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Old September 7th, 2013, 07:23 AM
MATHA531 MATHA531 is online now
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Default Alaska Cruises from East Coast

I hope this is appropriate here. I'm in the initial stages of planning for a possible Alaska cruise next August. I live in NYC. So what is the basic protocol? It is clear one has to travel the day before the cruise say to SEA-TAC. Does one stay at an airport hotel and then how does one transfer to the cruise terminal. Or perhaps a downtown Seattle hotel and then a taxi to the cruise terinal? Or just allow the cruise line to set up the overnight stay and transfer?

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Old September 7th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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CruiserBruce CruiserBruce is online now
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If you do some reading on the West Coast Departures board, where Seattle is covered (Seattle is not in Alaska), you will see hotel info, transport methods, sightseeing info, etc.

As is the recommendation about 98% of the time, cruise line hotels and transfers are not the best deal cost wise, or in terms of convenience.

Last edited by CruiserBruce; September 7th, 2013 at 08:00 AM.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 09:52 AM
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azevedan azevedan is offline
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If you're cruising out of Seattle, there's a Marriott directly across from the cruise terminal. You can walk over. Porters will help with your luggage if you like.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 10:20 AM
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sweet carol sweet carol is offline
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You can also fly to Vancouver B.C. Canada and cruise from there on a round trip or on a one way and fly home from Anchorage. Or fly to Anchorage and come south to Vancouver. I have travelled Seattle Route and Vancouver Route. I prefer Vancouver because you travel clover to the mainland of Canada as you travel either N or S and the scenery is beautiful. Leaving out of Seattle you are on the West coast of Vancouver Island and not much to see just water you are too far from land. We prefer Hubbard Glacier to Tracy Arm as you get closer it was amazing. This year we are leaving next week for our 5th Alaska Cruise on Island Princess from Vancouver and for the first time we are going to Glacier Bay it is supposed to be spectacular. We love the Beauty of Alaska and it is a relaxing cruise for us we are also staying on board for the Vancouver to San Francisco Cruise. We will spend a few days there before returning home. If I can help you with your plans let me know. Sweet Regards Carol
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Old September 7th, 2013, 12:43 PM
donaldsc donaldsc is offline
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Originally Posted by MATHA531 View Post
Or just allow the cruise line to set up the overnight stay and transfer?

This is the worse scenario. Anything that a cruise company does for you will be over priced. You will over pay for the room and you will grossly overpay for the transfer. Use the internet to find and reserve your room and your transfer.

BTW - when I saw the title of your post, my first through was "are they really trying to take a cruise from the east coast to Alaska?" LOL. Could be an interesting cruise if you could pull it off.

Last edited by donaldsc; September 7th, 2013 at 12:45 PM.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 12:56 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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My suggestion is that you do lots of research on the various type of cruises and cruise tours in Alaska before anything else. Here is a link to a site that has some--but, not all of the information about the ports.


I thought I had done enough when I made my reservations. But, I wish I had done some things differently and I did not find out the issues until well into my research.

Are you limited to one week for your cruise? If you can spare more time [even a few days] then a one-way cruise will provide a much richer experience.

Also, you need to decide what are your priorities/interests. There are a few different ports and many of the same. [you may like an itinerary from Vancouver better] There are different types of excursions available. The excursions make the cruise in Alaska.

Sorry--not trying to be on my soapbox. But, flights are really one of the last things I worked on.

An AK cruise is complicate.

I told our DD we had been on the most types of transportation on this trip. [ commercial airplane, taxi, trolley, ferry, shuttle van, cruise ship, tender, narrow gauge railroad, 6 passenger whale boat, small tour bus, large tour bus, Double-Decker railroad car, a cable car, and a rental car] . . . and our trip was only 12 days.

Have a great cruise.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Gardyloo Gardyloo is online now
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Alaska cruises fall into two categories - round trips and one-ways. Because of US maritime law, cruises leaving from Seattle are only round trips - they go as far north as the southeastern "panhandle" of Alaska, then turn around and return to Seattle.

Cruises from Vancouver BC offer both round trip and one-way options. The one way cruises start in Vancouver and end in either Whittier or Seward, Alaska, both of which are in "southcentral" Alaska - Anchorage is the big city and the airport used. The ships then turn around and offer one-way cruises back to Vancouver.

The advantage of the Vancouver departures is that both the round trips and one-ways travel on the east side of Vancouver Island, in sheltered waters and passing through some scenic parts of the "inside passage." Round trip cruises departing Seattle generally travel on open ocean to the west of Vancouver Island, and only enter the "inside passage" after a full day of open-ocean (very little scenery) sailing.

Many people use the one-way cruises as a means of visiting parts of Alaska that can't be accessed on the round trips, such as Denali National Park, the Kenai Peninsula, and other interior and southcentral Alaska destinations. On the round-trip cruises, obviously, this isn't possible. In these cases, it's typical to fly to one end of the cruise (either Vancouver itself, or Seattle then a land transfer to Vancouver) and fly home from the other, for example fly to Vancouver and return from Anchorage.

So in your planning for next year, you need to decide if you want to do a one-way cruise (along with some days for land exploration on the Alaska end) or a round-trip from Seattle or Vancouver.

