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Glacier Bay national Park instead of Skagway in May 2020

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Just received the following email from Royal Caribbean via MEI:

Update on Itinerary
__________________________________________

 

Dear Travel Partner,

We're looking forward to welcoming your clients onboard the Radiance of the Seas for their May 15th, 2020 sailing. As they get ready for their vacation, we have an itinerary change to share. Please provide the information below to your clients so they can plan their cruise accordingly. Thank you for your support and partnership!

Dear Guest,

Some destinations around the world you just have to see to believe. Among them, is Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. Sitting on about 3.3 million acres of natural wonder, it's no surprise guests consider it to have some of the most breathtaking views out there. So, we thought "why not just take you there?" 

We're excited to share Glacier Bay is officially back! For the first time in over 20 years, we'll be visiting again, and you're first in line to experience it with us. This is a big deal! We'll now spend a day in the national park, replacing Skagway, Alaska. Our day in Juneau was moved to Wednesday to make room for this exciting change. We'll lose some time there, but we hope you'll enjoy the picturesque views at the heart of the Alaskan countryside. Below, please find our new itinerary for May 15th, 2020 on Radiance of the Seas.

Day

Port of Call

Arrive

Depart

Fri

Vancouver, British Columbia

 

4:30 PM

Sat

Inside Passage (Cruising)

   

Sun

Ketchikan, Alaska

6:00 AM

4:00 PM

Mon

Icy Strait Point, Alaska

9:00 AM

6:00 PM

Tue

Juneau, Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

7:00 AM

5:00 PM

Wed

Skagway, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

7:00 AM

6:00 PM

Thu

Hubbard Glacier (Cruising)

9:00 AM

11:00 AM

Fri

Seward, Alaska

5:00 AM

 

Catch a glimpse of a wide array of wildlife as we take the scenic route through the Inside Passage on our way to Ketchikan, Alaska. Immerse yourself in nature as you paddle across the waters of Harriet Hunt Lake in a canoe just like those used by First Nations tribes. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, head to the world's largest zipline, ZipRider®, during your time in Icy Strait Point. Then, gain a true appreciation of the magnificent scenery as we journey through Glacier Bay National Park. Lastly, we'll make our way to Juneau, where you can whale watch in Stephens Passage or pan for gold in Last Change Basin. Whatever you decide to do, we know you'll have an amazing time!

Our Shore Excursions team will issue a full refund for any Royal Caribbean International shore excursions booked for Skagway and will reschedule those for Juneau. In the next few days, you'll receive an email with your updated excursion details. Then, feel free to continue browsing the many options available for your vacation in Cruise Planner!

Thank you for your understanding. We can't wait to explore the untamed beauty of the Last Frontier with you!

Sincerely,

Aurora Yera-Rodriguez

Director of Guest Services

Royal Caribbean International

Brand

Ship

Sail Date

Group ID

Booking ID

RD

15-MAY-20

 

 

RD

15-MAY-20

 

 

 

 

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Oh God no!! Please RCCL dont mess with my #1 bucket list trip! I beg you.  Already have an incredible day planned in Juneau including an evening whale watch.  I am sure the bay is nice but really dont want to give up a port for it.  Still, this is a north-bound May trip and mine is southbound end of June and no letter yet......As soon as RC won a bid I suspected they would change Radiance.  Will still love the trip

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So it gets a bit more interesting....when you initially click on the northbounds, the itinerary includes Skagway, but when you click on "Explore this itinerary and move thru the days you get the change to Glacier Bay.......when you try the same thing southbound you keep Skagway and don't do Glacier Bay,,,,,,,,,,yet

......Did some research by specifically looking at Glacier Bay in RC and there is ONE southbound trip going to the Bay (so far) and thats the one on May 22nd.  It does Hubbard, then the bay then Juneau.....but now Juneau is 13.5 hours! From 7:00 am to 8:30 PM (so leaves a half hour earlier).  But whats really interesting as it lists Hubbard as tendered.......

Thinking that need to tender on Mondays might keep Radiance out of the Bay for most south bound trips....time will tell

 

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Looks like they updated the site overnight and the northbound itinerary now shows the bay and not Skagway, while southbound (except for one date) keeps Skagway 

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32 minutes ago, HeWhoWaits said:

Glacier Bay is a great add, but IMO they should skip Juneau and keep Skagway in this case - the main attraction in Juneau is Mendenhall Glacier so less lost than if Skagway is skipped.

Skagway is further and faces restrictions on the number of ships.  Juneau is closer and has greater flexibility accommodating ships.  Some people may prefer Skagway, some Juneau.  No right way to swap GLBA for either one.  

Hubbard and GLBA for Radiance is pretty awesome.  If Serenade swaps Tracy Arm for GLBA that would be cool too.

I see another Alaska cruise in my future.

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6 minutes ago, Baked Alaska said:

I might be out in the parking lot on this one (I'm usually in left field), but didn't Carnival Cruise Corp buy the Whitepass Skagway train (excursion)? Maybe this has something to do with the decision to bump Skagway??

They bough not just the train.  That company owns the Skagway piers as well.    

That could be play into it.  Why give the competition money (port fees to use the pier) and put people on their train ride (excursion fees). 

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My wife and I are sailing on Radiance in June of 2020. So far we haven't been informed of any changes and our TA has confirmed the itinerary still shows Skagway., and the cruise planner still wants to sell me excursions in Skagway.

I am curious as to why RC has made this change. I'd be open to the swap, but I certainly understand why other cruisers would want to keep Skagway.

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3 hours ago, markinct said:

My wife and I are sailing on Radiance in June of 2020. So far we haven't been informed of any changes and our TA has confirmed the itinerary still shows Skagway., and the cruise planner still wants to sell me excursions in Skagway.

I am curious as to why RC has made this change. I'd be open to the swap, but I certainly understand why other cruisers would want to keep Skagway.

Not all itineraries are going to change.  

Route planning and forecasting for cruise ships is more complex than most people appreciate.   Skagway geographically is at the end of a long channel.  It's not like you can just happen to sail past Skagway. It's like driving to the Florida Keys, they are not on the way to anywhere else, they are the end of the line.  That impacts the overall cruise itinerary. 

Why would they change?  For several years they haven't been permitted to enter Glacier Bay.  It's awarded by contract.  Now they can go to GLBA they can spice up Alaska cruises.  Many of us have done Royal to Alaska year over and over and welcome this new area to explore during a cruise.  

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Now that we've read more about Glacier Bay we definitely like the switch. For one thing - it saves $$ cause one less port for excursions. Second, we just returned from Bermuda on Anthem and I saw more whales an hour out from Bayonne than i did in Alaska! How, you might ask? I brought my scope that I use for birdwatching in the hopes of seeing some pelagic birds. As we were leaving Bayonne I set it up on our balcony and next thing I know we're seeing big blows. I wasn't expecting whales so thought maybe porpoises. Next thing I see is a huge tail come up. All that to say that this time I will have the scope on the balcony for all of Alaska but especially Glacier Bay. I had binoculars last time which were good but with the scope I can see a fly on a moose's rear-end at 200 yards!

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