While Whitewater Rafting In Alaska Hang On
Along the way, we made leisurely stops at Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Seward, and the tiny Tlingit coastal village of Hoonah, Alaska. Russian-influenced Sitka with its unique architecture, history, beauty, and typical Alaskan geniality by itself is worth the price of the entire trip.
No way can 900 words here describe the abundance of magical moments that made up our 12-day Alaska tour. Here are three snapshots:
- While photographing from a 30-foot inflatable, six huge humpback whales got within mere feet of us, sing-songing squeaky greetings through an underwater mike. Such close-up encounters are not recommended for the faint of smell.
- In Denali National Park, a wild place larger than Massachusetts often called Americas Serengeti, Carolyn thought that shed lost me as we whitewater rafted for our first time. No paddling required. You simply hang on and enjoy the ride and occasional glimpse of moose and eagle. Id forgotten the hang on part.
- Everywhere we saw wildflowers, big as your head during a hangover, and twice as colorful. This is the land of 100-pound cabbages, remember. And with almost 24/7 summer sunshine, everything grows big as the state itself.
Round Trip Inside Passage Cruises To Alaska
Most cruise lines visit Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway on a round trip Inside Passage cruise that originates in Vancouver or Seattle. This is a good option if youre prone to seasickness as the waters of the Inside Passage are mostly calm. Usually 7-day-itineraries, these cruises offer no opportunity for pre or post cruise adventures in Alaska.
The Best Alaska Cruise For Every Type Of Traveler
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Even with a season that only runs from April through October, there are some 40 big ships and dozens of small ships cruising Alaska, making it one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world after the Caribbean and Europe.
Choices of type of ship abound from vessels carrying fewer than 100 passengers to megaships that hold thousands. Some ships stick to tried-and-true ports, following the Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska and into western Canada. Others wander deeper along the Alaska coastline to places such as the Kenai Peninsula, north to Nome and Barrow and even deep into the Bering Sea.
It can be hard to figure out which ship will deliver your idea of a bucket list experience in The Last Frontier. A lot comes down to your travel style, preferences and budget.
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The good news is theres a ship in Alaska for you no matter your taste or style. Heres a beginners guide to help you narrow down your choices.
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Six Popular Ports Of Call On Alaskan Family Cruises
Alaska is vast and is home to some of the most breathtaking and untouched natural wonders, including volcanoes, glaciers, shorelines, and wildlife. A cruise to Alaska should be considered incomplete if you fail to explore the interior and the ports of call along the route. That said, these are six of the most popular ports of call on Alaskan family cruises:
Best For Megaresort Fans
Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean both sail some of their largest ships in Alaska. They are floating megaresorts, carrying thousands, and big on amenities, glitz and a certain amount of glamor think flashy casinos, Broadway shows, lavish spas. Dining and drinking venues number in the dozens, while amusement park features thrill the kids and adrenaline-seekers.
On Norwegians Breakaway-Plus-class ships, you can race along a go-kart racetrack, complete in outdoor laser tag and zoom down slides at the water park. On Royal Caribbeans Quantum-class ships, you can order a drink from a robotic bartender, try simulated sky diving or surfing experiences and take a ride in a glass capsule that travels high above your ship on a mechanical arm a weird and wonderful way to see the Alaska scenery.
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These supersized ships stick to tried-and-true weeklong itineraries, sailing round trip from Seattle to such ports as Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka, Icy Strait Point and Victoria, B.C. Many Norwegian sailings spend time in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Ships that dont visit the national park, regardless of cruise line, will call at other exciting tidewater glaciers.
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Things To Look Out For When Booking Cruises For Seniors
Importance of cruise travel insurance for seniors
Any holiday comes with its risks and when you consider the points above like onboard and port accessibility, shore excursions and the destinations visited combined with the possibility of limited mobility and other pre-existing health conditions that come with age, its important to make sure that youre covered should anything not go according to plan.
Once youve booked your cruise, make sure to consider seniors travel insurance policies for cruises to find a plan thats best suited for your needs and destination.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Some British seniors looking to cruise may only want to sail from the UK. With Fred. Olsen, there are eight convenient ports of call to pick from, ranging from the ever-popular Southampton and neighbouring Tilbury to those further north such as Liverpool and Newcastle. This means theres no need for the hassle of flights and the airport queues or luggage hauling that comes with them.
Onboard a Fred. Olsen ship, mature cruisers can enjoy activities and entertainment that caters to them. Daily programmes include engaging experiences and insightful demonstrations such as painting, cooking, and dancing all of which are perfect for breaking the ice with fellow passengers.
Dancing even involves gentleman hosts in the evenings so single ladies can always rely on having a dance partner. Accommodation on board all four of Fred. Olsens ships include options for solo cruises, which have no single supplement when booked.