There are plenty of flights from NYC to both Vancouver and Seattle; if you return from Anchorage (or fly there in the first place) you'll need to change planes somewhere as there aren't (this year, anyway) any nonstops from greater New York.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 02:38 PM
Northern Aurora Northern Aurora is offline
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Originally Posted by azevedan View Post
If you're cruising out of Seattle, there's a Marriott directly across from the cruise terminal. You can walk over. Porters will help with your luggage if you like.
Just a quick note -- Seattle has two cruise ship terminals. The Marriott Waterfront is across form the Bell Street (Pier 66) cruise ship terminal. The Smith Cove (Pier 91) terminal is located in a rather industrial area.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 03:20 PM
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bonvoyagie bonvoyagie is offline
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Believe it or not you can cruise from NYC to Alaska - several cruise lines offer long term repo cruises - 28-35 days - the NCL Jewell went from NYC to FL through the Panama Canal up the Mexican Coast - then the CA and OR coasts to Vancouver BC - then to AK and back to Seattle.

Now for rest of the AK season - the above posters are correct you really need to look at what you want to see and do in AK. There are very few true sea days in AK and transit between ports is quick and easy. I think you can sum up AK with Scenery, Gold Rush History, Native Culture and Wildlife. You can experience all of them with a SE AK cruise and the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka or Icy Strait Point. Take a look at these websites www.cruiseportinsider.com and www.travelalaska.com for more information.

The two departure ports - Seattle and Vancouver are separated by about 3hrs and a border crossing. Depending on where you are coming from, Seattle is cheaper to fly to than Vancouver - once there you can easily transit to Vancouver using Amtrak, Greyhound, or rental car. Timing the transfers could be a problem and might require an overnight stay in Seattle anyway. Seattle built a new cruise terminal a few years ago for HAL and Princess - their old terminal was down in an industrial/ cargo ship area - now it is about 15 min north of the Bell Terminal (pier 66) - in fact you can see one from the other.

As to the one way vs round trip - only you can make that decision - I am of the belief that if you are going to do a one way then you should have another week to explore the interior - however the more research I do I find that there are several things that can be done with some amount of quality in the Kenai area in a day or two - plus you have to get from Whittier/Seward to Anchorage to catch any flights back to the lower 48.

As for the Seattle vs Vancouver RT there is only one area where the two differ and that is which side of Vancouver Island you travel - the windward or leeward. The leeward is generally calmer and more scenic (more on the SB trips than NB) But you will have lots of time to gaze and the mountains and forests once you hit the inside passage. The other difference in the Vancouver departures is that they do not have to make a foreign port call to satisfy the PTSA - Seattle departures must make a port call in Canada - usually Victoria before returning to Seattle.

Glacier viewing - all cruise lines want to offer you some sort of glacier experience from the ship - most use Tracy Arm/Sawyer Glacier as the other main glacier attraction is Glacier Bay national park and it has restricted access - only Princess, HAL, and NCL are allowed in - and then only two ships/day. Both are must sees for different reasons - TA is a narrow winding Fjord with a tidewater glacier at the end - the steep walls and tight turns are spectacular in a cruise ship and even better from a small boat. GB is filled with many glaciers and the NP naturalists explain how the bay developed and has changed over time. The typical time spent in GB is around 8 hours - the time in TA is about 4.

So enjoy your planning and come back here for more advice about excursions
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Old September 7th, 2013, 03:55 PM
SightCRR SightCRR is offline
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Default Seattle Round Trip (14 Day)

The above posts have great general info. For 2014 HAL has four 14 day cruises R/T from Seattle. Ports are Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait, Downtown ANC, Homer, Kodiak, Sitka & Victoria. Cruising includes Tracy Arm & Hubbard Glacier. It was a great cruise for us in Aug 2012 and we booked June this year. It does have downsides like west of Vancouver Is, no Skagway and no second chances of weather problems in cities where land tour could be more flexible to see Denali for example. We got a great rate for 2012 but as yet for 2014 not that great. The HAL terminal is at pier 91 (15 min north of downtown and easy cab ride.) 45-60 min from SeaTac airport.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 05:40 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Originally Posted by bonvoyagie View Post
Believe it or not you can cruise from NYC to Alaska -
. . .I am glad you had the same thought I did. When I first read this I thought you meant cruise from NYC to Aaska.
Sorry--not making fun of you--just thought this from the title of the thread.

Last edited by DragonOfTheSeas; September 7th, 2013 at 05:41 PM.
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Old September 7th, 2013, 06:43 PM
Budget Queen Budget Queen is offline
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Your question has several options to consider. BUT have you already chosen a round trip Seattle cruise? It's up to you if you are ok with the risk of missing a ship by flying in the same day- which some people do. Coming in a day prior does give some leeway for alternative plans if the original have problems.

The basic advice above, directs you to really be knowledgeable about what you are booking and be certain it is what you want. With Alaska there are important details that may be of interest.
Happy Alaska travels

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Old September 8th, 2013, 01:43 AM
pdmlynek pdmlynek is offline
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I think that you've gotten some good suggestions already.

As far as traveling the day before or the day of the cruise, I think that most cruisers like to have an extra day in case something goes wrong with their flight and they do not want to take a chance in missing the ship. Personally, I do not think that if you take an early morning flight from New York that there should be problems, but I did like to arrive a day earlier, so that I had one more day to explore the city -- it was defacto an additional cruise stop.
New to cruising, but an experienced traveler
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