I want to cruise to Alaska or the Mediterranean (E or W) help please.
May 26, 2017 3:10 PM   Subscribe

I have never been on a cruise and finally decided to plan one for next year July/August (a time I am now learning is too late to be beginning planning for) for Alaska or the Mediterranean.

I have been looking at booking sites reading up on cruise lines and still have no idea how to navigate this process. I am not sure of what I should be looking for other than an affordable price. I will be cruising with my family so I'm looking for a family friendly cruise line with loads of fun and excitement. Can anyone assist, direct or advise on what I should be looking for when booking a cruise, which cruise line is better as it relates to price and on board entertainment, which of the two months will be ideal? Websites -I've been to cruises.com and cruise critic not sure of anything else. For those who may have even cruised those destinations any reviews on the places? While price is of utmost importance I would still like to weigh my options as I am equally intrigued with both destinations hence I'm torn between the two. As much information as possible to aid in this process will be greatly appreciated, I feel like I am racing against time here as it would appear as I am behind by an entire year. Help please.
posted by Whatifyoufly to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Due to the high probability of hot weather in the Mediterranean, I would suggest Alaska. My family did a 7-day cruise (Disney) in August 2015 starting/terminating in Barcelona and visiting Naples, Rome, Livorno, and Nice along the way. We were fortunate to encounter cooler-than-usual temperatures (in the 80s usually), but it was still unpleasantly hot at times, especially when off the ship exploring Pompeii and the Roman Forum, where my son swore he was going to melt.

As for recommending a cruise line, I have only ever been on Disney- we will embark on our 4th annual cruise exactly one month from today in Dover, England. I have talked to many fellow guests over the years that have been on many different cruise lines, but now only cruise on Disney after trying it the first time. My own experience has been so good that I cannot imagine cruising with anyone else; my expectations are so high, and have been so consistently met, that I would fear being disappointed with anyone else. The food is exceptional (I often gain 1 pound/day if I'm not paying attention, which I don't because vacation), and the service is exceptional. Although I have not compared, it is my understanding that Disney is more expensive than most other cruise lines. It's worth it to me, for the reasons I mention above, and also because there is very little additional expense once you're on board; except for alcohol, all food, entertainment, and on-board activities is included. If my son is hungry at 9pm, we order some chicken fingers, a fruit and cheese plate, or an ice cream bar from room service- and it's free. Thirsty and it's not mealtime? Wander up to the pool deck and fill up a tumbler with soda or lemonade- and it's free. I've heard that other cruise lines charge on a per-cup basis. It may well still work out to be cheaper that way, but if I'm on vacation I want to just enjoy myself and not worry about being nickel and dimed along the way. Also, it's nice to be able to catch up on all the Pixar/Disney/Marvel movies, because the on-board theater shows them, including just-released films.
posted by EKStickland at 3:59 PM on May 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I recommend Alaska also, because of the season. And it would be good to see the glaciers while you still can.

What ages are your family members?
posted by maurreen at 4:11 PM on May 26, 2017


We had a lovely time on a Princess Alaska cruise. We went in July and the weather was beautiful. There were 11 of us, ranging from 70 to 2. We didn't do many excursions due to $$, but still found plenty to see. We did splurge on balcony rooms, which were WONDERFUL. We put the teens/preteen in an inside room across the hall, which was fine for them. We enjoyed the inside passage, and Princess goes into a glacier area that others don't. Lots of wildlife to see on the shores.
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 4:23 PM on May 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


On a practical basis, the Med isn't going anywhere and Alaska's glaciers are, so I would vote Alaska.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:24 PM on May 26, 2017


@age range 11 to 40...

Disney sounds magical, it's kind of beyond my reach at this time. Thanks for the suggestions. Are there any websites that I can get a super saver discount...what is your go to...?
posted by Whatifyoufly at 6:53 PM on May 26, 2017


Are you a Costco member? we get excellent cruise prices there. I've cruised Alaska 3 times and loved it. We went twice on Celebrity and once on Holland America and preferred celebrity but would take Holland America again.
posted by notjustthefish at 7:27 PM on May 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also check out vacationstogo.com - they seem to have really great prices, even on Disney cruises.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:00 PM on May 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


According to Cruise Critic, these are the best cruises for kids:
Royal Caribbean. Ships: Anthem, Harmony, Allure and Oasis of the Seas.
Norwegian Cruise Line. Ships: Norwegian Escape, Breakaway, Getaway and Epic.
Carnival Cruise Line. Ships: Carnival Vista, Breeze, Dream and Magic.
Disney Cruise Line. Ships: Disney Dream, Fantasy and Magic.
Princess Cruises.
posted by maurreen at 8:15 PM on May 26, 2017


We are going on a Med cruise this fall and with air fare from DFW, it is about 7K per person, just to give you an idea. There may be more adorable options. We are going on Oceana.
posted by tamitang at 9:02 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Are you saying that May 2017 is too late to plan for a July 2018 cruise? It really isn't too late. I can find both July and August cruises for 2017 on Expedia.com and directly on cruiseline websites. You have plenty of time to plan for next year, so stop feeling like you are under pressure. That's an old sales tactic.

After price, your next priority is to find a cruise that is stopping at the locations you want to see. Check out some books from your local library like Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports and/or The Alaska Cruise Handbook: A Mile-by-Mile Guide. They will give you an idea of what you can see and do at each port.

Shop around. Almost any website that books airfare and hotels has a cruise section. Remember to factor in the plane tickets when you compare prices.
posted by soelo at 9:50 AM on May 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


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