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  #1  
Old December 10th, 2012, 03:47 PM
Dawn414 Dawn414 is offline
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We will be heading to Alaska (very excited) june 28, 2013 and I have some questions for those of you with experience here...

1) We get into Vancouver around 1pm on the 28th...what's the best/most cost effective way to get 4 people (2 adults, 2 children) to the cruise terminal? (Note this is the time that was recommended to us by Choice Air through RCI).

2) Similarly...when we get OFF the ship in Seward, our plane out of Anchorage doesn't leave until 5p so assuming we get to the airport around 2:30-3p...what are some good things to do in around Seward/Anchorage...I'm thinking we may (?) need to rent a car since we will have luggage to cart around with us? I heard about a cruise 'specific' train, but does that only run at certain times? How long a train ride is it from Seward to Anchorage?

3) Best things to do in...Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Seward/Anchorage...I'm good with walking (hiking)...Are there places we should just walk around versus doing an actual tour? Better to just get off the ship and find a tour? Thoughts?

4) Are we gonna starve? We are not really big fish/seafood eaters. Will we survive? LOL

Thx!
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  #2  
Old December 10th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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CruiserBruce CruiserBruce is offline
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Question #4 first.... Starve? Seriously? Anyone who starves on a cruise ship has serious problems!!! There will be a beef dish, chicken dish, perhaps a pork dish, maybe a pasta dish, plus a vegetarian dish every night. You won't be force fed fish.

Question #3- "best" things to do in ports. That is up to you, as we don't know what interests you, what limitations you have, what your budget is. There are MANY threads here on each port. Look what excursions RCI offers, to get an idea what is important in each port.

Question #1- 1pm is relatively last minute. Hope your flight is on time. Time to probably take the ship's bus/shuttle. Remember you have to claim luggage, go thru passport check and be on board no later than 3:30.

Last edited by CruiserBruce; December 10th, 2012 at 04:18 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 04:16 PM
1025cruise 1025cruise is offline
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IMHO, 1:00 is pushing it for a same day arrival in Vancouver. If it were me, the only option I would take at that point would be cruise line transfer.

Seward is a couple of hour drive from Anchorage. You may not have much time in Anchorage.
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  #4  
Old December 10th, 2012, 04:27 PM
Dawn414 Dawn414 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CruiserBruce View Post
Question #4 first.... Starve? Seriously? Anyone who starves on a cruise ship has serious problems!!! There will be a beef dish, chicken dish, perhaps a pork dish, maybe a pasta dish, plus a vegetarian dish every night. You won't be force fed fish.

Question #3- "best" things to do in ports. That is up to you, as we don't know what interests you, what limitations you have, what your budget is. There are MANY threads here on each port. Look what excursions RCI offers, to get an idea what is important in each port.

Question #1- 1pm is relatively last minute. Hope your flight is on time. Time to probably take the ship's bus/shuttle. Remember you have to claim luggage, go thru passport check and be on board no later than 3:30.

LOL...I was more referring to eating IN Alaska since I know the specialty there is 'fish'...(i.e. salmon, crab)...

We can be pretty adventurous...cost-wise depends...(helpful, eh)?

1pm...when I booked the airfare (and even now), the 'choice air' through RCI gives that as an option...in fact when I booked, there were very few options and that was one of them. In hindsight, we probably should have traveled the night before even though it would have meant getting in at the crack of dawn (no pun intended)...hopefully since we DID book through them the ship will wait for us since we used THEIR booking system. I have a feeling I"m going to be stressed that day.
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  #5  
Old December 10th, 2012, 04:37 PM
frugaltravel frugaltravel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn414 View Post
1pm...when I booked the airfare (and even now), the 'choice air' through RCI gives that as an option...in fact when I booked, there were very few options and that was one of them. In hindsight, we probably should have traveled the night before even though it would have meant getting in at the crack of dawn (no pun intended)...hopefully since we DID book through them the ship will wait for us since we used THEIR booking system. I have a feeling I"m going to be stressed that day.
Unfortunately the cruise line will have nothing to do with having the ship wait for you if you are delayed. Check the contract of carriage and you will see very clearly that the cruise line books air solely for your "convenience" and wipes itself of any and all liability. The kicker is that on a one-way cruise, if you miss boarding in Vancouver most cruise lines will not let you board in Ketchikan due to US laws. Good luck. You don't say where you are flying from. The closer you are to Vancouver when starting your trip and if you have a non-stop flight, the more likely you are to make it. If it were *me* I would take the quickest route from the airport to the cruise terminal. Most likely that will be a taxi or a pre-arranged private transfer service (not a shared-ride service). You can also usually pay the airline +-$50/person to "same day confirm" to an earlier flight from your origination city (of course, if there is such an earlier flight and if there is room on the day of departure).

