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Which HAL Alaskan Itinerary?


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The inside passage out of Vancouver is the most scenic.  There is a 14 day cruise on the Maasdam that is round trip Vancouver. Otherwise you need to decide if you want to sail a 7 day round trip or a 7 day from Vancouver to Anchorage ( Whittier).  HAL also includes some land tours to Denali National park as part of their cruise tour offerings.  If you choose a land tour make sure you have a minimum of two nights at Denali.  Look at the information offered on the official visitor’s bureaus for Alaska locations and at nps.gov.

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To add to oaktreerb's suggestion ... if you decide to do a land tour, do it first.  Land tours tend to be busier than sailing, so if you fly to Anchorage or Fairbanks first, do the land tour, then do the cruise back to Vancouver you will enjoy all of your adventures.

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We have only sailed out of Seattle - because we live "down the street" in Portland, OR. If you have never done Alaska, I'd say to do whichever port is most convenient for you because you can always cruise out of the other one the next time you go (because you will go again). The 7 day choices out of Seattle only really vary by which glacier you'll cruise to. We're partial to Glacier Bay although we've also do the ones to Tracy Arm and Hubbard. One of these days we'll likely do one out of Vancouver, BC but while the scenery will be different going/coming Alaska is all about Alaska - you're not "in" the inside passage all that long really. Alaska is truly beautiful! Go!!

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We have sailed from both Seattle and Vancouver a few times. Itineraries were similar. We have been to Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay. My wife and I both enjoyed Glacier Bay best. We enjoy the itinerary that includes Skagway(drive to the Yukon or ride the train). The sites are beautiful with each. We have this one scheduled again next June if sailing is happening.

 

 

Edited by gaunerdog
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We are going on the Konningsdam as it goes into glacier bay . Our sailing was cancelled this year so we have booked for next June .  We are flying into Calgary the week before and visiting Banff then lake Lousie and catching the rocky mountaineer from Jasper .  Has anyone any recommendation for what we need to see while visiting these places ?

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18 hours ago, towhee said:

To add to oaktreerb's suggestion ... if you decide to do a land tour, do it first.  Land tours tend to be busier than sailing, so if you fly to Anchorage or Fairbanks first, do the land tour, then do the cruise back to Vancouver you will enjoy all of your adventures.

Mum and I did a cruise/land tour and we did the cruise first.  Thank goodness.  The land part was so tiring that if we had done it the other way around we probably would have slept through the whole cruise. So, I'd do the cruise first.  

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If you can spare the time I still like what I did last time.  HAL's 7-day cruises out of Vancouver (I think next year it's Volendam on Wednesday and Koningsdam on Saturday)  which offer the option to disembark in Skagway after 3 days, continuing overland to Anchorage, and then continuing Southbound on either Noordam or Nieuw Amsterdam.  You see a lot of the real Alaska and get time to decompress from the land trip on the ship on days when you can view glaciers at your leisure.

 

Roy

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3 hours ago, rafinmd said:

If you can spare the time I still like what I did last time.  HAL's 7-day cruises out of Vancouver (I think next year it's Volendam on Wednesday and Koningsdam on Saturday)  which offer the option to disembark in Skagway after 3 days, continuing overland to Anchorage, and then continuing Southbound on either Noordam or Nieuw Amsterdam.  You see a lot of the real Alaska and get time to decompress from the land trip on the ship on days when you can view glaciers at your leisure.

 

Roy

You are right.  You had a great plan.  I don’t know why HAL hasn’t packaged your itinerary!  

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On 7/8/2020 at 12:29 PM, CHATTACRUISER said:

We have never cruised to Alaska and are trying to decide which itinerary: Alaskan Explorer sailing out of Seattle or the Inside Passage, sailing out of Vancouver. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

We have visited Alaska, via HAL a few times.  We prefer, and are scheduled for next May 3-17, 2021 the 14 day Explorer...this time roundtrip out of Vancouver on the wonderful Maasdam.  This will be our first time starting in Vancouver verses roundtrip Seattle but quite honestly Seattle has become quite unattractive (to us) with the homeless taking over a large area and unrest.  The 14 day agenda sees awesome, UNIQUE, places and so worth the extra week.  You WILL be glad if you decide to pick the 14 day Explorer.  Enjoy whatever you decide as it is ALASKA!!!!!!!!!!

Safe travels

Edited by VacationCharlene
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We did two alaska 7-day cruises out of Vancouver and a 14 day cruise out of Seatlle.
We really prefer to start in Vancouver, because it it a beautiful city with a lot to see and do.
We did not like Seattle (as it is said here before).
First time we went to Seward and after that rent a car for 7 days and went up to Denali in our own. It was one of our best holidays.
Second one was the 14 days cruise on Statendam. Very beautiful and you don’t have to do anything for breakfast and dinner ;)
Last time we went back to Vancouver and made a 7 day trip by car to Vancouver island.
Also beautiful but we prefer 14 days (was booked for this year and now rebooked to next year) on the maasdam and the time in Alaska instead of Vancouver island.


