What Should I Expect On An Alaskan Cruise
Alaska is a beautiful and diverse state with plenty of things to see and do. A typical cruise itinerary will include stops in Anchorage, Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Lake Louise, and Victoria . In addition, youll have the opportunity to explore glaciers ad hike through forests. Or go on wildlife safaris, and admire the beauty of nature, which you will love.
The Bolsover Cruise Club Method To Finding The Best Cabins
As the UKs favourite cruise agent, and have been named Top UK Independent Agent for P& O Cruises for 31 consecutive years. Weve collectively spent over 17,000 nights at sea, more than 46 years, so when it comes to booking your cruise holiday, nobody does it better than Bolsover Cruise Club.
We know our customers cruise history before we even answer the phone and we have a Cabin Alerts system. This allows us to keep note of any cabin complaint we have received from our customers. When we book a cabin for our clients, if any complaints or issues have been raised regarding that cabin in the past, it will immediately flag up for us to inform you, giving you the option to remain in the cabin or choose an alternative. This system is regularly maintained and set to automatically advise our clients, so you see there really is nothing to worry about!
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.
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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.
Looking For Extended Voyages
If youre looking for an extended voyage, consider one of the cruises that sail to Anchorage or even further up into the Inside Passagethese can be as long as fourteen nights! And if you want to see everything Alaska offers, including glaciers and wildlife, try an expedition cruise.
The largest ships in Alaska are typically found on these routes and most major cruise lines like Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Disney. So if youre looking for a luxurious experience with all the bells and whistles, these might be the best option for youbut they come at a premium price tag.
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Best And Worst Cruise Ship Cabins
Inside cabins are the best cabins for travelers on a budget and light sleepers. They are the most affordable cabins on a cruise, with basic accommodations and no windows. If you want to save money and intend to use your room to just sleep, wash, and dress, an inside cabin may be the best cruise cabin for you. You might be concerned that they will make you feel claustrophobic or locked in, but some of us actually found them less confining than an oceanview cabin that makes it apparent you are on a ship. Oceanview cabins are similar in size to inside cabins, with a window that doesnt open but can still give you a look at a gorgeous sunrise or sunset as you cruise.
Balcony or verandah cabins are the best cabins if you are taking a cruise that focuses on scenery, such as Canada and New England fall foliage cruises and Alaskan cruises. While these cabins are generally pricier, many will tell you the view and fresh air are worth it. When you book through CruiseExperts.com, you can take advantage of exclusive upgrades and our Price Advantage Alert Deals, with prices lower than if you booked direct so balcony cabins are a bit more affordable.
Small Ship Luxury Cruises
With less than 1,000 passengers per ship, small ships offer more space and staff per cruise passenger. The cruise ship interiors feel more luxurious and include more options for dining and lounging.
Many small ships feature all-inclusive options like signature dining at fine dining restaurants with wine included. Then youll find your favorite vintages and liquors in the lounges abroad as well as wine and beer in your suite.
With a smaller ship, you gain access to smalls ports. So itineraries will include ports of call like Wrangell, Prince Rupert, and College Fjord. And some ports of call might require tendering using a smaller boat from your ship get to the actual port.
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What To Do On An Alaskan Cruise
When it comes to planning shore excursions or time in port, youll find more things you must see or do on your Alaska cruise than you have time for.
Flightseeing is a popular activity, either by a floatplane that will soar you over beautiful natural areas or a helicopter that will fly up to the top of a glacier. Dogslide rides or visiting a dogsled training center and playing with the huskies are quintessential Alaska activities. To get more of a glimpse of Alaska culture and lifestyle, get tickets to a lumberjack show, attend a salmon bake, or go on a crab fishing tour.
History buffs will want to explore the states Gold Rush history, either with a local tour of Skagway or a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad. Culturally curious cruisers can visit a totem park or see a performance by native Alaskans.
Animal lovers can sign up for a whale watch, visit a bald eagle preserve, or take a tour to observe bears in their natural habitat or at a sanctuary. Active travelers can work up a sweat hiking, kayaking, biking, zip-lining, and even snorkeling in Alaskas wilderness. Gentle rafting and float trips are a less intense way to get outside and bond with nature in this cruise destination.
Dont want to book a tour? Alaskas cruise ports provide plenty of shopping opportunities for souvenirs and locally made crafts. Grab an Alaskan beer at a historic saloon, or try local seafood at any number of portside restaurants.
Best For The Mobility Impaired
Crowds are the bane of cruisers with any type of mobility impairment, and while you can’t avoid people all the time on a cruise ship, you certainly can choose a cabin in a location that’s easier to navigate to or from.
Cabins on decks that also host passenger services or public spaces are usually harder to traverse there will often be people milling around, blocking the walking area, so selecting a deck that only has cabins on it is advisable. Even though the hallways tend to be narrower, there are rarely people standing around. If possible, try to snag a cabin near an elevator so there’s less distance between your cabin door and the lift.
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Times An Inside Cabin Is The Best Choice On A Cruise
Spend my vacation in a tiny, windowless cabin? No, thank you!
But guess what? Modern cruise ships are full of inside cabins — the smallest, cheapest staterooms, generally lacking in windows and tight on space — and people book them. On some sailings, cruise lines will fill every one.
Why would booking this type of cruise room be a good idea? We list seven times when an inside cabin is the best choice.
Why Cruise To Alaska
The 49th U.S. state is home to a beautiful mountainous landscape and an abundance of wildlife, from bald eagles to bears and moose. It possesses a unique Gold Rush history and a vibrant mix of native Alaskan cultures. You wont find this blend of scenery, outdoor pursuits, history, and culture in any other cruise itinerary.
