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Babyjax12

Alaska VS Caribbean - what to expect?

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Husband and I have done 10+ cruises, but always to warm climates. 

How will our June NCL cruise to Alaska differ? What should we expect?

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Well...one is about scenery and wildlife, and one is about warm weather and beaches...

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You are starting the New Year with a sense of humor! Ship life will be similar? Weather will be ever changing (i.e., rain). Do people sit outside on open decks? 

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Amazing scenery and vast landscapes.

The grandeur of the glaciers (and the realization of how ecologically fragile they are becoming)

Hanging out on your deck watching for wildlife (whales while in open ocean; eagles, seals, maybe a bear or two while cruising near land). 

Port intensive days  (not a lot of sleeping in).

Sunlight until 10 PM; Sunrise a bit after 4 AM during your June cruise.

Unpredictable weather (be prepared for cold, rain, or maybe sun and warmth).

Be prepared to want to visit again.

 

 

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This is a question that has been asked several times here, so you can also search for those threads. But like others said, it's all about the ports/scenery, not just hanging on a beach in a chair. The days are long and busy, at least for us, because there's a lot to see and do. Things take time, getting to an excursion may be a 2-3 hour trip. Sit on your balcony more, go to the talks, prepare for any kind of weather, the dining room dress code seemed more relaxed, so basically a lot of things. It's just a much more active kind of trip.

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I greatly appreciate the information shared here. I did try searching for this topic, but couldn't find anything. Perhaps my word choice was wrong. Thanks to those who responded. I apologize for the repetitive thread. 

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The question I'd ask you, you've cruised 10 times to warm climates, now after so many cruises there what made you decide to choose Alaska this time.

 

For us we think deeply and plan our vacations sometimes a year out, and when we choose the cruise the intent and expectation is very clear and though thru versus warm climate, skiing, beach/tropical or a cruise somewhere, we are clear what we expect and then read to see if we will be surprised.

 

If you've done your research and know what you are planning to do in ports, excursions and what scenic cruising you selected, you should have a great time.

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17 minutes ago, Babyjax12 said:

I greatly appreciate the information shared here. I did try searching for this topic, but couldn't find anything. Perhaps my word choice was wrong. Thanks to those who responded. I apologize for the repetitive thread. 

You could just read down the board for tons of info. Just as the Caribbean is different from the Med, the Med different from the Baltic, Asia different from other locations, etc.

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If you like warm climate, why would you want to go somewhere else?  And why Alaska?  Why not Greece, etc?

 

I strongly recommend that you look at some pictures to see if this is what interests you before going to Alaska. It's pricey and mostly about what you see/do off ship. Do you want to see glaciers? Are you fine walking in the rain?  Does seeing whales interest you? Can you find something to do on sea days that doesn't involve hanging around the pool? Can you live with limited cell phone reception?

 

 

 

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DH & I are heading out on our first Alaska cruise in May.  We, as well, have mainly sailed warm climate (Caribbean and Med).  We cruised in Norway late May a few years back and the main thing over Caribbean was the chill in the air.  Even if the temperatures were in the 60's (which is still not warm) it felt a lot cooler then 60's.  Everything always seemed damp so that attributed to the cooler feeling.  Even when it wasn't raining just the overcast skies and fog added dampness to the air.  Be prepared with some warmer clothes.  DH bought a winter hat onboard so we will be packing that for our Alaska cruise. 

 

Even though I'm sure we will come across junk stores, I'm hoping AK will be like Norway shopping and not the junk you find all over the Caribbean (the markets).  I know some people may like that stuff, but not our thing.   

 

Also from what I read unless you are on Disney Cruise Line, you are probably going to have an older crowd.  

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6 hours ago, katrina915 said:

If you like warm climate, why would you want to go somewhere else?  And why Alaska?  Why not Greece, etc?

 

I strongly recommend that you look at some pictures to see if this is what interests you before going to Alaska. It's pricey and mostly about what you see/do off ship. Do you want to see glaciers? Are you fine walking in the rain?  Does seeing whales interest you? Can you find something to do on sea days that doesn't involve hanging around the pool? Can you live with limited cell phone reception?

 

 

 

 

Not sure the OP said they only like warm climates, but that's all they had been to. We'd also done 6 cruises to the Caribbean before doing Alaska. I feel like many who do Alaska cruises do a different one first.

