Alaska Cruises

So I’m looking at picking up an Alaska cruise . I’m thinking 13-15 days of which at least half that time is spent cruise shipping/boating around glaciers and lakes and scenery stuff. Princess Cruises has a nice plan called the Copper River tour which is the kind of thing I want. I would be going in the late spring; after the winter snap breaks but before the summer mosquitoes hit. I have been to Alaska before, but it’s been 25 years.

Right now just surfing the net looking at itineraries and prices. Any experiences, anecdotes, or advice? This would be a honeymoon type trip, not a Spring Break chumming-for-nasty type trip.

What state do you live in? My old boss’s wife used to work for princess and she always said that if you could try and go down the day before the boat sails and see if they have any open rooms because you can get a room for literally nothing.

She said like 25-50 bucks a night if that. When I lived in seattle I always wanted to try it but it never worked out with work.

If it’s a Honeymoon trip, I think he’ll want something a little more solid than go down the day before it sails. That’s not going to score points with anybody.

I’ve got nothing for you, though.

Cruises are for old people and couples who naively think taking their brats on vacation is a good idea. They’re boring, you don’t end up with any good stories (very important), and you’ll gain 20lbs from the ridiculous amount of food they shovel down your throat. The only good part of cruising is the great sleep.

Go somewhere interesting and different like thailand, japan, vietnam, kenya, shit like that. Not only will you walk away with great photos and stories but you’ll get to see somewhere very different from your hometown, broaden your horizons. You’d be amazed by how fucking different vietnam is. It’s like a different world.

I recommend friendly planet and club abc tours for great values. You do have to pay for a membership to club abc but it is well worth it.

I went on an Alaskan cruise back in '99, with Princess. I didn’t have that much fun:

-Food: fucking horrible, unless you like powdered eggs and steaks that tasted like McDonald’s cooked them. I spent most of my time in a pizza bar; I couldn’t stand the people I had to sit with at dinner after the guy next to me puked up his caviar the first night. I had always heard good things about cruise food, so I was very dissappointed. Drinks are sky-high as well, so getting liquored up is going to be expensive. The smaller towns you stop in aren’t going to be any different either price wise, but the food is at least better.

-Alaskan cruises really are for older people, at least on Princess. No joke, except for a couple from Long Island I met, my ex-wife and I were the youngest non-adult-attended people on that boat by 30 odd years (the people at my dinner table were celebrating their 25 and 30th wedding anniverseries respecively). Wear closed-toed shoes; having your toes ran over by some geriatric in a motorized wheelchair in the bum-rush to see a glacier isn’t a good vacation.

-If you do decide to go, pack winter clothes, especially since you live in Cali. The booklet will tell you some average temps, but remember they are average. Moveing at 15 knots makes it fucking freezing. Also, pack some motion-sickness stuff.

Personally, I’d recommend another cruise or vacation. If you’re dead-set on an Alaskan cruise, ask your travel agent about some non-grandma type cruises that they may have available.

Jesus. Glad I asked. Heheh.

Check out the latest Frommer’s Guide to Alaska, it may be of some help picking out cruises.

The cruise also depends on where you want to go; the smaller cruises go up through the panhandle and through some pretty narrow channels; the larger ones may just skirt outside the peninsula (except for Glacier Bay), etc. It really depends.

I think you can have some pretty good cruises, depending on the company, the ship, places to visit, etc. May is a good time; anything before summer or early autumn should be good.

— Alan

I went to Alaska a couple of years ago. Didn’t go on a cruise - We flew to Anchorage and rented a car.

Seward park in the south was interesting - we took a boat in one of the national parks and saw some whales. I was only wearing t-shirts since it was warm, but out in the water I regretted it (It was June/July.) Saw lots of fjords! (loved the word ever since i read hitchhikers as a kid)

Had lots of fresh halibut and salmon. Really tasty! Frozen fish is so not the same (my childhood was in the caribbean with no refrigerators so I miss the food sometimes.)

Saw big park in the Fairbanks area, lots of sheep, and a big moose.

The interesting part was we did a day trip (took a plane there) to Barrow, Alaska. It’s the northernmost point in the US (Canada has points farther north of course). I brought my parka because I was a wuzz. Pretty cold! I saw a freezer for the whale meat - they dig up the permafrost and store it there. Oh, they didn’t call themselves Innuits and definitely nobody used the word Eskimo. Our guide claimed Innuit was for the canadian side.

