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#1 Scarlett

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 09:57 PM

Researching for my son to go with his dad for a graduation trip. Never been to Alaska or on a cruise. What is the best cruise line?

#2 jdahlquist

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 10:56 PM

DD and I did a 7-day Alaskan cruise on Norwegian, round-trip from Seattle in late May that we enjoyed.  Each cruise line has its own personality, so some will depend on what they are looking for.  Norwegian, for example, has no set dining times--some people like that and some people don't.  I would probably start by seeing if there are certain ports in Alaska that they want to make sure they see and then backing into which cruises would work. 



#3 Pink and Green Mom

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:35 PM

We did one with Royal Caribbean back in 2000 and are scheduled for another one this summer.  Because of the beautiful scenery, it is worth the money (IMO) to pay for an outside balcony room. 



#4 Scarlett

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:37 PM

So I poked around for a bit.....looks like the Norwegian Pearl would be a good fit for them. Has a rock climbing wall and stuff. More relaxed. I did read some horrible reviews from January where 1200 swingers were on board and it was not a good experience for everyone else. Good grief. How do you ensure you don't get in with a crowd like that?
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#5 Pink and Green Mom

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:00 PM

So I poked around for a bit.....looks like the Norwegian Pearl would be a good fit for them. Has a rock climbing wall and stuff. More relaxed. I did read some horrible reviews from January where 1200 swingers were on board and it was not a good experience for everyone else. Good grief. How do you ensure you don't get in with a crowd like that?

 

If you are using a travel agent, they should be able to tell you if there is a partial charter for your sailing.  If you are doing your own booking, I would call the cruise line and ask them.



#6 jdahlquist

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:25 PM

So I poked around for a bit.....looks like the Norwegian Pearl would be a good fit for them. Has a rock climbing wall and stuff. More relaxed. I did read some horrible reviews from January where 1200 swingers were on board and it was not a good experience for everyone else. Good grief. How do you ensure you don't get in with a crowd like that?

 

Different cruise itineraries (and different times of the year) tend to get different crowds of people.  I don't think the party crowds re as likely to go to Alaska as they are to go to the Caribbean. 



#7 Arctic Mama

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 03:33 PM

Princess or Norwegian would be my picks. And yes, absolutely pay for a balcony room.

Edited by Arctic Mama, 11 February 2018 - 03:33 PM.


#8 jdahlquist

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 05:43 PM

I will offer a dissenting opinion as to paying for a balcony room.  I usually book the lowest cost room and save my money for other parts of the trip.  



#9 edelweiss

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 05:52 PM

We did an Alaskan cruise with Disney.  I don't think that Disney would be the best choice for your situation, but I definitely recommend doing an Alaskan cruise.  It was one of my favorite trips ever! So beautiful!

 

I agree with the others-- I definitely recommend a room with a balcony. I don't think it is necessary for some locations, but I do think that it is absolutely worth it for Alaska.



#10 Storygirl

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 06:17 PM

I'd love to take an Alaskan cruise, so I'm listening in.

 

I think the balcony decision really depends on each individual traveler. My parents had a balcony and enjoyed it, but then Dad went on a cruise with us (to a different beautiful location) in an inside cabin, and said he didn't miss the balcony at all. Our family only uses the cabin for changing clothes and sleeping. Otherwise, we are on deck and out and about around the ship and can pick any view that we want, without having to pay extra for it.

 

If I had an endless pot of money, I'd love a balcony!! But since I don't, I'd rather save the extra expense and put it toward the next vacation.



#11 Sk8ermaiden

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 07:07 PM

I haven't done the research yet, because it's out of our budget, but I know certain cruise lines are better for Alaska cruises, even if they're not better in general. There are areas that are supposed to be must sees, that not all cruise lines, or ships can access. I know Princess and Disney are supposed to be two of the best for Alaska. 



#12 Starr

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 07:31 PM

If cruising the inland passage and SE Alaska I recommend picking a ship that sails to Glacier Bay.

#13 PeterPan

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:11 PM

I think it would be amazing to do the interior passage to Alaska on a cruise, but just my two cents would be to consider a totally different path. Since they're batching it, they ought to go, rent an RV, and fish, hike a glacier, do Glacier Bay, etc. We did Alaska for two weeks that way and it was AMAZING. 



#14 livetoread

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 10:40 PM

We always book one inside cabin (even after the kids got to be teens) and just hang out on deck for the sights. We loved our Alaska cruise on Royal Caribbean and scouted out great places to sit and watch the beautiful scenery. We added on an RV rental and went up to Denali.

