Is a balcony a must for Alaska?

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#1
Ontario, Canada
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
I am starting to research an Alaskan cruise for a couple years from now. I get the sense that a balcony is a must but for those who have done Alaska what do you think?

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#2
quad cities illinois
5,445 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
a balcony is wonderful for Alaska and if you can afford it get it. many of us opt for a inside or ocean view so we can have more money for tours and thnings to do in the ports. there are many glassed areas on the ships too set at and get all the views you want. I loved the balcony I was lucky enough too get for one of my Alaska cruises. but I also don't spend hardly any time in the cabin so a inside is good enough for me.

you will not regret getting a balcony cabin but you can also get along without one.
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#3
Southern California by way of Kentucky
17,892 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
There will be as many that need a balcony as there will be that could do without it..It's a personal and budget decision for each of us...I for one always book a JS or above regardless of itinerary..I at least want the kind of acommodations I would have in a hotel..Will be on the May 17th northbound Alaska (2nd time) and will enjoy my cabin and all that view from my balcony has to offer
#4
Portland Oregon
2,752 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
I started cruising in AK with a huge balcony of a suite on the Aft of the ship - had a wonderful time. I have since cruised in a std balcony and another suite. On our last trip we had my MIL whom we had not seen in quite some time so it was nice to have both a suite and the huge floor to ceiling windows to watch things go by and converse and catch up. Sometimes in AK it is warm enough to go out and sit - and yes I have been know to bundle up and sit on the balcony - as long as it is not raining .

To me a cruise is a luxury vacation and so when I take one I go first class. I also spend money on excursions which can cost more than the cruise in AK . So I guess that if you have the $$ for both a balcony room and the excursions you want to do, then by all means get one. If you are in a pinch - go for a cheaper inside and keep the excursions.
#5
853 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
I really enjoy a balcony we went early June and many mornings were cool but I still sat outside and enjoyed my coffee and croissants. I like how much brighter the room is along with being able to sit outside.

But as has been said some folks book the cheapest inside room and spend the extra $$ on nicer dining or excursions.

I have had inside, oceanview and balcony cabins, now I only book a balcony.
#6
Northeast US
955 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by Canadianweaselette
I get the sense that a balcony is a must but for those who have done Alaska what do you think?
A resounding YES! from me.
#7
Singapore
230 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
We would say if u r going to Alaska only once or it's your first time, then balcony is certainly worth it!

We went to Alaska last sep in a balcony cabin and throughly enjoyed it!

You might want to check out our review.

http://discoverbooktravel.blogspot.c...k-balcony.html
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#8
Ontario, Canada
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Thanks everyone. This would be our first time in Alaska. I won't say it'll be the only time since I have no idea how much we'll love it.

I must say though, there are way more things to consider when booking Alaska vs. Caribbean.

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#9
9,407 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by Canadianweaselette
I am starting to research an Alaskan cruise for a couple years from now. I get the sense that a balcony is a must but for those who have done Alaska what do you think?

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No, not essential. I've been 6 times, never had a balcony. Next time (if I can manage this at all) I'll be in an OV again for 14 days. For me, Alaska is about the destination, not the accommodation. DH and I have become a "warm weather balcony s l u t s" but for Alaska? Nope, gimme whatever I can afford so I can get back to ALASKA. (I spend a lot on shore experiences in Alaska, and travel Alaska solo, and have a restricted budget for travel so.... )
#10
Vancouver, BC
1,988 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Originally posted by Canadianweaselette
I am starting to research an Alaskan cruise for a couple years from now. I get the sense that a balcony is a must but for those who have done Alaska what do you think?

