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  #1  
Old January 4th, 2013, 12:58 PM
kelsea823 kelsea823 is offline
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Default Are there any good deals for Alaska 2013?

I've been reading last years boards and there were some killer deals on Princess last year at the time that I want to go in August. Somebody got b2b for $699 total. I am looking at almost $2,000 1 way.

Do the prices usually go down?

If I book through a TA and the prices go down, can she get the a refund?

I would love to take my mom, but it's so pricey.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old January 4th, 2013, 01:12 PM
epixx epixx is offline
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For the past three years, the prices have dropped dramatically after the first of the year. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to score one of these deals. The risk for most people is that the airfare prices will rise. Do you live in or near Seattle or Vancouver? If so, I'd wait for as long as possible.
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  #3  
Old January 4th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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Princess often has cabin dump for the beginning of the season within the next 60 days and then invariably they have one for late August into September about mid-May or early June.
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  #4  
Old January 4th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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Alaska is definitely not a cheap destination. However, it can be accomplished if you are willing to do a little "give and take." For example:

If using a TA, try to find one that has been to Alaska. Go over your budget with your representative and see if she/he can help make your dream possible. If the TA has been to Alaska before she/he might be able to provide you with some money-saving tips.

Look at the pricing for various months/itineraries and see which one might best fit your budget.

Opt for an inside cabin instead of a balcony. Ships sailing to Alaska have plenty of outside/inside viewing spaces. Cabin savings can be used for excursions or lowering total cost of the cruise.

If using a TA, find one that might offer an incentive (onboard credit, pre-paid gratuities, etc.) to help with the cost.

Talk over price reduction policy with your TA. Also, be aware that if incentives are offered by the TA they might be reduced if a price reduction is given.

When someone tells you that they got a cheap price on a cruise, make sure you are comparing "apples to apples" and not "apples to oranges." I have been to Alaska many times and have not seen a real price drop in my selected cabin category over the past two years. In fact, our cabin price went up. I must say though we did see a BIG price drop in our preferred cabin category about 3 years ago but I think that was rather unusual and more economy driven.

I hope you get to visit Alaska as it is truly a beautiful place.
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  #5  
Old January 4th, 2013, 02:35 PM
ACoupleAtSea ACoupleAtSea is offline
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When would be the recommended booking window for May 11, 2013??
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Old January 4th, 2013, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACoupleAtSea View Post
When would be the recommended booking window for May 11, 2013??
If that is a fixed date for you, then I would book it now and hope that the price drops before final payment is due so that you can take advantage of the lower price.
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  #7  
Old January 9th, 2013, 01:36 AM
kelsea823 kelsea823 is offline
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Thank you for your comments.

Is there a way to look at the excursions and see what's available and the price without booking?

We could go the end of May, end of June, or end of August.

May's prices are better, but I'm afraid it will be too cold and buggy.

I'm worried August will be too rainy and June is pricey.

We are looking at a balcony.

Thanks!
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  #8  
Old January 9th, 2013, 03:04 AM
Ashland Ashland is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACoupleAtSea View Post
When would be the recommended booking window for May 11, 2013??
I booked my RCI northbound May 2013 in March 2012..have yet to see my JS any cheaper and doubt I will. We love the May cruises..In the past we have had great weather and no bugs

Last edited by Ashland; January 9th, 2013 at 03:06 AM.
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  #9  
Old January 9th, 2013, 11:00 AM
vbmom87 vbmom87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Putterdude View Post
If that is a fixed date for you, then I would book it now and hope that the price drops before final payment is due so that you can take advantage of the lower price.
My daughter is looking at June on HAL. Do you not recommend waiting until after final payment for possible price drops? On the cruise she is looking at, the balconies do not seem available (RT out of Vancouver) but there seems to be adequate availability on the insides and outsides. I know HAL and Princess seem to offer some killer deals at times after final payment. Currently the pricing for their cruise is at $799 for an inside. I really don't know how to advise them. They went ahead and bought their flights as they found pricing less than Seattle pricing, which is rare out of DTW.
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  #10  
Old January 9th, 2013, 03:51 PM
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There are no real guarantees when it comes to Alaska weather so be prepared for anything and think "layers." With that being said, we have been very fortunate weather wise on a number of Alaska cruises we have taken during the last week of May, first two weeks of June. You will find opinions will vary based on one's experience.
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  #11  
Old January 10th, 2013, 02:33 PM
kelsea823 kelsea823 is offline
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Default Weather the end of August

