Southbound or Northbound

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

** Please post your recommendations ONLY in response to request...do not start a new thread. Thanks!
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 11:16 PM.
#1
Wharton Texas
445 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Thinking about taking a cruise to Alaska on Radiance later in the year
Need a recommendation of whether to take the Southbound or Northbound
Thanks for any help
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rhapsody Of The Seas - 2004 (Western Caribbean)

Rhapsody Of The Seas - 2007 (Western Caribbean)

Freedom Of The Seas - 2008 (Eastern Caribbean)

Mariner Of The Seas - 2009 (Mexican Riviera)

Voyager Of The Seas - 2009 (Western Caribbean)

Carnival Conquest - 2010 (Southern Caribbean)

Voyager Of The Seas - 2010 (Western Caribbean)
#2
Texas
3,760 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by Texmike
Thinking about taking a cruise to Alaska on Radiance later in the year
Need a recommendation of whether to take the Southbound or Northbound
Thanks for any help
Hi, Mike,

Coming to you from off 59 just a little closer to Houston than you . I've done 3 south bounds. Two included land trips before the cruise. I highly recommend that you do a land trip that includes Denali National Park. The cruise covers just far Southeast Alaska and there's so much more to see of the beautiful state. Haven't looked at the Radience itinerary, but I know it doesn't include Glacier Bay National Park as Royal Caribbean doesn't have any permits to go there. Going southbound gets the longest flight out of the way at first when you're still excited and eager to see everything.

Texas Tillie
#3
North Carolina
1,854 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by Texas Tillie
Hi, Mike,

Coming to you from off 59 just a little closer to Houston than you . I've done 3 south bounds. Two included land trips before the cruise. I highly recommend that you do a land trip that includes Denali National Park. The cruise covers just far Southeast Alaska and there's so much more to see of the beautiful state. Haven't looked at the Radience itinerary, but I know it doesn't include Glacier Bay National Park as Royal Caribbean doesn't have any permits to go there. Going southbound gets the longest flight out of the way at first when you're still excited and eager to see everything.

Texas Tillie
Agreed. We've taken Radiance both north and southbound, and defeintely prefer the pre and post cruise travel logistics taking the southbound trip. Others feel the opposite, but I'm with Tille on this one for what it's worth.

L.J.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
L.J. and Bev

2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

#4
584 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
My first trip to Alaska was northbound. My husband and I were working and our two young adult sons were with us. We felt doing the cruise part first would give us a chance to relax a little before a busy 7 day land tour post cruise.
I have to say, starting in Vancouver each day I felt the scenery was becoming more and more beautiful going more into the wilderness.
Sorry to say this was 15 years ago. Now we have a May cruise booked, starting in anchorage and doing a 4 day land tour first. We will get the longer flight out of the way first.
So I really can't compare the two but I'd be willing to say no matter which way you go it will be beautiful scenery.
If your heart is not set on a cruise line just wanted to mention as someone else did.. Princess has the biggest presence in Alaska and has the most access to glacier bay, etc. just something to look into maybe.
I'm sure you will love it no matter what.
#5
Syracuse, New York
49,119 Posts
Joined May 2000
They are two different directions with neither "better" than the other. Yep, there will be those "relax" comments that the cruise offers. I will counter- if your "land" part is so busy and on the go, then you have a poor plan. My touring is EVEN. I'm not In a lounge chair on the ship and spend my port time, off the ship enjoying activities of my interests. My mainland touring has enough time for my touring and easy transits that aren't marathon trips. Unfortunately some cruisetours are poor itineraries. It is best to go for as long as you can afford.

Exceptions are early and late season. Northbound is superior in both cases- IF Denali Park is a priority In May. Especially the mid May trips where the Tundra Wilderness tour isn't even available. Later, the farther you go. In Sept. the Inside Passage weather drops off far more significantly compared to mainland Alaska. Northbound has more daylight, with a mid Sept cruise being dark by 7pm.

I have done both directions numerous times. They all were excellent cruises.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Happy Alaska travels

budgetqueenalaska@yahoo.com
#6
584 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Just wanted to mention, the Tundra Wilderness Tour which goes 53 miles into Denali park is not available until after may 19th. however there is a Teklanika Wilderness Tour may14-19 and sept. 13-24, 2013 a 5-7 hr tour that is fully narrated and travels to mile 30 of the park road to Teklanika River Overlook.
So even tho you wouldn't be going in as far as the full tundra wilderness, It would be quite a bit further than the natural history tour.
Just sayin.
#7
Syracuse, New York
49,119 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Sumar76
Just wanted to mention, the Tundra Wilderness Tour which goes 53 miles into Denali park is not available until after may 19th. however there is a Teklanika Wilderness Tour may14-19 and sept. 13-24, 2013 a 5-7 hr tour that is fully narrated and travels to mile 30 of the park road to Teklanika River Overlook.
So even tho you wouldn't be going in as far as the full tundra wilderness, It would be quite a bit further than the natural history tour.
Just sayin.
BUT, not far enough. Missing Polychrome Pass is huge, and very much worth going when it is accessible.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Happy Alaska travels

budgetqueenalaska@yahoo.com
#8
new jersey
1,034 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
only reason we booked Northbound is that NCL Sun going north goes to both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier-going south it didnt go to both-at the time we booked we didnt see any other cruise in either direction going to both places
#9
Texas
3,760 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by margincall
only reason we booked Northbound is that NCL Sun going north goes to both Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier-going south it didnt go to both-at the time we booked we didnt see any other cruise in either direction going to both places
The Princess southbounds go to both - have for the last few years and are scheduled to continue in 2014.