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Bhupesh Singh, 44, who was boarding the Serenade of the Seas on Monday with his wife, Hansi, and their two unvaccinated children both are under 12 said he felt comfortable with Royal Caribbeans approach, even with the extra precautions hed have to take travelling with kids. He noted that he brought his family to cruise from Seattle, where Royal Caribbean at least requires all adults to be vaccinated. In Florida, where hes from, that isnt the case.
The reduced capacity on board the Serenade of the Seas was also encouraging for Singh. Royal Caribbean declined to say exactly how many passengers it will have on board, but said it would be much lower than full capacity, which is typically almost 2,500 people. Holland America and Princess Cruises said they will be starting their Alaskan cruises at approximately 60% capacity, moving up gradually over the course of the season.
Some cruise lines will also be using technology to trace passengers location. Royal Caribbean will be using tracelets, or wristbands that passengers must wear in order to be tracked on board. Princess Cruises will be using medallions, portable devices used for various functions on board the ship, which will keep a log of who passengers come in contact with.
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How To Plan Your Alaska Trip
To begin, I want to highlight this post: How to Plan Your First Trip to Alaska
In it, I cover a step-by-step process that will help you conceptualize your Alaska itinerary planning process before diving into the details below. I recommend opening that in a separate window on your computer, reading it, then coming back to this post.
For Couple Romance In The Intimate Ships
If youre a couple, head to the top-rated luxury cruise lines for huge apartments, gourmet cuisine, massages , and the chance to socialize with other travelers. In addition, anyone celebrating a special occasion, such as a big birthday, an anniversary, or retirement, may benefit from luxury cruises personalized attention and all-inclusive nature. A marine biologist could be onboard.
Consider Seabourn, Oceania, Scenic, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Viking Ocean, and Windstar Cruises. Silversea , also sails two expedition cruises, Silver Explorer and Silver Cloud that have a popular route that gets you off the beaten track.
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Where Does The Ship Depart From
The three main departure points for Alaskan cruises are Seattle and Vancouver in the south and Anchorage in the north. Seattle is popular with cruisers from the US as they dont need to go through immigration and can often get cheap flights. But you end up travelling through a large section of open sea which can be rough, some short trips miss out the Inside Passage and ships have to make a compulsory stop in Canada so theres less time in Alaska.
Vancouvers Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal
Vancouver is the most popular departure point for Alaska cruises so youll have the biggest choice of cruise lines, itineraries and departures. If youre travelling internationally there are plenty of flights, and routes mostly travel through the Inside Passage with more to see.
Most departures from Anchorage actually leave from the ports of Seward or Whittier rather than Anchorage itself. So you need to allow time to get to the ship from the airport. Its 60 miles to Whittier and 125 miles to Seward so will take at least a couple of hours, but its probably safer to stay overnight, especially if youre flying internationally. Theres some beautiful scenery along the way though, and one bonus is you can get there via the Alaska Railroad.
Sailing out of Vancouver
Day : Exploring Valdez
Tonights lodging: second night at the A-Frame in town
Brunch at The Fat Mermaid
This place seems to be a staple in Valdez! Everyone told us about this place. They serve up delicious food and theyre the only restaurant we visited that had WiFi, so maybe thats why! The reindeer sausage and french fries were AMAZING.
Valdez Glacier Lake
You can basically drive right up to this lake. We just walked around the lake and admired the icebergs in the water, but you can also kayak and stand-up paddleboard here. In fact, if you kayak, you can go all the way to the Valdez glacier!
We did two short hikes. The first was the Civic Center Overlook Trail , which gives you a cool view of Valdez from up high. Then we did the Dock Point Trail , which is toward the docks and harbor.
The Dock Point Trail is supposed to have great views, but unless we took a wrong turn, all the views we saw were obscured by tree branches. We got the shot above at the Dock Point Trail. There are also plenty of more trails in Valdez if you want something more strenuous!
Walking around the harbor & around town
Valdez is a very small coastal town with a pretty harbor and mountain views all around. Its easy to stroll along the main downtown area and by the docks.
This food truck has the best reviews in town. The Nat Shack serves up delicious tacos and crunch wraps. I got the locals favorite crunch wrap and it was amazing!
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Witness The Amazing Glaciers
Though therell be many along the way, each territory of glaciers in Alaska is unique and attractive in itself. The waters surrounding the Alaskan coast are sprawled with the most amazing glaciers. Some of the most prominent ones include the Mendenhall Glacier, the Glacier Bay National Park, and the glaciers of the 30-mile long Tracy Arm Fjord that traveler shouldnt miss on their Alaska cruise tours.
