So, I'm not new to cruising, but we've only done Caribbean cruises and a Mediterranean cruise and Alaska seems to be so much more complicated for some reason. I think it's because we will likely only ever do it once (my husband prefers warm weather itineraries) and I want to be sure to see everything in one trip. If you've done multiple trips or know a lot about Alaska cruises and tours, I would greatly appreciate your insight and suggestions for a once-in-a-lifetime trip for my family.
Here are our specifics:
1. Myself and husband (in our 40's) and our 2 kids who will be 13 & 16-ish when we travel and possibly my mother would travel with us. We will want two cabins, one balcony for sure but we wouldn't mind spending a bit more on a suite that fits us all and if it would make sense financially to do that.
2. We usually sail Royal Caribbean but have heard that Princess is better for Alaska.
3. Likely we'll want to do a land tour first and then southbound Alaska cruise - but could be talked into something different if there's a good reason.
4. We prefer not to drive around for the land tour or plan every detail and individual tour out ourselves. I like tours that are pre-planned with guides and/or planned itineraries. We are active enough to do physical excursions, but not super outdoorsy/hikers. So while we want to see nature and that's the point of the trip, we don't necessarily need the most exhausting physical tours out there. Likewise, we don't want to be on tours with the older crowd that can't make it up hills. :p I saw the railway land tours with the glass dome top that RCI offers and REALLY love that idea for part of the trip, maybe. But there just seem to be so.many.options!!!
5. Kids like to do activities on the ship and we generally cruise on the larger ships, but I'm assuming we won't necessarily need that many activities onboard because the destinations are more important?? Are the larger ships itineraries not as good as the smaller ships due to the places they can't access in Alaska??
Basically - How do you pick an itinerary and cruise line? I priced out a 12 night land/sea tour on RCI when we were on board last week in the Bahamas and it was around $15K. :o That was a bit shocking to me, but I don't know what's average for land/sea Alaska.
Thank you to anyone who can give me some insight. I'll continue reading reviews on this forum, but they are only serving to confuse me more at this point. lol