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Holland America Cruise Tours  Frequently Asked Questions

Which Cruise is best for me?     List of Categories

  • What are the Alaska cruise routes?

    There are three basic Alaska cruise routes. They are the Inside Passage route, the Glacier Discovery Alaska route, and the Seattle Roundtrip.

    • The Inside Passage route is a round-trip cruise departing from Vancouver, British Columbia. This itinerary offers spectacular viewpoints of British Columbia's coastline and visits Alaskan panhandle ports such as Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, or Haines. The main highlight of this route is a visit to one of the Glacier experiences: Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, or Sawyer Glacier.

    • The Glacier Discovery route is a one-way cruise that sails to explore more glaciers and northern viewpoints of the Great Land. This route sails between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage) or the South bound sails in the reverse direction. This itinerary also offers spectacular viewpoints of British Columbia's coastline and visits Alaskan panhandle ports such as Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Skagway.

    • The Seattle Roundtrip route is an Inside Passage cruise that sails from Seattle instead of Vancouver. This itinerary also offers spectacular viewpoints of British Columbia's coastline and visits the Alaskan panhandle ports such as Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and/or Skagway.

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  • What is the difference between the Inside Passage Cruise and a north or southbound Alaska cruise?

    The Inside Passage cruises depart from Vancouver and returns seven nights later back to Vancouver or some are Seattle to Seattle. The Northbound cruises originate in Vancouver and sail to Seward, Alaska. The Southbound cruises originate in Seward and sail South to Vancouver. Both are seven nights in duration. These are popular if you are thinking of extending your vacation with a CruiseTour, perhaps a trip to Denali National Park, Kenai National Park, Anchorage, or Fairbanks.

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  • Which cruise lines sail to Alaska?

    Some of the most familiar cruise lines in the world have ships sailing to Alaska this year. You can cruise aboard Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise West, Holland America Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International. If you are a past passenger of any of these cruise lines, please let your cruise expert know at the time of your reservation. You may qualify for additional past passenger discounts.

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  • Which Cruise Line or Ship?

    In the 2006 season, there are more than 10 cruise lines with over 30 ships cruising in Alaska, from small yacht size ships of about 100 passengers to large mega ships of over 2,500 or more sailing the Alaska waters on a scheduled basis. All of them deliver a quality product. Which one to choose depends upon your expectations.

    The small ship offers the intimate, close to nature experience, while the larger ships are floating resorts offering a large variety of activities and facilities on board thereby in themselves become the destination of your vacation. In between, the medium sized ships of approximately 1,200 passengers, offer you the best of both worlds. Holland America Cruise Line has eight ships in Alaska in 2006, more than any other cruise line. They have been cruising the Alaskan waters for 58 years, and have a superior infra-structure in place. Meaning they own their own hotels, buses, and many attractions, such as Yukon Queen, Gold Dredge #8, mv Ptarmigan at Portage Glacier. They also offer many itineraries that are exclusive. Because of the environmental sensitivity of areas such as Glacier Bay, only a small number of ships are allowed to explore this beautiful area; and because Holland America Cruise Line has been in Alaska for 58 years, they have more permits to these waters than anyone other cruise line. Which is the right ship for you? Let us know your expectations, and we will find it. We know the ships from personal experience.

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  • Do any small ships sail to Alaska?

    Small ships are a good way to see Alaska up close and without the number of people you may see on a more contemporary cruise line. In many of the remote waterways they visit, small ships are the only way to explore the area. They forsake the wider shipping lanes for channels just a few hundred feet wide, tie up to inner piers in tiny villages, and share waterways with local fishermen, and perhaps a few private yachts.

    Normally the price of small ships are considerably higher than mid-sized ships and most small cruise lines offer very limited Cruise Tours opportunities. There is an advantage of sailing on smaller or mid-sized ships in Alaska; but as always, price tends to play a role in your decision. We find that mid-sized ships allow you to find a happy median between price and advantages of smaller ships.

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  • When's the most affordable time to go to Alaska?

    There are two seasons for Alaska - Shoulder Season, Mid Season and Peak Season. Shoulder Season includes cruises in May and September. Mid Season is June and August, and Peak season is the last week in June, all of July, and the first week in August. Peak Season tends to cost more because the weather is better and that is when more people can travel. The kids are out of school and that's when folks take their family vacation. Since demand is higher, so are the prices. However, we recommend the Mid Season, which is a good compromise between price and weather. If you are traveling on a tight budget and you can travel in Shoulder Season, when demand is lower, you can take advantage of special promotions and pricing. We can offer early booking discounts if you book your cruise by the Early Booking deadlines.

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  • Do cruise lines vary in service?

    Yes. Holland America Cruise Line has been sailing the Alaskan waters the longest, are the most experienced, consistent, and customer-focused. They have just upgraded their ships with the "Signature of Excellence " Program.

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  • Can I bring my wheelchair to Alaska?

    Holland America Cruise Line will accommodate wheelchair passengers wherever possible. Many of today's modern cruise ships are built with numerous wheelchair-accessible staterooms that include wide doors and large bathrooms with roll-in showers with handrails, hand-held shower heads, and fold-down seats and stools.

    They will also do their best to accommodate wheelchairs on the Cruise Tours as well. All the rail cars used by Holland America Cruise Line are wheelchair friendly. Whenever possible, they will use motor coaches or vans equipped with lift-platforms to assist passengers in boarding and departing the coaches.

    Advance notice of wheelchair passengers is required for all travel in order to ensure appropriate accommodation. Note that while all guests are provided assistance in boarding and departing the cruise ship, motor coaches and rail segments on the land tours, passengers with disabilities must be able to travel independent of assistance in other situations or travel with a companion who is capable of providing assistance. The Cruise Company has worked with many a family in situations with handicapped individuals. Please talk to a Cruise Company Specialist about your special needs.

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  • Do you recommend spending time in Vancouver either before or after our cruise?

    Definitely! Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With Stanley Park, Gaslight District, and Chinatown, you will find there is much to do in the great city. You can also plan a trip to Victoria Island, to visit the famed Butchart Gardens, and then your sightseeing will continue for a bit of Olde England, before your ferry ride back to Vancouver. Or, you can choose Whistler Resort, whichever meets your fancy.

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