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Legend-ary Alaska Planning and Trip Report


Mediterranean_Honeymooner
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Hello!   I LOVE reading cruise trip reports.  I have been reading every one I can get my hands on since we booked our Alaskan Cruise. I recently had the pleasure of coming across one by Anita Latte.  In addition to reporting on her trip, Mrs. Latte also chronicled her planning/thought process.  It was fantastic.  And so I thought...”I should do that!”   It may not be great journalism or perfect photography, but I may just be able to put out something that will be interesting or helpful to others planning Alaskan cruises. My plan is to discuss some of my planning and then transition into a trip report when we return. So here goes nothing....

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The who:  myself, a 35 year old nurse practitioner and DH, a 39 year old chemical engineer.  

 

The what: Alaskan Cruise on the Carnival Legend 

 

The when: April 29th, 2019 sailing out of Vancouver

 

The why....therein lies the story.  To fully explain, we need to go back 10+ years.  We got married in 2009.  At that time, we decided to go BIG for our honeymoon.  We had saved up some money and wanted to take “the trip of a lifetime”.  We narrowed it down to 3 options - the Mediterranean, Australia, or Alaska.  The Mediterranean was at the top of my bucket list and Alaska was at the top of DH’s.  We knew we wanted to do a cruise.  So when we settled on an October 10th wedding date, I “won” by default (as there are no Alaska sailings that late).

 

There are no regrets on either of our parts...our honeymoon was an AMAZING three week/three continent journey through Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Egypt. ❤️❤️❤️ 

 

Then life happened, and Alaska fell by the wayside.  But it was never forgotten.  As our 10 year anniversary drew closer, I knew that I really wanted to make an Alaskan cruise happen for my DH. But there was a lot more standing in the way now.  The first challenge was that we now had “champagne tastes on a beer budget”.  We now have two kids in a private school (public schools in our area aren’t good), a mortgage, two car payments, and a 15 year old wiener dog in ailing health.  Our priorities for money aren’t what they once were.  The second challenge was childcare.  We knew we wanted to take a trip just the two of us.  We haven’t done that since the kids were born. But we also knew we didn’t want to be away from them for a long time, nor were we likely to be able to get childcare for over a week.

 

So knowing those two things, I had pretty much resigned myself to Alaska being off the table.  I continued to look, but nothing was in our price range. 

 

I feel I should back up at this point so you understand us.  We aren’t cruise snobs.  We have been on 2 Carnival cruises and 2 Princess cruises.  They have all been delightful.  We usually base our choice of line on itinerary and price.

 

So going back to the present day, we were looking at every cruise line.  We were open to any ship that would get us to Alaska.  But I knew we wanted to try to get a veranda if it was possible.  Everything I had read said that Alaska was one itinerary where the balcony was “a must”.  Now, I won’t say I felt it was “a must”, but I was hopeful we could swing it.  

 

As the days went on, it looked like Alaska was a pipe dream.  Until one day in December. I just happened to be looking at past passenger specials for Carnival.  There was a great deal on the first sailing of the season.  But surely that deal wouldn’t extend to balconies.  Wait, it does?!?!  $700 per person for a 7 day Alaskan cruise in a guaranteed balcony?!?!  Done.

 

And that was how this trip was born.   More to come. (Photo below of us on our honeymoon.)

 

EB2DF2C0-80A1-49F0-AADF-B62DF3D8186F.jpeg

Edited by Mediterranean_Honeymooner
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Looking forward to following along on your planning. $700 each sounds like a fantastic price.  So happy you found something that works for you so you can take this trip.  We will be taking our first cruise to Alaska in August and obviously I am already excited and planning since I am reading the Alaska boards. 

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39 minutes ago, er345 said:

Looking forward to following along on your planning. $700 each sounds like a fantastic price.  So happy you found something that works for you so you can take this trip.  We will be taking our first cruise to Alaska in August and obviously I am already excited and planning since I am reading the Alaska boards. 

 

 

Glad to have you along.  Hoping to be able to share info that may be helpful to others in their planning. 

