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  #1  
Old February 10th, 2013, 04:33 PM
dbpowell dbpowell is offline
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Default Some may think its way to early to start planning......Guess I' just that obcessive

So here is the short of it all.....Going on our third cruise this DEC back to the Caribbean. Already talking about what we want to do next.....and the same topic keeps coming up....Alaska.... So now the search begins as we are looking at going in 2014. So here is the Breakdown.

1. Myself wife and then 16 year old son(this dec will be his 2nd cruise) We have been on NCL and CCL both and as of now have no peference of one over the other.
2. Live in south Mississippi so Flying to Seattle or Vancover. I have been reading that Vancover is the better on to leave out of??? Planing to come in a day early.
3. Iteniary seems to be the key with the Alaska Cruises and we will be doing probably maybe a 7 day as it stands right now. I have been doing some reading over the last several weeks but it can be information overload.

So what I am needing is advice giudence suggestions and nugdes in the right directions as to what would be the best options for the three of us. Including where to leave out of where to stay before the cruise and anyother little tidbits that you may deem as necessary to this decision. Thnaks in advance
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  #2  
Old February 10th, 2013, 04:55 PM
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LaurieCM LaurieCM is offline
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I have been on about 17 cruises, some a week, some longer. I have booked cruises from the airport or while traveling to Florida and some were booked long in advance, all ways are good as long as you go! When we planned our Alaskan cruise tour we took about 6 weeks to pick the trip- Coral Princess Exotic Explorer 15 day cruise tour. We booked about 9 months in advance- cruise tours fill up fast. Then we had plenty of time to ask questions here on the boards and choose cruiseline/private excursions. Take your time- no questions is too dumb. The people who haunt these forums love cruising/travel. Have fun and good luck.
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  #3  
Old February 10th, 2013, 09:23 PM
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bonvoyagie bonvoyagie is offline
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There is nothing wrong with planning ahead - even for 2014.

First you need to decide if you want to do just a cruise or a cruisetour that also spends time in interior Alaska. Then you need to decide how much time you have to spend. Most all cruises are 7 nights in length - either RT or One Way so that portion will be the same no matter what.

If you think that it will be your one and only trip to Alaska, then I suggest that you go for the gusto and try to spend at least 7 days on the land portion either before or after the cruise. You can do this DIY or through one of many tours offered by the cruise lines, GreyLines of Alaska
, the AK RR, or Alaska Travel

The next main factor is which glacier do you cruise by - Tracy Arm with Sawyer Glacier, Glacier Bay, or Hubbard Glacier. Of the three, Glacier Bay is the best - only three cruise lines are allowed in - Princess, HAL, and NCL. BTW all three do a good job in AK and all offer one way, RT and cruise tour options.

Plan to your hearts content.
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  #4  
Old February 10th, 2013, 11:15 PM
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WalleyeLJ WalleyeLJ is offline
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It's never too early - we just went last July for the 2nd time, and I'm beginning to work oon the plan for 2015! We've only done one ways so far - first northbound in 2009, then southbound last year. Wanted to have some time on land. We did 3.5 days in 2009, and 7 days in 2012. We're looking at 14 days in 2015. While you can find some excursions portside, we like finding great tours in advance and getting them locked in for sure - especially bear viewing, fishing and whale watching. Planning is a lot of fun in it's own right - enjoy it!!!

