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Dubdude007

First time Alaska (Labor Day 2019)

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My dad has decided he wants to go on an Alaska cruise for this year's birthday boys trip. We will be three adult males looking for more of a relaxing vacation vs an adrenaline pumping vacation. We have cruised out of Galveston before but never been on an Alaska cruise.

 

Having read some of the posts on here it seems that it is best to do a one-way cruise (we are limited to 7 days) so I have come up with these:

 

1) Noordam: Vancouver, Inside Passage (cruising), Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park, At Sea, Seward

2) Golden Princess: Anchorage, Hubbard (cruising), Glacier Bay National Park (cruising), Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, At sea, Vancouver

3) Norwegian Jewel: Seward, Hubbard (cruising), Icy Straight Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, At Sea, Vancouver)

 

Q-1) Which one would you recommend for a first time Alaska (hope to do more Alaska cruises down the line).

Q-2) Would you recommend one room for the three of us (balcony or JS or two (inside and outside)

 

I am sure I will have a million questions for thank you in advance


 

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Here's my thoughts....we did a north bound our first cruise, and like you, we did not have any extra time, so we booked a transfer tour with Salmon Berry Tours so we could see several sights on our transfer day (Seward to Anchorage).  We visited Girdwood  to see the animals at the Wildlife Conservation Center, and we went up the gondola at the ski resort at Alyeska.  We had a nice lunch at a sandwich/soup cafe.  We also checked out Exit Glacier. We packed as much as we could into that last day as we could before our nighttime flight.  Here's the con:  it seemed to us that to fly home from Anchorage was mostly red-eye flights and we were exhausted.  That flight home was brutal.    If I had it all to do over again, I would have planned a southbound cruise, and just arrived in Anchorage at least 1 day early in order to see some sites and head down to Seward for the cruise.  Then flying home from Vancouver, there's more day time flight options.  So in respect to that, I would lean more towards options 2 or 3. 

 

And we do 3 to a room with no problem....however, our son is a teen.  He gets the couch made into a bed. 

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My thoughts are you don't have "forever" to figure this out...the cabin options will be gone in a heartbeat. Glacier Bay is mentioned here daily as a key site. Make a decision...not only will the cabin options disappear rapidly, so will the flight options. 

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Not sure why you decided that a one-way cruise is the 'way to go'. It's a perfect;y good option, but closed end cruises can be equally rewarding.

 

We're sailing round trip from Vancouver around the same time as you want to go ( we sail Aug 25th). We stop in Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikan and cruise the Hubbard Glacier on the Celebrity Eclipse.

 

This will be our second Alaskan cruise and the first, ten years ago, just before Memorial Day on the NCL Jewel was out of Seattle and visited Juneau, Skagway, Ketchican and Victoria, BC (Canada) and that time, we cruised Glacier Bay.

 

So, one advantage is that air fare is generally a little cheaper if you fly to and from the same airport, but more importantly, it opens up more options.

 

Whichever line you choose, three adult males will find sharing one cabin will be a little cramped, but, of course, it's the most economic option. I certainly think a balcony is a must for Alaska and the only other thing to consider is clothing. a light, hooded rain jacket plus layers is recommended. Weather can be very variable up there, Our last cruise, we had 65 and sun every day, but that's an exception!

 

 

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One way cruises are the best option IF you have time to explore the interior of Alaska. Round trips are perfectly fine and can be much easier. You will have to fly in the day before but all the embarkation ports are great to visit. Of those three the Golden is the only one that gives you an extra 'port' with Hubbard and Glacier Bay. The Golden leaves from Whitter which can be a challenge to get to from Anchorage. If you don't have any extra time to spend around Anchorage then I really think a round trip from Vancouver that has three ports and Glacier Bay would be the best option for you. You could fly into Vancouver the day before and enjoy the afternoon and evening there before boarding the ship the next morning. It would be pretty simple to make it home the day you get off the ship.

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Thank You for all of the responses. I will look for a round trip Vancouver--I thought you needed to do a one-way to get the best scenery 

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I found a Vancouver round trip on celebrity eclipse: Vanc, Inside Pssage, Icy point, Hubbard, Juneau, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vanc---thoughts?

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3 hours ago, Dubdude007 said:

I found a Vancouver round trip on celebrity eclipse: Vanc, Inside Pssage, Icy point, Hubbard, Juneau, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vanc---thoughts?

 

This looks like a very nice cruise with lots of positives and only a few minor negatives. The price looks good too. The biggest negative is getting to Icy Strait at 3:30 but you will be sailing through whale infested waters with beautiful scenery so make sure you are outside enjoying it. A really great positive is the ship and sailing Celebrity. And as Ferry_Watcher says make sure you all have passports and no DUIs.

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We took two round-trip cruises from Seattle and had a great time. Back then, they did not do any from there that went to Glacier Bay, but Princess now offers some. The price, once you factor in airfare, may work out better. 

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I sound like a broken record sometimes, but don't miss doing the Kenai Fjords boat tour out of Seward.  The scenery is awesome. 

