ANSWERS: 7
  • A lot of cruise lines have been having incidences of food poisioning lately so I wouldn't be taken any crusies. But if you want that type of information you can get it for free from any travel agent.
  • Hi there, Did you ever get a useful answer to your question? I am considering the same for later this year and was looking for anyone who had been there, done that....
  • Did this cruise last May- good time of year to go. Went on Princess Diamond. Beautiful ship. Great activities, excellent staff, excellent shore excursions ranging from the mildest to most adventurous activity levels. Also has Freestyle Dining, which is a great improvement over the more formal early and late seating style (which they offer as well). There are four dining rooms, and you can pick your time to dine, from about 5 to about 10 at night. Much more freedom, especially when planning shore excursions. You don't have to worry about getting back for a 5:30 seating! All tips are included in the price. We threw the shore excursion guides a few bucks, as well as restaurant staff on shore excursions, and of course taxi drivers to and from the ship and the longshoremen who took our bags on and off. Stayed at the Westin Seattle before, by the way, a great hotel! And if you haven't been to Seattle before, I'd definitely leave a day to do a tour- beautiful city. Of course, I'd get there a day early anyway. Don't want to let any airline snafus have you missing the ship. As for our itinerary. We did do the inside passage, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Tracy Arm (gorgeous fjords!), and Victoria, BC. The cruise ship had a great naturalist/Alaska expert on board who gave wonderful lectures about different aspects of Alaska every day, so you'd have some knowledge about what you were seeing out your window and about what you would see on shore excursions. Two strong recommendations: One- get a balcony cabin if at all possible. You'll see some beautiful sights along the way, (including lots of whales if you're lucky) which you'll enjoy that much more if you have the option of looking at them from the comfort of your own cabin. Two- if you can swing it, do a Land/Sea Tour, which Princess does. You do see some great things on this cruise, but we took the Sea portion only because our time was limited. To really "feel" Alaska, you want to do some touring over land. I don't know all the details, but I know you're going to want to see Mt. McKinley and Denali Park for some great wildlife viewing. I think part of the tour would include a glass domed train ride, which I'm sure is spectacular. Get the Princess brochure- or go on line, of course. They'll have all the details. Again though, I'd choose May, early June, and maybe beginning of September (they don't go out much later). I'm sure summer would be fine too, but I'd think everything would be alot more crowded with kids out of school. (Unless of course you have school age children!) We also had several cruise ships following us everywhere- they're all doing the same itinerary this time of year! Holland America's fleet looked nice. But we liked the Princess Diamond just fine and would do it again. Hope this helps!
  • Typcally, there are two types of Alaskan cruises. Those that are one way (Seattle/Vancouver to Anchorage or Anchorage to Seattle/Vancouver) or the Inside Passage (Seattle or Vancouver roundtrip). The "one way" cruises are more expensive in that you have to pay the airfare to or from Anchorage. This is not very cheap. The Inside Passage airfare will be to and from either Seattle or Vancouver. Both types of cruises are excellent. The "one way" cruise allows you to add "cruise tours" once at Anchorage. You'll see more of the state. The Inside Passage will get you to various locations/islands like Juneau, Sitka, etc. Also, a very nice cruise. Since the waterways on both these cruises is somewhat protected, the trip is almost always very smooth and calm. Great for those that get sea sick. Usually, July and August are the best times to go (not as cold) but are also the most expensive. I would go with Princess Cruises (somewhat biased as an ex employee)
  • I live in Anchorage and the best time of year would have to be June and July. It is gorgeous this time of year...totally makes up for the winter!!!
  • Many of the Alaskan ports are similar in construction and what they have to offer. Each has at least one unique aspect and it is fun to find that one aspect. Natural wonders of Alaska are everywhere you look and blue glacier ice is impressive. Whether it is blue glacier ice or a snow covered mountain or whether it is a vast tundra or lush coastal region, Alaska has something for everyone's tastes and usually lots of it! The wildlife of Alaska is diverse and unusual. Everyone expects to see bears, moose, bald eagles, and seals but depending on the location and time of the season, you'll see whales, coyotes, caribou, mountain goats, Dall sheep and even unusual marine life. You may seen all, some but not likely none. Some of the pros of Alaska are the breathtaking views, great seafood, wonderful people and one of the cons is sometimes the ports can be crowded. Cruising Alaska is the way to go---anytime someone else drives, cleans and cooks it means more time for travelling, exploring and having fun! My favorite thing in Alaska: Taking a floatplane anywhere to see the vastness of Alaska from the air. There is nothing like the vistas of mountains, glaciers, and the experience of taking off and landing on water. Summertime in Alaska is generally warm, colorful and the people are all happy, friendly and welcoming to visitors. Perhaps it is the sun, but Alaska is alive everywhere in summer. As for my fondest memory I don't know what was more captivating--the snow capped mountains, the blue glacier lakes or extreme vastness and desolation of the Alaskan interior. The day I was to see Hubbard Glacier Bay the ship was able to navigate through icebergs to get within 1 to 1.5 miles of the glacier face which is 5 miles wide, 1,500 feet