Holland America or Norwegian depends on your style - HAL is more formal and generally older passengers. Book whenever you find a deal you're happy with - I've booked anywhere from 6 weeks to 22 months in advance of a cruise.
ARGH! I am booked on the Millennium for May 5 RT out of SF, and I have a corner AFT cabin. Perfect everything! I hope and pray we won't have any problems. Early May, I expect cold and some rain maybe, it's Alaska! But my ship breaking down would really bum me out!
[quote GloBug]ARGH! I am booked on the Millennium for May 5 RT out of SF, and I have a corner AFT cabin. Perfect everything! I hope and pray we won't have any problems. Early May, I expect cold and some rain maybe, it's Alaska! But my ship breaking down would really bum me out![/quote]
Hey Glo touch wood they have been out of the woods with this problem for some while now. Although nothing is guaranteed I'm thinking that the days of the "Free cruise" lottery may be over.
It is something that must be considered because of their past record but they seem to be able to carry on cruising this past year. Your timing is pretty good also as they try to fit in a fix prior to the season up here on previous occasions.
We went to Alaska on HAL's Oosterdam on September 22 2007. It was awesome! The weather wasn't to bad at all. Granted we are from Utah so cold to us maybe different for others. It rained pretty bad in Junea but other than that the weather was fine. We absolutely loved HAL and would recommend it to anyone. I am 30 my hubby is 32.
I am a rabid HAL (Holland America Line) fan so I have not had the pleasure of trying the other cruise lines yet.
I am in the Pacific NW so I sail out of Seattle. The HAL ships out of Seattle tend to go to Glacier Bay or the Hubbard Glacier on there 7 day round trip cruises. They stop at Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria BC. I have found that the HAL ships leaving from Vancouver BC go to Skagway instead of Sitka but also stop at Juneau, Ketchikan and Victoria BC. I haven't been to Skagway yet but I am sure it's a great city to explore. I have been to the others mention above twice now and I have always found something new to see every time I go back.
If you haven't decided or book your cruise yet , may I suggest talking to your local travel agent He or she should have all the cruise line books going to Alaska.
Also stop at your local book store and check out the travel section / Alaska / look for Fodor's " Alaska Ports of Call 2008 " I use this book as a guide and it comes out every year with updates. I believe that Frommer's also has that same type of book. Alaska is very popular.
Don't wait to long to book, these cruises fill up fast. Good luck on your cruise. Your in for a lot of fun and great sites.
[quote Yukon]While it depends on the exact routing, on a southbound cruise you'll get better views on the port side enough of the time to make that the preferred side to choose. Be very cautious about cruisetours - most people have little idea about what they've bought. Be aware of how much time you're spending in transit and how much at destinations you want to see. A one-way cruise and independent land tour lets you get exactly what you want, will save a lot of money and in Alaska it's very easy to arrange.
I have cruised to Alaska many times and Yukon is exactly correct about what he said. My opinion based on my experiences is that the preferred glacier viewing is in Glacier Bay and College Fjord. There is always access to these glacier and little if any chance of the ship not being able to get close. Last year there were many cruises that were unable to get close to Hubbard Glacier. If you are on a cruise going to Glacier Bay and College Fjord it does make a difference which side of the ship that you are on. As Yukon said the best side is the Port side of the ship. I also agree that renting a car in Anchorage and planning your own Alaskan land tour is the best way to go and it will also save you a lot of money.
To answer another point raised after my last post on this board as to whether or not the propulsion problems have been permanently fixed on the Celebrity Millennium class ships, is still very much in doubt. It has only been about nine months since the last propulsion failure for the Millennium and the "average" length of time between these failures for the Millennium is just under two years.
Arrive several days early, and explore Vancouver. It is an amazing city. We just got off the Millie, and even though we were in Vancouver from 8am to 11pm, it just wasn't enough time to spend exploring this great city.