There was a public school that was build at a cost of $7 million for a handful of students. Mostly because it’s expensive to build / tunnel anything there - the outside of houses are littered with broken washing machines, cars, first because it’s a pain to throw out anything, second, they keep it around for spare parts. At that point about half the houses were connected to sewage system - most expensive way to get shit moving this side of the atmosphere! the pipes are kept warm so effluent doesn’t freeze.

Oh, btw, the natives are kinda lucky because an oil pipeline passes through their territory. The way I was told, back in the 70s the oil companies came around. The tribal elders didn’t speak any english but they knew something was up. They took a CANOE and paddled down to seattle, where they somehow hired a lawyer. They get a cut of percentages. Cool story.

There was a little eskimo girl (forgive the world) playing outside in the snow in freaking shorts - meanwhile I am shivering in a puffy jacket. Kids play all night long since it doesn’t really get dark in the summer. All the hotels had very, very thick double set of drapes so you could keep sun out to sleep.

Recently I read an article on barrow. A man opened his permafrost whale meat to a reporter and you could smell the stink - the ice has been melting. That kind of hit me, darn, world is really warming up.

Other weird bits. Passed by a construction crew resurfacing a road. On the way back they were DONE! the crews work 24 hours a day in the summer (several shifts) because they can’t get anything done in the winter. Doesn’t work like this in New York!

I’d definitely say it was an interesting place. Not sure if it’s the place for a honeymoon thought!

Fun cruises. I took a really fun cruise down the Yangtse river last year. It was about 10 days total, the ship was about 4 days total. There were other young people around in our group so it was fun time. We were pretty lucky in that aspect. China was interesting because it breaks/confirms many stereotypes. It’s weird how one guy tells me that the internet cafes were closed in Beijng because of a fire whereas I’d just seen reported in western media that it was censorship.

Food verged from good (street vendors, etc) to fantastic. Some places had way too much service. Was at this restaurant in Beijing, and I guess they are trying to be too western. I sip my beer. Put cup down. Waitress runs over and refills it. Take another sip. Put cup down. Waitress runs over (maybe same one). Repeat seven times. I was like, LEAVE ME ALONE, it’s just a beer!

==
Greece. Took another trip to greece the year before the Olympics (was that 2003?). The mainland was a packaged tour, which was kind of fun, but kind of sad. You’d go to ruins and see pictures and reproductions of statues. The originals were all in the Louvre or the Museum of London. Mental note, wear sneakers cause two thousand year old marble is slippery when wet.

Then took maybe 5 day cruise on greek islands. Went to Mikonos a few days on high recommendations. I’m not really into nightlife so not into it. It was a bit dirty, nobody to pick up stuff. Santorini was pretty thought. it’s built into a volcano with little white houses and colorful roofs. hmm, where can I find some coffee, oh look this is a restaurant up this little cranny and around the corner.

Conclusion is mixed, but it does seem like a classic romantic honeymoon trip. I actually ran into an old friend from high school there on her honeymoon. They were having a crappy time themselves thought, maybe a fight. The husband didn’t even say hi to me, nevermind shake my hand. Rude!

Edit: The school in Barrow cost $7 million NOT $180[/i]

I cruised the Inside Passage with my wife years ago, and we a great time. We sailed Holland America, and I SERIOUSLY want to go again.

So, I say…fuck 'em all, and go cruise Alaska. We had a great time, and we were 21. :-)

Arise, thread!

For my 70th birthday in August we’re doing the Inside Passage. We’ve cruised with Norwegian (Hawaii, twice) and Royal Caribbean (Eastern and Western Caribbean), but for this one we’re leaning towards Celebrity, particularly the Solstice class ship.

Celebrity is offering the best incentives until the end of the year (free unlimited drink package, WiFi, and tips included, 2nd passenger is half price, plus an additional 5% off if this your first cruise with them). It’s $300 to upgrade the drink package to the good stuff, but that comes with a $300 credit that can be used for things like excursions and specialty restaurants, so it pays for itself. Since all the lines offer the same itinerary, this is the deciding factor for us.

Has anyone cruised with Celebrity? If you have, tell us the good, bad, and ugly.