Final Thoughts on our First Cruise to Alaska and What I Would do Differently

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a boat with people on it

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First off let me say this cruise was amazing. Alaska IS amazing and I hope everyone, at least once, takes an Alaska cruise. I will be going back and doing this again but with some tweaks and here they are.

Ending in Anchorage (Seward) vs. starting in Anchorage. We did have a few days in town before we started our adventure but now I wish we had done the cruise in reverse and had more time in this amazing city to explore and have time to do things like take a Rust’s float plane and maybe another train ride.

two people standing in front of a waterfall

The next big thing I would do different is when. Now I know Alaska, even in summer, can be cold even in the middle of summer. I am after all very accustomed to Sweden in summer and the joke goes that if it is warm you have only one coat vs. two but there can be may wonderful warmer days. So next time I want to go not at the very start of the season.

The other reason not to go so early is to avoid possible cancellations. For example, we took the Gold Star train down to the ship in Seward and it was an absolute highlight of the trip. But our train was the first one of the season and those who had booked just one day sooner were all put on a bus instead – yuck!

 

a lake with snow covered mountains

Another reason I want to go later is due to ice bergs. We were not able to get “very” close to a number of glaciers due to too many bergs in the water and our young captain not wanting to scratch the paint on the ship (I am being a bit mean but you get my feeling on the matter I think).

a man and woman sitting on a deck chair

One thing I would not change is the choice of cabin. Even though it was cold, having this forward suite allowed us perfect views anytime we wanted. Yes it was a bummer to have wasted my once in a lifetime “free” upgrade from becoming an NCL Diamond but in the long run it is not that whiz bang of a perk anyway.

I loved most of the shore excursions we booked and would pan for gold again, 100% go on the crab boat adventure again but we also booked a downhill bike ride and it was disappointing. Not just because it was bitterly cold and windy but the ride was not what I expected or very enjoyable.

Lastly I want to plan farther out. This cruise was kinda rushed in planning and it ended with me not being able to use my Chase UR points to full advantage and I hate making travel mistakes like this. But I have learned some valuable lessons and it will help me going forward.

Have you been on an Alaska cruise before or a number of times? Are there things you too would have done differently or wish you had done another way? Plus, are there parts of your trip you 100% would recommend to me and others not to miss next time? Let us all know please! – René

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Would it be possible to change the yellow font to something that is easier to see? There are many of us seniors who read your blog, and the light colored yellow is almost invisible to these old eyes. I have to move within a couple feet of the screen to read what it says.

    Thank you for the great information. I have passed your blog on to many of my “frequent floater” friends. Keep up the good work.

    Mike

  2. An absolute must when you get to Anchorage is to take a sidetrip to Brooks Falls where you can observe closeup grizzlies catching and feasting on salmon as they jump up on the falls. It is a breathtaking experience! Use your Alaska miles to book ANC-AKN, Ovenight in King Salmon and reserve a seat on a regular scheduled floatplane to Brooks Camp. From there, the rangers educate you on bear etiquette before freeing you to hike to the river. You won’t regret it and you’ll have an amazing collection of photos when you return!

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