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Money Saving Strategies

 

I don’t consider us to be “cheap”, but we are definitely “frugal”.  We like to vacation, but our money priorities have shifted (as I previously mentioned).  So it is important to us to stay in budget, but also to get the best value for that dollar.

 

As I said, we had certain things we didn’t want to sacrifice to save money - we didn’t want to sacrifice a balcony and we didn’t want to sacrifice itinerary.  That being said, we didn’t have have many itinerary requirements.  Ideally, we would have loved to take several weeks and add on a land tour to the end of our cruise.  But we knew that it wasn’t feasible to leave the kids for that long (nor did we want to). So we decided to be happy with as much of Alaska as we were able to see in that week. 

 

We knew it was going to be most reasonable for airfare if we found a round trip Seattle cruise, so that was one thing we were looking for.  And we both felt Glacier Bay was a must. The great rate we found did include Glacier Bay, so that worked out well.  It wasn’t a true round trip, as it starts in Vancouver and ends in Seattle, but for the great cruise rate, it was worth that additional travel cost.

 

The first thing we did after booking the cruise was finding our flights.  We have Southwest Rewards, so we were able to get our round trip flights to Seattle with points. Free flights? Check!

 

For our last cruise, we had seen a tip on here about using an American Express discount that saved us some money, so I started watching the boards for another sale to come up.  Bingo!  An offer for an immediate $100 credit to your Amex account for a $500 or more cruise purchase. My husband and I each have an Amex, so we each charged $500 to ours, and Amex immediately refunded the $100, so our cards were only charged $400 each.  Extra $200 savings? Check!

 

Next I saw an offer that if I put the remaining balance for the cruise on a Carnival Mastercard, I could get a $200 statement credit.  I didnt have a Carnival Mastercard, but I decided for the credit and the discount on excursions it was worth getting. (I pay off my credit cards every month, so this is just “free” money.  If you are someone who keeps a credit card balance, the interest would not make these good strategies for you.). I have already received the statement credit, and will be using this to pay for prepaid gratituities and will put the rest towards onboard spending for photos or drinks. Free gratuities and OBC? Check!

 

(continued next post)

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21 minutes ago, Mediterranean_Honeymooner said:

Money Saving Strategies

 

I don’t consider us to be “cheap”, but we are definitely “frugal”.  We like to vacation, but our money priorities have shifted (as I previously mentioned).  So it is important to us to stay in budget, but also to get the best value for that dollar.

 

As I said, we had certain things we didn’t want to sacrifice to save money - we didn’t want to sacrifice a balcony and we didn’t want to sacrifice itinerary.  That being said, we didn’t have have many itinerary requirements.  Ideally, we would have loved to take several weeks and add on a land tour to the end of our cruise.  But we knew that it wasn’t feasible to leave the kids for that long (nor did we want to). So we decided to be happy with as much of Alaska as we were able to see in that week. 

 

We knew it was going to be most reasonable for airfare if we found a round trip Seattle cruise, so that was one thing we were looking for.  And we both felt Glacier Bay was a must. The great rate we found did include Glacier Bay, so that worked out well.  It wasn’t a true round trip, as it starts in Vancouver and ends in Seattle, but for the great cruise rate, it was worth that additional travel cost.

 

The first thing we did after booking the cruise was finding our flights.  We have Southwest Rewards, so we were able to get our round trip flights to Seattle with points. Free flights? Check!

 

For our last cruise, we had seen a tip on here about using an American Express discount that saved us some money, so I started watching the boards for another sale to come up.  Bingo!  An offer for an immediate $100 credit to your Amex account for a $500 or more cruise purchase. My husband and I each have an Amex, so we each charged $500 to ours, and Amex immediately refunded the $100, so our cards were only charged $400 each.  Extra $200 savings? Check!

