Researching Alaska Cruises for next year

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#21
24,906 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by avic77
All the cruise line iteniraries are almost the same. One may have a little more time in one port while a different line has more time in a different port like this is NCL Sun 9 day
Thursday, April 19Seattle, WA4:00pm
Friday, April 20At Sea
Saturday, April 21Juneau, AK2:00pm 10:00pm
Sunday, April 22Skagway, AK7:00am 8:00pm
Monday, April 23Glacier Bay National Park, AK (Cruising)
Tuesday, April 24Icy Strait Point, AK7:00am 4:00pm
Wednesday, April 25Ketchikan, AK10:00am 7:00pm
Thursday, April 26At Sea
Friday, April 27Victoria, BC, Canada12:00pm 11:59pm
Saturday, April 28Seattle, WA8:00am
I would research April's weather before booking this cruise. I would also check with the excursions you are interested in and see if they are operating this early. This is really early for Alaskan cruises. I honestly don't know what to expect weather wise.
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#22
Sacramento, California
783 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by avic77
Would you lean more toward the 9 day NCL or the 7 day Princess?
Same exact price no major perks for booking one over the other (onboard credit etc) I have cruised NCL before so i like "dine when you want to" deal but Princess offers that option as well.
Both ships are smaller and older and i am fine with that. Husband says he can take 14 days off so there is that part of me that wants the longer cruise but another part isnt sure about it.
If they were running at the same time in May or the NCL cruise was later than the Princess, I'd lean toward the 9 day.

You get an additional port, Icy Strait, and I've read a lot of positive comments about that port. Also you get much better port times in Juneau - 8 hours and arrive in Victoria at noon instead of 7 PM. That means you would have time for an excursion to the very lovely Buchart Gardens. The only downside on port times is arriving at Juneau at 2 PM instead of at 11 AM - the later arrival might remove some options there - but it is more than made up for by the positives. Some things you might have done in Juneau like a whale watching boat, you could do in Icy Strait. There is a lot of daylight so perhaps it doesn't limit your options that much.

The fly in the ointment is that the NCL cruise is so early as Coral pointed out.
#23
Bethlehem, PA
4,675 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Hi Victoria - if your husband says he can take 14 days off, why not consider HAL's 14 day itinerary which is roundtrip from Seattle? It includes several little visited ports like Homer, Kodiak, Anchorage (the city itself, not Seward or Whittier), Icy Strait Point, and Sitka - as well as the usual 'suspects' of Ketchikan, Juneau, Victoria, BC, plus Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm. I've done this particular itinerary three times and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. It is a wonderful trip on a smaller HAL ship (the Zaandam next year, I believe) that feels like 'home' in no time. Something to consider....
#24
South West Alabama
300 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by Assateague Island Princes
Hi Victoria - if your husband says he can take 14 days off, why not consider HAL's 14 day itinerary which is roundtrip from Seattle? It includes several little visited ports like Homer, Kodiak, Anchorage (the city itself, not Seward or Whittier), Icy Strait Point, and Sitka - as well as the usual 'suspects' of Ketchikan, Juneau, Victoria, BC, plus Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm. I've done this particular itinerary three times and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. It is a wonderful trip on a smaller HAL ship (the Zaandam next year, I believe) that feels like 'home' in no time. Something to consider....
I will have to look at that one. We need to add travel days to the beginning and end of our trip. Flight is long and, from what i can tell by looking at flights currently listed, will put us haveing to fly in the day before we embark and fly out the day after the ship returns. 14 days plus 2 travel days would be outside his alloted vacation time.
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Victoria

03-03-2013 Norwegian Star
#25
Boise, Idaho
891 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
You've gotten a lot of really good responses and suggestions here. We have traveled to Alaska in May several times. It is typically the driest month, but can be a tad chilly....maybe 50's and 60's. Seattle is a very easy port to sail from. Vancouver is also easy, but airfare will be much higher. That being said, you have a chance of sailing further north than the RT Seattle cruises. IF you can do the 14 day Holland America cruise, I highly recommend that one! It was one of our favorite Alaska cruises....you get to ports that other lines don't visit. I have several posts on my travel blog about Alaska. You can view them at www.zest4travel.wordpress.com I have also included a packing list.
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#26
South West Alabama
300 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
So I have narrowed my choices to the two previously mention.
NCL Sun April 19th - 28th:
Pros:
9 days
Extra port Icy Straight
Longer time in Victoria
longer time in Ketchikan
previously cruised with NCL

Cons:
Early in the season (1st cruise to Alaska for the season but that could be a good thing)
Does not go through the Inside passage between Victoria and Vancouver
not as fond of the deck plans

Princess Ruby April 28th - May 5th
Pros:
a little later in the season
goes through the inside passage
longer port time in Juneau
I like the deck plans of the Princess more It looks like it has more viewing decks

Cons:
Less days
1 less port
short port time in Victoria
was only able to book a guaranteed room

I do not have any promotions to make one a better value. They cost about the same with the NCL slightly more expensive because of extra days.
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Victoria

03-03-2013 Norwegian Star
#27
Montgomery County, Maryland
3,986 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by avic77
So I have narrowed my choices to the two previously mention.
NCL Sun April 19th - 28th:
Pros:
9 days
Extra port Icy Straight
Longer time in Victoria
longer time in Ketchikan
previously cruised with NCL

Cons:
Early in the season (1st cruise to Alaska for the season but that could be a good thing)
Does not go through the Inside passage between Victoria and Vancouver
not as fond of the deck plans

Princess Ruby April 28th - May 5th
Pros:
a little later in the season
goes through the inside passage
longer port time in Juneau
I like the deck plans of the Princess more It looks like it has more viewing decks

Cons:
Less days
1 less port
short port time in Victoria
was only able to book a guaranteed room

I do not have any promotions to make one a better value. They cost about the same with the NCL slightly more expensive because of extra days.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. As you note both have pros & cons. For me the early April is a serious CON... but if it wasn't possible, they wouldn't offer it, right? (I'm still thinking about weather so bad that a port was missed this past April & rougher seas = seasickness. I mean with all of the planning & expenses you want to enjoy yourselves, right?)

Caveat, in 2012 when we did AK the first time, May was too early for me. (In error I assumed that May was less desirable, I would not be opposed to a May Alaskan cruise now that I have more knowledge on the subject.) Next time for us is July 2017 - so we can see bears!

I mention that so that you can maybe make up your mind based on what you want to see/do. Is April too early for _______? Is the question you need to answer. (You may want to think about contacting vendors to get the answer from "the horses mouth.")

Think about it, if your business was based on May to September & you hired people form out of state for the summer - that could impact whether or not you operated in April. (Not to mention if May to September were your busy time, you might want to grab a quick vacation for yourself in April prior to the start of the season.)
#28
24,906 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by avic77

I do not have any promotions to make one a better value. They cost about the same with the NCL slightly more expensive because of extra days.
Again, both of those are too early for me. Though - Princess is offering free drink package for balcony and above right now which may make this a better value.
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#29
South West Alabama
300 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
I have to be back home between the last week of May and first week of June. I am coordinator for our schools graduation ceremony and banquet. So i have to be back to prepare for that. Also I dont really want to go in high season or June-August. So we have looked at the sailings between April 19th and May 12th.
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Victoria

03-03-2013 Norwegian Star