Alaska Cruise!!!

All right, keeping up with our awesome travel schedule for 2014, on Labor Day we’re cruising to the last frontier: Alaska!


If you have done a cruise before, well, I don’t need to say anything. You are sold on cruises and know that cruises are fun, fun, fun, and all things considered, probably the best and cheapest way to travel. It is definitely the best way to see Alaska.

Now, if you have never been on a cruise, well, you are in for one of the biggest treats of your life. Let me sell you on it a little bit:

Cruises are the best way to get to know many places on the same trip/vacation. If you think of the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Alaska, cruises are definitely the way to go. A cruise is like a travel buffet! In our cruise for example, we will get to see Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Sawyer Glacier, Skagway, Ketchikan, Inside Passage and Vancouver. How else could you see so many places in one trip, right?

And the cost is ridiculous small. I don’t even know how they make the numbers work, to be honest. You get all the food you can eat, with the choice of fancy, super-casual, buffets and exotic restaurants, plus entertainment 24/7 and a relaxing vacation ALL INCLUDED for as low as[masked] a day. Imagine a five star all-inclusive resort for[masked] a day. And that resort actually travels with you, taking you to other amazing places.

And cruising with a group, especially a fun and friendly group like us, is out of this world! It will blow most other trips out of the water (no pun intended). Unless of course, the other trips are also with us. :-)

Here is a video I made when I was super stoked boarding my first cruise. My friend was running late and we made them hold the ship waiting for her! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jit46CPH600&feature=youtu.be

Oh man! So much fun that cruise was! :-)


OK. Now that you are totally sold on cruises, let’s talk about our cruise:

We’re doing a southbound cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver aboard the Norwegian Sun, one of the newest ships sailing Alaska.

We’re doing a 7 day cruise, which is the perfect length of time: the cruise will be inexpensive, it’s easy to take time off work, and will allow us to see all the important things that are there to see and do all the fun things that are there to do.  

Alaska cruises are especially awesome because not only you sail through breathtaking scenery such as glaciers and beautiful passages, but you often get to see marine wildlife such as humpback whales from the boat. And then, every time we dock, we get to visit unique and adventurous places. Some of the land excursions are hiking on a glacier (hiking on a freaking glacier!!!), explore the wilderness on an ATV, explore fjords, riding the world largest ziprider, kayaking by glaciers, riding a dog sled, snorkeling  (yes, you read that right: we’ll wear a super thick wetsuit and snorkel in Alaska!!!) flying over a glacier by plane and helicopter, seeing grizzly bears, and more. There are 131 different land excursions for us to pick from! Land excursions are not included in the price, but well worth it and all things considered, very reasonable. 

Now, I will also add the choice for us to spend a few days before the cruise in Anchorage, and a few days after the cruise in Vancouver. We'll talk about that when we have a few people signed up, so I can contact tour operators and hotels. 


Here is the full itinerary at-a-glance:

Set sail from the quaint town of Whittier and prepare to experience all the beauty and majesty of the Alaskan wilderness. Get up close and personal with the gigantic Hubbard Glacier, see humpback whales off of Icy Strait Point, take the reins of a dogsled in Juneau, and ride a jet-powered catamaran in Ketchikan.

Day: Mon

Port: Whittier (EMBARK)

Arrive: ---

Depart: 9:00 pm


Day: Tue

Port: Hubbard Glacier

Arrive: ---

Depart: Overnight


Day: Wed

Port:  Icy Strait Point

Arrive: 9:00 am

Depart: 5:00 pm


Day: Thu

Port: Juneau

Arrive: 7:00 am

Depart: 1:15 pm


Day: Thu

Port: Sawyer Glacier

Arrive: ---

Depart: Overnight


Day: Fri

Port: Skagway

Arrive: 7:00 am

Depart: 5:00 pm


Day: Sat

Port: Ketchikan

Arrive: 1:00 pm

Depart: 8:00 pm


Day: Sun

Port: Cruising the Inside Passage

Arrive: ---

Depart: Overnight


Day: Mon

Port: Vancouver, Canada (Disembark)

Arrive: 8:00 am

Depart: ---


And here are details in each port-of-call:

Monday: Whittier (Anchorage)

Whittier is a quaint town located on the western side of Prince William Sound. The town was named after the great American poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Tourist flock here for fishing and hunting as the region's wildlife is rich and vast. We will have the choice to arrive a few days early and explore Anchorage.


