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LindsLovesToTravel

HELP! Alaska with 6YO and 9YO!

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Help! I'm so overwhelmed and looking to the "experts" for help! Traveling to Alaska this summer with two active girls - 6YO and 9YO - and trying to find the "best of both worlds" ship! Does anything exist like this - enough entertainment for the kids (pools/slides/etc.) but small enough to fit through the glaciers (Glacier Bay is our top pick!)? My first thought was Princess Cruises, but I'm not seeing "much for kids." So then I looked at NCL's Bliss, which has 'all the things for kids,' but is HUGE! Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated. And I'm not sold on either of these lines, if you have other suggestions. We just need Glacier Bay on the itinerary  ;)

Thanks in advance!

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go online to claalaska.com and look at the schedules for 2020.  The schedule is preliminary but these are the ships that are permitted for Glacier Bay in 2020.  Take a look at the Princess ships like the Coral.  

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I really wouldn't be worrying about slides and stuff in Alaska. The weather won't be like in the Caribbean. Alaska is all about the itinerary, figure out your itinerary, then pick the ship that fits.

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I've read some trip reports on this forum of people who traveled with similar aged kids.  They spent a lot of time in the kids clubs. I will link one if I can find it.

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We did Glacier bay last year on the Grand Princess.  It was nice because our kids could swim in an indoor pool.  Most of the time it was too cold to swim outside.  We were up there at the end of June and into early July.  It was hot on the days we were in port, but of course those were the days we were out exploring and doing excursions.  The days at sea were still pretty chilly.  This summer we're going to do the Carnival Miracle, which is getting water slides during its dry dock next month.  My kids are excited but I'm not sure how much they'll actually use them when we get up north.  I'm also choosing Carnival because I wanted a little more to entertain my boys.  The kids club on Princess was great when they were younger but now they want entertainment outside the kids club.  My boys are 12 and 13.

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12 hours ago, LindsLovesToTravel said:

Help! I'm so overwhelmed and looking to the "experts" for help! Traveling to Alaska this summer with two active girls - 6YO and 9YO - and trying to find the "best of both worlds" ship! Does anything exist like this - enough entertainment for the kids (pools/slides/etc.) but small enough to fit through the glaciers (Glacier Bay is our top pick!)? My first thought was Princess Cruises, but I'm not seeing "much for kids." So then I looked at NCL's Bliss, which has 'all the things for kids,' but is HUGE! Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated. And I'm not sold on either of these lines, if you have other suggestions. We just need Glacier Bay on the itinerary  😉

Thanks in advance!


I interviewed an 11 year old (and her mom) last year on the Royal Princess about the kid's club. You can take a listen, as well as look at the kid's club programming here:

https://www.debsdays.com/2019/09/all-about-kids-club-on-princess-cruises.html


It may be helpful in giving you an idea of what to expect on a Princess Cruise to Alaska.

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Our kids are 10, 7, and 3.  We are sailing on Ovation of the Seas on 8/7.  Very much looking forward to it.  No Glacier Bay but a solid Alaska-lite itinerary out of Seattle.  Huge ship with most of the bells and whistles.  Best of both the kids and adult world hopefully.

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6 hours ago, uvadover said:

Our kids are 10, 7, and 3.  We are sailing on Ovation of the Seas on 8/7.  Very much looking forward to it.  No Glacier Bay but a solid Alaska-lite itinerary out of Seattle.  Huge ship with most of the bells and whistles.  Best of both the kids and adult world hopefully.

I think this ship has one of the worst itineraries in Alaska. 

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20 hours ago, oaktreerb said:

go online to claalaska.com and look at the schedules for 2020.  The schedule is preliminary but these are the ships that are permitted for Glacier Bay in 2020.  Take a look at the Princess ships like the Coral.  

Wow, thank you! I didn't know this existed!

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19 hours ago, 1025cruise said:

I really wouldn't be worrying about slides and stuff in Alaska. The weather won't be like in the Caribbean. Alaska is all about the itinerary, figure out your itinerary, then pick the ship that fits.

Such great advice! Thank you!

