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Old October 26th, 2006, 10:31 AM
alasbound alasbound is offline
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Default Alaska Single Cruiser needs help getting started

I am planning to try to cruise to Alaska next summer. I know that money is not a primary concern in booking trips for many people, but unfortunately, it is extremely important to me. Seeing the bears catching fish from the platforms, is my number one "have-to" for the trip. Of course, Whales & glaciers and wildlife are important also. CruiseWest is my dream cruise, if that tells you about my interests, but no way can I afford that at this time.

Does anyone have suggestions for starting points in selecting a cruise, such as lines that don't charge a huge surcharge for a single traveler? I'm thinking that the smaller ships get closer to the views & could save some on the excursions. I've also heard that some ships have a cabin that is rated as single, but actually has 2 portholes (at the front of the ship). Does anyone know anything about such a cabin on an Alaskan cruise?


Thank you for any suggestions.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 02:03 AM
roguebkpkr roguebkpkr is offline
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Default vell, You just might want to ............................

Hello:

"I know that money ...but unfortunately, it is extremely important to me. AND "Seeing the bears catching fish from the platforms, is my number one "have-to" for the trip" IS going to be VERY VERY hard to do.

You will be paying a pretty penny if that is what you want to do.

You have a couple of issues that you will also want to think about.

Going to Alaska is pretty expensive. You're options are pretty limited especially if money is an issue. You are going to have spend money if you want to see bears and do some of the excursions that get off the boat and enjoy nature. Perhaps.

First issue: Singularity. Or, the dreaded *&^%$ING single supplement. There are some cruise lines that offer a reduced single supplement or if you are lucky and have a good TA, perhaps no single supplement. Pat has an article somewhere on this site that has the lines and the %'s but if my memory serves me (probably not <G>) I think HAL does not have a supplement. Carnival has a cabin category 1A that I believe is 125% and I think that is basically it.

Cruise West does have some ships that have single cabins but you said that this was not an option

I think you have to rule out the ships that get closer to the views such as Cruise West, American West Steamboat Company ect.

Another option is to take a singles cruise up to Alaska. A singles cruise is what you make of it. You don't have to participate in any of the "activities" if you don't want to. I usually only use singles cruises as a roommate match. I could really care less about the other things. I've been lucky to have a good roomate on my two trips to Alaska. This is also a downside and also a topic of variety opinions.

You have really two categories in a cruise to Alaska. One way or round trip. You also have a variety of choices in each category. Round trip out of Seattle or Vancouver. One way out of Seattle (there may not actually be one out of Seattle) or Vancouver. The various cruise lines also
have there own "special" spots such as Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Tracy Arm, College Fjord, Hoonah along with the ports (and times) that they visit/depart from. A variety of options to look at and debate and debate some more.

If you are really really hooked on seeing bears, your options are pretty limited if you are going on a cruise line. I believe the excursion are Neet's Bay (Ketchican), Admiralty Island (Juneau) and maybe one or two other places but there isn't too much of a choice.

There is also another place called Brooks falls in Katmai National Park but this is only realistic if you are arriving/leaving from Seward/Whittier. Oh yes, and about $2,000 or so dollars. <G>

There is another option that may/may not be viable (for whatever reason) but I'm going to to throw it out. It is not discussed to much on this "mainline" board but that is the Alaska Marine Ferry. I wished I would of found out about them sooner but they are really the best kept secret in Alaska for anyone who this is viable to.

Rogue
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Old October 27th, 2006, 10:38 AM
alasbound alasbound is offline
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Thank you so much for the help. That really gives me directions to start in. Katmai is a dream up there with Cruise West. I am searching ports for cheaper bear trips, but think that it will be worth it to make sure I get to see the bears (cheaper than another trip to Alaska from Texas).

I hadn't seen anything about single cruises & now I know that I need to look at sites other than the cruiselines. Thanks. I had also requested information on the Ferry - thanks for the input on that! Kinda leary of not being more scheduled since it's a first trip to Alaska.

A friend suggested Pacific Princess, moving to Alaska in 2007, as a smaller cruise ship. Sort of a compromise between the small ships and the cruise ships. It lists several days of "scenic cruising", which might help reduce excursion trips. If it is really scenic. I think the price is between CruiseWest and cheaper fares on some of the bigger ships, but possibly could be offset by not doing as many excursions. And I really love their itinerary. Any Thoughts?