I wouldn't say having a balcony is a must but it is definitely nice to have on the glacier viewing days. I guess it also depends on how much time you plan to spend in your cabin and what time of the season you plan to go. Weather can vary so much that if you are planning to spend alot of time on your balcony, the weather might just disappoint you since it can be so unpredictable. Also, another thing to keep in mind on a 7-day RT is that 3 of the days are spent in port. Assuming that it is your first visit to Alaska, I would imagine that you would be off ship doing an excursion or two.
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#11
Syracuse, New York
49,119 Posts
Joined May 2000
I never get a balcony as a partial view is never my preference, and I find a cruise vacation, way down the luxury pole for me, after 78 cruises. I am delighted those find it "necessary" as those higher costs, allow my rock bottom rates. Have to figure it out for themselves what cabin you want.
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#12
Austin, Texas
389 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
You are asking for very subjective responses and are therefore going to get just that. Knowing nothing about you, your budget, your age, your travel taste, your past experiences, etc., most of what you get may not be helpful. I will answer by saying that my husband and I spent our first cruise vacation in Alaska with a balcony and had the most fabulous experience watching whales breach right under our balcony in Glacier Bay on our wedding anniversary. And that was the worse cruise we have ever taken! While I would never book another cruise on that line again, I will always book a balcony or not bother. I would also recommend booking the smallest ship possible. You don't deal with crowds, but more importantly get to go places that a large ship can't go.
#13
9,609 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by Canadianweaselette
I am starting to research an Alaskan cruise for a couple years from now. I get the sense that a balcony is a must but for those who have done Alaska what do you think?

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The answers you will get truly depends on the person answering. There are plenty of people who would not go on a cruise without a balcony. I have even read where some people said they would rather stay home than cruise without a balcony.

I have never cruised with a balcony, and I am sure I would like it very much, but it is just not in our budget. I would much rather spend my money on great excursions, which will cost big bucks in AK. If I had the budget to do both, I am sure I would. I have loved my two cruises to AK, once in an ocean view and once in an obstructed view ocean view. We just spent lots of time on deck and in lounges with great views. Everyone has different priorities. For me it is the excursions, for others it is the ship and that balcony.

Good luck deciding what will be best for you.
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#14
84,322 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
It is not a must as you can go on the open deck to enjoy the views from the ship.

Think carefully what the extra cost will be and if it impacts the excursions you would do then I would go without the balcony. If you can do both and it is within your budget I would do that.

Keith
#15
Ontario, Canada
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
I guess I could provide a but more info on us and budget...

At the time of the cruise it will be DH (47) and myself (39), possibly DS (10).

Right now I don't have a budget set because I have no idea what this will cost us, hence starting early with research. If I find a balcony is a "need" then I'd be willing to postpone a year to save up more.

We have been on one 4 day Bahamas with DCL and in 2014 we will be taking a 9 day E. Caribbean with NCL. We do not enjoy crowds which is why we chose a smaller ship this time.

I will also say that Alaska us DH's dream so I have no idea what I've gotten myself into trying to plan this

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#16
Oklahoma City
7,272 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
We have done AK twice, once with an OV (limited one at that) and one with a large balcony.

Our balcony trip we spent one day at Tracy Arm and one at Glacier Bay and it was great having it (my wife spent alot of time out in the cold all bundled up to enjoy it). We also had some great views leaving Vancouver the first evening.

I would highly recommend the balcony. Is it a MUST? Hard to judge that for someone else, but given the total cost of the vacation, the upgrade to a balcony is a secondary expense IMO.

DaveOKC
#17
Catonsville, MD
934 Posts
Joined May 2003
Originally posted by Canadianweaselette
I am starting to research an Alaskan cruise for a couple years from now. I get the sense that a balcony is a must but for those who have done Alaska what do you think?

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not for me- the cost difference between a balcony and outside or even inside is so great and I really dont spend much time in the cabin. Also- it is cold so I did not spend much time on the balcony the first time that I went. When i wanted to have a nice view- i simply went up on the deck. I prefer to spend my dollars on the really nice excursions for the overall experience- not on the cabin. Just MHO
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#18
Knoxville, TN, USA
1,638 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Listen to the posts - people are saying they had a great time, balcony or not. That's the message that counts. If you set your mind to it, an Alaska cruiser will be enjoyable.

(btw, We're balconyphiles. We enjoy the big glass doors and views even on cold days.)
#19
697 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
We are taking our first cruise and knowing my husband - I knew we needed a balcony ... He's an intense birder and needs the instant access... He's also a very private person and having to navigate other guests to be outside is not his preference ..
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#20
Ontario, Canada
71 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by rachelfran
We are taking our first cruise and knowing my husband - I knew we needed a balcony ... He's an intense birder and needs the instant access... He's also a very private person and having to navigate other guests to be outside is not his preference ..
I think I would be perfectly happy with an inside cabin but I know my DH and he is also a very private person and I think he'd get more enjoyment out of the balcony. We have only cruised inside before so I wouldn't know what I was missing

Thank you all for your responses - it really helps to get different perspectives. I think my next step will be to figure out excursions and itinerary before deciding on ship and cabin.