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2021 Alaska cruise options


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11 minutes ago, Eggs2Go said:

 

Yes, that would be best of the best, but we're talking about going on a cruise here; in fact, a cruise that is expected to be the one and only time in Alaska, although posters have told them: You'll be back. 

You’re the one who mentioned Denali.   Just expanding possibilities    🤩

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On 6/30/2020 at 2:12 PM, GettotheSun said:

Hi there,

I know many members here have done an Alaskan cruise, but I do find it hard to search for comparisons on this forum...maybe just me.  The search feature isn't very good, IMO.

 

Anyway, I'm thinking at this point that summer 2021 may be the earliest I'll be willing to cruise.  I have enough FCC to choke a horse, so looking to book a cruise in the summer (must be July or August) of 2021, to Alaska.  We had a cruise booked pre-COVID-19 that I chose to cancel, so I received FCC.

 

To get to the point, I'm looking at two different cruise options for Alaska for next summer.  Of course these itineraries may be altered (or cruise cancelled) at any time.

 

I just would like some input on (a) the two different itineraries and (b) the ship.  Again this would be summer 2021 booking.

Thanks all....hope you are all keeping well and safe!

 

Option (1) Alaska: Dawes Glacier, Juneau & Ketchikan - On the Bliss

Option (2) Alaska: Glacier Bay, Skagway & Juneau - On the Encore

 

For either option we are thinking  the Haven proper.  (our pre-COVID-19 plans were the Haven Aft).  We plan to leave the kids at home if we do Alaska, and I've been assured we can apply their original cruise dollars to our Alaska cruise for just me and my partner.

 

I'm really interested on thoughts on the itinerary and the ships.  Thanks all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your cruising interests?  Why Alaska?  Are you choosing a cruise for itinerary or the ship?  How much time do you really expect to spend time in port?  How much money do you want to spend on tours?  Sounds like to me you are more interested in the Haven.  Spending as much time in the cabin to get the biggest bang for your buck.  

Glacier Bay is a wonderful day journey if it is a sunny day. The chance of wild life could be an experience of a lifetime. The Park Rangers narrations are like a Disney movie.  But who can predict the weather.   Rain is OK.  You can still see what is out there.  But if you have fog, oh well.  What good is it if you cannot see it.  It is a one shot deal.  Yes you will reach the Maggiore

Glacier but will not get the perspective to meet expectations.  You will cruise into Glacier Bay.   Same could be said Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier but the chance of getting close to the Dawes Glacier are less than 50%.  Ice fields could also cancel Tracy and Endicott Arms cruising.  No need to go in if you cannot reach the Glaciers.  This will give you more time to enjoy your Haven.

Alaska cruising it totally different.  Most cruises the ship is the show.  You know when you will be entertained.  Alaska cruises, Alaska is the show and you must to have patience.   Nature does not stick to a time schedule. That time you went to the buffet was the same time that pod of Orcas went by.  

I have taken over 50 cruises to Alaska and everyone of them has given me a different experience.✌️

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4 hours ago, jskinsd said:

What are your cruising interests?  Why Alaska?  Are you choosing a cruise for itinerary or the ship?  How much time do you really expect to spend time in port?  How much money do you want to spend on tours?  Sounds like to me you are more interested in the Haven.  Spending as much time in the cabin to get the biggest bang for your buck.  

Glacier Bay is a wonderful day journey if it is a sunny day. The chance of wild life could be an experience of a lifetime. The Park Rangers narrations are like a Disney movie.  But who can predict the weather.   Rain is OK.  You can still see what is out there.  But if you have fog, oh well.  What good is it if you cannot see it.  It is a one shot deal.  Yes you will reach the Maggiore

Glacier but will not get the perspective to meet expectations.  You will cruise into Glacier Bay.   Same could be said Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier but the chance of getting close to the Dawes Glacier are less than 50%.  Ice fields could also cancel Tracy and Endicott Arms cruising.  No need to go in if you cannot reach the Glaciers.  This will give you more time to enjoy your Haven.

Alaska cruising it totally different.  Most cruises the ship is the show.  You know when you will be entertained.  Alaska cruises, Alaska is the show and you must to have patience.   Nature does not stick to a time schedule. That time you went to the buffet was the same time that pod of Orcas went by.  

I have taken over 50 cruises to Alaska and everyone of them has given me a different experience.✌️

 

Hi - thanks for your post.  I'm not sure about the "more interested in the Haven", but yes, given the amount of FCC I would book the Haven.  Part of my thinking is both the Encore and Bliss have huge observation areas, including one dedicated to the Haven.  If you stay in the Haven you are steps away from that lounge.  To your point about weather, yes we'd have a balcony, but if it is rainy or cold, then I would think the observation area would be the "go to" place.  I've read the regular (non-Haven) observation area can get really crowded and people camp out there all day.  I'm not interested in playing the "lounge chair game" on my vacation, particularly in an indoor observation lounge, but that's just me.

