The Tours Booked On The Ship Are Exactly The Same As The Ones You Can Book Elsewhere
This is a big one. With very, very few exceptions, you can book the exact same tour off the boat, as you can on the boat. In other words, it is more than possible to do Alaska shore excursions on your own. Often times, you can do so for a cheaper price as well. Exceptions to this rule tend to be the large coach tours, which in Skagway are operated almost exclusively by Holland America Princess Alaska. However, by booking the exact same tour elsewhere, instead of riding in a large coach bus, youll enjoy a more personalized and smaller group experience in a comfortable mini-coach bus.
You should definitely do your research when selecting your tours, as sometimes Exclusive to us can mean something as simple as adding a 10-minute marshmallow roast to the end of a regular tour. Nothing else has changed, except the price!
Is Canada Still Banning Cruise Ships
Earlier this year, Canada extended a ban on cruise ships until February 2022, citing the need to protect public health. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement that the restriction would now be lifted on Nov. 1, 2021. Canada, however, has not yet lifted a ban on non-essential travel with the United States.
Should I Buy The Meal Plan For My Cruisetour
If you are booking a cruisetour that includes both land and sea components for example, if youre spending six days traveling between Fairbanks, Denali National Park and Preserve, and Anchorage before being transferred to your cruise ship any meal thats not a part of your itinerary is not included in your overall vacation cost. For example, if your entire tour group is scheduled to take a lunch stop during a sightseeing day in Fairbanks, that meal will be included, but your dinner later that evening on your own will not. As a result, many cruise lines offer the option to purchase a meal plan that will make the land portion of your vacation more all-inclusive.
There are a few benefits to purchasing a meal plan. First, it makes budgeting easier because you remove the variable of food costs from the equation. Meal plan vouchers are also only good at certain restaurants, so you know where youll be eating each night and dont have to worry about researching and finding a place to go. Finally, many meal plans include a choice of starter, entrée, dessert, and nonalcoholic beverage for both lunch and dinner, so you can feel free to indulge and try lots of different things without worrying about racking up an enormous food bill. If you order each of those items for each meal, and especially if you order the pricier menu items, you can also end up saving money on the meal plan compared to paying for everything a la carte.
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If You Are Spending Time On Land Try To Do That First And Then Cruise Second
As a tour director, I used to joke with my guests that the land portion of the trip was their adventure and the cruise was their vacation. Regardless of whether youre doing a cruisetour or creating your own itinerary, your time spent on land will most likely be more active. It may include early mornings, long hours of travel by motorcoach or train, and days full of activities. The cruise is much more relaxing and, aside from any excursions youve booked, you can largely go at your own pace.
If at all possible, therefore, it behooves you to undertake the more strenuous part of your trip first and leave the relaxing bit for the end. To be fair, northbound cruises those leaving from Vancouver or Seattle and heading north to Skagway, Seward, etc. do tend to be less expensive than those heading in the opposite direction. For my money, however, theres a real value to flying into Anchorage or Fairbanks and spending some time on land before cruising south from Anchorage, Whittier, or Seward.
You’ll Learn About Alaska Culture
A cruise tour offers myriad opportunities to learn about Alaskan culture, but know that presentations range from sophisticated, interactive exhibits to more touristy attractions.
The Anchorage Museum has an excellent exhibit on Alaska Native cultures, in partnership with the Smithsonian, with fascinating items like a jacket made of seal intestines and a helmet with a human face on it. There are also art galleries, where rotating modern art exhibits showcase a range of media. Kids will love the interactive Discovery Center where they can explore science, art and history.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a short drive from Downtown Anchorage, and fare is included in a culture pass, along with the Anchorage Museum. It’s an eye-opening look — complete with a walkable “village” — at all of the Last Frontier’s native cultures and how they balance tradition and modernity today.
A paddlewheel boat river tour in Fairbanks also offers a floatplane demonstration followed by a sled-dog demo at the home and training camp of an Iditarod champ. Debark in a mock Athabascan village, and receive a culinary demonstration , fashion show and open house .
You can also learn about the Gold Rush and mining with a visit to Gold Dredge No. 8. Your tour includes a ride on a replica of the narrow-gauge Tanana Valley Railroad and the opportunity to try panning for gold.
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Can You See Northern Lights From Alaska Cruise
While the best time of year to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is in winter, you may still have the opportunity to see them on a late September cruise. While this spectacle can be seen from various ports of call, Princess offers the Aurora Borealis Viewing experience in Fairbanks for an unparalleled experience.
