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JasonShen

Balcony for Alaska cruise

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Our Alaska cruise is at the end of this month (May) and we have a balcony room. At this time of the year, do people use the balcony? I am asking because we have two kids so the balcony room seems to be a bit too tight for all four of us. I have been thinking to bid on a family room that is much larger but has only a virtual balcony. I figure if it's too cold to use the balcony at all, we might better off bid on the family room. Thanks.

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You don't have much time for a change - and as for bidding for that family room who knows.

As for using the balcony you have - of course you are going to use it - how often and to what

extent is unknown. Weather factor being cold (not) you are no where near the artic circle.

Near the glaciers is would be like standing in front of the freezer with the door open and

perhaps with a fan blowing the coolness at you. Put a jacket slicker hoodie on - moderate it to

your comfort level (parka forget it even if taking a helicopter tour onto the glacier).

The secret is to layer up - adding clothing. Consider in your travel to the port city having all

that extra bulky clothing causing increase in airline baggage fees and limiting space in your

cabin which you have already have concerns. You don't need than kind of experience.

You did not indicate which ship you will be on BLISS JOY or the JEWEL but the main part of

the cruise of all three will be in sheltered INSIDE Passage waters except for the first or last

part of the cruise being in open Pacific Ocean waters - not to worry no shore excursions or

tendering here.

By your avatar I can't tell what part of the country you are from and the weather potential to

expect. Along the northern border - you should be acclimated fine - if from one of the heated

humid southern gulf states you may need to add another layer of clothing to be comfortable

and make sure it is a rain moisture proof slicker.

 

Closing your concerns about the balcony being too small - remember to scout out the other

observation points about your ship - when in the vicinity of a glacier the ship will be turned

in circles for all to have some visual point.

Enjoy your cruise to the Final Frontier of unspoiled space !  

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Thank you both for the very useful information. Our cruise ship will be Joy. I am from Missouri and always thought that Alaska is freezing, much like the winter here in Missouri, or worse. Did not know it's like standing in front of a freezer (or fridge?). We thought we need to bring our winter coats (four winter coats already occupy a big suitcase!) but maybe not. Could you please also let me know if a winter coat is necessary? I checked some YouTube video just now after reading your post. Is the outfit described in the following video accurately describe what is needed for a late-May early-June Alaska cruise? (The video is randomly picked.) Thanks.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I am not an Alaska expert, but I was there in July on a cruise and the temps varied from 40’s in Glacier Bay to at least mid-70’s in one of the ports...mostly in the upper 50’s to high 60’s during the day. We had an inside room, but my parents had a balcony and we spent quite a lot of time on the balcony.

 

We will be on the Joy in June, and I am planning on both shorts and jackets with layers and hats for glacier viewing/rain. We are not bringing big parka type coats. Might throw in my boys’ thin Patagonia coats....but we are from Minnesota and are a hockey family, so we are used to cooler temps.  We also spent our last summer trip in Iceland with the temps mostly in the upper 40’s and 50’s and sat outside on our patio at our Airbnb whenever we could. So, what I’m saying is that your tolerances may be different. 

 

We have mini suites that are connected with 8 people on the Joy. Hoping we don’t feel too cramped myself.  I’ve wondered if we should have gone with the inside family, but I’d miss the real air and privacy of a balcony especially since it will be light for so long. 

 

Like everyone says about Alaska...bring and wear layers. 

Edited by careyayn22

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I love my balconies, that is where i spend all day from having my breakfast coffee to reading my books on my Med cruises.  I find it more peaceful than the pool deck.  Last year on our Alaska cruise (on Coral Princess) I was surprised how little I used it.  

 

We found other places to observe the wildlife.   We knew that the ship would be turned around in Glacier Park, it was the wildlife that was the issue.  Sitting on the balcony you never knew if you were missing something on the other side.  Better to be on top deck seeing both sides at once!!

 

So although it was cool on the balcony, that was not really the reason that we didn’t use it.  It was because it was not the best place to be.  

 

It seems late for your bidding process, but I would go for it. 

 

Whichever way you will have a great cruise.  Alaska is so beautiful.  I wish it was not a 23 hour journey to get there.     

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2 hours ago, JasonShen said:

Thank you both for the very useful information. Our cruise ship will be Joy. I am from Missouri and always thought that Alaska is freezing, much like the winter here in Missouri, or worse. Did not know it's like standing in front of a freezer (or fridge?). We thought we need to bring our winter coats (four winter coats already occupy a big suitcase!) but maybe not. Could you please also let me know if a winter coat is necessary? I checked some YouTube video just now after reading your post. Is the outfit described in the following video accurately describe what is needed for a late-May early-June Alaska cruise? (The video is randomly picked.) Thanks.