 

Next I saw an offer that if I put the remaining balance for the cruise on a Carnival Mastercard, I could get a $200 statement credit.  I didnt have a Carnival Mastercard, but I decided for the credit and the discount on excursions it was worth getting. (I pay off my credit cards every month, so this is just “free” money.  If you are someone who keeps a credit card balance, the interest would not make these good strategies for you.). I have already received the statement credit, and will be using this to pay for prepaid gratituities and will put the rest towards onboard spending for photos or drinks. Free gratuities and OBC? Check!

 

(continued next post)

 

This is a great tip to save on gratuities. Where did you find these deals ? 

 

That $700 for balcony is amazing - What are the dates you are sailing ?   

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Money Saving Strategies (cont)

 

So the next step was choosing hotels. Just like we don’t have any cruise line loyalty, we also don’t have loyalty to a particular hotel chain.  As long as it’s clean and comfortable, we are good. We knew we wanted to be downtown in both Seattle and Vancouver, so that we would have the option to walk to various sights. I looked at numerous options (Hotels.com, AirBNB, Priceline, Expedia), but the least expensive option for both cities wound up being Hotwire.com with their “Hot Rate” program.  For those who aren’t familiar, this is a rate for an unknown hotel.  They will tell you the star level, area, user ratings, distance to attractions, etc., but you don’t know the exact hotel until after you have paid. We have done this before and always been pleased.  Hotwire was offering an additional 10% off, so we were able to get a 3 star hotel in downtown Vancouver for $82 for one night and a 3 star hotel in Seattle (0.3 miles from the Space Needle!) for $107 (prices include all taxes and fees. Two nights of downtown lodging for under $200? Check!

 

We knew we would have to find a way to get from Seattle to Vancouver.  Bus was the cheapest, but train was more scenic.  Renting a car is also an option, but that seemed like more hassle than I wanted.  So we put a pin in that decision until I got a pop up from Amtrak (gotta love how they stalk every site you visit to know what you are shopping for 😳😂) advertising a BOGO Valentines Day special for the train. Awesome!  Two seats on the train for $44? Check!

 

I also happened upon an Amex special that will get me $30 off an Uber ride, so that should take of getting us from the airport to our hotel in Seattle. Check.

 

Somewhere in there, I also managed to check the website and found a small price drop, so I called and got that applied, saving us $60 more on cruise cost.

 

So if you’ve been keeping score, we have got 7 day Alaskan cruise in balcony cabin for two people plus taxes and fees, gratituities and a little extra OBC, two nights hotel, all flights, transportation to Seattle hotel, and transportation from Seattle to Vancouver and we are well under $2000 out of pocket. Woohoo!!! 😄👍

 

Next I’ll cover excursion decision making. (That’s been much tougher!)

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1 hour ago, amisup said:

 

This is a great tip to save on gratuities. Where did you find these deals ? 

 

That $700 for balcony is amazing - What are the dates you are sailing ?   

 

The gratuities will be covered by the statement credit I got from applying for the credit card.  I found the offer on the Carnival website.  I went to pay the balance, and an offer popped up asking if I wanted to get $200 back in statement credit by applying for the card.

 

Some people get free gratituities or OBC specials through a TA, but the past passenger rate was actually better than any we found through a TA.

 

Our sailing is 4/29-5/6. I believe that is the first of the season for Carnival which I’m sure is why we found such a good deal on it. There are definitely some drawbacks to traveling that early, as detailed in this thread:

 

 

But overall, the benefits outweighed any drawbacks.  For instance, if seeing bears or salmon runs are a must for you, don’t go in April/May.  However, we live near the Smokies and have seen wild bears multiple times, so that wasn’t a must for us. 

 

Edited by Mediterranean_Honeymooner
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I'm so enjoying reading your process! Excellent money saving strategies! I haven't heard of the AMEX credit offer before. Both DH and I have an AMEX and we have a cruise on the books...I'll have to look into that to see what that is all about. Our AMEX is a Delta one though...IDK if the same offers would apply? You said you watched the boards for the offer...where?