deep and 76 miles long. Watching and especially hearing the crack of ice and calving was awesome--simply awesome. The water was calm, the air crisp and the views magnificent. Alaska is too full of eye candy to pick and choose just one fond memory however. Suggestion: Buy a cyber (internet card) for Seaport Cyber which is located in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka and use it in all the ports. It is $10 for 2 hours and they are located in the downtown port areas. I really enjoyed experiencing the Davidson Glacier near Haines especially when the scope and size of another canoe near the glacier face gave me a realistic and proper scale of how large the Davidson Glacier really is. And this was one of the smaller glaciers I saw. Icebergs as big as a bus floated near me in the lake and knowing they broke off the face recently made me appreciate not getting closer than 100 yards to the face. The day is traveled to the Davidson Glacier from Skagway it was cold in the morning and fortunately I boarded the (warm) Chilcat Express boat for a 45 minute trip to the Davidson Glacier area near Haines. The Express is the fastest boat in Alaska and capable of 50+ MPH. My guide Kyle was interesting, funny and informative. We landed on a beach near the glacier, took a 4-wheel drive bus to an outpost where I was dressed in canoe/wild water gear. A short hike to the canoes on the river preceded our paddling upriver to Davidson Lake which was fed by the glacier. This truly was a back to nature adventure and after a quick paddle around the lake, it was time to approach the glacier face. A moment of silence in front of the massive glacier made me reflect on the beauty of Alaska. We then reversed our route and headed back to the Express which had lunch waiting for us for the return to Skagway. The company is at: http://www.chilkatcruises.com/kayak-haines-wilderness-kayak-davidson-glacier.htm It would take weeks & lots of money to see & do Alaska's Inside Passage on land or air instead of a cruiseship so having a floating, mobile accommodation is best for this type of journey IMHO. THE TRAVEL SLUT® Tips for the Regent Seven Seas Mariner 1) Although embarkation was not scheduled until 2:30 PM, I was able to board just after 12 PM & although my cabin was not ready, I was able to walk the ship, check out the library & DVD library & enjoy the La Verandah restaurant until 1:30 PM when my room was ready. 2) Be sure to take several of the free "Alaska Destination" booklets in port before boarding the ship as they contain both worthwhile coupons, freebies, and information on each of the ports & their stores, tours. 3) Make reservations for either Signatures (French cuisine) or Latitudes (Indo-chine & Asian fusion) restaurants as soon as possible after boarding as they fill-up fairly quick. 4) Be sure to experience room service at least once whether it is a full meal or a snack-appetizer. You will be pleased. 5) Complete your in-room liquor request form as soon as you are allowed into your cabin. 6) Spend at least some day-at-sea time in the Observation Lounge taking in the wonderful views 7) If you get the urge for popcorn, check into the movie theater and you might get lucky like I did and get a bag of fresh-popped popcorn. 8) Be sure to tell any of the maitre'd's how you wish to dine---with company or not and they will do their best to accomodate you. I prefer larger tables for socializing and then learning about new experiences that are available. 9) On many mornings, the tour groups were directed to the Constellation Theater prior to disembarking and I noted that the ship had set up continental breakfast items in the room for those people waiting. That was a nice touch for late sleepers and late arrivals. 10) Disembarkation was painless and EXTREMELY fast as we started @ 7 AM and by 8 AM the ship was emptied. Request an early room service breakfast on your final night onboard. One of the unique qualities of Regent is that the cruiseline touts itself as six star and it is backed up by many other experts and critics in the industry. My adventure began when I boarded the six-star Regent (Radisson) Seven Seas Mariner cruiseship for my northbound Inside Passage trip to Whittier/Anchorage, Alaska via Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka and the Hubbard Glacier Bay. My embarkation was effortless and I was delighted to find champagne and strawberries awaiting me in my verandah suite, #1064. The Mariner has a maximum capacity of 700 guests and all cabins have walk-in closets, marble-tiled bathrooms, a dedicated make-up desk, spacious verandahs and a choice of complimentary liquors for your personal in-room use. The refrigerator is stocked daily with water, beer, soda and ice. In 2007, the ship went all-inclusive with liquor. Regent surpassed my expectations in every category. The crew were both gracious and helpful, the cabins were very large (356 sq. feet) and appointed lavishly, and the food was no less than magnificent with open seating for dining or in-cabin dining that included table linens and place settings just as if you were seated in a restaurant. The room service menu is 4 pages long and contains more options than I have ever seen on a cruiseship. The ship is easy to navigate and has all the standard amenities of other cruiseship plus some extras including soft background music with no loud public address announcements, complimentary wine poured with meals, no formal nights, and pre-paid gratuities. The four main restaurants--Compass Rose (main dining room) , Latitudes (Asian-Fusion), La Verandah (buffet breakfast and lunch but reservation seating at night), and Signatures (French-European cuisine) were equally wonderful in atmosphere, presentation and taste. My favorite was Signatures. Regent can be checked at: http://www.rssc.com/
  • If you can get accommodations on the Alaska Ferry it is a much greater trip than the main cruse lines. For one thing you can stay over in some ports and catch the next ferry.

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