 

My favorite itinerary starts in Seward, ends in Vancouver, and visits Icy Strait along the way (great whale watching).  However, I could see swapping Glacier Bay for Icy Strait for a first-time Alaska visitor.

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21 hours ago, quack2 said:

I sound like a broken record sometimes, but don't miss doing the Kenai Fjords boat tour out of Seward.  The scenery is awesome. 

 

My favorite itinerary starts in Seward, ends in Vancouver, and visits Icy Strait along the way (great whale watching).  However, I could see swapping Glacier Bay for Icy Strait for a first-time Alaska visitor.

 

This is good to hear, as we are doing a Seward to Vancouver cruise next year - and we’re doing an excursion to Kenai Fjords... (but since I couldn’t choose from so many excursions - I wanted to do it All - we booked the Vancouver back to Seward cruise, as well - so a B2B!!)

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Thank You all for the response....I missed the mark on these and now have some different options(all in a balcony with 3 adults in a room)

 

1) Celebrity Millennium- Alaska Northern Glacier Cruise Vancouver RT (Inside Passage, Sitika, Juneau, Ketchikan, Inside Passage) 

 

2) Royal Princess-Alaska Gulf Northbound Vancouver to Whittier (Vancouver, sailing, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay cruising, College Fjord cruising, Whittier)

 

3) Celebrity Solstice: Alaska Glacier Cruse Seattle to Vancouver (Seattle, sailing, ketchikan, endicott arm, Juneau, Skagaway, Alaska Inside Passage, At Sea, Victoria, Vancouver) 

 

Any suggestions appreciated...

 

Also for the 3rd would you do a upper berth or sofa bed?

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13 hours ago, Dubdude007 said:

Thank You all for the response....I missed the mark on these and now have some different options(all in a balcony with 3 adults in a room)

 

1) Celebrity Millennium- Alaska Northern Glacier Cruise Vancouver RT (Inside Passage, Sitika, Juneau, Ketchikan, Inside Passage) 

 

2) Royal Princess-Alaska Gulf Northbound Vancouver to Whittier (Vancouver, sailing, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay cruising, College Fjord cruising, Whittier)

 

3) Celebrity Solstice: Alaska Glacier Cruse Seattle to Vancouver (Seattle, sailing, ketchikan, endicott arm, Juneau, Skagaway, Alaska Inside Passage, At Sea, Victoria, Vancouver) 

 

Any suggestions appreciated...

 

Also for the 3rd would you do a upper berth or sofa bed?

 

I'd prefer an itinerary that includes Glacier Bay. On the other hand, I don't see the point of a northbound cruise if you don't have time to extend your vacation. We've only cruised on Princess to Alaska, and their usual itineraries don't go to Sitka. It's still on my bucket list of places to go.

 

As to an upper berth or sofa bed, it would depend on the agility of the person who be using it. 

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Posted (edited)

Thank You everyone for the responses.

 

We are getting a slightly better deal on the Royal Princess or Golden Princess earlier in the month but it seems to be docking at Glacier Bay instead of cruising it...I guess that would entail paying for an excursion to get the scenic views?

Edited by Dubdude007

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1 hour ago, Dubdude007 said:

Thank You everyone for the responses.

 

We are getting a slightly better deal on the Royal Princess or Golden Princess earlier in the month but it seems to be docking at Glacier Bay instead of cruising it...I guess that would entail paying for an excursion to get the scenic views?

Princess doesn't dock in Glacier Bay. It is only scenic cruising.

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On 6/3/2019 at 1:38 PM, Dubdude007 said:

I found a Vancouver round trip on celebrity eclipse: Vanc, Inside Pssage, Icy point, Hubbard, Juneau, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, Vanc---thoughts?

Thats the one we're taking.  great itinerary, and Vancouver is a beautiful city.  The Eclipse is a great ship also, have been on her twice before. Once from hawaii to Vancity. 

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We just came back from the Jewel southbound from Seward, and I thought this was the best possible Itinerary.  For one thing, you see much more of Alaska, and also you get Hubbard Glacier which is the biggest tidewater glacier in Alaska.  We also took the train from Anchorage to Seward and that is a must do.  Here is a link to a video of that trip. 

 

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I'm a big fan of Celebrity but for Alaska I always end up with Holland America because I like their itineraries the best.  I would definitely do a round trip for your first cruise and save the one way for a time when you can do at least two weeks so you can add a land tour.  I haven't looked at anything for your dates.  We are leaving on the Eurodam on Saturday out of Seattle and doing Inside Passage, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan and a stop at Victoria.  I chose this one because Sitka is one of my favorites.  But it's always fun to book a cruise that does Skagway where you can do the White Pass train or take a fast ferry over to Haines.

 

If you can afford it, a Neptune Suite on a HAL ship will give you plenty of room.  Or a Signature Suite is some extra room (but no access to the Neptune Lounge).  Otherwise a combo of a balcony and an inside would work.  Everyone can enjoy the balcony and you still have extra space.

 

I have done Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier-either one is a stellar pick.  Icy Strait Point is wonderful. 

 

Whatever you choose it will be a fantastic trip.

 

St. Louis Sal 

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