The Knockout Scenery Might Be At Midnight
Only in Alaska can you choose from an array of interesting wake-up calls. The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge offers a Mount Denali wake-up call. The hotel staff will ring you if the skies clear, providing a view of the majestic mountain from the hotel’s back deck. If your trip is blessed with clear skies and sunny weather, you might actually see the mountain several times, say, during a jet boat tour on Talkeetna’s three rivers or on the way to board the bus in the morning.
In Denali and Fairbanks, you can request a northern lights wake-up call, and the front desk will alert you in the middle of the night should the aurora borealis be especially active. The heavenly phenomenon is not common during the summer months of cruise season, but don’t count out a phone call at 11:30 p.m. to view a ghostly arc of green, shimmering across the night sky.
The wake-up call opportunities show just how much scenery is a part of an Alaskan vacation — in addition to many hours riding buses, trains and boats. One of the most scenic rides is from Seward to Anchorage, along the Turnagain Arm, where snow-capped mountains and rolling hills rise on each side of the bay.
City Of Gold At The Edge Of The Arctic
Back in 1901, riverboat captain E.T. Barnette ran aground in the shallows of the Chena, so he set up a trading post. A year later, the nearby discovery of gold transformed the remote settlement into a boomtown, and Barnette the first mayor. Fairbanks today remains a destination for adventure seekers, as the gateway to Alaskas northern wilds and some its most isolated terrain. While home to just 32,000, Fairbanks is the big city of the interior and cultural hub for the sparsely populated region. You can still go for the gold in Fairbanks, panning just like the early prospectors did.
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When Should I Book An Alaska Cruise
Booking your cruise in advance is always a good idea, but Alaska cruises are so popular that you really need to book early to get the prices. Ideally, if you can book your cruise at least 12 months in advance, you will likely get some of the best prices.
In fact, when Royal Caribbean announces new Alaska itineraries is the best time to book. Royal Caribbean almost always announces new Alaska cruises in late November for the season to come in two years.
If you want to book a balcony or suite, then booking early becomes even more important. Since so many people value a private balcony on Alaska cruises, demand for these categories is even higher than on Caribbean or European itineraries.
The same can be said for booking shore excursions, too. Booking shore excursions early ensures you can pay the lowest price possible and reserve a spot on a tour on the chance it sells out.
Alaska Cruisetours: 6 Things You Need To Know
Many Alaska cruises tend to explore the same southeastern ports of Ketchikan, , Skagway and Sitka. Yet to immerse yourself in the land of sled dog and Arctic tundra requires a trip to Alaska’s northwest interior. Cruise lines have the answer: the cruise tour.
The cruise tour is a land tour of interior destinations before or after a cruise. In conjunction with seven-night Alaska cruises, three- to eight-night land programs extend each trip with visits to interior destinations, such as Anchorage, Denali National Park, Talkeetna, Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula.
Cruise lines with the most established cruise tour programs in Alaska include Holland America, Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, each with its own hallmarks.
It’s hardly a cruise on wheels. The go-go-go pace might have you putting luggage outside your doors at 6 a.m., leaving the hotel an hour later and not arriving at the next destination until the evening. But, that’s not all you need to know about Alaskan cruise tours — here are six other aspects of the best Alaska cruise tours … and the worst.
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Mountain Resort Experience 2ca
7-night Alaska Glacier cruise onboard Serenade of the Seas followed by a 6-night Canadian Rockies Land Tour to Vancouver, Jasper, Banff and Calgary.
Included Experiences Vancouver City Tour and Lookout! Tower & Harbour Centre, Banff Gondola, Calgary Tower, and more.
2021 Departures May 16, 23 & 30, June 6, 13, 20 & 27, July 4, 11, 18 & 25, August 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, September 5 & 12
Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruisetours Features
National Park treks, panning for gold, and visits to the best museums. Riverboat tours and a mountaintop tram ride with views of seven glaciers. These are just a few of the activities that your Cruisetour may include – new adventures every day that wont cost you anything extra.
Every Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruisetour includes knowledgeable Adventure Specialists who act as guides, historians and concierges. They are by your side for the entirety of the land tour, providing insider tips and local perspective.
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Fjord & Tundra National Parks Explorer 6a
7-night Northbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier Cruise onboard Radiance of the Seas followed by a 5-night, post-cruise, escorted land tour to Seward, Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks .
Included Experiences Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Tundra Wilderness Tour, and more.
2023 Departures May 19, June 2, 16 & 30, July 14 & 28, August 11 & 25, September 8
Wilderness Frontier Explorer 4a
7-night Northbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier cruise onboard Radiance of the Seas followed by a 4-night, post-cruise, escorted land tour to Denali and Fairbanks .
Included Experiences Tundra Wilderness Tour, Fairbanks City Tour, Riverboat Discovery Cruise
2023 Departures May 19, June 2, 16 & 30, July 14 & 28, August 11 & 25, September 8
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Family Tundra Express 9a
7-night Northbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier cruise onboard Radiance of the Seas followed by a 3-night, post-cruise, escorted land tour to Talkeetna, Denali and Anchorage.
