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Akina13

Best Ship for Alaska?

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13 hours ago, Cruisegirl6 said:

Akina13-  Remember, your on a RC board here people will give you suggestions for a RC ship, which is normal here.  I did alot of research, was going to Alaska next year and those were the two ships I would of chosen, only, I decided to put it off for another year because my other half will retire in 2021 and we won't have a time restraint and then be able to do a land tour pre cruise too.

 

If you want to see the northern lights, its best to go as much into September as you can, but there is no predicting the solar activity, just keep that in mind.  Fairbanks is probably the best place to see it, followed by Denali National Park, anchorage than Juneau.

 

In Seaward you can see alot of whales also and the best time to see more whales is during early may and the first part of June (but can be seen through September).  You can find more whales in Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.

 

 

If you want to see the northern lights, fly to Tromso Norway in the winter and you will see them if you spend two nights there, but most likely you will only need one, If you go to Alaska, better spend a week.  BTW the Northern lights are worth seeing.  That said, you really need to go in the winter, there are no winter cruises in Alaska.  In Denali, we didn’t see stars any of the 3 nights we spent there. Zero stars in three nights in summer 2018.  

 

Whales are best in Juneau.  Although I am sure anywhere from Anchorage to Juneau in the summer you can see whales.  

 

If you want to see the northern lights, summer or fall suck....  go in the winter.

 

jc

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12 hours ago, m*u*g* said:

I like both to be great if I'm spending that kind of money, which I am. I chose Ovation. I think the itinerary is great. Skagway, Juneau, Galcier Bay, Victoria BC. Plus I get to spend a couple days in Seattle. It's a win for me. 

 

I think your plan is awesome.  Enjoy

 

jc

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9 hours ago, Bailey & Sophie said:

 

You will probably see whales. Northern lights...probably not. They appear at night and I don't believe it gets dark enough to see them in Alaska in the summer.

 

 

Only rarely.  the Northern lights may happen all year, but you can only see them when it is dark.  Alaska is most not dark at night in the summer and fall.  

 

I remember fishing trips to Northern Ontario, and I would go to bed a midnight and it would be dusky, and at 4 in the morning the light would wake me up. 

 

JC

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4 minutes ago, xpcdoojk said:

 

Only rarely.  the Northern lights may happen all year, but you can only see them when it is dark.  Alaska is most not dark at night in the summer and fall.  

 

I remember fishing trips to Northern Ontario, and I would go to bed a midnight and it would be dusky, and at 4 in the morning the light would wake me up. 

 

JC

We see them occasionally here in Minnesota. One summer we were camping in the backwaters of the St. Croix River (between Minnesota and Wisconsin). We watched the lights one night for about 45 minutes. Awesome. My husband commented that the only thing that could top the lights would be a shooting star. No more than out of his mouth one shot across the sky. MAGICAL!

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I work with two Swedes, who lived in Sweden for over 20 years as kids or adults and both of them have told me they have never seen them.  The difference is the amount of nights where the skies are clear.  I imagine (don’t know definitively) that you have more clear nights in the summer than those in Alaska.  That said, while your summer nights are short in Minnesota, they are even shorter in Alaska.  Thank your lucky “stars” for that night. 

 

We see them (and by we, I mean someone) sees them in summer here in the lower Midwest occassionally.  I am 60, I never saw them and I used to lay out on the deck of our boat dock as a youth, teen and young adult lots of summer lights and I never saw them one time.  We travelled to Sweden last February, and spent several days in southern Sweden, and never saw a single star.  Flew to Tromso, arrived to clear skies late at night, and by that I mean we landed at 7PM and it had been fully dark for a few hours.  We didn’t see any sign of them despite clear skies.  Went to a restaurant and ate reindeer filets, walked back to the hotel room no northern lights, next night at 6PM took a tour to chase the northern lights.  Drove for 90 minutes from Tromso, to a mountaintop near a fjord and spent several hours watching them.  

 

The difference between where you can easily see them and where you “might” see them is immense.

 

Just trying to share a bit of experience which you can learn or Learn for yourself.  It is all about personal choice.

 

jc

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BTW, tonight is the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, which means if you are in the right dark place you can see a falling star at least every minute.... unfortunately, the universe hates us and did this during a full moon this year, which means even if you are in a really dark spot, the moon will spoil a lot of your show.  

 

My best meteor night was a night in October on the top of Haleakala during the Orionids meteor shower, we litterally saw hundreds of them in a couple of hours.  Awesome!!!

 

jc

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10 hours ago, xpcdoojk said:

BTW, tonight is the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, which means if you are in the right dark place you can see a falling star at least every minute.... unfortunately, the universe hates us and did this during a full moon this year, which means even if you are in a really dark spot, the moon will spoil a lot of your show.  

 

My best meteor night was a night in October on the top of Haleakala during the Orionids meteor shower, we litterally saw hundreds of them in a couple of hours.  Awesome!!!

