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Bucket List - Recommendations for Alaskan Cruise on Celebrity Cruise Line


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The weather on an Alaskan trip can vary widely.  For example, at the port in Skagway, it was cool and damp with temperatures in the 50's.  Later that day, we were in the Yukon with clear skies and temps in the mid 70's.  Then back to Skagway with temps in the mid 50's.

 

So dress in layers and make sure to bring rain gear as parts of Alaska are in a rainforest.  I am glad I purchased some waterproof shoes.  

 

Also, make sure you bring a good pair of binoculars.  The ones provided in your room were mediocre...

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I admittedly have not read all the responses so this may have been mentioned, however, if flying to Seattle (more likely to find a direct flight or one stop with shorter flights) is more palatable, the train from Seattle to Vancouver is easy, follows the northern Washington coastline most of the way and is an experience I would do again.  I did it with an 8 and 12 year old and both would recommend it as the scenery is a nice way to get ready for an Alaskan cruise.  Vancouver is also a not to miss city if you have the opportunity.

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I would opt for Princess instead, especially from Seattle. With their current sail, yo can get a non obstructed balcony anywhere on the ship, including Drinks, Wi-Fi, Specialty dining, and grats  in September, 2022, on a new ship, Discovery Princess , for slightly over $3800.00 for two with refundable deposit. This is on their web site.

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We have cruised to Alaska eight times. Not because we love Alaska that much but we live in the Seattle area and we don't have to fly. Some basics that others have mentioned are really good things to know. We totally agree that you have to see Glacier Bay. And as much as we are long time X cruisers, our best two of the eight we have done (the others included 5 on X and one on RCL) were on Holland America. HAL is based in Seattle and has been doing Alaskan cruises longer than any other line. If you decide to do a cruise tour post or pre in Alaska they do it best. Princess is a close second because they use the same lodging as HAL. 

But the most important decision you will make is leaving from Vancouver or Seattle. As I mentioned, we live in a Seattle suburb and I can tell you that there is no way I would sail to Alaska from Seattle. Not now. With the constant attack on Seattle's police by the city council and the police that are left having to watch every little thing they do, the homeless problem has gone crazy. We used to go into downtown all the time but the city has changed. We won't go anymore after dark. People urinating and defecating in public and drug use downtown is rampant. Local TV stations are running features on using tasers and pepper spray. I love Seattle. It's an awesome city but it is going in the wrong direction right now. 

 

All that and then there is the most important reason you want to sail out of Vancouver and not Seattle, "the Canadian Inside Passage.

 

When you sail out of Seattle you sail north and take a hard left turn at the Straits of Juan de Fuca. You then sail out into the Pacific Ocean. For the next day and a half you get to be at sea with nothing to see besides the coast line of Vancouver island in the distance. You also get to really feel the sea. If there's a storm you are rocking and rolling. On the return trip you have to leave Alaska early so you can make your 6:00-12:00 pm stop in Victoria. Not enough time to do a lot and less time in Alaska. The same is true on the way back. Your sea days are truly out at sea.

 

When you sail from Vancouver your first sea day is entirely in the Canadian Inside Passage. It's like sailing on a river with forested mountains on both sides. You see beautiful small towns and wildlife on the shoreline as you sail. And it is often beautiful and sunny when you sail that way. Never any problems with sea movement while in the passage. On the way back since you don't have to go to Victoria, your ship stays in Alaskan ports a little longer and you come back through that glorious Canadian Inside Passage again.

 

We have done Alaska eight times (when you live in SEA that's where you go when you just want to cruise) four times we have gone from Seattle and four from Vancouver. We left from Seattle when the ship was the most important part of the trip. For instance, three years ago we went to Alaska with our grandkids so we sailed out of Seattle on Ovation of the Seas. Our trip was all about the great big ship with lots of stuff for the grandkids to do. But when it's just us and we want to see Alaska, we sail out of Vancouver. Those have been the best Alaska cruises we have had. If we have friends who want to go to Alaska, we always recommend Vancouver.

