Alaska Cruise

mooncloud

New Member
confirmed my alaska cruise... hopefully there are pple here going too.. change of plans. Going on a seattle, vancouver rockies plus alaskan cruise tour... Prob fairbanks and denali has to wait till yrs later when i go back. Ha...
 


mooncloud

New Member
Just came back frm my honeymoon... Went on the cruise with celebrity.. Alaska was lovely. Did the dog sledding as well as floatplane and helicopter rides.. Service on the cruise was wonderful. Scenery fantastic. The rocky mountains were gorgeous too! It snowed twice while i was there even though it was summer. Greatly recommended for honeymoon couples. Though it burnt quite a big hole in my pocket. Ha..
 

mooncloud

New Member
Hi, I went on Celebrity cruises. Mine was the tracy arm fjord cruise which departs from seattle, does a round trip to ketchikan, tracy arm fjord (to view the glacier), juneau, skagway, victoria and back to seattle. There are others which do different routes. Some cruises does the anchorage-vancouver route (they call it southbound), some does the opposite direction (northbound), but if you take those, u got to make sure u get open jaw tickets meaning u fly to anchorage and back frm vancouver or vice versa because the cruise sails frm anchorage to vancouver one way. The other type of cruise does the hubbard glacier route which does a round trip like mine but starts frm vancouver and covers slightly different ports. Hope i did not confuse you with the types of cruises. Other cruiselines that are more commonly sold are royal carribean and princess.

For land tours, do you mean shore excursions? Meaning when u stop at the port u go for certain activities? If so, I went for a misty flords wildlife cruise cum floatplane excursion in ketchikan, city cum suburban tour in juneau, dog sledding cum helicopter ride in skagway and butchart gardens tour in victoria.

The wildlife cruise to the misty fjords was pretty fun.. Waters were choppy at the start when we crossed the open waters, feels a bit like bumper car combined with mini roller coaster coz we were going up and down. But the view was lovely. Tons of waterfalls there. The floatplane ride was exciting i suppose. Though a bit too exciting for me when we met with a slight turbulence and my heart almost popped out. Ha... But no regrets going on it. Though i may not be on the floatplane any time soon.

I wanted to do whale watching in juneau but was a bit seasick after a few days on the cruise. So chose to do the city tour. You may consider whale watching since most pple went on that i suppose. But the whales are at a distance. So dun expect very close up views.

The dog sledding is really one of our favourites. But it is extremely expensive. It cost us close to 1.5k just for the 2 of us to be flown up by helicopter to the glaciers on top. You really got to love dogs and nature i suppose. We had no regrets as it was breathtaking on the way up (the helicopter ride was less 'exciting' compared to the floatplane so i can enjoy a bit more.. ha).. And the dog sledding was something u wun experience elsewhere i guess. You are literally surrounded by snow up there. But like wat i say, the cost is very very high. None of the others on my tour went on that excursion. We love nature a lot plus i love dogs. So we kind of went ahead with it and eat grass now that we are back home. Ha..

I stopped at victoria only for like less than 5 hrs and the sun was setting. So hardly manage to see much. The gardens were beautiful but too bad the sun was setting so not much photos. Sad...

Seattle was lovely too. But i did that with my tour group so did not do any excursions.

I actually did my alaska tour with canadian rockies (very beautiful place and i will recommend u to go there if you got sufficient leave and budget). So i am not sure if my cost is accurate (i am not very sure exactly how much the rockies portion cost as the whole tour price is lumped together). Also, i selected really expensive shore excursions. Overall i spent between $15k-$16k for 2 of us and this excludes souvenir shopping, any additional meals which is not covered (very few only) and any kind of shopping. Minus the shore excursions i chose, u can do rockies and alaska within $12.5k i think (same exclusions as mentioned earlier). So i guess it depends on what you want.

