Alaskas 2021 Cruise Season Looks To Be Back On
Courtesy of Holland America Line
Holland America Line is one of several cruise lines that has already opened up bookings for Alaska sailings this summer.
New legislation offers significant hope, and cruise lines are already announcing plans to begin sailings in July.
Alaska officials have been heavily pushing for a return of cruising this summer. The U.S. Congress has heard the call and by unanimous consent has now given the green light to a bill that could make that dream a reality. Assuming President Joe Biden signs the bill into law, cruises could start bringing thousands of passengers to Alaska on a weekly basis beginning in July.
The legislation approved by Congress on May 20 temporarily waives the Passenger Vessel Services Act allowing cruise ships sailing from Seattle to bypass Canada. The PVSA, which dates to the 1880s, is a law that otherwise requires foreign-flagged ships sailing from the United States to visit another country before returning to the U.S. The majority of larger cruise lines operate foreign-flagged ships. So, in order to be able to sail in Alaska, they need to also make port stops in Canada. Therein lies the problem: Canada has banned larger cruise ships from sailing until February 2022 due to the pandemic, thus big ship cruising in Alaska has been effectively off the table for 2021 as welluntil now.
It remains to be seen whether some of the more boutique luxury cruise lines will announce Alaska itineraries in the coming days and weeks, too.
Tips For Alaska Communities
The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in Fairbanks, which is open year-round, introduces visitors to the areas Athabaskan culture.
What can communities do to assist with transportation and visitor experiences?
Service the same niche markets cruise industries are catering to, members of a special panel on the cruise sector told members attending the Alaska Travel Industry Associations annual conference.
The fastest growing segment is multi-generational family groups so offer an experience that accommodates a range of ages. Cruise ships, for example, have responded to the multi-generational market with three-bedroom suites and have designed ships with a range of mobility issues in mind. A land tour experience needs to accommodate the same.
Royal Caribbeans Russel Benford suggested that there is growing interest is cultural experiences and his company is looking to stay ahead of the trend. He hoped that communities and operators would see value in changing their mix of products to accommodate this growing area of demand.
He went on to say that the big mega ships are packed with thousands of visitors who are looking for unique, custom experiences. Small group tour options can be packaged as intimate and private, even when they sell at a premium, he said. Successful cruise destinations need fresh product to keep the destination fresh.
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Cruise Lines Navigate Complex Rules As Alaska Sailings Resume From Seattle
Its a sight Seattle hasnt seen in a while: lines of vacationers at Pier 91, many dressed in Hawaiian shirts, bucket hats and sunglasses, with suitcases and smiles. The Majestic Princess floats on their left, the Serenade of Seas to the right.
Under sunny skies, the first Alaska cruise of the season and the first since the onset of the pandemic weighed anchor Monday as Royal Caribbeans Serenade of the Seas set off on a seven-night voyage.
The long anticipated return of cruising in Seattle continues this month as six other cruise lines resume sailing, among them Seattle-based Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Starting Friday, ships will leave Seattle almost daily for the rest of the month. In August, some days will see two departures.
Weve been waiting two years now to go to Alaska, said Peter Dorney, 52, one of the first people in line with his wife, Kathy, 51, waiting to board the Serenade on Monday morning. The Massachusetts couple is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and Dorney said they have been on more than 20 cruises. Were frequent cruisers.
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Relax On Decadent Alaska Cruises From Seattle By Oceania Cruises
Alaskan cruises offered by Oceania Cruises are premium experiences. Aboard one of Oceania Cruises ships, you will be staying in luxurious suites and rooms that are furnished in the neoclassical style.
Besides having some of the finest accommodations, Oceania Cruises Alaska cruises feature lounges, bars, casinos, spa centers, stylish restaurants, and more. Not to mention exciting shore excursions and wildlife viewing.
Oceania Cruises offers both 7 and 10-night cruises from Seattle to Alaska.
The 7-night Alaska cruise includes highlights such as:
The 10-night cruise includes the following highlights:
Do I Need A Passport To Drive To Alaska
So, to get there by land, an american citizen must carry the passport. With the american passport you can take one of the numerous trans-Canadian highways and enjoy the adventure of travelling through this country of breathtaking landscapes. Unfortunately you can not drive to Alaska without a passport.
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Cruise To Alaska Like A Local
Calling all adventurers seeking to see the real Alaska: The best highway is on the water! In fact, the only highway to most of lower Alaskas villages is by sea. Each Friday, the Alaska Ferry departs from Bellingham, Washington to access Americas remote north through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage. This is how the locals travel, and visitors seeking an authentic experience are welcome to share the ride.
