Longer Sailings From The West Coast
Finally, youll find some San Francisco round-trip itineraries usually 10 nights long as well as longer sailings between San Francisco and Vancouver. These cruises are best suited to travelers who love days at sea. Youll have four sea days plus a day of scenic cruising at a spot like Tracy Arm , Endicott Arm, Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay National Park. The waters before you enter the Inside Passage can be calm, rough or anything in between, depending on when you go and luck of the draw.
Ports on these longer sailings may include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Victoria, British Columbia.
Skagway: Best Of Skagway
- Who Offers This Excursion? As mentioned, this excursion is offered by many of the cruise companies. The Best of Skagway tour is offered by;Carnival,;Celebrity,;Disney,;Holland America,;Norwegian,;Princess, and;Royal Caribbean.
- Find 9 other excursion options on my guide to the best Skagway cruise excursions.
In my opinion, there is just too much to choose from in Skagway. Thats why I consider a city tour to be the best Skagway cruise excursion, like the top Alaska cruise excursion that I recommended in Seattle.
The Best of Skagway tour shows you the best parts of this small Alaskan community. Its offered by many of the cruise companies that make port stops in Skagway. On this 6.5-hour tour, youll have three incredible experiences and three that are totally unique to Skagway .
First, youll board and ride the White Pass and Yukon Route, a narrow-gauge railroad that ascends the White Pass for epic views and scenery. Next, most tours disembark at the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp and Salmon Bake for a bawdy historic reenactment about Skagways history and a meal of fresh Alaska salmon. Finally, some tours add on a saloon stop at Red Onion Saloon you can raise a glass in camaraderie with the legions of intrepid gold miners who passed through Skagway over the centuries.
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 .
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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.
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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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.
What Is The Weather Like On An Alaskan Cruise
The weather really can vary greatly. When we left Seattle, it was 88 degrees and sunny. We spent embarkation day in our swimsuits, drinking fruity cocktails by the pool and even got a great tan.
But by the time we woke up the next morning, we were FREEZING. When you are out at sea, its cold. And then that can change greatly again when you get to port . We walked around in short sleeved shirts all day in Ketchikan, but then froze our butts off sailing the same afternoon on the ship.
So when people say dress in layers DRESS IN LAYERS! And dont be afraid to pack a wide variety of warm and cold weather gear. Which brings me to
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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.
You Can Take Your Pick Of Cruise Line
Take one of the most popular cruise destinations, and then squeeze its season into a third of the year; that’s what you’ll find when booking a cruise to Alaska. Although Alaska sailings are only available from mid-May to mid-September, high demand means there is room for plenty of ships to fill to capacity during those four summer months. Almost every oceangoing cruise line — including luxury and expedition styles — serve the 49th state in the U.S. of A, so there’s more than a dozen lines to choose from.
Not sure which line to pick? We compare these 13 cruise ships in Alaska to give you an idea of which cruise line will offer the best Alaska experience for you. There’s never been a better time for choice when it comes to exploring the Last Frontier; just make sure to book way in advance — up to a year — for your pick of the litter.
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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.
Compelling Reasons To Cruise To Alaska Now
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If you’ve always dreamed of going to Alaska, stop putting it off. And if you’ve been once and think you’ve crossed it off your list, think again. Alaska is a cruise destination unlike any other, showcasing a side of the United States that’s rarely seen: still truly wild and open to endless adventure. The reasons to go — and go now — quickly outweigh the mundane cons of time and money. If you’re considering a first-time or repeat cruise to Alaska, the following are six reasons to book sooner than later.
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Which Is The Best Cruise Line To Go To Alaska
Set sail with Princess® the best cruise line in Alaska. We offer a range of enriching Alaska cruise vacation options to see the Great Lands glaciers, wildlife and national parks from the perspective of spectacular ships, exclusive rail service and Princess Wilderness Lodges. With both roundtrip and one-way Alaska cruises you can experience
Musher’s Camp And Sled Dog Experience
You’ll begin this trip with a 35- to 40-minute bus ride to the remnants of the nearby ghost town of Dyea, which was Skagway‘s biggest competition during the gold rush days. It’s now set within the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park as the site of a dog musher’s camp. Once there, you’ll board an all-terrain vehicle called a Unimog, which will take you up a rugged mountain road to where the mushers keep their dogs.
There, you’ll be assigned to a special wheeled summertime sled, where you’ll grab a seat and prepare to have a team of eager huskies speed around a mile of twists and turns in the crisp mountain air. Your assigned musher will introduce you to the dog team, fill you in on the sport of sled-dog racing and snap some photos of you along the way.
After your sledding experience, you’ll have a chance to play with sled dog puppies. This is also a nice if you’re unable to take the glacier dog-sledding flightseeing excursion in Juneau.
