5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 24, 2009 3:45 PM by StocJock

    Cruises

    uhcowgirl
      Does anyone have any tips or advice regarding taking an Alaskan cruise.  I would be interested in hearing about cruise line experiences, best route to take, and land excursions that should not be missed.
        • Re: Cruises
          fstowell
          We traveled with Holland America Cruiseline a couple years ago to Alaska and loved it.  We did a week on land first - starting at Fairbanks, two days in Denali, overnight in Anchorage, then to Seward.  The best days were at Denali and the full day on the water in Kenai Fjords at Seward.  We saw so many animals and glaciers up close.  I would travel to Alaska again just to spend a day on the Kenai Fjords.  We caught the ship out of Seward and headed south to Vancouver the second week,  with stops at Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan.  Each stop had terrific things to do - like the White Pass Railroad, flightseeing glaciers and learning about Totem Poles.   We went as early in May as we could, and were rewarded with numerous views of caribou, moose, bald eagles and golden eagles, black bear, orcas, humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, mountain sheep, mountain goats, Dall sheep, puffins, and more.  The only thing we truly missed were the grizzlies and Northern Lights.  I have heard that the animals are not so visible later in the summer, and the mosquitos can be miserable.  The Northern Lights appear later in the Fall.  The grizzlies come out when the trout run - August or so.  I fully recommend Holland America cruise line - we have cruised 7 times with them so far.
            • Re: Cruises
              uhcowgirl
              Thanks so much for your detailed reply.  It sounds like you had a fantastic trip.  I have heard other people say that the mosquitoes can really be a problem so I like your idea of traveling in May.  My daughter's family just got back from a seven week road trip from Texas to Alaska.  They were towing a trailer and a one and three year old.  That is not my idea of a vacation but they are young and did not seem bothered by the things that would bother me. I hope you get to take the trip again some time.
                • Re: Cruises
                  snowball
                  I have not been to Alaska yet, but many friends have been. My husband used to work on Holland American Lines so we know a little about the enter workings, they are very clean and reliable. I would love to go on the 2 week land/cruise with them...
              • Re: Cruises
                Clayman

                We traveled with Carnival on the Spirit last year and had a great time.  Started at Vancouver and traveled North ending at Whitier.  I enjoyed Ketchikan and Skagway the most, although we had a great whale watching trip with Harv and Marvs a  Juneau.  With our northerly route each day seemed moe spectacular than the previous one.  I'm not sure you could say that going south.  Prince William Sound must be one of the great places in the world.

                I suggest you search for excursions on the web before going.  Just Google the town name and look for the visitor section.  There are many more excursions than the cruise companys book for and they seem to pick the most expensive ones.  I had a great kayak fishing trip at Ketchikan that was not on Carnival's schedule.

                What ever you do it will be fun

                Clayman

                 

                 

                 

                • Re: Cruises
                  StocJock
                  We have cruised to Alaska 5 times and will do # 6 next month.  Variety and choices are immense in terms of types of ships, costs, itineraries, timing, etc.  A few decisions:  For sheer drama, calving of the Margerie glacier in Glacier Bay is a wow.  Best time is late Aug or early Sept after the summer heat has warmed the glacier and it is moving faster.  Not all ships go to Glacier Bay.  A number of opportunities to fly over glaciers or land and walk on them.  Don't miss that chance.  From Juneau, you can drive to the Mendenhall Glacier.  Running of the salmon (especially easy to see in Sitka) is cool.  Must ride the train in Skagway - White Pass and Yukon RR widely regarded as one of the engineering marvels ever built (along with Panama Canal).  Since you must touch a foreign port, the best choice is Victoria.  In addition to visit Buchard Garden, arrange on your own, in advance, high tea at the Empress Hotel.  Others have advised on extended tours (Denali, etc).  Whatever you decide to do, this will not be your last visit.