Tuesday: Hubbard Glacier

The gigantic Hubbard Glacier, North America's largest tidewater glacier. It's 1350 square miles of blue ice and one of the most active in Alaska.


Wednesday: Icy Strait Point

The Icy Strait Point experience combines authentic regional culture with incredible natural beauty. Enjoy Tlingit dancing and art. Or get closer than you'd ever imagine to humpback whales and brown bears in the wild. Work up a wilderness hunger and satisfy it with fresh Dungeness crab. Shore excursions include Whale and Marine Mammals Cruise, ATV Expedition and ZipRider, Scenic Mountain Ascent & World’s Largest ZipRider, Forest and Nature Tram, ATV Expedition. Here is the full list of shore excursions in Icy Strait Point: http://tinyurl.com/keys24n


Thursday: Juneau & Sawyer Glacier

Juneau has been called “Alaska's peak experience,” certainly due in part to its unparalleled glacier viewing from such places as Tracy Arm Fjord, the Juneau Icefields and Glacier Bay National Park. Kayak up one of the area's many protected waterways, go flightseeing, tour historic downtown or try your hand at panning for gold. The majestic Mendenhall Glacier lies nearly 12 miles outside Juneau, a trek worthwhile. Shore excursions include Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest, Sea Kayak Adventure, 5 Glacier Seaplane Exploration, Four Glacier Adventure by Helicopter, Helicopter Glacier Trek, Dogsled Adventure by Helicopter, Bear Watching & Wildlife Viewing Adventure and a lot more! Here is the full list: http://tinyurl.com/m7svqkm


Sawyer Glacier:

Prepare to experience all the beauty and majesty of the Alaskan wilderness. Get up close and personal with the majestic Sawyer Glacier.


Friday: Skagway

In a single year from 1896 to 1897, this remote town along the Inside Passage grew from a few tents to a city of 20,000 gold seekers. Today, travelers come in search of other riches – to experience yesteryear along Skagway's charming boardwalk lined with buildings that replicate those Gold Rush days. Shore excursions include White Pass Railway, Klondike Gold Fields & Panning, Yukon Territory Scenic Drive, Glacier Point Wilderness Safari, White Pass Railway & Alpine Snowshoe Hike, Ocean Raft Wildlife Adventure and 36 more. Here is the full list: http://tinyurl.com/mn9jz5s


Saturday: Ketchikan

Its Tlingit Indian name, Kach Khanna, means “spread wings of the eagle.” Chances are you'll see one of these magnificent birds perched atop a Sitka tree. Thanks to its abundant rainfall, Ketchikan is surrounded by some of the world's most lush wilderness. Shore excursions include Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer, Rainforest Canopy Adventure & Zipline Expedition, Magnificent Misty Fjords Seaplane, Lighthouse, Totems & Eagles Excursion, Mountain Point Snorkeling, Bear Country & Wildlife Expedition and 32 more. Here's the full list: http://tinyurl.com/l7ek33o


Sunday: Cruising the Inside Passage

Get ready for amazing views and wildlife like nowhere else as you sail through the islands of Alaska's Inside Passage.


Monday: Vancouver, Canada

Positioned between the snow-dusted North Shore Mountains and the rich, blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver blends big-city sophistication with small-town charm. Don't miss Queen Elizabeth Park – a 130-acre civic arboretum accented with sculptures by modern artist Henry Moore. Like I said, we’ll have the option of spending a few days in beautiful Vancouver before heading back to L.A. Even if you are not going to spend a few more days in Vancouver, they offer a city tour that you can take for two hours and see the most important parts of the city.


If you want to read more about the cruise, here is the link to our cruise at Norwegian's website:

http://tinyurl.com/kcmcwvb


All right, now let’s talk about the good part. Money.  :-D Actually, it is the good part, because like I said, cruise prices are unbelievably low!

Actually, before I talk about prices, let me explain one thing about advertised cruise prices: you will often see unbelievably low prices online. What you don't realize is that they are not telling you the date and are not including the government taxes.  

I'm telling you this because you may look online and find the same cruise advertised for as low as[masked] and think that we are paying too much. Then if you look closer you will see that the price is for the beginning or end of the season (which are not ideal times to go) and it's not including taxes.For our cruise, the government taxes are 200.08. Cruise prices are set by the cruise lines, and are non-negotiable. A website may make you think you will be paying less if you book with them, but in the end you will find that it is not the case.