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Alaska Cruise Tours: What Are They And Why Should I Take One
Springtime heralds the return of cruises to;Alaska. Each year, dozens of ships ply the waters of Southeast Alaska and the Canadian province of;British Columbia;en-route from;Vancouver;or;Seattle;to the Last Frontier.
While cruises to Alaska are familiar to most,;Alaska;Cruise Tours;may not be. These pre-and-post tours are available from nearly every major cruise line sailing to the region.
For those with the time and the money to do so, adding a pre-or-post-cruise tour in Alaska can greatly enhance your vacation experience.
So Much Incredible Food
I didnt have high expectations for the food on this cruise, having been consistently underwhelmed by the dining on other cruises Ive taken on competitor lines. But glorified theme park food, this most definitely is not. At Cabanas, the casual drop-in restaurant, the buffet was a veritable feast for the eyes, then the stomach, with a seemingly endless parade of offerings that changed daily. My 5-year-old loved to ogle the cold seafood bar, very nearly eating his weight in succulent crab claws and mountains of shrimp; my husband met his match at the carving station; and even my picky toddler managed to eat something at every visit.
Dinner in the dining rooms manages to be both laid-back and extra special every night. On the Disney Wonder, we dined two nights each at the elegant, subtly Little Mermaid-themed Tritons; Tianas Place, which transports you straight to the Mardi Gras bead-strewn streets of New Orleans; and the positively magical Animators Palette .
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It Won’t Be The Same Forever
Global warming is real; ask any Alaskan. Despite a wealth of natural treasures including sprawling rainforests and iconic glaciers, Alaska’s landscape is changing as our climate is warming. Visit Exit Glacier in Seward, and sign posts with years will line the path — those years are where the glacier used to sit, and you can walk about 187 feet between just two sign posts, that’s how fast it’s receeding. Even on our last cruise we heard natives lament that a local bird population that used to rook on the side of a cliff in Prince William Sound just didn’t show up that season. Climate change is not only affecting ice, but also Alaska’s bird, animal and marine inhabitants. Take an Alaska cruise because who knows what the impact will be in a few short years.
Which Glacier/s Do You Visit
Most Alaska cruises have at least one day of scenic cruising in their itinerary, when you get up close to a glacier or maybe two or more of them if youre doing a one-way cruise. Normally the ship will spend at least half a day at the glacier, with a commentary from an on-board naturalist to explain what youre seeing. The three main glaciers visited on Alaska cruises are:
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Other Perks Of A Suite With Concierge Service :
For us it was worth it for several other surprising reasons: ;The daily laundry service! OMG, Ill take it! Pick up, wash, dry, fold & deliver?? Are you kidding? Awesome!
The breakfast delivered in bedyes please! ;We really enjoyed this feature and took our food out on the verandah to have breakfast with the ocean. ;So lovely to drink tea out there!
The concierge! ;She helped us with dinner reservations, any questions we had about the trip, our room, etc. ;She checked on our shore excursions even when they werent booked through the ship!
And she was in the Neptune Lounge which had snacks, drinks, movies, computer access, magazines, etc, right across the hall from our room.
The daily High Tea delivered to our room! ;Yummy! ;Can you say weight gain? I felt like we never stopped eating! ;But the food was delicious.
If You Cruise Make It A Means To An End
Cruises are a great way to see Alaskas coastal mountains, glaciers, marine wildlife, and towns. But you dont want to miss our highest mountains, Big Five land mammals, or vast interior landscapes, so
- If you choose a conventional cruise, take a cross-Gulf itinerary and add a land tour.
- When you hit ports of call, have your excursions well thought out beforehand.
- Consider a small ship cruise that gets you closer to glaciers and wildlife, and allows you to visit smaller ports and bays where big ships cant go.
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The Only Way To Travel
Yes, we are biased in our preference to sea the world one port at a time via cruise ship. But, an Alaskan cruise is really one of the only ways to see many of the popular locations in Southeastern Alaska. For example, Juneau is the only state capital not accessible by car- you need to take either a plane or boat to get there. The same is true for many other areas of the state, including the numerous glaciers and fjords. So, one of the best reasons you should go on an Alaskan cruise is that it is the easiest way to travel to many of the states landmarks.
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.
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Salmon And Halibut Fishing
There’s good fishing off Sitka, and with this full-day, small-group excursion, you hit the waters in search of king, silver or chum salmon, as well as halibut. The captain will take you to known fishing spots where various techniques — weather permitting — are employed for salmon fishing and halibut fishing. You should be aware that being on a small boat on the open sea subjects you to swells and wind chop.
Note: You need to buy a one-day fishing license from the captain of the small boat for $25 cash, as required by Alaska law. Also, in May and June, you need an additional $15 king salmon stamp. If you catch a fish, you can have it packaged and shipped home for an additional fee; note your catch will not be permitted back onboard the ship. Lunch and snacks are provided on this excursion.