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MickeyG

First Time Alaskan Cruise

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Planning our first Alaskan cruise for late summer, 2020. We are looking at Princess since they seem to have a good track record for Alaska.

 

The two itineraries I'm looking at -

1. A 14 day cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Royal Princess. This cruise highlights most of the major glaciers, including the inside passage and 11 ports of call.

2. An 11 day Denali (4 day land, 7 day) cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Grand Princess. This cruise highlights 3 ports of call and 2 major glaciers. 

 

Not much difference in cost. Would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions (ship, itinerary, cabin location, wow factor, etc) regarding a first time Alaskan cruise.

 

Thanks! 🙂

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20 minutes ago, MickeyG said:

Planning our first Alaskan cruise for late summer, 2020. We are looking at Princess since they seem to have a good track record for Alaska.

 

The two itineraries I'm looking at -

1. A 14 day cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Royal Princess. This cruise highlights most of the major glaciers, including the inside passage and 11 ports of call.

2. An 11 day Denali (4 day land, 7 day) cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Grand Princess. This cruise highlights 3 ports of call and 2 major glaciers. 

 

Not much difference in cost. Would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions (ship, itinerary, cabin location, wow factor, etc) regarding a first time Alaskan cruise.

 

Thanks! 🙂

We did one Alaska cruise about five years ago.  We thought the ports were disappointing because they were so crowded.  But here's a picture from/of Denali.  It was fabulous.

10462675_645074002235762_6511370618805797733_n.jpg

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53 minutes ago, MickeyG said:

Planning our first Alaskan cruise for late summer, 2020. We are looking at Princess since they seem to have a good track record for Alaska.

 

The two itineraries I'm looking at -

1. A 14 day cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Royal Princess. This cruise highlights most of the major glaciers, including the inside passage and 11 ports of call.

2. An 11 day Denali (4 day land, 7 day) cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Grand Princess. This cruise highlights 3 ports of call and 2 major glaciers. 

 

Not much difference in cost. Would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions (ship, itinerary, cabin location, wow factor, etc) regarding a first time Alaskan cruise.

 

Thanks! 🙂

While I'm pretty much in the "longer is better" camp regarding cruises, I'd pick the one that also goes to Denali. Just hitting the port cities, you don't get much of an idea of what Alaska is about.

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I have done 5 Alaska cruises including 2 with land trips. One thing I must tell you, Princess does not include the Tundra Wilderness Tour when at Denali. That is a MUST. The Nature Tour they include is worthless. If you are going to be at Denali for 2 nights and can pay extra for the Tundra Wilderness Tour then it's OK. I personally don't think the 4 nights on land are enough to make the land tour worthwhile. 

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Thanks for everyone's input...much appreciated and very helpful.

 

I checked some of the other cruiselines and it appears HAL offers the Tundra Wilderness Tour. We may have to rethink this trip and perhaps do a longer Grand Princess cruise for an up-close view of the glaciers and book a future cruise with HAL for the Tundra Wilderness Tour/cruise.

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10 minutes ago, MickeyG said:

Thanks for everyone's input...much appreciated and very helpful.

 

I checked some of the other cruiselines and it appears HAL offers the Tundra Wilderness Tour. We may have to rethink this trip and perhaps do a longer Grand Princess cruise for an up-close view of the glaciers and book a future cruise with HAL for the Tundra Wilderness Tour/cruise.

 

Or just plan a do it yourself land trip in Alaska. There is one road from Anchorage to Denali, you can't get lost!! Alaska is expensive, but still cheaper with do it yourself than a cruise tour and you can stop as long as you want any where along the line, not be at the mercy of a bus tour with a schedule to keep.

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6 minutes ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

Or just plan a do it yourself land trip in Alaska. There is one road from Anchorage to Denali, you can't get lost!! Alaska is expensive, but still cheaper with do it yourself than a cruise tour and you can stop as long as you want any where along the line, not be at the mercy of a bus tour with a schedule to keep.

I understand the Alaska State Ferry is super also.

