Cunard Cruise Line: My Family's Journey to Alaska

Advisor - Lisa Reeves
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Lisa Reeves

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Cunard Cruise Line: My Family's Journey to Alaska
Curator’s statement

In June of 2023, my husband, myself and our five sons embarked on a 10-night voyage aboard Cunard Line's elegant Queen Elizabeth out of Vancouver, BC. Cunard is known for its British heritage and Queen Elizabeth showcases this through its decor, onboard activities and traditional afternoon tea service, providing a sense of refinement and sophistication. I would certainly sail Cunard again and highly recommend it to my clients.

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Where to stay

Loden Hotel

This luxury boutique hotel located minutes from downtown Vancouver offers a quiet oasis from the city, with high-end amenities and a lauded French bistro.

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  • Breakfast daily.

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Before embarking on our 10 night cruise, our family of seven spent one night at Loden Hotel, Vancouver. This was a fantastic location located in the heart of the city and only a 12 minute walk to the Canada Place Cruise Terminal. Since we took some extra time in Vancouver before embarking, Loden Hotel was the perfect hotel for us. As one our preferred partners, we took advantage of the room upgrade, early and late check-outs, breakfast and food/beverage credits. Our five sons, ages 11-18, also appreciated the complementary bike rentals and were able to spend the day exploring the iconic Stanley Park as well as other areas of the city. If you are sailing out of Vancouver, you should consider bookending your voyage with a stay at Loden Hotel.

Cunard Cruise Line is a small fleet steeped in rich history. Cunard is a British line based in Southampton and owned by Carnival Corporation. The Queen Elizabeth is a sight to behold with its sleek, sophisticated lines and stately colors. The ship offers world-class dining, relaxing wellness and spa services, and unique onboard experiences that most American or mainstream cruise lines do not offer. Stepping on board you are surrounded by the elegance of a bygone era as you look up at the sparkling chandeliers and take in the exquisite polished marble that adorns the atrium. The staterooms combine traditional elements and modern comforts, and the plush bedding and fine linens ensured my beauty rest each night. We enjoyed the grandiose Ice White and Masquerade balls, exceptional cuisine, impeccable service staff and the boys loved finishing their evenings with less traditional deck sports games such as croquet and pickleball.

Our 10-day voyage was filled with new adventures and new experiences. We spent high tea together each day (my boys had a favorite table next to a gorgeous bay window in the Queen's Room) and enjoyed the English Pub for lunch. When you have a family of boys life can have a lot of moving parts, so sitting down together as a family in the luxury of an authentic British fine dining experience each night -the Britannia Restaurant was a special highlight of our day. My husband and I took advantage of the complementary ballroom and art classes. All of us started each morning in the gym on the Lido deck, and I attended at least one of the two yoga or pilates classes that were offered each day. These are typically available for an extra cost, but as a Fora preferred partner we enjoyed the perk of them being free of charge. Other perks were a complementary specialty dinner at Queen's Grille and champagne and mini-bar upon arrival!

In addition to the sophistication of their fleet, Cunard is also known for its diverse and creative itineraries. Our boys enjoyed exploring the rich history of the ship and discovering adventures at the ports on the itinerary.

Our first stop was Sitka, the quaint port town rich in Native Thingit and Russian influence and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and the pristine waters of the Pacific. All of the guys enjoyed a wildlife tour while I spent some solo girl time shopping, admiring the unique architecture and enjoying an Aperol Spritz or two in the charming little downtown. Skagway, a town know for its rich Gold Rush history was our next stop. We rode the White Pass & Yukon Route train, the historic railroad that runs along the original Gold Rush route taking you through scenic vistas featuring snow-capped mountains, deep gorges, and dramatic waterfalls. For a weekend at sea we admired Hubbard Glacier, the fjords of Endicott Arm, and the awe-inspiring Glacier Bay National Park which was teeming with orcas, sea lions, otters, and mountain goats to name a few. We caught The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan, a town known for its Native American history and of course totem poles, and our final port of call, Victoria, British Columbia. This picturesque city is situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and is known as the "City of Gardens." Our final adventure was boarding a Harbour Air seaplane, and took a stunning tour of the city. It was a truly special experience.

View of clock deck

No matter what port you are sailing out of, I always recommend my clients arrive at least one day before embarkation. This ensures that you will not miss your cruise, but also affords you some extra time in a port to explore. It should also be noted that there is a pretty strict dress code after 6:00 pm. The boys were in polos and slacks and of course, it gave me an excuse to pull out all of my fun dresses. In general, Alaska is a tricky destination to pack for, so be sure to inquire with your advisor about a thorough packing list. Finally, although the boys had a great time, there were hardly any other "kids" besides those of the friends were with. I would absolutely recommend Cunard, but mostly to my 55+ clients. In general, if you are going to take your family on an Alaskan cruise, there are several other cruise lines that I can recommend for you. Reach out to me and let me help you plan your epic Alaskan cruise!

Need to Know

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Alaska. In need of further inspiration? Check out Susan Anderson’s guide, 4-Day Itinerary in Seward: Alaska's Gateway to the Kenai Fjords.

Advisor - Lisa Reeves

Travel Advisor

Lisa Reeves

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