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Roaming Rover

sailing the inside passage

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The inside passage is very scenic, if you're lucky you'll see whales. We spent a lot of time out on deck, weather depends on what time of year and even then it can be hit or miss. Enjoy your cruise.  

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The Inside Passage has beautiful scenery -- spent a lot of time out on the verandah viewing everything -- land, falls, sometimes whales, birds.

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Thanks for quick reply . What time of year is the best time to go ?? Which cruise line is the best to use ? Are you better paying the extra for a balcony cabin or is the inside sufficient and just spend time on deck to view? We hope to do the rocky mountainer too , any advice on this would be useful.

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We enjoyed a balcony but also spent time around the ship so depending on your budget.  Early June to early August would be my recommendation.  Had lovely weather in July.   Suggest out of Vancouver as the route is more scenic and more protected.  If you have time,  go one way and spend some time in Anchorage and Denali.   The Rocky Mountaineer train is very  pricey.   You could also drive or look at bus tours.  Fly into Calgary  and out of Vancouver or vice versa.  

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8 hours ago, Roaming Rover said:

We hope to do the rocky mountainer too , any advice on this would be useful.

We did the Rocky Mountaineer Calgary to Vancouver plus the Inside Passage on HAL in 2012 - 7 days in and out of Vancouver. Yes, the train is expensive but if it is on your bucket list, then splurge on Gold Leaf service and do it right. It's first class service all the way with your own seat in the observation area and a separate dining room below. HAL has access to Glacier Bay which is not to be missed.  I'd pay extra for a balcony.

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10 hours ago, Roaming Rover said:

Are you better paying the extra for a balcony

Only you can decide that.

Sitting on my balcony at 5:30am watching whales between the ship and shore (which was less than 100 yards) as we slowly cruised into port one morning is one of my favorite memories of a previous Alaska cruise.

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Alaska's inside passage is the one cruise you should take if you can only do one. The waters are usually calm if you are worried about sea sickness.  In fact more people take an Alaska cruise than any other cruise destination. There is an app that shows where all the Cruise Ships are located on any given day. Between May and October it seems most most all the them are doing Alaska.  Over and over ships do this 7-day cruise for about 14 weeks solid.  Then they all disappear, scattered to various other parts of the world until the next May.  We have been 3 times. It has been different every time.  If we can't do a long Cruise in any given year we will at least do a short 1 week cruise (Alaska or Mexican Riviera) to get the cruise-bug out of our system.  Best time to go is maybe late June-July when the bears are are active.  If you want to take an excursion to see them getting salmon out of the river.  Otherwise anytime.  Be aware that it rains a lot around Ketchikan.  The Ketchikan Peninsula is a rainforest, just not a tropical one.  Averages 165 inches a year.  We have always been lucky and visited on a dry day.

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15 minutes ago, Double D Cruisers said:

Alaska's inside passage is the one cruise you should take if you can only do one. The waters are usually calm if you are worried about sea sickness.  In fact more people take an Alaska cruise than any other cruise destination. There is an app that shows where all the Cruise Ships are located on any given day. Between May and October it seems most most all the them are doing Alaska.  Over and over ships do this 7-day cruise for about 14 weeks solid.  Then they all disappear, scattered to various other parts of the world until the next May.  We have been 3 times. It has been different every time.  If we can't do a long Cruise in any given year we will at least do a short 1 week cruise (Alaska or Mexican Riviera) to get the cruise-bug out of our system.  Best time to go is maybe late June-July when the bears are are active.  If you want to take an excursion to see them getting salmon out of the river.  Otherwise anytime.  Be aware that it rains a lot around Ketchikan.  The Ketchikan Peninsula is a rainforest, just not a tropical one.  Averages 165 inches a year.  We have always been lucky and visited on a dry day.

I have a cruise planned May 29. We are taking a float plane to see bears hanging out in a meadow. To early for them to eat salmon. I'm worried we are going to early to see bears.

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We really wanted to see bears but will be in Alaska from May 22 to June 2nd.  Most people have told us seeing bears is unlikely.  We actually asked the owner of the plane what the chances were.  He said less than 25% chance.  We canceled the flight as it was very pricey. He said if you want a guarantee go to the zoo;)

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7 minutes ago, dundeene said:

We really wanted to see bears but will be in Alaska from May 22 to June 2nd.  Most people have told us seeing bears is unlikely.  We actually asked the owner of the plane what the chances were.  He said less than 25% chance.  We canceled the flight as it was very pricey. He said if you want a guarantee go to the zoo;)

Really oh no now I'm really worried. The float plane is expensive. We are only going one week after your cancelled trip.

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We read reviews of the bear viewing flight in May and found many people who said it was just too expensive since they did not see a single bear.  We decided to switch to the Denali flight with glacier landing.  We thought our chance to see wildlife would be about as high as the other flight, but that we would see amazing views in Denali.

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34 minutes ago, dundeene said:

We read reviews of the bear viewing flight in May and found many people who said it was just too expensive since they did not see a single bear.  We decided to switch to the Denali flight with glacier landing.  We thought our chance to see wildlife would be about as high as the other flight, but that we would see amazing views in Denali.

Were thinking about changing our cruise to June 12.