An Alaska cruise can really add up when it comes to port adventures. Prioritize what’s important because you can spend as much as you do for the whole cruise just at ports.

Editing to add, I wish we had booked a little later in the season when the salmon were running. It’s more expensive off the shoulder season, but we would have seen more bears which would have been cool. We saw some anyway, but seeing them fish would have been better.

Edited by livetoread, 11 February 2018 - 10:45 PM.


#15 Scarlett

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:40 AM

I am coveting an Alaskan cruise now. I showed what I found with ds and he was not very enthused and doesn't really want to go with his dad. Ugh. I am feeling bad about it. I guess xh needs to know this isn't a wise use of money at this time. Ds might feel differently in 10 years.

#16 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:58 AM

We sailed on the NCL Pearl to Alaska last summer. We had an inside cabin but sailed with family who had a balcony cabin right across the hall. I would never consider an inside cabin unless I had easy access to a balcony cabin. 

 

Also, the inside cabin on the Pearl was teensy tiny. This was our 3rd cruise and I've never seen such tiny cabins before. Even the balcony cabins were smaller than what we had on Princess. 

 

We had a great time but I'm not sure it's the best trip for a teenager. A big part of the ship life is alcohol related and you can't drink unless you are 21. There are plenty of fun activities for younger kids but a young adult who is too old for the kid activities and too young for the grown up activities might miss out. Alaska is absolutely beautiful but someone who is young and active could see more of it another way. Although the only way to see Glacier Bay is on a cruise ship. Glacier Bay is amazing. 

 

 


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#17 Scarlett

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:18 AM

We sailed on the NCL Pearl to Alaska last summer. We had an inside cabin but sailed with family who had a balcony cabin right across the hall. I would never consider an inside cabin unless I had easy access to a balcony cabin.

Also, the inside cabin on the Pearl was teensy tiny. This was our 3rd cruise and I've never seen such tiny cabins before. Even the balcony cabins were smaller than what we had on Princess.

We had a great time but I'm not sure it's the best trip for a teenager. A big part of the ship life is alcohol related and you can't drink unless you are 21. There are plenty of fun activities for younger kids but a young adult who is too old for the kid activities and too young for the grown up activities might miss out. Alaska is absolutely beautiful but someone who is young and active could see more of it another way. Although the only way to see Glacier Bay is on a cruise ship. Glacier Bay is amazing.


Thank you for this post. I picture him bored out of his mind the whole trip and his dad upset. Ugh. I can't help but feel bad for xh.

#18 AMJ

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:33 AM

Princess or Norwegian would be my picks. And yes, absolutely pay for a balcony room.

 

 

While a balcony room would be nice the interior rooms are pretty nice, too, and have their own advantages.  This past summer my ILs took us ALL (sons, DILs, grandchildren) on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate ILs' 50th wedding anniversary.  We all had interior rooms (easier to book for a large crowd, but also more affordable).  I need a dark room in order to sleep, and pretty quiet.  Our interior rooms were all nicely dark and quiet, and the bridge cam channel on the TV gave us wonderful views of what was outside when we were in our room during the few non-sleeping moments we did spend in the room.

 

My SIL & BIL have been on another cruise with SIL's parents, and they (smaller group) had a balcony room.  Their room was right above some bar or public space that ran noisy entertainment throughout the night, and they couldn't sleep much due to the racket coming through their windows.  Meanwhile hall neighbors in interior rooms nearby didn't hear much at all.


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#19 Arctic Mama

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:39 AM

I’m a sit-in-my-room-and-enjoy-scenery-while-knitting kind of person, so that’s why I’d prefer balconies, myself :).
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#20 AMJ

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:42 AM

We sailed Princess on our Alaskan cruise.  The teens found plenty to do onboard.  There was a "Teen Zone" type place next to the little kids' and bigger kids' rooms.  Our teens (large family trip) used that as a meet-up spot, then would head out around the ship in small groups.  They would meet us parents back at our rooms to get ready for supper.

 

At first some of our group were balking at the idea of dressing up for supper on formal nights.  For Alaskan cruises the dress code for "formal" supper falls in line with what I would call "dressy casual to Sunday best", basically nice clothes one would wear to church or a wedding or a nice evening out.  DO eat in the seated dining room when you can -- the food is spectacular!  My favorite supper was an Italian night in the seated dining room -- so many good things to eat, including a cold peach bellini soup I couldn't get enough of.  The best food on the ship is served in the seated dining, even better than the pay-extra restaurants on board, according to one BIL who tried some.