 

 

I have spoken to friends and colleagues who have done an Alaskan cruise and they said it was one of the greatest things they've ever done (for the most part...a couple of naysayers).  For me it would be a bucket list item - I clearly do not have your resources, if you have been on over 50 Alaskan cruises...that's fantastic!  Short of hitting the lotto I do think it will be the one and only trip we take to Alaska.

 

 

 

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We thought one Alaskan cruise was a once in a lifetime experience too, but have now been there 3 times. I agree, you can't really go wrong. We have done both the all the way up/back to Seward and the roundtrip from Seattle. I liked both. Enjoyed Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau all the first time and wouldn't have wanted to miss any of them. But I also enjoyed Icy Point and Sitka which we choose because we hadn't seen them yet. (Different line). We have been to a number of different glaciers, and I honestly can't tell you which one was which. Overall, they are all spectacular. The one thing that makes a difference is the weather. We have gone in May, July and early September. The July time frame was the best.

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33 minutes ago, vswan said:

We thought one Alaskan cruise was a once in a lifetime experience too, but have now been there 3 times. I agree, you can't really go wrong. We have done both the all the way up/back to Seward and the roundtrip from Seattle. I liked both. Enjoyed Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau all the first time and wouldn't have wanted to miss any of them. But I also enjoyed Icy Point and Sitka which we choose because we hadn't seen them yet. (Different line). We have been to a number of different glaciers, and I honestly can't tell you which one was which. Overall, they are all spectacular. The one thing that makes a difference is the weather. We have gone in May, July and early September. The July time frame was the best.

 

Hi there - it's a good point on the month and weather.  We would have to cruise in either July or August.  The July bookings all look more expensive and then August dates seem to become progressively cheaper...I'm guessing that is weather related.  So your July cruise must have had the best weather, but at the same time...even that can't be guaranteed.  Sounds like you had wonderful times each time!

 

It's a long way off, but it's nice to plan and imagine a vacation.

 

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1 hour ago, GettotheSun said:

 

 For me it would be a bucket list item - I clearly do not have your resources, if you have been on over 50 Alaskan cruises.

 

 

You have all the same resources that I have.  Cruise Critic.  That is where I still get my best information.   It just takes research and patience.  Only you know what you want to do.  But I think I can pick better places to get to the sun.  

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3 minutes ago, jskinsd said:

You have all the same resources that I have.  Cruise Critic.  That is where I still get my best information.   It just takes research and patience.  Only you know what you want to do.  But I think I can pick better places to get to the sun.  

 

No I meant I don't have the money that you do.  Thanks for your sarcasm.

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8 minutes ago, GettotheSun said:

 

No I meant I don't have the money that you do.  Thanks for your sarcasm.

It is not money.  It is research.  On NCL with the cruise next program my cruises are sometimes free.  Last minute bookings and I sail IX most of the time.  Just get me on the ship and let nature take its course.✌️

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7 minutes ago, jskinsd said:

It is not money.  It is research.  On NCL with the cruise next program my cruises are sometimes free.  Last minute bookings and I sail IX most of the time.  Just get me on the ship and let nature take its course.✌️

 

What on earth does any of this have to do with Cruise Critic?  You research cruise prices on CC?  (huh?).  You learn of your own cruise next credits with NCL on CC?   (not even possible?).  You claim to have gone on 50+ cruises to Alaska...unless you are a stowaway (or crew member), that requires quite the resources (re: money).  Glad you end your posts with a peace sign emoji, signals that certain passive-aggressive behaviour only found in keyboard warriors.  I'm guessing you are trolling me.  Not a bad job.

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15 minutes ago, jskinsd said:

It is not money.  It is research.  On NCL with the cruise next program my cruises are sometimes free.  Last minute bookings and I sail IX most of the time.  Just get me on the ship and let nature take its course.✌️

Yep-   I sure agree with this.    🤩🤩🤩.     I do NOT care about a cabin and am at the opposite end of the Haven.   And I can guarantee-  both Jeff and I see and do  “Alaska”-   WAY more than most of the cruisers.   

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10 minutes ago, GettotheSun said:

 

What on earth does any of this have to do with Cruise Critic?  You research cruise prices on CC?  (huh?).  You learn of your own cruise next credits with NCL on CC?   (not even possible?).  You claim to have gone on 50+ cruises to Alaska...unless you are a stowaway (or crew member), that requires quite the resources (re: money).  Glad you end your posts with a peace sign emoji, signals that certain passive-aggressive behaviour only found in keyboard warriors.  I'm guessing you are trolling me.  Not a bad job.

