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Alaska cruise questions

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We are planning an Alaska cruise for 2020, probably a 7 day cruise but possibly longer.

We need suggestions from those that have been on a RCCL Alaska cruise:

1.Best month of the year?

2. Best departure port? (We live in Texas so will be a long flight no matter which one. Vancouver appeals to me right now simply because we've never been there)

3. Best RCCL ship for Alaska cruise.

4. We will want a balcony (probably 2D) stateroom. How far ahead of time should we book?

What do you recommend?

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A lot of these are personal preference.  Here are mine:

1) Best month of the year - May and September are the shoulder months, and will be the least expensive.  I cruised in September the first time, and whales were absolutely abundant.  However, I prefer to cruise to Alaska during the week of the Summer Solstice.  I know it will be one of the most expensive weeks, and I don't care.  I just have a thing for the long days (probably because of our short winter days in Minnesota). The early May dates may have issues with ice out. Then again, they may not - weather is so weird.

2) Vancouver and Seattle are both beautiful. You can't go wrong with either - personally I pick more on itinerary and ship, and wherever that leaves from works for me.  They are both my favorite cities that I've ever been to and would move to either one in a heartbeat (if Canada would take me - they're so fussy).

3) The smaller ships (Serenade, Radiance) are gorgeous and give you views out of the ship to the ocean and shore pretty much anywhere you are on the ship, with a few exceptions. I absolutely love them.  That being said, I've done the smaller ships twice to Alaska, so we're going to give the Ovation a whirl.  This will be her first year up there, so how it is to cruise to Alaska on her is still yet to be seen. I'll be on Ovation on June 21st - and I know @twangster will be on her first Alaskan sailing in May and I'm sure he'll be reporting back his thoughts, as well as incredible photos.

4) Book as soon as you can. My category 2D stateroom has gone up $1500 (for 2 people) in price since I booked it (I booked it last June for this upcoming June).

No matter what you decide on your Alaskan cruise, you aren't making the wrong decision.  We'd take one every summer if we had the time available!

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17 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

A lot of these are personal preference.  Here are mine:

1) Best month of the year - May and September are the shoulder months, and will be the least expensive.  I cruised in September the first time, and whales were absolutely abundant.  However, I prefer to cruise to Alaska during the week of the Summer Solstice.  I know it will be one of the most expensive weeks, and I don't care.  I just have a thing for the long days (probably because of our short winter days in Minnesota). The early May dates may have issues with ice out. Then again, they may not - weather is so weird.

2) Vancouver and Seattle are both beautiful. You can't go wrong with either - personally I pick more on itinerary and ship, and wherever that leaves from works for me.  They are both my favorite cities that I've ever been to and would move to either one in a heartbeat (if Canada would take me - they're so fussy).

3) The smaller ships (Serenade, Radiance) are gorgeous and give you views out of the ship to the ocean and shore pretty much anywhere you are on the ship, with a few exceptions. I absolutely love them.  That being said, I've done the smaller ships twice to Alaska, so we're going to give the Ovation a whirl.  This will be her first year up there, so how it is to cruise to Alaska on her is still yet to be seen. I'll be on Ovation on June 21st - and I know @twangster will be on her first Alaskan sailing in May and I'm sure he'll be reporting back his thoughts, as well as incredible photos.

4) Book as soon as you can. My category 2D stateroom has gone up $1500 (for 2 people) in price since I booked it (I booked it last June for this upcoming June).

No matter what you decide on your Alaskan cruise, you aren't making the wrong decision.  We'd take one every summer if we had the time available!

Absolutely great information! Thank you!:91_thumbsup:

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19 minutes ago, Bob_KY said:

@SpeedNoodles provided great advice. 

Are you going to link the cruise to a land tour?  That may change the date to June - July timeframes.  We enjoyed Anchorage as our pre-cruise city.  

The land tour sounds interesting but have given it no thought as yet....what do you recommend?

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We did our 7 day Alaska cruise on the Radiance and did a 6 day post land tour with Royal.  We were worried about having to drag our luggage around but they delivered it to our rooms every night and picked them up in the morning.  The land portion was just as awesome as the sea...Maybe even better.   

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1 minute ago, Psycho and Barb said:

We did our 7 day Alaska cruise on the Radiance and did a 6 day post land tour with Royal.  We were worried about having to drag our luggage around but they delivered it to our rooms every night and picked them up in the morning.  The land portion was just as awesome as the sea...Maybe even better.   

