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1st timer needs some help, please.


TCBinaFlash
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Hi,

 

My wife (35) and I (37) are looking to plan a trip for our 10 year anniversary in September (no kids). I saw where some Alaska Cruises were supposed to be running this season and skipping the Canada port. We are very interested in an Alaskan Cruise but, neither of us have ever been on a cruise and have a couple of questions.

 

We are in Georgia and are considering flying to Seattle for a closed loop Cruise. Since the Canada stop is being bypassed, would we still need passports? How do you experienced cruisers feel about closed loop Alaskan Cruises vs Northbound/Southbound? We love hiking/parks/nature but, are pretty introverted in general and like to avoid large crowds. Do you feel this year will be more crowded than usual due to the nonexistent cruise season last year? Last, I've always heard Alaskan Cruises attracted a different (calmer) group of people compared to say a Carnival Caribbean cruise, is there any truth in this? Again, we are laid back, not into the bar/party scene at all.

 

Thanks for any help.

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If you want to go this year Seattle round trip is all that will sail.  Settle rt cruises are convenient but Vancouver rt is better in a normal year.  Sailing one way is great if you plan to spend several days on land.

 

This year will be less crowded since fewer ships will sail and they probably won’t sail with maximum occupancy.   Caribbean cruises are more likely to be party cruises.  Alaska cruises are focused on nature.

 

If you like to hike you will find trails at each stop.  You may want to start with on-line research for each location or ask at the visitor’s center when you are in port.

 

Passports?  Ask the cruise line.  You may not need one to sail.  I don’t think I would sail without one.  Better safe than sorry.  You never know these days  when the rules will suddenly change.  You do need to be fully vaccinated.

 

 

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I wouldn't go without a passport, but I've heard mixed messages about them being required or not.  I'd get it renewed anyway because then you're covered.  Also out of Skagway, some excursions have gone into Canada.  Not sure if they'll run this year, but in years past they have and you needed a passport with you for the excursion.  

 

And yes, Alaskan cruises tend to be more laid back.  Especially if you go like HAL, who has some of the best itineraries in Alaska (they invented Alaskan cruises and have been doing them for 70 years), but they have an older clientele.  Like it's the cruise line that retired people take their parents on.  

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We actually did book one of the Seattle round-trip cruises which are scheduled for later this summer.  But we have a been on a number of Alaska cruises (even though we live in the state) and prior to the pandemic spent 60 to 90 days on a cruise ship annually.  That being said, these RT Seattle itineraries aren't the strongest.  The one-way Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier are the strongest options (in my opinion) followed by the RTs out of Vancouver.  Unless our OP has family in the Pacific Northwest they were planning to visit anyway I am not sure I would suggest an Alaska cruise this year.  Particularly for their first cruise a better itinerary is important.

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46 minutes ago, rsldonk said:

Like it's the cruise line that retired people take their parents on.  

 

LOL!!  That's sounds Glorious! That's our people!

 

6 minutes ago, Northern Aurora said:

That being said, these RT Seattle itineraries aren't the strongest.  The one-way Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier are the strongest options (in my opinion) followed by the RTs out of Vancouver.  Unless our OP has family in the Pacific Northwest they were planning to visit anyway I am not sure I would suggest an Alaska cruise this year.

 

Thanks for the honesty. No family in the PNW. 

 

 As much as I'd like to check off this bucket list trip for our 10th...  it's sounds like we should really do Alaska right and wait.  I'm starting to think we should plan it for next year or hold off till our 15th.

 

Thanks to everyone for the help!  

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I think that you would not be the only people celebrating their 10th anniversary on their 11th.  Some might even be celebrating their 10th on their 12th.  

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We just booked our September Alaska cruise and this will be our 6th sailing in Alaska. Prices already look higher for 2022, so if you want to try it out, this may be a good year. I know everything is still changing everyday but we look forward to this cruise. If all else fail, at least we will be visiting family in Seattle that we have not seen for two years. 

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5 hours ago, TCBinaFlash said:

Hi,

 

My wife (35) and I (37) are looking to plan a trip for our 10 year anniversary in September (no kids). I saw where some Alaska Cruises were supposed to be running this season and skipping the Canada port. We are very interested in an Alaskan Cruise but, neither of us have ever been on a cruise and have a couple of questions.

 

We are in Georgia and are considering flying to Seattle for a closed loop Cruise. Since the Canada stop is being bypassed, would we still need passports? How do you experienced cruisers feel about closed loop Alaskan Cruises vs Northbound/Southbound? We love hiking/parks/nature but, are pretty introverted in general and like to avoid large crowds. Do you feel this year will be more crowded than usual due to the nonexistent cruise season last year? Last, I've always heard Alaskan Cruises attracted a different (calmer) group of people compared to say a Carnival Caribbean cruise, is there any truth in this? Again, we are laid back, not into the bar/party scene at all.

 

Thanks for any help.

Since the Canada stop is being bypassed, would we still need passports?

 

 

 

If you have passports take them with you - they will speed all your registration and travels i.e.

Flights etc. (Your drivers license will work here but the passport is the gold standard)

Passports serve no purpose laying in a safe or a drawer at home.

 

AND if in the unlikely event you have a medical emergency and have to be evacuated to a

closer Canadian City than an Alaska location  you will need them to transport out of that

city/location after the emergency is resolved -

oh and the cruise ship is not going to wait for you to get well.

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4 hours ago, mskaufman said:

I think that you would not be the only people celebrating their 10th anniversary on their 11th.  Some might even be celebrating their 10th on their 12th.  

