Dont Fixate On Highlights
We recall a visitor who literally cried on the train home from Denali National Park. She had come all this way to see Denali and was crestfallen when it never broke through the clouds. Paris has one Eiffel Tower, London has one Big Ben, but Alaska has dozens of mountains as awe-inspiring as Denali, and wilderness areas more beautiful than most national parks in the Lower 48. If you miss our namesakes, dont think youve missed the essence of Alaska.
If you need help planning, were here to help.
What Should I Wear On An Alaska Cruise Do I Need To Dress Up
Overall, cruises to Alaska tend to be much more casual than those to other destinations. You wont find super formal evenings on most Alaska cruises while some regular cruisers might dress up for dinner, theres no pressure to do so yourself. On the whole, the name of the game is warmth and comfort, and youll notice that Alaskans tend to dress casually and with the weather and topography in mind. Bring a nice outfit or two for dinners on the ship, but dont feel that you need to dress to impress.
My best advice for what to wear in Alaska is to dress in layers. The weather is unpredictable and can change quickly, so you should always be prepared for anything that might come your way. Layers allow you to easily add and remove clothing as needed throughout the day.
Youll also want a good waterproof jacket, sturdy boots or sneakers, and a hat and gloves in case it gets chilly, especially on the decks of the ship. That said, there are usually hot tubs on the top decks, so dont forget to bring a swimsuit so you can enjoy them!
Rainforest Canopy And Zipline Adventure
You glide above the treetops on this zipline experience on Douglas Island . And if you dare to look down, youâll also see the flora and fauna of a rainforest and the remains of an old gold mining operation.
This is a real adventure experience. You are hauled up a mountain in a 4Ã4, geared up with a harness, gloves and a helmet, and with the direction of trained guides, sent to glide down a mountain on a zipline that runs between platforms attached to the tops of trees.
The experience feels a lot like flying. You have a little control of your speed and can more or less steer yourself into the platforms. Be aware that once you are above the trees, there is no getting off the track. And just when you think, âWow, Iâve done it,â you have to rappel down a rope to reach the ground.
Also Check: Best Time For Alaskan Cruise
What Excursions Do You Want To Do
Each cruise port has a range of different excursions available at an extra cost. Some of the more common ones like floatplane sightseeing, bear-watching, whale-watching, dog sledding and fishing you can do in multiple places, but others are only available in one location.
Its worth doing a bit of research in advance to work out what you want to do as some of the most popular excursions book up fast, especially in peak season. So if theres something you particularly want to do then its a good idea to reserve a spot when you book your cruise. The pros of official cruise line excursions is that youre usually allowed off the ship first and itll wait if there are delays, but they can be pricey and sometimes have big group sizes.
Float plane in Juneau
You can also book excursions independently, either through companies like Get Your Guide or Viator, or directly with local operators. There are usually tour desks lined up at cruise ports too where you can book something last-minute too if you dont want to book ahead we did a last-minute trip to the Mendenhall Glacier from Juneau when we knew itd be a sunny day. Make sure you allow plenty of time though as the ship wont wait if youre late back.
An excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier
Should I Buy A Drink Wifi Or Other Onboard Package
Although it may seem like cruises are all-inclusive, there are actually a number of amenities that may incur an additional fee. Most ships charge extra for beverages like soda, fresh-squeezed juice, and alcohol, and WiFi is rarely included for everyone.
You can pay for some of these amenities a la carte, like purchasing a glass of wine with dinner or paying for an hour of WiFi as needed, but cruise lines also sell packages that give you unlimited access for the duration of your cruise. Whether or not those packages are worth the money, however, really depends on what you want from your cruise experience.
Personally, I encourage people to forego the WiFi packages and take the opportunity to disconnect and enjoy a technology- free vacation. That said, there are lots of reasons why you might need to have internet access on the high seas, and sometimes paying the flat rate for a package can be more economical than purchasing internet time by the hour.
My advice for drink packages is to try to estimate how many drinks youll probably have per day and see if that cost is more or less than the per-day cost of a drinks package. If, like M and me, you rarely have soda and indulge in two or three drinks at most in an evening, it likely doesnt make sense for you to purchase a full package. But if you drink more heavily, have multiple sodas per day, or just dont want to have to worry about a drinks tab at the end of your cruise, a beverage package is probably a good fit.
Also Check: Cruise To Hawaii From Los Angeles
Can You Stay Entertained
Short answer: Yes. Todays cruise ships have no shortage of onboard entertainment, from comedy acts, piano bars, cooking demos, and trivia games by the pool, to figure skating, lectures, late-night movies, Cirque du Soleil performances, concerts, and even Broadway at Sea productions. A lot of these are included in the cost of your ticket, but somelike fitness classes, spa treatments, wine tastings, IMAX movies, laser tag, escape rooms , and gamblingwill cost you extra.
