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sjnc

New to Princess Cruise Line

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My husband and I are planning an Alaska cruise and land tour. It seems Princess offers some fairly reasonable.

We've only been on Carnival, so we are starting to look at alternatives.

Any input would be appreciated.

It looks like we fly to Fairbanks, tour Denali, then get on the ship in Anchorage and sail to Vancouver.

Looks exciting. I've wanted to go for a long time. We are a ways off from going but want to start looking at what's out there

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That was our first cruise, in 2002, it was wonderful! We were on the Sun Princess and we've been cruising regularly on Princess and Celebrity since then! Enjoy the planning!

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Hi,

I think it would be a good idea if you asked specific questions.

It is hard to just chat without knowing what you'd like to find out about this cruise??

We are Platinum on Carnival and took our first Princess cruise last year.

We now have 2 more booked.

The atmosphere is different but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable!!

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Princess does great job. Sailed to Alaska two years ago. They will have a naturalist onboard explaining all about the ports; and talk about the scenery along the way. 

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Yes, price comparisons need to be banana vs banana. Even saying that I would choose Princess for any Alaskan Cruise/tour situation.  They simply do it better than any other mainstream line. 

 

Btw: might want to leave any mention of a specific agency off cruise critic. 

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I have been to Alaska with NCL, HAL, and Princess, all roundtrip Seattle though. I though Princess had the best Alaska specific programming, with lots of guests and presentations, as well as food. 

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I think you will be very happy with Princess in Alaska.  They really have done a great job up there and have been doing Alaska the longest.  Their lodges are the nicest up in Alaska.  

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choose the right TA and get 8% - 12% off the price of the cruise !!!!!

 

take the land portion first, then cruise

 

consider Princess EZ-Air for flights

 

fly a day(s) early ... not the day of the start of the tour/cruise

 

layers

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Make sure you have the Tundra Wilderness Tour or one of the shuttles in Denali and not the Natural History Tour. We were able to upgrade from the Natural History Tour to the Tundra Wilderness Tour when we did our cruise tour in 2012. I got back last week from back-to-back cruises on the Island Princess. Several people at our Cruise Critic meeting thanked me for mentioning the upgrade option. 

 

Also make sure you look at excursion options in all the ports and read recommendations on the Alaska board here on Cruise Critic. There's a small boat excursion while the ship is at Hubbard Glacier that's new this year. The people I talked with who did it were thrilled. It's pricy. I took a small boat excursion on my turnaround day in Whittier and did not do the Hubbard Glacier one.

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Princess does a nice job in Alaska. They have been there a long time and have many of their own lodges. Their land/sea or "cruisetours" are well run. My advice is select the longest one you can afford in time and funds. I am assuming that your Carnival cruises have been in the Caribbean. An Alaska cruise is nothing like a Caribbean cruise. Alaska cruises are port intensive and scenic viewing. Suggest you select a ship that goes through the inside passage and has scenic viewing in Glacier Bay. In my opinion the older ships are better for Alaska than the new Royal Princess and other Royal Class ships. Royal Class ships have less top deck viewing locations and no 360 degree promenade. Also, most cabin balconies are smaller than the older ships.

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Thank you all for all of the information. Does anyone have a suggestion of which month would be better. I've read a lot. Different months seem to have different advantages

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, sjnc said:

Thank you all for all of the information. Does anyone have a suggestion of which month would be better. I've read a lot. Different months seem to have different advantages

 

We did a 13 day cruise tour to Alaska in late June (2016) and a 15 day cruise tour to Alaska in late May (2019). Both times we had fantastic weather. We did a 10 day SF/Alaska round trip in September (2011) and had fantastic weather - although the locals said they were amazed by the weather we got as they hadn't seen the sun for a couple of weeks. I was in a tee shirt. We did a 7 week camping trip that went up to Fairbanks and spent maybe 2.5 - 3 weeks in Alaska in July (2017) and had great weather. It was drizzly fairly often but not cold.  All-in-all I think we have been very fortunate with weather in Alaska.

Edited by Thrak

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3 hours ago, sjnc said:

Thank you all for all of the information. Does anyone have a suggestion of which month would be better. I've read a lot. Different months seem to have different advantages

June/July are the prime season for Alaska, where weather is nicer, flowers are in bloom and wildlife is out of hibernation.

May and August are "shoulder"months, where weather may change,and lower pricing usually reflects this.

We took our Alaska CruiseTour the first week of August and were lucky with the weather, but flowers were going to seed, which we were told happens about two weeks before winter weather sets in.  We did a 5 day land portion, which left us wanting a little more.  We also did the Natural History tour in Denali - we saw a lot of wildlife, but the tour the day before saw nothing except the fantastic scenery, so it is luck of the draw.
I concur with the suggestion to use EZAir, as the flights are "open jaw", and can be quite expensive if booked independently, as many airlines charge extra for one-way flights.  EZAir gets some less expensive rates.  Also expect a long flight to Anchorage or Fairbanks coming from the lower 48 states.  An extra day in Fairbanks will help you recoup.

 

Happy planning!

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My cruises this year were June 19 to July 3. It was almost perfect weather. The exception was an afternoon drizzle the first day I was in Juneau. I heard reports from people a couple of weeks ahead of my first cruise that they had rain the whole time. Ketchikan is famous for having over 140 inches of precipitation a year. Somehow I've had sunny skies all four times I've been there. Most recently, it was July 1. It was the first week of August in 2012, last week of July in 2009, and middle of July in 2002.

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Love to go in June -- daylight most of the 24hrs and whales are so energetic (happy to be in the food-rich northern waters). In 2018, we went in August with the desire to see the salmon run and the bears come out to feast. WELL, the run was meager everywhere we were. Some of the group saw ONE stream full of chum salmon, but no wild bears. (Fortress of the Bears in Sitka is a must-do, however!)

 

We're going back in June next year!

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