I'm so glad I found this site.
I'm getting married in May and unfortunately my future in-laws have messed up my original planned honeymoon trip. I wouldn't go into details but in the end I'm forced to spend a lot of time and my precious vacation days with the "family" instead and not with my newly wedded wife.
We hope after they've gone home we can finally have sometime to ourselves onboard a cruise. We're in our 30s and not "party" people, so an Alaskan cruise seems perfect to have some quality time.
I've done some research on this site and others and it seems Princess is highly regarded. My now-fiancee was on the Mercury with Celebrity abt 2 yrs ago doing a round-trip Alaskan trip from Vancouver. After reading a few reviews on the Mercury (mostly abt how that ship has aged, people are bored to death onboard, food is bland etc.) my preference is doing a cruise with Princess from Whittier to Vancover. (Likely to be on the Coral Princess)
Someone is wise to mention something about how there is no bad cabin on a Princess ship, is it still true?
I'm trying to make this trip our best ever (afterall it's suppose to be our honeymoon). I know a lot of things are beyond my control so hopefully all of you compassionate seasoned cruisers can point me to the right direction while I outined my plan...
I planned to fly us from Toronto, Ontario to Anchorage, AK, and take the Alaskan Railroad to Whittier. I read somewhere on this website that this is a better option compare to taking the transfer from the airport with Princess on a coach and dealing with the tunnel. Apparently the view on the train is so much better, but I'm wondering about the hassle from going to the station from the airport and getting to the ship from the train.
I hope to book us a room with balcony. Is there a difference, in terms of view, between rooms on the port side and starboard side?
The ship sets sail at 8pm and I read someone complained that their luggage didn't arrive until 9pm. Obviously one would check-in much earlier that 8pm so that might mean a number of hours w/o a change of clothes. Has any one of you experienced such a delay?
I'm very interested in signing up several off-shore excursions, but being in Alaska I'm worried about weather...thus is it more prudent to sign up for the excursion on the day of (compared to advance booking) to confirm weather outlook?
Is there a better month than others to take an Alaskan cruise? (e.g. Is June better than September in terms of likelihood of fog, rain etc?)
That's it for now...
Thanks so much in advance, and I promise a review when I've concluded the review.
Wow, thats a lot of questions. It doesn't sound like you've talked with a travel agent there in Canada who can help you sort this all through.
Food taste is very subjective and I've never felt that Celebrity's food was bland. One of our members here on the board (Janfred) just went on the Mercury and I think she found the ship in top shape. That being said; Princess is a good choice for Alaska also. You might want to check into a whole complete package with Princess. Meaning air/transportation to the ship/cruise. Rather than trying to piece everything together. You would definitely need to fly in the day early in order to catch the train in the morning to Whittier. You will see plenty regardless of which side of the ship you choose.
Alaska is a short cruise season. June through August are the peak months. But weather in Alaska is very unpredictable. One year I went in August and it was beautiful in the 70's with no rain. Those that had sailed just the week before had cold rainy weather. I wouldn't worry so much about the weather. Pick what works best for you and pack clothes you can layer if need be.
Most cruise lines will let you cancel shore excursions with 24hrs advance notice. I would go ahead and book those excursions that are very popular and could fill up. Some things you can do on your own. In Ketchikan there's a tour office right on the pier.
Hi Titusgoh, welcome to Cruise-Chat! Congratulations on your up-coming wedding and cruise! Sorry your original plans didn't work out, but a cruise is a wonderful way to spend a honeymoon. If you book directly with Princess, please be sure to tell them you're celebrating your honeymoon. Unless things have changed in the last few months, they will put balloons on your door and will give you a cake (small) in the diningroom without charge. They, of course, have honeymoon packages you can purchase as well.
I know I'm partial to Princess, but I honestly feel they offer a great product. For my taste, the food is great, especially the pastries and breads, and soups. As long as you don't get an obstructed or partially obstructed balcony, you should be fine. We've been on the Baja, Caribe, Aloha, and Riviera decks. Probably the Caribe and Aloha are my favorites. However, we've always been satisfied with our cabins. Port or Starboard doesn't make much difference, either.
If there is an excursion that you really, really want, I suggest booking it as soon as you can as many excursions do sell out. I normally book ours as soon as the window opens (usually 120 days before your cruise), and so far have been able to get the excursions I want.
Don't get me wrong, Celebrity offers a good product as well, but Princess is just a better "fit" for us. Every ship we've sailed on, it just feels like we're at home once we step aboard.
You might want to check with Princess, if not your travel agent. They have been offering some great Alaskan packages, hotel/transportation/train and even air. Do some research first, try pricing it out separately, then see what Princess has to offer. Lots of times, it's just not worth the hassel doing it piece by piece.
Please let us know what y'all decide. Happy Honeymoon!
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