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Thread: Alaska

  1. #41

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Wow! HAL cruise... You do know that, according to all I read, this is usually one of the most ex cruise of the lot (which is why 1st class service :P)... I am now curious of how much you had spent. Yike, formal wear, I hate bring it when the other 2/3 of the trips I will not be using it... Hmm... Maybe on this cruise it's a must, while the others are not?!?!? Was the temperature cold over there at this time?

    So how long is longer lens that you are talking about? The longest is the 200mm reach of my 18-200mm lens. Is that enough or should I start going for a 300, 400 or 600mm lens? :P

    Looking forward to viewing your photos...

    Ok, so there are people who was on Princess cruises and HAL, anyone went on the Royal Caribbean one?
    Well, you only live once.....so might as well treat yourself As for the cost...let's just say that it was not too EX. You can look out for promo fares on HAL website. They are highlighted in red for particular staterooms when you go into the specific cruise dates. Temperature wise, it was OK....June is a nice time for Alaska - cold but not too cold, around 8-12 degrees. We had a bit of light rain. Just showers....not like the thunderstorms we get in Singapore! Bring a light rain jacket or windbreaker that you can put over your other warm clothing or use an unbrella when you're wandering around the port of calls. Lenses......I used my 16-85VR as a walkaround lens but I also carried my 100-300VR which I found adequate unless you're going for some pro wildlife shots like in National Geographic or something Any longer and you should be thinking about tripods etc too.

  2. #42

    Default Re: Alaska

    Hmm... I only have 12-24, 50 and 18-200VR lens... I am wondering if I need to get something else to improve the zoom - From what I see in KS Kong's photos, I think I need a bit more zoom which I don't have...

    Hey, do you still to put aside some cash for the daily tipping in the cruise? I remember one of them has already include that in the pricing but I cannot remember which one.

    Anyone selling their zoom lens?

  3. #43

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Hmm... I only have 12-24, 50 and 18-200VR lens... I am wondering if I need to get something else to improve the zoom - From what I see in KS Kong's photos, I think I need a bit more zoom which I don't have...

    Hey, do you still to put aside some cash for the daily tipping in the cruise? I remember one of them has already include that in the pricing but I cannot remember which one.

    Anyone selling their zoom lens?
    HAL automatically includes a daily tip (calculated per traveller, per day) in their final stateroom bill so you don't have to tip in cash. I spoke to some of my fellow travellers (some Canadians and some Americans) and not everyone agrees with this policy and the amount that is automatically added to your bill. The good thing is you have the option to cancel this tip or reduce the amount if you are not happy with the service or think it's too much. The not-so-good thing is that you have to do it in person at the ship's Front Office. I know some americans who cut the tip by half because they did not get good service in their staterooms. Very typical of them - they don't mind tipping for good service but they are also very fast to cut the tip if they feel service was not up to standard. I'm ok with the tipping culture but I don't like the fact that HAL adds it AUTOMATICALLY. I'll tip but I want to be the one who decides how much to tip - that's just me.

    Lenses - wide it good for capturing the ports and towns so bring your 12-24. Tele is neccessary for simple wildlife shots so bring your 18-200VR. A fast 50mm lens is not really useful as there's plenty of available light - we had almost 22hrs of daylight on most days in Alaska in June. As for buying a longer lens, well if you can afford it and are willing to carry the weight then go ahead. If not then just use the 200 end of your zoom and crop later.

  4. #44

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Sir.. I am drooling...

    I got to ask this - What makes you decide to go with their cruisetour instead of just the cruise and how do you find the whole trip?

    Because some of the sights need to explore by inland, like Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. So we decided to go for the cruisetours. A combination of cruise vacation and land tour (Since pay some mush for the airfare, and fly for almost 19 hour, of course to the greatest extent to cover more area.), you can do the cruise before or after the land tour.

    We do the booking at Nov 2009 with Royal Caribbean, you can book online or with Local agents. For the Airline/ Tickets also you can book it you self or with the Local agents. (Internet booking will be more economical for both)

    Royal Caribbean cruisetours is a very Relaxed Way to travel, from airport Pick up to the baggage handling, everything in perfect order, you only need to do is eat, drink, play and plan you own excursion tour (At your own expense). everything else they can manage.

    TIP: If you like to shoot wildlife, especially bears and eagles, it is best to go in August, it is salmon spawning season, you can easily capture bears or eagles catching fish.