L.J.
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  #5  
Old February 11th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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Decide on what you NEED to see- for us it was whales, muskox, Mt. McKinley, Glacier Bay, and the Arctic Ocean, then match the cruise tours or DIY tour. My parents did the state of Alaska on their own- all the way to Barrow, but then they took 3 months and combined cruising, flights, and their motorhome. We did the 15 day cruise tour and did not regret it.
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  #6  
Old February 11th, 2013, 12:17 PM
Oldnslow1 Oldnslow1 is offline
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Default Planning

We are finding that the cost to fly directly into Vancouver may be less than the cost to Seattle and the expense and time of the transfer. Of course we now get to ride the Clipper Ferry and stay two nights in Victoria before boarding NCL. You are wise to plan early for the best prices and excursions.
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  #7  
Old February 11th, 2013, 12:31 PM
dbpowell dbpowell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieCM View Post
Decide on what you NEED to see- for us it was whales, muskox, Mt. McKinley, Glacier Bay, and the Arctic Ocean, then match the cruise tours or DIY tour. My parents did the state of Alaska on their own- all the way to Barrow, but then they took 3 months and combined cruising, flights, and their motorhome. We did the 15 day cruise tour and did not regret it.

That is part of the problem...... I know we want to see the Glaciers and from what I have read going out of Vancover is better. As far as the other there is to much to see and can get overwhelming
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  #8  
Old February 11th, 2013, 12:33 PM
dbpowell dbpowell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldnslow1 View Post
We are finding that the cost to fly directly into Vancouver may be less than the cost to Seattle and the expense and time of the transfer. Of course we now get to ride the Clipper Ferry and stay two nights in Victoria before boarding NCL. You are wise to plan early for the best prices and excursions.


Haven't started to price out flights yet since most sites only go out to April of 2014. But i do want to go in a day or two early before we board
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  #9  
Old February 11th, 2013, 01:52 PM
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Doesn't matter whether depart Vancouver or Seattle - they both go to the same glaciers depending on individual itinerary (Glacier Bay generally being the most desired). You can also see glaciers on your shore excursions (great flight and dinner to Taku Lodge in Juneau for example - Hole in the Wall glacier). Southwest (with no baggage fees) flys New Orleans (or Jackson) to Seattle. Space needle, fish market, Starbucks, etc. will fill up a day pre-cruise easily. In initial stages of planning our 2014 trip - doing 7ish days inland and one-way southbound. You will get plenty of opinions/choices from these boards.
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  #10  
Old February 11th, 2013, 02:06 PM
mapleleaves mapleleaves is offline
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Are you doing a one-way cruise so that you can add 6-7 days in Alaska for land travel? or a one week RT cruise?

There's an excellent article on Alaska cruises on tripadvisor's ALASKA forum. The first few items provide lots of helpful/useful information .
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...ng-Alaska.html

There are a few books specific to Alaska cruises ... by Frommers and Ann Vipond. I'm only familiar with Vipond's book ... she discusses cruiselines, ships, itineraries, ports, activities, excursions, etc

Have you looked the REVIEWS forum on cruisecritic? The MEMBER REVIEWS of Alaska cruises and ports often have lots of helpful info.
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  #11  
Old February 11th, 2013, 05:22 PM
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We have already started planning our cruise for June 2014. I know we will be taking a southbound on Radiance and plan on spending 7 days on land. We will be doing the land portion on our own versus a cruisetour. We also plan our own shore excursion.

Planning is half the fun!
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  #12  
Old February 11th, 2013, 08:25 PM
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Default Alaska September 2014

Already planning, so far have my DH and I, our daughter, her husband and baby (who will be 15 months old then), her mother-in-law, one of her girlfriends and ??. We always plan way in advance and do tons of research - thank you Cruise Critic!
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  #13  
Old February 12th, 2013, 10:39 AM
narsibvl narsibvl is offline
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lol !!! I do the same..once I am done with my cruise, I start planning for the next one. Our Alaska 2013 planning started after I was done with my Carnival Mexico cruise this summer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbpowell View Post
So here is the short of it all.....Going on our third cruise this DEC back to the Caribbean. Already talking about what we want to do next.....and the same topic keeps coming up....Alaska.... So now the search begins as we are looking at going in 2014. So here is the Breakdown.

