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Back to back N/S bound Alaska?


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I did back-to-back Alaskan cruises last summer. I had been on three previous cruises to Alaska. I did not mind the repeat ports. On the northbound cruise, the ship stopped at Icy Strait Point, Juneau, and Skagway. It went to Glacier Bay and College Fjord for glacier viewing. I took the 26-glacier tour on the turn-around day in Whittier. It's a fantastic excursion. On the southbound cruise, the ship stopped at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. The glacier viewing days were Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay. These were my first solo cruises. In Juneau, I went to Mendenhall Glacier on my northbound cruise and to the State Museum on my southbound. In Skagway, I hiked to the Gold Rush cemetery and Lower Reid Falls and took one of the free National Park Service tours on my northbound cruise and rented a bicycle to ride to Dyea and ate a nice lunch at Olivia's. 

 

Alaska draws a lot of new cruisers. There were under 50 Elites on both cruises. I made the top 40 lunch and party for the first time. The turn-around time for laundry was great.

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These are certainly some good arguments for repeating the ports, and that 26-glacier tour in Whittier is awesome and worth the day there.  I think I have just been to all the "standard" Alaskan ports so many times that for me it is best to take a cruise that goes to different ports, such as the Coral Princess 12-day in May or the HAL 14-day Great Alaskan Explorer itinerary, but to each his or her own.

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48 minutes ago, cvpends said:

These are certainly some good arguments for repeating the ports, and that 26-glacier tour in Whittier is awesome and worth the day there.  I think I have just been to all the "standard" Alaskan ports so many times that for me it is best to take a cruise that goes to different ports, such as the Coral Princess 12-day in May or the HAL 14-day Great Alaskan Explorer itinerary, but to each his or her own.

 

Can't disagree with that!   Last year on HAL we did Sitka for the first time and it was cool seeing where Alaska statehood came to be.  But we also discovered a new tour in Ketchikan that I would have hated to miss as it was offered at weird times on other itineraries (Hump Island oyster farm).  Our 14 day Alaska r/t Los Angeles next month was unfortunately canceled, it had almost all the best stops and would have been Golden's last US cruise.

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2 hours ago, Ferd Berfle said:

 

Can't disagree with that!   Last year on HAL we did Sitka for the first time and it was cool seeing where Alaska statehood came to be.  But we also discovered a new tour in Ketchikan that I would have hated to miss as it was offered at weird times on other itineraries (Hump Island oyster farm).  Our 14 day Alaska r/t Los Angeles next month was unfortunately canceled, it had almost all the best stops and would have been Golden's last US cruise.

I haven't experienced Hump Island oyster farm.  Will have to look into it!

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14 hours ago, CrazyIrving said:

can we get off in Whittier and head over to the tram and back to Whittier. I was seeing bus for Anchorage only. Has anyone ever did a disembark to vist the Tram and head back to the cruise. 

I haven't seen this particular excursion offered through Princess, but a great self-guided excursion would be to rent a car in Whittier, and do these three things, all which are very close to each other and worth doing:

1) Tram at Alyeska https://www.alyeskaresort.com/resort/about-aerial-tram

2) Wildlife Conservation Center https://www.alaskawildlife.org/

3) Portage Glacier http://www.portageglaciercruises.com/

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On 7/13/2020 at 9:15 AM, cvpends said:

I do realize that I am not ukestrummer, but I wanted to respond anyway.  Vancouver is a wonderful city for those of us who enjoy walking.  So many things to do and see!  Here is a site with some ideas:

 

https://www.gpsmycity.com/gps-tour-guides/vancouver-548.html

 

Also, Stanley park is worth a day. 

 

https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/what-to-do.aspx

 

I also love renting a car and taking the ferry over to Vancouver Island, where you can go to Butchart Gardens and Victoria, etc.

 

Really, I could go on and on.  Vancouver is a wonderful city with endless opportunities for those who love to explore.

DITTO to this 

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DON'T FORGET THE BEARS when out bicycle, walking etc. At least take bear spray, you never know. They are silent & deadly. Even the BLACK bears are or seem to be LARGER than lower 48, they can be aggressive. Don't forget , EVERYTHING there wants to eat you, HaHa

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We did the. Voyage of the Glacier cruise out of Vancouver in 2012 as an add-on to a trip to Vancouver. We loved Vancouver and we also had a great cruise, first time on Princess. There were many people onboard who were doing back to back cruising and others with cruise tours to Denali. We had a Princess charter bus to the Anchorage airport and I don't think there were any other options. People who were doing back to back cruises had a different bus that was a tour of the sights around Whittier. The drive to Anchorage very scenic and our bus driver was very informative. Easy to locate your luggage at the terminal for the long drive home. Others who were touring on their own either picked up rental cars at the airport or took cabs to downtown Anchorage hotels.   Would love to do this trip again someday and do the Denali cruise tour.

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1 hour ago, ukestrummer said:

DON'T FORGET THE BEARS when out bicycle, walking etc. At least take bear spray, you never know. They are silent & deadly. Even the BLACK bears are or seem to be LARGER than lower 48, they can be aggressive. Don't forget , EVERYTHING there wants to eat you, HaHa

 

You will usually be better off just making noise as you walk. This is the suggestion from numerous Rangers. As for bear spray, I have a story for you.