I think there are more cost saving ways to do alaska. You can actually go into some of the cruise websites. They give the cost of the cruise and the shore excursion prices. You can do first round of budget with tat. I did that at my initial stages of planning. We did overspend a bit over there so my expenditure is not very accurate actually. If you need more info let me know. Hope this info helps. Btw, good time to go though. USD is relatively weaker.
 

leyash

New Member
Christie > Thanks for the detailed guide~ We're looking to do a cruise to see the glaciers, and spend a few more days doing the Canadian Rockies tour. Did you come across any good packages during your planning? Could you share them with me? Thanks!!
 

mooncloud

New Member
Are you planning to do F&E or guided? I went to natas and some of the travel agents do canadian rockies with alaskan cruise (glaciers included). I think most have prices around the 5-6k region depending on the type of room u choose on the cruise. I did mine with newshan coz they tempted me with seattle too (i went shopping at the factory outlet there.. ha). Not too bad though like with guided tours, quite restrictive. But might be more expensive if you do F&E. If you need more info let me know.
 

leyash

New Member
Christie > We havent decided F&E or guided.. cos must see how much the costs add up. I only saw on the travel agency websites promoting the cruise to alaska, but no on shore excursion. Which agency are u referring to? And where to start looking for F&E? My random googles all turned up very expensive local packages. haha..
 

mooncloud

New Member
Hi... Okie.. let me try to run through some of what i did for my research and see if it helps.

I started off wanting to do F&E coz i hated guided tours where you have to wake up very early. But coz we didn't want to do self drive into the rockies (too tiring for the driver), i went to look for canadian tour operaters. There's brewster (by coach) and rockymountaineer (by train). To be frank, i got confused by the many tours Brewster have to offer since i did not know where was nice. Rockymountaineer is less confusing but very expensive. And they did not fit into our schedule. I had limited days there due to my hubby's leave constraint. You can check those out. But take note that you got to make your own transfer to and from the airport and to meet them.

My next option was to take cruisetours direct frm the cruise ships. You can go to the cruise website directly and search for cruisetours. I am very sure celebrity, royal carribean, princess and holland america has them. Princess was extremely expensive so i dropped princess immediately. Royal carribean was full by the time i researched on it. So left with celebrity. (didn't like holland america).

You can always read through their tour itinerary and see if you like it first. Because most of the travel agents actually can sell you the cruisetour but with a slight mark up. In fact, i think the main tour agent is citystate tours. They do have the alaska cruise and canadian rockies. Royal carribean tour operator also has them. BUT the price is high. Because cruisetours offer 5 star accomodation and their rocky tours use mountaineer trains. So they charge a premium.

I didn't want to burst my budget. So i ended up going with newshan travel. 3-5* accommodation. But i forewarn you, the price may be reasonable (at least cheaper than the others), but a lot of old aunties and uncles. However, the plus point is that there will be people helping you with the photo taking... So got to consider. A lot of chinese food (which is not too bad just that we would prob prefer local food) during the rockies portion.

As for the cruise section, its all free and easy no matter which agent you choose. The excursions that are available can be found on the cruise website. If you don't mind, you can let me know a rough estimate of your budget then i can prob help you more with your prep?
 

leyash

New Member
We looking at about 5-6k budget per pax for the cruise + canadian rockies. I've looked through some liners like Royal Carribean and Holland America, but they don't offer land tours to the rockies.
 

mooncloud

New Member
Hi leyash, sorry been busy. Saw your email but decided to reply here so that future brides may benefit. Which dates are you looking at to travel by the way? Coz depending on the months you choose, there is a difference of price. The season is generally frm mid/end april to early/mid oct. Peak period generally july and august.

Royal carribean definitely has tours into the rockies. Look under cruisetours. There will be options for the canadian rockies. Unless of course if its sold out. But take note that the prices of these liners are steep as they generally give 5 star accomodation and they travel by mountaineer train. May be a bit difficult under ur budget. But no harm going there to take a look at their itinerary to have a rough feel. Theirs is less packed, more for relaxation and free time.

Think you asked me in the email abt travel agents. I checked a few.

Pricebreakers (only does princess and liaise directly with princess for tours. Very expensive)

Royal carribean international (offers cruisetours for both royal carribean and celebrity. Pricing as per shown on cruise website. But they can arrange flights for you)

Citystate travel (offer cruisetours by the major cruiselines. Note: their package is all frm cruiseline. So prices are quite fixed since pricing is by cruise. But they arrange flights for you)

Newshan (that is the one i went with. Cruise by celebrity. Land tour portion they find their own agent to bring us around. This is the only agent that does cruises from seattle. The rest are either from vancouver or anchorage. Its the cheapest by far, 5k plus per pax for inside stateroom. They do have natas promotions. But take note as most people on the tour are aunties and uncles, not really very romantic. Though no worries abt phototaking. Everyone will help. Ha)

I ended up choosing newshan seriously for the pricing. Alternatively you can arrange for both separately. Booking your cruise thru the website, then finding a local tour agent in canadian (think can try brewster), and finally looking for the flights yourself. There are always last min deals if you can wait. But a general thumb of rule, its always cheaper to cruise in apr/may as well as sept/oct as its turning cold. But weather may be colder and gloomier. Still.. weather is pretty erratic there. So its by luck.

