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The Joy or The Bliss for Alaska Inside Passage???

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Looking at the Joy or the Bliss from Seattle for the Alaska inside passage...Have plenty of time, not until June 2020, but they are already booking..going to be celebrating 60th birthday! Looks like slightly different itineraries...Does anyone know what the Broadway show is going to be on the Joy by chance? So anyway any thoughts on which ship? :confused:

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Neither, I'd do a one way either north or south bound. Full inside passage transit is the selling point for me.

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Neither, I'd do a one way either north or south bound. Full inside passage transit is the selling point for me.

 

I would book The Jewel out of Vancouver, British Columbia to Seward, Alaska or Seward to Vancouver or book round trip.

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Looking at the Joy or the Bliss from Seattle for the Alaska inside passage...Have plenty of time, not until June 2020, but they are already booking..going to be celebrating 60th birthday! Looks like slightly different itineraries...Does anyone know what the Broadway show is going to be on the Joy by chance? So anyway any thoughts on which ship? :confused:

The Joy will be refreshed after a $50M facelift. Entertainment has not been announced.

 

Pick a cruise that goes to Glacier Bay. While I understand that you want to go on your 60th, later in the season would be a bit more memorable with wildlife. Belated birthday?

 

I would stay with one of the two big ships out of Seattle.

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Neither will do the inside passage, they are too big.

 

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They indeed both do the inside passage although they are big!!!! Joy also does just a bit different on itineraries....see below..

 

 

7-Day Awe of Alaska: Inside Passage & Glacier Bay from Seattle

 

Norwegian has the youngest fleet cruising to Alaska.

 

 

Starting From $ 1,299 USD

Avg Per Person

 

Show Me This Price

 

SHIP Norwegian Bliss

CRUISE PORTS EMBARK Seattle (Washington); Juneau (Alaska);Skagway (Alaska); Ketchikan (Alaska); Victoria (British Columbia);DISEMBARK Seattle (Washington)

 

I

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Ok, but just to let you know, they have to sail around Vancouver Island, because they are too big to fit through the Canadian part of the Inside Passage.

 

We were on the first sailing of the Bliss to Alaska in June, and a lot of people were very unhappy about this. On the smaller ships, this is some of the best scenery of the trip.

 

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I’ve been juggling which ship to use, but I like that the Bliss stays in Skagway a few hours longer. I would like to do the car rental to Yukon.

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Thanks Diana...that's a good point!
The Bliss is my favorite ship at the moment, she's amazing! ...but my husband wouldn't let me book her for Alaska again. He felt cheated.

The observation lounge is a game changer. I'm not sure if the Joy will have that after the refurbishment. It doesn't have it now.

 

 

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Inside Passage means different things to different cruisers. Most consider the east side of Vancouver Island (docking in Vancouver) to be the Inside Passage. Joy is doing some version of an 'inside' passage, but given that it arrives in Ketchican at 6am, it will be sailing a chunk of the passage at night.

As stated, for Alaska, a smaller ship, or at least one with a good observation deck/area would be advantageous. It may depend on whether you have been there before, and whether it is the destination or the cruise that is more important for you on this milestone event.

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I was just looking at an itinerary map for an Alaskan cruise on The Joy. It shows going North out of Seattle, that you sailed Western side (Pacific Ocean) of Vancouver Island and the same is true for your South bound. I do not see any lines or arrows showing on the Eastern side of Vancouver Island and the mainland of Canada. To me The Inside Passage begins on the Eastern Side of Vancouver Island and continues past the Northern end of the Island. When I was on The Jewel last Fall, this is the route we took in the daylight for most of the way with the Captain doing a narrative along the way.

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wow..that's all so helpful!!!! Thanks for all the info and tips...We will want to sail on NCL b/c I have several of the Cruisenext Certificates....;)

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NCL seems to be updating its site today, or if just doesn't like my searches today. I can't find scheduled June 2020 Alaska itineraries, but if they offer a one way to Vancouver from Alaska, then consider it. Alaska itself would benefit from a visit - if you are at all interested in nature. Then hit the cruise. Ending in Vancouver, rather than starting, means avoiding some of the bedlam of the port that people comment on.

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Good idea...I will check it out...I think if you went to dates first before the ships or itineraries, I believe you can go out to 2020...thanks!

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Good idea...I will check it out...I think if you went to dates first before the ships or itineraries, I believe you can go out to 2020...thanks!

Oh, I can see the month/year, but for some reason it says the page has gone on holiday. I was also trying to open links in their promo email today, and those were also 'on holiday'. I think it is just a blip.

 

As for excursions, I am a frugal type, and when I went (granted 9 years ago), rental cars were very, very expensive. Even based on 2 people it wasn't worth it and we booked ship excursions. Hopefully car rentals have dropped in price or you have more to share the car with, but this was one area of the world that for the price, ship excursions were worth it. One needs to remember some of these ports don't have a lot of road access and there is limited supply.

