Alaska Wilderness Spectacular 8a
7-night Northbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier Cruise onboard Radiance of the Seas followed by a 6-night, post-cruise, escorted land tour to Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks .
Included Experiences Alaska Native Heritage Center, Tundra Wilderness Tour, Riverboat Discovery Cruise, and more.
2023 Departures May 19, June 2, 16 & 30, July 14 & 28, August 11 & 25, September 8
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.
Looking To Kick Your Adventure Up A Notchoptional Excursions Include:
- Rafting Paddle through Alaskas icy waters for a once in a lifetime thrill.
- Heli-hiking Trek through the most remote areas of the wilderness that only a helicopter can reach.
- Fishing Reel in local salmon and cod from the freshest waters in the world
- Flightseeing Get an aerial view of the most breathtaking nature on the planet.
Through our partnerships with the worlds finest cruise lines, Cruises to Alaska/Best Cruises has attained an exclusive privilege the ability to create custom cruise vacations available only to our customers. Our custom cruisetours depart three different dates from Fairbanks and travel through the heart of Alaska. We provide action-packed adventures you wont find anywhere else.
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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
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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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
Dining Is Uneven And Sometimes Additional
One of the biggest surprises about the cruise tour is that meals might not be included. Some cruise tour programs don’t include meals in the price to give travelers the freedom to try local restaurants of their own choosing.
Yet, you might often be compelled to eat at certain times and in certain places. On the Alaska Railroad train rides, you might not be allowed to eat your own food up in the seating area, but since the ride typically takes place smack in the middle of a meal time , you are basically forced to eat in the dining car. And, because the dining car can’t accommodate all the passengers at once, you’ll have to eat in shifts as dictated by the train host.
Eating dinner at the hotel each night will likely be the most convenient option, especially if you’re in a more remote lodge. However, it’s likely to be more expensive with limited options.
On the other hand, shuttle service between out-of-the-way hotels and the restaurant area are not always reliable, especially if you’re eating later at night due to your tour schedule. Be prepared: Getting back to the hotel is part of the adventure.
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Grand Mountain Marvels 7a*
7-night Northbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier Cruise onboard Radiance of the Seas followed by a 6-night, post-cruise, escorted land tour to Seward, Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks.
Included Experiences Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise with Fox Island Lunch, Anchorage City Tour, Anchorage Museum, and more.
Departures May 20, June 3 & 17, July 1, 15 & 29, August 12 & 26
When Is The Season For Alaska Cruises
Cruise lines most consistently visit Alaska on their best Alaska cruises between the months of late April to mid-September. This means that it can be difficult to narrow down your choices as many cruise lines have dozens of itineraries operating a month in season.
With so many must-see spots in Alaska, the most popular months for cruises to Alaska are July and August. This is when the temperatures are the highest and most enjoyable with sunnier days.
If you were hoping to see the northern lights, try to book an Alaska cruise later in the season around late September. While this spectacle may be seen from multiple ports of call, watch out for deals through the cruise lines offering Aurora Borealis viewing experiences.
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Mainstream And Family Cruise Lines For Alaska Cruises
Just about all the main cruise lines offer sailings to Alaska’s scenic shores.
If You Cruise Make It A Means To An End
Cruises are a great way to see Alaskas coastal mountains, glaciers, marine wildlife, and towns. But you dont want to miss our highest mountains, Big Five land mammals, or vast interior landscapes, so
- If you choose a conventional cruise, take a cross-Gulf itinerary and add a land tour.
- When you hit ports of call, have your excursions well thought out beforehand.
- Consider a small ship cruise that gets you closer to glaciers and wildlife, and allows you to visit smaller ports and bays where big ships cant go.
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You’ll Learn About Alaska Culture
A cruise tour offers myriad opportunities to learn about Alaskan culture, but know that presentations range from sophisticated, interactive exhibits to more touristy attractions.
The Anchorage Museum has an excellent exhibit on Alaska Native cultures, in partnership with the Smithsonian, with fascinating items like a jacket made of seal intestines and a helmet with a human face on it. There are also art galleries, where rotating modern art exhibits showcase a range of media. Kids will love the interactive Discovery Center where they can explore science, art and history.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a short drive from Downtown Anchorage, and fare is included in a culture pass, along with the Anchorage Museum. It’s an eye-opening look — complete with a walkable “village” — at all of the Last Frontier’s native cultures and how they balance tradition and modernity today.
A paddlewheel boat river tour in Fairbanks also offers a floatplane demonstration followed by a sled-dog demo at the home and training camp of an Iditarod champ. Debark in a mock Athabascan village, and receive a culinary demonstration , fashion show and open house .
You can also learn about the Gold Rush and mining with a visit to Gold Dredge No. 8. Your tour includes a ride on a replica of the narrow-gauge Tanana Valley Railroad and the opportunity to try panning for gold.