 

 

All three would work - depending on location

Start with a "T" shirt or polo shirt add a layer of a sweat shirt - hoodie on top of lined jacket.

As for shorts pants - wear whatever you can tolerate - I wear kilts - legs more than acclimated for this climate.

Footwear flip-flops sandals fine on board - but more substantial footwear recommended for shore excursions -

something semi water proof resilient you might have to step in a cool pool to get to the other side of something ***

*** Nugget Falls hiking trip Juneau Mendenhall Glacier

MORE THAN Optional hat with visor.

Most shore excursions operate rain or shine except those with an aviation method.

Pack a rain moisture proof jacket to keep semi dry - the rest of you will dry out sometime.

Umbrellas may be provided but are really useless in the crowds on shore excursions -

hey Mary Poppins how are you going to take a selfie and hold the bummer shoot ! 

Mother Nature is not pausing the weather just because you are visiting. 

 

About being out on the balcony with a morning breakfast ***- your cabin attendant can provide blankets for cover

if needed or use the large pool towels.

*** You can request hot chocolate - sometimes provided on the open bow viewing at the glaciers. 

 

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We did Alaska on the Sun in early September.  It was chilly, but we had an aft balcony, which was great.  You don't get the wind and on an aft you get to see so much more.   Get an aft if you can.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, JasonShen said:

Our Alaska cruise is at the end of this month (May) and we have a balcony room. At this time of the year, do people use the balcony? I am asking because we have two kids so the balcony room seems to be a bit too tight for all four of us. I have been thinking to bid on a family room that is much larger but has only a virtual balcony. I figure if it's too cold to use the balcony at all, we might better off bid on the family room. Thanks.

What ship are you on? The newer ships like the Escape, Breakaway etc....have very small balconies compared to the Jewel class ships. You better bid high, Alaska cruises are always sold out. As far as weather, my wife and I have a cruise from Seattle in early September. Skagway etc... we had temps in the 60's for the high and 50's for the lows. Thats on around the ship, if you take an excursion to a glacier or something like that it will be colder

Edited by Laszlo

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Alaska is a sightseeing cruise.

We consider a balcony essential when there’s lots to see enroute.

The weather will be the same no matter where you are on the ship, so don’t use that as a decision factor.

We appreciate the ability to walk outside our cabin to privately enjoy what nature offers, and strongly disagree with those who say “How much time will you spend on your balcony?” The answer is - as much time as we want.

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6 minutes ago, Laszlo said:

What ship are you on? The newer ships like the Escape, Breakaway etc....have very small balconies compared to the Jewel class ships. You better bid high, Alaska cruises are always sold out. As far as weather, my wife and I have done two cruises from Seattle in early September. Skagway etc... we had temps in the 60's for the high and 50's for the lows. Thats on around the ship, if you take an excursion to a glacier or something like that it will be colder

We were on the Sun.  Glacier Bay was awesome.

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This discussion is great! I am booked on the Jewel, northbound for July 2020 and we currently have a balcony cabin. We are also planning a DIY land tour afterwards.

It's funny, I watched a popular cruise YouTube channel and the host stated that having a balcony was one mistake they made, in that they were mainly in the common areas for the majority of the cruise or in the ports. That has been bugging me since everywhere else I read that it is ideal, if you can, to have a balcony. I have been on the fence about my decision but this is helping me be happy for the option. I love balcony cabins in the Caribbean.

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4 hours ago, 4774Papa said:

We did Alaska on the Sun in early September.  It was chilly, but we had an aft balcony, which was great.  You don't get the wind and on an aft you get to see so much more.   Get an aft if you can.

I have cruised twice to Alaska once in June and once in September. I too had an aft balcony on both cruises and used it all the time. It was just awesome. Loads of whale sightings on the cruise through the inside passage.

if you are still able to get one I would, loads of room and no wind.

enjoy your cruise

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We were on the Bliss May 5-12. We had a mini suite and used our balcony frequently. Temps ranged from the 40’s to 70’s. We spent most of our time in Glacier Bay on our balcony wearing our wind/rain proof jackets. It was very calm and sunny that day. The scenery is gorgeous and so glad we had a balcony. 

92A054BA-BCED-4935-AB53-CF97AEC87339.jpeg

740EBEB5-0423-45DA-9D0B-AAD622941DDC.jpeg

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I've been to Alaska twice, and wouldn't even think about getting anything but a balcony there. You never know what will be by the ship.