Any other questions feel free to ask. I do still check back here once in a while.
 

leyash

New Member
I've emailed all the major travel agencies since my last post.. but only Chan Brothers got back to me. And although it did fit my schedule perfectly.. I've been warned of bad reviews of that company. Sigh..

The bf and I would prefer local food, rather than Chinese food, so we'll probably not go with Newshan..

Now trying to look at local tours to CR which pick up from Vancouver.
 

mooncloud

New Member
If you prefer local food, better not go with the local tour agents. Unless they tie up with the land tour portion of the cruises. In that case you prob shld look at vancouver tour agents.

NATAS coming up. You can always check it out too
 

noamie08

New Member
The Alaska cruise season is rapidly approaching! People should be booking NOW!

So -- who can tell us what they think is the BEST Alaska cruise they have ever taken?

My choice? HAL Zuiderdam, with both Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay, dog carts in Skagway and the Ducks in Ketchikan! Of course, the fact that my dear Aunt Ruth treated us to adjoining suites helped a bit! Check out our trip report and pictures at Cruising to Alaska on HAL Zuiderdam.
 

natatouille40

New Member
hi christie, you had your alaska trip with Newshan liao rite? R they good? You took the 16D package including Canadian Rockies?

Do you have to pay for any optional tours beside the $6k with Newshan?

Many Thanks!!
 

mooncloud

New Member
Hi.. just saw ur msg.. only pop by once in a while.. just in case i dun reply fast enuff. (today happen to pass by.. ha..)

Yes.. took the trip with newshan last yr. And yup.. the 16D trip including canadian rockies with cruise departing seattle.

All the tours on board the cruise are all optional. On the land portion (ie. rockies) all covered to what i can recall. So only when u arrive on the cruise then u got to pay if u want to do optional tours (they call it shore excursions) in alaska. We booked most directly from the cruise ship. Not organised by newshan for the cruise section. I did an excursion at each port of call (ketchikan, juneau, skagway, victoria). Prices vary. U can check the prices on www.celebritycruises.com (if newshan is still taking celebrity cruise). But if u dun want to take the tour and just want to roam ard town, its also possible. Definitely not compulsory... Hope i helped!
 

mooncloud

New Member
Sorry.. forgot to reply the qn on whether they are good. We are not very picky. So we think in general it is not too bad. At least i think for the price we paid, it is reasonable. But a lot of chinese food and the grp generally is pretty old... A lot of aunties and uncles. We are quite lucky to get a nice grp of aunties and uncles (esp the ones we share table during the meals).

Dun expect 5 star accomodation in the trip. I feel the accomodation is decent enuff though some atas aunties complain. So it varies.

Overall i think they are pretty organised. No complaints. Our only prob come from us being affected by motion sickness both on land (long bus rides) and on sea (seasick) which i think newshan cannot do anything abt. Oh yah.. just bring motion sickness pills in case.

Alaska is a beautiful and lovely place. Same for rockies. Definitely worth gg..
 

natatouille40

New Member
hi christie! So happy to see your reply! Lucky u pop by this chat. haha

Thanks for the info!

I called up Newshan today. $5988 is for May. I wanted to go in Aug & the price would be $6388. And to upgrade to balcony cabin. Another 1K per pax. That would be $7388 per pax. Huge sum of money thus bzy doing our sums now. But me & hb really wanna go Alaska cos it could a trip of a lifetime.

They are sailing on Princess Cruise now. I think Celebrity Cruise is of higher end. And Newshan's flying on Delta airways.

Did u see any whales or bears during the cruise?
 

mooncloud

New Member
Kev> ha... I happen to look at this thread. It has been weeks since I checked so was quite surprise I manage to catch ur post. Ha... Think it's sixth sense.

Anyway, we went early June. I wanted mid to end June but at that time, they only had end may, early June and mid sept.

Princess cruise? When I checked last yr, princess was more expensive than celebrity! Though reviews all say celebrity is newer and more posh but princess seems more experienced. Hmm... So where is the cruise departing? Vancouver?What are the ports of call?

Any special reason for travelling in aug? Special events in aug? If not then u may want to travel slightly off peak to lessen the cost and avoid the crowd? Aug is peak of summer hence higher cost. But if there are special dates then it's a different consideration altogether.

