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Alaska cruise with children

Leeds
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Alaska cruise with children

Hi,

Thinking of cruising from Vancouver next May. We will have four adults and a nine and six year old with us. Any tips on which cruise line (other than Disney), ship please?

Many thanks

12 replies to this topic
San Diego
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1. Re: Alaska cruise with children

Lots of the cruise lines who do Alaska also have good kids club facilities.

Not all go out of Vancouver.

Princess is one of them. You already know about Disney. There's also Carnival and Royal Caribbean and maybe Norwegian.

Check prices and dates.

Greater Sydney...
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2. Re: Alaska cruise with children

You firstly need to decide if you want to do a round trip cruise from Vancouver or a one-way cruise to the Anchorage region. That will determine what ships are available. Round trips also run from Seattle but they are inferior to Vancouver cruises due to several factors, some being further to sail so they cut time is ports, most sailing is done in open waters compared to protected waters from Vancouver, they have a compulsory Canada docking under US law which they make at Victoria in almost useless hours.

One-way cruises are good if you have a few days to also spend on the ground in south central Alaska.

Good information can be found here:

https:/…All.About.Alaska.Cruises.html

Ignore the caution because 95% of the advice is still current.

California
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3. Re: Alaska cruise with children

I wrote a very similar post on another forum a couple years ago. We ended up going Disney for a few reasons. Entertainment, schedule and our enjoyment were the primary ones. We had Princess booked but then discovered that the glacier sail began at 5am and ended at 9am, then we'd have a port to go to that day. Not with 2 kids. Nope. Then we were excited about Victoria but that was 7pm-11pm. Again, not at all convenient with kids. We were also concerned about entertainment for our 2 kids in the evening and didn't want to be stuck not being able to enjoy the entertainment or shows bc they aren't geared toward kids on other cruise lines. It depends on how adaptable your child is and how much you want to get out of it. Also, kids clubs on other cruise lines cost $$ (or some aren't even open) after 5pm. Configuration of the stateroom was another one for us. Some cruise lines wanted to bring in a cot and leave it in the stateroom the whole cruise. That was way too tight. The space + split bathrooms on Disney were a Godsend for us. These won't necessarily be issues for you but I mention all of them as things to look at with each cruise line.

That said, Princess is supposed to be the best for Alaska, in general. Just an older crowd from what we heard. :) Good luck and have fun. It's gorgeous.

Chatham, Ontario
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4. Re: Alaska cruise with children

Lol, both Holland America Line and Princess are the pioneering lines in Alaska. They get the best berths in port, and have permits to enter Glacier Bay National Park.

Very few permits go to any other line.

Icy Strait and Tracys Arm are OK, but the real sights are at Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier, IMO. I wouldn't book an Alaska cruise without one of them. And Sitka is my favourite port, followed by Skagway. Both rail and road trip to Yukon are to me essential to the Alaska cruise experience.

Princess also visits the College Glaciers.

I like Royal Caribbean just fine in the Caribbean, but their Alaska itineraries? NO.

Disney is in a class by itself, all itineraries, all destinations. I understand the draw for families.

I'm not a Norwegian Cruise Line fan personally, but NCL gets some Glacier Bay permits, and those itineraries are head and shoulders above all but HAL and Princess.

But Celebrity's itineraries to Hubbard are worth considering. From my doesn't agree with me (*waves*) but my next Alaska cruise will take me there, because I'm beginning to think it surpasses Glacier Bay...in the best weather, which only happens one time in three.

Are there old people on HAL and Princess? Yes. Are there ONLY old people? No. That's a big fat myth.

For those of us for whom itinerary is EVERYTHING, you can't beat HAL and Princess. More ships, more choice, more itineraries.

Edited: 03 July 2018, 09:30
Ontario, Canada
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5. Re: Alaska cruise with children

Oceania recently added Kids sail free promo for Alaska 2019 on specific sailings

https:/…

It probably would not be the same as sailing with the Mouse

As with Disney compare what is included then decide

Chatham, Ontario
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6. Re: Alaska cruise with children

The only reason I didn't mention Oceania above, lht, is they are luxury versus mainstream.

Good to know some of the upscale small ships are targeting families.

Leeds
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7. Re: Alaska cruise with children

Thanks for the advice everyone 😀

Ontario, Canada
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8. Re: Alaska cruise with children

Fannish

Oceania is a Premium line not Luxury line

but depends on how one defines Luxury LOL

they are offering some family cruises they do not have many triple & quad cabins

California
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9. Re: Alaska cruise with children

We originally wanted the Glacier Bay itinerary and not Tracy Arm Fjord but decided that the itinerary for TAF just worked better for us and if we wanted to experience Glacier Bay, we could go back. As it turned out, we couldn't even get to TAF and ended up at a different glacier due to ice activity. So, something to consider. I am not sure what the deal is with ice activity in GB, so you may want to look into that. We didn't even realize this was a possibility until we were on the ship and told it was going to be changed.

Bottom line is that it all depends on your kids and your family. When I said Princess is an older crowd, I meant not geared toward families. There certainly are things for families to do, but in general, we found the cruise we had originally booked on Princess to not be very family-oriented (itinerary times, kid's club hours, stateroom configuration, entertainment, etc.)

Chatham, Ontario
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10. Re: Alaska cruise with children

Great point, GauchoGal. Tracy Arm is inaccessible to the big ships in May and June, usually. Even in high summer, most can't make it all the way to the end to the twin Sawyer glaciers. A lot don't even try.

Instead, they sell a $$$$ excursion in a small boat for glacier viewing. When scenic viewing is included with the cruise price at Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier, it's an enormous value added. Say, about $200 pp you DON'T have to pay for an excursion.

This is what I mean when referring to being itinerary driven.

If you are eager to see whales, sea otters, bears, seals, whatever? You have to pick your cruise to match.

I'd rather watch the salmon run upstream at a ladder, but if you want to see bears? Better pick a date when the salmon ARE running (for example ).

Research and reading are never wasted.

If you're considering a sailing with Skagway on the itinerary, Pierce Berton's entertaining histories about the Klondike Gold Rush will enrich your visit.

Also, you can't go wrong with Michener 's novel Alaska.

If all this sounds silly for a family vacation. ..well, you might be surprised how history interests kids when it's not just words on a page, when you tell them while they're looking at it.

Edited: 04 July 2018, 05:05
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