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If the OP decides to do just a cruise my suggestion then would be to book excursions that get away from each port and goes inland to a nature or eagle preserve, fiord, wilderness area, whale watching, glacier walking/viewing or dog sledding.

 

If I get off the ship in each port and just walk around shopping, it's my opinion that I could get that same experience walking around a Disney like theme park.

 

For this cruiser, Alaska is about Nature and wilderness.  When we went, we did a 5 day Princess land tour starting in Fairbanks and then through Denali down to Anchorage before a 7 night southbound ending in Vancouver.

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2 hours ago, evandbob said:

If I get off the ship in each port and just walk around shopping, it's my opinion that I could get that same experience walking around a Disney like theme park.

 

Totally agree.  Shopping and lunch and that's it.

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2 hours ago, evandbob said:

If I get off the ship in each port and just walk around shopping, it's my opinion that I could get that same experience walking around a Disney like theme park.

 

11 minutes ago, clo said:

Totally agree.  Shopping and lunch and that's it.

 

 I have friends that think that is a perfect way to spend a day in Alaska.  It doesn't work for me, but it does for many people.

 

Edited by VennDiagram

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18 hours ago, MickeyG said:

11 ports of call.

 

What are the 11 ports?  Some of the less-cruised-to ports retain a LOT of charm ❤️  Homer, Kodiak and Haines come to mind.

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The ports are vancouver (twice), skagway (twice), ketchikan (twice), juneau (twice), glacier bay national park (twice), and anchorage. 
 
There is scenic cruisning through hubbard, glacier and college fjord. 
 
Been on a dozen cruises but never to Alaska. My wife suggested we split the scenic wilderness cruise snd the scenic glacier cruise into two separate cruises: 1.the beauty of water/ice  - 2.  and the beauty of the wilderness.
We really don't want to hit the port's touristy attractions. I agree we can probably accomplish the same effect at WDW.
 
I apreciate the thoughts and suggestions from all of you who have cruised Alaska. This is where I rely on the experts who have been there and done it before.👍

 

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1 hour ago, VennDiagram said:

I have friends that think that is a perfect way to spend a day in Alaska.

But couldn't you really be just anywhere?  (Not YOU!)

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14 minutes ago, clo said:

But couldn't you really be just anywhere?  (Not YOU!)

 

I have 2 friends I sometimes cruise with, sometimes all of us, sometimes me and one other.  If it is all 3 of us, I just let them go and do the shopping they enjoy.  Yeah they could be just about anywhere, but they really enjoy it.  If it is me + 1 of them, I make sure I limit the time I am available for shopping.  I can usually manage an hour.  Then I do something I want to do 😉

 

 

22 minutes ago, MickeyG said:

The ports are vancouver (twice), skagway (twice), ketchikan (twice), juneau (twice), glacier bay national park (twice), and anchorage. 

 

26 minutes ago, MickeyG said:

We really don't want to hit the port's touristy attractions. I agree we can probably accomplish the same effect at WDW.

 

Then you absolutely need to arrange to get outta town.  Find organized tours or do-it-yourself stuff that will get you away from the docks.  (Glacier Bay is a scenic cruising day, not a port per se)

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3 minutes ago, VennDiagram said:

let them go and do the shopping they enjoy.

And most of it's "Hecho in China." 🙂

 

BTW, your avatar is almost as cute as mine!

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15 minutes ago, clo said:

And most of it's "Hecho in China." 🙂

 

BTW, your avatar is almost as cute as mine!

 

They do understand about the Made in Alaska and Made by Native Alaskan markings, and they do adhere to them.  One of them can easily spend several $1000s in a 7 day cruise.  So they contribute to the economy 😉

Re avatars (paraphrasing from a meme on FB)

Your dog best dog

My dog best dog

ALL dogs best dog
❤️

 

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5 minutes ago, VennDiagram said:

One of them can easily spend several $1000s in a 7 day cruise.

Holey moley!  We have way too much stuff so am starting to get rid of.  We've started getting small flags from countries.

