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Salemcat

Balcony at end of May?

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Hello! I'm new to the forum, never been on a cruise and have never been to Alaska. I've been reading the board here for awhile and there is so much good information here.

 

I have many questions, but will start off with this one. Do you think it would be worth it to have a balcony room with a cruise booked at the end of May? I love the idea of sitting out there, eating, sipping coffee, and being able to see the fantastic views. But do you think it will be too cold during that time to be worth the extra money?

 

This is the ultimate trip for me and is THE place that I've always wanted to go to more than any place on earth.

 

We have not confirmed everything yet, but plan on taking a northbound cruise followed by a 3 day land tour in May with Princess.

 

Thank you in advance for any helpful suggestions.

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it is everyones personal choice as too how important a balcony is. i have been upgraded too balconys in may and loved them for the advantage of being ablt too stand out and see the views in private. but it is very chilly and i would not set out on it and eat or enjoy a drink or a smoke for long periods of time. we where bundled up too keep warm. there are many wonderful areas all over the ship too be able too set, relax and gaze out all day besides going to an outside deck too see the sights. if you want too cut the cost of the cabin get an oceanview. you can see out and still enjoy some of the scenery when you are in the cabin. of course i would take a balcony if the price was super cheap or it was an upgrade from the '' upgrade fairy '' ;). have a wonderful cruise.

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We have had balcony cabins for cruises twice in May. Loved it!! Just dress in layers. I sat out there for hours with my binoculars watching the world go by. If you get too cold go inside for a few minutes. Highly recommend a balcony, especially if this is a dream cruise for you.

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Over the past 50 years I have seen Alaska out of a porthole, an obstructed view and a balcony. Balconies are nice...no question about it. However, unlike a cruise in the Caribbean or or the Mediterranean the weather can be iffy and if it is cool and rainy then a balcony is of little use or value. Then you add in the fact that at least 3 of your 7 days are in port.... Now some will contend a port side balcony is great for Glacier Bay but if you sit on your balcony you are going to only see half of the scenery, you really need to be out on deck on that day. It is very much a personal decision.

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Welcome to Cruise Critic.

We have always had a balcony/verandah on Alaskan cruises.

Wev love being able to out and look at the views. And there have been many times when we were able to sit out there and watch the scenery go by, have a cocktail and people watch in the ports.

If you can afford it -- go for it.

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A bigger concern for me is not the balcony but a three-day cruisetour. That is very short and probably too short to take with Princess. My guess is you really dont know what you are buying and what is included at Denali. Read this forum and do your homework.

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A bigger concern for me is not the balcony but a three-day cruisetour. That is very short and probably too short to take with Princess. My guess is you really dont know what you are buying and what is included at Denali. Read this forum and do your homework.
How about a 4 day cruisetour with 2 days in Danal? I am trying to do my homework by reading here, that's why nothing is confirmed yet. Would love insight into this though.

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How about a 4 day cruisetour with 2 days in Danal? I am trying to do my homework by reading here, that's why nothing is confirmed yet. Would love insight into this though.

 

With Princess they give you at least one night at McKinley Princess which in the opinion of most regulars is a very poor use of your precious short time in Alaska. You need two nights (not two days!) at Denali to get into the park and to switch from the Natural History Tour.

 

With such a short time, you can do a similar independent tour much cheaper and quicker. Your drives will be shorter than the train trips they have (30% less) but you can use that extra time for multiple stops en route. You would see and do MUCH more by traveling independently on a shorter trip like 3-4 days/nights.

 

Remember, Alaska is not a foreign country. In fact, it is easier to get around than most places in the lower 48 since you only have one road to deal with in each direction. VERY hard to get lost in Alaska. GPS is not needed. Neither is a road map, except for maybe in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

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Personally, I would never NOT book a balcony for Alaska. If you're dressed appropriately, it won't matter what the weather's doing...you will spend a lot of time out there!

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Balconies are questionable through out the entire season in Alaska. Anything can happen weather wise any month of the year in Alaska. My coldest, wettest trip was in July. I have had good luck in May but again, anything can happen.

 

If you can afford it, I would do it. If not, try to pick a cabin somewhat near an outdoor exit so you can easily get out. The best views will not be from your balcony but from the public decks but it is nice to have a balcony.

