BLYTH - Answered a Question by simpson (14 Nov 08 14:00)

It is a little bit cooler where you are going but a balcony will still be great to give you your own space to take some photographs/video of the fabulous sights you will see, so yes but clearly there will be few days when you will be out there sitting having your breakfast. We love balconies and won't now book a ccruise unless we can get a balcony. Sorry can't offer much help with the excursions but we do like to book before we go, if we did change our mind then transfer to another one or take a refund so long as you don't wait to long to cancel.

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Whittle - Answered a Question by simpson (14 Nov 08 14:27)

Like Blyth, we won't book a cruise unless we can get a balcony - we just enjoy that extra space. I am sure that on an Alaskan cruise, with all that wonderful scenery a balcony would be beneficial. We have also been considering Alaska and on our last Princess cruise in September we attended a presentation by the Future Cruise Consultant. Her advice was landtour first and then relax on the cruise. The presentation was excellent and the lodges/hotels that they use on the landtours looked first class.

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Setter - Answered a Question by simpson (14 Nov 08 15:34)

The Alaskan scenery is spectacular and in my opinion a balcony is an absolute MUST on this cruise.Like Whittle and Blyth(sorry, if I have made you sound like a firm of Solicitors) we too would not cruise anywhere any time without a balcony, but if you are going to go for a balcony anywhere, it should be Alaska!So far as excursions are concerned we felt the "float-plane" trips were worth doing(we did 2 and really enjoyed both, though if you are nervous of v. small planes they may not be for you; on one occasion we were in a 4 seater) The White Pass and Yukon Railway trip from Skagway is worth doing a) for its fun value and b) for the spectacular scenery and we also regard a whale watching trip as unmissable. We did ours from Sitka and saw lots of whales and also loads of other wild-life e.g.sea-otters and bald eagles.In Juneau, the Mendenhall glacier is pretty good, but dont bother with the ship's shore excursion--you can do it by local bus(yellow school buses!) very cheaply and stay at the glacier for as long or as brief a time as you wish. Hope this is of some help. Cynthia.

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Sim - Answered a Question by simpson (14 Nov 08 16:24)

Having done the land tour after the cruise on my trip in 2007 I would recommend land tour first, then cruise, also a couple of nights in Vancouver or Seattle whichever is your destination port.

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Smith - Answered a Question by simpson (17 Nov 08 17:40)

We did Alaska on Sapphire Princess this June/July, with a Rocky Mountaineer pre tour. Both were spectacular! It was so good that we want to do the Rockies again with more time, Lake Louise!!!! All the Alaskan scenery is spectacular but the glaciers in Glacier Bay & College Fiord are awesome and you do need a Balcony to get your photos away from the crowds at the rail on deck: the sunrises are also fantastic! One of our highlights was a dog sled ride on the Mendenhall Glacier, accessed by helecopter; you do need to pre book this. If you just want to view the towns and their localities it is cheaper and very easy under your own steam however, if you want to see bears, whales, etc I think you do need to book trips, those on the dock are cheaper but fewer; it depends upon whether or not you want to risk being dissapointed. I hope this helps, have a great time. John.

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simpson - Answered a Question by simpson (18 Nov 08 11:59)

Thanks to you all...we have now booked with 2 night precruise at seattle and start tour at Fairbanks. Flying from heathrow 29/05/2009. Thanks again Ken and Pam Simpson.

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cassidy - Answered a Question by simpson (26 Nov 08 19:38)

Defo do the land tour before 6 day rockies pre cruise and yes balony well worth the extra good for whale watching and getting a good view for glaciers.

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Forrester - Answered a Question by simpson (09 Jan 09 09:20)

Suggest you book the land tour first and then relax on the cruise - we did fly drive from Calgary to Vancouver via Banff & Jaspar in early September - scenery was awesome and still lots of snow even in September . Glacier Walking on the Columbia Icefield is a must do . A balcony is not absolutely necessary in my view - plenty of areas to sit and view the spectacular scenery inside and out . Take layers and water proofs it can be cool and wet even in the Summer . Trips - crusied with NCL - so consider Eagle Spotting at Ketchikan ( small boat trip with excellent guide & naturalist - breakfast included ) Ultimate Yukon Experience in Skagway - coach trip into Yukon Territory and return to Skagway via White Pass Raliway - Spectaular scenery and informative tour guides again lunch included - lots of picture stops. I guess that all the cruise lines do something . similar . In Juneau - worth doing your own thing as it is a bigger place and you dock close to the shops and attractions - lots of options at less money .

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