Just booked Alaska!!!! Looking for any advice....

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#21
202 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by CaribbeanIsland
No matter how one looks at the itinerary -- it is not a good itinerary. 2 ports in Alaska and one arriving at 12 pm. And the 3rd choice for glaciers by most people. You may want to look at itinerary next time before commenting.
Then why does RCCL use this itinerary? Not only for this season but again next year. Are you suggesting that most people currently booked on this cruise are going to be disappointed. Not going to Ketchikan and short port times. It is obviously popular for some cruisers. Or does she sail half full? After all there are so many ships and itineraries doing Alaska that there is something for everyone. Even for the cruisers sailing on the Explorer.
#22
Somewhere on land!
883 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
I booked my first Alaska cruise in February 2014 for May 2015 doing Radiance of the Seas southbound from Seward to Vancouver. In early 2015 (before sailing on Radiance) I booked to do a B2B on Explorer (Alaska and Pacific Coastal) in September 2016. After the journey to get to Seward (via Vancouver, Seattle, Anchorage and the Seward Highway) I was already completely in love and doubting my decision for September 2016. After doing the cruise portion I was in no doubt, the Explorer Alaska itinerary just didn't compare (and neither would the journey to and from the start and end of the cruise). I landed back home and the same day cancelled the Explorer cruise.

Had I not done Radiance I'm completely sure I would have been totally over the moon with the Explorer itinerary and what I had got to see and experience and I know it would have left me wanting more.

You can only do what's right for you and if Explorer and the itinerary works for you, I'm sure with planning and research into what you can see and do in each stop, you will have an incredible cruise.

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#23
98 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
Agree with the others that this is probably the worst possible Alaska itinerary. In general, the Vancouver departures offer much better routing and port times. Done Alaska twice, once HAL, once Princess. Both were spectacular. Both were Vancouver-based.
#24
202 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
I was under the impression that the OP was booked and looking for suggestions for things to do on there cruise. Almost all the suggestions are to pick another cruise. That the OP was wrong with there original decision. Cancel and re-book somewhere else. Maybe changing the cruise is not an option. Maybe it is. But when it comes to cruising Alaska there is no right or wrong itinerary. Just get there. And when you are there, there are NO "Must" things to do. Just research activities you enjoy and do as much as you can. But watch that budget. It adds up quickly. And then after the cruise you can start planning your next Alaskan cruise.
#25
Somewhere on land!
883 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by jskinsd
And then after the cruise you can start planning your next Alaskan cruise.
For some people, Alaska is only possibly a one time option, so making sure you do at as right and as suitably for you the first time is the best way forward.

If OP is happy with their choice after their research (which is what virtually everyone has suggested) then nothing a group of strangers can say will change their mind.
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#26
No. California
7,362 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by jskinsd
Then why does RCCL use this itinerary? Not only for this season but again next year. Are you suggesting that most people currently booked on this cruise are going to be disappointed. [snip]
Some people will choose a cruise line they are familiar with for their first Alaska cruise, not knowing how many different itineraries there are out there.

OP has already said she is going to check out other itineraries with her TA, and I commend her for that.

OP, if you want to stay with RCI, Radiance would be a great choice for a first Alaska cruise because you would get to see much more of Alaska on Radiance's one-way itinerary. We have done that cruise, and we really enjoyed seeing the Hubbard Glacier as well as Icy Strait Point, which many people never get to see.

Have fun with your decision.
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#27
Palmyra, PA
27 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Originally posted by Cruise_More_Often
Some people will choose a cruise line they are familiar with for their first Alaska cruise, not knowing how many different itineraries there are out there.

OP has already said she is going to check out other itineraries with her TA, and I commend her for that.

OP, if you want to stay with RCI, Radiance would be a great choice for a first Alaska cruise because you would get to see much more of Alaska on Radiance's one-way itinerary. We have done that cruise, and we really enjoyed seeing the Hubbard Glacier as well as Icy Strait Point, which many people never get to see.