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Small Expedition Ship Alaska Adventures Are Fun Too
If youve cruised in Alaska before, or if you prefer waking up to the quiet of a bay in the Inside Passage, UnCruise offers a different take on an Alaska cruise vacation with choices that fit both moderate and luxury travel budgets.
Alan and I enjoyed an UnCruise small ship adventure focused on outdoor activities while exploring the bays, fjords and glaciers of Alaska. You wont find many ports on UnCruise itineraries with the exception of a few smaller ones like Wrangell and Petersburg. The adventure cruise line uses and Ketchikan as embarkation and disembarkation ports.
Silversea expedition ships offer a luxurious adventure option. Some itineraries cruise in and out of Nome with routes that explore Dutch Harbor, Far-east Russian ports and Wrangell Island.
How To Book Your Cruise
When it comes to choosing and booking a cruise, I recommend that you speak with a specialist who will take the time to help you find a cruise that meets all of your requirements. And who will get you a great deal!
If you prefer a river cruise or a luxury cruise with Regent Seven Seas or Viking Ocean, then I recommend that you speak to a cruise connoisseur at Panache Cruises. Nothing is too much trouble for them and I promise that your experience is in safe hands with them. You can get a free quote here.
If you dont have a huge budget and want to set sail with Halland America Line, Cunard, Fred. Olsen, Princess Cruises or any of the other mainstream cruise lines, then I recommend that you . Ive booked over 20 cruises with Cruise118 myself and they always do a great job, as well as offering a best price guarantee!
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Top 5 Cruise Lines For Single Seniors
There’s no reason to miss out on a wonderful cruise holiday just because you dont have someone to travel with. Single cruising is becoming an increasingly popular way of travelling and a great way to meet new people, see new sites and get out of your comfort zone.
Here are the top 5 cruise lines that cater for single seniors.
Celebrity Cruises: Key West Grand Cayman And Mexico
Cost: Starting at $40 USD per person/night
Celebrity Cruises six-night Western Caribbean Cruise departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and stops in three ports of call: Key West, Florida George Town, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. This affordable cruise includes accommodations, entertainment and activities, as well as onboard meals, limited beverages and prepaid gratuities.
Dining options onboard the ship include Italian, French and casual cuisine, while daytime activities give senior travelers plenty to do, including bocce ball and spa treatments. The ship features three pool bars, one outdoor coffee bar, and a variety of lounges and nightclubs.
Seniors traveling with Celebrity Cruises might also enjoy the onboard casino, which features blackjack, slot tournaments, craps and roulette, as well as a broad range of on-ship shops. Furthermore, cruise guests can take in nightly shows that include comedy acts, outdoor movies, interactive game shows and musicals.
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Are There Things To Consider When Booking Senior Citizen Cruises
There are a few things that will make cruising as a senior a safe, hassle-free, and enjoyable experience.
Start by looking at a ships accommodations and see if they fit your specific needs, desires, and interests.
The Retreat® is our all-inclusive luxury vacation experience perfect for guests looking for the best accommodations, amenities, and service.
For spa lovers, AquaClass staterooms feature spa-inspired amenities and are located close to our onboard spa. AquaClass guests receive unlimited access to the Sea Thermal Suite or the Persian Garden, depending on the ship.
Receive an extra personal touch with our Concierge Class staterooms, which include extra perks like personalized concierge service and an exclusive destination seminar.
Review the ships deck plans, which will show you stateroom categories, locations, and configurations, dining venues, amenities such as pools, sundecks, and hot tubs, designated adult-only areas, social gathering spaces, spa and fitness facilities, and more.
Reviewing the deck plan will allow you to choose the best stateroom thats close to an elevator for less walking, or a stateroom in an area thats closest to where youll spend the most time aboard, such as the pool deck, the spa and fitness area, or dining venues.
The Best Cruises For Seniors: Explore Hawaii Australia Alaska & More
There’s something to be said about the newfound freedom the proverbial golden years can afford a seasoned traveler. With retirement on the horizon, you’ll have more time to travel and see all the incredible destinations you’ve dreamed about visiting without the usual restrictions that come with limited vacation days and paid time off. Norwegian Cruise Line can take you where you want to be now that you have the freedom and flexibility to get there.
And, thankfully, now is the ideal time to book your cruise. So check off that bucket list, start dreaming about your next stop on the globe, and discover some of the best cruises for seniors with Norwegian.
Ready to start planning? Explore all of Norwegian’s Cruises for Seniors.
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When Is The Best Time To Take An Alaskan Cruise
We prefer cruising to Alaska in the fall toward the end of the season. Youll escape insects and crowds on an autumn visit, but shoppers may find that boutiques and gift stores are either closed already or offering limited merchandise.
Spring is another good time for an Alaskan cruise, with the promise of drier weather and fewer crowds . In both fall or springknown as shoulder seasondiscounted fares are a possibility.
