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Alaska cruise recommendations

#1
My wife and I are newbie cruisers. Just got back from our first cruise (Boston to Bermuda).

We're planning to do an Alaska cruise next summer and are looking at different cruise lines and itineraries, but there are so many options that it's intimidating. We were hoping we could get some feedback from people who have done Alaska cruises before.

Ideally, we would like a cruise that offers a nice balance of time on ship versus land excursions. We would definitely like to do some excursions that allow us to leave the ship and take in some of Alaska's natural wonders. Anyone have any thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks
 

BSeabob

Forum Manager
Staff member
#2
Welcome aboard.
First there are two types of cruises that a readily available from mainstream lines.

Week (7 nights) return from either Vancouver or Seattle
Week (7nights) one way to Seward from Vancouver or visa versa.

Both cruises will general stop in Ketchikan/Juneau/ and one other port plus a glacier.

The one way cruises general stop somewhere else also.
One ways are a bit more relaxed I have heard. Out of Vancouver is my choice cause I am bias. But if you do go out of Seattle you spend a lot more time in the open Ocean rather than the quiet waters inside.

Certain lines have Glacier Bay on their schedule. HAL & Princess for example
Certain Lines have Hubbard // RCL & Celebrity....

There are others also but that's just off the top of my head.

The grandaddy of all tours is of course one by one of the main lines for a week prior to or after a one way cruise. I suggest the Tour first and a rest on the ship. I have no tour experience as living in Northern BC we were into the area further north a bit anyways.

Other ports available Sitka, Icy Straight Point, Skagway and there are more bays and glaciers spread out between the lines.

There are day trips of course in all the Ports and all the towns have the usual "Tourista" shops. Whale Watching is a must and all sorts of plane trips and smaller vessels are available also.

I recommend that you kinda decide exactly what are must see's for you and based on your budget (air cost's one way are more) pick a ship. Flying into YVR can be more also but you can get here (Vancouver) via Seattle easily with transfers/train or bus.

based on your thoughts on all of that I'm sure we could make specific suggestions.

There are also smaller ships and some longer cruises out of San Fran and early and late in the season cruises will come North from California and do Alaska and then return to the Home Port for the summer. Visa Versa in the Fall.

Nuff for now!!! ? get back to us. :biggrin:
 
#3
BSeabob touched on something I think is important. You can choose between large cruise ships or smaller cruise ships. Talking to all of our friends who have gone on an Alaskan cruise, we are convinced the small cruise ship is the best choice. The smaller cruise ships put you closer to the water's surface, making it easier to spot whales and other wildlife. They can move closer to shore and enter bays the large cruise ships have to avoid.

The pictures shot by friends on the smaller ships are more exciting than the ones on the larger ships. The larger ships do have more onboard entertainment and dining options. We tend to like adventure over onboard activities, so the smaller ships appeal to us.

I know our experience on small adventure cruises was more fun for us than on large cruise ships, but that is a personal preference.