Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
parrothead1954

Hal alaskan cruise advise please...

Recommended Posts

First time HAL Alaska advice needed.....

We are planning on our first HAL Alaskan cruise and would like some advice...

 

We're planning on a Sept dateline hoping there will be less kids on the trip and choosing HAL because the "megaships" don't really interest us.

 

1. What weather/clothing tips do you suggest?

2. Any suggestions on what level to book with a balcony?

3. Is a balcony in September worth the additional $$ outlay?

 

Any other useful information would be greatly appreciated, as my questions are probably answered somewhere "deep in the bowels" of this website and I'm just too lazy to search!

 

Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Weather in Alaska is flicked at best. Recommend bring clothing that you can layer in and out of. Also, a good rain proof shell jacket is great to have on hand. If you have rain pants, even better.

 

2. We have cruised in Alaska in September, most recently the first week of September 2016. We have always had a balcony and been fortunate enough to upgrade to a Neptune Suite. The Signature Suites were also nice. I haven't sailed in a Veranda stateroom before.

 

3. I feel the balcony is worth the extra cost. Great place to sit and watch for wildlife and to see the glaciers.

 

Hope that helps a bit. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First time HAL Alaska advice needed.....

We are planning on our first HAL Alaskan cruise and would like some advice...

 

We're planning on a Sept dateline hoping there will be less kids on the trip and choosing HAL because the "megaships" don't really interest us.

 

1. What weather/clothing tips do you suggest?

2. Any suggestions on what level to book with a balcony?

3. Is a balcony in September worth the additional $$ outlay?

 

Any other useful information would be greatly appreciated, as my questions are probably answered somewhere "deep in the bowels" of this website and I'm just too lazy to search!

 

Thanks in advance!

 

1. September weather should be raining a lot. We prefer early May for few kids and much less rain. Bring layered clothing to include a water-repellent jacket. Skip the boots unless you will be hiking in the woods and not on trails.

2. Any balcony works but aft balconies are our favorite because of little wind while the ship is moving so you can be outside much more.

3. All balconies in Alaska are worth the extra $$ if you want to watch wildlife and the scenery without leaving your stateroom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree for a cruise earlier in the season. We were on the Niew Amsterdam the last part of May to beginning of June and I can't recall seeing any children onboard. The weather that week was 50/50 with Skagway being fantastic with barely a cloud in the sky, and Ketchikan a constant drizzle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Cruise Critic!

For Alaska, any time of year, bring a hat, one that will shed water and has a brim to keep rain out of your eyes I think is best - then you can put the hood from your rain jacket over the hat to keep you warm and dry. Earmuffs or a headband to cover your ears and gloves. Layers, especially thin layers such as from Winter Silks, Marino wool leggins from Costco etc. Water proof shoes with high traction soles. A fleece jacket for under the rain jacket or a fleece vest. An umbrella is a good thing to have too. I have lots of pockets so I don't carry a waterproof tote. I wear nylon pants (REI or LL Bean type) with leggins underneath, the nylon dries fast and doesn't get wet and cold like jean can.

 

Never had a balcony in Alaska, probably worth it, the premium on the older ships (fewer balconies) can be quite high, but you will want to be out on deck to get the 360 views as much as you can. HAL opens the bow for viewing and the aft pool area is very good too, plus up top where you can walk back and forth, side to side or end to end.

 

Have been to Alaska in September and May, rained both times but also some pristine clear skies both times too. hard to predict weather in Alaska except you can pretty much guarantee rain at least part of the time.

 

Children aren't usually an issue on HAL ships. We brought grandkids in late May and there were maybe 15 children on the ship.

 

Happy planning, m--

Edited by RMLincoln

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We feel it is worth getting the balcony/verandah. Love to sit out there and watch the wild life and in port -- people watch.

Consider a cruise that goes to either Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay. There are 2 types of Glacier Bay cruises. Hubbard Glacier -- JMO -- has the most calving -- and is bluer.

We have waterproof jackets with zippered lining so that we can layer our clothing. Take a hat, gloves, small portable umbrellas. We have waterproof shoes.

We cruised once in September -- worst weather we have ever had in Alaska. We prefer June, July and the first week of August. JMO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First time HAL Alaska advice needed.....

We are planning on our first HAL Alaskan cruise and would like some advice...

 

We're planning on a Sept dateline hoping there will be less kids on the trip and choosing HAL because the "megaships" don't really interest us.

 

1. What weather/clothing tips do you suggest?

2. Any suggestions on what level to book with a balcony?

3. Is a balcony in September worth the additional $$ outlay?

 

Any other useful information would be greatly appreciated, as my questions are probably answered somewhere "deep in the bowels" of this website and I'm just too lazy to search!

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Just got off Noordam, last cruise of the season for her. Weather was AWESOME! Much better than the year we went in May. The crew said the week before our cruise it rained all week so I guess you just take your chances. Had a signature Suite and we spent ALOT of time on the balcony watching the world go by. Saw calving glacier from there also in Glacier Bay. Very nice. Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been on a few Alaskan cruises with HAL. Most recently, a 2 week on the Maasdam. I've been in OV, balcony and Neptune Suite. In my opinion, if you're on a 7 day cruise, I'd forgo the balcony and use that extra money to take a (few) nice excursions - like a helicopter ride or something along those lines. If $$ isn't so much an issue, then do what pleases you.

 

If you're on a longer cruise, then the value of the balcony goes up some. I was upsold to a balcony this last cruise and in the end, it was a toss up if it was worth it. There's lots of "free" balconies out there without having to pay - the aft pool deck area, the promenade deck, and the sky deck. If you got an OV on the promenade deck, and near an exit door, you could walk right out to a balcony.

