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If you've been on an Alaska cruise

Lady Florida.

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Would you share some of your experiences? 


BIL (dh's brother) said he and SIL were planning to take one next year. As they were talking about it, they thought it would be great to make it a family event. Everyone who is even slightly interested is going to start doing some research. In our household that job falls to me because I'm usually the vacation planner.


At this point the only thing we're pretty sure of is that we'll want to go out of Seattle rather than Vancouver, so those without a passport won't have to get one. 


Anything you can share will be appreciated.


-favorite planning links-

-where to find the best deals

-favorite cruise lines (and the opposite - which ones to stay away from)

-things they don't tell you that you wish you knew

-anything i didn't think to ask about but should have


What about clothes? Everyone who might go either lives in Florida or south Texas (and they grew up in Florida) so we absolutely don't have cold weather clothes. We heard that in many cases cruise lines have parkas you can wear (for rent? free?).


Thanks. Dh is hoping to retire at the end of 2017, so if we do this it will be a retirement celebration (in advance) for him.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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I just got back from one a few weeks ago. We did a one-way Royal Caribbean out of Vancouver because we also wanted to go to Denali. We like RC and have sailed with them several times. That said, the ship wasn't my favorite RC ship and I would avoid her in the future (The Radiance of the Seas). The food was ho-hum and our lower deck inside cabin had some problems that I haven't encountered on other RC ships.


Some considerations - those leaving from Seattle are going to be round trip AFAIK and are not going to allow any time to get to Denali. You will see the southern ports of call which are all still really cool.


We went the first two weeks of June and brought a whole lot of layering clothes. The weather ended up being quite nice for our cruise portion and we mostly used our layers for Denali. We brought long sleeve shirts, a fleece layer, and then a water proof jacket. You spend a lot of time adding and subtracting layers throughout the day. You probably won't need any one big heavy coat. It usually rains a lot, so several pairs of shoes are good. We decided to skip formal nights this cruise which cuts down considerably on luggage, especially for the men.


RC goes to Hubbard Glacier which is beautiful and we managed to get really close the day we went. Only a couple of lines (Princess is one) go into Glacier Bay which I've heard is really amazing, so if you want to see Glacier Bay, make sure your line goes there.


I used Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic for my planning. I'm an uber vacation planner and this one was tough because everything is so very expensive. You have to weigh the jaw-dropping costs with "but this might be the only time you are ever here," and that was tough for me. Just know that this is one cruise where the excursions could end up costing more than the cruise when all is said and done.


Going earlier in the summer is cheaper, but the salmon aren't running. If I had it to do over, I would have paid more and gone later so we could have seen that.


Everyone says this is the cruise to get a balcony and I could see why that would be, but we stuck with our usual inside room and just staked out chairs near windows to watch the scenery. It saved a bunch of money.

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We did a land/sea combination tour. If I had it to do over again, I would do the land part first and then the sea. We got pampered on the cruise part and then felt less than pampered on the land part and it was a tough transition. But, then again, we're old. We took Holland America and we love that cruise line. There is a Club HAL for kids, though our kid didn't want any part of it. (This speaks more to the quirks of our kid than to the program!) We booked through AAA and our travel agent was familiar enough with the ship that she knew which side to book us on for the best view (we had a veranda.)


You can choose to take dressy clothes for the dress up night in the dining room or you can choose on those nights to eat in the Lido (buffet type food). You can also get (free) room service 24 hours a day. We live up north, so we already had the winter coats, though you can get super light weight insulated jackets that will be easy to pack.

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