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Our First ALASKA Cruise! Advice? - CHICAGOPAUL

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To go to AK and not go to Denali would be missing a major beautiful place. Consider it if you can.

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Recommend going to Denali..easy train ride from Anchorageand a must see in my opinion.

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Port out of Vancouver

Icy Strait Point

Cruising Hubbard Glacier

Juneau

Ketchikan

Cruising Inside Passage

Back to Vancouver

 

Hi Paul,

We visited Vancouver in 1978 with our 2 children, aged 8&10 and stayed at the Inn at Denham Place. Our hotel room had a kitchen. In 2003, pre cruise we stayed at the Delta Inn at the airport. 

Both times we visited Vancouver Island and the Bucharest Gardens, which were memorable.

In Vancouver itself (1978) we cycled round Stanley Park. It’s huge. We also took a horse and carriage ride, but maybe that has been replaced by the Ho-Ho bus. I remember the guide pointing out a game of cricket and saying it was a cross between baseball and sleeping.

The summer climate in Vancouver is very ‘British’ ie unpredictable.

We sasiled on Infinity out of Vancouver in 2003. Ketichkan is supposed to be the rain capital of the USA, so make sure you have rain gear. I am sure we had umbrellas in our cabin cupboard ( near the safe). I’m not sure if this was because we were in Alaska, or whether  Celebrity have taken this perk away from balcony cabins, but we didn’t have them on Silhouette in 2018. We had ship tours in both Ketichkan & Juneau. In Ketichkan we certainly visited Dolly’s Place and Juneau we saw Totenham poles, where a demonstration was given of climbing the pole.

When we sailed the Hubbard Glacier there was a commentary by an environmentalist. The ship was turned 360 degrees so everyone had a good view. Initially we had gone to the Sky Lounge to watch, but returned to our balcony as the Sky Lounge was so crowded.

I also remember the small ice flows in the Inside passage. We sailed at the beginning of July, so certainly take layers to wear, as May will be cooler.

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Paul, 

We do Alaska every year out of Seattle at the end of May for my Birthday.  You will have a wonderful time.  I have often wondered if you have done an Alaskan cruise and now I know.  The weather can be a bit of a crap shoot but in all of your trips the only bad weather we had was on the Infinity Aug 2009 rain (summer right?)  Love  reports!!  Agree with post No. 38.

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1 hour ago, gowentgone said:

Recommend going to Denali..easy train ride from Anchorageand a must see in my opinion.

Since Paul is doing a Round Trip from Vancouver that is not practical.

That is the reason that I chose the one way south bound cruise with a land tour.

 

Maybe next time for Paul and Edward.

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Paul, we will be camping at Alder Bay across from Alert Bay (inland passage near Port McNeil/Port Hardy), hope we see you sail by or we will wave at you as we’re fishing in Malcolm inlet. Happy sails, look forward to your review, as always.

Jo-Ann

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I love how excited everyone is for your Alaska cruise! Me too, makes me want to go again, soon!

We went 12 years ago on the Beautiful Mercury and had a great trip. We also cruised from Vancouver to San Diego last September on the Infinity and loved Vancouver (another vote for the Pan Pacific-I know it's too late to vote) I will recommend an awesome sushi restaurant near the Pan Pacific called Miku, it was Outstanding, try to get reservations because it will be busy.  We did the HOHO bus one day and it is a great way to easily see many parts of Vancouver. Do the stop with the ferry to Granville Island for the food market to get some goodies. We also did the simulator fly over Vancouver near Pan Pacific cruise terminal area, touristy but fun. 

We did an Orca tour (Orca Enterprises-Capt Larry)out of Juneau and had a great time, not sure if they are in business any longer. Ketchikan we did the Totem tour from the ship plus the lumberjack show, cheesy but fun for my two young sons.

I know people have recommended binoculars, but I would suggest you just get out some of your Zoom lenses and snap a bunch of awesome pictures! I can't wait to see them😉

Have a great trip, I hope the weather works out for you. 

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We got the transit day pass at Vancouver for $10.25 per adult. It is very convenient. We took the light rail and bus at least 5 or 6 times within one day. It totally worth it. We took the Amtrak Cascade from Seattle to Vancouver and stayed there for a couple days before the cruise. The one way ticket is around $30 if purchase early with no refund option. I highly recommend that. The food in Vancouver is so good that I may have gained 5 pounds before the cruise. Food on Solstice is very good at the MDR, while the buffet is so so. 

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On 3/14/2019 at 11:18 AM, chicagopaul said:

Happy almost weekend everyone! Edward and I decided to jump on a somewhat last minute cruise. We just booked the Celebrity Eclipse for May 19th out of Vancouver for their Hubbard Glacier Cruise. We ended up getting what I believe is a great deal on a Celebrity Suite at $5,378 total including the Go BEST promotion and a total of $975 OBC (this is from Celebrity, Celebrity booking on board - we moved out August cruise - and from out A).

 

This will our first Alaska cruise so I wanted to reach out to get some tips and tricks from all of you as we are starting to plan and on this cruise will definitely book some excursions as well as some tips of where to be on the ship for the best views. Here is a quick breakdown of the itinerary.

