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maui07

Just back from Alaska with kids and (budget friendly)

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Posted (edited)

Hi there, we just returned Sunday from a 7 day RT from Seattle sailing on the oosterdam on Holland America. We booked this cruise only about 3 weeks ago as we got GREAT deal that was too hard to pass up. My husband and I traveled with our 5 and 8 year old boys over Memorial Day and my parents decided to tag along as well. Since this was a very last minute trip we decided to do only free or budget friendly tours and that was no problem at all. If anyone has any questions please fire away...

 

We had the most beautiful weather, calm seas and blue skies everyday except Ketchikan, got within half a mile from Hubbard Glacier on the most gorgeous day they said they have had all season. 

 

Junea-took the city bus to Mendanhall Glacier-$2 each way for adults, kids 5 and under were free and my 8 year old was $1. If you do the glacier on your own, we walked over 9 miles including the walk to Nugget falls.

 

Sitka-totem park, Russian cemetery, sea wall walk, and collecting shells kept us busy-beautiful day at 75F degrees.

 

Ketchikan-took a free shuttle with a quick little city tour and walked along creek street, married mans trail and watched the float planes take off and land-our least adventurous day as it was pouring rain.

 

Victoria-walked from the ship into town, walked the harbor, govt buildings, china town, listened to the buskers in down town and lastly did a night tour of the city $20 pp-kids were free since it was the last tour of the night. . 

 

We had a wonderful time, kids loved the retractable ceiling- heated pool and they swam 2-4 hours a day with at least 30 ice cream cones each lol-We only live a few hours from Seattle so this is our 5th Alaska cruise in the last 9 years, last one being 4 years ago. It was a wonderful spur of the moment decision that I am so glad we did, pictures to follow...

 

If you can book those shoulder season cruises in May or September you can save a bundle. My parents booked an unobstructed guaranteed balcony with a $125 on board credit for $1600 total including all taxes and fees-I could be wrong but I think that's a fabulous deal. We paid $2,000 for the 4 of us in an unobstructed OV with all fees included with a $100 OBC, again, I could be wrong but I was very happy with that price considering $1,000 of it was port and tax fees. Our online TA even threw in dinner for 2 to the pinnacle grill which was delicious! Happy sailing everyone. 

Edited by maui07
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Sorry for the out of order pics but my cloud scrambled them all up synching phones with my husband. :)

 

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Sounds like you got a great deal and had a fantastic trip! We leave next week for a 13 day land/sea trip, our first to Alaska. Hope ours is just as amazing!

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Glad you had a great trip..such a sweet looking family ...very nice pictures....Did the free shuttle take you to Creek Street?? or is it in walking distance from the ship??

 

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1 hour ago, ErLee said:

Sounds like you got a great deal and had a fantastic trip! We leave next week for a 13 day land/sea trip, our first to Alaska. Hope ours is just as amazing!

Yes, we had a wonderful time! Your trip will be magical! The PNW has so much beauty. 

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27 minutes ago, New Mexico 8 said:

Glad you had a great trip..such a sweet looking family ...very nice pictures....Did the free shuttle take you to Creek Street?? or is it in walking distance from the ship??

 

Thank you! Yes, just a very short walk, maybe 5- 10 minutes. We were actually on the way back from the heritage totem park that we had walked to and we noticed a shuttle waiting in the parking lot that said "free shuttle" so we hopped on since it was raining and rode it for 20 minutes or so until the rain slowed up. Creek street is just a short walk into town. No shuttle necessary. 

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great pics, thanks for sharing.  We sail on the Oosterdam in 12 days!

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Thank you for sharing - I LOVE the pictures - the kids look like they’re having a wonderful time!!! 

 

If you could give just ONE tip to families with kids who’ll be cruising Alaska, what would it be??!! (I know - tough question!)

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21 hours ago, Coral said:

Adorable kiddos!

Thank you :)

 

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7 hours ago, newdestination said:

Nice review and photos!  Thanks for sharing.

Thank you so much.

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7 hours ago, newdestination said:

Nice review and photos!  Thanks for sharing.

 

7 hours ago, KansCocoa said:

Thank you for sharing - I LOVE the pictures - the kids look like they’re having a wonderful time!!! 

 

If you could give just ONE tip to families with kids who’ll be cruising Alaska, what would it be??!! (I know - tough question!)

Thank you, they had a GREAT time. I was a little worried that they would be disappointed that we were not doing any really "big" tours this time, but I honestly believe that they had just as much fun just having the time to walk around, play and explore. 