 

In Glacier National Park (Not Glacier Bay National Park!) there is a trail that is maybe 2.5 -2.8 miles one way that goes up to a glacial melt lake. (Avalanche Lake? I can't remember but that sounds right.) It used to seem much shorter but with 10 years or so between the times we walked it the thing seemed to get much longer and steeper the second time!  Anyway... The last time we were there a story was going around through the campgrounds, the concessions, etc. It seems a family - man, woman, and child - had hiked up to the lake. Just before you get to the lake there is a short spur trail that leads to a couple of pit toilets. It seems that, while the family was stopped at the toilets, someone told the husband that a bear had been spotted at the lake. The guy had bear spray hanging on his belt. Apparently he wanted to "be ready" so he reached around behind him to the bear spray to disable the safety on the canister of bear spray and managed to spray his wife and his son in the face. A couple of young military guys who were at the top of the trail ended up grabbing the woman and the child and running down that long trail to get them to assistance. I'm guessing the "fun trip" was over at that point.

 

My point is that bear spray is dangerous. It's extremely powerful stuff and should be treated as carefully as a loaded gun. I will reiterate that numerous rangers have told us that making noise while walking is what they use and that they never carry or recommend bear spray. Yes, there are those who are qualified to carry loaded weapons but most folks don't fall into that category. Just be careful.

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2 hours ago, CrazyIrving said:

Thank you cvpends,  I never had thought of a rental car for that area.  You added more fun to our Alaska tour. 
 

 

Glad to be of help!  It's an interesting part of Alaska and worth exploring, and as an added bonus you will get to go through the famous Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel!  It will be a super fun day!

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2 hours ago, ukestrummer said:

DON'T FORGET THE BEARS when out bicycle, walking etc. At least take bear spray, you never know. They are silent & deadly. Even the BLACK bears are or seem to be LARGER than lower 48, they can be aggressive. Don't forget , EVERYTHING there wants to eat you, HaHa

 

Especially in the great Northwest

 

image.png.0f620aefe61831bdb4359bcef71ccd60.png

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23 hours ago, cvpends said:

I haven't experienced Hump Island oyster farm.  Will have to look into it!

 

2019 was their first season offering a tour and almost their first commercial harvest season.  I also found Hump Island Oysters at the Mean Queen @Totem Square Sitka https://www.meanqueensitka.com/mqts.html 

 

They were supplying Oysters to Princess:

 

image.png.d2f41da5ca716135441f252056dc54bf.png

 

 

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On 7/12/2020 at 11:53 AM, cvpends said:

Flying to Vancouver from the Bay Area is expensive also.  That's why we're flying to LA then taking the repo up to Vancouver.  It isn't much more expensive to take the four day repositioning cruise than to fly up, an we fly down to LA for free with Southwest miles.  When sailing out of Seattle, flights are similarly inexpensive (often $79) or free with points.

I'm looking at doing the Canal trip from FLL, then staying on for the next two. I like the itinerary

 of that 12 day portion with Sitka. Haven't been there yet.

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22 minutes ago, HappyCruiserettu said:

I'm looking at doing the Canal trip from FLL, then staying on for the next two. I like the itinerary

 of that 12 day portion with Sitka. Haven't been there yet.

That will be perfect!  It's just a hop, a skip and a jump from where you live down to FLL.  Why fly when you can take the ship over to the West Coast, right?  

 

Sitka is great fun, easy to navigate and lots to do.  It is nice to find an itinerary that goes there.  I look forward to Prince Rupert.  It's the place on this particular itinerary to which I have never been.

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I had friends do the B2B. You can have completely different experiences each direction in the weather, demographics, shore excursions, and there’s one different scenic cruising day, so even though the ports are the same, it’s still fun to do a B2B. 

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HappyCruiserettu;  so you plan on leaving FLL go thru Panama Canal, then head up west coast, then do Alaska?  So Total time on that ship would be around how many days?

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On 7/12/2020 at 11:19 AM, cvpends said:

I also love Holland America's 14 day Great Alaskan Explorer sailings.  No repeated ports, and the ports are super interesting!  HAL does that all season long, so you are not confined to May as you are with Princess.  I did that on Maasdam a few years ago and it was amazing!

 

Maasdom has been sold, so it can no longer be used for this itinerary. It had been scheduled for 10 trips with this itinerary next year.

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/news/2020-press-releases/news-07152020-ShipNewsJuly20.html

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13 hours ago, AF-1 said:

HappyCruiserettu;  so you plan on leaving FLL go thru Panama Canal, then head up west coast, then do Alaska?  So Total time on that ship would be around how many days?

 

You got me curious so I checked the website: Coral Princess 31 days:  15 days FLL to LA , 4 days LA to YVR, 12 day Alaska r/t YVR.  April 18, 2021 - May 19, 2021 

 

If only!

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4 hours ago, caribill said:

 

Maasdom has been sold, so it can no longer be used for this itinerary. It had been scheduled for 10 trips with this itinerary next year.

 

https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/news/2020-press-releases/news-07152020-ShipNewsJuly20.html

HAL had been talking of selling that ship for many years.  It is sad, since she is a beautiful ship and unique for her small size, but she is older and not as flashy as the newer HAL ships.

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