Thank you so much!!!!
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Old October 28th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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The Pacific Princess does have an excellent itinerary for 2007, and I just got a single price of $1,838.40 at one of the broker sites - a bit cheaper than Princess itself. Have a look at http://www.explorenorth.com/library/...r_viewing.html to see the best datyes and places for bear viewing. Quality bear viewing excursions are expensive, but worth every nickel. Excursions are the way to see the real Alaska rather than the cruise-ship-Disneyland that the ports have become. I've taken 3 Alaska cruises in the last 2 years, all with RCI.

Murray
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Old October 28th, 2006, 11:36 PM
roguebkpkr roguebkpkr is offline
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Default A little off

Thanks Murray. There was a couple of sites that I was not aware of. I may have to do some shuffling around for next time.

The Princess itinerary looks pretty interesting. They basically are doing one more glacier viewing and cutting out one city. They are still going to the big three cities that most other cruise lines go to.

I would not exactly call the Pacific Princess a smaller cruise ship. It's maybe smaller than the other liners but it's still 670+ vs. 100+ of the smaller ships but compared to 2000+, it is smaller. Yes, it is a compromise between the smaller and the bigger.

It looks like the Pacific Princess is only doing one way's in Alaska so this potentially could also be a little pricer than say a round trip. You are going to have to get an open jaw flight and that could be a little more, unless you are one of the luck ones with frequent flyers. <G>

I think that some research is needed to see what options are out there. It's a lot of information to digest or thrown all at once. I'm pretty anal in trip planning so I may get to micro instead of macro.

There are several (at least one) singles trip already scheduled for Alaska for 2007.

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...06calendar.cfm

In addition this is a good overview:

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/ports/alaska/

2007 cruises to Alaska:

http://www.alaskacruisingreport.com/page2.html

I just saw this one and now I'm SAD. This is what I would like to do. Perhaps one decade.

www.MapleLeafAdventures.com

Rogue
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Old October 29th, 2006, 01:34 PM
alasbound alasbound is offline
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Wow. Thank you sooo much for the help. My head is spinning - there is so much to do in Alaska! And so many choices.

It seems that the singles cruises are more expensive cruises, because the double rates seem to be inline with the single supplement on some other ships. I love the one-way trip to see more, but you are right, I had thought that it might save on the flight to do a round trip. A friend of mine did a round trip from San Francisco & loved it. That's the only person know who has been to Alaska.

I did see some bear viewing trips to Katmai for $500+ from Anchorage, but that would reguire an extra day in Anchorage. I also saw one add that said you can view bears from a site at the Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau. However, I've only seen it mentioned once, so I'm thinking that's just the fluke luck to see a bear while there.

The MapleLeaf tour does sound great. I need a job checking out Alaska tours!

The Alaska trip is definitely pricey. I've only been on one cruise to the Carribbean. It was <$400 & excursions were much cheaper also. My niece asked me if I'd rather eat or go to Alaska. I'm thinking Alaska.

I've requested tons of information. Now I just have to sort it. Thanks again for the tips. You have both helped more than you can imagine.
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Old October 29th, 2006, 04:16 PM
garden4cook garden4cook is offline
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Default ALASKA: Up-close and personal

I am very very very much like the original poster...love to be "upclose and personal" with nature. On a larger ship - you will be anything but... I was on the Island Princess (1970 passengers) in June 06 and both my BF and i were verrrrrrry dissapointed. My BF said "I am sure for many people on this cruise this would be "acceptable", but not for us"... It was our first and last cruise!!! We wasted a whole lot of money.

FYI: Days that were labeled "Scenic Cruising" were NOT at all...they were at sea days!!! If only we knew then what we know now...we'd have gone on much smaller "boats", most likely with small independent tour groups. If we go back to Alaska, this is the way we will see it.

My suggestion to the original poster...stay away from the larger and medium cruise ships, even the smaller of the lines. I will include a couple of cut and paste links for OP to look into:

http://www.backcountrysafaris.com/index.php

http://www.alaskanaturetours.net/index.html
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