 

Interesting thought about the cruise line specific card as well...I'm going to look into that idea too. I'm all about working the system... You have to be careful of how new credit lines after your FICO score...but other than that...if you don't carry debt on the cards, there's little reason to not take advantage of introductory offers. The big question is whether or not the introductory offers on only a one time thing. For instance...AMEX has a lifetime introductory offer limit. You can only get one introductory offer for each type of card in your lifetime. It's why we waited and watched for the best intro for Delta miles for DH's AMEX.

 

Wishing I could be planning an Alaska cruise...not possible with up and coming life changes...will be enjoying following along with yours.

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6 hours ago, Anita Latte said:

I'm so enjoying reading your process! Excellent money saving strategies! I haven't heard of the AMEX credit offer before. Both DH and I have an AMEX and we have a cruise on the books...I'll have to look into that to see what that is all about. Our AMEX is a Delta one though...IDK if the same offers would apply? You said you watched the boards for the offer...where?

 

Interesting thought about the cruise line specific card as well...I'm going to look into that idea too. I'm all about working the system... You have to be careful of how new credit lines after your FICO score...but other than that...if you don't carry debt on the cards, there's little reason to not take advantage of introductory offers. The big question is whether or not the introductory offers on only a one time thing. For instance...AMEX has a lifetime introductory offer limit. You can only get one introductory offer for each type of card in your lifetime. It's why we waited and watched for the best intro for Delta miles for DH's AMEX.

 

Wishing I could be planning an Alaska cruise...not possible with up and coming life changes...will be enjoying following along with yours.

 

Yay! I’m so glad you found this report! I hope you don’t mind that I referenced your report - it was awesome and really inspired me to write this.  I loved reading your planning process. 

 

As as far as the American Express, that seems to be an rotating offer (not an introductory offer).  We used it for our cruise last fall (we have had these Amex cards for almost a decade) and then it came around again for this one.  There is a saving money board here on CC and whenever the special comes around again, someone will post it there.  I have no idea if it is offered for a Delta Amex, but it is worth checking.  Go under your offers, and travel and it should be labeled “World’s Leading Cruiselines”.  

 

The statement credit for Carnival was a one time offer, but the excursion discount is ongoing. I don’t know if I’ll keep that card long term, but I don’t open enough new cards for my credit to take a hit. 

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I don't mind at all that you mentioned my report...in fact, I'm very flattered that you did!

 

Our AMEX cards are newer...I've only had mine for about one year. It's slightly embarrassing to admit, but I didn't realize that there could be so many special offers that are such good quality! The other cards in our arsenal are more about bonus points, etc., not full on statement credits. Eye opening for me...and something for me to definitely monitor.

 

I'm very interested in what excursions you'll be able to go on and how the conditions are. I've seen some great deals for the early Alaska sailings. You got a good one for your balcony. Are you planning on bringing a blanket? I read a first sailing report on a different line...it was a May sailing...the cruiser had brought her own fleece mermaid blanket? I don't remember exactly, but she spent a bit of time on her balcony and the blanket did seem to come in handy.

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I'm loving this. We are fairly new to cruising - a few Caribbean cruises over the last few years. Really big Alaska coming in a couple of months. I sometimes feel like I'm starting to salivate while reading these detailed reports. Especially Anitas'. I'm sure when we get back from our Alaska trip, it will take me weeks to edit into usable format, all the thoughts and pix I have accumulated on the 16 day adventure.

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I had no idea that there were so many ways to save $$$. We have made some inroads through saving with the RCI Visa and the Alaska Air BOA cards - mostly in the form of OBC , companion fares and air mileage. Joy found a great deal on a flight back from Seattle where the first class was only a bit higher than premium class. She scarfed it up and used miles to boot!

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On 3/21/2019 at 7:15 AM, Anita Latte said:

I don't mind at all that you mentioned my report...in fact, I'm very flattered that you did!

 

Our AMEX cards are newer...I've only had mine for about one year. It's slightly embarrassing to admit, but I didn't realize that there could be so many special offers that are such good quality! The other cards in our arsenal are more about bonus points, etc., not full on statement credits. Eye opening for me...and something for me to definitely monitor.