 

We, probably like a lot of others, were looking for something different to see. We loved seeing the different glaciers! It's amazing to see nature like that. We didn't have any rain on our cruise (although it's always possible. We had more rain on our European cruise, and we've had some rain on a Caribbean one as well. We didn't see any whales either. We saw various other wildlife, but we didn't do any whale excursions or the dog sled, although both are obviously very popular. For our cruise, we didn't have many sea days, because an Alaskan cruise is very port intensive. But it was absolutely beautiful to sit on our balcony, or other enclosed decks, and watch the scenery or just relax and read, be unplugged. That's how we saw a really cool fish, spotted by our son! All of our Caribbean cruises were basically sitting by the pools, or on our balcony, just watching the water go by, not much to see. And I had better cell phone reception there (although not necessary for a cruise, IMO) than I ever did on a Caribbean one.

 

I will agree that Alaska cruises are much more expensive than a Caribbean one. We knew that going into it, so we were prepared. We also made sure we booked the things we knew we really wanted to do, and things that are pretty unique to Alaska. So we did the helicopter ride on a glacier, knowing it was one of the few places that I'd want to ride on a helicopter.

 

So while things are very different than a Caribbean cruise, there's a reason for it, it's a totally different place to visit! It worth at least a trip, if you can do it!

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1 hour ago, nicoleinwi said:

DH & I are heading out on our first Alaska cruise in May.  We, as well, have mainly sailed warm climate (Caribbean and Med).  We cruised in Norway late May a few years back and the main thing over Caribbean was the chill in the air.  Even if the temperatures were in the 60's (which is still not warm) it felt a lot cooler then 60's.  Everything always seemed damp so that attributed to the cooler feeling.  Even when it wasn't raining just the overcast skies and fog added dampness to the air.  Be prepared with some warmer clothes.  DH bought a winter hat onboard so we will be packing that for our Alaska cruise. 

 

Even though I'm sure we will come across junk stores, I'm hoping AK will be like Norway shopping and not the junk you find all over the Caribbean (the markets).  I know some people may like that stuff, but not our thing.   

 

Also from what I read unless you are on Disney Cruise Line, you are probably going to have an older crowd.  

 

Yes, very true! And we were in Oslo in July and got poured on! We were soaked by late afternoon.  😥 I was so grateful we had a sea day the next day, so my gym shoes could be dried before our next stop! And yet our son was riding the wave rider thing that night with the teen club! LOL! And I bought a coat on our Alaska cruise! I packed one, but they had a nicer, fleece lined good one, and on sale!

 

Although I will say, we did Carnival and there were a ton of kids on our ship, mostly teens though. Although I see you're going in May, so most kids are still in school. We went in July.

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No moose or bears in the Caribbean.  Also, more glaciers in AK than the Caribbean.  Scenery is tons better in AK.

 

DON

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When I think about our Alaska Cruise, my memories are all about what I did ashore and about what I saw from the ship rather than what I did aboard the ship. I found myself in a constant state of amazement at the beautiful views.

 

A few things that were different and neat to experience:

 

- Days in Alaska during the summer months are long. Sunrise was around 4:00am and sunset around 11:00pm.
- It was colder than a Caribbean sailing, but not as cold as I expected. We definitely overpacked. Most days, I wore jeans, a sweater, and a light jacket. 
- There’s something to see from the ship, even on sea days. Cruising the inside passage means that you’re close enough to shore to enjoy the breathtaking views as your ship sails.

- It’s an educational experience. Instead of less cerebral entertainment commonly found on Caribbean cruises, we attended lectures about Alaska. And on glacier viewing days, we listened to commentaries from park rangers that came onboard the ship. 
 

Alaska was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable cruises I’ve ever taken. 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, nicoleinwi said:

 Also from what I read unless you are on Disney Cruise Line, you are probably going to have an older crowd.  

We sailed on Holland America fully expecting it to be a nursing home, first because it was Alaska and second because this cruise line traditionally caters to an older clientele. But we were pleasantly surprised to see all ages onboard, similar to what we’ve experienced on Caribbean sailings on more family friendly cruise lines. Yes, there were more seniors onboard, but not overwhelmingly. 
 