Come At The Right Time Of Year
Our days are long, and temperatures are comfortable anytime from May to September. Hotel rates are lower during our shoulder seasons , but temperatures a little warmer during peak season. It gets rainier as the summer progresses; read our Best Time To Visit Alaska article to find your optimal window.
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Rainforest Canopy And Zipline Adventure
You glide above the treetops on this zipline experience on Douglas Island . And if you dare to look down, you’ll 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 4×4, 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, “Wow, I’ve done it,” you have to rappel down a rope to reach the ground.
Alaskan Cruise And Land Tour Is It Worth The Money
We are thinking of going on a 13 day land/sea tour of Alaska and our price is $4000. per person. My husband and I are wondering if we should just pick one part, the cruise or the land tour. Maybe 13 nights are too many seeing the same basic scenery. Please give us any thoughts.
Most of us here on the forum would tell you to plan your own land tour, which you could do prior or after the cruise. It is easy to do and much more cost effective. 🙂
First, welcome to the forum.
Second, you’re not seeing “the same basic scenery”. You can see rainforest in some areas, glaciers in others, mountains in others, tundra, volcanoes, and waterfalls hundreds of feet high. Also, some places are great for seeing whales, others are great for bear-viewing, Denali is your best bet to see a variety of wildlife–well, you get the picture.
It might help if you told us what your interests are. What prompted you to consider going to Alaska? If you need ideas, check out the Top Question to read about trip reports made by posters this year.
Are you the type of people who like to drive around and explore at your own pace, or would you prefer to mostly sit back and enjoy a cruise, with just a few hours each day in ports of call?
Be aware that the land tours by Princess does not include the meals . You pay extra for those, including meals on the train.
I suggest you give us your interests and that you consider doing the land portion on your own.
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Misty Fjords By Floatplane
Misty Fjords National Monument is a must-see, and on this flightseeing tour, you view the magnificent scenery with a bird’s-eye view from the air on a seaplane. The pristine park encompasses nearly 2.3 million acres, where you’ll gaze upon sheer granite cliffs, imposing waterfalls, sparkling fjords and thick forests. The seaplane will also briefly land on water within the park to give you a taste of the serenity down below.
The tour is not only narrated; it’s also set to inspirational music. You’re not likely to see any scenery prettier than this, and you’ll stand a good chance of spotting wildlife including eagles, bears, mountain goats, deer and wolves.
Alaska Excursions Worth The Adventure
Alaska for many is a once in a lifetime destination, so its important to make it count! And key in that is choosing the right shore excursions while cruising Alaska. Insider tips for the Inside Passage are worth their weight in GOLD. Our family mined these Alaska excursions recommendations just for you of the most outstanding, rave-worthy excursions from Skagway to Juneau to Ketchikan.
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Should You Visit Denali Or Take An Alaskan Cruise
Disclaimers: Our site uses demographic data, email opt-ins, display advertising, and affiliate links. Please check out our Terms and Conditions for more information. Listed prices and attraction details may have changed since our visit and initial publication.
Alaska is the largest state in the USA and is roughly 2 1/2 times larger than the second largest state, Texas.
With it size comes a vast area for visitors to explore, and over the years two parts of the state have become the most frequently visited- southeastern Alaska and central Alaska in Denali National Park .
We recently visited both on a combination trip, and while we were there a thought occurred to us:;not everyone can make it on both a cruise and to Denali.
After thinking about it for quite some time and experiencing both parts of the state on our journey, we realized that if we were poised to only do;one of the two major trips we would have had a hard time picking one over the other.
In this guide, we want to highlight the differences between the two in case you find yourself in the position of only being able to do one!
And The One Dont: Dont Overpack
We packed way too much. This is easy to do. After all, when encouraged to bring lots of layers and preparing for varying weather, boots and bulky jackets/coats take up a lot of luggage space. Yes, to that extent, packing for changes in weather and the range of 30-80 degrees can be tricky. But heres the secret to save money on checked bag feesDo laundry onboard.
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Alaska Cruise Weather In June
Most of the month of June in Alaska is either cold or pleasantly cool with very cold temperatures being less frequent than in May. The lows can be as low as forty-three degrees Fahrenheit, and the highs can get up to the sixties on average.
Cloud cover and precipitation conditions from May persist throughout June and July, and wind speeds remain low as well. Layers are essential for this type of fluctuating weather, and travelers should be sure to pack waterproof jackets and shoes for rainy moments, cardigans or light sweaters, and other warm clothes like jeans, long skirts, and tights.