Plus, many of the Inside Passage ports are tricky to visit by land. For example, Ketchikan is only accessible by air or sea. You cannot visit the breathtaking glaciers of Glacier Bay by car. If you want to explore this region of Alaska, youll need a ship to get there.
Unlike other cruise destinations, Alaskan ports arent separated by vast swaths of ocean. When you cruise the Inside Passage, the ship is constantly within site of land. Most sea days offer something to see, even if not an official scenic cruising day. Its a different kind of cruise experience, and one many travelers are eager to pursue.
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Southbound Alaska Cruise Best Balcony Location
I booked a balcony cabin on the Diamond Princess Aloha deck but want to know if one side of the ship is better than the other. I am on the right side of the ship if you are looking at a diagram of the ship with the front of the ship pointing to the top of the page . Are there “trade-offs” or is one side of the ship much better than the other? I want to change cabins if we would have much better views if I changed to the other side. This is a dream vacation for us and I want to get the most out of it. Thank you, everyone, for your experiences regarding cabin location.
Starboard Vs Port: Bottom Line
Ultimately, the most important cabin choices are which deck you’re on, whether you’re in the middle or toward one end of the ship , and which size and category of room you select. Choosing a starboard or port cabin will have little impact on your trip, especially when you can head up to a public deck to get a wider view.
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What About The Ferry
You might have heard someone refer to the Alaska ferry as a locals cruise or a cheaper cruise and I want you to know that is not accurate! I cringe whenever I read or hear this. The Alaska ferry is absolutely wonderful, but its public transportation and that is how its used by Alaskans. Its also more expensive than people expect and there are lots of hidden costs, such as getting a small cabin and eating in the cafeteria. If youre interested in taking the ferry to or within Alaska, its an amazing experience, but its very different from a cruise! Learn more in my complete guide to riding the Alaska ferry here.
Whats The Weather Like
The weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, so its essential to come prepared for all conditions. In the summer months, temperatures generally range from the 60s to the 80s. But it can get cooler at night or during excursions. The fall and winter months are colder, with temperatures dropping below freezing. Its also common to experience rain and snow in these seasons.
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Less Expansive View Than The Deck View
Deck viewing is still the best, as it can provide an entire panoramic and genuine scene instead of a half or quarter view from a balcony cabin. Some people choose the forward portion of the ship instead of the aft end. It just depends on personal preference and where you would feel most comfortable.
Port Vs Starboard: Does It Matter
In truth, you will have a pretty similar experience regardless of the side of the ship on which your cabin is located. Standard cabins will be identical , whether they’re on the port or starboard side. When you’re in the open ocean, the view is pretty much the same, and when docked, a ship can tie up on either side, so one side does not consistently have better views in port.
During scenic cruising, such as Glacier Bay in Alaska or the Napali Coast in Hawaii, the captain will usually turn the ship 360 degrees so both sides get good views, and when surrounded by really dramatic scenery, you’re better off on the top deck than in your cabin anyway.
One instance when port versus starboard could make a difference is if you’re on a cruise that generally sails in one direction, such as a one-way north or southbound Alaska cruise. On these itineraries, choose a port side cabin to see sunsets if you’re sailing north or west, or to see sunrise if you’re sailing south or east. Choose starboard for the opposite view.
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Cabins Surrounded By Other Cabins
Light sleepers, take note: The best place to be if you want the best chance of not being bothered by noise is a cabin that is surrounded by other cabins. This means a cabin that has a cabin directly above it and a cabin directly below it as well cabins on both sides.
To find such a cabin is harder than you might think. On the typical ship, the top deck of cabins is directly below the pool and activity decks, which can be noisy during the day and even into the night . The cabin deck just below that top deck of cabins can be a good choice. But go a couple of decks down, and youre often right on top of interior entertainment decks that are home to music lounges, theaters and other noisy venues.
If the ultimate in quietude is your goal, youll also want to avoid cabins anywhere near elevators, passenger launderettes and other areas that draw foot traffic. It can take some studying of deck plans, but as seasoned cruisers know, its worth holding out for a cabin that is far away from anything else that could keep you up at night.
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.
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You’re Light Sensitive And Want To Sleep In On Vacation
Inside cabins are dark. Turn off the lights and you have no idea if it’s the middle of the night or high noon. To some, this sense of timelessness is disconcerting. But to others, it’s the best sleep aid in the world. If you like it dark when you sleep and don’t want sunlight creeping in around blackout curtains to wake you up, an inside cabin is definitely for you. This is especially the case in lands of the midnight sun — like Alaska or Norway — where the sun doesn’t set until the wee hours of the morning and rises not long thereafter.
Which Cruise Line Suits You Best
A quick search for Alaskan cruises will come up with a huge amount of different cruise lines and ships even if youve narrowed down which route you want to do. The difference in ship sizes, facilities and even your fellow travellers means you can have a completely different experience depending on which you choose. But how do you pick one which suits you the best?
One of the first decisions to make is whether you want to go small or go large. Do you want a mega-ship with tons of facilities and activities on board, or something a bit smaller and low-key, which can reach places the giant ships cant go? Smaller Expedition cruise ships only carry around 60100 people and tend to be less formal, with more adventurous outdoor activities. Theyre sometimes described as cruises for people who dont like the idea of cruises.
Celebrity Eclipse docked in Juneau
Companies like National Geographic, Silversea and UnCruises small ships can access narrow fjords and small islands, get up close to wildlife, glaciers and waterfalls, and are also more flexible in their itineraries in case of bad weather. But they have much more limited facilities on board and can be bumpy in rough seas so arent so good if youre worried about seasickness. Expedition cruises also tend to be more expensive, and you dont often see discounts.
Sunset on deck
A Holland America ship sailing out of Vancouver
Alaskas unspoilt scenery
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