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Alaska--decide between the Jewel or the Bliss


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We plan to book an Alaska cruise for August been on over 30 cruises, many with NCL.  We've been on the Bliss and love her, but my question is in regards to the Jewel.  If we book the the Jewel, it has cruise Glacier Bay and cruise Hubbard Glacier.  Are those two days on the boat only?  No excursions?

Love to hear everyone thoughts.

Thanks

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Sailed the JEWEL June 2019 and one of those glacier days was after a port stop. Day two is Hubbard Glacier and we had a rainy foggy day but still managed to see the glacier.   I don't know how the BLISS runs and what ports but I would suggest that the two glaciers are something to see and the JEWEL can get pretty up close.  I doubt the glaciers will be around too much longer, they are indeed shrinking at an alarming rate.

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We did Glacier Bay on the Bliss and you are on the boat all day. I would personally opt for the jewel if you get two Gia users on that itinerary. Although, the observation lounge and thermal spa pass on the Bliss made my trip perfect! So many viewing opportunities every second.

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1 hour ago, leugerst said:

We plan to book an Alaska cruise for August been on over 30 cruises, many with NCL.  We've been on the Bliss and love her, but my question is in regards to the Jewel.  If we book the the Jewel, it has cruise Glacier Bay and cruise Hubbard Glacier.  Are those two days on the boat only?  No excursions?

Love to hear everyone thoughts.

Thanks

Yes. You watch glaciers from the ship. 
 

Maker sure you book the Northbound Jewel that goes to Glacier Bay. 
 

considerations for the Jewel. 
 

Departure is from Vancouver, so you have to deal with Canadian customs and immigrations (which was really slow the last time we did it) if you are considering flying in same day. 
 

it is a Monday-Monday Cruise. (Harder for some folks that work). 
 

It is a long train trip from Seward to anchorage. For us, there are no flights that get us home same day (Monday) so another day of vacation to burn. 

 

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Agree Vancouver airport was slow going home. And it is a long ride from Anchorage to Seward with only a couple options for transport. Have done both Bliss and Jewell. On Bliss you have to go to Vancouver island, waste for us. We are going again sept 2020. Will probably go for best price.

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6 minutes ago, Love my butler said:

Bah, north bound, south bound.  Hop on in Vancouver and don't get off until you hit Vancouver again.  The only way to go.

YES  Would love to do that.  Love being on The Jewel.  They will try to get you as far into as possible.

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Have cruised NCL to AK 3 times now - all RT from Seattle - last time was in 2012 on the Pearl which did the same route as the Bliss is doing now. 

 

Pros to the Bliss route - RT Seattle - no passport required (unless you venture to Canada in Skagway) No customs issues either - although you do have to declare whatever you bought in Canada.

You visit Glacier Bay - which is fantastic. You also visit the three main ports in SE AK. Leaves on a weekend so less vacation time to burn - you can fly in early and see Seattle.

Cons to the Bliss - spending only half days in Juneau and Ketchikan. Long trip up and back along the outside of Vancouver Island. BIg ship takes lots of time to off load in the smaller ports.

 

Pros to Jewel -  nearly full days in port - leaving from Vancouver BC they travel on the inside of Vancouver Island. Get to see two major glaciers - Glacier Bay and Hubbard. End up in Seward the gateway to Denali and the AK interior. Leaves on a Monday so you can fly into Vancouver two days ahead and see the sights - or connect from Seattle via train or bus. 

 

Cons - need to go through Canadian customs at the airport - agree the lines can be long - will also go through US  Customs when boarding the ship. All requires a passport. Anchorage is a long ways away and few flights back to the lower 48. However if you are going to the Midwest or east coast - Anchorage is a refueling site for planes taking the polar route to Europe so you should have a few more choices than those of us on the west coast. 

 

I have a Jewel cruise to AK planned and booked for June 2021 and am planning on making it a two week tour including some land based touring - will be putting my plans together this summer after our Panama Canal cruise in 19 days.

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8 hours ago, Sauer-kraut said:

Sailed the JEWEL June 2019 and one of those glacier days was after a port stop. Day two is Hubbard Glacier and we had a rainy foggy day but still managed to see the glacier.   I don't know how the BLISS runs and what ports but I would suggest that the two glaciers are something to see and the JEWEL can get pretty up close.  I doubt the glaciers will be around too much longer, they are indeed shrinking at an alarming rate.

  Holcomb Bay (Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier).  Is done the same day as Juneau.   