Do An Independent Land Tour
Use a local Alaskan travel agent to help you plan a custom land tour. You have a lot of options.Fly into Anchorage and travel by railroad, or rent a car or motorhome and drive our highways. Another option: take the or fly into an Inside Passage town. Visit off-the-beaten-path destinations. Stay at smaller hotels and roadside adventure lodges. Ask your hosts for advice. Meet locals and understand the Alaskan lifestyle; it may make you think differently about your own life.
You need a land tour to see Mt. Denali
Tip: Take a day cruise and you can see more marine wildlife and tidewater glaciers than you would on a one-week conventional cruise. Youll also get closer to everything.
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Alaska Cruise Do #7 For The Love Get A Stateroom With A Verandah/balcony
This is the cruise to spring for a verandah. As if the previous points on wildlife and glaciers didnt prove this fact, there are yet other reasons to claim a stateroom with balcony/verandah. Here is one: room service for breakfast. Serenity looks like a morning beverage in the fresh Alaskan air as you float past snow-capped mountains and cloud-speckled skies.
The second: easy access to the outdoors at various times of day in a private spot. During an impromptu sunset photo shoot with our teen, we grabbed some fabulous shots that we wouldnt have been able to without the verandah.
Is It Really Light Out All The Time
Yes! The midnight sun is an incredible thing. For much of the summer, the darkest it will get is a sort of dusky twilight even in the dead of night. While it may seem strange at first, I loved having the midnight sun accompanying me on my Alaskan adventures. You never had to worry about needing a flashlight or getting lost in the dark, and the extra hours of daylight help keep you energized longer because your body isnt receiving visual cues that its time to wind down for the evening.
The longest day of the year is the summer solstice, which occurs around June 21. Even as far south as Juneau, the sun rises before 4:00 AM and sets after 10:00 PM on that day. Traveling in the weeks before and after the solstice will give you the maximum benefit of the midnight sun, while cruising later in August and September will give you a bit more of a normal-feeling distribution of daylight to nighttime.
Although most ships are equipped with blackout curtains when cruising in Alaska, all that sunlight can still mess with your circadian rhythm a bit. If you foresee having trouble sleeping while its still light out, make sure to pack a sleeping mask or a light sleep aid like melatonin.
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Best For Teens And Adventure
If youve got active kids who have an interest in nature and the environment, an expedition voyage could be exactly what will keep them engaged and off their devices. Anyone else looking to really explore Alaska should also consider an expedition cruise where youll hop aboard skiffs for up-close looks at glaciers, go hiking in Tongass National Forest and kayak the calm waters of the Inside Passage. Look to UnCruise Adventures, Alaskan Dream Cruises, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions , Ponant or Silverseas expedition ships .
Some Cruise Lines Impose Additional Weight/age Limits Beyond Those Of The Tour Company
This most often happens to families with small children. The family will go on Alaska shore excursions and leave the small ones behind because they didnt meet the age or weight limit.; Then they get there and find out that everyone could have participated because the operators limits are lower.
Some Alaska shore excursions, like the Chilkoot Horseback Adventure, are very strict, while others, like Grizzly Falls Zipline, are more lenient. If you have any doubts, you should contact the operator directly or speak with a tour specialist at Alaska Shore Tours.
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Best For Couples And Big Celebrations
Look to the luxury cruise lines if youre a couple and enjoy spacious suites, gourmet food, pampering and the opportunity to meet other like-minded cruisers. The personalized service and all-inclusive nature of luxury voyages may also be attractive to anyone celebrating a milestone, such as an anniversary, big birthday or retirement. Look at Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Scenic, Seabourn, Silversea , Windstar Cruises and Viking Ocean.
Four Glaciers By Helicopter And Dogsled Adventure
Without exaggeration, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As if the ride in a helicopter over glaciers and a landing on an actual glacier were not exhilarating enough, you also get to at least pretend you’re in the Iditarod by getting on a real dogsled.
You fly over the massive and impressive Juneau Icefield and see the advancing Taku Glacier up close. You might also see the cascading Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier, the floating Dead Branch Glacier or the river-like East Twin Glacier before landing on Norris Glacier, home to a mushing camp. From the helicopter, you might also view bears, moose, mountain goats and other wildlife.
Once you land, your guide will take you on a dogsled ride over the snow-covered glacier and describe the 1,000-mile Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome.
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