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Old Dec 10, 12, 12:40 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Looking For Guidance - Summer Alaskan Cruise

Hi,
My family and I (3 teenagers, 2 adults) plus my parents (2 more adults) are just starting to plan for an Alaskan cruise in June or July of this coming summer.

We have cruised once in the past - on a Norwegian ship out of Miami - and found it to be a really great experience.

That said - we're open to any options at this point.

Big keys for us:
  • kid friendly
  • good choice of food options
  • most likely doing a round trip, not one-way cruise

Are there recommended places to book the cruise through? Are there any ways to get additional deals or be aware of special offers?

Thanks,
Lance
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Old Dec 10, 12, 6:28 pm   #2
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you might look at 2BR + 1BR (maybe haven) on NCL

round trip - out of seattle? dont think it really gets very far.
i can recommend vancouver <> seward.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Dec 12, 12 at 6:24 pm..
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Old Dec 10, 12, 7:13 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
you might look at 2BR + 1BR (maybe haven) on NCL

round trip - out of seattle? dont think it really gets very far.
i can recommend vancouver - seward.
Thanks, I'll check out some of the Vancouver routes!
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Old Dec 11, 12, 11:09 am   #4
 
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What is your budget like? If you are taking a round trip from Seattle, I would make sure that your itinerary includes Glacier Bay which would limit your choices however. As far as where to book, there are a few cruise TAs here that would be happy to help.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 1:32 pm   #5
 
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I am not familiar with Alaska Cruises, but for bookings you should always check out Cruise Compete first. Go over there and request quotations to have a better idea about the deals being offered.
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Old Dec 12, 12, 11:31 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by ak333 View Post
What is your budget like? If you are taking a round trip from Seattle, I would make sure that your itinerary includes Glacier Bay which would limit your choices however. As far as where to book, there are a few cruise TAs here that would be happy to help.
I'd like to be around $5000 for the cruise itself (not including any excursions, etc). I know that probably limits me.

Thanks for the info on Glacier Bay - I'll check that out further.
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Old Dec 12, 12, 1:58 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LanceInWI View Post
I'd like to be around $5000 for the cruise itself (not including any excursions, etc). I know that probably limits me.

Thanks for the info on Glacier Bay - I'll check that out further.
You can probably pay under $5000 for 7 of you if your departure date is in early June, but if you wait until most schools let out I would expect $1000 per person or so - less for a 3rd person in a cabin.

Check out Vacationstogo dot com; they have a good search engine for cruises. I just looked and found some bargains on Holland America throughout June (but I'm not sure how kid-friendly HA is). Once you have gotten a sense of which particular cruises interest you most you can either contact a travel agent directly (including online TAs) or have TA's bid on your trip at Cruise Compete as mentioned up-thread.

In general round-trip Alaska cruises are cheaper out of Vancouver but flights to YVR are more expensive that they are to SEA, so that tends to be a wash if you have to fly out there.

I hope this helps!
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Old Dec 12, 12, 2:48 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by HPN-HRL View Post
I just looked and found some bargains on Holland America throughout June (but I'm not sure how kid-friendly HA is).
My kids loved HAL.
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Old Dec 13, 12, 1:01 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by 6rugrats View Post
My kids loved HAL.
Thanks!! That's great to know!
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Old Dec 13, 12, 1:02 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HPN-HRL View Post
You can probably pay under $5000 for 7 of you if your departure date is in early June, but if you wait until most schools let out I would expect $1000 per person or so - less for a 3rd person in a cabin.

Check out Vacationstogo dot com; they have a good search engine for cruises. I just looked and found some bargains on Holland America throughout June (but I'm not sure how kid-friendly HA is). Once you have gotten a sense of which particular cruises interest you most you can either contact a travel agent directly (including online TAs) or have TA's bid on your trip at Cruise Compete as mentioned up-thread.

In general round-trip Alaska cruises are cheaper out of Vancouver but flights to YVR are more expensive that they are to SEA, so that tends to be a wash if you have to fly out there.

I hope this helps!
I just checked out some of the cruises on VacationsToGo - and did see a couple of really good possibilities on HA! Thanks!!!
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Old Dec 13, 12, 1:30 pm   #11
 
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It all depends on what your kids enjoy, what you consider to be 'fine' dinning, your standard of accommodation etc. You get what you pay for. Personally, I'd be looking at Celebrity Solstice departing from Seattle. Beautiful ship, great dinning options, staterooms etc.

Regarding "looking for a good deal..."
The cruise supplier sets the price, not travel agents. If you have teenage boys, you'll most likely recall the days of reading ads in USA Today promising 50% off airline prices. The airline industry quickly figured agents were able to work for nothing and stopped paying commission. Guess what some of those agents do now? You got it, selling cruises. 'Hey... book with me and I'll give you a great price.' If cruise suppliers were giving www.abcdcruise.com special pricing, what would companies like Carlson, Mertz AAA, Amex etc. have to say? If you're looking to spend $5,000, a travel agency will make in the neighborhood of $480 (cruise lines don't pay commission on port service fees and tax.) This is assuming the agency owner is booking you. Bottom line, any agency offering you "a special deal or better price" is simply a prostitute.

Bottom line, check the cruise companies public web site. In the above case www.celebritycruises.com. If you're looking for advice, consult a professional Travel Agent. On a $5,000 investment, get the advise of an expert.

Hope it helps,
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Old Mar 6, 13, 10:15 pm   #12
 
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Bumped because I want to do an Alaskan Cruise with my wife June-Aug 2014 and looking for ideas.
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Old Jun 16, 13, 9:01 pm   #13
 
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If you don't need a balcony cabin, I would wait until under 90 days out and monitor Vacationstogo for prices. We just booked our cruise 2 weeks ago. We leave on June 29 for 14 days on the Sapphire Princess and paid only $799 pp for TWO weeks. We are booked for an OV gty room.

Our first cruise to Alaska was on this same ship in a mini suite. While it was nice to have our own balcony, we rarely used it because it was too cold.

Our second cruise to Alaska was on the HAL Amsterdam for 14 days. Booked that one only 5 weeks out and saved a small fortune again.

This will be our third cruise to Alaska, and the second 14 day trip. Can't wait!

If you are able to purchase stock in your 401K or IRA, buy 100 shares of Carnival. For a 7 day cruise, you will get $100 shipboard credit. Since Carnival owns both HAL and Princess, we got $250 shipboard credit on both of our 14 day cruises. We have 100 shares in my husband's account and another 100 in my account. You can only qualify for one credit per cabin. Last year over Spring Break we took the kids on the Carnival Conquest for a week. We booked the cabins with hubby in one room and me in the other. That way we got $100 credit on each cabin. Since we had balcony cabins, my hubby and daughter kept their sign and sail cards and simply entered through the room that they were keyed for, and went through the balcony to the other room.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 4:42 am   #14
 
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I would like to bump this thread again for any further input from people experienced with Alaska cruises ideally start and finish in Vancouver not Seattle.
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Old Dec 4, 13, 5:19 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6rugrats View Post
My kids loved HAL.
Mine too. They have been on Cunard, Celebrity and HAL-- both daughters have a strong preference for HAL. The kids club is much more relaxed- with staff that seems more focused on entertaining and interacting with the kids. On Cunard, frankly, the kids staff were more like day care workers- keeping our children safe, contained and very bored. Celebrity was inbetween.
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