in August , when it was foggy almost all week long. 

 

 

Edited by 4cats4me

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I totally agree about Glacier Bay. It's pretty much a "must do" kind of thing for an Alaska cruise. As for your ship: You mention both Ruby and Royal. Royal will be pretty much the same as Regal that you have already sailed. Ruby will be a different ship and has the advantage of a full, wrap-around Promenade. I have never sailed on either Royal or Regal but loved Ruby and I do believe the full Promenade is a major selling point - especially for Glacier Bay.

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1 hour ago, Thrak said:

I totally agree about Glacier Bay. It's pretty much a "must do" kind of thing for an Alaska cruise. As for your ship: You mention both Ruby and Royal. Royal will be pretty much the same as Regal that you have already sailed. Ruby will be a different ship and has the advantage of a full, wrap-around Promenade. I have never sailed on either Royal or Regal but loved Ruby and I do believe the full Promenade is a major selling point - especially for Glacier Bay.

I agree with all of this. The Ruby is a great ship.

I would also add that there's a small, open deck all the way forward on Lido. It's the area above the bridge, and most folks don't seem to find it. We had one of the forward facing cabins on Lido, and this deck was just out the door and around the corner. This was where we were on Glacier Bay day, and it was the best. You can move from side to side as the ship reorients. Very uncrowded.

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We did the Ruby a few years ago and going again in May on the Ruby once more. Club Class was awesome! Also There was a local storyteller /musician who comes onboard in Skagway - Steve Hites. He's a great entertainer - tells the story of the gold rush and performs songs - some he wrote and other fun Alaska songs. We brought our kids and they loved him. 

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5 hours ago, MaryBethV said:

When comparing itineraries - are there any stops/sights that you wouldn't want to miss? This may be our one and only trip to Alaska.

I highly recommend a cruise/ land tour to Alaska.We flew to Anchorage and did land tour to Mt Mckinley Lodge and to Denali Lodge [3 nights] and took dome train back to Whittier to board ship down to Vancouver for 7 days.We loved the train ride and you get to see the  Alaska beauty and its vastness.Be sure to book your airfare with Princess EZ Air as you can get really great fares, call Princess and speak to a vacation planner.I I was surprised that airfare was about same price as r/t  and if you leave northbound Anchorage to Vancouver you get better day flights on return home.You can email me themob49@gmail.com and will be glad to answer any questions you may have.I am retired and have plenty of time to help you

Edited by themob

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Two things I would definitely recommend is to take the cruise going to Glacier Bay over Tracy Arm and to have at least one balcony cabin.  Keeping in mind that the days are long in AK in the summer with 18+ hours of sunlight, it is so nice to be able to step out on your balcony to watch even at 10 PM in daylight.  

 

The Royal has the new high speed internet.  When we were on the CB last November we were getting 100 mbps up and down.  Almost as fast as we get at home.  I was able to easily do what I needed using only my free internet privileges and did not have to buy additional time.  

 

We did an AK cruise with our DGD the last week of July 2017 and there were literately hundred's of kids aboard.  Our cruise started and ended in Seattle.  Go on the cruise the last two weeks of June and all of July if you want kids/teens aboard.  

 

Remember that Skagway, Juno and Ketchikan are in the US and all the usual cell phone providers are there.  Therefore use all the cell phone access you want.  

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Yep. I can get better WiFi for my tablet or laptop if I use a hot spot on my phone.

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Hi all I have pretty much the same question but regarding which room!  I just put a hold on the premium suite on the Ruby Princess Lido Deck 15 L107. Someone mentioned there is a door that can be accessed to go out in front of this room. I didn't like the looks of the balcony in that I cannot look straight forward due to a metal door.  Can that be opened?  Am I better with an aft penthouse?  It also looks on the videos I have seen like the suite is not as luxurious inside as is the penthouse suite in the aft.    Thinking we just may be better off with a mini suite.  If so, what is best location?   We have only done one other Princess cruise in a mini suite but it was not a scenic trip like this one. It was their Ireland trip and it was amazing with regards to excursions so we spent very little time on the ship.      Seems like Princess is best for Alaska.   We don't expect the same as we normally do from a suite when we travel on Seabourn or even Oceania but these photos have me worried about the view from the balcony which is the only reason I would want to be on the front.      Looking at the September 14 that goes Vancouver to Seattle.  Also what is your input about the timing?  Thank you so much.

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As to cabin:

 

I haven't been in those forward suites.  Much prefer Suites aft on Aloha  A750-753, or Vista D736/737.  Great View, quiet, can use any (warm) day/night since little to no wind

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don't forget, Alaska is mostly older generation as the cruise is a little higher than average, we have been on a cruise there 20+ times now being so close to ports. Have favorites in eating & tours there. TIME in each port is Soooo   valuable , and sailing out of a port also. Vancouver will usually give you the best cruise

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