 

Port out of Vancouver

Icy Strait Point

Cruising Hubbard Glacier

Juneau

Ketchikan

Cruising Inside Passage

Back to Vancouver

 

We're currently looking at flight options. Not a ton of non-stop from ORD to YVR but there are a couple options on Air Canada (operated by Jazz on their little CRJ 900) that are non-stop as well as one on AA and I think United has one as well. We will definitely spend 1 night before and 1 night after the cruise. We might flight in 2 days early into Vancouver if most of you think it is worth spending multiple full days in Vancouver.

 

Any advice on Celebrity excursions would be appreciated so we could use the OBC. Also packing - any tips and tricks on really what to expect weather wise at the middle to end of May in this area. Also if any of you have stayed at hotels in Vancouver that you highly recommend or even just a specific location of where we should stay I'll take all advice!

 

As always thank you so much for all your advice, thoughts, comments, etc.!

We picked NCL to do Alaska, since Celebrity doesn't do Glacier Bay.   Glacier Bay is amazing, we spent most of a full day there.  You do see Hubbard, which we saw as well.   Celebrity is our preferred cruise line, but its prices have mushroomed in recent years and I am so glad we did Glacier Bay.   Also, we had an aft balcony that was fantastic.

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9 hours ago, 4774Papa said:

We picked NCL to do Alaska, since Celebrity doesn't do Glacier Bay.   Glacier Bay is amazing, we spent most of a full day there.  You do see Hubbard, which we saw as well.   Celebrity is our preferred cruise line, but its prices have mushroomed in recent years and I am so glad we did Glacier Bay.   Also, we had an aft balcony that was fantastic.

Did you find the need to spend a lot of time on other outside decks?  Or did you spend most of your time on your Aft balcony?   I ask because I have a cruise with an Aft balcony late next months.  Any tips on how to manage where you spend your view time?

Thanks

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5 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

Did you find the need to spend a lot of time on other outside decks?  Or did you spend most of your time on your Aft balcony?   I ask because I have a cruise with an Aft balcony late next months.  Any tips on how to manage where you spend your view time?

Thanks

We spent far more time on the balcony than on other outside decks.   We had three persons in that aft balcony, but we all got out on the balcony and loved the glacier.

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1 minute ago, 4774Papa said:

We spent far more time on the balcony than on other outside decks.   We had three persons in that aft balcony, but we all got out on the balcony and loved the glacier.

Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

Currently on Eclipse [10 days, visited both Icy Strait Point and Sitka, plus the main three] - 2nd Alaska cruise. Just left Endicott Arm, but could not reach Dawes Glacier as the warmth has caused excessive ice melt and too many bergs floating down - unsafe to go beyond the main turn. 

 

Weather phenomenal - warm, sun, barely a drop of rain in any port. All the "layer" packing was wasted.  Now towards Victoria, and the first rain we have had!! Great timing for us!

 

Ship is great, all running well. Alejandro is CD, Captain Leo left after the Hawaii to Vancouver leg [he and Alehandsome work very well together. Captain Michael taken over. 

 

Spoke with CC hostess, Adriele Santos - only total 400 members from preview up, on the 19th departure.

 

Elite drinks in the Lounge on this sector were very quiet after quite a full turn up on the Hawaii-Vancouver leg.

 

What actually interests you? What sort of things would you want to see?

 

If you take an excursion at Icy Strait Point, there is a discount card for the next one [given by the guide on the first one] - we did the Hoonah Sightseeing and Tribal Dance, then I did a zipline at $70 off, making it $106. Icy Strait Point is run by the local Tlingit Tribe in Hoonah [1400 shareholders], all funds go back into the community. 75% of workers are tribe members - I was very impressed [and was also impressed by Sitka - native tribal influences too].

 

Have two days to give any answers!!

Edited by PeterGavin
Added Icy Strait Point value deal comment.

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We did this same itinerary in 2016, but on the infinity. It was one of my top vacations of all time (and I have traveled extensively). This is not a cruise to go poke around in ports - the splendor is all nature. 

 

whale watching in ISP  was amazing. 

 

Did a helicopter tour in Ketchikan which was terrific. It was into Tsongass rain forest to spot bears. The town itself was not attractive. 

 

In juneau we did a tough west trail hike to mendenhall glacier and got to enter the ice caves beneath it. It was a bucket list highlight. I believe there are also kayak trips to see the caves that is a less strenuous method of getting there. The ice caves are on the opposite side of the glacier from the visitor center - if you want a chance to see them you must find a way to the west side!

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Thanks everyone for all the comments and suggestions! We are leaving today and I'll be starting my live blog in a separate thread in the next hour! 

 

Peter - Thanks so much for posting! Glad to hear you're enjoying the cruise. Did I read that correctly, only 400 captain club members for the 19th sailing?!!

 

We do have a helicopter glacier tour / glacier walk booked which is what we're most excited about. 

 

BCJO - We will keep an eye out for you fishing!!! haha 

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Yes Chicago Paul,

 

Only 400 total CC members onboard.

 

Adriele is not sure how she will entertain herself !!

 

Wishing all well on the trip - weather southbound has deteriorated - wet and windy, overcast - all that we did not get!! 

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