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The wife and I along with some friends are thinking of going on an Alaskan Cruise in June 2022.  I was wondering if anyone has a preference on which ship they liked and why?  I also would like to know if June is the best time to go or should be move the dates (we would like to see the northern lights if possible)?  Also one itinerary goes through Ketchikan and the other through Skagway.  I would like to hear some opinions on which one you liked more and why.  Any help would be great!  This is only our second cruise so we are still kind of new to this but loved our other Royal Caribbean cruise so we thought we would try another!

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I recommend a 7+ day one way cruise rather than a 7 day round trip.  You'll see more ports and also have the opportunity to extend the vacation in Anchorage.  You could even make it a cruise tour if you so desire.

Ketchikan and Skagway are both great ports to visit.  I don't know which one I prefer.  Perhaps you can hit both in a single trip?

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41 minutes ago, steverk said:

I recommend a 7+ day one way cruise rather than a 7 day round trip.  You'll see more ports and also have the opportunity to extend the vacation in Anchorage.  You could even make it a cruise tour if you so desire.

Ketchikan and Skagway are both great ports to visit.  I don't know which one I prefer.  Perhaps you can hit both in a single trip?

Thank you we will look into this to see if they offer such a trip.

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Second vote for a one-way rather than round-trip sailing, as that gets you more port stops (sometimes/often including both Skagway and Ketchikan). That will generally mean going on a Radiance class ship with Royal (or a Millennium class ship on Celebrity), as they're all that's used for those sailings. My personal preference (keeping in mind I haven't done this trip yet; still on my bucket list) would be to go southbound out of Seward, since that gives the chance for a land tour before the trip, and / or riding the train to Seward from Anchorage. Check out @twangster's blogs of his Alaskan tours in the Live Blogs forum for lots of great photos of that train ride, along with the Alaskan ports and scenery.

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Summer in Alaska is not Northern Lights season.  Long summer days makes it less likely they'll appear or be visible.  It's not impossible, just not likely.  

Best time to go is complicated.  There is no real best month depending on what you are looking for.  Salmon run in the rivers later in the season, mid to late August but the days are notably shorter than June.  There are pros and cons to each month but you need to get into the nitty gritty details to find a better month.  Honestly go whenever your schedule works best and the pricing looks good for you.  There is no wrong time to cruise to Alaska.

Look at port times closely - what is the arrival and departure times at each port.  Not all itineraries are equal.  Seattle or Vancouver based cruises that are round trip have to backtrack and so you get less time in port or fewer Alaskan ports.  One way cruises go North or South and because they never backtrack you get to see and visit more of Alaska but it can cost more dealing with flights.  Round trip cruises from Seattle have newer and larger ships but are still great Alaskan experiences that are easier to get into if the one way is harder to make work.  

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

Summer in Alaska is not Northern Lights season.  Long summer days makes it less likely they'll appear or be visible.  It's not impossible, just not likely.  

Best time to go is complicated.  There is no real best month depending on what you are looking for.  Salmon run in the rivers later in the season, mid to late August but the days are notably shorter than June.  There are pros and cons to each month but you need to get into the nitty gritty details to find a better month.  Honestly go whenever your schedule works best and the pricing looks good for you.  There is no wrong time to cruise to Alaska.

Look at port times closely - what is the arrival and departure times at each port.  Not all itineraries are equal.  Seattle or Vancouver based cruises that are round trip have to backtrack and so you get less time in port or fewer Alaskan ports.  One way cruises go North or South and because they never backtrack you get to see and visit more of Alaska but it can cost more dealing with flights.  Round trip cruises from Seattle have newer and larger ships but are still great Alaskan experiences that are easier to get into if the one way is harder to make work.  

All very good points.  We will have to sit and see how we want to attack this trip.

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I recently booked us on a 7 night Southbound on Radiance for May 27, 2022. Hoping for fewer kids lol. 
 

Highly, highly suggest watching @twangster live blogs. I spent the better part of a Saturday afternoon reading the Southbound blog. The train from Anchorage to Seward (port) looked so amazing and got us so excited for this trip. 
 

