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We cruised on the Coral Princess, a beautiful ship with approximately 700 staterooms. The room had picture windows (no balcony) which were large enough to enjoy the view.
For us, a fun part of the experience was meeting people from all over the US. We would speak to people while outside on the deck admiring the spectaular views. We would dine with others because we chose the "anytime" dining option and always asked to be seated at a large table with people we didn't know.
I cannot speak for the advantages of cruising on a small ship. However, I must say that the Princess Cruise was fabulous and I not hesitate to cruise with them again.
If you have any more questions, I would be more than happy to assist you.
We have been on the Westerdam from Holland America and the Celebrity ship as well... Summit I believe....
Both times we had a balcony cabin so we could sit on our deck with blankets while parked to watch the giant glaciers calve off into the ocean with thunderous noises and catch the whole thing with out having to be on the deck trying to get railing space.
I think the Celebrity Summit ship was a good boat and great staff, we all had a great time. My wife is a travel agent and she booked the trip for us.
If you have anymore questions about Alaska Cruising, let us know and we can assist you.
Also, this club helped us save money on a Royal Caribbean cruise as well: http://www.buywholesaletravel.net.
We recently returned from an Alaskan cruise on the Celebrity Infinity. Before we went on the cruise I was extremely skeptical; all I can say is it was WONDERFUL. The ship holds 2000 people I believe, but we never felt like we were a number. The staff was phenomenal, the food quality and presentation were fabulous, the spa/fitness facility was great and the excursions (off ship) were super. We left from Seattle, went to Ketchikan, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau and returned via Victoria BC and then to Seattle. Take the helicopter glacier tour at Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and if you are up to it take a zip line tour in Ketchikan. Simply breathtaking.
We had a family cabin with an adjoining room for my 10 year old twins. The balcony was over-sized and we had great, ever-changing, expansive views. My advice, book it and do it!
I would recommend Holland America or Royal Caribbean but Holland America is a one way cruise so you would have to return home from there. If you are tight on your budget and still wants to get everything, NCL is the best option.
I've been on may crusie and when we went to Alaska I wanted to SEE Alaska close up and was more interested in the nature then the "big ship" cruise experience. I found a cruise line - Glacier Bay Cruises - which specializes in SMALL ship cruises. The shipe we went on held 50 passengers maximum. It was a Catamaran design ship.
Eveyr room had a BIG window for enjoying the scenery. The rooms were fine - no smaller then a normal cruise ship. Our room had a small fridge in it and we also had a TV with a tape player (they had movies ifyou wanted to borrow them). The most interesting aspect was the bathroom as the shower and the toilet were one in the same...it was convenient for getting alot doen in the morning at the same time.
There wes a big front loung area wehre the entire front was wonidow for sitting a watching the scenery. There was a main outside deck as weel for watching.
The back room was the dining / kitchen area. it always smelled like home on the ship as you could alwasy get a whiff of what was cooking in the kitchen. They had books and games and suc, but the main focus was seeing Alaska.
The meals were good - family style and you sat whereever you wanted each night so you got to spend time with different passengers. No formal nights or dressing up. If you're looking for bars, and dancing and casinos and a night life and big buffets - this isn't for you. If you want to experience Alaska in a unique up close way then you will love it.
Being a snaller ship we got to get in closer to see nature. Wherever there was something excitng or interesting to watch the captain would stop the ship and let us look and enjoy (like when we say a brown bear and her cub or got a really close up look at a mountain goat). They offered shore excursions and since there weren't as many people on the ship your tour groups were usually small and more personal. They also woke you up up at 5am if asked to be so you can see humpback whales.
We took the 9-day repositioning cruise. We left from Juneau. Stopped at Haines, Sitka, Skagway and Ketchican. We also went up Tracey Arm Fjords cruised both arms of Glacier bay and stopped at Glacier Bay national park. We neded up in Vancouver. Some of the other passengers did a land tour before getting on the ship.
I loved it and thought it was the best way to see Alaska from a ship. Yes, if the weather is bad you're stuck in a smaller ship with not as much to do as the big ships and you do hope you have a nice group of passengers as it's hard to avoid them. We lucked out on both - great weather and nice people.
As I said, I'd been on many cruises and was more intered int seeing Alaska then having the "typical" cruise experience and this was the answer. I highly reccommend it.
How do you think about the new cruising destination ?
Do you hear Halong Bay - the world natural heritage site in Vietnam.
With its 3000 islands rising from the clear, emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, is one of Vietnam's natural marvels. The islands are dotted with innumerable beaches and grottoes created by the wind and waves. You have a fantastic cruising, a kayaking and swimming, sailing.
Where is the most famous seaside resort-town of Vietnam and the idea place for fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving and relaxing in luxury resort. There you can explore Mun Island, Mot Island, Tam Island and visit Chai Village and challenge traditional bamboo boat.
You have reference in here http://www.indochinatravelservice.com/Vietnam/Vietnam_Cruises/Halong_Bay_Exploration.aspx
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Other questions Boomeraters are asking...
Thinking of an Alaskan cruise and am debating a small or large ship. Large windows are important. I assume balconies are not available in that climate.