Best Modern Cruise: Celebrity
- Ship Name: Celebrity Solstice
- Itinerary: Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Alaska Inside Passage, Victoria
For an upscale Alaska cruise without the luxury price tag, Celebrity is a fantastic option. The award-winning, Celebrity Solstice is a dignified ship that focuses on modern well-being. Activities include culinary classes, silent discos, and educational lectures. Theres also a half-acre of fresh grass with hot glass demonstrations, private cabanas, and outdoor movies. The ship also has a fabulous fitness center and programs, and the Canyon Ranch Spa situated right next to the Aqua Class cabins. These cabins include access to a health-conscious restaurant as well as the relaxation room and other spa perks. This voyage includes a full day cruising Endicott Arm for fabulous views before concluding in Victoria.
Bill To Allow Cruise Ships To Sail To Alaska Without Stopping In Canada Passes Us Senate
A possible solution to Canada’s cruise ship ban is one step closer.
The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill that;allow foreign flagged cruise ships to sail to Alaska without having to stop in Canada.
The Alaska Tourism Recovery Act passed the Senate in a vote on Thursday, and will now to go to the U.S House of Representatives for a vote.
The bill was introduced by Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan in February 2021 as a way for cruise ships to be able to sail to Alaska in 2021.
The Alaska Tourism Recovery Act is meant to alleviate the Passenger Vessel Services Act restrictions for cruise ships transporting passengers between the State of Washington and the State of Alaska.
Canada has banned cruise ships for at least a year, which means it;prohibits cruise ships from navigating, mooring, anchoring or berthing in Canadian waters until February 28, 2022 or until the Canadian Government lifts the prohibition.;
Senator Murkowski celebrated the victory on Twitter, calling it a “huge victory”.
Huge victory today in my effort to provide an opportunity for economic recovery for Alaskan communities who rely on cruise ship passengers — the Senate just passed my bill w/ , the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski May 13, 2021
The Cruise Lines International Association also celebrated the important step, citing the important economic impact cruise ships have for Alaska.
If you think perhaps this bill may be all for naught, Royal Caribbean does not think so.
Why Is Alaska Cruise Demand So High
The North American cruise industry has been on hiatus for more than a year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Hope that it could see a return by this summer is starting to dwindle as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drags its feet on next steps.
Alaska has been hit especially hard, given that 10% of the states jobs are tied to tourism and the fact that it faces more barriers to reopening than other destinations.
Alaskas reputation for bucket-list scenery, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and get away from it all wilderness vibes make it a popular destination under normal circumstances. But pent-up travel demand and barriers preventing many cruise ships from returning have made it even more desirable and exclusive.
Below, weve outlined the hurdles Alaska faces, whats currently being done to overcome them and which cruise lines are still making the rounds in the Last Frontier this year.
Also Check: What Do You Do On An Alaskan Cruise
When Will Ships Sail To Alaska
If the Bill passes through the House of Representatives and is signed by the President soon, we could see cruise ships sailing to Alaska this July. This would coincide with the return of cruises in Florida and Texas, all three states that rely on the income generated by the cruise industry.
Senator Lisa Murkowski:
Unanimous agreement in the Senate on this bill provides certainty and opportunity for cruise companies to resume sailing to Alaska, as they have for so many yearsand more importantly, helps safeguard the livelihoods of Alaskan-owned small businesses, and entire communities, that serve these cruise passengers.
Both Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan spoke to the Senate after the legislation passed to urge the House to pass the Bill as soon as possible to prevent Alaskan communities from losing out on another tourism season. US Congressman Don Young introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
For as long as the Canadian ban is in place for large cruise ships sailing with passengers between Washington and Alaska, the ATRA Bill will enable ships to bypass the PVSA.
The Canadian cruise ship ban is currently due to expire in February of next year; however, this could be extended or shortened depending on the state of COVID in Canada, creating a very uncertain situation for the cruise industry and those dependent on the ships visiting Alaska.
How Far In Advance Should You Book An Alaskan Cruise
For Alaska cruises, we strongly recommend booking at least six to 12 months out, as the cruise season runs only from May to September, says DeLaCruz. And staterooms with balconies are highly desirable for Alaska cruising, so its important to book early to be assured a balcony cabin in your preferred location.
