Take Advantage Of Alcohol And Dining Packages
We all know drinks at the bar can add up fast. So can eating out for every meal. Thats why major cruise lines offer alcohol and dining packages that cover most, if not all restaurants and bars on board.
We took a look at three popular cruise lines meal and alcohol packages:
Most Expensive: Norwegian Cruise Line $89 for three meals, $100/day unlimited alcoholLeast Expensive: Holland America $50 for three meals, no unlimited packageMid-Range: Royal Caribbean $75 for three meals, $55/day unlimited alcohol
Holland America is the only cruise line that doesnt provide an unlimited alcohol option, but they still give you a chance to save money. Their fountain drink card is only $25 for $50 worth of beverages.
You can always splurge on for-fee restaurants on the ship and there will be plenty of food and alcohol to choose from on port days as well.
Does Your Fantasy Cruise Line Offer a Payment Option?
Cruise lines know theyre a luxury buy for most customers. Its why most of them offer payment plans to make it even easier for you to book your room.
Most of these plans will require a deposit of a few hundred dollars to reserve your spot while you continue to pay for your ticket.
For reference, Royal Caribbeans Uplift program requires a $500 deposit for cruises lasting 6-9 nights. You can make payments on your own schedule as long as the bill is paid off in total no less than 75 days before departure.
Alaska On A Budget: Planning
If you want to cruise Alaska on a budget, its best to start pre-planning long before your anticipated vacation. Start shopping a year in advance and watch the prices regularly. Pricing can rise and fall rapidly from week to week.
Its important to note the Vancouver cruise port offers more Alaska sailings than Seattle. When comparing Alaska cruises from Seattle and Vancouver, youre more likely to find cheap cruises from Vancouver, Canada. While round trip and one-way cruises are both offered from Vancouver, the one-way itineraries are by far the better deal. Also, they usually have a more desirable route since they travel further north. Since fewer ships are sailing from the US, its tough to find a cheap Alaska cruise from Seattle.
To save money, you should consider sailing a drop and go, as the savings can be as much as 70% off the recommended price. I often shop online at Vacationstogo.com. Their website has a 90-day ticker, which I watch on a regular basis for last-minute Alaska cruises. Lets face it no cruise ship wants to sail with empty cabins, so the empty staterooms are often hugely discounted.
Also, booking more than a year in advance can sometimes save a significant amount of money. Living in Vancouver, I always search for inexpensive Alaska vacations since its so close to home. I recently saw an Alaska cruise for 2022 for a mere $400. Seeing Alaska on the cheap is certainly attainable if you do your planning.
How Much Do Alaska Cruise Fares Cost
Alaska cruise prices are constantly changing, even for the same ship and itinerary. As a ship sells out, cruise fares will increase. If one itinerary isnt selling well, prices might drop. A shoulder-season sailing will typically be cheaper than a midsummer voyage, and an inside cabin is nearly always cheaper than a balcony cabin. Suites range from a mini-suite to a lavish multi-room, multi-deck enclave, and cruise fares vary accordingly.
You can use the following ranges to estimate how much your Alaska cruise fare will cost on a big-ship cruise line:
- Inside cabin: $50 to $150 per person, per day
- Outside cabin: $75 to $200 per person, per day
- Balcony cabin: $100 to $300 per person, per day
- Suite: $250+ per person, per day
For a family-friendly, big-ship cruise line, Disney is always priced higher than lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. Its inside cabins start from $225 per person, per day, and the smallest suite starts at $1,000 per person, per day.
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Inside Passage Alaska Cruise
For some of the best Alaska cruises, choose an inside passage cruise. This is the most popular way to take in the wonders of this part of the world as the deeper waters makes it more accessible for large cruise ships. Along the way you’ll be able to visit historical destinations, Alaska’s capital city, Juneau, and even Ketchikan, the Salmon Capital of the World.
Saving Money On Your Stateroom
If youre sailing to Alaska on a budget, sacrifice that balcony stateroom for an inside stateroom instead. When shopping for a Caribbean cruise, the price difference between an inside, outside, and balcony cabins tends to be minimal. However, Alaska cruises have huge price jumps from inside cabins through to balcony staterooms. Sometimes the price difference is a whole other cruise. Selecting the right stateroom for Alaska isnt hard, just think about the destination.
Ive sailed a back-to-back Alaska cruise in an inside cabin for $349 per week. I didnt spend much time in my stateroom and was thrilled to take a 14-day vacation for under $700.
Cruisers who book a guaranteed stateroom save the most money by allowing your cruise line to pick your cabin. You have to be prepared to take whatever your cruise line gives you. So, if youre a light sleeper, or suffer from motion sickness, choosing a guaranteed cabin might not be a wise choice.
