We would like to travel to Alaska in 2008 but are completely overwhelmed by the cruises available. We are both in our late 30's and definitely want a cabin with a balcony. We like good food and wine. We're not into discos until 2 am but are quite happy to watch a show and then have a nightcap in our cabin.
Although this won't be a no-expense spared trip we are travelling from Scotland so want to make the most of it as it will be a one off.
To those who have been on a cruise before, not just Alaska, can you help with cruise line choice? We've looked at celebrity and royal carribean but once we think we've made our decision we find something else on the other cruise line that appeals more! We're going round in circles. Please help!!!
When it comes to Alaska the generally recognized champions are Princess and Holland America. They've done it longer than the others. But Spritfilled is quite correct - you need to find a cruise specialist agency. A good cruise agent will ask a client questions about their likes and dislikes and then match the client to compatible cruise lines. Cruise lines have distinct personalities and selecting one just on things like price can often lead to disappointment.
I would agree with Dave's suggestion of Holland America or Princess; and for your age group I would narrow it down to Princess. But as everybody said, a reputable travel agent that specializes in cruises is your best bet at this point.
Oh yes, seriously consider an overland excursion in conjunction with your cruise; you are coming all this way--get the most out of it.
I highly recommend that you do not rule out Celebrity as this cruise line has very nice ships with a wonderful European ambiance.
As for cost, I would look at flights and cruises that go round trip to Alaska from Seattle. Vancouver is a truly wonderful city but I believe that airplane tickets cost considerably more than to and from Seattle.
Another idea is to look at repositioning cruises when the cruise lines move their ships to Alaska from Florida and Mexico in May/June and back to Florida and Southern California in September and October. There are some excellent buys/itineraries on these cruises.
Because we are also planning a Alaska cruise and flying in from Germany we will combine it with a pre-stay in Vancouver and then the repositioning cruise on of of these ships:
RCCL Serenade : september 22nd - october 5th
RCCL Radiance : september 14th - september 28th
Celebrity´s Infinity: september 16 th - september 29th
Celebrity´s Summit: september 14th - september 28th.
On thing the Radiance class has, are the huge glassfronts to get an excellent view from almost every outside deck. And they have more glasfronts to have a look from inside, if weather is not so good. Thats one of the reason several people who have been in Alaska before recommended these cruises.
BTW, Princess is not easy to book from Europe.
And you are talking about TA, it´s really difficult to find a good TA for cruises, at least here in Germany. Most of the times, they are not specialized in cruising and you get more answers here on the board.
We did an Alaska cruise on Crown Princess in '96.
I strongly suggest doing a 1 way - inside passage cruise. That way you can see Glacier Bay and College Fjord. Round trip might only go as far north as Skagway. We did Anchorage to Vancouver (because we lived in Vancouver at the time).
At that time it was cheaper to fly from Vancouver to Seattle to Anchorage than flying direct from Vancouver to Anchorage. Check with a cruise specialist
Hello Scotland....We have sailed HAL to Alaska twice, once on the Oosterdam and once in the Ryndam, both were excellent cruises. HAL has a lot less kids on board than some other ships and caters to an older crowd. We are in our early 40s and we loved it that way. A balcony room for us was a waste of money because it was always a bit too cold to sit out there very long. This last time we took just an ocean view room with a window and found it to be perfect. A balcony was good when we were at the glaciers, but thats about it. If you go, take the cruise out of Victoria, BC. We had more glacier time than we did with the round trip out of Seattle. Of course its up to you. The next time we go we are taking the additional land cruise as well. This last time we stayed in Anchorage for a week as I have an aunt and cousins there. I also have a cousin who owns a Bed and Breakfast in Seward, where the ship docks at the end of the cruise. Have a great time, you will love it!