, and at the glaciers, the ship does a 360 so everyone gets a chance to see it if you don't want to be on deck.

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On ‎5‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 9:26 AM, Dawnya00 said:

This discussion is great! I am booked on the Jewel, northbound for July 2020 and we currently have a balcony cabin. We are also planning a DIY land tour afterwards.

It's funny, I watched a popular cruise YouTube channel and the host stated that having a balcony was one mistake they made, in that they were mainly in the common areas for the majority of the cruise or in the ports. That has been bugging me since everywhere else I read that it is ideal, if you can, to have a balcony. I have been on the fence about my decision but this is helping me be happy for the option. I love balcony cabins in the Caribbean.

I too, like this discussion and will continue to follow. We are booked on the Jewel, southbound in July 2020 and also have a balcony cabin. We are also planning a DIY land tour pre-cruise. Lots of things to consider with the land tour part. Doing lots of research!  Enjoy your cruise!

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I went to Alaska earlier in May and I had a balcony for the first time.   I enjoyed being able to pop up and look outside everytime someone saw a dolphin or whales.  I just threw my coat on and looked outside.   

 

I know that staying on your balcony is some sort of sin, but I tried the promenade deck, the upper deck and the balcony.   I enjoyed my balcony and didn't feel like I missed a thing.  Maybe I missed some dolphins on the other side, but be real...there were so many that missing a few wasn't missing much.   With the crowds and such, it's hard to shift quickly from one side to another fast enough for a whale or dolphin!     Wild life seemed to be cooperating well and were on both sides so if you stayed on one side of the ship, you got 1/2.   Glad they were being sooo cooperative!

 

Sunrise and sunset were also beautiful from the balcony.    I saw many other balcony enjoyers out there with me.  :)

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It depends where you are from. We are from Seattle, so the weather in Alaska is much the same as it is here, but if you are from somewhere very warm you could suffer quite badly. I can be walking around my local supermarket in shorts and a t-shirt, and see an asian tourist wearing a down parka, because to them 13 degrees centigrade is freezing. To me it is just any other day.

On the ship we use our balcony constantly, and swim when it is raining. You can't get wetter, right?

Don't go crazy with the wet weather gear. A cheap umbrella works just fine. Or do what we do in Seattle. Walk around and get a bit wet. And if you get stuck you can always buy a really warm jacket any time you go ashore. You will look like a dorky tourist, but you won't be cold.

Wear a t-shirt under your shirt, wear slightly baggy thick jeans, and bring a beanie. It can get windy near the glaciers, and your ears will hurt.

As a buying tip we just buy Columbia. It is based in Portland Oregon, and is perfectly fine for 99% of what you might need it for. You will look like a local. Especially if your wife doesn't ever shave her legs. Don't stress.

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18 minutes ago, southerngoose said:

I know that staying on your balcony is some sort of sin, but I tried the promenade deck, the upper deck and the balcony. 

It is a sin? I almost never leave my balcony during daylight. I sit there with my camera and binoculars, and hardly move.

On the trip south my wife likes to sunbake nude if we get a sunny day. It is almost impossible to sunburn.

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Short answer to question.  Balcony for Alaska Cruise.....YES !!!

We have gone 10 times and always see something new. Remember to bring binoculars.

Never know what will pop up and I like waking in the morning and looking out.

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On 5/26/2019 at 7:36 AM, mamamusings said:

Those photos are gorgeous! What kind of camera did you use?

This is actually from my iPhone 6. Lol!

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1 hour ago, huxlemo said:

This is actually from my iPhone 6. Lol!

That's amazing!

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On 5/26/2019 at 5:57 PM, southerngoose said:

  

 

I know that staying on your balcony is some sort of sin, but I tried the promenade deck, the upper deck and the balcony.   I enjoyed my balcony and didn't feel like I missed a thing.  

 

Sunrise and sunset were also beautiful from the balcony.    I saw many other balcony enjoyers out there with me.  :)

 Although I am one of the "better on the promenade deck" supporters, It is not because I feel it is wrong to be on your balcony - it is because I felt like I was missing out when on my balcony.  It was hard to enjoy sunrise and sunset because we arrived on the longest day.  We only saw sunset when we arrived in Anchorage at about 2 am - and then again in Vancouver at the end of the cruise!!  

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We spent a lot of time on our balcony and out on deck too in September...I’m imagining the weather to be similarly variable in May.

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