The Bellingham Cruise Terminal, in Bellingham’s Historic Fairhaven District, is the southern starting point for the Alaska Marine Highway System. Navigating the nation’s first marine scenic highway, the ferry departs Bellingham regularly transporting passengers and vehicles between Alaska and the lower 48 states. There is an additional ferry on alternating Saturdays typically during the summer months that reaches as far as Whittier allowing visitors to see all Alaska has to offer. Visit theAlaska Marine Highway System website for complete schedules and details.
What Type Of Cabin To Choose
There are typically three types of cabins on most cruises – Inside cabins , Oceanview cabins and Balcony cabins. While Inside cabins offer the most value and, in some cases allow budget-minded travellers to cruise Alaska for under $1000 per person, one of the main reasons people choose to cruise Alaska is the stunning views. The best way to enjoy them is from your very own balcony and Alaska, more that any other destination, warrants a splurge on a Balcony cabin. Imagine spending your morning having breakfast on your verandah while trying to spot a whale or reading a book while being surrounded by the blue colors of the glaciers.
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Where To Sail From
Most popular ports to leave from are Seattle and Vancouver but some cruises leave out of smaller Alaskan ports. The benefits of leaving out of Seattle are the cheaper airfare and the convenience for people residing in the Western part of the US. However, cruises leaving from an Alaskan port allow you more time to enjoy the glaciers and the opportunity to visit more ports.
What Ports Does A Round
On round-trip cruises from Seattle to Alaska, youll spend seven days visiting ports like Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway and sailing through the stunning Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier and the Inside Passage in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, before returning to Seattle.
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Pier 46 Cruise Terminal
In mid-November 2018, Port Seattle Commission unveiled plans for a USD 348 million project for waterfront upgrades and building a new cruise terminal.
- City’s new seaport levy growth brings in USD 74,2 million per year and helped paying for the new projects. It also funded environmental programs. It is expected to be approved a 3% property tax increase, which means the owner of USD 590,000 property would pay around $70 in 2019, and $79 in 2023.
- Port’s capital improvement plan includes upgraded to Fishermen’s Terminal, new light industrial space in Interbay , modernization of Bell Harbor’s conference center, new cruise terminal .
Construction works on the new Pier 46 Terminal started on March 13, 2019. The new “Terminal 5” can handle ULCV , supports ~6600 direct jobs and generates USD 2+ billion in annual business activities. From the US$ 340M, the private company SSA Terminals contributed US$ 160M. The 185-acre terminal will be open in 2 phases – one berth in 2021-Q1, and the other in 2023. Terminal 5 can handle simultaneously 2 large boxships . Port Seattle’s North and South harbor container terminals can handle ships with max capacity 14,000 TEUs.
Since 2019, Terminal 46 is no longer used for international container shipping. Cruise terminal’s completion is scheduled for 2020. The new facility will also have shoreside power capabilities.
Cruises From Seattle To Alaska
There are many cruises from Seattle to Alaska. It is by far the most popular destination for cruises from this port. See the details below.
This video provides interesting tips for enjoying an Alaskan cruise. It’s only a few minutes long.
Alaska cruise itineraries might include scenic viewing of Tracy Arm Fjord or Glacier Bay. Ports of call may include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Sitka. Wildlife attractions of Alaska include whales, bears, moose, and eagles.
You can see more cruises to Alaska out of San Francisco.
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Advice On Cruise From Seattle To Alaska
I would like to know what should I expect? Will I get time to explore Alaska on foot at all?
How long cruise stops at a port?
Which ports should be in MUST DO list?
Any advice on which cruise will be best from Seattle?
Anything else I need to consider before getting into the cruise?
Thanks a lot in advance!!
If doing a round trip only, most of us would suggest departing from Vancouver, not Seattle. The reasons for that, plus MUCH more that should answer most of your questions, can be found here:
As to your specific questions:
Will I get time to explore Alaska on foot at all? – yes, assuming you get off the ship while it’s in the various ports. Hundreds of things to see and do.
Which ports should be in MUST DO list? – no such thing as a “must do” port unless there is a specific activity you want to do there, but all include and most include Ketchikan and Skagway.
Glacier Bay was stunning.
Small Ship Alaska Cruises From Seattle
If it’s Small Ship Alaska cruises from Seattle you’re searching for, look no further than Lindblad Expeditions & National Geographic.
The Lindblad Expeditions Alaska Adventure cruises allow you to see, do, & learn more than any other cruise line.
Choose between a 14 or 15 day adventure cruise aboard their expedition ships, the National Geographic Quest or Venture. These small ships have access to many more places than a larger cruise ship, giving the feeling ofbeing on a private yacht.
With only 100 guests on board, you have almost limitless access to the expedition staff, naturalists, and seasoned crew.
Oceania Cruises has another Small Ship Alaska Cruise option – The Oceania Regatta offers an experience that’s close to luxury without being all-inclusive. With only 684 passengers on board, 5 Star Dining, & an excellent Spa, what could be better?!
