Tips / Recommendations for an Alaskan cruise

So, my fiancee and I are going through various bits of planning for our wedding next year, and we’re starting to hash out details for our honeymoon plans: an Alaskan cruise. We’re looking at doing a seven day trip in May, but beyond that we’re pretty up in the air. I’ve already discovered, but I thought I’d also see what the SD crowd can offer.

  1. For cruise neophytes, would you recommend working with a travel agent, or do you think a couple of smart people can handle it themselves going through the cruise line directly?

  2. For people who have done Alaska cruises, what excursions / port activities would you consider a “must-do”? Personally, I’d like to hit some of the more outdoor-oriented ones (maybe a glacier fly-over, but those look pricey). I’m not quite sure what she’s looking for.

  3. What would be a ball-park figure for expenses for two people for a week not counting the tickets and planned excursions? $500, $1000, $2000, more? I’m sure finding things to spend money on won’t be a problem, but I’d like to get a rough idea so I don’t over-budget for onboard expenses, and maybe pass on an extra thing to do while at port.

  4. Any general cruise tips?

A couple years ago, I took my son on a cruise to Alaska. The absolute highlight was a canoe excursion (a huge canoe with 10 people). We were decked out in survival gear and paddled to the face of a glacier. Air temp was around 65 F, but dip your hand in the water and it was numb when you pulled it out.

We did ours 7 years ago, so I don’t know what the prices are now. We booked through an on-line repackager, and were very happy.

We didn’t do the land on a glacier helicopter flight, but I wish we did. We did a horseback ride through the woods, and a bicycle ride down the path to the goldfields. (They bus you up, you ride down.) Those were excellent. Don’t skimp on land tours if you can afford not to - they can be the best part. (Well, if this is you honeymoon, the second best part.) :slight_smile:

The best thing we did, which you might find too pricey, was to take an extra bunch of days and do an inland tour. We took a bus to Anchorage, stayed there for a day, then a train to Denali, and did a tour around the park. It was never clear enough to see the mountain, but it was worth it. Then we went up to Fairbanks, and flew home from there.

We also went up early, stayed in Vancouver, and took a day trip to Victoria and the gardens. That was great also.

We used Princess, and were pretty happy with the arrangements. And since it was bubble money, which would have disappeared anyhow, I don’t regret the cost at all.

When we go back, we are going to spend more time inland, not that the cruise part wasn’t fun.

I found the glacier trek most excellent, and it’s pretty much the only part of the whole trip i remember. This included a helicopter ride to the glacier. The trek wasn’t super intense, but it did require crampons and other gear and all-in-all was a bit more dangerous than they let on.

I found that the age bracket of the Alaskan cruise to skew highly to older people. I don’t know your age, but you may find that the number of people in your age bracket to be few and far between. is also a great resource as well as a potential “meet on board” opportunity for lots of folks.

Don’t both packing a bunch of books and entertainment for yourself, you will only get to about 1/2 of what you want to do on board.

Cruisecrazies also has some nice lists of things to pack like plug bars and such.

Bring soda if you are a soda drinker, plan on replenishing in port. The soda cards IME suck. Fairly cheap and easy to bring a couple 6 packs of 20oz bottles and keep a couple on ice. Your cabin steward may be helpful in this regard.

Plan on spending a lil extra cash if need be on little things like getting a shirt laundered/pressed for formal dinner. You look nice and who wants to iron on vacation :smiley: .