We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cruising Alaska Questions?

VA
Level Contributor
36 posts
38 reviews
Save Topic
Cruising Alaska Questions?

Hi All,

We have never been to Alaska and are considering a cruise/land vacation to see the area. Unfortunately, we have never cruised before and have been to Alaska so we have a few questions to those who have gone before us to get us going.

Essentially we would like to get an idea about which cruise is perceived as the better Alaska cruise experience based on scenery, ports, food etc... In addition, we are interested in what the thoughts are on do a CruiseTour with the cruise company or if it is better (cheaper) to plan our own pre/post land package and if anyone has used the Alaska Tour book offering the 2 for 1 tours while on cruise and how difficult it was to coordinate the tours with the ports etc...

Thanks so much in advance!

p.s. We are planning to take our trip in July of 2013!

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
3,796 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

There's an excellent thread under TOP QUESTIONS with lots of useful information about Alaska cruises. There are also a few travel books specific to Alaska cruises ... Ann Vipond's "Alaska by Cruiseship" discusses the various cruiselines, ships, itineraries, ports, and excursions. I think Frommers or Fodors has one also.

Although many itineraries APPEAR similar, be very mindful of port times ... are you in town long enough and at the right time of day fo accomplish planned activities? Personally I would choose a cruise that included Glacier Bay.

There are several trip reports from this past summer that included a one week cruise plus land travel before or after. A link to the reports is under Top Questions. These reports will give you a good idea about the cruise and the land portion. Have fun planning!

VA
Level Contributor
36 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

Thanks for the information!

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Pompano Beach
Level Contributor
4,276 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

We cruised on HAL in August. We booked all shore excursions on our own with no problems. Spent five nights at Denali and was sorry to leave. The land portions of a cruisetour will not allow this much time at any location.

I'm hoping to finish a trip report this week, but have already posted numerous reviews from this trip.

My only regret is not having more time there.

VA
Level Contributor
36 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

Thanks CTDesign! We are looking at Holland as well in July. We are leaning towards doing a 7 day northbound from Vancouver to Anchorage and then tacking on a land tour. I will be excited to see your trip report!

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
Level Contributor
6,820 posts
152 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

Definitely can sumpathize with your situation -- because we had many of the same questions before our first-ever cruise on a first-time visit to Alaska....

You can find almost as many recommendations as to which cruise experience is "best" as you can answers to "which car should I buy..."... And, as impertinent as it may sound, the right answer in both cases is basically "the best one is the one that lets you see what you (not someone else) want to see and lets you (not someone else) do what you want to do, in a fashion you'd like to do it. And until you spend a little more time looking at the available cruise lines to see what each offers and begin to narrow down which things about a cruise are important to you, it's going to be tough for folks who don't know you to make meaningful recommendations. In our case, we ended up making our decision based on which ports the ship called at, how much time they spent in each port, what kind of seating plan(s) they offered at mealtime, and their smoking/non-smoking policies.

Along with that, we looked at the cruise-tour options offered by our top two or three cruise line choices, determined which of the options they offered were important to us, and how much time they allowed at the things we wanted to see most. In our individual case, we determined that the added cost of booking a cruise-line sponsored cruise-tour instead of rentaing a car and doing the land portion ourselves was worth the convenience and service. Others strongly disagree, while some are comfortable making the same decision we did.

There also are few ways for someone who doesn't know you well to decide which "shore excursions" you should take when the ship is in port. As painful as it sounds, you really do need to take the time to look at the offerings for your top one or two cruise-line choices, decide which tours are most important, and see how their scheduling and price match your expectations and budgets.

Once you've started to narrow down the cruise features that are important to you, which inland sights or experiences are important, and which shore-excursions interest you, folks here in the Alaska forum can give you more useful, more meaningful answers to questions about them. We're willng, and anxious, to help, but we need things narrowed down just a bit first...

Edited: 11:00 pm, December 29, 2012
VA
Level Contributor
36 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

We certainly appreciate all of the people who contribute their time and knowledge to this forum and others on TripAdvisor.

With that being said, we have made a bit of progress and have actually made a spreadsheet with Cruises, CruiseTours, small boat cruises, Land-only tours, and the available tour and restaurant coupons in each port of our preferred cruises to help us make the decision and after reviewing it we have found that although a big cruise is more affordable, we may be more inclined to take a small ship/boat cruise. We are thinking of one with anywhere between 10 - 100 people that focuses more on the natural beauty of Alaska vice shopping and touristy "tours". We have looked at the available small ship cruises on the 2013 cruise list for ideas, and thus far many seem out of our price range $4000 or less for a 7 day cruise.

If anyone has taken a small ship cruise or has information they are willing to share, it would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
3,796 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

there are at least 3 trip reports on Inner Seas Discovery cruises in the 2012 trip reports.

VA
Level Contributor
36 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

Thanks InnerSeas cruises are also listed on the 2013 as well and do seem to be the most affordable.

VA
Level Contributor
36 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

yesCanada ~ Thanks - these are really helpful trip reviews of InnerSeas.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
3,796 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Cruising Alaska Questions?

you'll find other posts about Inner Seas by using the SEARCH IN tool just above the threads, in the green bar. Stay in the ALASKA forum and in the empty box, type "inner seas". Be sure to use the quotation marks. This search will bring up any thread with the words "inner seas".

The SEARCH is a great way to find info on any vendor that you're considering. Lodging as well.