Besides, with the exchange rate, Vancouver is a real bargain...about 35% off and a super city with tons to see. What's happening in Seattle is just sad.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Jim

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14 hours ago, NantahalaCruiser said:

Flying has not been an enjoyable experience for many years; but if you can put up with it, your best choice would be to fly into Anchorage, do a land tour up to Denali.  And then a rail trip from Anchorage to either Seward or Whittier - depending on your choice of cruise line - for your departure on a 7-night Southbound cruise to Vancouver BC.

 

I personally recommend you find a cruise that takes you to see both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park in the warmer months of June or July.  Unfortunately Celebrity does not go to Glacier Bay but does take you to Hubbard Glacier.  In order to see both, glacier sites, you would need to cruise on Princess or Holland America.  In June/July of 2022, There are 23 Southbound 7-night cruises from Whittier to Vancouver that visit both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay - 14 on Princess ships and 9 on Holland America ships.

 

All 23 of these cruises also stop at the three classic ports of Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan and finish with a cruise through the Inside Passage before arriving in Vancouver.

 

Celebrity's Southbound cruises leave from Seward, visit Hubbard Glacier, skip Glacier Bay, and instead stop at Icy Strait Point in addition to the three classic ports and the Inside Passage on the way to Vancouver.

 

Back to the issue of flying.  There are no direct flights from Pittsburg to Anchorage - so you would need to take two flight segments totaling about 8.5 to 9 hours in the air and 1 to 2 hours in a connecting airport. Similarly, the return from Vancouver would be about 6.5 hours in the air and 1 to 2 in a connecting airport.  Definitely a real pain, but worth the effort to enjoy an included land tour.

 

Whatever your choice - enjoy!

Exactly what we did years ago! We cruised Coral Princess after the land tour southbound from Anchorage to Vancouver and even spent some post time in Vancouver.  We went early September and had lovely, but misty weather.  

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17 hours ago, missingyou said:

Once we are vaccinated and Covid is in the rear view and we are able to cruise again, we are looking to take a cruise to Alaska.   We have cruised 9 times via RCI and Celebrity throughout the Caribbean and Bermuda, but we have never done Alaska.  This would be a once in a lifetime time trip so we want to make it count.

 

What are recommendations for:

Departure Port

Ships

Length of Cruise

Balcony vs Ocean View or Inside

Ports

Excursions

Best time of year for cruising to Alaska

Anything else to consider?

 

Want to make the most of this trip as we will only do it once.  Reason being "I HATE TO FLY".  I go out of my way to NOT fly.  We live outside of Pittsburgh, PA and when we cruise, we typically drive to Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ or Baltimore.  We have cruised out of Florida and have taken the Auto Train and then driven to Port Canaveral or Fort Lauderdale.  With an Alaska cruise that won't be possible, but its something we really want to see.  My wife is fine with flying so it won't bother her.

 

When we cruise we aren't concerned with ship size, or upscale dining.  We primarily pick a cruise based on the ports we will see.  We are loyal to RCI and Celebrity with our last 3 cruises being on Celebrity.

 

Thanks in advance for the help and recommendations.

 

Looking forward to cruising again!

 

 

 

An alternative:  Drive to NYC. Take Cunard to Southampton. Take a cruise from Southampton to Scandinavia and back. Take Cunard to NYC. Drive home.

 

No flying and a gorgeous trip!

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57 minutes ago, cantstopingcruising said:

An alternative:  Drive to NYC. Take Cunard to Southampton. Take a cruise from Southampton to Scandinavia and back. Take Cunard to NYC. Drive home.

 

No flying and a gorgeous trip!

The OP isn't looking for advice for just any gorgeous trip, he's looking for recommendations for an Alaskan cruise.

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My first recommendation is to sail into or out of Vancouver.  You don't want to miss the inside passage.  Choosing between several cruises?  Pick the one that has the most port stops.  Everyone has their favorites, but they are all wonderful in their own way so this is one time where I definitely recommend quantity as they are all quality.