    Cruisetours website:
    http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findac...etours/home.do

  5. #45

    Default Re: Alaska

    Ok, trying to compare the different cruiser (ship), so... To all who took the cruises - Princess, HAL, Royal Caribbean - How do you find it: -
    1) room (and which did you chose - the "no view", window, balcony, or suite)
    2) food
    3) Shore itineary (need to pay a lot extra for this???)
    4) service

    Finally ratio to the amt you have paid, how would you rate it?

    Hmm.. So if I go for the RC's cruisetour, and then take the rockies tour... Wah.. at least 20 days of leave to take and not sure how much $$$ will be needed for this trip...

  6. #46

    Default Re: Alaska

    My wife and i did a "budget" tour of Alaska back in Summer 2000.. but it's never cheap in Alaska during summer and we spent most days camping out in a tent... Denali NP is a must for wildlife.. had a close encounter with 3 grizzlies, saw a red fox roaming at one of the VC and a bear chasing deer on the plains... if budget is not an issue, Cruise West is a good one for small boat cruise of the inner passage, you can get up close to the fjords and glaciers..

  7. #47

    Default Re: Alaska

    Yes, read about Cruise West (and other of this type). Not in the radar - not unless I got a big windfall. This trip, without using these specialist type of ship, is already estimated to be around 7K, including all the spending $$$, is huge hit on the pocket.

    That's an interesting trip to camp, but unfortunately with elderly from Singapore, this is not an option.

  8. #48

    Default Re: Alaska

    You need to find a travel agent specializing in cruises to Alaska. I dont believe there are any in Singapore. Specialist, I meant those who do nothing but Alaskan cruises.
    deadpoet
    my portfolio

  9. #49

    Default Re: Alaska

    I think there are some small ones, I do learn of this from a specialised travel company in SG, courtesy of someone else. However, lately their area does not include Alaska, I suppose the other tour agencies (yes, some do sell cruise tours) are moving into this area, so they look for other exotic areas to offer to their customers.

    However, if we do decide on Royal Caribbean, we could just head to their office and get them to help with it (that's what my big boss did to go for his Mediterranean cruise trip)... Not sure about the others.

  10. #50

    Default Re: Alaska

    depending on what you want, you can actually take their ferry system, Alaska Marine Highway system.. I was thinking of doing it this summer, but could not afford the time..

  11. #51

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Ok, trying to compare the different cruiser (ship), so... To all who took the cruises - Princess, HAL, Royal Caribbean - How do you find it: -
    1) room (and which did you chose - the "no view", window, balcony, or suite)
    2) food
    3) Shore itineary (need to pay a lot extra for this???)
    4) service

    Finally ratio to the amt you have paid, how would you rate it?

    Hmm.. So if I go for the RC's cruisetour, and then take the rockies tour... Wah.. at least 20 days of leave to take and not sure how much $$$ will be needed for this trip...
    I'll answer based on my recent experience on HAL -
    1. Room - we booked a starboard room with a balcony. Starboard is generally cheaper than port side for obvious reasons - a port side room will face the port when the ship is in dock enabling a better view. We found the balcony really useful for getting fresh air or just popping out to view the scenery. In my opinion, "no view" might feel a little claustrophobic.

    2. Food - all day buffet dining was excellent with good variety and few "recycled" menu items. You can even order room service FOC. The set menu dining room was also very good and very popular. If you did not make reservations, you'll be seated at a table which you have to share with your fellow travellers - it's a pretty good way to meet people and make friends. On HAL cruises, you must try the Pinnacle Grill at least once. There's a US$20 per person extra charge but the food is heavenly. Reservations and formal wear is a must.

    3. Shore excursions - very well planned and organised with various local tour agencies. If you booked the excursions with HAL beforehand, the tour organisers will already have your names and be waiting for you at the appointed time.

    4. Service - as I mentioned before, I received first class service all the way but some of my fellow cruise mates complained that the service in their rooms was not that good. It depends on the staff serving your floor I guess. On HAL, everyday you get a whole stack of bulletins detailing the next day's activities both onboard and in port (where applicable). There's info on what games are being organised, health talks, ship tours (kitchen and control room etc), onboard art appreciation tours, wine tours etc. There's a lot of things to be involved in for free if you want to or you can just do your own thing.

    OK final score - based on what I paid, I think we received really good value for money on the whole cruise. No major headaches or problems, excellent food and a very relaxing atmosphere all round. I'd score it 8.5 out of 10.