Then for your 5pm departure from Anchorage, you have to figure being at the airport by 3pm as you said. I would not spend much time in Seward - if there is some issue with a delay or even an accident on the Seward Highway between Seward and Anchorage, you could be sitting literally for hours. There is no "alternate route." I would either take the ship's morning train transfer if they offer one or rent a car, drive right out of Seward (perhaps with a short stop at Exit Glacier). Save your touring time for Turnagain Arm, which is very scenic and is only about an hour from Anchorage (thus it reduces the chances of delays, but by no means eliminates them).

Last edited by frugaltravel; December 10th, 2012 at 04:39 PM.
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  #6  
Old December 10th, 2012, 05:56 PM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn414 View Post
We will be heading to Alaska (very excited) june 28, 2013 and I have some questions for those of you with experience here...

1) We get into Vancouver around 1pm on the 28th...what's the best/most cost effective way to get 4 people (2 adults, 2 children) to the cruise terminal? (Note this is the time that was recommended to us by Choice Air through RCI).

2) Similarly...when we get OFF the ship in Seward, our plane out of Anchorage doesn't leave until 5p so assuming we get to the airport around 2:30-3p...what are some good things to do in around Seward/Anchorage...I'm thinking we may (?) need to rent a car since we will have luggage to cart around with us? I heard about a cruise 'specific' train, but does that only run at certain times? How long a train ride is it from Seward to Anchorage?

3) Best things to do in...Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Seward/Anchorage...I'm good with walking (hiking)...Are there places we should just walk around versus doing an actual tour? Better to just get off the ship and find a tour? Thoughts?

4) Are we gonna starve? We are not really big fish/seafood eaters. Will we survive? LOL


Thx!
If it is not too late change your reservations and fly in the day before the cruise.

When you fly in the day of the cruise you risk missing the ship if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

As to food there is a lot to choose from that does not include fish.

Keith
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  #7  
Old December 10th, 2012, 07:14 PM
Dawn414 Dawn414 is offline
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We are literally coming cross country. We live near Philly. I will have to re-read the contract and insurance since I would swear it said it was covered. I also have an email out to the choiceair customer service with the inquiry as well. Would cost me a ton to change the nonrefundable flights. Ugh!
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'14 - Disney Dream
'14 - Liberty of the Seas
'13 - Radiance of the Seas
'12 - Enchantment of the Seas
'11 - Disney Dream
'10 - Disney Wonder
'09 - Disney Wonder
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'07 - Disney Wonder
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  #8  
Old December 10th, 2012, 07:41 PM
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cw2go cw2go is offline
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I also recommend getting the flight changed. That is cutting it way to close IMO. I have flown 3-4 times per year for the past 8 yrs and more flights than not have had issues. I always plan for them, better to be safe than sorry. With VanCouver as a embarkation port I would also recommend flying in 2 days pre-cruise, so much to see for the adults and kids.

As for leaving Seward I will concur with the above not much time for site seeing.

Good luck and happy sails,
Patty
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  #9  
Old December 10th, 2012, 07:52 PM
ikirumata ikirumata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn414 View Post
LOL...I was more referring to eating IN Alaska since I know the specialty there is 'fish'...(i.e. salmon, crab)...

We can be pretty adventurous...cost-wise depends...(helpful, eh)?

1pm...when I booked the airfare (and even now), the 'choice air' through RCI gives that as an option...in fact when I booked, there were very few options and that was one of them. In hindsight, we probably should have traveled the night before even though it would have meant getting in at the crack of dawn (no pun intended)...hopefully since we DID book through them the ship will wait for us since we used THEIR booking system. I have a feeling I"m going to be stressed that day.
If you booked through Choice Air, you are in better shape than if you booked a third party. It is my understanding that Choice Air will do everything in their power to make sure that you make it to your cruise. They are a division of Royal Caribbean, so if you have questions, contact them and they can recommend whats best for getting to your cruise.