Now if I could get the rest of my "party" to agree 😉

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11 hours ago, atobols said:

We did Glacier bay last year on the Grand Princess.  It was nice because our kids could swim in an indoor pool.  Most of the time it was too cold to swim outside.  We were up there at the end of June and into early July.  It was hot on the days we were in port, but of course those were the days we were out exploring and doing excursions.  The days at sea were still pretty chilly.  This summer we're going to do the Carnival Miracle, which is getting water slides during its dry dock next month.  My kids are excited but I'm not sure how much they'll actually use them when we get up north.  I'm also choosing Carnival because I wanted a little more to entertain my boys.  The kids club on Princess was great when they were younger but now they want entertainment outside the kids club.  My boys are 12 and 13.

Great feedback, thank you! 

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8 hours ago, uvadover said:

Our kids are 10, 7, and 3.  We are sailing on Ovation of the Seas on 8/7.  Very much looking forward to it.  No Glacier Bay but a solid Alaska-lite itinerary out of Seattle.  Huge ship with most of the bells and whistles.  Best of both the kids and adult world hopefully.

We looked at this one too - beautiful ship! And we almost booked, but GB is a must for me 😉 Have so much fun!

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1 hour ago, Coral said:

I think this ship has one of the worst itineraries in Alaska. 

Thanks for the feedback, Coral. Do you have any suggestions? I know most say look at itinerary first, then book the ship, right? We just need "some entertainment" for our littles - and we don't want to 'bother' any other more mature travellers 😉

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Aside from the seven nights/days on the ship, will you have any extra time to spend in Vancouver or Seattle?  Or are you looking at a one-way cruise with some land time in Alaska before or after the cruise?  Also, what month are you considering?  All of these can make quite a difference.

 

Note that if you're cruising round trip, the sailings out of Vancouver are are on sheltered "Inside Passage" waters more than the Seattle sailings, which travel to the west of Vancouver Island on open ocean.  This might make a difference if anyone in your party might be prone to motion sickness.  

Edited by Gardyloo

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Princess actually has one of the best kids clubs.  We will be going with to Alaska on Princess with our (then) 9 and 7 year old and I think it will be fine.  They are with you for shore excursions anyway right?

Michelle

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8 hours ago, Gardyloo said:

Aside from the seven nights/days on the ship, will you have any extra time to spend in Vancouver or Seattle?  Or are you looking at a one-way cruise with some land time in Alaska before or after the cruise?  Also, what month are you considering?  All of these can make quite a difference.

 

Note that if you're cruising round trip, the sailings out of Vancouver are are on sheltered "Inside Passage" waters more than the Seattle sailings, which travel to the west of Vancouver Island on open ocean.  This might make a difference if anyone in your party might be prone to motion sickness.  

Such great feedback to think about, thank you! Since I posted the initial thread, we have made numerous decisions! Our initial plan was a landcruise, but the more we thought about it 2 weeks for the littles is too much, so we've compromised on a 7-day cruise from Seattle on a super kid-friendly ship with a great itinerary  😉 I can't wait!

Edited by LindsLovesToTravel

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10 hours ago, LindsLovesToTravel said:

Thanks for the feedback, Coral. Do you have any suggestions? I know most say look at itinerary first, then book the ship, right? We just need "some entertainment" for our littles - and we don't want to 'bother' any other more mature travellers 😉

I am definitely about at the itinerary first. Most major cruise lines have kids programs and I have heard very few complaints about them. I think people complain mostly of kids running around unsupervised -mostly tweens who their parents think are old enough to be on their own but really are not. I doubt  you will let a 6 and 9 year old out by themselves when not with you or in the kids program.

 

Here are my issues with Oasis - it has only 2 days in Alaska ports and the times in Juneau are poor (12-9) which really isn't that long as most are on the ship for dinner.  Most ships have 3 ports in Alaska. It does have a full day in Victoria, Canada - not sure if this is a port for your family or not (definitely not Alaskan). It also goes to Endicott Arm which probably falls behind Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, College Fiords and Tracy Arm as far as glaciers/fjords to visit.

 

I would recommend buying or going to the library and looking at the ports in Alaska (and glaciers) and determine which is a priority for your family. Alaska by Cruiseship by Anne Vipond is a good book to use for researching.

 

RCCL has often put their most popular ships on their worst itineraries. 

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