Carnival Cruise Ships In Alaska
Sailing on the “Fun Ships” is sure to be an adventure, especially when going somewhere as spectacular as Alaska. Carnival Cruises to Alaska leave from Vancouver, Seattle, and Long Beach, and travel to Alaskan cities like Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. With Carnival, you can cruise in a fun, relaxed atmosphere for a great value.
Three of Carnival’s fun ships sail to Alaska: the Carnival Miracle, the Carnival Legend, and the Carnival Splendor. These ships carry between 2,100 and 3,000 passengers and have crews of around 1,000, so you can enjoy the amenities of a large, contemporary ship and the top-notch service of a smaller line. Each ship boasts spa services like facial treatments, men’s services, ZSpa , a medi-spa, and hair and beauty treatments, as well as a Serenity Adult Only Retreat space. They also have plenty of public spaces to relax and play, including an onboard atrium, casino, mini golf course, basketball court, and area for dance classes. Hungry? The options are endless, with a steakhouse, main dining room, lido restaurant, pizza place, ice creamery, deli, and breakfast grill on each ship.
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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.
What Cruise Lines Go To Alaska
Picking the right cruise line for your style and interests can make a big difference in your Alaska experience. You have a choice of large and small cruise ships for an Alaska cruise.
Large ship cruise lines carrying thousands of people can fill up the small Alaska ports quickly. However, they have more onboard entertainment and features than small ships. Small boats showcase the local scenery more than the ships amenities.
Small ship cruise lines can visit the minor ports where large vessels must anchor and tender . They offer more intimate and personalized excursions and experiences. Youll also receive a higher level of individual service from the crew and more elegant dining options.
Port Of Call: Icy Strait Point
In Icy Strait Point, guests will see an incredible new gondola that transports visitors for free from the cruise arrival area to a restored cannery and museum, sharing local history and the Tlingit native culture. Here guests can peruse arts and crafts, savor local salmon, and tour the Hoonah Packing Company facilities of 1912.
For adventure seekers, Icy Strait Point is also home to a brand-new zipline course. As the worlds largest zip ride, guests will take in a scenic mountain descent of 1,330 feet with speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Theres also an adventure park with ropes course, ATV and kayak adventures, whale watching excursions, and hiking trails.
Guests opting to explore the area without an excursion will want to stroll the Hoonah Veterans Memorial Sea Walk which offers a pleasant 1.3-mile route into the small town of Hoonah. Once in town, there are independent shops to peruse, a brewpub, seafood restaurant and the Yaakw Kahidi Cultural Center where visitors are invited to learn about traditional canoe and totem carvings. In lieu of walking, Hoonah also offers an affordable shuttle to and from town.
Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau, Alaska
Best Large Cruise: Royal Caribbean
Courtesy of;;Royal Caribbean
- Ship: Ovation of the Seas
- Duration: 7 nights
- Itinerary: Alaska Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria
If youre looking for a cruise to Alaska with all the theme-park-like attractions, then the Ovation of the Seas will not disappoint. Built in 2016, Ovation is currently ranked as one of the 10 largest cruise ships in the world with onboard features like a skydiving simulator, a cocktail bar tended by robots, aerial performances in the theater, and the North Star, a moving observation pod with surreal views. The first two days of the voyage are spent at sea so theres plenty of time to explore the ship and try different activities. Or, dine at specialty restaurants like Chops Grille, Royal Caribbeans iconic steakhouse; Wonderland, an eclectic array of dishes, or Giovannis table, a favorite Italian restaurant.;
Reasons To Cruise To Alaska This Summer
Cruising to Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Line is nothing short of spectacular. And, magnificent Alaska goes all out to showcase everything shes got including glaciers, wildlife and seemingly endless opportunities for adventure, along with history, arts & culture, and shopping. Here are 11 reasons to visit Alaska this summer.
Whatever your reasons are for visiting Alaska this summer, you can be sure that Norwegian Cruise Line has got you covered. Be sure to check out the full list of Norwegian’s Alaska cruises!
New Rules Allow Cruises In Alaska Heres Why The Season Will Still Be Slow
As soon as Congress passed a bill Thursday to temporarily exempt Alaska-bound cruise ships from the Passenger Vessel Services Act, Holland America announced it would sail north on July 24. Norwegian Cruise Line is taking reservations for early August.
It takes time to prepare a ship and crew. And cruise line executives have complained rules the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed on the industry arent workable. For instance, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio said, consider the mask mandate for extended indoor dining.
