Adventure Seekers And Teens Cruises
Suppose you have energetic children who are interested in nature and the environment. In that case, an adventure journey may be just what you need to keep them occupied and away from their electronics. Anyone else interested in seeing Alaska up and personal preference might take an adventure cruise, where youll board boats for up-close views of the top of a glacier, hike through Tongass National Forest, and kayak the tranquil waters of the Inside Passage.
Look for expedition ships from UnCruise Adventures, Alaskan Dream Cruises, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions , Ponant, or Silversea .
Best Alaska Cruise Routes
On the best Alaska cruise routes, youll visit some of the most spectacular and scenic locations on the planet. From awe-inspiring glaciers and snow-capped mountains to remarkable wildlife and fascinating cultural sites, a cruise to the Last Frontier is a vacation youll never forget.
Discover which of our main Alaska cruise routes is best for your next cruise vacation.
I Enjoy A Much Deserved Nap And Wake To Find Quite A Spectacle
A group of almost a dozen Dall porpoise are swimming in the bow wave of our boat, just beneath the front deck. They dart from side to side and pop out of the water, putting on quite a show.
As we pass Admirality Island , the weather breaks up and we soon find ourselves basking in the sunlight. We see all sorts of shorebirds, hawks, and eagles along the shores of this huge island, which boasts one of the highest per capita grizzly populations in the world. Baranoff Hot springs is our next destination, and what a destination it would prove to be. After getting onto the little dock, I made my way past several buildings there are a few homes here, as well as a gallery featuring some work from local artists. There is also a huge river pouring down a nearby hill.
Hiking along this river with our guide and some of the other passengers, we soon find ourselves at the hot springs I have heard so much about. I just couldnt resist and hopped right into one of the pools. Some were more reluctant then others, but soon the rest of the passengers had found their way into the water with me.
Fueled by afternoon naps and a full day of excitement, I stay up with some of my fellow passengers and crew late into the night, trading stories and laughing heartily.
Alaska Cruise Itinerary: Day 4
The other passengers and I have tentatively agreed to spend part of the morning sleeping in. The laid back atmosphere and philosophy of the Sikumi and allow for such plans, so we take advantage.
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Alaska Cruise Itinerary And Map
The best Alaska cruise itinerary is the one that you select. So an itinerary that meets all of your exploratory and luxury needs. A small boat cruise in Alaska will provide a custom itinerary around what you want and not just what the company says you will do. Here at Custom Alaska Cruises we can customize a cruise itinerary based upon what you want to see and do.
Alaskas Inside Passage is a photographers dream. Every day brings new opportunities for amazing pictures, from wild life up close to majestic mountain scenery, from the incredible scale of the glaciers to the beautiful surreal blue glow of the icebergs, from the ever changing light to the stunning end seemingly everlasting sunrises and sunsets youll never be short of subjects for your photos.
7 Day, 6 nights Alaska Small Boat Cruise Itinerary. View what makes cruising Alaskas famous Inside Passage spectacular.
Below is a map of the Inside Passage between Juneau, Alaska and Petersburg, Alaska along with all of the cruising excursions in each location.
Questions To Consider If Still Struggling With Cabin/stateroom Choice:
If youre still struggling with this choice, ask yourself these questions. Your answers may bring clarity to your decision.
- MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: WHEN am I cruising? A balcony in July is quite different from a balcony in Sept or May. For detailed info about weather/temps in each month in Alaska: Planning an Alaskan Cruise Choosing the Cruise Line, Itinerary & Dates
- SECOND MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: How important is cost in the decision? Is cost at the top of your list of considerationsor closer to the bottom? How much weight does the cost factor receive?
- VIEWS: Do I want to see EVERYTHING a 360° view? Or can I accept the fact that some things are going to be on the other side of the ship and I wont see them from my Balcony ?
- PRIVACY: Do I prefer More view less privacy OR Less view more privacy?
- DAYLIGHT & SLEEPING: Can I sleep with light in the room? Clothespins/clips on curtains will keep out SOME
- ATMOSPHERE: How Important is the Atmosphere to my Scenery Enjoyment? In other words, do I prefer these pristine sites alone with quiet, or surrounded by the excitement generated by people oohing and awwing?
- Am I traveling as a couple/family or part of a group of 23 who will all want to share the experience together anyway?
HOWEVER.about 2 months before our cruise, we got an UPSELL offer We took their offer and for just a few hundred dollars more, went from Interior to Balcony. It was a deal we just couldnt pass up!
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Glacier Bay National Park
Some Alaska cruises spend their entire itinerary at Glacier Bay National Park and understandably so. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is the largest in the world, home to dramatic glacier scenery and wildlife watching opportunities.