How Do I Plan An Alaska Cruise
If you have never been on a cruise before, you may have some questions about the logistics and how to plan your cruise.
First, you will want to get an idea of what your must-see attractions are. Most Alaska cruises follow the popular itineraries of the Inside Passage, Gulf of Alaska, or even longer sailings from the west coast.
After you determine the itinerary you would like, then you need to focus on a specific cruise line for the best Alaska cruise ever. Each cruise line offers a unique experience for every type of cruiser. Then, you can select a date with that perfect cruise line and itinerary to book and mark in your calendar!
I highly recommend booking a balcony or higher stateroom with a trusted cruise travel agent as you will not regret waking up to the breathtaking Alaska cruise landscape from your own private balcony. Also, make sure to avoid the loudest staterooms onboard to completely relax on your Alaskan cruise.
Once booked, you will receive access to more booking options like onboard packages, shore excursions, and stateroom upgrades. I highly suggest taking advantage of these pre-travel opportunities to have your vacation planned out before you leave!
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Sample The Local Cuisines
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Get a taste of the fresh flavors of Alaska at a typical Salmon Bake or a Crab Feast. Other than these quintessential outdoor events, one can also find authentic Alaskan cuisine served in typical Alaskan fashion in many of the diners and restaurants here. No wonder Alaska is a heaven for all seafood lovers!
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.
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When Is The Best Month To Take An Alaska Cruise
Theres no right or wrong time to take an Alaska cruise because the state is worth visiting in any season. However, you might want to plan your cruise between May and September because theres no snowfall in Anchorage and Juneau. With snowfall at absolutely zero inches, you can spend more days outdoors as theres often a lot you can do.
Highlights Of Alaska Cruise Tours
Among the most popular and unique cruise destinations, Alaska lets travelers indulge in myriad mind boggling experiences over a cruise journey through the most enchanting landscapes in northwest Canada. Fascinating cultures, rich history, and amazing natural beauty with mountains, rivers, glaciers, snowy peaks, fjords, and a diverse wildlife are some of the major experiences and sights it bestows travelers with. With so much to explore and enjoy, your Alaska cruise is definitely going to be your most memorable experience!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Alaska Cruise Tours
What to pack for an Alaska cruise tour?
Since Alaska is quite cold a destination, one must pack items like layers and layers of clothing along with jackets, thermals, and hats. Other important items to pack for Alaska cruise tour include binoculars, rain gear, hiking boots, insect repellent, sunscreen, motion sickness medicines, and collapsible backpack . Dont forget to carry your camera for capturing those amazing landscapes!
What is the best time to travel to Alaska?
The best time to visit Alaska is from mid-May to mid-September when the weather in Alaska is favourable for activities like cruising, sightseeing, hiking, river rafting, visiting wildlife sanctuaries, and more.
Do you need a passport to travel to Alaska?
Whether or not one needs a passport to travel to Alaska depends entirely on which country that person is a citizen of. U.S. citizens flying to Alaska obviously do not do not need a passport. Those driving through Canada or traveling on a ferry or cruise ship with stops in Canada are required to carry one. Other than this, all non U.S. citizens need a passport to travel to Alaska along with possibly other travel documents like Visa.
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.”
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Popular Alaska Cruise Ports
Most Alaska ports offer a mix of history, culture, scenery, and outdoor activities. If the best Alaska cruise ports are the most popular ones, then the top options are the main Inside Passage ports of Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
Cruise ships sailing one-way voyages often visit Sitka, a former Russian outpost in North America and home to many native Alaskans. Some ships visit Haines instead of Skagway. Icy Strait Point is a native owned and operated port set on a former fish cannery, which has been expanding and growing in popularity. Less common are the ports of Petersburg and Wrangell, located between Ketchikan and Juneau you can find these smaller ports on select itineraries.
For more information on our favorite destinations, read our post on the best Alaska cruise ports.
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.
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The Ship Is As Important As Your Alaska Cruise Itinerary Itself
For some destinations, the cruise ship is more of a floating hotel where features like bars and specialty restaurants as well as activities such as rock climbing, surfing simulators, and go karts are important. On an Alaska cruise though, youll want to select a ship with plenty of space to watch the water and shoreline around the ship as it passes by.
Ships that are designed to keep people active on inside activities can be a lot of fun for an Alaska cruise but those like Holland America Lines Koningsdam where theres a huge observation deck or Norwegian Encore where there is plenty of outdoor space on lower decks are perfect big ship experiences for an Alaska cruise since you can relax with a cup of coffee or tea and see whales, orcas, and even bears and eagles on shore.
Smaller ships such as those offered by UnCruise, Regent, Viking, and Silverseas offer not only ultra luxury experiences but also can spend more time at key locations such as glacier viewing and better viewing locations closer to the water so that you wont miss those million dollar moments when a whale breaches or a pod of orcas swims next to the ship.
Submitted by James from CruiseWestCoast.com