We took the balcony. Went out a couple of times though not too often coz it's super cold. Nice to catch views at the ports of call or when at the glaciers. I am trying to recall how much I paid. Think between 6288 to 6488 for early June, balcony, celebrity (excluding shore excursion).

We caught sight of a baby bear high upon the trees in Canada. Only saw one baby one. Sad. I saw one whale far away in Alaska, almost cannot see. Didn't join the whale excursion. Oh ya, if u are lucky, u can see whales from ur balcony. Keep the tv on for announcements on whale activity. I saw tons of seals, eagles and spotted one moose. Oh... I experienced snow twice in Canada even though it was summer! Quite cool... Ha... Since I never seen snow before.

Alaska is really worth it. If u can afford it, please go. My advice is scrimp on the wedding, enjoy during ur honeymoon. If aug is not so so impt, I suggest get the balcony during the cheaper timing, take the difference in $$$ and go for dog sledding high up on the mountain glaciers. Take the helicopter up. It's super expensive (optional shore excursion, check princess cruise for the price) but really worth the experience. We loved every sec and though we think it's so so expensive (think usd 600 plus per person), it's once in a lifetime. U can skip all excursions but go for dog sledding, esp if u all love nature, like the outdoors, in for a bit more adventure, and find dogs cute. If scared of dogs/heights, then save the $$$. Ha....

Sorry. Very loh soh... Get so hyped up whenever I think of my honeymoon. Wonderful memories...
 

natatouille40

New Member
Hi Christie! Our wedding is actually in Oct but the cruise season stops Sep.. And we dun wanna wait another year for the trip, therefore thot of going in Aug. I tink the depart date on 17 Aug. As for the ports.. I didn't really asked. Shld b as wat was shown in their itinerary bah.
After reading abt ur trip, we really wanna go liao. But my hb's leave didn't get approved.. His boss helping him to appeal now. Hope it gets thru.
I tink the price for the balcony cabin has increased.. Cos the agency say it's 1k more per pax for all season..
Thank u for sharing! Helped us a lot! U have a good day!
 

hermes76

Member
Hi Felicia, if u r referring to the Alaska cruise, the season ends in Aug, coz year end the weather would be too bitter for cruising.
 

natatouille40

New Member
Hi Christie! May I know if u got sign up for the optional tour to Butchart Garden? Was it worth? I'm undecided if we wanna take it up cos the place sounds like Botanic Garden to me.
Also, did the guide take u to the duty free shop at Vancouver? He say there got the cheapest cosmetics but I wonder wat brands they carry. Could it b their local brands? Dunno if I shld just get it from changi dfs or there..
 

eviliss

Member
Hi Ladies, who went or are planning to go to Alaska, is anyone of you going there by flight and doing sightseeing by joining a landtour?

I'm trying to gauge how much the entire tour will cost me and my hubby, wondering if land tour would save cost or burn a bigger whole in our pocket? Hope to see the northern lights too!
 

hermes76

Member
isn't Nov too cold? I'm planning for the Alaska cruise this Aug, would it be more economical if we ala carte the package i.e. flying to Canada & book the tour there or get a fly-cruise package here.
 

eviliss

Member
herman, i was thinking about the same too. but after some brief checking it seems that the fly cruise is more affordable than flying there to book a tour which I wanted to do, thought of staying over those lodges that have a chance to have a glimpse of the northern lights.

i'm thinking of doing the tour in September. which cruise are you thinking of signing up?
 

hermes76

Member
Hi Lissy,

Oh, is fly-cruise more economical? Coz I saw that a fly-cruise would cost ard S$3.5K per pax whereas a 7-day cruise is ard US$700+. Maybe i'll have to do more homework. I'm looking at end Aug or early Sep & so far only have looked into Royal Carribean's Radiances of the Seas, think may be good to opt for a reputable cruise operator.

I think the Alaska cruise season ends in Sept coz after that, the sea may be frozen & yes, too cold to go.
 

elyss0n

New Member
what is the weather during end aug - beginning of sept? i'm trying to list down what i should bring for my vacation :/
 

omoo24

New Member
it is for honeymoon and we are thinking of going alaska for the northern lights and wild life. can't go earlier since our wedding date is in nov.
 

timsum7

New Member
Just bought tickets for NCL's Norwegian Pearl in May! Departing Vancouver and arriving back in Seattle for some US shopping before heading home.
 

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