Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Cruising To Alaska
Old 04-03-2011, 08:16 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DangerMouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,812
Cruising To Alaska

Can't believe I am typing this, but we are considering doing a cruise to Alaska. A cruise has never been high on our list, however we want to see Alaska and to do it independently was turning into a nightmare because of poor flight availability out of our location.

I've been reading various reviews, have had input from friends but would be interested from further input on those who have actually cruised to Alaska.

Initially we were interested in Norwegian Cruise Line because we like their concept of freestyle dining. We are not the type to get done up for anything.

However, when I started reading about Holland America I liked the type of daily activities they had. On the other hand we would have to take a bit of putty filler to use on the face in the evening and dig up some suitable clothing. Currently I live in jeans and trainers. The average age group on this line is the 50s which I baulked at to start with until I can to realise we are creeping up soon. Figure we would not have to put up with a lot of screaming kids everywhere we go.

We are totally uninterested in the evening entertainment. Don't care about any song and dance, Vegas style entertainment.

So if you have cruised Alaska who did you cruise with and what was good and bad about the particular ship you were on?

We have already looked at shore excursions through trip advisor so have a good idea of what we want to do and will book those independently.
__________________

__________________

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
DangerMouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-03-2011, 08:37 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rustic23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lake Livingston, Tx
Posts: 2,880
We were on Princess. They have anytime dining if you wish. I also don't like vegas type dance and song shows, however, on our last cruise, we saw three comedians, a juggler, and a magician. On a 10 day tour there were two 'dress up nights'. We chose to not eat in the main dinning room those nights. However, we did see some folks in blue jeans, no tie, and sport coat. They ate in the main dinning room on formal night. I really believe formal night is set up so they can take and sell pictures. A cruise is what you make of it. If you want to join in on the activities do, if not it is easy to find a quite place to read and relax. Princess even has a section on the boat set aside just for such activities or lack of activities.
__________________

__________________
If it is after 5:00 when I post I reserve the right to disavow anything I posted.
Rustic23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2011, 08:59 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 8,700
I am cruising to Alaska next month . Instead of focusing on the ship I would focus on the itinerary . I have cruised most of the lines and the differences are small .The best itineraries for Alaska in my opinion sail from Vancouver . Hal has an interesting cruise that is round trip from Vancouver . We are flying into Seattle and then taking a bus to Vancouver . We are spending a few days in Vancouver pre cruise to see Vancouver . Most lines now have anytime dining and they are all more casual than years ago.
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2011, 08:59 PM   #4
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Mexico
Posts: 43
I am not personally high on traveling via cruise ships but took the Holland cruise thru Alaska 3 yrs ago and loved it. It does rain a lot in some of the ports from my understanding but it was a really good trip. The food was good, entertainment decent, and service above average with Holland. It gets my recommendation.
__________________
mexico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2011, 09:20 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
Packman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 256
Holland and Princess are the 2 top lines in the meduim class of ships sailing to Alaska. I believe Norwegian is a step below, but still nice. We have done both Princess and Holland, and they are similar, though I slightly prefer Holland for an Alaskan itinerary. All lines now have some kind of anytime dining where you can go to eat whenever you want. If you do not want to dress up for the 2 formal nights that a 7-10 day cruise typically has, you do not need to. There are many other options for dinner on those evenings. Make your cruise line selection based on itinerary and price. Early in the summer is less rainy than late summer.

If you want more info, go to cruisecritic.com. Any way you go, it's a great cruise. And cruising is by far, my favorite vacation - enjoy!
__________________
Retired on 5/31/2011 at 54
Packman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2011, 09:39 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,382
I went on NCL and we enjoyed the ship a lot. It was about 12 years ago, so I don't know how much has changed, and I can't remember too much specific. I liked the less formal dining on NCL, and skipped the shows. Instead would sit in another lounge and enjoy the serenity and quiet while having an after dinner drink and watching the views with the sun still up, while nearly everyone else was at the show.
__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2011, 09:52 PM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
Ready-4-ER-at-14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: chicago
Posts: 88
Did the inner passage on Norwegian. Food was OK and plentiful and the people were pleasant. Hand sanitizer guy with his oriental "washee washee" as you entered dining area was funny. Seating was difficult at certain times if you wanted a view.