Here is a post I found that may make you feel better:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1449882

As far as getting from the Airport to the cruise terminal, yes, traffic is a bear in Vancouver. Some people have taken the Sky Train to a couple blocks near the pier.

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1373809

Personally, if you can rebook, I would recommend a night in Vancouver. Its a great city to explore, especially Stanley Park and the Farmers Market!

Good luck! Don't stress, you are on vacation!
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  #10  
Old December 10th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dawn414 View Post
We are literally coming cross country. We live near Philly. I will have to re-read the contract and insurance since I would swear it said it was covered. I also have an email out to the choiceair customer service with the inquiry as well. Would cost me a ton to change the nonrefundable flights. Ugh!
The insurance won't help you get on the cruise if you miss embarkation in Vancouver. As others (and I) mentioned, you will not be permitted to board at any other port because of the Passenger Vessel Services Act. You're taking a huge risk by flying from that distance on the day of embarkation. Best of luck to you.
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  #11  
Old December 10th, 2012, 08:07 PM
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bonvoyagie bonvoyagie is offline
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If we lived in a perfect world your travel plans would be OK - but in reality we do not live in a perfect world. One missed or late flight and your plans go up in smoke. RCCL may hold the ship for awhile - but they are not legally obligated to do so. As Frugaltraveler pointed out - this is one of the "exception" cruises where you leave from a "foreign port" and travel to several US ports - if you miss the ship there is no way to legally catch up with it along the way. BTW you will go through Canada customs at the airport and then go though US customs at the pier before boarding the ship. I have waited in line for over an hour at the airport as they have one central area that is used by all foreign flights. If it were me I would plan on getting into Vancouver the day before.

On the other end you will probably be allowed off the ship as early as 7:30 so getting to Anchorage in time for your flight is not so much of a problem. If you plan to rent a car - get your reservations in early and prepare to stand in line to get it.

Too bad you are taking a one way cruise and not being able to spend more time in the interior of Alaska. I know that you are getting more port time in the SE port towns - but being able to spend a few more days would further enhance your vacation.

As far as what to do in the ports - here is a web site that might help you
http://cruiseportinsider.com/index.html
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  #12  
Old December 10th, 2012, 08:50 PM
frugaltravel frugaltravel is offline
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Originally Posted by ikirumata View Post
Here is a post I found that may make you feel better:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1449882
That would make me feel worse, not better:

"This service includes getting the guest to the original embarkation port, or the next available port whenever it is practical"

As was said, it is not practical on Alaska cruises to get a passenger who missed embarkation to get to the next available port, unless that is considered Anchorage (see below why).

Then they continue:

"At times, there is controversy over whether this is a guarantee. The truth is... it's not a guarantee."

Then they address the OP's situation very specifically:

"If there are government regulations (Jones Act) that preclude the guest from joining in another port (Most often an issue for Alaska, Hawaii, and New England/Canada sailings), they will not be able to help."

This also gives me the creeps:

"This is not insurance or a guarantee"

The ship departs at 4.30pm. You are arriving at 1pm. Say you arrive on time and have no lines in immigration or customs. So you are through immigration, baggage claim and customs in 45 minutes. Then you hail a cab or get a pre-arranged transfer. You are on the road by 2pm. You are at the ship shortly after 2.30pm, maybe 3pm at the latest - 90 minutes before the scheduled departure.

Now what if you are only 60 minutes late in arriving into Vancouver? That means you easily might not get to the cruise ship until 4pm - too late to board. And if you arrive 90 minutes late, absolutely no chance.

I assume you have a change of planes if you are coming from the east coast to Vancouver, which increases the chances of something going wrong.

You wouldn't see me taking your 1pm arrival even on a good day unfortunately.