And oh boy, do you have options! There are many Alaska cruises from Seattle options available for a luxury Alaska cruise on the Oceania Regatta:
Prices for a 7 day Cruise begins around $2,000 per person and goes up from there.
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What Cruise Ship Sails Roundtrip From Alaska To Seattle
When you book round-trip cruises from Seattle to Alaska, youll sail on Celebrity Solstice, the debut ship of Celebritys award-winning Solstice class.
The ships accommodations range from spacious veranda staterooms with 24-hour room service to luxuriously appointed suites. During your cruise, get pampered at the onboard spa and indulge in world-class cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef.
Spend your days at sea lounging at the adults-only Solarium pool or on the main pool deck. Pull up a chaise, drink in hand, and watch Alaskas gorgeous seascapes and landscapes glide by.
Play lawn sports like croquet, golf, or lawn bowling by day and listen to jazz concerts by night at the innovative Lawn Club. Play a pick-up basketball game on the outdoor court or take a turn or two around the jogging track. Take a dip in a hot tub to relax those well-used muscles.
Learn culinary tips and tricks on galley tours, during cooking demos, and while enjoying tastings from cheeses to bourbons. Speaking of learning, on Alaska cruises, an onboard naturalist conducts lectures on local wildlife and culture and has answers for any questions about Alaska that you might have.
Evenings on board Celebrity Solstice are equally active and exciting. Meet friends and make friends at the Martini Bar, one of the ships most popular spaces for drinks. See Broadway-worthy shows and entertainment in the state-of-the-art theatre.
When Is The Best Time To Cruise To Alaska For Maximum Daylight
Imagine being able to enjoy Alaskas incredible natural beauty during days of near-continuous sunlight. With so much daylight, you can enjoy all the best Alaska shore excursions, from biking alongside the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau to hiking in the Tongass National Forest.
If you want to experience the phenomenon of sunlit nights for yourself, the best time to go to Alaska on a cruise is right around the Summer Solstice in the second half of June. This is the time when days are longest in the entire Northern Hemisphere.
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Southeast Alaska Inside Passage & Glacier Bay
Southeast Alaska is by far the most popular cruise destination in Alaska. Its the closest region for North American travelers to access since its located on the arm of land that hugs the shoreline of northern British Columbia. It hosts the majority of cruises in Alaska, so there are numerous Alaskan cruise options here for both outdoor enthusiasts and culture-seeking travelers. The coastal mountain ranges, glaciers and islands make for excellent wildlife viewing and there are opportunities for outstanding boating, fishing, kayaking and hiking.
Learn more about the region on the following pages: our Inside Passage cruise small ship itineraries, featuring more than 30 routes in this iconic location and our more than 20 Glacier Bay cruises & tours. Since the options here are vast, there are lots of considerations once you hone in on this region, including whether you want a more culturally-focused trip, maximum activity and wilderness, top-tier education and onboard amenities, or a custom charter.
To 12 Day Alaska Cruise
The bulk of small ship Alaska cruises fall within this range, so if you will have the most choices if you have right around a weeks time, with some flexibility reaching into a second week. About 50% of our set itineraries fall at the sweet spot of 8 days, which allows for 6 full days of sailing and exploring.
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Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier
Cruise through Endicott Arm Fjord, where youll be awestruck by the ice-blue and stark-white beauty of the fjord, floating icebergs, waterfalls, and wildlife all around.
Keep your eyes peeled for brown bears on the shore, harbor seals in the water, and bald eagles soaring overhead. When your ship sails close to the 600-foot tall Dawes Glacier, one of the best glaciers in Alaska, youll get eye-popping views of active calving as your ship makes a complete turn for optimum viewing.
Enjoy Food & Excursions On This 7
This 936-foot long cruise ship is packed with everything you need to have a good time while embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. You can enjoy regional cooking, spa and salon amenities, wine tastings, and a host of onboard activities. Some of the activities include a blues club, performance stage, a casino, and a kids activity hall.
Dining options that are included in ticket costs are Pinnacle Grill, Lido Market, and The Dining Room. There are also other dining options onboard including a cafe, sushi restaurant, and a pizzeria.
This week-long cruise follows the following itinerary:
- Day 1: Seattle & Puget Sound
- Day 2: Cruising
- Day 3: Stephens Passage & Juneau
- Day 4: Glacier Bay & Icy Strait Point
- Day 5: Sitka
Grand Lounge. Photo courtesy of Oceana Cruises.
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Where To Sleep On Alaska Ferry
Accommodations on board include 100 cabins and roomettes. Cabins are clean and comfortable, but not lavish. Cabin choices include the 4-berth with a private head , the 2-berth with communal restrooms, or the roomette, which is a very cozy, yet private spot resembling a camper with a table that converts into a bed.
Rooms are not required on the ferry. Many passengers also choose to sleep on the deck, with or without a tent, and lockers are available for securing belongings.