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5 hours ago, Love my butler said:

Bah, north bound, south bound.  Hop on in Vancouver and don't get off until you hit Vancouver again.  The only way to go.

Really.  Have you traveled mainland Alaska and didn’t like it?    

 

I certainly disagree.  There isn’t any “only “ way to go.    

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8 hours ago, leugerst said:

We plan to book an Alaska cruise for August been on over 30 cruises, many with NCL.  We've been on the Bliss and love her, but my question is in regards to the Jewel.  If we book the the Jewel, it has cruise Glacier Bay and cruise Hubbard Glacier.  Are those two days on the boat only?  No excursions?

Love to hear everyone thoughts.

Thanks

I also actually was on both ships last season.  Both enjoyable.  I suggest you figure out what you want to do in each port-  make sure it’s available.   

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So many variables -

so much to see and do -

and so many ways to do it -

 

ENTER/EXIT  points -

SEATTLE

VANCOUVER

ANCHORAGE# (Port of Seward)

FAIRBANKS* (start and end of Land Tours)

 

Airline travel is the primary method to get to these points

Note some Anchorage and most all Fairbanks flights are seasonal

same as the cruise season in Alaska and the Alaska RR operation

Vancouver (Canada) flights are NOT less expensive

In all air travel cases there is the TSA Security and Customs both

going and returning from Canada*

* Vancouver has a double wammy both the TSA and Customs

departing Canada

### Avoid scheduling flights with same day cruise without adequate

allowance for clearance of the above ! 

 

Generally:

Seattle cruises are round trips

Vancouver cruises are one-way northbound

Seward (Anchorage) cruises are one-way southbound

 

Beware not all cruises sail the Canada INSIDE PASSAGE between

Vancouver and Vancouver Island !

 

Ports visited:

Ketchikan

Juneau

Skagway

Icy Strait Point

Sitka * on select sailings

Victoria BC

TENDERING is possible at some of these except Sitka always

 

Glaciers visited:

Hubbard

Glacier Bay

Holcomb Bay (Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier)*

* Tracy Arm - Sawyer Glacier subject to calving closed late fall 2019

 

Shore Excursions travel:

Walking/Hiking

Biking

Kayaking

Chartered boat

Car rental

Motor coach (Bus)

White Pass and Yukon RR

Alaska RR

Helicopter and Float plane *

* Weather permitting

 

IF YOU DON'T GET OFF THE SHIP YOU WILL NOT SEE MT. DENALI !

You will need to do a Land Tour or private excursion of your own

 

IMNSHO (In my not so humble opinion) Taking the Alaska RR is the best optimum way to see the interior of Alaska

limited of course to staying on the tracks -AND- then there is the BUS. Having a car rental is great not to knock it.

Just what level of traveling convenience is yours to plan.

 

Consider taking a Land Tour before cruising living out of a suitcase and nightly hotel changing -

while on the ship your hotel and suitcase luggage is with you in your stateroom every no changes.

 

Read on for more CC members input and experiences - - - - - - - - - - -

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We are taking the Sun to Alaska in October, I understand the small ships get closer so Jewel will be great, I love her.

 

I think we have a fantastic itinerary on the Sun, fab price too, I just can't wait.

 

If only I could spare the time to stay on the Sun through the Panama Canal instead of ending the trip in San Diego!

 

image.png.6046d6ac0799feabafe44607dc520cfe.png

 

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26 minutes ago, ziggyuk said:

, I understand the small ships get closer so Jewel will be great, I love her.

 


“Small ships“ usually mean 150 person tour boats. Cruise ships of aall sizes tend to be risk adverse when there is ice in the water. It is all up to the Captain

 

I have seen the Jewel hang well back in light ice. This past season, we saw the Joy continue on through relatively heavy ice. 

 

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So while the lines many be long in Vancouver airport, they do move along.

It should not be a negative since the city is very nice  and many hotels near port so you can walk to ship.

Also you can take the modern clean  train from airport to city.

And lastly, you want as much time in the various ports so taking Jewel does that.

Then again, trains do run up to Vancouver from Seattle.

Seattle has changed at lot and they have lots more homeless issues these days.

I say do the Jewel and enjoy the sail out.

 

I did it in Ovation of seas last year. Great city and clean.

 

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13 hours ago, Budget Queen said:

Really.  Have you traveled mainland Alaska and didn’t like it?    

 

I certainly disagree.  There isn’t any “only “ way to go.    