What Makes The Perfect Alaska Cruise Itinerary
While theres no such thing as a one-size-fits-all Alaska cruise, newbies and seasoned pros will always be guaranteed cinematic scenery, out-of-the-ordinary ports of call, and oceangoing adventures of epic proportions. Little wonder, then, that its one of the worlds most popular cruise destinations not least because it makes light work of showcasing the very best of Americas 49th state . With this in mind, weve put together a list of reasons why you need to experience the Last Frontier from the water.
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Best Time To Cruise To Alaska
The Alaska cruise season is short, running mainly from May to September, with a few lines offering sailings in April and October. The best time to cruise varies based on what you prioritize most.
The best Alaska cruise weather is typically found in June, when the summer rains havent ramped up, but the air temperatures are rising. This is the time when the sun barely sets and its light nearly all day long. July and August are the rainiest months in Alaska and see the most mosquitos September is starting to get chilly, with rougher waters and shorter days.
May is the best month to see waterfalls and wildflowers. June is when the salmon start to run, and the different species will appear and disappear throughout the cruise season. Denali lodges and the park road open in June, so your best bet for visiting the national park is in July and August for full accessibility and wildlife activity. However, if you want to see baby animals, plan your Alaska visit for May or June.
The best prices are found in the shoulder seasons: April-May and September-October. The biggest crowds and highest cruise fares come mid-June through mid-August.
Travelers who want the best shot at viewing the Northern Lights should book a cruise at the very end of the season, and tack on a cruise tour up to Denali and Fairbanks for the greatest potential.
Youll Guaranteed To See Some Of The Worlds Grandest Glaciers
Alaska’s glaciers are iconic – and theres over 100,000 of these giant bodies or ice and snow scattered throughout the state. Arguably the best of the bunch is Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve – the extraordinary destination in the Inside Passage that spans a whopping 3.3-millions-acres . The icy thrills here come fast and furious, with big-name tidewater superstars such as Margerie, Muir, Johns Hopkins, McBride, and Grand Pacific grabbing centre stage. As you might expect, the National Park Service take their role in managing this legacy very seriously – only a limited number of permits are issued each year for cruise ships who meet the strict criteria. Further geological marvels include Prince William Sound for its high concentration of sparkling glaciers and deeply-carved fjords, Worthington Glacier for its reputation as the snowiest place in the entire state, and Ruth Glacier for its wonderfully deep gorge . Equally visit-worthy is Exit Glacier – the Kenai Peninsula celebrity that has loomed large in the public consciousness ever since Barack Obama declared it as good of a signpost of what we’re dealing with when it comes to climate change as just about anything.
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Q: What Is The 2022 Alaska Cruise Season And When Is The Best Time To Cruise Alaska
A: Cruises will be available between May through September from a variety of cruise lines, with July 2022 being the most popular time to cruise Alaska and September 2022 being the least crowded time to go. When the best time to take an Alaskan cruise is all depends on what you are looking to see and what weather you are willing to endure – July experiences some of the longest, warmest days of the region in the Arctic but going up to 70 degrees in Denali), giving you the opportunity to potentially experience the Midnight Sun and plenty of wildlife on the other hand, September is much colder but experiences significantly less crowds and is the best time to cruise Alaska to see the Northern Lights.
When To Visit Alaska On A Cruise
Cruise season in Alaska begins in May and ends in September. The schedule sometimes includes a few sailings in late April or early October as well.
There are only minor differences in weather by month. Temperatures are warmest in July and August, but even in May you can expect temperatures in the mid-50 and mid-60s. Anchorage is also much drier than other parts of Alaska, the wettest month, August, only still only averages about 10 rainy days. You might also find a little extra elbow room and a few deals in May, early June and September.
Late summer sailings have one other tantalizing prospect: by late August, the skies of Alaska are once again dark during the night. That means aurora viewing is a possibility.
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Best Alaska Cruise Itinerary To See Wildlife
One of the biggest draws of taking a cruise to Alaska is the opportunity to spot abundant wildlife in their natural habitat.
Brown bears in Alaska
An Alaska cruise route that stops in Icy Strait Point is sure to appeal to animal lovers. There, you can trek along the famous Trail of the Bears in Spasski River Valley, where youll find brown bears, black-tailed deer, and regal bald eagles.
Victoria in British Columbia is considered one of the best places to spot whales in the wild. Climb aboard an eco-friendly zodiac boat and search for migrating orcas, humpback whales, seals, sea lions, and marine birds.
In Sitka, double up and take a guided boat tour through the Sitka Sound, where youll see a number of marine wildlife including porpoises and harbor seals, and later visit the Alaska Raptor Center, a facility where injured eagles and other birds of prey are rehabilitated and then released back into the wild.
Best Alaska Cruise: Finding The Perfect Itinerary
Alaska is an extraordinarily diverse and beautiful region. Because of this, cruises along Alaska’s stunning coastline are more popular than ever. But how to choose the best Alaska cruise?
