Dont Fixate On Highlights
We recall a visitor who literally cried on the train home from Denali National Park. She had come all this way to see Denali and was crestfallen when it never broke through the clouds. Paris has one Eiffel Tower, London has one Big Ben, but Alaska has dozens of mountains as awe-inspiring as Denali, and wilderness areas more beautiful than most national parks in the Lower 48. If you miss our namesakes, dont think youve missed the essence of Alaska.
If you need help planning, were here to help.
Booking A Guided Tour Vs Doing It On Your Own
There are three main ways to visit Alaska:
- On an Alaska cruise
- On a guided tour
- On your own
Ive done all three most recently I visited Alaska on a guided tour , and on my own which also included a cruise with Alaskan Dream Cruises.
Having experienced all three types of Alaska travel, I can say that its definitely easier to book with a tour operator or guide. But, its not too hard to visit Alaska on your own and book everything independently. It really depends on your travel style!
Alaska may be The Last Frontier, but it is well connected and you can research and book your entire Alaska trip online. This post, and all the others in my Alaska Travel Guide, are here to help!
Royal Caribbean Will Have 4 Cruise Ships Sailing To Alaska In 2023your Browser Indicates If You’ve Visited This Link
Royal Caribbean will have four cruise ships sailings to Alaska in 2023 including two Quantum class ships. Following Royal Caribbean’s most daring Alaska season to date in summer 2022, the cruise line’s return in 2023 will be its second consecutive year with four ships in the region.
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Benefits Of Doing An Alaska Cruise From Seattle
Alaska cruises are great fun for cruisers of all ages. Some of the things we hear people praise the most about doing a cruise from Seattle to Alaska are:
- Alaska cruises are surprisingly cost-effective, especially during shoulder seasons.
- You can enjoy some of Mother Natures greatest artwork
- Alaska cruises offer a variety of different types of excursions to appeal to all guests.
- Taking an Alaskan cruise gives you the chance to make forever memories with your friends or family.
Relax On Decadent Alaska Cruises From Seattle By Oceania Cruises
Alaskan cruises offered by Oceania Cruises are premium experiences. Aboard one of Oceania Cruises ships, you will be staying in luxurious suites and rooms that are furnished in the neoclassical style.
Besides having some of the finest accommodations, Oceania Cruises Alaska cruises feature lounges, bars, casinos, spa centers, stylish restaurants, and more. Not to mention exciting shore excursions and wildlife viewing.
Oceania Cruises offers both 7 and 10-night cruises from Seattle to Alaska.
The 7-night Alaska cruise includes highlights such as:
Ketchikan. Photo by Holland America.
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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.
Savor Delicious Food & Rugged Alaskan Coastline On This 8
Carnival Cruise Line is all about making the cruise experience enjoyable for everyone. Onboard activities are diverse and numerous ensuring that no matter the age group of the people youre cruising with, theres an activity to be enjoyed.
If youre cruising with your family, enjoy the ships very own SkyRide, Sky Zone, or Water Works park. If youre cruising with only adults, take advantage of the ships many lounges, bars, and restaurants.
Onshore, excursions you can join include hiking, wildlife viewing, whale watching, glacier trekking, and more!
Ports of call on this Alaskan cruise include:
Stika. Photo by Holland America.
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Popular Alaska Cruise Routes And How To Choose The Best One For You
by Todays Alaska Team | Jul 16, 2019 | Experiencing Alaska |
There are over 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline in Alaska just waiting for you to discover. Sure, Alaska cruise routes might vary from company to company, but the views are anything but inconsistent. Glaciers lurk between the shadows of rugged mountain peaks. Lakes glisten with the amber glow of approaching dusk. Fjords, dense with rainforest, tunnel their way inland towards sheets of ice as clear as glass.
And above it all, watching in silent contemplation, standsMt. McKinley, North Americas highest peak.
Of course, thats just the topography.
Image Source: Pixabay.com
It really doesnt matter which one of the Alaska cruise routes you opt for, the wildlife always astounds. Humpback whales share the waters with Pacific white-sided dolphins,salmon shark, andBeluga. In harbors dotted across the Alaskan coast, sea lions, otters, and seals hunt, laze, and frolic.
Bears lumber from the forested coastline in search of berries, trout, and other tasty treats. Caribou, elk, and moose throw wary eyes at packs of roaming gray wolves. Dall sheep share the highlands with over 300 varieties of nesting birds.
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Small Ship Alaska Cruises From Seattle
At this time, AAA does not offer 3-day Alaska cruises from Seattle, small boutique cruises from Seattle to Alaska, or cruises from Seattle to Alaska one way.
Please contact one of our travel agents with any questions you may have about our Alaska cruises leaving from Seattle.
We hope to see you soon on one of our cruises!
