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Best Alaska Itinerary


morange35
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I am currently booked on Norwegian Bliss for a 7 day Alaska cruise out of Seattle in 2024. I have been looking at the port times and they seem very short and have seen complaints about the time it takes to get from the port to excursions and town, ultimately making the time even shorter. I have been looking at different lines to see if anyone has longer port times. It looks like RCCL has 1 less port of call, but that makes the times in the other ports longer. Anyone have any tips or insights on what would be the best line and itinerary to be able to spend more time in each port? Any feedback on NCL port times? Do you feel the time is adequate or do you feel rushed? TIA for your help. 

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A one-way itinerary between Vancouver and Alaska will always have longer port times and sometimes an additional port or glacier day than the round-trip cruises from Seattle.

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We cruised NCL Encore and the port times were way shorter then our 2nd cruise this year on the Carnival Spirit. We really enjoyed that cruise! Glacier Bay was very pretty but I think I enjoyed the excursion of the smaller boats to Sawyer Glacier more. We got right up to the glacier, near seals, whales, bears, the glacier calving, it was amazing!!! Even close enough to a waterfall that the spray got us wet. 

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Check out other cruise lines and the itineraries. Also, consider something loner than a 7 night cruise. We will be on the Grand Princess in September for a 12 night itinerary and it will take us to 3 "new to us" ports and 2 new glaciers. It is RT from Vancouver, BC. It also includes a 14 hour port time in Victoria, BC which is fairly rare.

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so contemplate what you really want to see and do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I switched my 2023 itinerary because of this. I was going to do NCL but found HAL does RT from Seattle with longer Port times. I am still going late in the season but I am fine with that. But check out HAL.

Natalie

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  • 5 weeks later...

We did RT Princess from Vancouver. If you can swing 12 days, we got mostly full days in Ketchikan, Juneau, - I think this one was 1pm, but we were there until late in the evening 9pm ish. Skagway (before the rockslide) Sitka, Icy Strait Point and a full day in Victoria. We also saw GB National Park, Hubbard Glacier and Endicott Arms, but had to turn around before Dawes Glacier b/c of ice. Great itinerary. We went 1st week in May. It was cold, but the snow on the mountains was beautiful. No snow in port, but needed, coats hats/gloves/scarves. When the sun came out, we took them off. 1/2 sunny days and 1/2 cloudy overcast days, but no full rainy days.

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We cruised on NCL (the Jewel) this past summer to use up FCC.  Using Ward Cove has made us vow never to cruise on NCL in Alaska again.  Very inconvenient.

 

we’ve been on 15 Alaskan cruises throughout the years.  Did four this summer—Princess, HAL, NCL—and without a doubt, the NCL cruise was our least favorite.  Shorter Port times, docking issues and the lack of ANY enrichment programs onboard.

 

My suggestion is to keep looking!

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My personal opinion, but round trips out of Seattle are a waste of money. Either a north or southbound one way is the way to go. If you go northbound, the scenery just gets better and better each day. If you do southbound, you can add on some land days in Alaska before you get on the ship.

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18 hours ago, dgc2861 said:

We did RT Princess from Vancouver. If you can swing 12 days, we got mostly full days in Ketchikan, Juneau, - I think this one was 1pm, but we were there until late in the evening 9pm ish. Skagway (before the rockslide) Sitka, Icy Strait Point and a full day in Victoria. We also saw GB National Park, Hubbard Glacier and Endicott Arms, but had to turn around before Dawes Glacier b/c of ice. Great itinerary. We went 1st week in May. It was cold, but the snow on the mountains was beautiful. No snow in port, but needed, coats hats/gloves/scarves. When the sun came out, we took them off. 1/2 sunny days and 1/2 cloudy overcast days, but no full rainy days.

In the past, Princess has had very good Nature "Hosts" and commentators. We will be doing the 12 day on the Grand in less than two weeks and are really looking forward to it.

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6 hours ago, nini said:

In the past, Princess has had very good Nature "Hosts" and commentators. We will be doing the 12 day on the Grand in less than two weeks and are really looking forward to it.

They used to be called Naturalists. Didn't go to Alaska this year - not sure what they are calling them.

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32 minutes ago, Coral said:

They used to be called Naturalists. Didn't go to Alaska this year - not sure what they are calling them.

Thank you. It was lovely because they would comment as we made it through to a glacier or a fjord. Sometimes, they would speak in the Princess theater.

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17 minutes ago, nini said:

Thank you. It was lovely because they would comment as we made it through to a glacier or a fjord. Sometimes, they would speak in the Princess theater.

