Hi everyone, we'll be going on our first cruise on 12 May when we travel from Australia to join the Coral Princess in Vancouver on Alaska cruisetour 12N travelling to Whittier and then through Anchorage, Mt McKinley, Denali and Fairbanks for the land portion.
We have cabin AC/D617 (mini suite with balcony) which is on Dolphin deck 9. I am interested in thoughts of what the position of this cabin is like.
We have not had a mini-suite but have been on Coral 3 times with a balcony. The position seems just about perfect. You will love Coral. We think she is the best Princess ship.
Have a wonderful holiday.
Thanks to everyone for your replies. I'm glad to hear we have what will be a good cabin. Just over 4 months to go now - I'm really getting excited about this trip!
We still lots of planning for day excursions etc. Is it generally better to book the excusions in each port with Princess or book them independently? I'm interested in photography and in doing flightseeing / landing on glaciers etc. in some of the places we visit. My wife doesn't want to do any flights so will choose different activities on those days.
We stay at the Mt McKinley & Denali Princess Wilderness Lodges and will be wanting to see as much as possible in that area too.
Our cruisetour finishes in Fairbanks and today I've changed my flight to a day later so we can do a day trip to the Arctic Circle. I am trying to choose between a fly/drive tour that goes to Coldfoot driving on the Dalton Highway and flying back to Fairbanks, or an all day trip to Barrow, flying there with Alaska Airlines. I'm interested in hearing if anyone has done either trip.
Usually I would advise a first-time cruiser to stick with the ship-sponsored excursions but you sound like you are able and willing to do the research to venture forth on your own.
The usual argument in favor of the ship-sponsored tours is that the ship will wait for you if there is a delay--and this is true. But the independent operators know full well it is in their best interest to get you back on time. And often the independent and the ship-sponsored operator are one and the same. And the groups booked through the independent are often smaller and more personalized.
The biggest reason for going through the ship is convenience; you can book your tours, pay for them in advance, and the tickets will be waiting for you in your cabin. But with a little effort, you can do this directly with the operator--usually at a savings. The only time the ship tour will have the advantage is in a port where you have to tender in; the ship tours get priority tender service. You may have to waste valuable time waiting to get ashore.
Princess now have the 2008 shore excusions brochure available for download so I can start comparing tours they offer with independent operators.
Our Coral Princess cruise arrives in Ketchikan on May 14 at 6.30am and departs at 2.00pm. I know passengers have to eat breakfast but what time would they allow passengers to leave the ship that morning? Since there is not much time in Ketchikan I would hope we could leave soon after arrival in port. At Juneau we arrive at 8.00am and depart at 9.00pm and at Skagway we arrive at 7.00am and depart at 8.30pm so there will be more time in those ports.
f-mattox - you said that the only time the ship tour will have the advantage is in a port where you have to tender in - does this usually happen when too many ships are in port so your ship may not have space to pull up at a wharf in that port or does it always happen at certain ports?
Sitka is the only port with no docking facilities, but I don't believe you are going there. I honestly don't know how they decide who docks and who tenders; I guess it just depends on how many ships are in that day.
Usually you can start leaving the ship within a half-hour of docking (or anchoring).
Hi Ken2222! It appears that we will be boarding the Coral Princess as you are disembarking. We are going on the 4S cruise. Our land excursion begins May 16th and we board the ship on May 19th. We are getting so excited!
We are traveling to Anchorage on May 14th and plan to stay an extra night in Vancouver before returning home.
Is this your first cruise to Alaska? Your 4S tour is going to be wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing Denali National Park (and everywhere else we see as well, of course!)
This is our first time on a cruise ship and first time to Alaska. I had booked the 12N tour but have just changed it to 17A. It's the same as 17N - after the cruise we fly to Prudhoe Bay and see the Arctic Ocean and then travel by coach south across the Arctic Circle to Fairbanks and then on to Denali for 2 nights and back to Anchorage. I tried to book 17N but was told 17A is new and the only difference is that it gives you the Natural History Tour at Denali rather than the Tundra Wilderness Tour (which you'll be doing on your trip). I really want to do the Tundra tour as that goes a lot further into the park. My travel agent is checking with Princess at the moment if we can pay extra to upgrade to the Tundra Wilderness Tour, but if not I'll buy tickets separately for it.
I am having a lot of fun planning our trip as I'm sure you are too. Not long to go now - three and a half months to go. The time will fly! We booked this last July and it seemed so far off back then.