 

 

My tips would be you don't have to break the bank on tours, there is a lot to see and do that is free or very cheap. Also, don't be afraid to ask for a discount rate on kids, the Victoria bus trip wasn't supposed to be kids ride free but we asked for a discounted rate for them and since it was the last tour of the day they told us if you book it now they can go free. Lastly, don't underestimate the little ones, my 5 year old, walked 7-10 miles daily no problem, so long as he had a few sticks (swords-lol) in his hands to play with, he was happy to go. Get out and enjoy!

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Awesome photos. I board the Millennium in 15 days for my Alaska cruise.

 

Your boys look like they're having a blast!

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Thanks for posting your trip report and photos. It looks like a great trip. And it's always nice to see someone else enjoy the beauty of Alaska without spending a fortune. I've booked just one excursion for my upcoming cruise on a Princess ship (the 26 glacier tour on my turnaround day in Whittier), and I'm using OBC for that.

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The city bus you took to mendenhall glacier ... how were the timings on that?  We will be there later this summer with a 2 yr old.  We want to look around the park at our own pace and so I was leaning toward renting a car (about the same cost as taking the other $40/pp shuttle but gives us freedom).  But the bus prices are a lot cheaper than a rental obviously and we don't *need* a car. 😉 

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20 minutes ago, DC.TX said:

The city bus you took to mendenhall glacier ... how were the timings on that?  We will be there later this summer with a 2 yr old.  We want to look around the park at our own pace and so I was leaning toward renting a car (about the same cost as taking the other $40/pp shuttle but gives us freedom).  But the bus prices are a lot cheaper than a rental obviously and we don't *need* a car. 😉 

 

The bus drops you off about 1 1/2 miles from the Mendenhall Visitor Center.  Its an easy walk but not pleasant if it's windy and raining.  Bus  makes quite a few stops so it takes a little over an hr. 

More info and a link to the bus company here.  https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/about-forest/offices/?cid=fseprd495443

In the transit web site, use the drop downs of Downtown Transit Center and Mendenhall Glacier.  Or call .

If you have a long port time, a car is a better option since it allows you to see so much more. Drive out to the coast ! 

 

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Thanks bunches!  I do think the car will work better for us.  We will be in port 1p-10p ...we won't still be off ship anywhere near 10p with a toddler haha  But will probably stay out as long as good mood/energy allows. 

 

Since you said you've done previous AK cruises... Would love to hear any kid-friendly tips (Port related or ship... we will be on HAL). Our ports are Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria.  We are relatively mobile/active and our toddler has a "go with the flow" personality. 

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What a great review! Love the photos 

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After the 1.5 mile walk to Mendenhall Visitor Center, what was the other walking you did, getting up to the glacier? Please elaborate. 🙂

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16 minutes ago, Rode Warrior said:

After the 1.5 mile walk to Mendenhall Visitor Center, what was the other walking you did, getting up to the glacier? Please elaborate. 🙂

 

how far you walk depends on which trails you choose to take.  Info on the trails in this link:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd604841.pdf

 Nugget Falls is the most popular for obvious reasons.   I have friends who are RVg there now.  They saw a bear and cub along the Steep Creek trail in the evening.

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1 hour ago, DC.TX said:

Thanks bunches!  I do think the car will work better for us.  We will be in port 1p-10p ...we won't still be off ship anywhere near 10p with a toddler haha  But will probably stay out as long as good mood/energy allows. 

 

Since you said you've done previous AK cruises... Would love to hear any kid-friendly tips (Port related or ship... we will be on HAL). Our ports are Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria.  We are relatively mobile/active and our toddler has a "go with the flow" personality. 

 

Look thru this RESOURCE list and you'll find the town web sites for each port.  The town web site also has a Visitor Guide to download.   

 

The ketchikan site includes maps for the self guided walking tour of town, totems, Creek St, Married Mans Trail.  Or you can take the city bus out to Totem Bight ... beautiful waterfront location and totem park.

In Victoria it's a nice walk from the pier to Fishermans Wharf and then to the Inner Harbor. There are web sites on the Resource list for both.   The Juneau guide has a map if you choose to drive out to the coast .... the map shows distances from downtown to popular coastal locations like Shrine of St Terese,  Eagle Beach.  Never been to Sitka.   But their visitor guide has lots of good info .... Fortress of the Bears is a popular spot. 

 

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