 

jc

 

The light from the bright full moon is obscuring the meteor shower up here in downeast Maine.  😞 

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Posted (edited)

If you want to explore quite a bit of Alaska then currently the best option would be the One Way cruises on Radiance from Vancouver to Seward or vice versa in connection with a land tour, where depending on people's interests and time limits you can books shorter or longer ones. Personally I would recomend a cruise starting in Seward going up to Vancouver and starting with the land tour in Alaska since this is the most exhausting part of the journey.

 

If land tours are not someones thing then the Serenade itinary offered as of 2021 would be not bad. The one of Itinarary Ovation offered this May was great as well and if they would offer it again it would be the perfect cruise for everyone that wants to see more of Alaska but is not interested in a land tour. Anyhow, the day will come that we will see ships like the Ovation to replace the Radiance to offer the same one way itinararies etc. or if port restrictions will remain such thorough cruises will only be offered in future by Celebrity, Azamara or Silversea (RCCL group)

Edited by LXA350

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58 minutes ago, LXA350 said:

If you want to explore quite a bit of Alaska then currently the best option would be the One Way cruises on Radiance from Vancouver to Seward or vice versa in connection with a land tour, where depending on people's interests and time limits you can books shorter or longer ones. Personally I would recomend a cruise starting in Seward going up to Vancouver and starting with the land tour in Alaska since this is the most exhausting part of the journey.

 

If land tours are not someones thing then the Serenade itinary offered as of 2021 would be not bad. The one of Itinarary Ovation offered this May was great as well and if they would offer it again it would be the perfect cruise for everyone that wants to see more of Alaska but is not interested in a land tour. Anyhow, the day will come that we will see ships like the Ovation to replace the Radiance to offer the same one way itinararies etc. or if port restrictions will remain such thorough cruises will only be offered in future by Celebrity, Azamara or Silversea (RCCL group)

 

There are places that the smaller Radiance class ships can go, ....that the larger ships like Ovation cannot venture.

 

My next Alaska trip (August next year) involves renting a car to spend time in Talkeetna and Fairbanks, then back to Anchorage for that excellent early morning train trip to Seward, where we are spending three days prior to the cruise.  Boarding for B2B on Radiance Seward to Vancouver and back.  

 

Have been to Alaska three times.  With each visit...our problem was that we wished we had more time there.  This visit will be for a full month.  🙂 

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2 hours ago, island lady said:

My next Alaska trip (August next year) involves renting a car to spend time in Talkeetna and Fairbanks, then back to Anchorage for that excellent early morning train trip to Seward, where we are spending three days prior to the cruise.  Boarding for B2B on Radiance Seward to Vancouver and back.  

 

This is the real Alaska.  Rent an SUV and see Denali at your own pace.  Roll-your-own is less than half the price.

 

Ovation and Serenade spend half their time in Canadian waters.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, steveru621 said:

 

This is the real Alaska.  Rent an SUV and see Denali at your own pace.  Roll-your-own is less than half the price.

 

Ovation and Serenade spend half their time in Canadian waters.

 

SUV?  With just the two of we do fine with just the small to mid size car, but if you have a large family, I guess you might want a large vehicle.  Do keep in mind, no one is allowed in their own personal car to tour inside Denali National park.  They put you on those old school buses.  But there are still areas that are nice to visit with great views.  One of the best tour we did was the flight around Mt. McKinley.  Fabulous!  

 

Yes, indeed.  Serenade and Ovation Canadian waters, and a lot of time bouncing around in high seas in open north Pacific.  😮 

Edited by island lady

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Just now, island lady said:

 

SUV?  With just the two of us do fine with just the small to mid size car, but if you have a large family, I guess you might want a large vehicle.  Do keep in mind, no one is allowed in their own personal car to tour Denali National park.  They put you on those old school buses.  But there are still areas that are nice to visit with great views.  One of the best tour we did was the flight around Mt. McKinley.  Fabulous!  

 

Yes, indeed.  Serenade and Ovation Canadian waters, and a lot of time bouncing around in high seas in open north Pacific.  😮 

 

We travelled twice, Anchorage - Denali with another couple and luggage.  I definitely agree a car would be fine for one couple.

 

But... Not to try to scare anyone, there are a few Moose and Caribou collisions where a big SUV would offer some protection.

 

We stayed at the Grand Denali, went to Wonder Lake on the bus, and got to eat at restaurants we choose and at the times we wanted.  All for less than half the cost of RCI.  Just make sure you reserve early!  

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6 minutes ago, steveru621 said:

 

We travelled twice, Anchorage - Denali with another couple and luggage.  I definitely agree a car would be fine for one couple.

 

But... Not to try to scare anyone, there are a few Moose and Caribou collisions where a big SUV would offer some protection.

 

We stayed at the Grand Denali, went to Wonder Lake on the bus, and got to eat at restaurants we choose and at the times we wanted.  All for less than half the cost of RCI.  Just make sure you reserve early!  