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How To Save $1500 On Your Alaska Vacation
Take a few of the higher-value day tours listed above, then rent a car and create your own adventures. Its easy to do in Alaska: the most famous Alaskan adventures ever done were on a shoestring budget.
Food on the road: If youre motoring to a new destination across Alaskas big distances, lunch or dinner time could easily pass without a single restaurant on the horizon. You can solve this problem with the same common sense approach youd take at home. Buy an inexpensive cooler or bring a packable cooler, and load it up with snacks, lunch food and beverages when you pass through a town with a grocery store. Its what Alaska residents do! And even if you have access to restaurants, consider picnicking at least one meal per day to shave expenses.
Lodging: Save $50 $100 per night by staying at less expensive hotels or B& Bs.
Tent camping: Alaska has scores of campgrounds on the road system, and its easy to find space during weekdays. Travel with a tent, sleeping bag and pad, a propane camp stove and cook kit, plus a cooler storing foodand you could cut hundreds of dollars off your daily costs. Even a few nights out in good weather will shave expensesand maybe pay for a high-value side trip. Just dont forget bug dope and mosquito coils!
Which Is The Best Alaskan Cruise
A cruise can be the time of your life or a total nightmare. So how can you be sure youll have wonderful memories to share when you get back, and not a week of terrible food and a dirty pool?
Start by asking yourself what you really want out of your vacation. Do you want a calm, luxurious experience or an exciting party boat with something going on at all hours?
These tools will help you narrow down what youre looking for in a cruise:
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What Are Tips To Find Cruise Deals To Alaska
Here are our best tips for finding a cheap cruise or cruise deal to Alaska. If you book a guaranteed cabin , a cabin on a lower deck or sail on an older ship from a brand you like, then you can get the best price for a specific cruise to Alaska. Last minute cruises deals to Alaska appear as you get closer to the sail date, usually 1-2 weeks in advance. Taking a cruise to Alaska in the shoulder season can also be a great way to find a cruise deal.
Temperature & Daylight Hours
For the warmest temperatures, cruise between mid-June and mid-August.
For the most Midnight Sun, come 3 weeks before or after the summer solstice and longest day of the year, June 21.
Want to see the northern lights? Thats a long shot during cruising season. It does get dark enough at night to see them by the second week of September, but its still not as brilliant as what youll see on a winter, land-based Alaska aurora viewing vacation.
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How Much To Budget For An Alaskan Cruise
A typical Alaska Cruise can cost between $600 and $5,000 per person, depending on the length of your cruise, the type of cruise you choose, and your room choice. We recommend budgeting an additional $1,000 to $1,500 per person for shore excursions to get the most out of your Alaskan cruise. Youll also want to consider airfare, transportation, and lodging before and after your cruise in your budget.
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Are These Companies Lying
Not exactlythey’re just trying to lure you in. Heres how: The cruise companies list a price called a tariff” or brochure fare.” Its the same as a cars sticker price”the price something would be if there were no competition. But of course there a lot of competition, and the ships still want to fill up their cabins. So no one pays tariff,” because the lines discount their rates.
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Alaska Cruise To Denali National Park And Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve is a must on an Alaska cruise for anyone wanting to see the wonders of inland Alaska. The landscape offers a breath-taking panorama from the various peaks of the hills onto the tundra below. Whether you strap on your hiking boots or take a tour bus, youre sure to see a host of critters on your way, from grizzly bears and caribou to bison and wolves.
Alaska Cruise To San Francisco
While San Francisco may be a long way away from the first port of call in Alaska, it is a popular point of departure for Alaska cruises, giving you the perfect opportunity to explore one of America’s most iconic cities. Theres no shortage of renowned sights in San Francisco as you head up the citys iconic slopes in a retro tram from the movies. To cap it all off, the infamous island prison of Alcatraz will captivate you, while the awe-inspiring Golden Gate Bridge gives the perfect photo opportunity to show your loved ones back home.
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Here Are Some Questions Travelers Often Ask When Looking At Deals:
This deal says 75% offbut 75% off of what? The answer is usually the tariff. Tariff is convenient because cruise lines can offer discounts off that inflated number, so theyre not lying when they say 75% offit’s just not any better than Alaska cruise deals offered by most resellers.
What is an Early Booking Discount , Early Savings , or Love Boat Savings ? Mostly marketing. They’re all cruise specials that cruiselines will publish right next to the tariff, noting that if you book by a certain date, you’ll receive a significant discount. These are discounts that are issued by the cruiselines and, generally speaking, all cruise resellers pass them on to the customer. So if one so-called “discounter” is offering it, you’ll find most other resellers are, too.
Go When Others Cannot
All cruise cost factors being equal, the cheapest time to go on a cruise is when most others are busy or unwilling to go on that same sailing.
Most cruisers make a decision to go on a particular cruise based on their schedule at home, primarily related to their work or school schedule. Cruises that sail during times of the year when most kids are in school, or employers typically do not provide time off to their employees are the perfect time to snag a great deal on a cruise.