Included Experiences Anchorage Museum & Imaginarium Discovery Center, Murie Science & Learning Center, Dog Kennel Tour
2023 Departures May 19, June 2, 16 & 30, July 14 & 28, August 11 & 25, September 8
Health And Safety Protocols On Royal Caribbean Cruises
Everything Royal Caribbean does, onboard and on land, is about safeguarding the guests and crew. Royal Caribbean ships provide a worry-free vacation! Here are some steps we are taking to ensure we keep you healthy. Royal Caribbeany has developed a comprehensive plan to respond to COVID-19 situations, just in case. Preparedness is key! If someone should fall ill or display symptoms while sailing, Royal Caribbean has rigorous protocols in place, including intensified cleaning, air filtration, and sanitizing procedures and medical isolation. Each ship has reviewed their inventory and are all well-equipped with supplies and personal protective equipment, such as masks and medicine.
REDUCED TRAVEL TO IMPACTED COUNTRIES
Along with a team of medical experts and guidance from health organizations, Royal Caribbean is monitoring the situation and either canceling or modifying itineraries to impacted areas.
ENHANCED BOARDING SCREENING
At the pier, all guests participate in mandatory screenings that include exclusion due to travel based on temporary restrictions and even a thermal scan to check everyone’s temperature. Some guests may be subject to a secondary review. Dependent of screening results, some guests may be denied boarding to ensure Royal Caribbean is keep their ships healthy and safe.
HEIGHTENED SANITATION AT CRUISE TERMINALS
ADDITIONAL SANITATION SAFEGUARDS ONBOARD SHIPS
HAND SANITIZERS EVERYWHERE
ENHANCED MEDICAL PROTOCOLS
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Best Itinerary On An Alaska Cruise
There is no perfect itinerary for an Alaska cruise, and one itinerary is not necessarily better than another.
While cruise ports do differ in history, local attractions, and size, many ports offer the same type of excursions to book. Activities like whale watching, kayaking, nature walks, gold rush towns, museums, and food tours are available in nearly every cruise port.
Likewise, every Alaska cruise will sail through the Inside Passage, meaning you wont miss the states beautiful scenery on any itinerary. Oftentimes its just as enjoyable sitting on the pool deck and watching Alaskas scenery pass by as it is to explore the ports you visit!
Being flexible on an Alaska cruise is important, especially when it comes to your cruise itinerary. High seas and storms can change your port stops at the last minute. Oftentimes another port is visited in place of your original destination. If this happens, be flexible! You may end up enjoying the replacement port even more than you would have enjoyed the original itinerary.
Which Royal Caribbean Ships Sail To Alaska
Royal Caribbean sends 4-5 cruise ships to Alaska each summer, with each ship offering a different layout, amenities, dining options, entertainment, and stateroom options. Some of Royal Caribbeans smallest and largest cruise ships sail to Alaska, so its important to consider which ship works best for you before booking an Alaska cruise.
The following ships will sail to Alaska in 2022 and 2023:
- Ovation of the Seas
- Quantum of the Seas
- Radiance of the Seas
- Serenade of the Seas
- Enchantment of the Seas
Both the most technologically advanced, large Quantum Class ships and the smaller, more traditional Radiance and Vision Class ships will offer a wonderful Alaska cruise experience.
Most ships Royal Caribbean sends to Alaska offer plenty of indoor features, meaning the ship can be enjoyed in all types of weather. From each ships enclosed, temperature-controlled Solariums to the indoor pools on Quantum Class ships, guests can enjoy their ship even in the chilliest of temperatures.
Quantum Class ships can be a great choice for families, as they feature the SeaPlex, an indoor sports court and arcade where guests can enjoy activities like bumper cars, circus school, rollerblading, basketball, volleyball, and more. They also feature RipCord by iFLY, an indoor skydiving simulator, and the North Star, a 360 degree observation pod taking guests 300 feet above sea level.
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The Ultimate Guide To Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships And Itineraries
Editors note: This post has been updated with new information.
For megaresort lovers, Royal Caribbean may be the ultimate cruise line.
The lines biggest ships are more than 20% bigger than any other cruise vessel afloat, and theyre chock-full of more restaurants, bars, entertainment zones and attractions than youll find anywhere else at sea or even at many of the biggest land resorts.
On Royal Caribbeans biggest ships, there are multiple pool areas, watery play zones, rock climbing walls, surfing simulators, miniature golf courses, basketball courts and even zip lines. And thats just on the top deck. Interior areas bring everything from full-size spas and large casinos to Broadway-quality theaters with top-name shows.
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Some Royal Caribbean ships even have ice skating rinks. Really.
If all that seems like too much to fit on a cruise vessel, consider this: The biggest Royal Caribbean ships are 18 decks high, nearly 1,200 feet long and capable of carrying nearly 6,800 passengers.
