Alaska Cruise

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12 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Looking at going on an Alaskan Cruise. We are trying to save some $ so is it worth spending the extra $ to book a balcony our thoughts are we would like to be up on deck so we can see the views from both sides of the ship. Any thoughts?
Richardson, TX
71,126 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Im looking at a 4K myself, because people tell me the ice bergs calf and you can hear them during the night when you would not be up onboard.

Maybe to save money consider a inside with french doors and try to book early enough you can pick one that peeks between muster boats.
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Ontario, CA (The one WITH the Palm Trees!)
22,600 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
We've been to Alaska twice, both on HAL. First time in a OV, the second in a SA suite. We discovered that we liked the OV better. We like to people watch and be with the crowds. The suite had a huge balcony. It was nice but we couldn't hear the naturalist over the PA.

Check prices. Our HAL cruises were cheaper than the Carnival cruises.
4,805 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by mom42
Looking at going on an Alaskan Cruise. We are trying to save some $ so is it worth spending the extra $ to book a balcony our thoughts are we would like to be up on deck so we can see the views from both sides of the ship. Any thoughts?
When I did my Alaska cruise all I had was an OV, next time a balcony for sure.
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4 hours and 38 minutes from the closest cruise terminal
10,636 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
The balcony is nice to watch the scenery go by (and it will be continuous for days). But for "serious" glacier watching, you want to be up on deck.

If your itinerary goes to Glacier Bay you WANT to be up on deck. The jaw dropping views are all around you and you would miss quite a bit by just sitting on a balcony.

We had a balcony and I'm very glad we did. As mentioned before, the scenery viewing is continuous and it was nice to just step out as needed.
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Tallahassee, Florida
8,566 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
I did my Alaska cruise in an inside cabin, mainly because I can't sleep unless it's dark, and it doesn't get dark in Alaska in the summer. I was happy to see all the scenery from the Lido deck, warmly inside, listening to the Naturalist. I think you'll be pleased regardless of which cabin you choose.
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9 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
I just upgraded to a balcony from an outside room with an obstructed view. It was not cheap, but I had heard that the views are fantastic. Plus, it is nice to be able to step outside your room. I had a balcony room when I cruised Europe in 2009 and swore I would never go back to a regular room.
NYC Suburbs
233 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by firefly333
Im looking at a 4K myself, because people tell me the ice bergs calf and you can hear them during the night when you would not be up onboard.
You're never at a glacier in the middle of the night. They are not just "on the way" of a sailing. IF that's the only reason for a balcony you don't need one
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Issaquah, WA
3,915 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
I get an inside cabin and save my money for excursions. I spend a lot of time on deck and I'm rarely in my cabin. If I hit the lottery or got a big raise, a balcony might be nice, but at this point in my life, I'm just lucky to be able to afford to go so I make the best of it.
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737 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
It's better to be up on deck to see both sides. You get a much better view and perspective. Save the money for excursions instead. You get a much better taste of Alaska that way.
California's San Joaquin Valley
1,425 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by mom42
Looking at going on an Alaskan Cruise. We are trying to save some $ so is it worth spending the extra $ to book a balcony our thoughts are we would like to be up on deck so we can see the views from both sides of the ship. Any thoughts?
There are so many variables on an Alaska Cruise that there is no one "right answer". We will be taking our tenth cruise to Alaska this summer and will be in an OV. We sailed once in an inside and once with a balcony. The balcony was amazing, but mainly because it was a covered aft balcony and was quite comfortable to use everyday. (Plus we were offered an upsell to the balcony for only $200.) On the other hand, we have had friends who booked a balcony and were not able to use it because it rained the entire week.
For us, unless we get a real "deal" we choose an OV and spend lots of time on the decks. (That way we can afford to cruise to Alaska more often.) You can find out ahead of time the best viewing areas on your ship (via these forums) and then take full advantage of them.
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235 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
We just got back from sailing in an inside cabin. If money were no object, a balcony might be nice, but it was too big of a price difference for us. We were hardly ever in our room and we always found places to sit in the public areas of the ship where we could see outside through big windows. (On Glacier Bay day, we spent the whole day out on deck - you want to be able to see all around you). So, if you are trying to save money, I say skip the balcony.
2,751 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We had a balcony and we used it all the time. It was nice to sit out there and read or watch the ship dock or for sail away. We did go out on the upper decks to view Hubbard Glacier, but they were very crowded and I had a hard time hearing the naturalist, so I went back down to my balcony and I was able to hear much better and it was definitely less crowded!