I will share good times of the year to consider cruises for many itineraries, but the common theme you will find among all of them is they are during times of the year when most families are not interested in cruising.
The other key factor to getting a deal is going on a cruise in what is known as the “shoulder season”. These are the weeks or months at the very beginning or very end of a ship’s time in a particular region when factors such as weather, fauna or flora are not at their optimal levels. That is not to say cruising in the shoulder season would be a disappointment, but rather, not when conditions will be absolutely perfect.
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Alaska Cruise To Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay is a vast and impressive sight to take in from your ship. As you journey up the fjords and stare up at the sheer glacial cliffs youll feel like your ship is really no bigger than a canoe. For the more intrepid travellers, other smaller watercraft are also available during your Alaska cruise to help you get up close and maybe even spot the local wildlife including humpback whales blowing spray and slapping the surface with their giant tails.
Cheap 2022 Alaskan Cruises
During the past few years, interest in sailing to Alaska has soared. Its not hard to see why.
Alaska is known at the last frontier, and like any frontier, it can be difficult to traverse. With a limited amount of roads and other transportation, the easiest way to get around the picturesque coastline is via boat or plane. Luckily, thats also the best way to view the natural scenery.
And as word spreads about the beauty of taking an Alaskan cruise and as the cruise industry grows in general more and more people are considering taking a trip.
The good news is that with increased interest in cruises to the region, cruise lines are sailing more ships to Alaska. Today, there is a staggering amount of Alaskan cruises to choose from across every budget, cruise line, and itinerary.
If youre looking for cheap Alaskan cruises, however, then you need to be prepared to shop around. Trips to this area are seasonal sailing from May through September. Since there is only a limited window of time to cruise, prices are considerably higher than similar Caribbean cruises you might be familiar with. As well, prices change frequently.
Below, we highlight some of the cheapest 2022 Alaskan cruises. The prices for these trips start at just $339 per person. But before we get too far, here are some tips on how to find the most affordable trips to this region
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Cheap Alaska Cruise Deals
Cruise Critic can help you find affordable cruise deals to Alaska. Choose from the best cruise deals and specials for Alaska cruises. Save up to 72% on last minute Alaska cruises. For the best cruise deals, its best to book far in advance of your trip. Popular time cruise deals are released is during wave season .
Popular Alaska cruises often sail to Juneau, Ketchikan, Prince Rupert, Whittier and Wrangell during their cruise itinerary. Alaska cruises could leave from Anchorage, Seattle, Seward, Vancouver and the West Coast. Most commonly, Alaska cruises sail for 6-9 Days days.
Budgeting For Shore Excursions And Adventures
For an excellent itinerary and a vacation you will never forget, we recommend budgeting $1,000 – $1,500 for shore excursions per person for a 7-day cruise. This would get you a whale watching tour in Juneau or Icy Strait, helicopter dog sled tour in Juneau or Skagway, a train tour in Skagway, a float plane flightseeing tour in Ketchikan, and then a different excursion in a different port.
Of course, theres plenty of room for flexibility. A shore excursion budget can range from low to high depending on what type of excursions you are interested in. You can buy city tours in almost every port for less $75 or spend as much as $600 for an extended helicopter dog sledding tour.
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Where Do Alaska Cruises Depart From
Roundtrip Alaska sailings typically depart from Seattle or Vancouver, but also California cities like San Francisco. These sailings typically follow an Inside Passage itinerary.
Cruises also regularly depart from either Seward or Whittier, both Alaska ports accessible a short drive from Anchorage. These one-way sailings usually follow the Gulf of Alaska, also known as a cross-gulf cruise. These cruises might call on some Inside Passage stops, but also ports farther north.
Most cruisetours will begin or end in Anchorage, where the primary and central airport is.
How Much Should I Budget For Shore Excursions
I definitely recommend giving yourself a large budget for shore excursions on your Alaska cruise. Given that Alaska is part of the U.S. and also a remote destination where many products must be shipped long distances from elsewhere, goods and services in Alaska tend to be more expensive than youll find at home. Shore tours are typically priced higher than in the Caribbean or the Bahamas.
Second, youll discover a few fun attractions and lots of shopping within walking distance from each Alaska cruise pier, but the real draw lies beyond the city limits. Youll want to take tours in nearly every port to make the most of your once-in-a-lifetime visit to the 49th state.
Looking at Alaska shore excursion prices on Norwegian Cruise Line, one- or two-hour city tours or guided walks cost $40 to $100, but youll find the majority of half-days tours cost $100 to $300 per adult. A dogsledding and flightseeing tour on a glacier can cost $550 or more.
Depending on what kind of bucket list experiences you plan to have, you might want to budget $1,000 per person for shore excursions on your Alaska cruise.
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