I agree - some have been outstanding. Though I could listen to anything Alaska all day long!

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1 hour ago, Coral said:

They used to be called Naturalists. Didn't go to Alaska this year - not sure what they are calling them.

 

1 hour ago, nini said:

Thank you. It was lovely because they would comment as we made it through to a glacier or a fjord. Sometimes, they would speak in the Princess theater.

 

Princess still have naturalist on board with presentation as well as talking over the PA at Hubbard Glacier.  See the 9 AM time slot and 4 PM time slot when the ship arrived at Hubbard Glacier.

 

At Glacier Bay, the National Park rangers takes the PA for the whole day.

 

 

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On 7/18/2022 at 6:43 AM, Coral said:

Look at one ways or RT out of Vancouver. You will get more times in port.

We've just booked 14 days RT Vancouver on Grand Princess after considering all the options, and we will easily find extra things to do in the main ports which we will visit twice.

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On 7/18/2022 at 7:51 AM, kona_wahine said:

We cruised NCL Encore and the port times were way shorter then our 2nd cruise this year on the Carnival Spirit. We really enjoyed that cruise! Glacier Bay was very pretty but I think I enjoyed the excursion of the smaller boats to Sawyer Glacier more. We got right up to the glacier, near seals, whales, bears, the glacier calving, it was amazing!!! Even close enough to a waterfall that the spray got us wet. 

sounds awesome.

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On 9/1/2022 at 8:26 AM, dgc2861 said:

We did RT Princess from Vancouver. If you can swing 12 days, we got mostly full days in Ketchikan, Juneau, - I think this one was 1pm, but we were there until late in the evening 9pm ish. Skagway (before the rockslide) Sitka, Icy Strait Point and a full day in Victoria. We also saw GB National Park, Hubbard Glacier and Endicott Arms, but had to turn around before Dawes Glacier b/c of ice. Great itinerary. We went 1st week in May. It was cold, but the snow on the mountains was beautiful. No snow in port, but needed, coats hats/gloves/scarves. When the sun came out, we took them off. 1/2 sunny days and 1/2 cloudy overcast days, but no full rainy days.

Good to hear May report as we've booked May 6th to 20th so working on the layers.

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8 hours ago, Cbtours said:

We've just booked 14 days RT Vancouver on Grand Princess after considering all the options, and we will easily find extra things to do in the main ports which we will visit twice.

I was on the Grand over Christmas and had amazing service. I found the ship very well maintained for her age. I had no complaints.

 

I have done a B2B (14 nights Vancouver) several times and I have enjoyed the trip. I have been to Alaska probably a dozen times and can always find wonderful things to do in ports. I really don't think this will be an issue. Even visiting glaciers a second time - they look different, they act different. Just save $$$ for excursions as they are expensive. 

 

I hope you enjoy your trip!

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5 hours ago, Coral said:

I was on the Grand over Christmas and had amazing service. I found the ship very well maintained for her age. I had no complaints.

 

I have done a B2B (14 nights Vancouver) several times and I have enjoyed the trip. I have been to Alaska probably a dozen times and can always find wonderful things to do in ports. I really don't think this will be an issue. Even visiting glaciers a second time - they look different, they act different. Just save $$$ for excursions as they are expensive. 

 

I hope you enjoy your trip!

Thank you. Though the excursions certainly from the ship are generally cheaper than the ones here in Australia I think. 

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2 hours ago, Cbtours said:

Thank you. Though the excursions certainly from the ship are generally cheaper than the ones here in Australia I think. 

I hope one day - I can visit your great country and do those amazing excursions - if they are cheap or expensive! I won't complain as I would be in Australia and having the time of my life 🙂 

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6 minutes ago, Coral said:

I hope one day - I can visit your great country and do those amazing excursions - if they are cheap or expensive! I won't complain as I would be in Australia and having the time of my life 🙂 

We are so excited to visit Alaska too. 🥰

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20 minutes ago, brnsofia said:

ok so bit confused. is there an issue with a bigger 3-4000 people ship getting to skagway as this is a port I really want to see? we would be going in 2023 summer

 

There was a rock slide along the Rail Road pier in June 2022.  A consulting firm was hired to evaluate the problem, and found that the really serious problem is not the 2022 slide but another older rock slide also along the Rail Road pier.  The older slide is north of the 2022 slide.  

 

The RR pier has two berths, and the forward berth is now closed.  The aft RR berth can be used, but passengers have to be tendered to the small boat harbor.  The RR pier is the one used by larger ships.

 

The two other piers in Skagway were not impacted.  

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