  12. #52

    Default Re: Alaska

    Thanks yatsunil.

    Wah... Need formal wear for the Grill? How formal - You need coat-tail? :P
    Looks like HAL does stuff pretty grandly eh?

    Oh, I forgot to add - I will be bring my gear (all of them as always - that's my traveling kit!) - Might squeeze in the borrowed netbook as well.

  13. #53

    Default Re: Alaska

    Just borrowed a cruise & port of call book from library... I have never thought there are books on such things... I guess I was wrong. Only issue, it's 2007. Wonder what may have changed from then...

    So far, it seems either Celebrity or Royal Caribbean is in front, unless Regent comes in cheaper than what I read... HAL & Princess are next...

    Canadian Rockies is also now comng in to see what can be offered with the cruise... Slowly but steady, creeping up with decisions...

  14. #54

    Default Re: Alaska

    Alaska is the largest state of the United States by area; it is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia
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  15. #55

    Default Re: Alaska

    Sorry, your point is???

  16. #56

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Just borrowed a cruise & port of call book from library... I have never thought there are books on such things... I guess I was wrong. Only issue, it's 2007. Wonder what may have changed from then...

    So far, it seems either Celebrity or Royal Caribbean is in front, unless Regent comes in cheaper than what I read... HAL & Princess are next...

    Canadian Rockies is also now comng in to see what can be offered with the cruise... Slowly but steady, creeping up with decisions...
    2007 data is historic in terms of the crusie industry.

    Dont just go on price. Diff ships catrer to diff taste, crowd and that shuld be your main focus.

    sent you a link.
    deadpoet
    my portfolio

  17. #57

    Default Re: Alaska

    Deadpoet, thanks for the link. Will have a look at it... Er, no I was looking at the pricing, was looking at ships and crowd and where they are heading. Yes, 2007 is historic, but it gives some ideas; The note on Regent is that I have about it, and it sounded good, but just that it's considered as ultraluxury category, not the mainstream category - so the mention on pricing.

    The issue is, if it is only me, I think I would have been able to settle the deal on the cruise very easly... Problem is, according to my knowledge, it's now a 8 pax trip... A bit hard to close the deal at this time when they don't see why they need to make decision now when the trip is next year... Still have to look at the Canadian Rockies part of it as well...

  18. #58

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by gnohz View Post
    Nothing serious, just that we couldn't get the timing for the tour that we wanted (eg cruise tour at seward) so we have to go with something else. Alaska is extremely popular and people interested normally do their research around half a year before ^^;
    I'm not sure how soon the sailing dates will be out, but we were a little late in planning So make sure, you read about what you can do, where you want to go, how many days you want to spend, discounts and prices etc. We took about a month for our itinerary, and changed it about 3 times due to various constraints.
    Bro, you back from Alaska? How did it go?

    On side note, RCCL website seems to have some promo for next year's cruise.. Time to mull over them!

  19. #59

    Default Re: Alaska

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpc View Post
    Bro, you back from Alaska? How did it go?

    On side note, RCCL website seems to have some promo for next year's cruise.. Time to mull over them!
    Hey Bro,
    Sorry didn't update. Yeah, I'm back!! It was a crazy and wonderful 1-month. We went with Diamond Princess and sailed a week from Alaska to Vancouver, then went to Rockies from there. I can't believe that I took so many photos....had many wonderful moments with the wildlife there and also the breathtaking landscapes.

    I haven't had time to do a detailed writeup yet (hope to do it soon!) but I picked some shots and posted them up. If you have some time, feel free to check them out at this facebook page and at Truphotos under gallery.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask me anytime!
    Last edited by gnohz; 30th August 2010 at 11:48 AM.

  20. #60

    Default Re: Alaska

    Thanks Bro... Will check it out.. been busy lately.

    But today I went to NATAS Fair at Expo, and it seems some companies has not got their pricing in yet, while there are 2 tour groups already had their pricing done and phew... It's getting more ex to go Alaska!!! Just the trip along with a 7 -8 days cruise, depending on which one you go, is around 8K or more!!!! It seems the airlines are increasing their flight prices, and so are the cruise lines!!!

    Interestingly, the ones with all pricing in are using Princess Cruise - One is on Diamond Princess, which is the North/South bound type of cruising (from Vancouver or Seward), the other on Golden Princess which is the Inside Passage with Glacier Bay type of cruising (round trip from Seattle)...

    Anyone has any comment on the 2 different cruise? Which cruise is better?!?!?

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