Glaciers were neat but distances from shore was so far that if you want to see wildlife, you might as well just buy a video or plan on doing it on an off ship tour.

Main thing to know is according to locals it is often misty and cloudy at certain times of the year and sold plane helicopter rides tend to go up even if you won't see anything. Not really sure about that but is what we heard often.

Dog sleds were neat but you take a ride in a wagon thing.

Finally if you take the train ride sit on the left side as you are going up the mountain.
You see nothing on the right side until the trip down, by which point the guide is bored and you sort of saw the stuff before.
__________________
Ready-4-ER-at-14 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2011, 09:58 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Coach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,117
Last summer we (siblings and spouses) cruised Holland America round trip out of Seattle on the Zaandam. We very much enjoyed it. We did most of our meals in the main dining room, enjoying the service. We even dressed up the two nights -- unusual enough for us to give it a feeling of class.

The food was quite good overall. We took advantage of the free room service, too. Liquor aboard was expensive, but they let you bring wine on board so we mostly did that.

I personally didn't take much advantage of the entertainment on the ship, but others did, and found it generally uninspired. I attended several historical and naturalist lectures. And I had a lot of fun in the very small casino.

We didn't do any organized shore excursions -- we just wandered around and explored on our own in Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka and Victoria.

We had a very good time.

Coach
__________________
"Comprehensive health insurance is an idea whose time has come in America." President Richard M. Nixon, February 6, 1974
Coach is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2011, 10:26 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 1,330
In 2009 I took a 1 week Holland America cruise on the Veendam from Vancouver to Seward (had to buy a suit for the formal nights). Very nice, no complaints, good food, took plenty of wine. From Seward I took the bus to Homer (mailed back my good clothes), then the ferry out to Dutch Harber and back to Ketchikan. This was even more fun than the cruise. Here are my Veendam and Tustumena (ferry) cabins.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20090616 veendam room.jpg (68.5 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg 20090624 tustumena cabin.jpg (66.1 KB, 1 views)
__________________
learn, work, save, invest, fire
CyclingInvestor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2011, 10:45 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 178
We are not going until August (Holland) so can't add previous experience except our travel agent highly recommended the helicopter flight to glacier and the dog sled excursion (on snow/ice... not gravel).

If you haven't cruised before... the key for us is the memorable land excursions - they can double the cruise price but we found the ones in the Caribbean worth the $.

Have fun.
__________________
SVHoper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 12:40 AM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 81
Some friends swear by Regent, a small luxury line. One of their ships usually does Alaska each year -- SF or Vancouver to/from Seward. Small ships, all inclusive, interesting clientele.
__________________
dizzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 07:50 AM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 7,068
We did Princess in the nadir of the last recession so we got a great deal. I am not big on cruises but I enjoyed the Alaska trip. We dragged along nice clothes for the formal nights but it is a PITA. You could skip the main dining room if you are so inclined but I like the service and teh food was pretty good. If I was doing it over I think I would pay the extra money to have Princess ship the nice clothes home after the water portion (you have to sign up in advance for this). Your dirt bag wardrobe will be all you want or need on the land portion. Here is a photo album if you are interested.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 07:56 AM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
misanman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 199
We did the sea/land trip through Holland, had a great time and would recommend them. Left out of Vancouver, cruised the passage stopping at Ketchican, Juneau, Sitka, Hoonah (Icy Straights), and Seward. Took bus to Anchorage, then flew to Fairbanks. Then train to Denali and back to Anchorage and flight back home. I would highly recommend the land tour part (Fairbanks - Denali - Anchorage). Holland and Princess seem to be the major lines and they have their own cars on the Alaska Railroad.
__________________
"The best thing about the future is that it happens one day at a time." -- A. Lincoln
misanman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 08:00 AM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 7,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzy View Post
Some friends swear by Regent, a small luxury line. One of their ships usually does Alaska each year -- SF or Vancouver to/from Seward. Small ships, all inclusive, interesting clientele.
Wow, they look nice if a bit pricey What do yo mean by "interesting clientele?" Rich, old, both?
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 08:38 AM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Alberta/Ontario/ Arizona
Posts: 1,070
Have done Alaska twice on Regent Mariner. Very nice- higher rated than the others. We have found that the avetage passenger on Regent is a little more "upscale" than on some of the other lines. Ship only has 700 passengers so nice size. The smaller ship allows them to get closer to the calving glaciers, I think.
Food was excellent and no need to book dining time or same table every night. Best excursion was a short float plan flight to see bears in the wild. Out of Juneau I recall. Weather is always the uncertainty. It really makes a big difference if you can see the mountains.
__________________
Danmar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 08:54 AM   #16
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 3,855
We did Alaska (southward cruise) with Holland America, flying in to Fairbanks, taking a train to Denali and the next day onward to board the ship.

