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Which Itinerary? First Alaska Cruise


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We have sailed 20 times to Caribbean and Canada on Disney and are looking at Celebrity to Alaska in August 2021.  I am very far outside of my comfort zone and would welcome your input.   We are a family of 3, daughter will be 17.   We are active and enjoy nature and hiking.  We generally don't like to be cold - so this vacation is outside our comfort zone.  We love dining and trying new food, but daughter is vegetarian.  I want to see whales more than just about anything.   I'd also love to eat halibut at every meal.   No planes or helicopters.  Small boats are a maybe, but sea sickness is a concern.  Rarely do ships's excursions and prefer small group or private tours (I'm not a fan of being herded.)   Options are listed below.

 

Dawes Glacier Cruise

Celebrity Solstice 

Aug 13th and 20th

 

  • Seattle
  • Sea
  • Ketchikan
  • Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Inside Passage
  • Sea
  • Victoria, BC
  • Seattle

 

Hubbard  Glacier  (2 options)

Celebrity Eclipse

 

  • Vancouver, BC
  • Inside Passage
  • Icy Straight Point OR Sitka
  • Hubbard Glacier
  • Juneau
  • Ketchikan
  • Inside Passage
  • Vancouver, BC

 

Let's hear it Alaska pros!

 

Thank you so much for your time and expertise.

 

Kathi from NJ

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Alaska is about the ports, not the ship!

go out of Vancouver with princess or HAL (glacier bay permits), These ships stay inside, take less time on the open ocean, therefore less seasickness and more port times.

mosr of them visit glacier bay.

DD

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Ditto .... look for a Vancouver departure ( more inside passage travel so more scenic and calmer waters). And Glacier Bay. 

 

As you compare itineraries, be mindful of port times.  You want to be in port long enough and at the right time of day for planned activities.

 

If these are the only 2 options i'd say #2 for Vancouver and Sitka.  But w/o the port times, it's difficult to know.

 

BTW, there are numerous trip reports listed at the top of the page. Read thru them for first hand experiences of the ships, ports, activities, etc.

 

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Since you are not leaving until 2021 and small boats would be a consideration, I would check out Uncruise.  They have different itineraries and go where the big ships cannot.  The best way to see Alaska IMO.  I did Sitka to Juneau and it was the best cruise I have ever done!  If you are into adventure and wildlife, this is the way to go and the food is wonderful. Check out their website and reviews.  It is pricey however but well worth it!

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We're doing the Eclipse cruise out of Vancouver this year, the Icy Point itinerary. I'd LOVE to go to Sitka as I've not been there yet and it looks really neat but our options were limited by time off factors and because we're going with a group of friends. Icy Point is okay, we stopped there in 2016; it's a really small fishing village with a built up cannery museum. I don't think you can go wrong with either option overall. 

 

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I do not see Glacier Bay on either cruise.  Because of that, I would eliminate both of them.  Also, you need to tell us your port times (arrival and departure) before we can give you a really intelligent answer. Some cruises might be in a port from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM and an other might do a 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM port stay.  Makes a big difference on your port visit experience.

 

DON

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I keep seeing advice that says you MUST go to Glacier Bay and it's just plain WRONG!!!

 

We've cruise GBNP and also Hubbard Glacier and our third trip in May is to the Endecott Arm/Dawes Glacier. Whist I will agree that GB is awesome, so is Hubbard and I'm sure Dawes will be equally stunning.

 

I'm willing to bet that most of those insisting you go to GBNP have not been anywhere else - or if they have, they didn't get the weather or there were other reasons for them to prefer GB.

 

There is generally NO reason to go to GB over the others in real terms. For a one-time trip, they can be equally enticing.

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  • 2 months later...

Celebrity is our option because we are already booked on the Eclipse, but now that it is unlikely to go through upgrades prior to our sailing next summer, I'm considering other August sailings on Celebrity.   For us, it's not just about the ports, but also the ship itself.  We  want to have both active port days but also some relaxing/pampering on the ship.   We are in a Celebrity Suite and are looking forward to sitting on our veranda and just chilling a bit also.  

 

I suspect that we will return to Alaska for a second land/sea vacation in the future - it's just not on the table for this trip.

 

Thanks everyone for your comments - I think all opinions are important to consider and everyone has different reasons for what they like.  That is the beauty of cruising!

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I agree with those who said port times are important so when you’re rebooking be sure to look at that. I also agree that Glacier Bay is not the be all and end all. It IS gorgeous, but my Alaska cruises that haven’t included GBNP have been equally stunning.

 

For whales, look at Juneau excursions. Great whale watching there. For hiking, any port should have wonderful options for you. Read the trip reports—you’ll learn a lot about what’s good to do in each port. I’m going next year for the fifth time, and there are tons of options, the only repeat excursion I’ve ever done in Alaska is salmon fishing in Ketchikan. That’s a must-do for me, but in every other port I’ve done something different each time and loved it all.

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If interested in whale watching, there are two vendors that I recommend:

 

Juneau:  Jayleen's Alaska, https://jayleensalaska.com/

 

Icy Strait:  Glacier Wind, https://www.g-wind.com/

 

We have gone with both companies multiple times and always enjoyed our trips.  This board, as well as TripAdvisor have lots of favorable comments on both vendors if you want to check them out for yourself.

 

While both options above are smaller boats, they do give the best vantage point.  I have been on the bigger boats for whale watching and did not enjoy it at all.  Too many people and we were always jockeying for a place to take pictures.  If sea sickness is a concern, take precautions and you should be fine.  We always take our Bonine the night before our cruise and continue it during the entire time while on board the ship and have never had a problem.  Make sure to consult with your health care provider to see what would work best for you should you desire to take anything. 

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  • 1 month later...

I have a Alaska cruise planning series, and a significant number of live interviews with the visitors bureaus, and with local guides on my YT channel  Travelingwithachair.  You might find the information helpful.  I just posted a video port guide on Juneau.

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