#21 AMJ

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:50 AM

Unless there is an excursion that they REALLY want to go on I would also recommend not filling every stop with booked excursions and instead wander around and see some sights.  Some of our excursions were very rushed in order to deliver what was promised and get us back onboard before sail time.  That said, whale watching and Mendenhall glacier make a wonderful excursion in Juneau, and we also saw seals, eagles, otters, and other wildlife while looking for whales.  I did not get to see bear or moose but my DH did (we were on different sides of the excursion boat).  Meanwhile one SIL & family did not book an excursion for that stop and instead spent the bulk of their time at Mendenhall.  They got some wonderful looks at bears there, satisfying what SIL wanted from the trip.

 

Definitely cruise through Glacier Bay if you can.

 

In Skagway we tried the Gold Rush camp show, and it was okay.  More fun for our younger kids than the teens.  The salmon bake was nice, but if we were to do that again this salmon nut would skip the salmon bake (get plenty onboard the ship).



#22 Scarlett

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:37 AM

So much good info. I know I can always count on the board for someone to have experienced it. I loved that someone up thread actually cruised on the Norweigan Pearl.

#23 Scarlett

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:39 AM

We sailed Princess on our Alaskan cruise. The teens found plenty to do onboard. There was a "Teen Zone" type place next to the little kids' and bigger kids' rooms. Our teens (large family trip) used that as a meet-up spot, then would head out around the ship in small groups. They would meet us parents back at our rooms to get ready for supper.

At first some of our group were balking at the idea of dressing up for supper on formal nights. For Alaskan cruises the dress code for "formal" supper falls in line with what I would call "dressy casual to Sunday best", basically nice clothes one would wear to church or a wedding or a nice evening out. DO eat in the seated dining room when you can -- the food is spectacular! My favorite supper was an Italian night in the seated dining room -- so many good things to eat, including a cold peach bellini soup I couldn't get enough of. The best food on the ship is served in the seated dining, even better than the pay-extra restaurants on board, according to one BIL who tried some.


I think ds would have fun if he could do the trip with friends. He and his dad do not have a strong relationship it lives are very different. They meet up for dinner twice a month. Ds has spent 2 nights with his dad in the last 4 years.

#24 Ordinary Shoes

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 11:06 AM

One good thing about NCL is freestyle cruising. No dressing up is required. There were some basic dresscode rules for the main dining room (no bathing suits or something) but it was very casual. 



#25 *LC

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:37 PM

[quote name="PeterPan" post="8002155" timestamp="1518401485"]

I think it would be amazing to do the interior passage to Alaska on a cruise, but just my two cents would be to consider a totally different path. Since they're batching it, they ought to go, rent an RV, and fish, hike a glacier, do Glacier Bay, etc. We did Alaska for two weeks that way and it was AMAZING"

I went on a trip like this with my parents to Alaska when I graduated college, and we had a great time.

However, you mentioned that your son and his dad don't have the best relationship, so I'm not sure they would want this much uninteruptted time together.

On that trip, we also went to a fishing lodge that was owned by family friends, and that might be better for their situation since there would be an activity and other people around. In addition to halibut fishing, I remember a plane ride. If you think they would be interested, look up Alaska all inclusive or Alaska fishing.

I hope you can find something for them that will suit them both.

#26 PeterPan

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:55 PM

You can do day cruises of Glacier Bay. We did one when we were there. I think a teen would love doing just Alaska, doing the RV thing, fishing, seeing bears, hiking glaciers. It's the cruise ship part that doesn't sound like a good fit.



#27 PeterPan

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:57 PM

However, you mentioned that your son and his dad don't have the best relationship, so I'm not sure they would want this much uninteruptted time together.

 

Oh dear, I missed this. If the ds is on the spectrum (yes? no? I forget) and the dad is not really comfortable with him, all this could go south super fast. Have you thought about a canoeing trip down the mountain rivers in NY? There are companies that do it, so it would be all planned out for them. Something like that, where it's guy-friendly, totally planned out, structured. 



#28 Scarlett

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 12:25 AM

Oh dear, I missed this. If the ds is on the spectrum (yes? no? I forget) and the dad is not really comfortable with him, all this could go south super fast. Have you thought about a canoeing trip down the mountain rivers in NY? There are companies that do it, so it would be all planned out for them. Something like that, where it's guy-friendly, totally planned out, structured.


Ds is not on the spectrum. And they get along fine. But they aren't close and Ds just doesn't want to go on vacation with him.