 

Weather in Alaska is indeed fickle. I've been blessed all the times I've been, both on a cruise and on some land-only personal trips - to have had really great weather. But kids are not nearly so "plentiful" on HAL ships, regardless of when you go, as on some of the other cruise lines and mega ships.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After watching the Juneau webcam all season, I did not see much difference throughout the season. 90% or more of the days were overcast, most with at least some rain. Temperatures were mostly in the 50s to mid 60s.

 

From my personal experience last May (second week of the season), Juneau was like above, Skagway started out cool and drizzly but cleared up and warmed up by the end of the day, and Ketchikan's weather was beautiful. So, you can get anything.

 

We had a number of children (more than your usual HAL cruises) but I didn't see them very much except before dinner. Most were preschool age and Club HAL seemed to keep them occupied.

 

Definitely bring layers and waterproof outerwear.

 

I enjoyed my balcony although I did have to use blankets to sit on it for a few days.

Edited by Scrapnana

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were just there the end of August/part of the first two weeks of September on Maasdam and had many days with sunshine...Seattle embarkation day, Ketchikan, Juneau, Dawes Glacier, and Kodiak were all lovely. So don't rule out that time of year - our guide said it was the only sunny day Kodiak had for ship passengers all summer!

 

Other ports were overcast with some rain, and near the end, some rough seas. Enjoyed it all.

 

Good advise about layering. It never was bitter cold, just chilly...you can add or subtract layers as needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've been in May, September, and July. This year was our July trip and it was awfully crowded with kids. I was surprised.

 

We had great weather in both May and September but had rain everyday of the July cruise. So, as you can see weather is a crapshoot.

 

Best to pack layers and gloves, hat, rain jacket as others have mentioned.

 

We've had a verandah stateroom on all of the above cruises. We are going again in August of 2017 and for this trip we have opted for a Lanai category. We had smokers next to us on our July cruise this year so we've opted not to get a verandah again.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have cruised Alaska in every month except June so our next Alaska cruise is in June. I think our worst weather was in July and August.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were in a standard double on Lower Promenade Deck near a door to the promenade, so could dash out quickly to either side of our "really big balcony." I love staterooms on that deck as a rule, one reason I like the smaller ships that still have them.

 

Next time, though, I'd probably book a balcony or try a Lanai cabin on that deck so we could see the gorgeous Alaska scenery easier through the full length glass doors. On the smaller ships, both are fairly pricey but I think it would be worth it.

 

In our outside double, the head of the bed was against the window wall, so I found myself often crouched on the bed facing toward the window, leaning elbows on a stack of pillows to see the sights go by. Not the easiest position to maintain very long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we are doing a Seattle R/T next year that skips a lot of the Inside Passage we opted for an inside cabin and save the extra $$$. Due to the scenery all the cruise lines charge an extra high premium for balconies in Alaska. Last time when we had one we almost never used it because it was too cool or wet all the time. Ended up in the Crows Nest lounge most of the time where we could see both sides.

 

Best thing we bought for last time was Columbia jackets with removable fleece liner. Very versatile - Fleece only for cool/dry, shell for warm/wet and both for cold wet. 15 years later we still have them and when we lived in MN it was my go to jacket down to 0°F.

 

In Western Washington we usually figure August and Sept to be the "drier" months but up in the Alaska panhandle it works a little different due to the jet stream. Could be anything on a given day. One thing about June/July - daylight hours are longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've been to Alaska twice in September, once the first week and last summer on the last cruise of the season. I expected rain the whole time, but we did have a gorgeous day in Glacier Bay last summer as well as Sitka. Juneau and Ketchikan were spotty rain. Temperatures can be cold near the glaciers because of wind coming over the ice, so be able to bundle up, but the advice for layering is spot on.

 

We don't take winter coats, but in Juneau I wore a long sleeve t-shirt with a sweatshirt over it and a waterproof jacket. Do take a hat and gloves.

 

As for the balcony, the first trip we spent a lot of time on it, but we were traveling with Mom and Dad and were next to each other with the dividers open. The second trip we rarely used it because the best views are from the open deck. If you want to spot wales and other wild life, you need to be able to move from side to side and front to back easily.

 

Most of all, enjoy it. Alaska is fantastic!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been to Alaska twice in Sept during exact same week. First time warm, mid-60's to 70 and sunny. Second trip monsoon rains, gale winds, sun one day and cold, 50's.

 

It is a crap shoot, Mother Nature's choice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will second the advice you are reading here. Go on your cruise expecting that the weather can be almost anything from sunny and warm to rainy, gloomy and chilly. Do the layering thing as everyone recommends-rain jacket, fleece for warmth, headband or earmuffs and some gloves. You can bring an umbrella although I find them awkward to fuss with. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.

 

Remember that Ketchikan's average yearly rainfall is 141 inches and their one day record is 9 inches I think. Fall is considered to be the rainiest but my most beautiful weather there was on the second to last cruise in September so go figure. My friend from Juneau had a button that read Juneau Rain Festival January 1- December 31. It's all okay because you are in ALASKA.

 

I've never found kids to be an issue on a HAL cruise in Alaska. There were never that many even in mid summer and either they were all particularly well-behaved or just really liking Alaska.

 

As for balconies-my first cruise was just a window cabin but the rest have been verandah's. I like them because my husband is not one to go running around the decks looking for the best spot and it can get crowded on the bow at Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay. But the most important thing is to take advantage of the shore excursions at all the ports so if the expense of a balcony would keep you from doing any of those then skip the balcony, there will be plenty of opportunities to be outside on the public decks.

 

Have a fantastic trip; there is nothing like an Alaskan cruise.

St. Louis Sal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...