Have fun with your decision.
I'm going to look at the Radiance option tomorrow. It looks like a better option on first glance.
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#29
2,574 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I'm going on my first Alaska cruise in July this year. I asked my TA for suggestions on the best itinearies and I came to these boards and researched ports.
Originally I had booked to go last year. One of the first posters when I had started a thread told me I booked a bad cruise and I should switch cruise lines all together. That didn't make me feel good.

To the OP before you change your cruise, research your ports of call, you may decide that it's the right cruise for you and that your interests will be met on the cruise. Good luck and enjoy your Alaska adventure.

Charlie
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#30
Deltona, FL
838 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by ccarroll57
I'm going to look at the Radiance option tomorrow. It looks like a better option on first glance.


On my cruise (Celebrity Infinity) we went to Icy Straight Point (Hoonah), Juneau, and Ketchikan. I'm not telling you to change your cruise. You should feel comfortable with the sailing you picked and any bonuses or perks you got for booking on board. Price can have something to do with it too.

Suggestions: in Juneau: Whale Watching - Harv and Marv (6 people boat and ask for Captain Brent). The company is great and he is wonderful, informative and funny. Look at TripAdvisor for the ports you're going to and read the reviews so you'll have a better idea of what you're getting into.

If you book excursions on the ship, you'll be going on 1 boat with 100 of your best friends from the ship. Then all of you will try to cram into the same area when someone says "whale!"

Also in Juneau, Alaska Knifeworks is a great store to see the different types of knives available as souvenirs and their prices are extremely reasonable! I was surprised. Vince was friendly and he actually listened to what we were saying instead of pushing us in one way or another. Free shipping too! It's also one of the recommended stores.

I hope this helps! Happy sailing!!
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#31
Montgomery County, Maryland
3,832 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by jskinsd
Then why does RCCL use this itinerary? Not only for this season but again next year. My guess - PRICE


Are you suggesting that most people currently booked on this cruise are going to be disappointed. Many won't know any better.


Not going to Ketchikan and short port times. It is obviously popular for some cruisers. Or does she sail half full? Many don't research, or just choose their "favorite cruise line," or choose the least expensive option.

After all there are so many ships and itineraries doing Alaska that there is something for everyone. I concede, for some people just being on the ship is enough. I don't believe that those people come to Cruise Critic for advice...


Even for the cruisers sailing on the Explorer.
I just pulled the RCCL June 2018 & am wondering why people are paying more for less on their own cruise line... The one in question starts from $839, same time frame same cruise line $729 & $769 are quoted on Radiance.

Meanwhile, Glacier Bay isn't on any of these trips (it is a National Park & World Heritage Site & guaranteed glacier viewing)
#32
Chattanooga, TN
3 Posts
Joined Aug 2016
If it's an option, I suggest (re)booking on Princess, and go with either a Northbound or Southbound one-way cruise. Ketch/Skag/Jun/etc are technically AK, but geographically they're Pacific Canada. Fly or cruise into Anchorage and see more, and see the real AK.

We just completed a northbound cruise out of Vancouver with Princess, and there was a very nice progression to the scenery. From wow, to Wow, to WOW! Ketchikan, Juneau, Skaqway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord! Princess calls this one the Voyage of the Glaciers.

We also tacked on a DIY 5 day land tour by renting a van from Midnight Sun Car and Van Rental in Anchorage. They dropped the van off in Whittier for a very reasonable fee, so our party of 6 could head straight to Seward in time for an early lunch. (Can't say enough good things about Midnight Sun. Jaw dropping customer service, and better rates than Avis).
#33
Palm Harbor, FL
13,065 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by jskinsd
Then why does RCCL use this itinerary? Not only for this season but again next year. Are you suggesting that most people currently booked on this cruise are going to be disappointed. Not going to Ketchikan and short port times. It is obviously popular for some cruisers. Or does she sail half full? After all there are so many ships and itineraries doing Alaska that there is something for everyone. Even for the cruisers sailing on the Explorer.
This assumes that everyone does their research before they book and discover that not all Alaska itineraries are equal - even though the expense is often about the same. Also a lot of people love RCI and just book RCI without knowing there are differences in Alaska (it really isn't like sailing the Caribbean). The Explorer is well liked so that also appeals to some..