Whats included aside, the question isnt if youll be entertained, but how. Designed to accommodate all passengers, cruise entertainment is far from a local experience, so if youve paid all that money to see cool destinations, youll want to deboard and get the real thing. That said, entertainment is subjective, so choose activities youll actually enjoy doing, onboard or not.
INSIDER TIPLook over the list of included entertainment and activities prior to booking your cruise. If everything you like doing costs more, consider that when evaluating the cost of your trip.
When Is The Best Time To Take An Alaskan Cruise
The Alaska cruise season runs roughly from early May to late September, with mid-June to mid-August being the high, or busiest, season. The weather tends to be warmest during those months, but youll find peak prices as well.
The weather in Alaska is incredibly unpredictable, so trying to choose the best time to visit based on average temperature and the chance of rain can be as much a gamble as placing a bet in the ships casino. Generally speaking, though, June tends to be the driest month , and August the wettest .
While you can find great deals on cruises at the very beginning and very end of the season, I dont recommend booking the first and last cruises of the year. You should be fine by late May and early September , but traveling during the beginning of May and end of September comes with some downsides. The weather is colder, for one, and some attractions, tours, and services may be unavailable due to weather or as they open or close down for the season.
For a more detailed look at the best time to visit Alaska, check out this post.
Also Check: Holiday Cruise Line Bahamas Scam
Is The Suite Worth It For You It Really Depends On:
- How much time you want to spend in your roomsome people are only in their rooms to sleep. With a suite and verandah, we spent much more time in our room. We had High Tea, watched movies, and sat on the balcony for hours.
- How comfortable you are in public spacesbecause there are some LOVELY public places all over the ship, so staying in your room is not really needed.
- Is a verandah important to you? Again, there are many places to sit and watch the views/water NOT in your room. We just prefer to be alone sometimes.
- If the verandah is important to you, do you need a big one? Because you could get the smaller verandah for much less.
- More space
- Large verandah
- Extras that come with the suite: laundry service, food delivery, concierge, luggage delivered first in/out, rooms ready first, get to have drinks with the captain, High Tea delivered daily, help with shore excursions-even if they are not through Holland America, and a long list of more.
A Private & Quiet Space On The Verandah
My husband does not enjoy traveling as much as the kids & I do, and this upgrade was mainly for him to feel more comfortable.
He is claustrophobic, needs alone time & quiet time, and he doesnt like crowds. Sometimes he doesnt even like people.
The suite turned out to be the perfect amount of room for him to feel relaxed and comfy. Not only was the room spacey enough to sit & read or lay down, but also the private verandah was large and lovely.
He spent hours and hours on the verandah, staring at the beautiful sites. Just for this reason, the suite was worth the extra massage hours I put in to pay for it.
Recommended Reading: How To Get From Southampton Cruise Terminal To London
Also Check: Cruise Lines Mobile Al
Get Ready For Your First Time On An Alaskan Cruise
Hooray! Youre about to go on an Alaskan Cruise! Want to know what its really like? Ill fill you in on all the details about my 7-day Alaskan Cruise aboard the Ruby Princess.
Ive been hearing about Alaskan cruises for years but always assumed they were for old people and all you really did was sail around and look at snow-capped mountains. I could not have been more wrong!
We originally wanted to discover Alaska but did a lot of research and found Alaska very hard to get around if you wanted to see multiple places. So we decided on a cruise as our best bet to be able to see several different areas of Alaska in one trip.
Fun Fact: The City of Juneau, which is also the capital of Alaska, can only be accessed by boat or plane. There are no roads leading in or out of Juneau crazy huh?!?
We loved our cruise so much, we are already planning a second one with the kids. So sit back and let me tell you everything you need to know about your first time on an Alaskan Cruise!
Dont forget to follow me on to get more information on your Alaskan Cruise!
Also Check: Ketchikan Dog Sledding
Skagway Best Shore Excursion
Skagway is a tiny town with a very busy cruise port! This is as far north as cruise ships go in the Inside Passage . Skagway was put on the map by the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898 and has a colorful history. In fact, the entire downtown is a national park!
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad was built during the Gold Rush and remains today as a tour for visitors and I will tell you that in my opinion this is the best shore excursion available in Southeast Alaska! There are several options for the train: you can take a round trip summit excursion right from the cruise ship dock, or you can go one way by train and one by bus giving you additional views of this stunning location. You can also do a hike from the train getting dropped off at Denver or Laughton Glacier as part of a tour.