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Good morning, 


We have only sailed out of Seattle for Alaska (and many times) so here's my take on the situation. If you leave out of Vancouver you get Skagway. If you like trains and want to ride the White Pass Yukon Railroad then this is the one for you. All the departures - Seattle or Vancouver - either do Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay. Both are worth seeing and, having seen both several times, there are pluses and minuses to both of them. Either way it's a great day of glacier viewing no matter what the weather. 

 

If you go out of Seattle you get to go to Sitka. This is the most unspoiled town of those on the 7 day itineraries. It feels much more "Alaska", you don't tender anymore as there is a dock, and there is a lot to see. In addition, the Eurodam has added Icy Strait Point (for 4 hours) to the itinerary and it's another area that is interesting to see - very low-key but interesting. We're on the Eurodam for 2021 due to the Icy Strait Point stop (it made the decision easier for itinerary). 

 

Either way you'll see so many things and it won't be your first trip! 


Karen

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 The inside passage out of Vancouver is truly spectacular.  It goes inside between the mainland and Vancouver island and is very calm waters. Outside of Vancouver island from Seattle is open water and can be much rougher.  So this is also a big factor for many.   

 

 

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On 7/9/2020 at 3:09 AM, Roaming Rover said:

We are going on the Konningsdam as it goes into glacier bay . Our sailing was cancelled this year so we have booked for next June .  We are flying into Calgary the week before and visiting Banff then lake Lousie and catching the rocky mountaineer from Jasper .  Has anyone any recommendation for what we need to see while visiting these places ?

 

There is so much to See and do.  Perhaps a good guidebook? Just a few suggestion: see Kananaskis country outside Banff, spectacular mountains and much less busy.  Visit Johnson’s canyon, Bow falls, Lake Minnewanka, and The Banff springs hotel, the cave and basin hot Springs.  Then   moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and don’t miss Peyto Lake, amazing colours,  the Icefields, near Jasper Athabasca  falls,  Lake Annette, Pyramid Lake, Maligne Canyon, the Jasper tramways ....  if you have extra time Emerald Lake near Lake Louise is incredible.

Glad  you are giving yourself at least a week prior.  If it’s in Early July the Calgary Stampede and Rodeo should be on, also worth seeing.  Then there’s Heritage Park, the Calgary Zoo, The Royal Tyrell museum of dinosaurs near Drumheller, head smashed in Buffalo Jump.......

Edited by bennybear
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Vancouver, definitely.  One, like the others said, sailing the IP is beautiful.  Two, you avoid the obligatory stop in a Canadian port; therefore, you get more Alaska time.  I much prefer Vancouver embarkations for Alaska. 

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Either way you are going to Alaska!  We have done both multiple times. The advantages to Seattle if you are a US citizen is cheaper airfare and easier flying in general because you are not crossing a border.

 

Vancouver is wonderful, so is Seattle but for me this upcoming season 2021 the Koingisngdam is sailing from Vancouver and that's the ship we want to be on.

 

Either way you are going to Alaska, so don't fret too much about it.

 

-Paul

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We have done both 7 days (RT Seattle and Vancouver) and prefer Vancouver for reasons already stated.

 

Last year we did a great one - 14 days out of Seattle.  It visits several ports seldom visited by the 7 day cruises.  Plus ease of getting to/from Seattle.

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4 hours ago, DaveOKC said:

We have done both 7 days (RT Seattle and Vancouver) and prefer Vancouver for reasons already stated.

 

Last year we did a great one - 14 days out of Seattle.  It visits several ports seldom visited by the 7 day cruises.  Plus ease of getting to/from Seattle.

The 14 day is scheduled to be on the Maasdam round trip out of Vancouver for 2021.  I agree, it is a great itinerary!

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We have done a few since 2002, both 7-day R/T from Seattle and Vancouver. Both are wonderful, you can't go rong.

I am planning to go again next summer - another anniversary - and finally found one that was different to what we had done before: 7-Day Glacier Discovery Southbound. The Noordam departs Whittier (think Anchorage + a bus or train ride) on 15 August and hits Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, ending at Vancouver. The two glacier drive-bys, as well as the opportunity to take the 26 Glacier Cruise in Whittier (recommended on CC) convinced me. Also Juneau and Skagway are favorites - Discover Alaska's Whales "research" cruise in Juneau, and the White Pass & Yukon RR in Skagway.

We prefer "smaller" ships like the Noordam - we did the Panama Canal on Oosterdam and it was perfect - but they are all good. As I said, you can't go rong, really. Just pick one and go!

 

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On 7/9/2020 at 1:44 PM, rafinmd said:

If you can spare the time I still like what I did last time.  HAL's 7-day cruises out of Vancouver (I think next year it's Volendam on Wednesday and Koningsdam on Saturday)  which offer the option to disembark in Skagway after 3 days, continuing overland to Anchorage, and then continuing Southbound on either Noordam or Nieuw Amsterdam.  You see a lot of the real Alaska and get time to decompress from the land trip on the ship on days when you can view glaciers at your leisure.

 

Roy

We did Alaska that way back in 1998 and I preferred it over all the ports. They start to look similar after awhile. 

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