 

Yes, indeed.  If you have the time to do it (both being there longer and time to plan in advance) it can get so much more interesting...and definitely cheaper!  🙂 

 

In previous visits to Alaska, we have only seen one Moose on the road.  A small female going across the highway near Anchorage.  Traveling at night can be Moose heavy.  We don't like driving in the dark up there, nor up here in northern Maine (also Moose intense) where we are spending the summer.  Guess that is why we don't see much. 

We did see quite a few on the early train ride down to Seward.  

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9 hours ago, steveru621 said:

 

This is the real Alaska.  Rent an SUV and see Denali at your own pace.  Roll-your-own is less than half the price.

 

Ovation and Serenade spend half their time in Canadian waters.

 

Way, way less, however driving an SUV the several hours from Anchorage to Denali is a challenge, especially when the wheel weights are off balance.  It was the best part of our trip last year almost a year ago.  However, Denali had the road wash out trapping people in the park this past week.  I will never forget when we got to the check point about 10 miles in, where the lovely young ranger lady, said, you do have enough supplies to make it for the next several days.  It is a moment when you go, ... hmm... there are a lot of things I would like to have if I am going to be on our own.  Worked out great.  Highlight.  Renting the RV and doing our own thing was awesome and saved thousands of dollars for the 5 of us.

 

jc

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We saw a single moose, on the side of the highway coming back to Anchorage.  Well we saw others at the park down below anchorage, but wild that was the only.  Saw lots of bears.  We drove the RV to the farthest point we were allowed and camped 3 nights took the buses as far as allowed.  Walked many miles in a group on wild trails.  Fortunately didn’t see anything too exciting.

 

Lovely.

 

jc

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The Ovation is a perfect cold weather ship. You can spend time in the solarium pools and whirlpools in comfortable warmth which looking out through the vast amount of glass. The other great thing about the Ovation is the variety of different types of chairs, couches and loungers that make it that much better for relaxing compared to the Voyager class.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, xpcdoojk said:

We saw a single moose, on the side of the highway coming back to Anchorage.  Well we saw others at the park down below anchorage, but wild that was the only.  Saw lots of bears.  We drove the RV to the farthest point we were allowed and camped 3 nights took the buses as far as allowed.  Walked many miles in a group on wild trails.  Fortunately didn’t see anything too exciting.

 

Lovely.

 

jc

 

Got a kick out of seeing all the RVs come off the ferry at Skagway.  Lots of RV "camping" there...but basically set up in a parking lot.  Seward also has a large city RV park, which draws chalk lines in the parking lot to show where your "site" is.  Nice view right on the water...but minimal hookups.  

 

We live in our RV more than half the year (up here in Maine for the summer now).   So, renting one in Alaska for us would not be an option we are interested in, but sure is popular up there.  🙂 

 

We are doing small cabins and B&Bs for just over two weeks on our self land tour.  Bucky wants his picture taken at the arctic circle sign to celebrate his milestone birthday.  😉 Van tour up there from the cabin we are renting in Fairbanks, then flight seeing trip back.  

Edited by island lady

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So many say RCI excursions are twice as expensive as those you can book on your own.

 

This is especially true in Alaska.

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On 8/12/2019 at 8:58 PM, Akina13 said:

Hey all 🙂

I was just wondering what you all thought was the best ship for Alaska - I was looking at Ovation (we will be going with another family that has 2 small children) I have been on Harmony and loved it as well as Navigator. I have also been on Vision, and while I liked it, I want something bigger.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Kim

 

People have very strong opinions when it comes to Alaska.  I would suggest you decide what are your must dos on your vacation and see what ship fits that plan best.  I would also look at the cost of flights to get there as those are expensive depending on what time of season you go.  Are you looking at just the cruise or adding a land tour also, that will add a lot too.  If you do a tour through the cruise line, the days start early, some with bag pulls at 6am and optional excursions on those days can go late.  We finished our ATV tour at Denali after 10pm at night since it was still light out.

 

I would look at some of the reviews in the Alaska forum and get an idea what you want to do and see.  Then look at an itinerary that fits that best.  We ended up on Radiance because we knew we wanted to do a cruise tour prior to our cruise as we wanted to see Denali National Park.  We did the Tundra Wilderness Tour that doesn't get you all the way to the end of the road but was wonderful.  Others will say that isn't enough but it was for us for our first trip.  A southbound cruise was also important to us as we wanted to get the longer flights out of the way since we had to fly back to the east coast.  Flying home from Vancouver was better than flying home from Anchorage.  

 

Had we just chosen our cruise for the ship, we would have gone with Ovation as we love that class of ship.  Radiance and Serenade are beautiful too, but we find them to be a more laid back cruise.  

 

Look at the total picture and decide what is important for your group and fits your budget.  If a round trip from Seattle or Vancouver is what fits best budget wise and time wise, that is great.  We are looking at Ovation for 2020 since we won't be able to do a 2+ week vacation.  Ovation will at least get us back to most of what we want to see.

 

Good luck!

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