Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Alaska Last Minute

Often people talk about last minute cruising but it really isn't possible.  For most people you need to travel to the departure port and for that you require a bit of advance notice.  Also most ships are sold out well before a cruise nowadays.  Not to mention that the manifest of the passengers is require way in advance and ships usually cut off sales about four days prior. 

In May I knew I had two great friends who were on the Diamond, Peter John as Captain Circle Host and Ciska Smit who I really wanted to see.  The Diamond was going to be doing a round trip Alaskan cruise out of Vancouver (the only one of the season).  Now those that know me know I like Alaska but it isn't on my preferred spots to cruise as I would rather visit warmer, more foreign ports.  Plus I live in British Columbia, I see eagles, bears, mountains, ice often.

So when the price was too good to pass up I had to find a friend to go with.  Bernie was going to be out of town in Cape Breton visiting his family so I message numerous friends trying to find someone.  Was just about to give up when an acquaintance of mine that I use to work with -- Tracey -- said she would go.  Perfect!

We booked an obstructed ocean view cabin on Emerald deck for a great price.  The trip was booked 17 days prior to sailing.  Which was just in time to put in my stock benefit request, which requires two weeks notice.

The cruise itself was wonderful, and to spend time with my friends on board and to meet new friends, like Theresea and Dana made the trip GREAT.

For the ports I had planned nothing.  Since this was an extra trip I didn't want to spend too much money on fancy tours. 

In Juneau Peter, Ciska and myself went to the Red Dog Saloon and had our duck fart and then we went to a few stores and bars and had a fun time, but boy I am not as young as I use to be.

In Skagway I was really tired this day, I didn't sleep well the night prior and was up at 4 am.  Originally I had planned to head out with friends but when I knew I needed a nap or else I would be too grumpy I told them to head out without me.  Later in the day I walked into town and visiting the National Park office to watch a great video and then participated in the free walking tour of the town.  Learned quite a bit and enjoyed the fact that I was participating in a walking tour with a local.  After the tour I wandered and took lots of pictures and then stopped and had a nice sandwich and cupcake at a recommended stop.

For Ketchican Ciska and I had planned to go for a meal of crab with some of the other crew members.  The food was okay and the place was packed and boy you can sure get your fill of crab here.  After lunch I wandered the town looking for the infamous pottery store that I visited a few years back.  I found the exact  location but today it is a book store!  I asked the owner if she knew where the pottery store went, she pointed me in the direction but there was no pottery store anywhere nearby.   Later I wandered thru some of the stores near the pier but they were all so crowded that I just couldn't wait to get out of there. 

I will also comment that I qualified for the Most Travelled Passenger Luncheon, the first time ever.  I have 247 days and I was the 8th most travelled passenger on the ship.  Tracey came with me and we had a lovely meal, but again I felt bad that Bernie couldn't be a part of it too.

In all the trip was a nice break away and was so nice to spend time with friends I hadn't seen in awhile.  But one thing I learned I never want to sail without my Bernie again.  We both love cruising and we both enjoy each other's company so much.  Every night even though I had lots of people to hang out with and was rarely alone I missed my life partner.


  1. Hi Vickie! Love your blog! Where do you look for the best last min cruise deals!? Is there a website you've used that really is a deal and not a bunch of hype where you can book a good ship and a room that you want for a good price?
    @GwynethJones - The Daring Librarian

    1. Hi The Daring Librarian.... hmmm that is a difficult question but I will try and answer. If you can do last minute the best cruises are ones close to your home port. For us that is Vancouver/Seattle. I often book last minute cruises - note last minute in the cruise industry is probably considered six weeks or less before sailing. Yes you can find deals, but you will probably not get great selection of cabins. Many cruises often go up and up the closer you sail. High demand cruises with not many ships going to that area sell out quickly so we book early, sometimes even a year and a half early.

      For Alaska, the best deals are found in the shoulder season, late April, May and early June then again in September. Weather can be iffy but the deals can be found.

      Where do i find these deals. Well my travel agent is amazing. And I always recommend you book with an agent. My agent sends email deals out continually. I also sign up with the cruise line. In this case Princess and they send out deals too. On my cruise personalizer with Princess I also state I am interested in last minute deals for my area. So they send me them. When I see something good on Princess' page I then check with my agent who can always get the same deal or better.

      Have fun. Happy cruising