1. Myself wife and then 16 year old son(this dec will be his 2nd cruise) We have been on NCL and CCL both and as of now have no peference of one over the other.
2. Live in south Mississippi so Flying to Seattle or Vancover. I have been reading that Vancover is the better on to leave out of??? Planing to come in a day early.
3. Iteniary seems to be the key with the Alaska Cruises and we will be doing probably maybe a 7 day as it stands right now. I have been doing some reading over the last several weeks but it can be information overload.

So what I am needing is advice giudence suggestions and nugdes in the right directions as to what would be the best options for the three of us. Including where to leave out of where to stay before the cruise and anyother little tidbits that you may deem as necessary to this decision. Thnaks in advance
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  #14  
Old February 13th, 2013, 02:59 PM
dbpowell dbpowell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapleleaves View Post
Are you doing a one-way cruise so that you can add 6-7 days in Alaska for land travel? or a one week RT cruise?

There's an excellent article on Alaska cruises on tripadvisor's ALASKA forum. The first few items provide lots of helpful/useful information .
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...ng-Alaska.html

There are a few books specific to Alaska cruises ... by Frommers and Ann Vipond. I'm only familiar with Vipond's book ... she discusses cruiselines, ships, itineraries, ports, activities, excursions, etc

Have you looked the REVIEWS forum on cruisecritic? The MEMBER REVIEWS of Alaska cruises and ports often have lots of helpful info.

Will be a RT cruise as I will only have about 9 vacation days that I can take.
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  #15  
Old February 13th, 2013, 03:13 PM
mapleleaves mapleleaves is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbpowell View Post
Will be a RT cruise as I will only have about 9 vacation days that I can take.
That certainly eliminates 90% of the research .... there are only a dozen or so ports and cruiselines to review and a few itineraries.
Look further down this page to a thread called 'favorite alaska picture reviews'. Some of the reviews are terribly long but others are just a page or 2. It will be helpful to read what travellers enjoyed during their cruise. Whether RT or one-way, many of the same ports. Same with the reviews on tripadvisor ..
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  #16  
Old February 13th, 2013, 10:45 PM
dbpowell dbpowell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapleleaves View Post
That certainly eliminates 90% of the research .... there are only a dozen or so ports and cruiselines to review and a few itineraries.
Look further down this page to a thread called 'favorite alaska picture reviews'. Some of the reviews are terribly long but others are just a page or 2. It will be helpful to read what travellers enjoyed during their cruise. Whether RT or one-way, many of the same ports. Same with the reviews on tripadvisor ..

Thanks for the advice on the thread to review. I thought that a lot of it had to do with which port you went out of. I am still pondering Seattle or Vancover and whick line to go with. Going on 2nd with NCl this Dec so that will help(Jewel).
Just have to do some mor research on things to do in both places before the cruise and decide them since we will be coming in a day early and probably stay a day after the cruise ends. Thanks to everyone for all the great advice so far
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  #17  
Old February 16th, 2013, 02:36 PM
dbpowell dbpowell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonvoyagie View Post
There is nothing wrong with planning ahead - even for 2014.

First you need to decide if you want to do just a cruise or a cruisetour that also spends time in interior Alaska. Then you need to decide how much time you have to spend. Most all cruises are 7 nights in length - either RT or One Way so that portion will be the same no matter what.

If you think that it will be your one and only trip to Alaska, then I suggest that you go for the gusto and try to spend at least 7 days on the land portion either before or after the cruise. You can do this DIY or through one of many tours offered by the cruise lines, GreyLines of Alaska
, the AK RR, or Alaska Travel

The next main factor is which glacier do you cruise by - Tracy Arm with Sawyer Glacier, Glacier Bay, or Hubbard Glacier. Of the three, Glacier Bay is the best - only three cruise lines are allowed in - Princess, HAL, and NCL. BTW all three do a good job in AK and all offer one way, RT and cruise tour options.

Plan to your hearts content.

I am leaning towards either Carnival or NCL(only 2 that we have been on) Is NCL the better option only because they go to Glacier Bay or what are the other reasons. We are looking at RT cruise since our son will be out of school and I can take about 10 Days
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