Of course if youre traveling on a multi-generation Alaskan cruise, with work and school schedules to accommodate, summer may be your only choice. This is when an UnCruise adventure makes especially good sense for those traveling with tweens and above, since the line skips typical ports in favor of helping you experience wild Alaska.
No matter which line you choose, expect rainier weather on a summer Alaska cruise, especially in July and August.
Just How Much Colder Is Alaska In May Or September
While July is the warmest month, dont expect sweltering temperatures or lounging by the pool. Even on a sunny day, it seldom reaches more than the mid 60s.
On an overcast day, the breeze coming off a glacier can make it downright bone chilling.
As I recall, my first purchase was a parka when we arrived in Ketchikan. That was in late June! My thought is if you need to bundle up anyways, does a few degrees make much of difference?
As you can see, the average highs and lows in May and September are several degrees cooler than in July. This means dressing accordingly, particularly for early mornings and evenings.
Another aspect is the almost 18 hours of daylight. While a novelty at first, it can also mess up getting a decent nights sleep.
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Best Large Ship Cruise: Royal Caribbean International
Dry docked in 2021 for a routine refurbishment, this Quantum Class ship holds 4,905 passengers and truly offers something for everyone.
Recreational activities like a flowrider surf simulator, iFly skydiving simulator, and rock climbing wall, high-tech virtual balcony views, and North Star, a glass observation capsule that rises 300 feet above sea level for birds eye views
Luxury shopping options, such as Cartier, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors
Adventure Ocean Kids Programs
A robot will code your favorite cocktails at the Bionic Bar
Formal nights with dress code
The best part about a mega-ship, like the Ovation of the Seas? Its literally impossible to be bored given the number of things there are to do, eat, and explore. For instance, there are 16 dining options , 10 bars and lounges, myriad activities and shows, a spa and fitness center, pool tables, and table tennis. Add to that guest lectures, outdoor movie nights, live music, an arcade and casino, theme nights, bumper cars, archery, and dance and sushi-making classes. Heck, you might just need a vacation after this vacation!
Interior staterooms are budget-friendly options with plenty of space and thoughtful touches, or you can upgrade to ocean view, balcony, or suite categories for some extra perks . And theres no better spot for taking in Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier than the North Star observation deck.
How Much Cheaper Is May Or September
You might be able to save as much as 30% by traveling in May or September.
When demand is lower, cruise lines generally offer incentives to fill cabins. This could be a reduced rate, free upgrade or inclusion of other offerings such as a beverage plan, specialty dining or ship board credits.
If youre new to cruising, you might be interested in our article, Are Cruises Worth It. It goes into more detail on whats included and some of the hidden costs.
Another added benefit of traveling during the shoulder season is therell be less crowds.
Seldom will there be long line ups or sold-out tours. Sometimes, the rates are even reduced. By the time the school year ends in late June, everything starts getting busier.
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Gulf Of Alaska Cruises
Gulf of Alaska cruises usually run from Vancouver to Seward/Whittier or vice versa. Ports typically include Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan with a day in the Inside Passage. Youll either fly into or out of Anchorage depending on the itinerary. And youll have the opportunity for land adventures either pre or post cruise.
Because the ship leaves the protection of the Inside Passage, you may experience rougher seasor not. If you do, heres my favorite sea sickness remedy.
Alan and I give the nod to Alaskan cruises that include Sitkaeasy to explore on your ownand Kodiak Islandwe went hikingtwo of our favorite Alaska ports.
Most of the small, luxury cruise lines offer Sitka as a port as well as Holland American and Celebrity. Cruises that stop at Kodiak Island are harder to find and are usually part of a trans-Pacific cruise.
All Alaska cruises offer scenic cruising in addition to the Inside Passage. Look for itineraries that include a day in Glacier Bay National Park . Visiting Hubbard Glacier, College Fjord or Tracy Arm are other scenic cruise day options worth considering.
Im seeing Victoria, Prince Rupert, and Icy Straight , appearing on some cruises to Alaska. Keep this in mind if youre looking for new-to-you experiences on a second, third or even fourth cruise in Alaska.
Boomer Travel Tip
Check for best Alaska cruise prices here.
What Is The Best Option To See Alaska
A cruise ship is the best option to see Alaska as youll visit coastal towns and cities such as Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. From the comfort of your ship, youll experience the stunning pristine beauty of Alaska and all its wildlife.
Options to visit Alaska include traveling by land, sea or air. According to the Alaska Tourism Agency, over half of all visitors arrive by cruise ship.
In 2018, 1,169,000 visitors arrived on cruise ships. In contrast, 760,100 arrived by air and 97,200 by ferry or highway. Based on these facts, cruise ships are the most popular way of visiting the 49th state.
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