Post # 1
So we decided to do an alaska cruise honeymoon in July on Princess.
Has anyone does this type of cruise before? Hows the weather? Do we need to book excursions or can we just get off the ship and explore on our own. Weve done cruises before and normally dont do excursions, but mostly have only done the carribean.
Any advice or tips?
Post # 3
@tropicalbride2218: What ports are you going to?
Post # 4
@likewoah: the ports are Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway, and British Columbia
Post # 5
When are you going? I want to hear about it… considering it!
Post # 6
I’ve done this itinerary on Princess… jusy fyi Tracy Arm Fjord is not a port, it’s sailing through the passage. 🙂
It’s a beautiful cruise & Alaska is one place you NEED a balcony, especially for your honeymoon.
You don’t have to book excursions, but the offerings ashore will be limited. I booked a lot online with non-cruiseline associated vendors. The best thing we did was a float plane over glaciers to a lodge (Taku) in Juneau. In Skagway we took the train & hiked on our own (Skagway town is tiny) – time in Ketchikan was too short & I would have loved to just putt around town but we chartered our own fishing boat there.
Heres the link for Taku if youre interested… I think I found out about it on tripadvisor or cruisecritic, I don’t recall. http://www.wingsairways.com
We went in July as well – weather was cool. Light jacket & pants… but the week prior to our cruise it was 80!
Post # 7
@cascole: thanks for all those tips! Those excursionpicked did sound like a lot of fun. So you think that the cruise is good to do for ya honeymoon compared to one to the carribean? We’ve done a couple to the carribean so it would be something different.
Post # 8
I did that itinerary last June (late June) on Disney. I’m not a cruiser so take my opinion with a grain of salt. But I hated it. My parents cruised a lot before my dad died and even they didn’t like it. I felt like there just wasn’t enough time in the ports to really do a lot. One port we were in for 12 hours and that was great. But the others were 7 hours and then 4 hours. And BC was also only 4 hours.
And it was raining at the port we were in for 7 hours so our canoe trip wasn’t the most fun thing I have ever done. We were freezing and wet and just wanted to get back to the boat.
Alaska is gorgeous but the next time I go, I will plan it where I can spend a few days in the locations to really take it all in.
Post # 9
It will be cool – make sure you take appropriate clothes and it will likely rain some of the time. I”ve heard that Alaska cruises tend to be more casual as far as dress goes than others. I think you can usually find enough to occupy your time in the ports without doing excursions if you don’t want to. It’s beautiful country. Enjoy.
Post # 10
@tropicalbride2218: BC is a province, not a city. It is 1.5 times the size of Texas, so I suggest you focus in on which port city in BC you will be visiting.
To get some ideas of what is worth your time in each port read the applicable Boards on http://www.cruisecritic.com
You will find many suggestions for booking excursions online before you go, at a more reasonable cost then through the Cruise line. Make sure you do not over extend yourselves, time -wise. The ship is under no obligation to wait for you if your excursion is late returning.
If you don’t take an excursion, there are some interesting museums, galleries etc, but skip any shopping right near the port- a lot of junk marked “Souvenir of Alaska” but made in China.
Post # 11
@tropicalbride2218: Alaska is definately a different feel than the Caribbean or even Mexico. It will be more of a ‘lazy sunday morning’ feel than a ‘summer party by the pool’ feel… lol not sure how else to describe it. Alaska is also WAY more expensive than the Caribbean & the demographic is different. It really all depends on what you’re going for. It can be boring but it really is what you make of it. If I do Alaska again, we will do it in our RV & be able to really explore.
Post # 12
@tropicalbride2218: I just got from an Alaska cruise honeymoon! It was my third trip there so I obviously can not get enough of the place. You don’t need to splurge for a balcony cabin, you are in port so much the room is really secondary to the excursions. If you are saving a bit on the room (we would have paid $2000 more total for a balcony instead of the window cabin we got) so we spent that money on AMAZING excursions. If you can book excursions ahead of time because the best tours will book up and close out. You can definitely explore on your own but getting out of the port areas is what Alaska is really all about.
Weather is very changeable. Prepare for anything. On my honeymonn it was in the 80s near Denali but by the time we got to the cruise it was in the 40s and 50s most days and it rained quite a bit. I heard this week most of Alaska is in a heat wave with 80-90s. Expect rain – bring a nice rain jacket, as umbrellas might get shredded by some major wind.