We sailed during the summer, round trip from Seattle, which was most likely more attractive for families than if we’d sailed a one way cruise from/to Vancouver and Whittier.

7 hours ago, nicoleinwi said:

Even though I'm sure we will come across junk stores, I'm hoping AK will be like Norway shopping and not the junk you find all over the Caribbean (the markets).  I know some people may like that stuff, but not our thing.   


Unfortunately, there are junk stores as well as chain stores like Diamonds International, Del Sol, and  Cariloha in several Alaskan ports of call, specially the larger ones like Juneau and Ketchikan. In fact, Ketchikan reminded me of Nassau, with several ships docked, hordes of cruise passengers roaming the streets, and the many cheap souvenir stores. 

Edited by Tapi

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We are going on our first Alaskan cruise this June, roundtrip from Vancouver. We've only sailed twice previously--both to the Caribbean, once on Disney and once on Royal Caribbean. We've been to many other Caribbean/tropical climates (but without the cruising part).

 

We are not really cruise people--too sedate for us and we've found the onboard entertainment rather cheesy (again, our cruise experience is quite limited). We don't enjoy endless sea days and aren't really into just hanging by the pool. Than what are we doing on an Alaskan cruise??? We are avid photographers and are in awe of fabulous scenery. We spent 10 days a few years ago in Banff and Jasper; we loved everything about that trip! We are active vacationers, so a port intensive cruise such as an Alaskan one is much more appealing to us. The idea of the sun rising at 4 a.m. thrills me! I can't wait to experience something so completely different!

 

My biggest predicament right now is cabin choice--smaller aft facing balcony with great views, protection from the wind, or larger balcony cabin (still in the aft area of the ship). We'll be sailing on HAL's Koningsdam in June.

 

Can't wait!

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Kfrech said:

My biggest predicament right now is cabin choice--smaller aft facing balcony with great views, protection from the wind, or larger balcony cabin (still in the aft area of the ship). We'll be sailing on HAL's Koningsdam in June.

We had a regular balcony on the starboard side of the ship. While I’m grateful for the balcony and for the many beautiful views that we saw from there, we found ourselves not using it as much as we thought. Every time I wanted to truly enjoy the views, like when we went into Glacier Bay, I’d always head up to the open decks. The 360 degree views from up there were truly mesmerizing. Much better than what we could see from our balcony. 
 

Based on what you write, I think that you will love Alaska. We had several family members in our group who don’t like cruising for some of the reasons that you mentioned, but they agreed to join us, and they absolutely loved the experience. 

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I agree--I think we will absolutely love it!

 

I'm inclined to stick with our aft-facing balcony; I think the views will be better since we will have more side to side view, but I'm sure we will spend plenty of time on the open decks. I like the idea of being able to take in the sights from our balcony with a beverage in hand (probably a warm one at that!)

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11 minutes ago, Kfrech said:

I like the idea of being able to take in the sights from our balcony with a beverage in hand (probably a warm one at that!)

Hopefully HAL still does this, but when we sailed on them to Alaska, they placed  throw blankets in our stateroom which we could use out on the balcony. Definitely a perfect addition to a warm beverage while watching the world go by. 

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54 minutes ago, Tapi said:

Hopefully HAL still does this, but when we sailed on them to Alaska, they placed  throw blankets in our stateroom which we could use out on the balcony. Definitely a perfect addition to a warm beverage while watching the world go by. 

Yes, HAL still does this.

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On 1/1/2020 at 7:25 PM, Babyjax12 said:

Husband and I have done 10+ cruises, but always to warm climates. 

How will our June NCL cruise to Alaska differ? What should we expect?

i really think you should do a bit more research if you cant differentiate difference between the two vacations.

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We cruised Alaska only one time and that was 2006. We have cruised the Caribbean 9 times. The last two were 2013 and last September. We now fly into the Caribbean and stay. We find it 100% different experience then a cruise. Last September we did the Western Caribbean. ( was booked for Cuba but that got canceled.) After flying in and staying we decided we will no longer cruise to the Caribbean. We are bored with it. We just returned from Jamaica and are returning in Oct. We just won’t cruise the Caribbean unless we can do the Panama Canal. With Alaska it is totally different. So much to see and do. I would love to do Norway and The rest of Europe. We are booked for this May for Southbound Alaska. We can’t wait .

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