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When to go take an Alaskan cruise depends on your interests and criteria.  For us, the major criteria were to avoid wet weather and kids.  So we went in late May (one of the drier months) before school was out.  The only precipitation we encountered was a little morning drizzle in Ketchikan and there were very few children on board. 

 

But if your criteria is animal viewing, then you probably want to go in mid-summer.  (The only wildlife we saw was eagles.) 

 

We had a balcony (as that’s what my spouse prefers), but it was only warm enough, even with a blanket, to sit on the balcony on the day we left Vancouver.  If I had to do it again, I would save the money and book an inside cabin. 

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16 minutes ago, GradUT said:

When to go take an Alaskan cruise depends on your interests and criteria.  For us, the major criteria were to avoid wet weather and kids.  So we went in late May (one of the drier months) before school was out.  The only precipitation we encountered was a little morning drizzle in Ketchikan and there were very few children on board. 

 

But if your criteria is animal viewing, then you probably want to go in mid-summer.  (The only wildlife we saw was eagles.) 

 

We had a balcony (as that’s what my spouse prefers), but it was only warm enough, even with a blanket, to sit on the balcony on the day we left Vancouver.  If I had to do it again, I would save the money and book an inside cabin. 

I moved our cruise to June 12. I'm hoping the 2 weeks gives us the edge.

We went last year in August on Nieuw Amsterdam. We didn't see much wild life except for eagles but I didn't do the float plane excursion.

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Bear are where the food is during the summer and that is usually not where cruise ships are.   If you want to see Bear.........go in September!   They are putting on winter reserves and we've seen them while walking at Mendenhall (Black Bear) and Brown's (Grizzly) eating salmon in streams and along rivers grabbing salmon (Haines) as well as foraging on shore for mussels, etc--outside Hoonah.    The weather can be worse, but Alaska is always a gamble.   All sightings were on our own.................Fall is high season for bear!

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2 minutes ago, thyme2go said:

Bear are where the food is during the summer and that is usually not where cruise ships are.   If you want to see Bear.........go in September!   They are putting on winter reserves and we've seen them while walking at Mendenhall (Black Bear) and Brown's (Grizzly) eating salmon in streams and along rivers grabbing salmon (Haines) as well as foraging on shore for mussels, etc--outside Hoonah.    The weather can be worse, but Alaska is always a gamble.   All sightings were on our own.................Fall is high season for bear!

We're going to Hoonah so hoping to see some. 🙏

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If you want to see bears visit Canada’s national parks or glacier in Montana!

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Haven't been up the Inside Passage, but here's some shots of the ships travelling between Vancouver Island and the coast of BC! I live in northern Vancouver Island...love watching the ships cruise, though!

1.jpg

2.jpg

3.jpg

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We are cruising on the Oosterdam on June 2.  Is that itinerary considered "inside passage"?  We have Neptune wrap 5190 and a website I saw said the port side was best for inside passage.  

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Many HAL cruises includes the Inside Passage but not all.  It is one route to get to the glaciers and to where the popular port towns are located. Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Skagway.  I have been on cruises that did, and did not include the actual "inside passage."  One is is not superior to the other IMHO.  I think HAL has 9 ships doing Alaska this year.  I think the Oosterdam does not include the inside passage. To us the best part of any Alaskan cruise is seeing the glaciers (especially Hubbard Glacier) and visiting the towns.  Depending on the cruise they visit different Glaciers, and different towns, not always the same ones.  Luckily it looks like you are visiting Hubbard Glacier which was our favorite. When viewing the Glaciers the Ship's Captain usually has the ship do at least one 360 degree spin so that all get a good view. You are in a great Cabin that is located in my personal favorite part of a ship to be.  On a higher deck with a view that faces to the stern.  I love to watch and hear the prop wash.

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Cruises out of Seattle usually go outside of Vancouver island and miss a lot of the gorgeous scenery.  Ocean can be rougher as there is nothing between you and open ocean.   They seem to pop back in north of Vancouver island but that means you may miss two days of that scenery.  

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The best was Southbound from Anchorage (Whittier) on Coral Princess. A beautiful ship for Alaska. The cruise down the Inside Passage from Ketchikan was awesome. And Coral did (or does) Glacier Bay National Park.

 

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2 hours ago, bennybear said:

Cruises out of Seattle usually go outside of Vancouver island and miss a lot of the gorgeous scenery.  Ocean can be rougher as there is nothing between you and open ocean.   They seem to pop back in north of Vancouver island but that means you may miss two days of that scenery.  

Yes. If you depart from Seattle, you do the outside of Vancouver Island. If you depart from Vancouver, you go the inside of Vancouver Island.

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If you are taking the northern cruise route from Vancouver to Seward you will miss  lot of the inside passage the first night of departure from Vancouver as the ship sails up the IP at mostly at night. In June and July the sun sets closer to 10pm and rises early before 5 am so you will more of the IP that first night. We are doing this cruise in July and we have a nice size balcony in our SS midships cabin on the Port side.

 

Years ago my parents did the cruise from Seattle and got caught is a bad storm and really rough seas west of Vancouver Island that first night. They said a lot of passengers spent that first night and most of the next day seasick. 

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