The 6 day post land tour with Royal....can you give me info or point me in the right direction? Thanks

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All the hotels were fantastic and the dome train rides were awesome...Made a great bloody merry.  Saw tons of wildlife...Even a mama moose and her two babies in a parking lot In town.  Plenty of time for exploring on our own.  We would highly recommend the land tour

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29 minutes ago, Psycho and Barb said:

Sure it was called by Royal the 13 night Grand Mountain Marvels Cruisetour 7A (Post Tour)

In 2014, we did a Royal 5 day cruise tour originating out of Anchorage- Talkeetna,  Denali,  Alyeska and Seward.  I was stationed at Fort Richardson for a couple of years in 1996 - so I was familiar with the area.  You cannot go wrong.  Sitting out on the Talkeetna Lodge patio. with Denali in full sight - Awesome!  We also met/petted the Mayor.  🙂

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27 minutes ago, Bob_KY said:

Does anyone know if Ovation will be able to rotate like the Radiance did at Hubbard's Glacier?

Ovation goes to Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier - I'm expecting that she'll be rotating like the others do at the other glaciers.

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This is awesome information! We can't do cruises as often as some on here but I'm really looking at this cruise/land tour for next year. Thanks all!

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15 minutes ago, rtread said:

This is awesome information! We can't do cruises as often as some on here but I'm really looking at this cruise/land tour for next year. Thanks all!

I agree with what @SpeedNoodles said - I love to go in June (splits the difference with a litttle cool and sometimes a “little warm”) and we,much prefer a small or medium sized ship since those are able to reach areas such as Endicott Arm that I would not want to miss. We have only found real time for more lengthy travel in the last couple of years, so last summer was our first Alaskan cruise and it was the best ever! 

Because we have to fly all the way across the United States diagonally  to get to either Seattle or Vancouver, we took an extra week and stayed in Vancouver. We absolutely loved it (I was the “tour operator” and I lined up a day at Bowen Island, a day at Stanley Park, and days and days of walking across Vancouver and we needed it since the food is fantastic). But Seattle is also an amazing city and one of my favorites (the people and views in the NW are great). You cannot go wrong with either - but if you decide to go to Vancouver let me know and I will be glad to share the details of our week of fun there!

Happy Sailing 🧜🏼‍♀️

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15 minutes ago, 2Beeze said:

but if you decide to go to Vancouver let me know and I will be glad to share the details of our week of fun there!

HI @2Beeze I am planning an Alaskan cruise from Seward to Vancouver for August 2020.  We are thinking of spending a few days in Vancouver after the cruise so I am very interested in your opinion on the best things to do there.

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1 hour ago, Bob_KY said:

Does anyone know if Ovation will be able to rotate like the Radiance did at Hubbard's Glacier?

Hubbard has a wider bay compared to Dawes.  Ovation’s first Alaskan run in May does both Hubbard and Dawes.  

To reach Dawes you must traverse Endicott Arm, a narrow canyon passage.  No backing down it so she fits to turn at Dawes or they wouldn’t have put it on the itinerary.

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I agree with adding the land tour portion to your cruise if you can.  We did the land tour before the cruise and I would highly recommend that as you do have to constantly change hotels.  When we got to the cruise part it felt so much more relaxing because we didn't have to pack up every night.  We did the cruisetour that originated in Fairbanks and ended up in Anchorage with transfer to Seward for the cruise.  Cruisetour 8B is the one that we ended up doing.

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3 hours ago, Psycho and Barb said:

@rtreadLove your Honor Flight Pic!  Psycho is retired Air Force (28 Years) and Works at Eglin AFB.  The Honor Flights are a big deal here...As they should be.

Thank you very much and much thanks to Psycho for his service! Honor Flights are a big deal here, too. My flight is coming up shortly and I am very appreciative to the people that make it happen. Thanks.

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3 hours ago, 2Beeze said:

I agree with what @SpeedNoodles said - I love to go in June (splits the difference with a litttle cool and sometimes a “little warm”) and we,much prefer a small or medium sized ship since those are able to reach areas such as Endicott Arm that I would not want to miss. We have only found real time for more lengthy travel in the last couple of years, so last summer was our first Alaskan cruise and it was the best ever! 

Because we have to fly all the way across the United States diagonally  to get to either Seattle or Vancouver, we took an extra week and stayed in Vancouver. We absolutely loved it (I was the “tour operator” and I lined up a day at Bowen Island, a day at Stanley Park, and days and days of walking across Vancouver and we needed it since the food is fantastic). But Seattle is also an amazing city and one of my favorites (the people and views in the NW are great). You cannot go wrong with either - but if you decide to go to Vancouver let me know and I will be glad to share the details of our week of fun there!

Happy Sailing 🧜🏼‍♀️

Thanks! I might take you up on that as we firm the plans up. I have seen a lot of pictures of that area, and of Alaska.....want to see it up close and personal - a bucket list thing.

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