It was a great trip. The only "problem" (if you can call it that) is that we were on the last scheduled trip in the fall. In fact, the restaurant in Denali would not even serve a single glass of wine unless they had an open bottle (of course, you could get a whole bottle) since they were packing up to leave the next day, before the snow started.

In addition, we did not see the range of wildlife in Denali that you would see in the spring/early summer.

BTW, we've also done the "freestyle" dining on NCL in the past. We did not like it since you actually paid a lot to go to a decent restaurant on-board. Also, since you don't have an assigned seat/time in the non-pay dining rooms, you waited quite a while (unless you had pre-reserved, but it was still a zoo) to get a seat. Otherwise, you wound up in one of the several "free" fast food or just the buffet upstairs. If you don't want to go to the dining room (for instance, on H.A.) you can always have your dinner delivered to you in your stateroom, for no extra charge. Of course, to each, his/her own. I just did not enjoy the "confusion" on NCL, along with the extra price for a decent dining experience.

Here's a picture of the train pulling into the Denali station to take us to the ship.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Alaska Cruise 066.jpg (622.3 KB, 3 views)
__________________
rescueme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 08:59 AM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 181
We wanted to go with cruise west but found it beyond our budget at that time when I included the airfare. I think I read good review comments. I am thinking of first taking ferry then this cruise once I have time.
__________________
landover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 09:15 AM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 445
Everyone who has cruised has their preferences to cruise line. I'm a fan of Norwegian. Wife and I wear "business casual" to the dining room, and we always got a table by the window without a problem. Take heed of the other commentary about shore excursions - they are probably a "necessity" for an Alaska cruise but they will add significantly to your overall cost.
__________________
mystang52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 12:11 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DangerMouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,812
We figured it would be the shore excursions that would make this trip worthwhile.

Hmm am going to have to think about this more. My DH is mad keen to do Alaska, I couldn't care less so I want to make sure he gets exactly what he wants out of this trip. The ferry to Dutch Harbour would probably float his boat because of deadliest catch.

I have read the reviews on Cruise Critic and like most you have to read in depth to find out if what they are complaining or raving about is relevant to our needs.

I might sit on this for a while hoping that they start some discounts soon. We would be looking at a balcony room which is one thing that put us off Celebrity. Their decor is dire. Just looking at the pictures made me want to jump overboard. At least on Holland America the decor is bright at fresh.
__________________

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
DangerMouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2011, 12:33 PM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Alberta/Ontario/ Arizona
Posts: 1,070
Read in Conde Nast recently that in 2010 13million people took cruises worldwide. 70% of these were American. Cruising certainly isn't the exclusive activity it used to be. Very good value for the money in my view though. I think it works particularly well when there are not good hotels, etc at the destinations and an in-depth experience is not the objective. Accordingly, I think cruising is a very good way to see the interesting parts of Alaska.
__________________

__________________
Danmar is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cruising: LBYM. NOT. Rich_by_the_Bay Travel Information 124 05-13-2008 12:25 PM
Cruising suggestions for Bayfield40 dory36 Other topics 0 09-09-2005 12:02 PM
Cruising World - How much is enough? FlowGirl Life after FIRE 20 08-10-2005 06:44 PM
Cruising The Caribbean ShokWaveRider Life after FIRE 17 03-03-2005 04:08 AM
Sailing and Cruising Skylark Life after FIRE 0 02-20-2004 12:52 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:59 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Early Retirement News right to your Email!

Stay up-to-date with all the latest news to your inbox!

unsusbcribe at anytime with one click

Close [X]