I reserved eight inside cabins and eight ocean view (porthole) cabins. All those cabins are double occupancy unless you ask to go by yourself and pay the single supplement. And yes, guys will room with guys and girls with girls, unless it makes no difference to you.

Inside cabins will be[masked] plus government taxes, coming down to[masked] per person at double-occupancy. Single supplement (if you want a cabin all for yourself) will be an extra 579.00.


Ocean view will cost[masked] plus taxes coming down to[masked] per person at double-occupancy. Single occupancy will be an extra 799.00.


Rooms with balcony will cost 1,389.00 plus government taxes, coming down to 1,589.08.  Yes, that’s per person also, and based on double occupancy also. Balconies are expansive.  Single occupancy will be an extra 1,389.00.


I have not reserved balconies, so the price may change as departure date approaches. If you want to book a room with a balcony, make your deposit and let me know so I can call and get the exact rate. Even if it’s more, it won’t be much more.

Up until April 27, you can make a deposit of[masked] (non-refundable) and guarantee your room and the rates above. If you make the deposit after April 27, the rates may be a little higher. Most likely not a lot higher, but the closer we get to the sailing date, the more expensive it tends to be, and the less available rooms there will be. 

The cruise will most likely sell out, by the way, so the best thing you do it to put a deposit on ASAP. You can RSVP here without sending me the deposit if you want to post comments and get e mails about the trip from me, but you are only guaranteed a spot (and price) once you send me at least the deposit. Full payment is due on June 11.

I strongly, strongly, strongly suggest that you get travel Insurance. They offer Travel Protection through Berkly Care. The price is 89.00 for standard and[masked] for Platinum.  

Here is a link to Norwegian’s page about the insurance:

http://www.ncl.com/freestyle-cruise/booksafe

And the Description of Coverage:

http://www.ncl.com/sites/default/files/BookSafe-Travel-Protection-Plan_090513.pdf

You can buy the travel insurance at any time before sailing date. Of course you are only covered from the time you buy it.

Flights: Some people have miles, frequent flyer programs and other ways to get a cheap of free ticket. That’s why air is not included. If you would like, you can book your flight with Norwegian, and I can do that for you.  To be honest, it won’t be cheaper than if you booked your own. It will just be more convenient. As of right now flights are about[masked] (both ways). If you want me to book the flight with Norwegian, let me know.

Below is the link to Pay Pal for the deposit:

CLICK HERE TO MAKE A THE DEPOSIT [masked])

Once you send me the deposit I’ll send you an e mail asking for all your info such as full name, D.O.B, room preference (single, double, one bed, two beds), and all the info Norwegian needs to issue you a ticket. I'll also send you a link to pay the remaining balance and travel insurance if you would like.

By the way, if your Pay Pal name is different than your Meetup profile name, please make sure to tell me who you are!

One last thing: you will need a passport because we are finishing the trip in Vancouver. If you don't have one yet, you have plenty of time to get it so long as you get on with it ASAP. Here's the link to get started:

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english.html

All right, let’s have some fun!!! See you in Alaska.

:-)

Eduardo. 


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  • Ali

    Okay, there are still 233 pictures related to everyone. So instead of uploading all of them, here is a link- https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fvkvswezs94nzwo/AACjFfHTZrkFHdqsdM8QRxr_a?dl=0

    Enjoy!

    4 · September 3

    • Ali

      Yours were awesome as well! Thanks for sending!

      September 25

    • Avi

      Thank you Ali and Rosie. Awesome pictures!

      October 1

  • jennifer s.

    Just watched discovery channel on bears in Alaska! Amazing how cute and cuddly they look...but!

    September 25

  • Avi

    FUNtastic!!!

    1 · September 24

  • Avi

    FUNtastic!!!

    September 24

  • Sig

    Fun times with Nice people and Family. Exceptionally beautiful Scenery and wildlife.

    2 · September 4

  • Ali

    Such a fun trip! I'll upload pics soon. I have 630 so going to try to sort them so I don't send so many. Thanks everyone! Super fun.

    2 · September 3

  • Avi

    An adventure that I will never forget with people that I hope to stay friends with forever! Thank you!

    4 · September 2

  • Kurt

    Great experience. Great group. Don't forget to share your pics, you people with the fancy cameras!

    3 · September 2

  • Michelle

    My spot is still available please contact me or Edwardo if you want it!

    August 14

  • Fanny

    I read that we have to get some protection from bugs. Is it really bad?

    August 12

    • matt b.

