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Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

Wasilla, Alaska
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Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

…usatoday.com/cruises/…1

Alaska soon will be back on the schedule at Oceania Cruises.

Oceania president Kunal Kamlani tells USA TODAY the upscale line will resume summer sailings to the state in 2013 with a series of seven- and 10-night voyages out of Seattle and Vancouver. The trips will take place between May and August on the 684-passenger Regatta.

"Our guests are telling us, 'we'd like to see you back in Alaska,'" Kamlani says, adding that the deployment also will add more diversity to the line's Europe-heavy summer schedule.

Oceania positioned a ship in Alaska for the first time over the summer of 2011 but is skipping the region this year as it sends its entire fleet to Europe.

The Alaska sailings out of Seattle will be a first for the line, and the seven-night voyages also are unusual. Oceania long has been known for focusing on lengthier sailings of 10 nights or more.

Kamlani says the feedback the line received from customers after its first season in Alaska was that cruises to the region didn't need to be as long as the trips the line offers elsewhere. Oceania's Alaska sailings in 2011 varied from 10 to 14 nights in length.

"What we heard was make your itineraries a little bit shorter," Kamlani says. "The feedback was ... you want to spend 10, 12, 14, 16 days to truly see Europe. You can see Alaska in seven to 10 days."

Kamlani says that the line will offer an unlimited shore excursion package for Alaska that lets passengers sign up for as many outings as they want for a lump sum of $699 per person on seven night sailings or $999 on 10-night sailings. For customers who book an Alaska cruise by June 30, the line is offering two-for-one pricing on the packages, making them $699 and $999, respectively, for two people.

A caveat with the unlimited shore excursion package, which is similar to unlimited packages the line has rolled out in other destinations: Some of the most expensive excursions in Alaska, such as helicopter tours of the glaciers around Juneau and floatplane rides over Misty Fjords National Monument, will come with a supplemental charge. Helicopter tours in Alaska can cost $300 to $600 per person.

Oceania's return to Alaska can be seen, in part, as a hedge for the company against the possibility of continued economic turmoil in Europe, where Oceania still will have most of its fleet for the summer of 2013. Economic turmoil in Europe over the past year has had an impact on cruise bookings in the region at many lines.

"It mitigates some risk of the sovereign debt crisis of Europe," Kamlani says of the Alaska deployment.

Oceania will offer seven itineraries in Alaska in 2013 including:

-- A seven-night roundtrip sailing from Vancouver departing on May 19 that features stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka and Wrangell.

-- A 10-night sailing between Vancouver and Seattle departing on May 26 that features stops in Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Hoonah and Ketchikan.

-- Seven-night sailings between Seattle and Vancouver that feature stops in Sitka, Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Departures: June 5, June 12, June 29, July 6.

-- Ten-night roundtrip sailings from Seattle that feature stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Hoonah, Sitka and Victoria, BC. Departures: June 19, July 13.

-- Seven-night sailings between Seattle and Vancouver that feature stops in Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan. Departures: Jul 23, July 30, Aug 6.

The trips will open for booking on March 7.

Lake Tahoe...
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1. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

In 2010 the Regatta was in Homer, Anchorage and Kodiak. What they have now is apparently just the panhandle like everyone else. Guess HAL is still the only one to come here (and that of Silversea twice in the season)

NH
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2. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

Next summer 2013 will be our first cruise to Alaska.....have looked online at Oceania Regatta . Talked to Oceania agent and they are offering free RT airfare from certain major airports (mine is BOS) if you book far in advance.

What I like is no formal evening meals and you can eat in any onboard restaurant for no additional cost. From reviews there is very good food, ambience, friendliness of staff and the passenger count is 684 so it's considered a moderately sized ship.

But I'm still thinking of a small-ship cruise too. Any thoughts...moderate or small ship cruising for Alaska?

Saint Louis Park...
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3. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

If you want a small ship experience, I would consider Linblad.

Last summer, I took a seven day Alaskan cruise with Linblad, and had a great time. Please see reply 44 of the ongoing "All about Alaska cruising" thread in this forum for a list of my pros and cons of choosing Linblad.

L B
Brighton, United...
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4. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

I have had a major problem with my booking to Alaska with Oceania Cruises. I chose the grade of cabin specifically so that I could book our excursions well in advance as our reason for taking this trip was to go on the bear viewing excursions. I did so on the website but on getting to the payments page I was told to telephone. I did this immediately and was told that one of my excursions was not available so early in the season so I chose an alternative, my payment was recalculated and I was told that my excursions were booked and that the payment had gone through (later confirmed by my credit card statement).