 

I'm very interested in what excursions you'll be able to go on and how the conditions are. I've seen some great deals for the early Alaska sailings. You got a good one for your balcony. Are you planning on bringing a blanket? I read a first sailing report on a different line...it was a May sailing...the cruiser had brought her own fleece mermaid blanket? I don't remember exactly, but she spent a bit of time on her balcony and the blanket did seem to come in handy.

 

 

Thats a good idea.  I had read of asking the room steward to bring you a couple, but bringing your own is a great idea!

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22 hours ago, masterdrago said:

I'm loving this. We are fairly new to cruising - a few Caribbean cruises over the last few years. Really big Alaska coming in a couple of months. I sometimes feel like I'm starting to salivate while reading these detailed reports. Especially Anitas'. I'm sure when we get back from our Alaska trip, it will take me weeks to edit into usable format, all the thoughts and pix I have accumulated on the 16 day adventure.

 

Glad to have you along. It’s definitely going to be difficult to sort through photos!

 

21 hours ago, masterdrago said:

I had no idea that there were so many ways to save $$$. We have made some inroads through saving with the RCI Visa and the Alaska Air BOA cards - mostly in the form of OBC , companion fares and air mileage. Joy found a great deal on a flight back from Seattle where the first class was only a bit higher than premium class. She scarfed it up and used miles to boot!

 

We have definitely gotten fairly savvy through the years at figuring out how to take advantage of some excellent deals. Good job on the flight sale! 

 

10 hours ago, Cutiecruisin said:

I am so excited to follow your trip! I, too am traveling on the Legend to Alaska only a few weeks later, May 28 to June 4th. So please give me all the tips! Also, we are the same age so that makes me excited for your opinions. 

 

I will definitely share all the tips on our planning and then our experiences when we return!

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Thank you for all the work,  this is wonderful.  We’re going in July, but really wanted to go in May. Couldn’t make the timing with our work commitments no matter how we tried. These trip reports have been so helpful with our planning, and I, like so many others, have benefitted greatly from Anita’s report, from start to finish!  

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On 3/22/2019 at 10:07 AM, LF23 said:

Thank you for all the work,  this is wonderful.  We’re going in July, but really wanted to go in May. Couldn’t make the timing with our work commitments no matter how we tried. These trip reports have been so helpful with our planning, and I, like so many others, have benefitted greatly from Anita’s report, from start to finish!  

 

Glad to hear you are enjoying it!

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Excursions

 

As I already mentioned, excursions have been the most difficult part of planning for me.  There are several reasons for this. The first is trying to stay within a reasonable budget. The second is the limited time available in each port.  The third is the desire to see and go EVERYTHING.  As you can imagine, the third thing doesn’t really mesh well with the first two. 😂

 

I subscribe to a similar way of thinking as Anita Latte in that when planning excursions, I don’t think “what would I enjoy?”, but rather “what would regret missing?”.  Because the answer to the first question is everything. Really. When I look at a list of excursions, I rarely (if ever) see one that makes me think “oh, that doesn’t look fun”. We have a pretty wide variety of interests, so everything looks enjoyable - from adventure to leisure, from historical tours to foodie hops, from uninhabited wilderness to the buildings of a busy metropolis. 

 

So instead, I try to decide what I consider to be absolute musts.  Fortunately, for Alaska, we were able to make a very short list of musts.  We wanted to see whales and beautiful landscapes, particularly glaciers.  The second would be fulfilled by the Glacier Bay day that we consider an itinerary must, so that just left the whales.  But that presented some issues too, because when you manage to narrow down to so few “musts”, you get to fill in with “wants” which goes back to LONG list. 🤦‍♀️

 

Juneau - 

 

From my research, this was the port on our itinerary with the best chance of seeing whales. So with that in mind, it was decided that this would be the “whale port”.  But whale watching would take up a good part of the day, but not all.  So we needed to add something.  

