(Just) Seattle-Ketchikan-Seattle cruise not worth ?

abhisheks77

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Hi,

We visited Anchorage/Seward/Denali (and surrounding area) in past couple of time, which includes Glaciers too.
This time we want to have experience on cruise. Considering that we have seen Glaciers multiple time and mostly interested in scenery along the way which cruising, does scenery gets better past Ketchikan ? Excluding excursions, will we miss a lot if I pick cruise till Ketchikan, instead of, till Juneau or Hubbard ?
Reason for my question is - I am getting a cheaper 4 days cruise Seattle-Ketchikan-Seattle vs double the price with 7 days round-trip from Seattle.

Thanks
 

gwydionjhr

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I live in Victoria BC, and I've done three of the cruises up to Ketchikan, I don't find them that interesting, we treat them like a fun weekend away in a hotel. The scenery is the same as what I get locally here on the south of Vancouver Island. YMMV.
 

Holoholo55

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Thanks. That explains, I should take a longer one, till Glacier or Hubbard
I took the Inside Passage cruise on Princess back in 2009. IMHO, there's quite a bit more to see up the coast past Ketchikan, but then it was all new to me. I went as far as Skagway. Would love to go up there again and go further. Next time I'm in Ketchikan, I gotta stop at Ray Troll's gallery! Missed it last time. :-(
 

oldracer

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In our view a cruise is traveling in a bubble with occasional trips outside the bubble with large and often obnoxious members of the bubble. Booking a few nights in a four star hotel and watching travel videos seems much more attractive. Food options are better and schedule is completely open.

My sister took an Alaska cruise and said it was like being trapped in a shopping center for a week.

YMMV of course.
 

abhisheks77

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In our view a cruise is traveling in a bubble with occasional trips outside the bubble with large and often obnoxious members of the bubble. Booking a few nights in a four star hotel and watching travel videos seems much more attractive. Food options are better and schedule is completely open.

My sister took an Alaska cruise and said it was like being trapped in a shopping center for a week.

YMMV of course.
Thats what my initial worry was.
I visited Alaska 2 times, drove a lot and it is beautiful. Wife wants (and somewhat me too :) ) to experience cruise. I was/am little hesitant for same reason, you explained. That was the reason, I was looking for shorter one like 4-5 days, instead of 7 nights.
 

jimr.pdx

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We sailed from Haines to Seattle long ago. As I remember it the dramatic scenery dropped off soon after Petersburg; the sunset on high peaks there was memorable! The detour to Sitka was nice but we did not go into town. I think it was cloudy at Ketchikan, as is so common to that stretch of coastline.
 

mumu

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We like a variety of travel modes. When we go on an Alaskan cruise, we spend a lot of time walking on the deck looking for whales and enjoying the scenery. The least enjoyable Alaskan cruise was one we took from/to Seattle because it didn't sail through the Strait of Georgia (ie: between BC mainland and Vancouver Island) which meant we missed out on a lot of scenery. The only scenery that stands out for me on the Alaskan portion of the cruise is when the ship enters ports or inlets to view glaciers.

Oldracer is right about you being in a bubble and then arriving in port with your bubble compatriots but it really doesn't matter because all the stops are fully geared towards cruise ship tourists, anyways. It's not like the experience will be much different if you arrive there on your own. If you want to get away from other tourists, though, I recommend seeking out hikes at each stop. Most people tend to shy away from them, particularly if they involve uphill walking.
 

abhisheks77

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We like a variety of travel modes. When we go on an Alaskan cruise, we spend a lot of time walking on the deck looking for whales and enjoying the scenery. The least enjoyable Alaskan cruise was one we took from/to Seattle because it didn't sail through the Strait of Georgia (ie: between BC mainland and Vancouver Island) which meant we missed out on a lot of scenery. The only scenery that stands out for me on the Alaskan portion of the cruise is when the ship enters ports or inlets to view glaciers.

Oldracer is right about you being in a bubble and then arriving in port with your bubble compatriots but it really doesn't matter because all the stops are fully geared towards cruise ship tourists, anyways. It's not like the experience will be much different if you arrive there on your own. If you want to get away from other tourists, though, I recommend seeking out hikes at each stop. Most people tend to shy away from them, particularly if they involve uphill walking.
In below picture, look at the circles I draw. Looks like that is part which will be missed if I take cruise from Seattle. Am I looking at correct place and this scenery is good , should not be missed ?
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barry13

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In below picture, look at the circles I draw. Looks like that is part which will be missed if I take cruise from Seattle. Am I looking at correct place and this scenery is good , should not be missed ?
View attachment 744222
Hi, I took a 7-day Holland America cruise almost 10 years ago, in mid-June, and it made all those stops...

Holland has better food than most of the other lines, and there's less kids and less drunk people.
The activities onboard differ as well.