      I've never been to alaska... i think the mosquitoes are not at the coast, but are further inland.. so it will depend on where your activities are. Bring the pump style bug spray, bcecause you can't bring aerosol cans on the plane

      August 12

    • matt b.

      Oh, you can bring areosole cans, never mind! :)

      1 · August 12

  • Fanny

    Who is doing the reservation for the restaurant for diner , the first service or the second. . .?

    August 12

    • Heidi

      I'm just doing the casual dining. If I feel like a fancier meal maybe I'll do that dining but I won't pick it yet. I like the way NCL does meals, eat when you want and with whomever. I don't think I would like preplanning when I eat and with who

      August 12

  • Heidi

    Anyone doing "fancier" dining? Bringing clothes for that?? Just wondering, I wasn't planning on it but will if others do

    August 3

    • Heidi

      I have to look at my stuff, I don't know if I have anything warm. Dang my suitcase is getting full

      August 3

    • matt b.

      I'll do the formal and fancy dinners.. i think there are 2 fancy(tuxedo) dinners, 2 formal(slacks/blazer), and 3 casual... shorts and stuff

      August 11

  • Eduardo

    Hey, I think I saw a comment asking how we're going to get from the airport to the hotel. They have a free shuttle. The hotel we're staying in is the Comfort Suites Anchorage International Airport. 2919 W. International Airport, Anchorage, AD, 99502

    1 · August 6

    • Heidi

      Looks like a nice hotel!

      2 · August 10

    • Heidi

      Looks like a nice hotel!

      August 10

  • Eduardo

    Hey shipmates, I think we can use the comments to coordinate meeting at the airport for the people who are not coming with me. Jenny is doing flight lax-anchorage aug 24 sunday air alaska 149. Who else? Post your flight so people in the same flight can try to sit together.

    August 1

    • Heidi

      I'm on the flight on the 21st 7pm I think. Matt is on the same flight. We are also in rows near each other.

      August 1

    • matt b.

      I am on Alaska 157 on 8/21 and on American 8160 on 9/1

      August 10

  • Heidi

    Updated info on construction and closers at LAX http://www.lawa.org/newsContent.aspx?ID=1897

    1 · August 10

  • Heidi

    Who is getting EXCITED!!!! I know I'm not the only one. Excited for the adventures, the sights, the new experiences and friends.

    August 5

    • jennifer s.

      Hi Heidi! Im in Torrance, so whats central to you? Im doing last minute packing shopping a week b4 too. If we can meet up? could even just do coffee?!

      August 7

    • Eduardo

      If you get to meet before, great. If not, I've met both of you and you are both awesome. I know you will have no problem getting to know each other during the trip. :-)

      1 · August 7

  • Michelle

    I'm putting it.out there that I am giving up my spot on this trip. The total cost is $958.08 which is $779.08 for the cruise and $179 for one night in a hotel and the shuttle to the ship. I simply can't afford it.right now. If anyone wants to go or if you know someone who wants to go please contact me.

    1 · August 7

  • Fanny

    Culver city will be nice are

    August 6

  • Fanny

    Yes I am in and really would love to meet at least few of you ...

    August 6

  • jennifer s.

    Who wants to meet for lite pre-dinner cruise in culver city?! Sunday aug 17, or Monday or tuesday? Sunday less traffic. Jenny

    1 · August 6

    • Heidi

      I know Monday and Tuesday are no goes. I work too late. Sunday??? Not sure thats my only day off before the cruise and I need to go shopping.

      August 6

  • Michelle

    I'm going to have to bow out. Financially my private nursing loans are coming due and I'm not even done with school.

    August 5

  • Heidi

    Anyone still unsure about packing (ME! I've never been on a cruise ever) here's a good video and I liked that he said bring Lysol! The sicknesses that could go around a ship blah. What To Pack For An Alaskan Cruise: http://youtu.be/F4q6BbWKPDA

    1 · August 3

    • Eduardo

      This is great! :-)

      1 · August 3

    • jennifer s.

      Great video!! Ha-Intersting Book cameo, Lol! Ill be looking at scenery, not reading.

      1 · August 3

  • jennifer s.

    Ill try to bring a warm dressy look. Maybe fancy black pants and top. Thx for lysol tip! And purell..and probiotics! Hairdryers? In bathroom i hope. :-)

    1 · August 3

  • jennifer s.