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad gives you the unique opportunity in Southeast Alaska to get up into the mountains and inland and see a completely different climate. There are good chances to see bears and goats on this trip too! Overall I highly recommend this if you only do one shore excursionmake it this one!
Skagway also has lots of great history to explore and several excellent hikes that leave from downtown and you can easily walk to.
Recommended Reading: Best Month To Go On Alaskan Cruise
Which Cruise Line Suits You Best
A quick search for Alaskan cruises will come up with a huge amount of different cruise lines and ships even if youve narrowed down which route you want to do. The difference in ship sizes, facilities and even your fellow travellers means you can have a completely different experience depending on which you choose. But how do you pick one which suits you the best?
One of the first decisions to make is whether you want to go small or go large. Do you want a mega-ship with tons of facilities and activities on board, or something a bit smaller and low-key, which can reach places the giant ships cant go? Smaller Expedition cruise ships only carry around 60100 people and tend to be less formal, with more adventurous outdoor activities. Theyre sometimes described as cruises for people who dont like the idea of cruises.
Celebrity Eclipse docked in Juneau
Companies like National Geographic, Silversea and UnCruises small ships can access narrow fjords and small islands, get up close to wildlife, glaciers and waterfalls, and are also more flexible in their itineraries in case of bad weather. But they have much more limited facilities on board and can be bumpy in rough seas so arent so good if youre worried about seasickness. Expedition cruises also tend to be more expensive, and you dont often see discounts.
Sunset on deck
A Holland America ship sailing out of Vancouver
Alaskas unspoilt scenery
Is It Worth It To Get A Balcony On A Cruise
For some, it’s easy to decide on what stateroom to book, but for others it’s a tough decision every time. This leads to one of the most common questions we get “is getting a balcony worth it?” It’s always nice having your own private space from which to enjoy the views on your cruise, but that comes at a price – which means there are decisions to make. There is no simple answer to the question, but we’ll explain what considerations you should make when deciding whether to get a room with a view.
Remember, we’re talking about stateroom types, of which there are really only a few. You may want to read this article first to best understand the difference between stateroom types and stateroom categories.
You May Like: Carnival Ship Mobile Al
What Should I Book In Advance
Thats easy: anything you absolutely dont want to miss. Especially if youre traveling to Alaska during the high season , you dont want to take any chances that your bucket list excursions and experiences will be sold out. This is doubly true for any flightseeing tours, since those planes are small and fill up quickly.
A quick pro tip on booking flightseeing tours: try to book early in the day or early in your trip if possible. With the weather in Alaska being as variable as it is, booking earlier time slots may give you more opportunities to reschedule if your first flight happen to get canceled.
Set Aside Time To Talk
Sushi on Five
Theres no shortage of Alaskan adventures and activities for you and the kids. You will want to hear about the whole familys experiences. Mealtime, especially dinner, is the perfect occasion to discuss the day and whats coming up.
At breakfast, you might review your ships chock-full activities roster and make plans for evening entertainment.
You May Like: Cruises Leaving From Norfolk Virginia
Caribbean Vs Alaska Cruises: Which Itinerary Will I Like More
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The appeals of Caribbean cruises and Alaska cruises are night and day. One offers relaxation and fun in the sun with plenty of time splashing in the surf, snorkeling and feeling the sand squish between your toes. The other provides a glacier-filled, animal-packed adventure in what can be a chilly, if green, environment.
So which cruise is best for your next vacation? Read on for our evaluation on how these two very different routes compare.
For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPGs cruise newsletter
A New Consideration Since 2020
As many of us saw in the first part of 2020, unforeseen circumstances, while uncommon, could mean that you’re on your cruise longer than expected. In that situation you might be glad you have a more open-feeling space, as well as access to fresh air from your own room. While none of us hope to run into another quarantine siltation in the future, that too might play into your decision.
You May Like: Bus From Heathrow To Southampton Cruise Terminal
Prince William Sound 26 Glacier Cruise
Alaska is filled with ice flows. Princess offers a Prince William Sound 26 Glacier Cruise excursion out of Anchorage. Board your catamaran and sail right up to the beautiful glaciers. Witness the glaciers calve as chunks of ice break off and drop into the water. View otters, seals, sea lions, and eagles. You may be lucky enough to spot a bear or two. From your heated cabin with panoramic viewing windows, listen to your U.S. Forest Service Ranger guide narrate your day-long journey. Prices begin at $149 for the 10-hour cruise.