 

True dat re dogs 🙂

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22 hours ago, MickeyG said:

Planning our first Alaskan cruise for late summer, 2020. We are looking at Princess since they seem to have a good track record for Alaska.

 

The two itineraries I'm looking at -

1. A 14 day cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Royal Princess. This cruise highlights most of the major glaciers, including the inside passage and 11 ports of call.

2. An 11 day Denali (4 day land, 7 day) cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Grand Princess. This cruise highlights 3 ports of call and 2 major glaciers. 

 

Not much difference in cost. Would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions (ship, itinerary, cabin location, wow factor, etc) regarding a first time Alaskan cruise.

 

Thanks! 🙂

Since the 14-night cruise is essentially two 7-night cruises with about an 80% overlap, I would instead pick a single 7-night cruise (Vancouver to Whittier or Whittier to Vancouver) that goes to both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier National Park and add on 4 or 5 nights on land. And it is very easy to arrange a DIY land tour with a little research.

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Since the 14-night cruise is essentially two 7-night cruises with about an 80% overlap, I would instead pick a single 7-night cruise (Vancouver to Whittier or Whittier to Vancouver) that goes to both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier National Park and add on 4 or 5 nights on land. And it is very easy to arrange a DIY land tour with a little research.

 

Very good suggestion...trading one half of the cruise for a wilderness land tour.

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On 6/27/2019 at 8:49 PM, MickeyG said:

Planning our first Alaskan cruise for late summer, 2020. We are looking at Princess since they seem to have a good track record for Alaska.

 

The two itineraries I'm looking at -

1. A 14 day cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Royal Princess. This cruise highlights most of the major glaciers, including the inside passage and 11 ports of call.

2. An 11 day Denali (4 day land, 7 day) cruise out of Vancouver aboard the Grand Princess. This cruise highlights 3 ports of call and 2 major glaciers. 

 

Not much difference in cost. Would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions (ship, itinerary, cabin location, wow factor, etc) regarding a first time Alaskan cruise.

 

Thanks! 🙂

Since the Princess ships based out of Vancouver are generally on 7-day rotating N'bd/S'bd cruises between Vancouver & Whittier, the Royal Princess cruise might be marketed as a 14-day, but in reality it is most likely a b2b. On the N'bd sailing they visit College Fjord and S'd they visit Hubbard, but the other ports are the same. I highly doubt you are visiting 11 different ports, basically because there just isn't that many that a mega ship can get into.

 

We have completed numerous B2B from Vancouver, with the benefit for us of no flying.

 

The Grand Princess is most likely the identical ports as the N'bd leg - Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord & Whittier. It then has the land portion post cruise, then flying home from Anchorage.

 

The Grand is an older ship, but personally - next to the Coral/Island it is the best class of vessel, at least until they launched Super Grands with the Caribbean Princess. Never been on Royal and never will be on that class, based on reviewing the plans - no Prom Deck and way too big.

 

Personally, I would opt for the Grand Princess, since you will actually see more of Alaska. 

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On 6/28/2019 at 10:25 AM, MickeyG said:

Thanks for everyone's input...much appreciated and very helpful.

 

I checked some of the other cruiselines and it appears HAL offers the Tundra Wilderness Tour. We may have to rethink this trip and perhaps do a longer Grand Princess cruise for an up-close view of the glaciers and book a future cruise with HAL for the Tundra Wilderness Tour/cruise.

 

 

When we did our Alaskan land and cruise tour in 2016, we were able to get a refund from Princess for the Natural History Tour and book the Tundra Wilderness Tour on our own through the National Park Service.  So, it isn't necessary to book a cruise line based on availability of the Tundra Wilderness Tour.  

 

Also, if you haven't checked out the Alaska boards yet, they hold a wealth of information.  Here is a link:  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/33-alaska/

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Cruisen Elf and Heidi13...thanks very much. I'm learning quite a bit about cruising Alaska. Expert opinions always welcome! 👍👍

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9 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

I would pick the cruise with Denali.

We were told that only about 15% of visitors get to the see the whole lady in all her glory.  We were the lucky ones.  Glorious.

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