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The term "Inside Passage" refers to the entire passage from Seattle/Vancouver in the south to Skagway/Galcier bay in the north. The passage itself runs from Seattle to Vancouver, behind (east of ) Vancouver island, then across a short stretch of open ocean, before going behind Moresby and Graham islands and then into the long chain of fjords and passages of SE Alaska. It's all called the Inside Passage as all but the short open ocean stretch is sailed in protected waters.

 

Most cruise ships leaving Seattle do not do the first part of the inside passage, but pass instead to the west of Vancouver Island. Most of the cruise ships leaving Vancouver do pass through the first part of the passage, east of Vancouver Island.

 

When you are cruising in SE Alaska, you are in the Inside Passage, so no matter where your cruise leaves from (Seattle or Vancouver) and no matter whether or not you do the first part of the Inside Passage (behind Vancouver Island) you will still be cruising the Inside Passage.

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With both being big ships sailing Alaska I’d go for the ship itself/price instead of itinerary. The one way sailings have the best itinerary with the true inside passage from Vancouver. If heart set on itinerary and you would be pretty disappointed if you missed glacier or ports, go with a smaller one way and or glacier bay. Alaska weather is unpredictable anytime of year.

 

I wasn’t expecting much from September 22 sailing and went only because price was right.

 

We lucked out on the Bliss final sailing of the season. Captain said it was the first time of the year that he was able to get so close to glacier with ideal conditions so he made a business decision to stay longer and delay afternoon arrival in Juneau. I was so appreciative of his decision. I was actually more in awe our glacier morning than I was with Glacier Bay which we’ve done a few times previously. It was comparable to the scene in Kong where they sail to skull island except better because we were sailing along with ice bergs bigger than houses floating directly below us. Ship moved pretty slow but some icebergs hit the ship and you could feel it. Some of The icebergs were so big that they put up a wake bigger than ship’s. The mountains and waterfalls on either side of us was just an incredible sight. Had weather conditions been any different we’d have missed out on this.

 

I expected dismal weather for our entire sailing due to so late in the season but we really only had one bad weather day (Juneau). Skagway was clear as glass and no wind. Captain said this was a rare occasion too. We did the train to Canada and then 2.5 hour bike ride back to Skagway. Thrilling with a stop for border crossing on our bikes and a few places along the way back to Skagway. Beautiful fall colors and freshly snow capped mountains on a sunny warm day.

 

The Bliss is a beautiful ship but if I was only doing Alaska one time, I’d sail a smaller ship and one way Vancouver and an itinerary that includes Glacier Bay just because odds you’re going to get to see the impressive Glacier are higher.

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thanks! Those seem like some great points...will check out a few smaller ships and some of the one way sailings! Any small ships you prefer or have experience with?

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thanks! Those seem like some great points...will check out a few smaller ships and some of the one way sailings! Any small ships you prefer or have experience with?

 

The Jewel Great ship with a wonderful staff.

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Look closely at the port times of those 2 ships. 7:30am - 1pm at Juneau or Ketchikan. Realistically that gives you about 3 hrs in port. What can you see and do in 3 hrs ?

Then 7pm - midnight in Victoria. A beautiful city but a wasted stop at that time.

 

Definitely look at a one-way.

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I have to agree that a NB one way on the Jewel beats either of the two mega ships.

 

I have started to explore the option of the southbound itinerary on Jewel with a few days in Vancouver. We are looking to book at the end of the month.

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I've done the Seattle route and the Vancouver south-north one. The latter means a smaller ship that can get into Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier, both which are magnificent with the thrill of catching tons of ice calving. The Seattle ships have to make good time on the open ocean west of Vancouver Island, which can create some rough seas. The other advantage of a one-way trip is that the ships spend much longer in ports, so you can both explore cities and do shopping, as well as go on excursions. So when I visited Juneau I just waited until all the Seattle-based ships were gone and then the city was quiet and I could do a late-afternoon Mildenhall trip. The Seattle ships also have to make a Victoria stop to meet the foreign port requirement, whereas on my S-N trip we had an extra day of glacier watching (College Fjord). If you arrive or depart from near Anchorage, you can also take local glacier-viewing excursions.

 

As far as when to go, the least summer rainfall is actually in June, with about 3" versus 5-6" in June and August, and you get longer days in June around the solstice. It's the luck of the draw, though, and I've jumped on last-minute bargain fares at the beginning of September when the forecast showed clear and warm skies in Alaska. Personally, I'd think the water slides and go karts of the Bliss and Joy would be wasted in Alaska weather--I'd rather be on a smaller ships with a retractable roof over a pool area and plenty of promenade and deck space for glacier viewing instead. That's why I skipped the Bliss for Alaska and am going at the end of October to Mexico, and the Joy will be in Mexico for 5 months in winter of 2019-2020, so I'll explore it then, when I can enjoy all the outdoor areas more (bad Alaska weather also means everyone stays inside, creating awful crowding and congestion).

Edited by rj42
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