The date came for our priority booking of meals in the speciality restaurants but the website was down and so I emailed our requests. By the time their reply arrived, I was told that our request was not fulfilled. I tried every day to get onto the website to book our meals but that section was down, until finally I was free to telephone and only then did I discover that our excursions "were not showing on our booking". I was distraught and asked for this to be investigated. I received no further communication. I called again the next time I was free to do so and was eventually told that they had found my payment but that the excursions were not booked.

The lack of customer care has been breathtaking. In fact we were ignored, no calls returned, no help given, no apology, no communication at all. I then involved the company I had booked through and only after their intervention did I get any response and only then was any real attempt made to book us on our excursions. Of course, by this time booking was open to all and the most popular excursions had all been filled. We were breezily informed that we were on waitlist. The only way I can see that the most popular excursions are going to have cancellations is a massive outbreak of norovirus.

It is hard to express how bitterly disappointed and upset we are. We both work full-time and trying to cope with this whilst working nights and doing business travel has been ghastly.

This level of response to their failure to fulfill their basic contract between themselves and their customers and to rectify their major mistake is astonishing. Investors and clients should be worried by this - as well as the failure over weeks of the client section of their website. I do not want anyone else to experience the distress we have experienced over this.

haines, alaska
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5. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

Welcome to the forums theflyn,

Give us an idea of which excursions you were trying to book ahead and in which ports........I'm sure with all the helpful folks on this forum, we can come up with similar or maybe even better excursions than those you were looking at.........

The most popular excursions are definitely not booked up by now.......this is a common tactic used by the cruise ship industry to get as many sold in advance as possible........

Sooo, take a deep breath, relax, and when you get a minute or two, take a look over the list offered by your ship and let us know which appeal to you the most........lots of folks would be happy to advise you based upon their own experiences........

L B
Brighton, United...
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6. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

Thank you so much for the kindness of your reply - my distress is all too clear!

We are docked in Icy Strait Point 8am to 6 pm on Saturday 8 June and should have been on a 5.5 hour trip by boat to Adolphus Point to see humpback whales and then coach to Spasski River Valley raised platforms hoping to see grizzly bears.

We are docked in Prince Rupert 8 am to 6 pm and should have been on a 6.5 hour trip by boat hoping to see grizzly bears in the Khutzeymateen Valley grizzly sanctuary.

I hadn't heard of Haines and have now looked over the website, played the videos and put it on our wishlist.

Thanks again.

Greater Sydney...
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7. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

G'day theflyn,

If you could please post the link to which Oceania cruise you are sailing on,as I note there are many different options, and the dates, that would be of assistance.

Please also note that Prince Rupert is in BC, Canada, so I doubt that many on this forum might be able to assist with that one and I suggest that you might consider asking about excursions on the BC forum here:

tripadvisor.com.au/ShowForum-g154922-i80-Bri…

Under the "Things to do" tab on the PR forum there are a list of trips:

tripadvisor.com.au/Attractions-g154939-Activ…

For Icy Straight (Hoonah) these web sites might provide some assistance:

tripadvisor.com.au/Attractions-g31010-Activi…

http://www.icystraitpoint.com/Plan/Excursions

New South Wales...
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8. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

k2iks - don't know that you'll even see HAL this year. I looked into booking their 14 day cruise that includes Homer/Kodiak & was told by my specialst cruise TA they're not running it this year :( Putting our re-visit off until next year now but EVERY time I read someone else's itinerary or trip report - I change my mind about where I want to go..........

Greater Sydney...
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9. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

G'day Tez,

Yeah, for some reason, known only to themselves, HAL dropped the 14 day cruise this year but it will be back for 2014 with Amsterdam scheduled to do the circuit again.

haines, alaska
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10. Re: Oceania Cruises to return to Alaska in 2013

theflyn, early June will not give you a good chance of seeing grizzly bears in the icy straight area........much too early in the season......they will be out and about, but since the salmon are not running then, there location will not be predictable and the tour be more of a "looking for bear" tour and not a real wildlife viewing tour......

Whale watching should be excellent though......

Here are a list of tour providers tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g31010-Activitie…

Look through them, read the reviews and refer to their websites for more information......