You are way out of line and not accurate.    This is a long standing cruiser.   
 

The savings information absolutely is talked about it on Cruise Critic    Example. The double up promotions are welcomed updates.     AND a lot of people don’t know or understand it.    A tour vendor may have an offer. Etc etc.    It’s all helpful and I’ve certainly learned a lot.  

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1 minute ago, Budget Queen said:

Yep-   I sure agree with this.    🤩🤩🤩.     I do NOT care about a cabin and am at the opposite end of the Haven.   And I can guarantee-  both Jeff and I see and do  “Alaska”-   WAY more than most of the cruisers.   

I remember paying rack rate way back then.  I learned the hard way.  Now it is a game.  I am one of the fortunate cruisers that didn't have a planned cruise.  Price just was not right.  No FCC for me.  I am sitting on $1000 of cruise next certificates.  But that was free money(What does this have to do with CC).  Oh well.  Maybe next year.  Thanks for the support😃✌️

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23 minutes ago, jskinsd said:

It is not money.  It is research.  On NCL with the cruise next program my cruises are sometimes free.  Last minute bookings and I sail IX most of the time.  Just get me on the ship and let nature take its course.✌️

 

Sometimes people would rather take one nice Haven trip vs 50 interior trips. Different folks, different strokes. Your comments just show what kind of person you are. 

 

10 minutes ago, GettotheSun said:

 

What on earth does any of this have to do with Cruise Critic?  You research cruise prices on CC?  (huh?).  You learn of your own cruise next credits with NCL on CC?   (not even possible?).  You claim to have gone on 50+ cruises to Alaska...unless you are a stowaway (or crew member), that requires quite the resources (re: money).  Glad you end your posts with a peace sign emoji, signals that certain passive-aggressive behaviour only found in keyboard warriors.  I'm guessing you are trolling me.  Not a bad job.

 

I agree with you. I hope this post has given you some kind of help with choosing your vacation. My post and view on the subject is just a few back. I have the unpopular opinion, but take it with a grain of salt. I cruising to Alaska in the Haven last year and by far one of the best I've done. Being in the Haven takes nothing away from Alaska what-so-ever. You enjoy your vacation how YOU want! Sit in that beautiful observation lounge with a cup of hot chocolate and take in the views. Sounds amazing to me!

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10 minutes ago, Budget Queen said:

Yep-   I sure agree with this.    🤩🤩🤩.     I do NOT care about a cabin and am at the opposite end of the Haven.   And I can guarantee-  both Jeff and I see and do  “Alaska”-   WAY more than most of the cruisers.   

I got my binoculars ready

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33 minutes ago, romalley99 said:

 

Sounds amazing to me!

 

And to steer this back to the purpose, I'm pretty excited - lol - a year away.  Any little victory these days.

 

Such a vacation is a big spend, but it's like when we took our kids to Disney World a few years ago - it's not like you're doing it annually.  Vacations like this are few and far between.

 

For me and my partner it's also a chance to have the first no-kids vacation since forever.  I have watched some youtube (I know that does not do it justice), but the majesty of the Alaskan landscape, just wow.   We also have a husky, lol.

 

 

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Our first cruise ever was to celebrate our 25 wedding anniversary - we decided to do Alaska - got upgraded from a balcony to a penthouse suite on the Sky - got spoiled rotten and never looked back. We were overwhelmed by both the cruise experience and Alaska all at the same time. The next year we did it again and took our kids same ship same cruise - did some different shore excursions and had a wonderful time. We went in June and had OK weather - however the weather in AK can change in five minutes - example in 2012 in Juneau we were met with a pouring rainstorm that threatened our boat tour of Tracy Arm. They kept us on the bus for about fifteen minutes before announcing that the tour may not happen due to weather. By the time we got to the dock the weather had cleared and we had a most excellent tour of Tracy Arm - actually saw the glacier calve several times. 

 

In Skagway it was overcast in the AM but clear in the PM - also when we took the train to Carcross, by the time we hit the summit the sun was out (but we could not see down to Skagway). 

 

As for fares - you will  pay more for both Glacier Bay and cruises during prime time - July and Aug. The shoulder seasons of Apr, May and Sept are less expensive. We usually cruise in June both for cost and usually good weather. 

 

I do agree with you that on the Encore and Bliss the haven observation lounge would be a good plus just remember that all of the suites on the ship will have access to it - still it would be a smaller crowd than the main observation lounge.