    Ok here are my Excursions! icypt straight KAYAK 9:30. ATV expedition at 2:00. Juneau: Mendehall Glacier Lake Canoe. Skagway: Triple Adventure, bike hike float. I just need to decide Ketchikan, Either Misty Fjords boat or Tatoosh Island for more kayaking? Heidi did you sign up for Horseback riding? Jenny

    1 · July 29

    • Eduardo

      Seriously, though, I think you guys are thinking you will be riding freely, galloping and all. I think those horseback riding trips are just a bunch of people on their horses in a single file line. If that's what you want, then it's OK. If not, you might want to call NCL and double check.

      July 30

    • Heidi

      That's why I'm debating Eduardo. From the reviews its the slow follow the leader type (which I hate). I'm going to find something just don't know what

      July 30

  • Ali

    Is anyone flying back to LA after the cruise, on the 1st, from Vancouver? If so, what flight are you on?

    July 29

    • Avi

      I'm going go do the tour and my flight leaves at 4:20 with WestJet 1698

      July 30

  • jennifer s.

    Horseback riding in skagway-That sounds fun! ill look it up. I will do kayaking and water float/rafting? and dog sledding. Is anyone ziplining? Or bike riding? Jenny

    1 · July 25

    • Heidi

      Jennifer I may still do horseback riding, I have an afternoon excursion in Skagway so I'm looking into something in the morning. I'm zip lining at the first stop

      July 26

  • matt b.

    Has anyone booked their excursions yet?

    July 11

    • Eduardo

      Guys, why are you doing dog sledding? We will be doing that in March with the Northern Lights trip. And of course you would be CRAZY not to come... ;-)

      July 25

    • Heidi

      Kurt there are two dog sledding in Juneau. One with the wheels in the dirt and one on a glacier with a helicopter. Eduardo I'm hoping to go but that is still filming season :(

      July 26

  • Francesca

    Is this for this year or 2015?

    1 · July 15

    • Heidi

      Haha I hate the window on planes! :-) I wish I did get the window cabin but I'm cheap and got the inside cabin. Looks like level 4 ,

      July 16

    • Heidi

      Francesca I don't know. Eduardo is the host of this and with the info having to go to the cruise ship not sure of the time lines.

      July 16

  • Eduardo

    Hey you all got my last 3 e mails, right? About the payment (for those who haven't made full payment yet), about the Vancouver 4 day trip and the Vancouver one day trip. If you haven't, check your spam settings so that you can get e mails from [masked]

    1 · June 3, 2014

  • Eduardo

    Also, for the people who are not staying with us, you can (and should) do the city tour with us. They'll pick us up at 9:45 at the cruise ship terminal, do a 4 hour tour, including the lookout, and drop you off at a location convenient to get to the airport. We'll take our luggage with us. I'll be able to get us tickets in advance and will let you all know about it on the same e mail I send with the final info for the Vancouver trip. Here is the website for the tour company if you want to take a look: http://vancouvertours.com/tour/vancouver/

    May 29, 2014

  • Eduardo

    I'm still finishing things up for the Vancouver trip. Should be done this weekend with all the bookings and everything. Just want to give you a little heads up: We will be coming back on Thusday, Sept. 4, so you can buy the ticket for Air Canada flight 1884, leaving Vancouver on Thursday at 8:00PM, arriving at LAX at 10:53PM.

    1 · May 29, 2014

  • Heidi

    So excited for Denali! I SO want to see the northern lights. August to early September offers warm weather temperatures during the day, but chilly at night. Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are viewable on clear nights, But remember to ask for a wake-up call from your front desk to view the Northern Lights. Foliage colors are changing this time of year from green to red to yellow. And snow is possible.

    1 · April 27, 2014

  • Heidi

    WOOHOO 4 months people!! 4 friggen months.

    1 · April 25, 2014

  • matt b.

    Eduardo, do you know how late I can choose who my +1 would be? Does the cruiseline need the name of each person when paid in full or can it be changed prior to departure?

    April 25, 2014

    • Eduardo

      Nope. You can add the person until June 10. But you do need to pay the deposit for that person too if you want to guarantee the same rate.

      April 25, 2014

    • matt b.

      Perfect, thanks for organizing!

      April 25, 2014

  • Heidi

    Hey Eduardo can I send you "payments" every so often or do you just want the remaining balance on the due date?

    1 · April 1, 2014

  • Heidi

    Can I just say I am Uber excited about this!!! Can't wait.

    1 · March 16, 2014

  • Diana

    Guys, let's get this airline tickets fast before the price changes!! I am soo thrilled!!

    1 · March 3, 2014

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