Last edited by frugaltravel; December 10th, 2012 at 08:55 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 08:54 PM
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As someone who lives in the middle of Alaska we obviously fly to every cruise port. Actually, we fly to every vacation. At the risk of "piling on" I also hope that you are able to re-schedule your flights and are able to fly into Vancouver at least one day before your cruise. As others have already mentioned, any weather or mechanical delays could potentially cause you to miss the sailing. Arriving a day early will not only be so much more relaxing, but will also allow your luggage to reach you if a piece goes astray.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 06:06 AM
1025cruise 1025cruise is offline
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If you can't change your flights, it would be my opinion that you should book the cruise line transfers to the ship from Vancouver. If anything, that might get them to hold the ship for you. Worst case, if your scheduled arrival is too late, they won't let you book.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 07:43 AM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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If you can't change your flights, it would be my opinion that you should book the cruise line transfers to the ship from Vancouver. If anything, that might get them to hold the ship for you. Worst case, if your scheduled arrival is too late, they won't let you book.
Things will have to work out perfectly for you. Good luck. I know I could not cut it this close--but, you may not have a choice at this point. I agree that you should book the cruise line transfer.

Since all of the above have been not so encouraging comments, I will give you a ray of hope.

On our AK cruise this summer we waited a long time in the muster drill. We were wondering what was the hold up. We figured the ships had all gotten paranoid after the Concordia. But, it was a crazy long period of time.

Our muster station was near the gangway. After awhile we noticed a large group getting on the ship. We decided that a flight sponsored by the cruiseline had arrived late and that they were delaying the muster drill to be able to say these pax were onboard during the drill. Almost immediately after they boarded the Captain came on the PA and we were let go.
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Last edited by DragonOfTheSeas; December 11th, 2012 at 07:59 AM.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 07:52 AM
vermonter16 vermonter16 is offline
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Does your ship really depart at 4:30pm or is it possibly later in the evening?
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  #17  
Old December 11th, 2012, 08:48 AM
Budget Queen Budget Queen is offline
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You have made some assumptions that simply are not true. The cruiseline is acting as a booking agent ONLY. they also will NOT get you on any flight- only the AIRLINE will. and with depending on RCI, is putting a middle man and phone tag into the mix that you may not have time for, if you are scrambling due to delays, missed connections, canceled flights.With Choice Are, aren't transfers included? I concur with everyone else, this flight is too tightly timed, and you are best advised to consider changing it.


As for disembarkment- there is only ONE cruise contracted train, leaving around 7am, getting to the Anchorage airport around 11:15am. The airport is not downtown, so you likely will need to just stay there. This is in the $400 price range for 4 people.

A car rental will be costly, but would at the least, give you a lunch option and maybe a few short stops. Hertz is your only rental. I would reserve NOW, and just cancel, if you change your mind. Cars can be in short supply.

There will also be a cruise contracted bus, and independent buses. listings www.anchorage.net www.seward.com Allow at least 3 hours for the drive, plus time to turn in the car rental and gas up. You need a two hour window at Anchorage airport, so you aren't going to much time for much of anything.

If open to it and you change your arriving flight, also strongly consider adding a few days at the end. You are all the way there with an excellent selection of touring, take advantage of being there.
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Last edited by Budget Queen; December 11th, 2012 at 08:50 AM.
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  #18  
Old December 11th, 2012, 10:08 AM
Dawn414 Dawn414 is offline
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Thank you all for the feedback. You've depressed the heck outta me...but given me a lot to think about. I have a call into my travel agent as well to discuss options.

Thx.
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'14 - Disney Dream
'14 - Liberty of the Seas
'13 - Radiance of the Seas
'12 - Enchantment of the Seas
'11 - Disney Dream
'10 - Disney Wonder
'09 - Disney Wonder
'08 - Disney Magic
'07 - Disney Wonder
'06 - Majesty of the Seas
'96 - Carnival Fascination
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Old December 11th, 2012, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Dawn414 View Post
Thank you all for the feedback. You've depressed the heck outta me...but given me a lot to think about. I have a call into my travel agent as well to discuss options.

Thx.
If you are going to rely on your travel agent, make sure they have been to Alaska a few times and transited Vancouver and Anchorage airports.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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I wouldn't be too depressed. You would be VERY depressed if you didn't have the knowledge ahead of time and a) missed embarkation for your cruise or b) missed your flight on the way back.

You'll get this all squared away and taken care of and you'll be back to peace of mind!
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