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11 hours ago, bonvoyagie said:

Our first cruise ever was to celebrate our 25 wedding anniversary - we decided to do Alaska - got upgraded from a balcony to a penthouse suite on the Sky - got spoiled rotten and never looked back. We were overwhelmed by both the cruise experience and Alaska all at the same time. The next year we did it again and took our kids same ship same cruise - did some different shore excursions and had a wonderful time. We went in June and had OK weather - however the weather in AK can change in five minutes - example in 2012 in Juneau we were met with a pouring rainstorm that threatened our boat tour of Tracy Arm. They kept us on the bus for about fifteen minutes before announcing that the tour may not happen due to weather. By the time we got to the dock the weather had cleared and we had a most excellent tour of Tracy Arm - actually saw the glacier calve several times. 

 

If you don't like the weather in New England Alaska now,  just wait a few minutes! 

 

11 hours ago, bonvoyagie said:

As for fares - you will  pay more for both Glacier Bay and cruises during prime time - July and Aug. The shoulder seasons of Apr, May and Sept are less expensive. We usually cruise in June both for cost and usually good weather. 

 

I do agree with you that on the Encore and Bliss the haven observation lounge would be a good plus just remember that all of the suites on the ship will have access to it - still it would be a smaller crowd than the main observation lounge.

 

Unfortunately we are pretty much bound to the 'peak seasons' for travel - March Break, July / August, or Christmas / New Years. 

The videos I've seen of both observation lounges look amazing - huge windows.  Views look amazing!

 

 

 

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On 7/1/2020 at 2:20 AM, romalley99 said:

 

 

If I may, I'd like to offer some advice. The Jewel leaves from Vancouver and does one way cruises Northbound and Southbound. Vancouver to Seward and Seward to Vancouver. If you do a back to back (or a one way with an added Denali/land portion) this is the BEST way to see Alaska. If you do a combo Northbound and Southbound (total of 14 days) on the Jewel... you will see EVERYTHING in Alaska. You hit all the major parts in one shot... Tracy Arm, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier... etc. From what you say above with all that FCC, this may be a good option! 

 

 

You must have been lucky to have seen EVERYTHING in Alaska on that B2B.  Everything is a well everything.  I have done the Jewel and Sun B2B in Alaska over 10 times.  Although I have seen a lot I have yet to have seen everything.  That is the reason I keep going back.✌️

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53 minutes ago, jskinsd said:

You must have been lucky to have seen EVERYTHING in Alaska on that B2B.  Everything is a well everything.  I have done the Jewel and Sun B2B in Alaska over 10 times.  Although I have seen a lot I have yet to have seen everything.  That is the reason I keep going back.✌️

I always see something new.   🙂   

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7 minutes ago, Budget Queen said:

I always see something new.   🙂   

Last year cruising into Hubbard Glacier the ship was close enough to spot a moose.  Been there many many times.  Never saw that before.  A Moose.   I was ready.  And you know with wildlife, there one minute(if you are lucky) and then gone.  Remember the bubble netting of the pier in Icy Strait?  That was cool.✌️

 

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1 hour ago, jskinsd said:

You must have been lucky to have seen EVERYTHING in Alaska on that B2B.  Everything is a well everything.  I have done the Jewel and Sun B2B in Alaska over 10 times.  Although I have seen a lot I have yet to have seen everything.  That is the reason I keep going back.✌️

 

Many congratulations to you... if that's what you were looking for 🤣🤣

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10 minutes ago, jskinsd said:

Last year cruising into Hubbard Glacier the ship was close enough to spot a moose.  Been there many many times.  Never saw that before.  A Moose.   I was ready.  And you know with wildlife, there one minute(if you are lucky) and then gone.  Remember the bubble netting of the pier in Icy Strait?  That was cool.✌️

 

Moose are afraid of people, the only  place ive seen them upclose was on tv on Animal Planet. They are very aggressive too, so I wouldnt try getting any closer. Also they are one of those types of animals who dont like being fed. I have no idea why, probably cause they are too wild or something 

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13 minutes ago, romalley99 said:

 

Many congratulations to you... if that's what you were looking for 🤣🤣

Why am I being congratulated?  Still haven't found it. That is why I go back.  ✌️

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On 7/1/2020 at 3:44 PM, GettotheSun said:

 

 

This will likely be the one and only time we visit Alaska so a lot to think about when considering the excursions too.

 

We are going on our third trip to Alaska next July!! We were going again this July - but hey ho!!! - on the Bliss to Glacier Bay. But when we saw the Bliss itinerary had changed we stayed with the ship and so now have Icy Strait Point and Endicott/Dawes as we haven't been to those and have already seen Glacier Bay.

 

So cannot comment on ISP or Endicott/Dawes but for a first trip you cannot go wrong with Glacier Bay - its definitely awesome!!!

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