We will arrive a few days early to go to Denali. 
 

If you’re on Facebook, there’s a Royal Caribbean Alaska group that has some good tips too. I also suggest going on YouTube and search ship tours. I was kind of ho hum about going on radiance (I’m a big ship girl) but after watching a tour, she’s beautiful with lots of glass. Reminded me of our first Royal cruises on Song of America and Monarch in the early 90’s. 

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34 minutes ago, Jill said:

If you’re on Facebook, there’s a Royal Caribbean Alaska group that has some good tips too. I also suggest going on YouTube and search ship tours. I was kind of ho hum about going on radiance (I’m a big ship girl) but after watching a tour, she’s beautiful with lots of glass. Reminded me of our first Royal cruises on Song of America and Monarch in the early 90’s. 

Thanks for the tip Jill, I will look it up!

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Here is what my Soulmate and I did a number of years ago (the interesting thing was the RCL agent convinced us out of a 14 day north/south B2B on Radiance to do this instead):

1).  Fly to Vancouver and take the North Bound cruise to Seward.  Make sure you get a Starboard Balcony (do not miss the Inside Passage ... I thought I could touch the tress on the shoreline).

2).  Make sure the itinerary has the Hubbard Glasier ... it is stunning.  We enjoyed tons more on the cruise, but many people have already covered.  Hubbard was the highlight of the cruise.

3).  Do a land tour (we did ours self directed, but a tour group would be fine as well).  Do not miss:

  • Denali ... We had two views of the spectacular mountain: Talkeetna and from Denali National Park.
  • Talkeetna ... a great town to visit.  If you are there on a Sunday morning there is a cafe that only plays the Beatles (we stayed there for a couple of hours (breakfast and a break)).
  • Denali National Park ... we had a 13 hour bus tour.  It was "other worldly".
  • Anchorage ... lots of history and things to do there.
  • Alaska ... was one of the most welcoming places we have ever visited.  We thought it was once in a lifetime visit.  Nope ... we will go back.
  • Bore Tide Surfing on Turnagain Arm ...  We did not do it, but it was fun to watch.
  • Obviously, there are more things to do, but we only had 6 days.

4) Fly back out of Anchorage

The RCL agent (who was from Alaska) said the North and South itineraries were pretty much the same.  She said, "do not go all that way and miss Denali".

Hope you have a blast,

Curt from Canada

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We did the Northbound in 2018 and did a three day cruise tour and loved every second and flew home from Anchorage.  One surprising note - we had better AT&T cell reception on the ship (almost the entire way) than we have at our house! I would love to go back again as there is so much to see and do.

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On 1/26/2021 at 8:10 PM, emmef said:

FWIW my vote is for Skagway.  The train trip on the White Pass railroad is a bucket list item for us.

I agree, I would go to Skagway again just to take the White Pass Railroad but both stops are nice. It has been quite a while since I was last in Alaska so maybe things have changed but I would definitely go to Skagway just for the railroad trip.

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Celebrity just had a webinar on Alaska. When they talked about Skagway, they also noted the train and suggested that rather than taking the train out to the end and back, replace the return trip with a ride on the bus back so you see different areas. Alternately, if you think you'll have good luck with the weather / don't mind the cold / are good on a bike, you can actually bike back to the port; the presenter said you'll only be pedaling for maybe 5 or 10 minutes, the rest of the time is spent riding the brakes as it's downhill almost the entire way.

The other thing the presenter noted was to sit on the left side for the train ride, and then if you take the bus back to also sit on the left side.

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  • 4 weeks later...
57 minutes ago, SteelersNationVA said:

If one has the cash to do only 1 glacier viewing plane excursion, would you do a flight in Denali, Kenai Forjds NP, or Mendenhall Glacier?  The entire trip will cost an arm and a leg. We will have to pick and choose. Which flight would you pick and why?

I'm a big fan of landing on a glacier and walking around.  Seeing a glacier up close has left lasting memories that coming flooding back when viewing any glacier at a distance even years later.

 

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