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Took my second Alaska cruise on May 15th 2012 with a balcony cabin on Carnival's Spirit. This was our second Alaska cruise and the first one was ocean view. I would never do Alaska without a balcony. I have done many other cruises without a balcony but have gotten so much use out of the balcony. Even if it gets too cold you can sit on the edge of your bed and have the full view out the window! Both cruises were in May and we had the most beautiful weather both times, I would highly recommend it! I did prefer Carnival over Princess but that's a personal choice due to food and age of the travelers. Although I'm mid-50's I still enjoy being young! Two more recommendations: take the train in Skagway and splurge to take the flight to Taku Glacier Lodge over 5 different glaciers with the best salmon cooked on the grill you will EVER have!

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Like others have said it is a personal choice for balconies, however I live like I am dying. The three cruises to Alaska I have been on we have had balconies. Two with relatives that were with terminal cancer and one with my hubby. Will NEVER get a room without a balcony. But again thats just me. I loved getting room service the first day and getting a carafe of coffee and watch sail off on our balcony while having coffee. I keep the carafe in my room and in the morning run up to the buffet and fill it with coffee and go back to the room to sit and enjoy the coffee and the views at my leisure either in my grubs or dressed for the day. It WAS so relaxing. The cruisetour we did was 5 day, 2 nights at Denali and 2 at McKinley. Still not enough time but thats the one we picked and LOVED it. We did the long tour into the park well worth the cost and will do it again. Short one just isnt worth your time or money you really see nothing compare to the long. After cruising with the two relatives that were terminal it was amazing to see and hear the cruise thru their eyes, makes life short and worth the extra money for the balcony. Good Luck and you will love Alaska no matter what room you get.:D

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If you are thinking of a 3 day tour after the cruise then getting 2 weeks off from work is not a problem for you--correct? [that is often the biggest issue in planning a longer vacation] More days than 3 will be important to actually see Denali. IMHO the Natural History tour is worthless. The good views of scenery and animals did not begin until after that tour would have turned around. We took the tundra Wilderness Tour. I know many people suggest the shuttles. They are much cheaper and travel the same road. One thing I liked about the TWT is that the drivers have a 100x video camera and can focus on the wildlife we saw. We brought binoculars, but, DH and I were not very adept at getting good views of the wildife at a distance. [the dall seep look like white specks on the mountains--LOL]

 

We took a 4 day cruise tour. That is the absolute minimum. [we added a day in anchorage--but, wish we had taken more time.]

 

Then, that leads to your budget and what you want to see. How mobile are you? Can you handle your own luggage easily or will being part of a cruise tour be a big advantage. [the couple we traveled with felt that having someonw handle their luggage was important--he had bad knees. It would not have bewen important to us.]

 

Are you game for going off on your own? It is hard to get lost on the main highways in Alaska. The next time we go we will do the land portiion independently.You can book anything the cruise companies offer cheaper.

 

We did not have a balcony. We have sailed in a variety of cabins and decided we wanted to spend our money on pricey excursions [booked independently]. Alaska excursions for us were on average of $120+/person per port.:eek:

 

We cruised from August 31-Sept 7. The weather was cold and iffy. We do not regret not having one. Yes--I would have used it if we had one.

 

If you get the balcony will that lead you to cut back on excursions? If not go for the balcony.:p

Edited by DragonOfTheSeas

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People rave about their balconies, but the key will be, being well prepared in your attire, and perhaps, not count on eating/driinking. In ports, it is mentioned good use of balconies, but hopefully you won't be parked there extensively during a port. :)

 

On your scenic glacier sailing day- it is highly recommended you move about the ship. Staying exclusively in a balcony missed at least 1/2 the scenery- perhaps something to consider.

 

I am a cheap insider- spending at least a month on my Alaska trips- my priority. I take all the excursions I desire- this plan allows that. I do recommend, if a balcony is going to strap the budget and cause giving up a tour of interest- I certainly would back off on the cabin costs.

 

This is an individual choice- that the cruiselines are excellent with the multiple choices.