 

Dogsledding on a glacier sounded really neat, but took too much time to combine it with whale watching.  Plus it was a real budget killer for something that wasn’t a must for us.  And finally, it is the activity most likely to be canceled for bad weather and we are already going in shoulder season.  So it got ruled out.

 

Mendenhall Glacier became the front runner for “add on” activities.  We knew we would be seeing plenty of glaciers in Glacier Bay, but it would be nice to see another.  Plus, this one we could do a nature hike and even see Nugget Falls! 

 

So the the next step became choosing a tour.  I had read lots of good things about Harv and Marv’s so I started looking at them first. The 6 person tour sounded very appealing, as small groups are always a little more personal. But then I had pause because while they did include seeing Mendenhall Glacier, it was basically a peek from quite a ways away. (I know I could get transportation and see the glacier on our own, but for ease I was really looking for a tour that included it all.) And then I started reading that the small boats really didn’t have much for flat deck space to walk to both sides of the boat to see whales.  Back to the drawing board.  

 

Carnival was offering a great sounding excursion with whale watching and time to explore and hike at Mendenhall. Plus I had that card that gave us 10% off.  So that became the new front runner. 

 

But then I started reading about people visiting Tracy’s Crab Shack.  We love seafood and it seemed like we should definitely try some fresh seafood while in Alaska. I pulled up the menu and DH was excited! So I guess we were adding Tracy’s at the end of our excursion.  

 

But then I stumbled across a tour through Juneau Whale Watch that included dinner at Tracy’s. 😁. I have read lots of great reviews of JWW on here, and they offer what I was hoping for with whale watching and plenty of time to hike Mendenhall and see Nugget Falls. What’s better is that their excursion (with the dinner) was less than Carnival’s even with my card discount.  So not only are we paying a little less, but now we are getting our $80 crab dinner free! Booked! 🦀 

 

(more to follow)

Edited by Mediterranean_Honeymooner
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On 3/20/2019 at 12:40 PM, Mediterranean_Honeymooner said:

Money Saving Strategies (cont)

 

So the next step was choosing hotels. Just like we don’t have any cruise line loyalty, we also don’t have loyalty to a particular hotel chain.  As long as it’s clean and comfortable, we are good. We knew we wanted to be downtown in both Seattle and Vancouver, so that we would have the option to walk to various sights. I looked at numerous options (Hotels.com, AirBNB, Priceline, Expedia), but the least expensive option for both cities wound up being Hotwire.com with their “Hot Rate” program.  For those who aren’t familiar, this is a rate for an unknown hotel.  They will tell you the star level, area, user ratings, distance to attractions, etc., but you don’t know the exact hotel until after you have paid. We have done this before and always been pleased.  Hotwire was offering an additional 10% off, so we were able to get a 3 star hotel in downtown Vancouver for $82 for one night and a 3 star hotel in Seattle (0.3 miles from the Space Needle!) for $107 (prices include all taxes and fees. Two nights of downtown lodging for under $200? Check!

 

We knew we would have to find a way to get from Seattle to Vancouver.  Bus was the cheapest, but train was more scenic.  Renting a car is also an option, but that seemed like more hassle than I wanted.  So we put a pin in that decision until I got a pop up from Amtrak (gotta love how they stalk every site you visit to know what you are shopping for 😳😂) advertising a BOGO Valentines Day special for the train. Awesome!  Two seats on the train for $44? Check!

 

I also happened upon an Amex special that will get me $30 off an Uber ride, so that should take of getting us from the airport to our hotel in Seattle. Check.

 

Somewhere in there, I also managed to check the website and found a small price drop, so I called and got that applied, saving us $60 more on cruise cost.

 

So if you’ve been keeping score, we have got 7 day Alaskan cruise in balcony cabin for two people plus taxes and fees, gratituities and a little extra OBC, two nights hotel, all flights, transportation to Seattle hotel, and transportation from Seattle to Vancouver and we are well under $2000 out of pocket. Woohoo!!! 😄👍

 

Next I’ll cover excursion decision making. (That’s been much tougher!)

