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Alaska Cruise Suggestions - First Time

Discussion in 'Alaska & Pacific Northwest Ports' started by jkhsu, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. jkhsu

    jkhsu Active Member

    Ok, I know this has been asked many times and I've read some of the posts but I'll ask again. My wife and I are planning on our first Alaska cruise this year and need suggestions on which cruise line and why. Some of our requirements:

    7 Day round trip from Seattle
    Cruise Glacier Bay
    Inside Passage?

    We're leaning toward Princess but there seems to be a lot of suggestions for HAL from what I've read. Let me know your suggestions and why.

    Thank you
  2. Mr. Utley

    Mr. Utley Well-Known Member

    We took that itinerary on the HAL Westerdam last July and enjoyed it very much.
  3. BSeabob

    BSeabob Reinststed due to good behavior-Subject to change Staff Member

    I would make two observations here and a suggestion.

    First. Although Glacier Bay is quite remarkable I would not limit my cruise itinerary and choice of ships by that alone. Hubbard is also really something. C
    RCL and Celebrity go there.
    Second: The real "Inside Passage" goes from say Campbell River on Vancouver Islands East coast along and through the various channels north from there. Few cruise ships today actually do it because they are too big. The ones that go up the "Inside" of Vancouver Island and "Do" some of the "Passage" are few and far between when leaving on a seven day trip from Seattle.

    The Infinity (Celebrity) left from Seattle the last two years. Two years ago it went up the West Coast of Vancouver Island and returned the same way. You see nothing but ocean. Last year they eliminated one of their Port calls and actually did go up the "Inside" on their northern Trip. It makes a world of difference.

    My suggestion: Make sure you know what the ship you actually choose really does. This is harder to find out than you think cause the guys that fill up those beautiful brochures and websites sometimes actually never seem to talk to the people that drive the ships.

    The extra time involved and the extra call in a "foreign" port (usually Victoria) that they must do to meet US law means they have no time to do their usual port calls and get there and back in seven days and go 'Inside"

    did I make things easier. ?:biggrin:
  4. jkhsu

    jkhsu Active Member

    Thanks for the info. I think I'm probably going to go with the Golden Princess for a round trip from Seattle through the Alaska Inside Passage.
  5. BSeabob

    BSeabob Reinststed due to good behavior-Subject to change Staff Member

    I checked the Golden itinerary ..No where does it say or show that it does the Inside passage. The map shows just the opposite actually. Please check that out with them if it is a concern.

    It does go to Skagway which will give you a chance to "Do" the White Pass and Yukon Railway which is really cool.
  6. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Awaiting results of mental evaluation

    BSeaBob is right. Sail out of Vancouver. HAL does a very nice true Inside Passage, on the ms Volendam, out of Vancouver.
  7. jkhsu

    jkhsu Active Member

    That's strange. In the Princess website, it clearly says "Inside Passage". I'm looking at the one leaving Seattle on May 29, 2010.
  8. BSeabob

    BSeabob Reinststed due to good behavior-Subject to change Staff Member

    Yes Sorry It does "Say" inside passage.

    But this is what I meant by those guys that write the brochures and websites being a little off. Check their MAP it clearly shows that the ship goes on the West Side of Vancouver Island and gets back into the coast way north of anything anyone could really hope to reasonably call the "Inside Passage".
    I know that I would not.
    Hope your planning goes well. I'm sure the cruise inside or not will be just fine. It's just a little bugbare I have with how the cruise lines market to unsuspecting and usually first time cruisers.
    BTW It is not just Princess
  9. jkhsu

    jkhsu Active Member

    I see your point. I think they probably mean the Alaska portion of the inside passage vs the inside portion of Vancouver Island. I think only cruise ships leaving from Vancouver usually go the inside Vancouver Island route. The Princess Inside Passage does look different from the Alaska Explorer route from HAL which is definitely not any Inside Passage. HAL does have the Inside Passage leaving from Vancouver, not Seattle.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  10. PEB

    PEB Well-Known Member

    If you do a 7 day cruise out of Seattle, IMHO you will miss some of the better parts of Alaska. If you are going to do a 7 day your best bet is out of Vancouver northbound or southbound out of Ankorage, which really means out of Seward or Whitier but the brochures and cruise line will always say out of Ankorage.

    Holland America has been in Alaska longer then any of the major cruise lines with Princess a close second, however all major cruise lines can do a great job in Alaska. Pick the cruise line that fits your personality. Princess works best for us but I would gladly go on other cruise lines. Regardless of which cruise line you choose Alaska will be the big draw and IMHO no cruise line matches the beauty of Alaska.

    As far as when to go to Alaska that depends on what you prefer to see.

    May cruises can be cool but with the spring coming on you will see some unbelievable water falls. There will be whales and see life but the sightings of land animals will be less then in June or July.

    June towards the middle to end you will be able to start seeing the Salmon runs and more wildlife plus longer daylight in your days.

    July will start with wetter weather. The sites will still be very beutiful but expect much more rain.

    August will still have rain and start cooling off as the month goes on.

    September expect great deals on closeout sales from shops, however also expect it to start getting very cool.

    There is always something new to do and see in Alaska regardless of the month you go. I have been there many times and I always find something new to do and see.
  11. odd man out

    odd man out Active Member

    I am too planning a first ever cruise to Alaska. Was considering the Seattle option as air fare is half the price. But some have suggested that cruising outside of the inside passage on these itineraries is a drawback. I was considering RC's itinerary as it is the only Seattle RT that has a whole day (and not just a couple of hours) in Victoria. It also has only two port days in AK. With this itinerary, is it more or less likely that we would cruise the inside passage? The other itinerary I am considering is the Vancouver RT on the Zuiderdam, as it takes in both Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay (and presumably inside passage of Vancouver Island).

    Your thoughts?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2010
  12. BSeabob

    BSeabob Reinststed due to good behavior-Subject to change Staff Member

    If it's a seven dayer it will be outside both ways. 10 days ??
    Victoria is a great city to visit but I'd do the Alaska trip more for more time in Alaska rather than that. But it's your cruise right?

    To check on the in or outside path of the ship check the website for your proposed sail date and the itinerary. If they go from AK to Victoria in one day it's outside. Going up if they arrive in AK very quickly they travel outside too.

    The HAL ship will do both ways inside.


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