Quote:
Originally Posted by Italy52 View Post
There are no real guarantees when it comes to Alaska weather so be prepared for anything and think "layers." With that being said, we have been very fortunate weather wise on a number of Alaska cruises we have taken during the last week of May, first two weeks of June. You will find opinions will vary based on one's experience.
Thanks for your comment.

My TA said that she had several comments from clients that the ground is still pretty soggy in May.

It looks like it works better for us to go the end of August. Have you ever gone in August or heard anyone who has and what the weather was like?

I also want to do an excursion before the cruise. Have you ever done a day cruise in Prince William Sound/Kenai Fjords? I thought 1 of those would be interesting.

Thanks again for your info!
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  #12  
Old January 10th, 2013, 02:53 PM
mapleleaves mapleleaves is online now
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are you looking for a RT or one way cruise?
Last May Princess offered a OW out of Whittier for only $399, even less if you were a past traveller with them. It was for the first week in June. HAL had a similar offer the previous year. The catch is finding good airfare with only 3-4 weeks notice. Most people can't be as flexible with their schedule.
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Old January 10th, 2013, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelsea823 View Post
Thanks for your comment.

My TA said that she had several comments from clients that the ground is still pretty soggy in May.

It looks like it works better for us to go the end of August. Have you ever gone in August or heard anyone who has and what the weather was like?

I also want to do an excursion before the cruise. Have you ever done a day cruise in Prince William Sound/Kenai Fjords? I thought 1 of those would be interesting.

Thanks again for your info!

We have never gone to Alaska in August because the timeframe doesn't fit into my husband's vacation window. I have heard of others going in August and there was rain & no rain (comments came from different people.) I wish I could offer you weather guarantees but I can't. We go with no expectations and enjoy whatever the experience has to offer.

Yes, we have done a Prince William Sound excursion --- twice. We went with Major Marine and had a nice time.
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Old January 10th, 2013, 05:02 PM
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To take advantage of the best deals, it pays to live in the area. The last time I went up (2011) I booked on a Saturday for departure the next day, on NCL. Called all of the lines departing that weekend until I found the best deal, and took it. Much cheaper than had I booked earlier in the year. I imagine folks who live in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale do the same for Caribbean cruises...lucky them!
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  #15  
Old January 10th, 2013, 05:21 PM
kelsea823 kelsea823 is offline
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Thanks for the comments. I need to quit being such a weather control freak! haha

We are looking at the Sapphire Princess Cruise from Whittier to Vancouver on Aug. 31. There are a couple of other Princess ships leaving a little earlier that look good too, but our TA really likes the Sapphire.

The $399 out of Whittier sounds fabulous!! Lucky people that live so close to the different cruise ports so they can easily take advantage.

I have been researching Kenai Fjords and Prince William Sound tours all day. I just decide on one and then the other looks better.

My plan so far is to fly in to Anchorage a couple days early and rent a car for a full day of sight seeing in Anchorage. Then decide on:

A) drive to Whittier and drop of rental (may be a pain), do a cruise on PWS, and board our ship.

B) take the train to Whittier, do a cruise on PWS, and board our ship. (less hassle)

C) transport to Kenai Fjords, do a day cruise, stay over night?, transport to Whittier, and board our cruise.

If Kenai Fjords is significantly better than PWS, I would go through the hassle, but my dh wouldn't be too happy about all the hassle.

Any suggestions?

Thanks again for your comments!
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  #16  
Old January 10th, 2013, 05:31 PM
vbmom87 vbmom87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelsea823 View Post
If Kenai Fjords is significantly better than PWS, I would go through the hassle, but my dh wouldn't be too happy about all the hassle. Any suggestions?

Thanks again for your comments!
I would not say one is better than the other. They are different experiences, both are outstanding tours. You really can't go wrong in my opinion. We did the Kenai Fjords on our first trip to AK and PWS on our second trip.