In between bites or sips, youve got to put it back on and take it off and put it back on its absurd, he told CNBC in early May. I mean, we wouldnt put our customers through that.
The CDC hasnt issued looser standards since then. But others in the industry sound sure revisions are underway.
We think were very close, Holland America President Gustavo Antorcha said on Thursday.
Holland America and its sister lines, Carnival and Princess, intend to dedicate one ship each to Alaska this summer, he said. Its a fraction of their usual fleet, but it amounts to a total of about 30 week-long cruises.
As the national COVID-19 situation improves, he said, CDC seems willing to make changes to the rules.
Theres still some details to figure out specifically around physical distancing and mask-wearing, Antorcha said.
He checked on some of the ships that would normally be in Alaska now.
But I think its pretty sure, he said.
Masks Mandated Onboard And Casinos Limited To The Vaccinated
Royal Caribbean, like all of the other big-ship cruise lines operating in Alaska this year, is requiring crews to be vaccinated and passengers 12 and older to be vaccinated. The company is asking passengers to show proof of that vaccination, such as a copy of their vaccination card.
Because Royal Caribbean expects to carry families with children, its not guaranteeing the vaccination standard that allows it to avoid a test voyage. Salerno said its reasonable to expect 90% instead.
Even with vaccinations required, the company has a long list of rules onboard: Masks are mandated and seats are spaced apart. Dining rooms are segregated into spaces for vaccinated people and groups including unvaccinated individuals. The onboard spa and gym facilities are available at selected times for unvaccinated and vaccinated people. Onboard casinos were limited to the vaccinated.
The procedures onboard are probably the most stringent of any you would find in a comparable environment onshore, Salerno said. I would say these ships are as healthy as they can humanly be.
The CDC is also requiring port cities and states to come up with response plans to deal with possible outbreaks. In Southeast Alaska, cruise towns like Skagway dont have the medical facilities to treat even 20 sick people.
Its kind of an unlikely scenario, but we know we dont have enough room if there was a major outbreak, Skagway Mayor Cremata said.
The Best Cruises In Alaska
Cruise lines are in the business of giving their guests a good time, so they’ve all got something going for them. Here are our picks for Alaska’s best, in a few different categories.
- The Best Ships for Luxury: Luxury in Alaska is defined in 2012 by Regent Seven Seas and Silversea. If you want a more casual kind of luxury , the Seven Seas Navigator offers just that on an all-suite vessel with excellent cuisine. Silversea, on the other hand, represents a slick, Italian-influenced, slightly more formal luxury experience with all the perks — big suite cabins and excellent food, linens, service, and companions. Both Regent and Silversea include fine wine and booze in their cruise fares. For the ultimate Alaska experience in a small-ship setting, check out the intimate offerings of American Safari Cruises, where soft adventure comes with upscale accouterments.
- The Best of the Mainstream Ships: Every line’s most recent ships are beautiful, but Celebrity’s Infinity is a true stunner, as is its sister ship, Millennium. These modern vessels, with their extensive art collections, cushy public rooms, and expanded spa areas, give Celebrity a formidable presence in Alaska. And the late-model Sapphire Princess and Diamond Princess have raised the art of building big ships to new heights. Both of these vessels will again be in Inside Passage service this year from Vancouver.
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.”
As Florida Waits Alaska Cruises On Tap As Early As July With Expected Cdc Approval
Cruise lines have been rolling out their itineraries to try to squeeze in a few months of the traditional summer season of sailing Alaska, but the companies still await final approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one presidents signature.
The announcements include plans to sail with fully vaccinated passengers from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America and Princess Cruises.
Cruise lines needed two things for this to happen. First, the federal government had to bend the rules to allow foreign-registered vessels to sail from U.S. ports without having to also visit a foreign port. Most cruise lines are registered to other countries like Panama or the Bahamas.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced at a press conference Monday that President Joe Biden will sign the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act, which waives that requirement, and would allow ships to sail out of places like Seattle and up to Alaska without having to make a stop in Canada. Canada has a cruise ship ban in place until February 2022.
This law will allow large cruise ships to visit Alaska this year, a critical step to returning to normal in a state where one in 10 jobs is in the tourism industry, Psaki said.
Both the House and Senate passed the bill and sent it the presidents way last Thursday.
The Alaska window, though, has cruise executives ready to take advantage of what they can.