We'll be celebrating our 45th on our 46th & 47th :classic_wink:

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We are scheduled for Alaska in September and can't wait.

 

For us, it's a bonus that there are going to be no children under 12 (I know that's an issue for so many people but not us).  The prices for 2022 are skyrocketing as are airfare prices.  Plus we are on the last cruise for 2021 so it's 8 days instead of 7.  We are fully vaccinated and the TA in our book of faces group says that right now it's only booking to 70% capacity.  

 

One of the people in another group who lives in Canada expects the land border to open to next month or so - looking at June 22 or so.  If you're going to take the train from Skagway into Canada you will need your passport.  

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21 hours ago, TCBinaFlash said:

good looking out about the passports, we need to get them renewed anyway.

 

If you need to get them renewed and need them this year, you need to get the paperwork in process quickly.  There have been reports of unusually long delays in getting new passports or even renewals because of a backlog due to the Passport Office being closed for many weeks in 2020.  

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22 hours ago, TCBinaFlash said:

 

LOL!!  That's sounds Glorious! That's our people!

 

 

Thanks for the honesty. No family in the PNW. 

 

 As much as I'd like to check off this bucket list trip for our 10th...  it's sounds like we should really do Alaska right and wait.  I'm starting to think we should plan it for next year or hold off till our 15th.

 

Thanks to everyone for the help!  

Sounds like you guys are a lot like us... We're both 36 and like it quiet and laid back. (I was never the party type, even in college.) We're booked on a HAL one-way northbound next May. And our 10th anniversary is next year, but not until November, and that wasn't the purpose of our booking anyway - we've already postponed for 2 years.

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In normal times, my favorite routing is Seward to Vancouver.  With Holland moving to Whittier, Seward is getting harder to get.  In the future, I may go in a couple of days early to visit Seward before heading to Whittier.

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On 6/7/2021 at 7:42 PM, rsldonk said:

I wouldn't go without a passport, but I've heard mixed messages about them being required or not.  I'd get it renewed anyway because then you're covered.  Also out of Skagway, some excursions have gone into Canada.  Not sure if they'll run this year, but in years past they have and you needed a passport with you for the excursion.  

 

And yes, Alaskan cruises tend to be more laid back.  Especially if you go like HAL, who has some of the best itineraries in Alaska (they invented Alaskan cruises and have been doing them for 70 years), but they have an older clientele.  Like it's the cruise line that retired people take their parents on.  

Looking into my first Alaska cruise as this July’s was canceled.

Searching CC for info and hit the quote button by accident.

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I would never do a closed loop AK cruise.    You spend too much time getting to and from AK and not enough time actually in AK.  Doing a one way cruise costs more because of the higher plane fares but the cruise is much better and you can also hopefully spend some time on land in AK.  We take our grandkids to AK w/o their parents for a 10th birthday present (3 so far and one more to go) and we still do it as a one way cruise .If you do decide to spend land time in AK, don't take a CruiseTour but do the AK land part by yourselves.  That way you can pick out the stuff you want to visit.  Setting up a DIY trip in AK is really easy.  

 

DON

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I’ve done RT from Vancouver, RT from Seattle, and Northbound and Southbound (Whittier/Vancouver - Princess cruises). 
 

I don’t see a whole bunch of difference.  All have stopped at the usual 3 ports - Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.

 

I’m thinking a one-direction cruise might get another port - Sitka or Icy Strait Point.  Sounds like I need another cruise.  (Booked for this September on NCL, with Juneau, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay, and Icy Strait Point.  Maybe it’s the time returning to Seattle that makes us omit Skagway?)

 

I love the glaciers and find College Fjord on the Northbound a great addition (also spending a day in Glacier Bay).

 

Next year prices may be up - but unless you have airfare already for this year, airfare and cruise fare may even out next year.  I’m wondering if this year’s cruises are really happening.

 

And if you’ve got a current passport, bring it along.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

TCBinaFlash,

Your post describes us to a "T" !  🙂  We'll be going to Alaska for the first time for our 20th anniversary.  We're super lucky to be going with friends that have done it once before and can lean on their experience. 

 

As introverts as well, this is our 4th cruise.  We have enjoyed NCL as it tends to be a more mature group, even in the Caribbean.  There are times where you are in a big crowd, there's just no avoiding it, but most the time you're doing your own thing while others are around doing there own thing.  I encourage you to try the nightlife, while it's not our thing at home, it is fun on the ship.  😉 

 

Technically, you don't need a passport for closed loop cruises out of American ports anymore, but as others have said you have to be ready for the unexpected.  Canada isn't a port stop at the moment, but it could change (not likely, but could).  REAL ID for flights has been postponed a bit, but that could change.  A medical situation can happen and leave you needing to find your own way home. The list goes on, it seems if you're prepared for these things, they don't happen to you.  😉 

 

I google & google maps each port location and look for things we'd like to do - landmarks, local natural features, etc.  Try to plan an excursion from there.  Local independent tours are fabulous and much more reasonably priced.  Many ports have things to do/see close to the docks and in walking distance, but there are always taxi services waiting at the pier to help get you where you want to go too.  Do have a plan for each port before going, if not you spend half the day sorting it out, then it's too late and you've missed out.

 

Check here and on facebook for a "roll call" for your cruise.  Frequently others are trying to fill a tour or have great ideas on what to do in each port.  It's also a great medium to ask questions.  And lastly, please ask questions, we're all here to help and you'll have much more fun leaving prepared.  🙂

 

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We've done a few one ways out of Vancouver-Seward and round trips out of Vancouver and they have both had there merits....Out of Seattle I have no interest.

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