PWS concentrates on glaciers, but you will likely see some wildlife. Kenai Fjords is really all about wildlife with a stop at a glacier.

Since you are cruising out of Whittier, I would do the PWS tour before boarding the cruiseship.

In your situation I would arrange for the Kenai Fjords tour only if your priority is wildlife.

One other note is that the Kenai Fjords tours can get rough. If either of your are prone to seasickness make sure to take precautions. Even wearing the patch, my DH was getting queasy on this tour.

Good luck!!!
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  #17  
Old January 10th, 2013, 05:40 PM
kelsea823 kelsea823 is offline
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One other note is that the Kenai Fjords tours can get rough. If either of your are prone to seasickness make sure to take precautions. Even wearing the patch, my DH was getting queasy on this tour.
Thank You!! That just made my mind up right there! I don't get sick but my dh does! It would be awful for him to get quesy on a day tour and then me try to get him on our cruise. He would probably "jump" ship!!

Which PWS cruise did you do?

Thanks!
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  #18  
Old January 10th, 2013, 06:04 PM
vbmom87 vbmom87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelsea823 View Post
Thank You!! That just made my mind up right there! I don't get sick but my dh does! It would be awful for him to get quesy on a day tour and then me try to get him on our cruise. He would probably "jump" ship!!

Which PWS cruise did you do?

Thanks!
The company we used in Whittier, no longer does tours there. 2011, when we went, was the last year they did cruises in PWS. The name slips my mind. As far as PWS tours go, I kept reading that the tours that included Esther Passage were the most scenic, so that is what we chose. It was a great tour and we were not disappointed. My DH much preferred the PWS tour over the Kenai Fjords Tour. A big reason was the calm seas in PWS. Our Kenai Fjords tour had 7-8 foot waves with the boat rocking from side to side and with the bow lifting up and slamming down hard. For me it was like a fun amusement park ride. For my DH it was not pleasant at all. He didn't up his cookies like others on the tour did, thank God, but he definitely got queasy. Ginger Root helped him, but overall it was not a great experience for him. He did what was recommended and took precautions, but for that day, even the precautions were not enough.
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Last edited by vbmom87; January 10th, 2013 at 06:05 PM.
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  #19  
Old January 10th, 2013, 06:25 PM
mapleleaves mapleleaves is online now
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I've only taken the Kenai cruise but from the many reports I've read I think vbmom's description of the differences is spot on. Twice our Kenai tour was weathered out and became a tour of the Bay, which I found boring. And it was rough enough in the Bay that I was ready to heave. Next time I'll defintely go for the PWS tour.

I highly recommend a one way rental car to Whittier (AVIS is the only vendor). There are some wonderful places to stop along the way so you could make a fun day of it ..... the Wildlife Conservation Center, gold panning, walk the boardwalk at Potters Marsh to watch the swans and hopefully spot moose, salmon viewing platforms at Williwaw. Suggested stops in this link:
http://alaska.org/driving/portage-va...spur-drive.htm
Perhaps return the car to Whittier, overnight at the Whittier Inn on the waterfront, and take the PWS tour the next morning before your cruise departs.
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Old January 10th, 2013, 06:32 PM
vbmom87 vbmom87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapleleaves View Post
I highly recommend a one way rental car to Whittier (AVIS is the only vendor). There are some wonderful places to stop along the way so you could make a fun day of it ..... the Wildlife Conservation Center, gold panning, walk the boardwalk at Potters Marsh to watch the swans and hopefully spot moose, salmon viewing platforms at Williwaw. Suggested stops in this link:
http://alaska.org/driving/portage-va...spur-drive.htm
Perhaps return the car to Whittier, overnight at the Whittier Inn on the waterfront, and take the PWS tour the next morning before your cruise departs.
This is a very good plan in my opinion. The drive along the Turnagain Arm is scenic with many stops along the way. If it is a beautiful day you could head to Girdwood and take the tram ride. You could also stop at Byron Glacier if you are interested and mobile enough for the hike.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/chuga...=6606&actid=50
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