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NCL Encore Ininerary?


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Hi all! I’m in the beginning stages of looking at itineraries for our family’s first Alaska cruise (Summer 2021). A little about us: We are a family of four and by summer 2021, our kids will be 6 and 8. We have done several Caribbean cruises with Royal Caribbean and enjoyed them all. I’m hoping to expand the kids’ horizons beyond the Caribbean and Alaska is something my wife and I have always wanted to do (we have never been). 

 

Given the kids’ ages and the distance we will have to travel from our home in Florida, a Seattle round trip itinerary will work best for us in terms of cost and convenience. We are open to different cruise lines and sizes of ships. We are looking for a nice mix of onboard things for the kids and a good itinerary.

 

I came across this NCL Encore itinerary and it looked like an “odd” itinerary to me in terms of port times. Am I right about that? While Encore is an appealing option because of the newness and family-friendliness of the ship, the inclusions with the “free” offers, and the low deposit, the itinerary is also important. 

 

From what I have read, a lot of the appeal of Alaska Cruising is seeing the beautiful scenery from the ship in addition to touring the ports. Is this itinerary designed to maximize the scenery from the ship? Is that why the Port times seem a little different than others I’ve looked at?

 

Any thoughts on this itinerary from the Alaska experts would be appreciated! In addition, if you have any other tips for choosing an itinerary with younger kids, I’d love to read it! There’s great info here already for first-time Alaska cruisers, so thank you to everyone who shares such valuable information!

 

 

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For me, I don't care for the above itinerary mainly because port time in Ketchikan and Victoria are minimal.  HOWEVER, I am not you and don't have to take into consideration little ones.  You know your family better than anyone and the port times just might be perfect for the little ones attention span.  Sounds like the ship and its amenities are a good fit for you if I understand correctly. 

 

As a suggestion, you might want to take a look at the excursions for each port that are offered by your ship to see if any of them closely match what you are looking for out of your visit to the port.  Also, you might want to take a look at some of the detailed trip reports shown at the top of this Alaska board --- If I remember correctly, there are some family cruising reports. 

 

Alaska planning takes time and it is good that you are looking ahead.  You will get lots of suggestions and comments.  The bottom line to keep in mind is that this is YOUR trip and you need to be happy with your final decision.  Wishing you many memorable moments on your upcoming trip.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Italy52 said:

For me, I don't care for the above itinerary mainly because port time in Ketchikan and Victoria are minimal.  HOWEVER, I am not you and don't have to take into consideration little ones.  You know your family better than anyone and the port times just might be perfect for the little ones attention span.  Sounds like the ship and its amenities are a good fit for you if I understand correctly. 

 

As a suggestion, you might want to take a look at the excursions for each port that are offered by your ship to see if any of them closely match what you are looking for out of your visit to the port.  Also, you might want to take a look at some of the detailed trip reports shown at the top of this Alaska board --- If I remember correctly, there are some family cruising reports. 

 

Alaska planning takes time and it is good that you are looking ahead.  You will get lots of suggestions and comments.  The bottom line to keep in mind is that this is YOUR trip and you need to be happy with your final decision.  Wishing you many memorable moments on your upcoming trip.

 

 

 

Thank you for the input! In comparing the 2020 itineraries for Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Princess to the 2021 itineraries for NCL (the others haven’t released their 2021 itineraries yet), it appears a major differentiating factor is whether the ship goes to Glacier Bay or Endicott Arm/Dawe’s glacier. It seems the trips that go to Glacier Bay have shorter times in the other ports and the trips that go to Endicott Arm/Dawe’s glacier have longer port times.

 

I have read that Glacier Bay is great-some reviews say it’s a must. If the option was to see Glacier Bay and have shorter port times or see Endicott Arm/Dawe’s Glacier and have longer port times, which would be preferred? 

 

Again thanks for input!

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For me, I would choose Glacier Bay as we have never had a problem with access.  For Endicott Arm, there have been some problems with access.  I think the reason people have a tendency to say that Glacier Bay is a "must" is because of its beautiful scenery and it's accessibility.  There are numerous trip reports with photos (mine included) of Glacier Bay.  There might be some of Endicott Arm/Dawe's Glacier as well (I can't recall for sure.)  I really do encourage you to look at some of the trip reports for first-hand experiences.