I didn't find the scenery from the ship very interesting, except for the glacier... Mostly low coasts with lots of trees, and unless you have some large binoculars or a 300mm+ lens, you're not going to see any bears from the ship as it stays too far from shore.
Also it was rainy (drizzle) most of the time.

We did see Bald Eagles in one of the harbors, and did the 'hike' to another glacier.

We enjoyed the trip, but not for the scenery from the ship.
 

foxtail1

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I avoid cruises, as a rule. The exception was the cruise you're considering. I took a 7 day NL cruise from Seattle about 5 years ago and enjoyed it. I found the scenery amazing, and we saw a lot of marine life. I do agree that there are limited photo opportunities from the ship, the exception being Glacier Bay, where you are close to shore.

If you plan ahead, you can get out of the bubble and away from the crowds, at least some. My favorite stop was Skagway. I had arranged a rental car and drove up into the Yukon as far as Carcross. We had the road almost to ourselves, and saw amazing scenery and wildlife (eagles and bears stand out in my memory). Most of the Skagway cruise excursions were by railway in the same direction, but the rental car cost less than half of what one rail ticket would have cost and no crowds!

I did join a small crowd in Juneau (whale watching trip with about 30 people), and a snorkling trip in Ketchikan (just so I could say I'd done it).

I've had only this one cruise experience, but on it we generally managed to avoid the crowds even though it was a large ship with over 2,000 passengers. We had a balcony room, and I spent a lot of time out there, just watching everything. We also spent a little more money and tried the specialty restaurants for dinner. It cost only $10-15 more, but meant we were out of the crowds. Also, we had no interest in "shows" of any kind, or in shopping, so we missed the crowds there too.
 
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I went on a mission deputation trip with my church when I was in High School >30 years ago. We went to Hydaburg, west of Ketchikan. I haven't taken a cruise, but I really loved the area. Hope to go back again someday. I'm from the Northwest, though, so a bit biased. I love it there...
 

oldracer

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As I said we are not cruise people, but I have seen advertising from companies with small ships claiming much better access to fjords and other scenery than the giant floating dog kennels can provide. This is probably true, particularly after the Achille Lauro.
 

Wisertime

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As I said we are not cruise people, but I have seen advertising from companies with small ships claiming much better access to fjords and other scenery than the giant floating dog kennels can provide. This is probably true, particularly after the Achille Lauro.
LOL...Floating dog kennel actually sounds more appealing to me, than floating shopping mall, casino, vaudville show, buffet. I've never done a cruise personally. Have little desire. The Alaska ones I heard were cheap and interesting, but after reading this thread, maybe not. I would enjoy a scenic river cruise up through Europe I think though. Even better if I could bring my doggy.
 

Holoholo55

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As I said we are not cruise people, but I have seen advertising from companies with small ships claiming much better access to fjords and other scenery than the giant floating dog kennels can provide. This is probably true, particularly after the Achille Lauro.
Small ships claim a more intimate experience, more personal, and get closer to the glacier. I was on a big ship and the closest we could get was at least a mile away. Need long telephoto. I was with a large family group and we had a great time. Did some excursions together and some separately.
 

mumu

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In below picture, look at the circles I draw. Looks like that is part which will be missed if I take cruise from Seattle. Am I looking at correct place and this scenery is good , should not be missed ?
View attachment 744222
Yes, that's the part we missed on the Seattle->Seattle Alaska cruise we went on. Granted, it only occupies a day's sailing but there's the possibility of seeing orcas plus we like seeing the small communities along the water. We prefer to fly and cruise so as to get more time and stops on the cruise. When you're in Alaska, you're more likely to see humpback whales. My brother just came back and mentioned that they saw sea lions swimming near the ship, too (I think when they were in a fjord).

As far as viewing glaciers, we've never been on small ships but even so, the ships get close enough to get detailed photos of the glaciers if you have a telephoto lens. We also bring a power of 10x binoculars to look for whales and seals. I enjoy photographing the scenery from the ship but it helps to have a telephoto so you can crop out some nice compositions.

I've also driven up to the Yukon and Alaska (I live in BC) so I know what it's like to visit Alaska w/o partaking in a cruise. They're obviously different experiences. I dislike crowds but as I said before, if you want to avoid crowds on an Alaskan cruise, it's possible to do so. Any hike that takes you out of town very drastically reduces the number of people you see. In Juneau, we did a great hike along a wooden aqueduct where we only encounter 6 other people. Same thing with taking the sky tram above the town. Once you get up there and walk uphill for about 30 minutes, there are very few people around. In Skagway, on the walk out of the old cemetery we saw maybe a dozen folks. Another time in Skagway, we rented a motorcycle and rode into the Yukon and the road was virtually deserted.

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