On 3/20/2019 at 12:40 PM, Mediterranean_Honeymooner said:

Money Saving Strategies (cont)

 

So the next step was choosing hotels. Just like we don’t have any cruise line loyalty, we also don’t have loyalty to a particular hotel chain.  As long as it’s clean and comfortable, we are good. We knew we wanted to be downtown in both Seattle and Vancouver, so that we would have the option to walk to various sights. I looked at numerous options (Hotels.com, AirBNB, Priceline, Expedia), but the least expensive option for both cities wound up being Hotwire.com with their “Hot Rate” program.  For those who aren’t familiar, this is a rate for an unknown hotel.  They will tell you the star level, area, user ratings, distance to attractions, etc., but you don’t know the exact hotel until after you have paid. We have done this before and always been pleased.  Hotwire was offering an additional 10% off, so we were able to get a 3 star hotel in downtown Vancouver for $82 for one night and a 3 star hotel in Seattle (0.3 miles from the Space Needle!) for $107 (prices include all taxes and fees. Two nights of downtown lodging for under $200? Check!

 

We knew we would have to find a way to get from Seattle to Vancouver.  Bus was the cheapest, but train was more scenic.  Renting a car is also an option, but that seemed like more hassle than I wanted.  So we put a pin in that decision until I got a pop up from Amtrak (gotta love how they stalk every site you visit to know what you are shopping for 😳😂) advertising a BOGO Valentines Day special for the train. Awesome!  Two seats on the train for $44? Check!

 

I also happened upon an Amex special that will get me $30 off an Uber ride, so that should take of getting us from the airport to our hotel in Seattle. Check.

 

Somewhere in there, I also managed to check the website and found a small price drop, so I called and got that applied, saving us $60 more on cruise cost.

 

So if you’ve been keeping score, we have got 7 day Alaskan cruise in balcony cabin for two people plus taxes and fees, gratituities and a little extra OBC, two nights hotel, all flights, transportation to Seattle hotel, and transportation from Seattle to Vancouver and we are well under $2000 out of pocket. Woohoo!!! 😄👍

 

Next I’ll cover excursion decision making. (That’s been much tougher!)

Yay!  Good job with getting the deals. 

Please tell me the name of your hotels in Seattle and Vancouver.  We go on Golden Princess the end of May and want to spend a few extra days in these cities.  I do use Hotwire but wondered what properties you got. And we wondered if they were close to the light train service to the airports.

 

The other question we have to answer is transportation from Vancouver to Seattle.  We want to do the train but the train only offers Amtrak buses at certain times.

 

We look forward to the cruise but are not quite use to the cold. I have lots more research to do to start packing.

 

Thanks! Look forward to your response.

 

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5 hours ago, KansCocoa said:

I’m following!! Love this!!

 

Hubby and I are doing a B2B Alaskan cruise in 2020, so I am looking for all of the information I can get my greedy little hands on!

 

Glad to have you along!  I’m the same way about information! 

 

57 minutes ago, musik07 said:

My mom and I are doing Alaska on August 1st. Looking forward to your review! 

 

That’s awesome.  I’m glad to have you along. 

 

37 minutes ago, surfpa said:

Yay!  Good job with getting the deals. 

Please tell me the name of your hotels in Seattle and Vancouver.  We go on Golden Princess the end of May and want to spend a few extra days in these cities.  I do use Hotwire but wondered what properties you got. And we wondered if they were close to the light train service to the airports.

 

The other question we have to answer is transportation from Vancouver to Seattle.  We want to do the train but the train only offers Amtrak buses at certain times.

 

We look forward to the cruise but are not quite use to the cold. I have lots more research to do to start packing.

 

Thanks! Look forward to your response.

 

 

We got the Moda Hotel in Vancouver and Holiday Inn Downtown for Seattle.  They will let you see how close the property is to certain attractions. For instance, we were able to see that our Seattle Hotel was 0.3 miles from the Space Needle and 0.7 miles from Pike Place Market before booking.  So if you want something close to airport and light rail, you should be able to select that area on the map and then see how far they are away before deciding whether to book.