Edited by Italy52
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29 minutes ago, Italy52 said:

I really do encourage you to look at some of the trip reports for first-hand experiences.

 

Thank you for the input! I’ve already started reading them! Lots of great material to read for a few months before we decide on an itinerary! 

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I agree with Italy52 .... the Ketchikan port time is very poor, and the Victoria stop is useless at that time of day.   Italy 52 has several trip reports ... different ships, diff itineraries and great photos.

 

Don't rule out Vancouver departures .  If it's too pricey to fly into YVR,  fly to Seatac then drive 3 hrs to Vancouver, or take the Amtrak Cascades train or Quick Coach or Bolt Bus or greyhound.

Alaska Airlines has flights from FL to Seatac.  Get their charge card ($100 annual fee) and a companion flies for $100.

Vancouver sailings travel between Vancouver Island and the mainland so it's more scenic and the waters are more sheltered.  Seattle departures travel on the west side of Vanc Island so it's basically open sea ... no scenery and the potential for rough water.

 

 

Edited by mapleleaves
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Most cruises shortchange you at either Juneau OR Ketchikan.  This one short changes you at Juneau AND Ketchikan.  So basically you have 1/2 day at the 2 ports that you stop at.  I would not take that cruise.

 

DON

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On 8/21/2019 at 4:32 PM, mapleleaves said:

Don't rule out Vancouver departures .  If it's too pricey to fly into YVR,  fly to Seatac then drive 3 hrs to Vancouver, or take the Amtrak Cascades train or Quick Coach or Bolt Bus or greyhound.

 

Thanks for this tip-I will definitely look into this, though with the smaller kids I’m hoping we can fly to the city we are departing from. A peek at the flights to voncouver reveals they’re significantly more, though I will need to research more in depth! I have lots of time to research and rack up credit card points to ease the burden!

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22 hours ago, donaldsc said:

Most cruises shortchange you at either Juneau OR Ketchikan.  This one short changes you at Juneau AND Ketchikan.  So basically you have 1/2 day at the 2 ports that you stop at.  I would not take that cruise.

 

DON

 

Thanks for the input. Thats kind of what I was thinking when I first saw the itinerary but then I wondered if maybe the late arrival in Juneau was purposeful to give a scenic day of cruising leading up to the arrival? Seems perhaps it’s just not a very desirable itinerary compared to others...

Edited by Gatordad815
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On 8/21/2019 at 4:32 PM, mapleleaves said:

the Victoria stop is useless at that time of day. 

 

It seems all of the round trip Seattle itineraries I see that have Glacier bay have this “useless” stop-lots of brief evening stops on those itineraries (I realize on a US itinerary the foreign stop is required which is why they do it). It’s disappointing as I’d love to find an itinerary that does both Glacier Bay and a long day in Victoria! 

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The round trip cruises out of Seattle have to stop somewhere in Canada to make it an international cruise and thus avoid having to follow US labor laws.  Most if not all of them stop in Victoria.  Since it will be the last evening of your cruise this may be a good time to enjoy the ship with less people.  

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Personally, I don't see a problem with the Juneau port time as you still have a good chunk of time there.  Think about what you would like to see in Juneau....does the time in port let you accomplish what you want to see?  If so, then there is no problem.     

 

I still stand behind my original comments about Ketchikan and Victoria having minimal port times.

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2 hours ago, Gatordad815 said:

 

Thanks for this tip-I will definitely look into this, though with the smaller kids I’m hoping we can fly to the city we are departing from. A peek at the flights to voncouver reveals they’re significantly more, though I will need to research more in depth! I have lots of time to research and rack up credit card points to ease the burden!

 

 

Have you considered taking Amtrak from Seattle to Vancouver?  Would the kids love a train trip?  We have done it, and the route is rather scenic.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/22/2019 at 7:10 PM, Northern Aurora said:

 

 

Have you considered taking Amtrak from Seattle to Vancouver?  Would the kids love a train trip?  We have done it, and the route is rather scenic.

 

That sounds like an adventure the kids would love-I’ll definitely keep my mind open to that as we plan-thanks for the suggestion!

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We’ve flown to Seattle for a Vancouver cruise several times. Used the shuttle and Amtrak. I have to say the scenery was great on both. I think the kids would enjoy the adventure, especially if you can save $$$ on the flight.

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