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  #21  
Old September 25th, 2013, 03:38 PM
frugaltravel frugaltravel is offline
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Originally Posted by AryMay View Post
I don't think anyone disagrees that the view from out on deck is the best...but unless you are out there 24/7 then there will be times you are missing things because you are in your inside cabin and not a balcony.
Hmm. Then by the same logic, unless you are on your balcony 24/7 and not inside the room, there will be times you are missing things because you are inside your room and not on a balcony. Fair enough. We both miss a lot. But I would venture to guess I am outside looking forward way more than 99% of cruise passengers are on their balconies.
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  #22  
Old September 25th, 2013, 03:45 PM
Carolina Chuck Carolina Chuck is offline
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I enjoyed my balcony best on an Alaskan cruise when... we were cruising Glacier Bay. Breakfast on the balcony, whales swimming alongside, lunch on the balcony, a six-pack of beer, otters, seals lounging on the drifting ice, beautiful landscape and then......THE GALCIERS. The only bad part was forcing ourselves to leave the balcony for a sit down dinner
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  #23  
Old October 3rd, 2013, 02:56 AM
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Saving Up To Be Eccentric Saving Up To Be Eccentric is offline
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On our cruise, the upper level decks were kind of crowded for Glacier Bay. But the promenade deck had plenty of elbow room. However, I understand that the only people who actually saw Hubbard at all on my cruise were the ones with balconies, because it was SO foggy out and we were over an hour early there, that only if you happened to get out and look early did you actually see it. By the time we were supposed to arrive, you couldn't really see the glacier at all, the ship was already heading back out, and the weather was getting worse.
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  #24  
Old October 3rd, 2013, 09:40 AM
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subtchr subtchr is offline
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We had great weather and a stern (protected) balcony, so we used it a ton. I'd have to say my two favorite times were passing through the Tongass narrows on the way to Ketchikan, and the evening passing through the Inside Passage. There were fingers of fog interlaced in the hills, and it was so quiet and almost eerie. We had the map from Upton's The Alaska Cruise Handbook out, and we were following along. (Yes, we are kinda geeky.)

A few pics...

Tongass Narrows


DSC_0291 by suegee57, on Flickr


DSC_0290 by suegee57, on Flickr


DSC_0286 by suegee57, on Flickr

Inside Passage:


IMG_0773 by suegee57, on Flickr


IMG_0774 by suegee57, on Flickr


IMG_0775 by suegee57, on Flickr

Of course, those same views were available from public decks, but we enjoyed having our own private space at all times of day. We were there over the Summer Solstice, so it never got completely dark. As much as we enjoyed it, if the budget choice was between having a balcony and doing some cool excursions, I'd go with the excursions and an inside cabin in a heartbeat.
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  #25  
Old October 3rd, 2013, 01:34 PM
Paula_MacFan Paula_MacFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subtchr View Post
We had great weather and a stern (protected) balcony, so we used it a ton. I'd have to say my two favorite times were passing through the Tongass narrows on the way to Ketchikan, and the evening passing through the Inside Passage. There were fingers of fog interlaced in the hills, and it was so quiet and almost eerie. We had the map from Upton's The Alaska Cruise Handbook out, and we were following along. (Yes, we are kinda geeky.)

A few pics...

Tongass Narrows


DSC_0291 by suegee57, on Flickr


DSC_0290 by suegee57, on Flickr


DSC_0286 by suegee57, on Flickr

Inside Passage:


IMG_0773 by suegee57, on Flickr


IMG_0774 by suegee57, on Flickr


IMG_0775 by suegee57, on Flickr

Of course, those same views were available from public decks, but we enjoyed having our own private space at all times of day. We were there over the Summer Solstice, so it never got completely dark. As much as we enjoyed it, if the budget choice was between having a balcony and doing some cool excursions, I'd go with the excursions and an inside cabin in a heartbeat.
Thank you so much for the guidebook link and the beautiful pictures. We just booked our first Alaska cruise and I have been starting to plan. I was curious what sights we'd see as we traveled thru the Inside Passage, and your pictures were very helpful. I'm going to check out the book too. Thanks a bunch!
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  #26  
Old October 4th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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subtchr subtchr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paula_MacFan View Post
Thank you so much for the guidebook link and the beautiful pictures. We just booked our first Alaska cruise and I have been starting to plan. I was curious what sights we'd see as we traveled thru the Inside Passage, and your pictures were very helpful. I'm going to check out the book too. Thanks a bunch!
You will love it! I created a blog if you are interested: SUMMER SOLSTICE IN THE LAST FRONTIER
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Grandeur of the Seas - June 2005
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Explorer of the Seas - June 2010 - VIDEO SLIDESHOW CRUISE COMPASSES
Serenade of the Seas - December 2010 - PHOTO REVIEW VIDEO SLIDESHOW CRUISE COMPASSES
Celebrity Solstice - December 2011 - PHOTO REVIEW INFO PACKET CELEBRITY TODAYS PHOTO ALBUM
Radiance of the Seas - June 2013 -
PHOTO ALBUM ALASKA CRUISE BLOG - SUMMER SOLSTICE IN THE LAST FRONTIER CRUISE COMPASSES
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  #27  
Old October 5th, 2013, 12:31 PM
jamminlion jamminlion is offline
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Enjoyed the balcony tremendously. Spent a lot of time out there. Especially glacier bay. We saw so much wild life from our balcony, too.

It came in particularly handy from Ketchikan to Victoria. We had 12-15 ft. seas, and we had the balcony door open enough that the fresh air helped us all not get sea sick.

I don't think there's a bad side of the ship on an Alaskan cruise. If you do round trip, you see both sides. One way - I say flip a coin. Or, plan a second week and switch cabins. OR, just plan a whole second vacation to do what you missed the first time.
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  #28  
Old October 10th, 2013, 07:36 PM
vbmom87 vbmom87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina Chuck View Post
I enjoyed my balcony best on an Alaskan cruise when... we were cruising Glacier Bay. Breakfast on the balcony, whales swimming alongside, lunch on the balcony, a six-pack of beer, otters, seals lounging on the drifting ice, beautiful landscape and then......THE GALCIERS. The only bad part was forcing ourselves to leave the balcony for a sit down dinner
Someone who actually answered the question as asked.
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  #29  
Old October 11th, 2013, 10:37 PM
LoriPhil LoriPhil is offline
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For us Alaska is one big viewing opportunity so we see the balcony as one long excursion.

We sleep with the curtains open because we can often see a ghost of an outline of the mountains through the night and early mornings (it's particularly great that first night northbound out of Vancouver as you pass through the narrows). In the mornings or while waiting for DH or traveling-pals, I'm at the rail with a book or binocs. Our first cruise I looked down and there were a mob of dolphins zooming through the water right below our cabin somewhere along the inside passage - they were there for less than a minute and it's still one of my favorite memories. We usually wander the decks during the glacier viewing, but spend many more hours throughout the cruise on our balcony or in the cabin looking out at the gorgeous vistas and watching for critters.

Choose what suites your needs and budget, and have a great time!

Last edited by LoriPhil; October 11th, 2013 at 10:42 PM.
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  #30  
Old October 11th, 2013, 11:45 PM
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taragl taragl is offline
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I was out on our balcony every waking moment on the Miracle this past August. There was always something interesting to see. But my absolute favorite time was in the late evening, when it was pitch black outside and clear in the sky. The stargazing was the best I've ever seen, anywhere. I sat out there for hours, just absorbing the magnitude of the Universe.

The only downside were the late-night smokers who puffed away on every side of me. The ship goes slowly in the Inside Passage, so smoke hovers more than when you're underway to an island destination in the open ocean. Nothing like admiring the pristine beauty of Alaska while breathing in clouds of smoke!
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  #31  
Old October 12th, 2013, 10:27 AM
vbmom87 vbmom87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taragl View Post
I was out on our balcony every waking moment on the Miracle this past August. There was always something interesting to see. But my absolute favorite time was in the late evening, when it was pitch black outside and clear in the sky. The stargazing was the best I've ever seen, anywhere. I sat out there for hours, just absorbing the magnitude of the Universe.

The only downside were the late-night smokers who puffed away on every side of me. The ship goes slowly in the Inside Passage, so smoke hovers more than when you're underway to an island destination in the open ocean. Nothing like admiring the pristine beauty of Alaska while breathing in clouds of smoke!
There are some cruiselines that ban smoking on the balconies. Should you go back to AK, you may want to look into those options.
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