Cruise there and you can enjoy kayaking, visiting local villages or just admire the non-stop parade of glaciers passing by. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for calving glaciers and have your camera ready.
Summer is the best time to visit for warmth, with April to June being the driest months. That said, a visit in winter gives you the chance to capture fog-shrouded landscapes ideal for moody photography.
What Excursions Do You Want To Do
Each cruise port has a range of different excursions available at an extra cost. Some of the more common ones like floatplane sightseeing, bear-watching, whale-watching, dog sledding and fishing you can do in multiple places, but others are only available in one location.
Its worth doing a bit of research in advance to work out what you want to do as some of the most popular excursions book up fast, especially in peak season. So if theres something you particularly want to do then its a good idea to reserve a spot when you book your cruise. The pros of official cruise line excursions is that youre usually allowed off the ship first and itll wait if there are delays, but they can be pricey and sometimes have big group sizes.
Float plane in Juneau
You can also book excursions independently, either through companies like Get Your Guide or Viator, or directly with local operators. There are usually tour desks lined up at cruise ports too where you can book something last-minute too if you dont want to book ahead we did a last-minute trip to the Mendenhall Glacier from Juneau when we knew itd be a sunny day. Make sure you allow plenty of time though as the ship wont wait if youre late back.
An excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier
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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 .
Seattle To Skagway And Back
Another popular embarkation point, Seattle sits only a little south of Vancouver. Traveling from this point helps to maximize the time spent enjoying Alaska.
An eight-day cruise sees you sail north, reaching Juneau on day three and spending the next two days at Skagway and Glacier Bay respectively. The ship then heads south to Victoria before arriving back in the Emerald City itself.
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Alaska Land Tours Pre & Post Cruise
AdventureSmith Explorations also offers a full selection of land- and lodge-based tours that are perfect as small ship cruise extensions or standalone trips. Independent tours can be scheduled at any time based on availability to explore Glacier Bay, visit Denali National Park or view brown bears at Katmai National Park, for example. Guided small group tours, designed with the same focus on intimate exploration as our small ship cruises, explore the Kenai Peninsula and Denali with activity options such as hiking, kayaking, rafting, flightseeing and more. For a full selection view our Alaska land tours.
Here Are The Mainstream Cruise Ships Set To Sail In Alaska
, the mainstream cruise industry is now back in the market after two years.
Through August, seven cruise lines and eight modern vessels are set to resume service at the Last Frontier, offering a total 83 voyages.
Here are the ships sailing in Alaska:
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International Ship: Serenade of the SeasCapacity : 2,100 Built: 2003Homeport: Seattle Itinerary: Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point scenic cruising in Endicott Arm fjord and Dawes GlacierLength: 7 nights
Capacity : 2,038Built: 2000Itinerary: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway scenic cruising in Endicott Arm and Dawes GlacierLength: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 23, 2021Cruise Line: Holland America Line Ship: Nieuw Amsterdam Capacity : 2,100Built: 2010Homeport: Seattle Itinerary: Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan scenic cruising in Glacier Bay and Stephens PassageLength: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 24, 2021
Cruise Line: Princess CruisesCapacity : 3,600Built: 2017Itinerary: Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway and KetchikanLength: 7 nights First Cruise: July 25, 2021
Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line Ship: Carnival Miracle Capacity : 2,100Built: 2004Itinerary: Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord Length: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 27, 2021
In addition, a number of small operators with U.S.-flagged ships are operating in Alaska, including Lindblad Expeditions, American Cruise Lines, UnCruise and Alaskan Dream Cruises.
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The Best Alaska Itineraries
My first visit to Alaska started in Anchorage, where we took the Alaska Railroad to Whittier to board Regent Seven Seas Mariner to explore Prince William Sound, Kodiak and the remote Dutch Harbor before heading to Russias Kamchatka Peninsula and the northern islands of Japan.
What I saw in Alaska took my breath away, and weve returned several times since. While that particular cruise was aboard a pricey luxury line, there are ships in all price ranges sailing a variety of itineraries, so dont let budget stop you from visiting.
Best Traditional Cruise: Princess Cruises
Courtesy of Princess Cruises
- Ship Name: Royal Princess
- Itinerary: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier
Royal Princess is a gorgeous ship that like all Princess cruises focuses on a more traditional experience . As passengers sail through Glacier Bay or the College Fjord they can stroll around the stunning skywalk a glass walkway that overhangs the vessel or relax next to a lovely water fountain in the pool area. In the evenings, passengers catch movies under the stars. The cruise concludes in Whittier, Alaska, where most cruise lines do not visit. Although Whittier is industrial, its ideal for those extending their stay in Alaska on land. The Alaska railroad connects Whittier to Anchorage so travelers can also enjoy a scenic ride to Anchorage and hop on a connecting flight.