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Featured May Cruises To Alaska
Get to Alaska right when the cruise season begins on an Alaska Northbound Glacier Cruise that departs in May from Vancouver, British Columbia. Youll see something new every single day of your cruise in May, from sailing the Inside Passage to visiting Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and Skagway before ending your cruise in Seward, Alaska, where you might even be able to see some snow on the ground.
Tourism Survey Yields ‘remarkable”interesting’ Datayour Browser Indicates If You’ve Visited This Link
An earlier version of this article included an incorrect number for one of the phone-based survey results. The numbers have been updated. A new survey shows that most people in Juneau believe that the cruise industry provides more positive impact than negative and 56% of respondents support Norwegian Cruise Line’s proposal to develop a dock for large cruise ships on its waterfront property on Egan Drive.
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Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In June
- Warming coastal temperatures between 40-60 degrees and even warmer interior temperatures of 50-70 degrees.
- Between 18-20 hours of daylight, giving you lots of time to enjoy the Alaskan wilderness and wildlife.
- Wildlife is everywhere in June, with caribou, black bear cubs, mountain goats, moose calves, and even polar bears, out in force. On the water, pods of beluga whales can be spotted, along with plentiful seabirds and seal pups.
- Cruises offering land tours are available, as all the major national parks open in June.
- The warmer weather and longer daylight hours mean that tourist attractions in towns like Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks are fully open.
Girdwood Forest Fair. Photo by Brook Binkowski/Flicker
Alaska For The Thrill Seeker
For travelers that want a full-on Alaska adventure jam-packed with experiences that immerse you deep into the wilderness of The Last Frontier, you may want an extra couple days to get your fill. Alaska Cruisetours are perfect for that! Thrill Seekers will jump for joy at the 12-Day Denali Explorer Pre-Cruisetour with 7 additional days on land before your cruise with overnight stays in Valdez, Fairbanks, Denali and Anchorage.
This Cruisetour package includes exploring Denali with a 7- to 8-hour Tundra Wilderness Tour, a scenic journey on a deluxe dome rail, followed by a sled dog musher’s kennel for a private tour and beyond with plenty of time for optional activities such as whitewater rafting, helicopter flightseeing, hiking and more!
If you’re not interested in extra time on land, but still want adventure, begin your sailing and make your way to , also known as Alaska’s Peak Experience, where you can take a Sea Kayak Adventure shore excursion and kayak along Juneau’s coast, getting the chance to spot incredible wildlife like porpoise, seals, sea lions, eagles and even whales.
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Other Alaska Cruise Ports And Embarkation/disembarkation Ports
If youre traveling on a small ship, your ship may call at Wrangell, Petersburg or go ashore at Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park. These are all wonderful and intimate ports with lots to see and do. Learn more here about Wrangell, here about Petersburg and here about Glacier Bay.
Even though it isnt in Alaska, many cruises which start or end in Seattle stop in Victoria. If your ship calls at Victoria, read all about my suggestions for what to do in Victoria here.
If youre embarking or disembarking in Whittier or Seward, youll be flying in or out of Anchorage. If youre looking to spend a few extra days exploring, read more about all the wonderful things to do in Anchorage here.
Spending a few days before or after your cruise in Seattle? As a born and raised Seattleite, here are my absolute must do things in Seattle, as well as a three day itinerary for this beautiful city.
Fun fact: my second favorite city in the world in Vancouver, BC! If youre adding some time before or after your cruise, check out my top recommendations for Vancouver here.
Norwegian To Resume Cruises In With Covid Vaccine Required
Norwegian, which announced a vaccine requirement for all passengers and crew on all of its ships in April, expressed its commitment to safety and to working with the CDC when ticket sales were announced.
We remain optimistic that by working with the CDC and local port and government authorities in the destinations we visit that we will be able to resume safe cruising in the U.S. this summer, a Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said to Alaskas News Source on Tuesday.
Tickets are on sale for Alaska itineraries on the companys Norwegian Bliss shipstarting Aug. 7 through the end of the season sailing from Seattle, according to a news release shared Monday. The statement from the cruise line did not specify what the end of the season would be. In the past, ships have visited southeast Alaska into September.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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Day : Travel To Girdwood
For Days 8 and 9 of your 10 days in Alaska, the pace of travel slows significantly theres much less time spent traveling and more spent relaxing and/or looking around at the sights.
After the second night in Seward, the goal is to reach Girdwood on Day 8, a 1.5-hour drive. En route, I recommend taking a small detour to enjoy lunch and walk around my favorite small Alaska town, Hope. There isnt a ton to do in Hope, but it gives you a good picture of what life is like outside the cities in Alaska. Enjoy lunch at the Sea View Cafe, walk along the river, and try your hand at gold panning.