 

As a once in a lifetime event, I would definitely recommend you add in a land trip pre or post cruise out of Seward/Anchorage.  The Alaskan Railroad is amazing, as is Denali.  Word of advice - don't book through the cruise line.  Several years ago we booked through an Alaska based travel agent and on a three day trip we saved ourselves $300 per person and had just as good an experience (if not better).

 

If you don't want the long flight to Seward/Anchorage, my next recommendation would be to do a back to back cruise, out of Vancouver and then returning to Vancouver.  You will visit most (or all) of the ports twice but as there is a lot to see this will give you more time to really see the areas.

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42 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

The OP isn't looking for advice for just any gorgeous trip, he's looking for recommendations for an Alaskan cruise.

And cantstopcruisng provided that to him, specifically as it relates to his hate to fly dilemma.   Are you his paid spokesperson or just a volunteer speaking on his behalf?

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1 hour ago, LGW59 said:

And cantstopcruisng provided that to him, specifically as it relates to his hate to fly dilemma.   Are you his paid spokesperson or just a volunteer speaking on his behalf?

Thanks for your suppor!

 

By the way, we have taken many cruises over the years and the BEST one ever was to the Fjords

Edited by cantstopingcruising
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15 minutes ago, cantstopingcruising said:

Thanks for your suppor!

 

By the way, we have taken many cruises over the years and the BEST one ever was to the Fjords

Funny you mention this, I have an Aug 2021 Med/Greek Isle cruise, which I am going to move.  I have been looking on Celebrity and see a number of Fjords cruises, only problem for me, is they are all only 7 day, way to short for me.  I will be patient, perhaps something else will show up.  May I ask what line(s) you did your Fjord cruise on?

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You all have been so kind!  I appreciate all the help.  I am currently researching Glacier Bay as well as the Inside passage.  I think we would probably get a balcony cabin that's what we have had for the last 6 cruises.  Had 1 aft Balcony and that was really great!  

 

Again thanks so much for all the suggestions!  

 

If any of you ever consider Bermuda let me know - cruised there 5 times and it never disappoints!

 

Praying that we will all be cruising again sooner rather than later.

 

 It was just last year this time that we left on our last cruise to the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral.  Who would have thought that shortly after that the world would be in lockdown?   

 

Thanks again everyone!

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1 hour ago, LGW59 said:

Funny you mention this, I have an Aug 2021 Med/Greek Isle cruise, which I am going to move.  I have been looking on Celebrity and see a number of Fjords cruises, only problem for me, is they are all only 7 day, way to short for me.  I will be patient, perhaps something else will show up.  May I ask what line(s) you did your Fjord cruise on?

We did a 14 nights in 2013 with Royal to Norway and Ireland.  Now booked on the Jewel of the seas for 12 nights to the Arctic Norwegian fjord summer 2022.  Also booked Iceland as a B2B. 

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52 minutes ago, rvlandandsea said:

We did a 14 nights in 2013 with Royal to Norway and Ireland.  Now booked on the Jewel of the seas for 12 nights to the Arctic Norwegian fjord summer 2022.  Also booked Iceland as a B2B. 

We also did 14 nights on the Constellation out of Dover.  .Le Havre, Cork Dublin Grenock, Belfast, Bergen Geiranger,  Olden Copenhagen. I can't remember if there was anything else. What I do remember was when we were docked in Olden, the greens were gorgeous. I told my DH if we could, I would just like to stay there and look at the scenery.

 

One week in the fjords would probably be fine. You can always add a hotel before and after to get more.

 

Like Alaska, the Norwegian fjords are best seen from the water.

 

We are also big fans of Greece, but to be honest it is better to spend more time on fewer islands.

 

Have fun planning, LGW59!

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If you like a little excitement I recommend Grizzly Falls zip line tour from Skagway.

You are taken from the port on a scenic drive by bus up into the mountains, watching the salmon run in streams along the way, to a sled dog attraction and from there by Unimog (an exciting drive in itself) to the zip lines. There are 8 or 9 zip lines on which you ride down each one. My wife and I were in our mid 60s when we did it. Very safe. At age 71 I had planned a repeat visit last June but we all know what happened then. More sedate but very enjoyable is the White Pass railway also in Skagway.

 

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