You already know that answer.  We have discussed it over dinner.  The only way to go reference was for cruising Alaska.  Land trips are great too.

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16 minutes ago, Love my butler said:

You already know that answer.  We have discussed it over dinner.  The only way to go reference was for cruising Alaska.  Land trips are great too.

?????   Dinner???      I’ve been on numerous round trip Seattle sailings so obviously, they are enjoyed by many.    Can be a transportation benefit as well.     

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23 minutes ago, Budget Queen said:

?????   Dinner???      I’ve been on numerous round trip Seattle sailings so obviously, they are enjoyed by many.    Can be a transportation benefit as well.     

So many variables - - -

Not everyone's cup of tea - - -

Something for everyone - - -

Do some research - - -

Plan on what you can do with your budget and time - - -

You can take one cruise trip to Alaska -or- take a hundred and one and you will not see it all - - -

And there is more to cruising than NCL - just about any cruise line with a boat visits Alaska - - -

You could even consider taking the Alaska Maritime Ferry service and see ports of call that

the big ships pass in the dark of night.

 

But for the love of Mike or whoever get off the couch and make at least one cruise - it will open your horizons !

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6 hours ago, BirdTravels said:


“Small ships“ usually mean 150 person tour boats. Cruise ships of aall sizes tend to be risk adverse when there is ice in the water. It is all up to the Captain

 

I have seen the Jewel hang well back in light ice. This past season, we saw the Joy continue on through relatively heavy ice. 

 

 

This past season late September was on the JEWEL and we skipped the Tracy Arm-Sawyer Glacier due to

excessive ice in the fjord.  Not to be deterred took the/a 150 person catamaran on a almost 6 hour cruise to

see the (South) Sawyer Glacier and as a bonus saw the North Sawyer Glacier that only a true small vessel

would be able to get to. There was a whole lot of calving of the glacier going on.

 

Folks in spite of what naysayers are commenting about Global Warming - the glaciers are calving and melting

and at a rate the only ice you will see soon will be the ice cubes in your refrigerator.*#*

*#* hyperbole - exaggeration - to get your attention

NBC TV Anchor Lestor Holt was at one glacier which had receded 3 miles in recent times.

Interesting at the glacier visitor centers the photos of what was before and now of glaciers

 

Come see Alaska before it becomes beachfront tundra property.

And no fear of Siberian animals crossing the Bering Land Bridge in the near ice age future ! 

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3 hours ago, don't-use-real-name said:

So many variables - - -

Not everyone's cup of tea - - -

Something for everyone - - -

Do some research - - -

Plan on what you can do with your budget and time - - -

You can take one cruise trip to Alaska -or- take a hundred and one and you will not see it all - - -

And there is more to cruising than NCL - just about any cruise line with a boat visits Alaska - - -

You could even consider taking the Alaska Maritime Ferry service and see ports of call that

the big ships pass in the dark of night.

 

But for the love of Mike or whoever get off the couch and make at least one cruise - it will open your horizons !

Absolutely right ever visit is very different.  I’ve done over 75 cruises to Alaska including 6 last season.   

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4 hours ago, don't-use-real-name said:

 

This past season late September was on the JEWEL and we skipped the Tracy Arm-Sawyer Glacier due to

excessive ice in the fjord.  Not to be deterred took the/a 150 person catamaran on a almost 6 hour cruise to

see the (South) Sawyer Glacier and as a bonus saw the North Sawyer Glacier that only a true small vessel

would be able to get to. There was a whole lot of calving of the glacier going on.

 

Folks in spite of what naysayers are commenting about Global Warming - the glaciers are calving and melting

and at a rate the only ice you will see soon will be the ice cubes in your refrigerator.*#*

*#* hyperbole - exaggeration - to get your attention

NBC TV Anchor Lestor Holt was at one glacier which had receded 3 miles in recent times.

Interesting at the glacier visitor centers the photos of what was before and now of glaciers

 

Come see Alaska before it becomes beachfront tundra property.

And no fear of Siberian animals crossing the Bering Land Bridge in the near ice age future ! 

Just keep in mind some Alaskan glaciers are actually growing, not receding.  It's the cycle of Mother nature.

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1 hour ago, Budget Queen said:

Absolutely right ever visit is very different.  I’ve done over 75 cruises to Alaska including 6 last season.   

I'd love to know which is the best for only a 7 day option?  Inside passage, round trip, NCL or something else?  There are SOOOO many options I can't decide the best for the least amount of available time.  TIA

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