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Which Cruise Line?

Discussion in 'Alaska & Pacific Northwest Ports' started by bigdog77s, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. bigdog77s

    bigdog77s Guest

    I am 1st time to this forum and looking into taking a cruise to Alaska. I am definitly a novice so I thought I'd ask the experts.

    Which Cruise line would you suggest? Carnival, Holland, or another?? Any particular boat?

    And what kind of 7-day cruise do you suggest? Northbound, Southbound or Round trip?

    Thanks for all your help!!!
  2. PEB

    PEB Guest

    Most any cruiseline can do a great job in Alaska because Alaska is the main attraction and not the cruise line. Holland America and Princess have been in Alaska longer than any of the others, however you should find the cruise line that is best for you. Keep in mind in Alaska all cruise lines will have people that are more interested in seeing Alaska and an Alaskan cruise is not know for have a party cruise on any cruise line.

    My point is you should find the cruise line that fits your lifestyle. For instance RCCL generally is known for catering to more active people. Celebrity is known for being more elegant and a little more formal. Princess is elegant but not quite as formal as Celebrity, however Princess is known for cruising Alaska. Holland America is known for Alaska, elegance but also known for an older crowd. NCL is known for freestyle cruising. Carnival a more glitze and colorful cruise.

    As I said Alaska does draw much different passengers than normally cruise the Caribbean so even though a cruise line may be known for more activity or a younger crowd it may not be true in Alaska.
  3. bigdog77s

    bigdog77s Guest

    Thank you very much. Do they all make stops at the same places for sight seeing? Any stop or sight or tour i should look at doing in patricular?
  4. PEB

    PEB Guest

    The most popular stops for any cruise line are Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway and some roundtrips hit Sitka. There are a couple odd ports other than this that some cruise lines stop at.

    Ketchikan is mostly known for flight tours, totem parks, kayaking, fishing and if the time is right salmon runs. Ketchikan is also a rain forest so chances are good you will get rained on here.

    Juneau is mostly known for tram ride, Mendenhall Glacier, whale watching, flight tours, raft rides down the river and panning for gold.

    Skagway is mostly known for flight tours, its Gold Rush history, trips into the Yukon and the White Pass Railway.

    All of these ports also have other tours and interests but this is what usually comes to mind when thinking of these ports.

    Some of the best tours of course are the most expensive. Helicopter tours that land on a glacier are a must do if you can afford it. A whale watch is also one of the must do's if you can afford it. Most tours in Alaska regardless of the cost can be interesting from the beauty of the country or the historical knowledge you can gain.

    As far as one way or roundtrip tours go I personally prefer to go one way over a roundtrip. You will see many of the same things with a roundtrip, however I feel a roundtrip misses the best glaciers and the best sites from the ship because it turns back to soon. Roundtrip is cheaper due to air generally but it still misses some of the best sites.

    If you are doing a one way that includes a land package I would start in the north and head southbound because the land portion can wear you out and you can rest on the cruise. If you are just doing a one way with no land I would go from Vancouver to Ankorage for the reason that things get far more beautiful as you head north.

    I have cruised Alaska many times and will do so many more times. The only thing I have done twice in Alaska is a whale watch because there is so many things to do and see. I am just a fanatic on whale watching so that is why I always do that at least once every cruise.
  5. cruisegary

    cruisegary Guest

    Thanks Peb. (regarding your last post with all the stops and options)

    I think that was one of the best overviews of any post I have seen. Thorough and balanced.
  6. bigdog77s

    bigdog77s Guest

    PEB that is some great info.... I am glad I found this place to ask.

    I know you said it is up to each person's preference...but since you are so knowledgible... which Cruise line and what time of year would you go.

    Also I was looking at Princess line.. and see they basically have 3 size of ships. What size you suggest... big medium or smaller ships?
  7. PEB

    PEB Guest

    As far as when to go this again depends on your preference because each month in Alaska seems to hold something different. May and June are considered the driest months, keep in mind you are going to be in some rain forest areas so there may still be rain.

    May is great for seeing snow melt providing thousands of waterfalls. The whales will be there but it is still close to the start of whale season. Temps on average should be in the mid 50's to low 60's, of course mother nature does what she wants.

    June still has many waterfalls and more whales will be coming in. Closer to the end of June the salmon runs will start and more wildlife will be able to be seen on land such as the bears. The temps will be on average coming into the mid 60's to low 70's.

    July the temps will be surprisingly warm to most people, however July will be starting into the rainy months. July will be into the peak whale watching season and the wildlife on land will be more likely to be seen. July will also be coming into mosquito season.

    August in the beginning will still be rain season with good temps. The end of August temps will start to go downward but still be decent. There will still be wildlife on the land and plenty of whales.

    September of course it will be getting cooler. The whales will still be around but will be starting to head back to the warm waters. September the sales from the shops will be going on so they can close up shop for the winter.

    Ultimately the beauty of Alaska is there all cruise season it is just in a constant change.

    My personal favorite time to cruise Alaska is anywhere from late May through June. We love to see the waterfalls and see whales. We are from Northern Minnesota so we prefer the temps during this time of year for cruising.

    Our personal preference for cruising Alaska is with Princess. We have been on 5 different cruise lines, however Princess so far just seems to be the one that we are most comfortable on. We always feel, as the add says, like we belong on Princess. We have only had one cruise line that we really felt out of place on but we still had a great time due to people we met on the cruise, that cruise line was just not for us. I won't mention the one that we didn't care about because it is just our personal opinion.

    As far as ships we prefer in Alaska we always choose the Sun class ships. The one reasons we choose this is we are not big on bigger is better. Actually the Sun class is a little larger than we like but we do enjoy the ships and we have been on them enough that we know some of the better places for viewing of the wildlife and the glaciers when in the fjords.

    Like I said you must find what is right for you but you asked my preferences and I have given them to you. We go to Alaska for its beauty both on land and in the sea. Alaska is our favorite place to cruise and even though we do cruise other places it is the one place we will return to over and over. This again is our personal preference.

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