I'm a balcony snob and because of it, I can't cruise as often as I would like (I can truly blame it on our first travel agent who booked us in a balcony for our very first cruise!). I can't imagine not being able to just sit out there and watch the world go by. BUT - if it would mean I would have to scrimp on excursions in Alaska, I'd get an inside. The excursions are really where you want to spend your money. You can do some things cheaply, but there are some things you may want to do that will cost a pretty penny (but they will be so worth it!).
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Los Angeles
7,896 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
My first two cruises were in Ocean View cabins. My third cruise I got a great deal on a Junior Suite with a balcony on NCL, and I haven't looked back. If I couldn't afford a balcony, I wouldn't cruise. Doesn't have to be a suite, but it does have to have a balcony.

I have often walked the long hallways of the ship and noticed the inside cabins, and thought to myself, "I'd go absolutely nuts in that cabin". Just depends on the person in question. There are heavy black-out drapes on the windows, I sure never noticed not being able to sleep because of daylight outside.

Each person has to do what is right for them.
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Central California
323 Posts
Joined May 2011
Our first cruise to Alaska was an oceanview with just a window. After that we swore never again and only get a balcony.

My brother was in an inside cabin with his wife on our Alaskan cruise last month. They also have said next time they'll get a balcony. They spent quite a bit of time on our balcony.

It's worth it to us for the ability to walk out and see the sights from our cabin without having to go up on deck with other passengers. Also nice to just sit and relax and watch the world go by.
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9,614 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
If money were no object I would say get the balcony. However, for me money always was the object. We had an OV the first time and an obstructed OV the second time. We loved our obstructed OV on HAL on the lower promenade deck. We had an HH cabin (these are typically not made available until a few months before the cruise). We started by booking an inside and then when the HHs became available, we changed cabins. A CC poster had recommended this cabin to us and actually watched when they were available and alerted me. (how nice was that). You don't have a great view, but you can see outside. Some HHs offer a better view than others. WE liked that we could walk a few steps and be out the door and on the promenade deck.

We like to take great excursions, so since we can't afford both, we take the cheaper cabin, but don't skimp on excursions. To us, that is what Alaska is about....getting out of the ports and seeing the wilderness of Alaska.

Now, if I won the lottery, I would be booking that balcony.
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HAL Volendam Alaska June 15, 2008
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San Jose, CA
56 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
We had a balcony and were very happy with it. We sat outside for most of Glacier Bay and saw calving from the balcony. We spent some time on deck later but it was cold and crowded. But, if we could not afford a balcony, we would have been fine.
1,765 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We had OVs when we sailed Alaska and even an inside once which we were happy with because we had to save money on the cruise tour. Brother and his wife had a balcony on one of these trips and they said it was too cold and windy to be outside so the balcony was basically of no use to them. But I guess it would be easier to look at the beautiful scenery and spot wildlife if you have a balcony.

No, you will not be sailing past the glacier at night.
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8 Other Cruises between 1993~2007 on NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Victoria and Carnival
2008-Carnival Splendor 8-day Inaugural Genoa to Dover
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2009-Victoria Queen-Yangtze River, China (Shanghai to Chongqing)
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2015 NCL Jade-11-Day Western Mediterranean
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2015 Crown Princess Wine Country Coastal
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2015 Sinorama Gold 8 Yangtze River
2016 HAL Volendam Asian Adventure
2016 HAL Volendam Far East Discovery
2017 NCL Getaway Transatlantic
2017 HAL Zuiderdam Fjords & Highlands
180 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Fifth Alaska cruise coming up on August 18. First three were Ocean Views on the promenade deck of Holland ships (I like being near the walking track).

Last year was an indoor on Celebrity Millenium. It was okay and obviously cheaper.

This year I'm splurging for a Balcony on the Oosterdam. Really looking forward to seeing if the price difference is worth it. I'm afraid it will be and I'll be hooked forever.