In short, theyre like the megaresorts you see in Las Vegas or Orlando. Except they float.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals
With Royal Caribbean Cruise deals you won’t just see the world, you’ll explore it. Take the family on a fun trip to the Caribbean or travel in style in the Royal Suite Class, it’s up to you. Discover what cruising is all about on a Royal Caribbean cruise to exotic locations like the Arabian Gulf or European destinations like venice and all the worries and stresses of life will be behind you.
Royal Caribbean Cruises offers a wide variety of dining options that will keep the whole family happy as you travel to stunning locations. There are plenty of activities onboard for everyone to enjoy. At night, make your way into the exciting casinos on one of the outstanding ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Research and compare Royal Caribbean Cruise deals now and book the cruise of your dreams.
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Wildlife Is A Highlight
Visiting Alaska is all about wildlife, but you have to know where to look. Spotting orca whales, caribou and grizzly bears requires cameras and binoculars at the ready while staring at scenery all day.
The trick is to look for movement. If it’s not moving, it’s often a “spruce moose” or “rock bear.” Using this advice in Denali National Park, you might find a mama and baby bear along one slope, Dall sheep next to a sheer cliff drop and caribou with huge antlers among the shrubbery. Also be on the lookout for lesser-known creatures like the spotted lynx or red-tailed fox.
On a half-day cruise through Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Fjords out of Seward, you might cruise past horned puffins floating serenely in the water or a brown, furry island that’s actually a sea lion-covered rock when viewed through binoculars. And those white spots on the hills? Mountain goats! Bonus: When the boat reaches the Gulf of Alaska, be on the lookout for whales.
Royal Caribbean Cruisetours: Visit Inland Alaska And Canada
In addition to a 7-night Alaska cruise, you can extend your trip with a land-based tour.
Known as pre or post-sailing Cruisetours, these extended trips can range between 9 and 13 nights, including the 7-night cruise. These land tours are arguably the best way to see Alaska’s interior and the most popular destinations.
Highlights of a Cruisetour include visiting Alaskas biggest city of Anchorage, going back in time at a former gold mining boomtown, traveling by train on the scenic Wilderness Express, or marveling at the unbelievably high mountain peaks of Denali National Park.
Cruisetours in Canada are also offered, which feature a comfortable overnight train ride through the Rocky Mountains and visits to Jasper and Banff National Parks, including an overnight stay at Lake Louise.
While Alaskas Inside Passage provides awe-inspiring views of Alaskas fjords, glaciers, and mountains, cruisetours offer the opportunity to see more of Alaska or Canada, which you can book before or after your one-way cruise in Alaska.
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Expect Rustic Surroundings For Creature Comforts
Cruise tours tend to favor Alaskan lodges over chain hotels. The lodges typically feature a carefully created rustic look with exposed-log exteriors and blond-wood interiors. Lobbies are homey with cozy seating, fireplaces and “dead animal chic” decor — lopped off noggins of moose and bear locked in eternal staring contests over the heads of visitors .
Even in remote areas, Wi-Fi is often available, but amenities can be scarce. Few lodges have pools, and fitness centers might be tiny.
Guest rooms are either in wings off the main lobby or in out-buildings. Be prepared to walk, though golf carts might be provided for those with mobility issues. In Seward, you might walk along wooded trails to get from your room to the restaurant or lobby, and in Denali, there’s a bit of a hike through some properties in order to get to the shuttle bus stop.
And, yes, animals do frequent the premises — from a seat on the back patio of the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, you could see a black bear wandering down a walking trail behind the hotel.
What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise
Packing for an Alaska cruise does not have to be stressful. A bit of research and preparation will get you far when deciding what to bring on an Alaska cruise.
Your Alaska cruise packing list should focus on layers, as the weather can change rapidly and several times per day!
Having the following layers is recommended, especially on port days:
- Base layer: t-shirt, jeans, yoga pants
- Warm layer: fleece, down jacket, sweater, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt
- Waterproof layer: thin waterproof jacket
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Those cruising to Alaska in the peak of summer may find the weather surprisingly warm, making it comfortable to wear just a t-shirt during the day. Those cruising in the shoulder seasons, on the other hand, will want to make sure they have warm layers in case of inclement weather.
Water-resistant shoes are also a must, as many excursions take guests through hiking trails or near lakes and streams. In addition, water-resistant shoes can be a lot more comfortable and warm on rainy days in port.
Other accessories, such as binoculars and cameras, are nice to have as well, whether when on an excursion or watching scenery from onboard the cruise ship.
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Six Million Acres Of Discovery
Towering high in the center of the Alaska Range is the Denali, North Americas tallest peak at 20,310 feet. Central to the cultural heritage of the native peoples who have lived here for thousands of years, the giant mountain is the ultimate symbol of the Alaskan wild. Denali National Park remains a wild kingdom, where animals large and small, roam free. View Dall sheep, wolves, caribou, moose and the mighty grizzly bear among many. And come summer, they are joined by more than 160 species of migratory birds.