In Girdwood, spend the afternoon by taking the Alyeska tram up Alyeska mountain. This tram is part of the Alyeska Resort and takes about seven minutes to bring you up the mountain. En route, youll see hanging glaciers on nearby mountains, and maybe even some wildlife in the landscape below.
Once youve arrived at the top of the tram, you can hike around or enjoy dinner at Seven Glaciers restaurant. If you want to have dinner, be sure to book a reservation in advance. If you want to splurge on dinner in a different style, head to the Double Musky. This was my parents favorite restaurant, and they also have rooms.
Accommodation Resources for Day 8
- Book two nights in Alyeska.
- For hotels, your options are a bit limited I recommend:
- The funky Ski Inn
- I dont recommend the Hotel Alyeska due to my own poor experiences and those reported to me by other readers too.
Choosing The Best Alaska Small Ship Cruise For You
With so many choices how does one begin to decide? We suggest that travelers first consider where they would like to cruise. Coming to our specialists with a good idea of which Alaska region youd like to visit allows them to determine which cruises are best for you. Then you can consider and hone in on which itineraries and ships offer the level of activity, comfort and amenities that fit your travel style.
Other important considerations include your group size and ages of travelers, if you plan to also travel by land and so on. Choosing the best Alaska small ship cruise honestly comes down to enlisting the help of an Adventure Specialist, who can factor in all these considerations with ship availability and intimate cabin knowledge to really get you on board.
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Ketchikan Overall Runner Up And Best For Shopping And Totem Poles
Ketchikan is a very close second for me for the top spot as the best Alaska cruise port! Juneau gets a slight edge from me as I mentioned above for the number of hiking trails that are easy to get to from the cruise ship dock. Like Juneau, Ketchikan is relatively easy to get around on your own and has a bus system that takes you to most places.
Ketchikan also has excellent shore excursions, particularly to Misty Fjords National Monument, and its a great place for fishing trips.
One of the best things about Ketchikan is its impressive number of totem poles. There are several you can see downtown, including at the entrance to Creek Street, the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center and the Totem Heritage Center. To see and learn even more, take an excursion offered by your ship to either Totem Bight National Historical Park or Saxman Totem Park.
This is the best Alaska cruise port for shopping, with delightful Creek Street and the streets surrounding it offering up more local art and gifts than many other ports . Make sure to visit Crazy Wolf Studio, which is Alaska Native owned and features Native art from across the northwest coast. In addition, I highly recommend the Captains Lady, with lots of locally made items as well as Ray Trolls studio.
Top Alaska Experiences For Every Type Of Traveler
Whether you’re a well-versed traveler or a new explorer, there’s a reason cruising Alaska sits at the top of must-do lists for so many around the world. From zipping through the vast open wilderness and experiencing the thrill of a 30-ton whale gliding under your catamaran to taking spectacular scenic tours through historic towns where you can dine with locals, the best way to cruise Alaska is with Norwegian.
An Alaska cruise allows you to unpack once and visit multiple must-see ports that give you an authentic look into rich culture and extraordinary natural splendor unlike anywhere else in the world. You can bring the whole family on an unforgettable Alaska cruise vacation and take a spin on a thrilling race track at sea or enjoy a more intimate journey cruising by the Hubbard Glacier and strolling flourishing nature trails. No matter your explorer-style, this guide offers some of Alaskas top experiences based on the activity level you’re looking for, so let’s dive right in!
Ready to start planning? Explore all Alaska Cruises and Cruisetours.
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Best And Worst Months To Cruise To Alaska
The best time to cruise to Alaska depends on both warm temperatures and a lower risk of rain.
Historically, July has ideal combination of the two, followed by June and then August. Rainfall is usually lowest in May and climbs steadily until reaching the highest point in September. May is ideal for rain but not for temperatures, which are often quite a bit cooler.
The best time to visit Alaska certainly isnt the winter, but winter is a great time to plan the trip.
The majority of Alaskan cruises run between May and September. July and August are the most active cruise months, according to scheduled cruises on major travel booking websites. July and August also have the warmest temperatures.
Average high temperatures can reach into the mid 60s Fahrenheit or high teens Celsius along the Alaskan coast during the summer months of June through August. On a good day, they will climb into the 70s as they did on > our first Alaskan cruise .
They reach the mid to upper 50s Fahrenheit or low teens Celsius during May and September, according to historical records from the U.S. National Weather Service. Because of these cooler temperatures, fewer cruises are available in either month.
Despite temperatures in that are similar to July and August, June usually has fewer cruises.
Alaska Cruise Travel Faqs
Do I need a visa to travel to Alaska?Is tipping customary in Alaska?What is the internet access like in Alaska?Can I use my cell phone while in Alaska?Do I need a power adapter/ converter?Can I drink the water in Alaska?What is the most common way of paying for things in Alaska?Should I purchase travel insurance for my trip?Once You’re Booked
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