The benefit of Cruise Critic is we all can be better informed about our cruise decisions and help others make the right choice for them. Royal's goal is to fill their ships and sail the areas that bring the most $$$.

For all of these reasons the Explorer is popular.
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Linda
#34
South West Alabama
277 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by Casey12
I have to agree with Coral. This by far the worst itinerary in Alaska. Most people only cruise once to Alaska and they picked an awful schedule. I would also suggest picking up Alaska cruise books and look into booking another ship and itinerary if their goal is to see Alaska. There is plenty of availability so the ship was not chosen due to the only ship with space like many this year who picked this ship.
What itinerary do you sugest as I was also considering the same cruise the OP mentions
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Victoria

03-03-2013 Norwegian Star
#35
Redmond WA
8,395 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by avic77
What itinerary do you sugest as I was also considering the same cruise the OP mentions
There are too many variables to consider. That's why you need to do your own research and decide which option is best for YOU.
Do you want roundtrip or one way?
RT from seattle or vancouver?
If you have additional time some people like to add land travel before or after a one way cruisd.
NB or SB? Some people prefer to get the long flite out of the way and take a SB cruisd. Others prefer NB becausd the scenery gets more dramatic as they head north.
If you have specific tours in mind, look closely at port times to ensure you're in port long enough and at the right time of day for your plans.
If you have specific priorities like bear viewing or fishing, there are peak periods of time at various locations.
So .....as you can see, you need to do some research. A couple of Alaska cruisebooks were noted above. They are a good starting point. Read trip reports. Figure out YOUR priorities, what you want to see and do.
Research and planning are fun! Enjoy.
#36
434 Posts
Joined May 2003
True story here. A friend of mine (Barb) who is in their late 60's was going to join some friends to Alaska on Explorer of the Seas this May. She approached me and I explained that there are better itineraries out there. I helped set her up with a cruise on the Coral Princess the last week of May. Her friends went on Explorer of the Seas as they had planned also at the end of May. Both trips were approximately the same cost for the air/cruise package for a Balcony. Her friend paid more for the Balcony on Explorer of the Seas but less for air. Barb paid less for the cruise but more for air. It was a wash.
The 2 couples got together this weekend and compared notes. All I can tell is that my friend is taking me to a very expensive restaurant very soon to thank you. They compared notes to the programs done on the ship and there was no competition. Her friends were very envious. Then they compared ports and glaciers - again, no competition. The only plus my friend thought that the Explorer of the Seas had was the stop in Victoria but she said she wouldn't trade that for the 2 wonderful glacier days, the long days in port in Juneau and the stop in Ketchikan. Afterall -- It was a trip to Alaska.

The funny part of this is that Barb's friends want to meet me as she was upset that her travel agent suggested Explorer of the Seas for their only trip to Alaska. Her travel agent has never been to Alaska and picked it because it was a great ship in the Caribbean.
#37
Philadelphia, PA
1,081 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Originally posted by jskinsd
Then why does RCCL use this itinerary? Not only for this season but again next year. Are you suggesting that most people currently booked on this cruise are going to be disappointed. Not going to Ketchikan and short port times. It is obviously popular for some cruisers. Or does she sail half full? After all there are so many ships and itineraries doing Alaska that there is something for everyone. Even for the cruisers sailing on the Explorer.
They expect people will be loyal to their line. They do the same thing with Celebrity. They put the better ship on the inferior route out of Seattle. These cruisers don't know anything about Alaska and just book based on the ship they are familiar with and like. They have only sailed the Caribbean. Having done an inferior cruise to Alaska for my first trip -- I wish someone had warned me before I booked it or even after I booked it so that I could switch. Yes the ships do book. There were several posts this winter that all the ships with Glacier Bay had booked up and the only ship available was the Explorer of the Seas.