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Luxury Cruises To Alaska
When it comes to a luxury Alaska cruise, youll find plenty of choices. Well known luxury lines like Crystal Cruises, Regent, Silversea, Seabourn, and Ponant cruise in Alaska. But youll also find more affordable boutique lines such as Viking and Oceania.
Alan and I appreciate the all-inclusiveness of small luxury cruise companies like Silversea or Seabourn. Since everything, except excursions and spa services, are included in the price, we know exactly how the cruise will fit into our budget. Slightly larger, but still all-inclusive, Regent and Crystal are also good choices.
Because the ships are smaller, lesser-known ports are sometimes included, not to mention exemplary personal service that leads to some unique shipboard and shore side experiences. To learn more about traveling on a luxury cruise, check out our Luxury Cruise Planner for Boomers.
Ultimate Glacier And Fjord Adventure
The best way to maximize time spent in Alaska is to fly into the state first and then make your way back home the long way around.
Such is the case withSebournes ultimate, 15-night fly-cruisepackage. Starting from Seward and ending in Seattle, the trip is as close to “all-in” as youre likely to find. A four-day cruise across some stunning coastline takes you to theInian Islands,Haines, Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan.
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Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In August
- Warm weather, with temperatures between 45-65 degrees and 18 hours of daylight.
- Abundant fishing opportunities, as halibut, northern pike, rainbow trout, and salmon are all in season.
- Numerous cruise and land tour packages on offer, giving you access to the breathtaking fall foliage of the Last Frontier.
- As for wildlife, August is peak migration season for songbirds and youll see numerous caribou, bears, beavers, orca, and loons on your adventure.
Youll Follow One Of The Worlds Most Scenic Sea Routes
Just about every Alaska cruise incorporates the Inside Passage, the fabled 400-mile coastal route stretching from Puget Sound in Washington, through the British Columbia coast, and into the Gulf of Alaska . Shaped by the staggering force of massive glaciers millions of years ago, this serene waterway really does have it all: 1,000 forest-clad islands, amazing fjords, idyllic bays, and huge populations of whales, sea lions, and seals. Its also where youll find some of the states key towns, all of which have their own unique character and are easy to navigate on foot. Popular stops include Ketchikan for Creek Street, Tongass Historical Museum, and Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, Sitka for St. Michael’s Cathedral, Russian Bishop’s House, Sheldon Jackson Museum, and Sitka National Historical Park, and Skagway for 19th-century Gold Rush-era buildings that have been restored by the National Park Service. Another itinerary bonus is Juneau, the city that is one of just two US state capitals accessible only by boat or plane. Highlights here include marvelling at the icy giant that is Medenhall Glacier, riding the Mount Roberts Tramway for incredible views, and spending time at Glacier Gardens – the 50-acre botanical wonderland in the Tongass National Forest that is most famous for its 15-foot-tall upside down Flower Tower trees.
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Choose An Alaska Cruise Line
Just about every line offers sailings to and from the Anchorage area. From big ships to small vessels, luxury sailings and adventure-oriented expeditions, theres something for everyone. Azamara, Cunard, Crystal, Celebrity, Holland America Lines, Norwegian, Ponant, Princess, Regent, Royal Caribbean, Silversea, Windstar and Viking Ocean Cruises all have offerings in this part of Alaska.
Things To Do In Ketchikan
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show and the opportunity to visit Saxman Native Village and learn about the areas totem poles are two of the key attractions. Athletes carrying axes and saws in traditional lumbering tasks may be seen at the exhibition held within walking distance of the cruise port.
You may also sightsee by floatplane or city trolley, bear-watch, fish , stroll through a rainforest, and undertake active excursions like a canoe safari, Zodiac expedition, ziplining, or join a Bering Sea crab fishermens trip. You may even go snorkeling at Mountain Point or relax with a bar crawl downtown to mingle with the locals and take sample local beers.
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Sitka Best Alaska Cruise Port To Explore On Your Own
If you like to explore on your own, Sitka is the port for you! Sitka has far fewer ships than many other ports so its fun for an independent minded traveler to explore. Most likely your ship will dock a few miles outside of town, but theres a free shuttle downtown that goes every 15 minutes while a ship is important and its easy to zip around. You can also link up with Sitkas bus system to get to trailheads and other areas.
Sitkas beautiful setting on Baranof Island combined with an intriguing history of Tlingit history and modern culture with Russian and American rule make it an interesting place to visit.
Whens The Best Time To Cruise To Alaska For Salmon Fishing
Luckily, any cruise season month is a good time to fish for salmon in Alaska. Heres a quick guide to help you time your trip to match when your favorite salmon is running:
- King salmon: May-June
- Silver salmon: Mid July-late August
- Chum salmon: July-August
Cruise ship in Alaska. Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.
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