Juneau – on the cheap go whale watching (you WILL see whales up close) or go on a flightseeing/landing trip. We did a helicopter tour to a glacier where we got out and went dogsledding. Hightlight of the trip!
Ketchikan – on the cheap take the $1 bus to Totem Bight State Park and explore. This is a decent walkable port with lots of history right around the port area. If you want to go all out take a floatplane tour in Misty Fjords, preferrably one that lands in the fjord.
Skagway – the train is the *the thing* to do there but if you want to venture out of town there are some cool rafting trips. I think Princess offers the “Glacier Point Wilderness Safari” and its been voted best excursion a few times. You take a boat out to a totally off the grid place and then board canoes (with motors) and they take you up to the face of a glacier so you can touch it and stand on it. Amazing!
Victoria BC- we did a great beer tasting tour once but it was short since we were only in port for 5 hours. Our last stop was the best a brewery that had a full bar/restaurant that wasn’t that far from the ship. Its called Spinnakers, definitely worthwhile if its a short evening port stop.
If you have any other questions I am happy to spread the Alaska cruise love around.
Post # 13
@LindsayLoves: Thank you so much for your input. Reading what you wrote helps out alot.
We will probably do atleast 1 or 2 excursions, but possibly explore a little on our own as well.
I plan on booking the cruise today. I guess the only thing that has been stopping me is the cold weather and not being on a warm beach, but we have done many carribean cruises before and the husband has always wanted to do alaska.
Post # 14
Just commenting to save this thread – something we’re considering! Great info.
Post # 15
I loved Ketchikan. We didn’t do an excursion there, and the only place that we didn’t. Instead, we went to Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Centre and the Totem Heritage Centre, which were both really interesting. Then we walked down Creek Street (really neat with all it’s history). Actually, most of the pictures we put up from our trip were from Ketchikan. We did a 7 day round trip Vancouver, Icy Straight Point, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Ketchikan during the first week of last July. It was chilly, but it was a lot of fun.
Vancouver – we just wandered around Gas Town which is near the cruiseship port. We also spent a week after the cruise here, so we also ended up biking around Stanley Park and drove up to Whistler Ski Resort.
Icy Straight Point – We did the Zipline (SO fun and SO fast!) and bike tour and got to see a humpback whale bubblefeeding very close to shore.
Hubbard Glacier – This was a bust. It wasn’t a site that you could disembark, and ended up being too foggy to see the glacier. The glacier had been calving a lot (due to the high tide because of the full moon), so we couldn’t even get into the bay to see it up close. Our boat just spun for about 3 hours.
Juneau – We did another bike tour that brought us to the Mendendhall Glacier. It was pretty cool and if we’d had time, we could have gotten right up to the glacier (we took a later bike tour).
Ketchikan – Our favouite place where we were able to get up close with fishermen, bald eagles, and salmon.
We cruised with Celebrity, and they had wool blankets on the lounge chairs on the outside decks, so we often curled up under the blankets with hot tea/cocoa, and watched the beautiful scenery. It was a great cruise to see wildlife.
Post # 16
@tropicalbride2218: I live here now (in Wasilla and no I don’t know Sarah Palin, lol) but before I moved to this AMAZING state, I livedi n FL and took a cruise with my family in 2007 on Holland America.
We did the inside passage with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, cruised by Hubbard Glacier and later stopped in Victoria, B.C. Like someone said above….BALCONY is a total must. We had breakfast a couple of morning in hoodies, smelling and taking in the cool, fresh air. We did a late May cruise and lucked out on weather because we had ZERO rain. Summers in Alaska can VARY alot. Two summers ago it was rainy and cloudy and cold and it sucked but this past summer it was in the 80’s (which feels like 90’s) and gorgeous.
If you decide on doing excursions (which I HIGHLY recommed), make sure you pack: raincoat/rainpants, comfy hiking boots or shoes, warm clothing (because you just never know) and some warm gloves too. Cruises will offer you excursion through them irectly but I highly suggest checking trip advisor and looking at other places for excursion with good reviews that are MUCH more affordable and ran by hard working locals.
Not sure if you guys already made up your mind yet but figured it might not be too late for my 2 cents 🙂