 

I too, have nothing good to say about any Princess cruisetour of only 3 days. In my opinion, with a cruisetour, 5 is very limited. Take a lot of time, deciding this- and be CERTAIN you understand every detail. Most people do not. I agree with Frugal that if short on time, going independent is a far better choice for use of time- none has to be wasted on a fixed group, point to point schedule. Be certain, the itinerary is where you want to be. Fairbanks and McKinley Princess (Talkeetna) are prime examples- people, many times, are "there" with no clue about highlights, or limited due to time and no transportation. There is way more to Fairbanks than the included Gold Dredge tour and Chena River boat tour, but very few people are willing to plan more. The McKinley Princess is remote, and no place I would be without a car. :) On short cruisetours, time at Denali offers far more activities, that may be of interest.

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I love my balcony. Won't cruise with out it in Alaska. I prefer it in Alaska compared to the Caribbean.

I won't/don't cruise without a balcony regardless of destination...JMHO :)

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People rave about their balconies, but the key will be, being well prepared in your attire, and perhaps, not count on eating/driinking. In ports, it is mentioned good use of balconies, but hopefully you won't be parked there extensively during a port. :)

 

On your scenic glacier sailing day- it is highly recommended you move about the ship. Staying exclusively in a balcony missed at least 1/2 the scenery- perhaps something to consider.

 

I am a cheap insider- spending at least a month on my Alaska trips- my priority. I take all the excursions I desire- this plan allows that. I do recommend, if a balcony is going to strap the budget and cause giving up a tour of interest- I certainly would back off on the cabin costs.

 

I too, have nothing good to say about any Princess cruisetour of only 3 days. In my opinion, with a cruisetour, 5 is very limited. Take a lot of time, deciding this- and be CERTAIN you understand every detail. Most people do not. I agree with Frugal that if short on time, going independent is a far better choice for use of time- none has to be wasted on a fixed group, point to point schedule. Be certain, the itinerary is where you want to be. Fairbanks and McKinley Princess (Talkeetna) are prime examples- people, many times, are "there" with no clue about highlights, or limited due to time and no transportation. There is way more to Fairbanks than the included Gold Dredge tour and Chena River boat tour, but very few people are willing to plan more. The McKinley Princess is remote, and no place I would be without a car. :) On short cruisetours, time at Denali offers far more activities, that may be of interest.

 

I agree with all points almost 100%. Even the time I had a balcony on an Alaskan cruise I spent most of my time outside at the front of the ship. You get to see WAY more than you can from a balcony. Now when I cruise Alaska I only get an inside and park myself out front, where hardly anyone else is because they are not well-prepared for the weather. It basically becomes my private balcony. One time I even brought a chair out there. Plenty of room with just the two of us from my room :)

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As someone who loves to take pictures I think a balcony is always worth it. On our Alaksa cruises even in the evening I would sit outside, have something hot to drink, take pictures and enjoy the views. You just may have to wrap up in one of those heavy bath robes they lend you or a blanket. Though some days it may be sunny and warm, you never know. Personally I love the AFT cabins for the best views and amazing pictures.

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As someone who loves to take pictures I think a balcony is always worth it. On our Alaksa cruises even in the evening I would sit outside, have something hot to drink, take pictures and enjoy the views. You just may have to wrap up in one of those heavy bath robes they lend you or a blanket. Though some days it may be sunny and warm, you never know. Personally I love the AFT cabins for the best views and amazing pictures.

 

I too love taking photos and IMHO a balcony on one side or the other is MUCH worse for photos than the open forward deck on most ships. An aft balcony probably works well too but for a much higher price :)

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This is the ultimate trip for me and is THE place that I've always wanted to go to more than any place on earth.

 

We have not confirmed everything yet, but plan on taking a northbound cruise followed by a 3 day land tour in May with Princess.

 

Thank you in advance for any helpful suggestions.

 

My advice is if you havn't previously had a cruise or balcony cabin don't bother. I have been on some with and some without and have enjoyed them all. My wife gets something extra from having a balcony so now we usually have one but if it's worth seeing it will always be better from the top of the ship.

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Like others have said it is a personal choice for balconies, however I live like I am dying.

 

My favorite line from your reply. The DH and I booked a balcony and rain, shine, freezing, or warm weather we intend to sit on it, enjoy the view and order adult "warm" beverages. :D

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