Because of the region’s popularity, there are a whole host of Alaska cruise itineraries to choose from. Although it’s great to have variety, it can make the decision process a little more difficult with so many options.
With epic fjords, stunning inlets, diverse wildlife, and enormous glaciers, it’s easy to see why Alaska is one of the top cruise destinations on earth. If you’re getting bored with white-sand beaches and packed-out cities, Alaska may just be the epic alternative you’re searching for!
Luckily, we’re here to help. This article has been split into sections so you can focus on exactly what you’re looking for. Are you a couple looking for an Alaskan cruise getaway? Or adventure lovers? Or are you traveling with the family? Perhaps this is your first time and you want to know the best starting point.
We cover it all below. Please just use the quicklinks provided, or read on to find the best Alaska cruise to suit you.
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Best Alaska Cruise Itineraries
The best Alaska cruise itineraries offer plenty of opportunities to sightsee magnificent glaciers, spot exotic wildlife, and engage in outdoor adventure. With stops in vibrant cities and former gold rush boomtowns, theres no shortage of exciting Alaska cruises to embark on.
If youre considering a vacation to the Last Frontier, here are some of the best itineraries tailored to the type of experience youre looking for.
Want To Cruise Through Small Towns
If youre interested in cruising to some of Alaskas small towns and villages, or if you want to spend more time in each port-of-call, then an Alaskan luxury cruise might be a better fit. These vessels range from mid-size to small and can often go into places the larger ships cant.
Many offer overnight options in specific ports, toomeaning you could get off the ship and explore for a few hours before re-boarding to relax by your cabins fireplace or enjoy dinner at one of their specialty restaurants. Some luxury vessels also have unique amenities like complimentary helicopter tours over glaciers , hot air balloon rides, kayaking excursions, skiff landings , hiking trails onboard accessible only through small tenders, and more!
If it sounds luxurious enough alreadyyoure right the additional cost is more than standard cruises with big-name lines aboard large ships that typically include fewer extras. But they are often worth every penny when you consider the level of pampering and service youll enjoy and all the unique luxury travel experiences youll have.
Small Ship Alaska Cruiseswith Adventuresmith
Choosing an Alaska adventure cruise with AdventureSmith means choosing an award-winning company founded by a former Alaska naturalist guide. And our greater team of Alaska cruise specialists have lived, worked and explored the region in depth. Let us help you create a rare and unique adventure, through firsthand experience and insight. Need more reasons to book your small ship Alaska cruise with AdventureSmith Explorations?
Work one-on-one with an Alaska cruise specialist to research, purchase & prepare for your trip.
We offer an unmatched selection aboard more than 25 small Alaska expedition ships.
Our founder is a former naturalist guide who helped pioneer Alaska adventure cruises.
Take advantage of deals & other Alaska cruise perks. Our buying power means you save.
Ask Our Alaska Cruise Specialists
AdventureSmith sends hundreds of passengers to Alaska each year thus, we answer a lot of questions about Alaska cruising. Our team can be a personal resource for you throughout the selection, booking and trip preparation process.
What are the current Alaska travel advisory considerations? Where do small Alaska cruise itineraries embark? Whats the best Alaska cruise for adults? For kids? Which Alaska passages offer the most glaciers? What is the most sustainable eco cruise? Browse our Alaska Cruise Guide to research some of our most popular Alaska small ship cruise FAQ topics, or simply contact us for a one-on-one answer now.
Which Alaska Cruise Should You Choose
Ultimately, the decision on which ship and itinerary to pick comes down to price, dates, and ships.
If you are cruising to Alaska for the first time, many will defer to the Quantum Class ships from Seattle for the convenient travel options to Seattle, ship accommodations, and the fact it is roundtrip.
If you want to see the most authentic and exotic views of Alaska, an open jaw sailing from Anchorage or Vancouver is what you want. You will see much more of the “real” Alaska on these itineraries.
Ultimately, there are no bad choices for which cruise to choose for Alaska. You will find stunning views and really fun explorations in any of the ports. Understanding the differences between the ships and itineraries will ensure you make the right choice for your family.
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The 8 Best Alaska Cruises Of 2021
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“Airport transfers, shore excursions, meals, wine and spirits, and park admission is bundled into the price.”
Best for Adventure: Alaskan Dream Cruises See Rates
“Excursions focus on local culture such as totem carvings, folk dances, and other Tlingit cultural presentations.”
Cruise From Vancouver To Alaska Via Small Ship
For those looking to cruise Vancouver to Alaska by small ship, a select few Alaska small ship cruise routes exist. See the Alaska Odyssey aboard an activities-focused expedition ship, for departures either embarking or disembarking in Vancouver, Canada. Routes that reach Vancouver mean time exploring Canadas Inside Passage, with protected waters, incredible mountains, varied wildlife and strong cultures.
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