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5 hours ago, KansCocoa said:

I’m following!! Love this!!

 

Hubby and I are doing a B2B Alaskan cruise in 2020, so I am looking for all of the information I can get my greedy little hands on!

 

Glad to have you along!  I’m the same way about information! 

 

57 minutes ago, musik07 said:

My mom and I are doing Alaska on August 1st. Looking forward to your review! 

 

That’s awesome.  I’m glad to have you along. 

 

37 minutes ago, surfpa said:

Yay!  Good job with getting the deals. 

Please tell me the name of your hotels in Seattle and Vancouver.  We go on Golden Princess the end of May and want to spend a few extra days in these cities.  I do use Hotwire but wondered what properties you got. And we wondered if they were close to the light train service to the airports.

 

The other question we have to answer is transportation from Vancouver to Seattle.  We want to do the train but the train only offers Amtrak buses at certain times.

 

We look forward to the cruise but are not quite use to the cold. I have lots more research to do to start packing.

 

Thanks! Look forward to your response.

 

 

We got the Moda Hotel in Vancouver and Holiday Inn Downtown for Seattle.  They will let you see how close the property is to certain attractions. For instance, we were able to see that our Seattle Hotel was 0.3 miles from the Space Needle and 0.7 miles from Pike Place Market before booking.  So if you want something close to airport and light rail, you should be able to select that area on the map and then see how far they are away before deciding whether to book.

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On 3/20/2019 at 12:40 PM, Mediterranean_Honeymooner said:

Money Saving Strategies (cont)

 

So the next step was choosing hotels. Just like we don’t have any cruise line loyalty, we also don’t have loyalty to a particular hotel chain.  As long as it’s clean and comfortable, we are good. We knew we wanted to be downtown in both Seattle and Vancouver, so that we would have the option to walk to various sights. I looked at numerous options (Hotels.com, AirBNB, Priceline, Expedia), but the least expensive option for both cities wound up being Hotwire.com with their “Hot Rate” program.  For those who aren’t familiar, this is a rate for an unknown hotel.  They will tell you the star level, area, user ratings, distance to attractions, etc., but you don’t know the exact hotel until after you have paid. We have done this before and always been pleased.  Hotwire was offering an additional 10% off, so we were able to get a 3 star hotel in downtown Vancouver for $82 for one night and a 3 star hotel in Seattle (0.3 miles from the Space Needle!) for $107 (prices include all taxes and fees. Two nights of downtown lodging for under $200? Check!

 

We knew we would have to find a way to get from Seattle to Vancouver.  Bus was the cheapest, but train was more scenic.  Renting a car is also an option, but that seemed like more hassle than I wanted.  So we put a pin in that decision until I got a pop up from Amtrak (gotta love how they stalk every site you visit to know what you are shopping for 😳😂) advertising a BOGO Valentines Day special for the train. Awesome!  Two seats on the train for $44? Check!

 

I also happened upon an Amex special that will get me $30 off an Uber ride, so that should take of getting us from the airport to our hotel in Seattle. Check.

 

Somewhere in there, I also managed to check the website and found a small price drop, so I called and got that applied, saving us $60 more on cruise cost.

 

So if you’ve been keeping score, we have got 7 day Alaskan cruise in balcony cabin for two people plus taxes and fees, gratituities and a little extra OBC, two nights hotel, all flights, transportation to Seattle hotel, and transportation from Seattle to Vancouver and we are well under $2000 out of pocket. Woohoo!!! 😄👍

 

Next I’ll cover excursion decision making. (That’s been much tougher!)

Thanks for responding.  As seniors we would like our hotels to be close to mass transit stations in the city or in the outskirts... and that link to the airport. We can walk some but not a lot. 

Now you've given us something to think about for our excursions. I'm buying some lightweight backpacks I saw someone post about. Hiking unfortunately is not on our list of to do's, but the backpacks will be nice for wherever we go.

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