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.
How Much A Cruise Costs In 2021
Wondering how much youll spend to take a cruise? We have specific estimates below.
Before we get too far, however, you should know that just like buying a car, you can spend as much or as little as you want for your vacation.
For instance, are you happy with the lowest-cost interior cabin or would you rather spend more for a balcony or a suite?
Or are you the sort of person who can only sail during the summer months or can you sail during the off-season and save hundreds of dollars?
That means tracking down the specific cost of a cruise for each person is hard. But we can give you an idea of what a typical trip will cost and help you get an idea of what you can plan to spend.
We get into all the details of how much a cruise costs and exactly where youll spend money below.;
In This Article…
Best Month To Cruise To Alaska
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The Alaska cruise season is five months long — from May to September — but not all Alaska cruises are created equal. From one week to the next, summer in the Last Frontier can see noticeable differences in weather, cruise pricing and what’s in season. Whether you’re looking to find some savings or spot bears, catch a king salmon or plenty of daylight, you’ll have to book accordingly.
To help you set the right expectations for your Alaska adventure and pick the best month to cruise, Cruise Critic breaks the Alaska cruise season down by month and compares nine elements to consider during a cruise there.
A few things to note:
Hours of daylight are rounded to the nearest hour and calculated by the average seen in the city of Anchorage; daylight hours in the port city of Seward are always slightly less. Temperatures are measured in degrees Fahrenheit and are based on Southcentral Alaska ports, which include Anchorage, Seward and Whittier; temperatures will vary in other areas of the vast state.
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Small Group Adventure Tour
This option is slightly different than the two above in that you will be dealing with different companies on land and sea. However, it gives you a guided itinerary on land with less of a crowd as group sizes are usually limited to 12 -16, and accommodations include small wilderness lodges. You can book a small group adventure tour after or before any large ship cross-gulf cruise.
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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How Much Are Alaskan Cruises Time Of Year
When you decide to sail to Alaska will also impact how much your Alaskan cruise costs. The Alaskan cruise season runs from May to September. The lowest fares, regardless of cruise line, will usually be in May and September, which are typically referred to as the shoulder season.;The most expensive time to travel is July. The weather tends to be the warmest, and there is the greatest chance of seeing wildlife. July is typically considered the peak season for Alaskan cruises.
More Sunlight and Warmer Weather Means More Wildlife Sightings
Booking well in advance can also help you save money. For Alaskan cruises, we suggest booking 10 months or more in advance. We booked our cruise exactly a year out and took advantage of a promotion being run by the cruise line that we then combined with an additional sale from a local travel agent. This ended up saving us a bunch of money.
Alaska Cruises From Seattle Alaskan Cruises From Seattle
There are five major cruise lines that offer cruises from Seattle. Cruises from Seattle are typically roundtrip, 7 night Alaska itineraries and usually include a glacier experience. In late September, at the end of the Alaska season, most cruises from Seattle are repositioning cruises to Hawaii, Asia, the Panama Canal and Caribbean.
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Pricing Terms and Conditions
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Two Opinions On Choosing A Cabin For An Alaskan Cruise:
These are the two modes of thought from frequent cruisers to Alaska concerning choosing a cabin:
Ultimately, of course, it comes down to personal preference.;
Ill give you the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options to perhaps make the decision a little easier .; ;;
Summing Up The Total Cost Of A Cruise
So whats the grand total?
The chart below lays out the costs of taking a cruise, using the estimated amounts mentioned above. Weve also laid out the estimates for both a shorter cruise and the traditional seven-day trip.
Keep in mind that these are just estimates, per person. A couple would expect to double these prices.
As well, remember that what you spend will vary widely based on any number of factors, including your own budgeting for the trip and how much you let loose on your vacation.
But as you can see, on a per-person basis the cost for a 7-day cruise can run around $2,000 when you factor in everything youll spend. Shorter cruises will run around $1,500.;
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Where Youll Spend Money On A Cruise
Think that the cost of a cruise is simply the fare that you pay to get on the ship? While that makes up the lions share of your spending, theres a lot more that goes into the cost of your vacation.
Cruise FareOf course, when most people think of the cost of a cruise, they are thinking mainly of the price of the cruise fare. This fare is what the cruise line charges for you to sail on the ship. Cruise fare includes your cabin, meals, entertainment on the ship, and access to pools, lounges and more.
What it doesnt include are the extras like drinks, specialty restaurants, shore excursions, gambling and other things bought on board.
What you pay for your fare can vary widely. Factors that go into the price include the type of cabin you choose, length of cruise, when you sail, and even the ship and cruise line you sail.
Short cruises on budget cruise lines can run as little as a few hundred dollars, while long luxury trips can run well into the thousands of dollars per person.
Onboard SpendingThink youre done spending money after you buy your cruise fare? Think again. Once on the ship there are lots of extras that you will likely want to purchase that add to the cost of your cruise.
Onboard spending is a wide umbrella. It includes everything from money spent gambling in the casino to alcohol, specialty restaurants, cruise line shore excursions, and even the souvenirs you buy in the gift shop.
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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How Much Are Alaskan Cruises Gratuities
Except for luxury cruise lines, your fare will not;include onboard gratuities. These typically run $13-$18 a person, per day, depending on your cabin category. Also referred to as service charges, these additional daily costs go to your room attendant, dining staff, and other crew members who work hard to make your cruise a special vacation.
Many cruise lines now give you the option to pre-pay these charges before cruising so you can budget accordingly. If you do not get that option;or chose not to pre-pay,;expect;$200 in;general gratuities to be added to your bill at the end of the cruise.
An Interior Cabin/room On Alaskan Cruise
- Darkness in the room around Summer Solstice:; During this time it can be light outside for up to 20 hrs/day. Interior cabins may provide the best nights sleep youve ever had!;
- The room is always pitch dark when the light is off. Theres no morning light to wake up with or outdoor ship lights through the window to guide you to the bathroom in the middle of the night.; Bring an alarm and a nightlight!;
- You have to go to upper or open decks for views.;
If choosing an Interior, check the deck map to find a cabin with quick access to an open deck perhaps just down the hall or up/down a flight of stairs. With this, you can have a cheap ; stateroom yet still be on deck in 2-3 minutes if they announce something phenomenal over the ships intercom. Thats the best of both worlds
For Interesting Info about Summer Solstice, check the bottom of this article.
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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!;;
How Much Does Alaskan Cruise Cost
If an Alaskan Cruise is not on your bucket list, what have you been thinking? It better be!
Alaskan cruises offer many ships and ports itineraries ranging from different onshore trips to wildlife encounters and zip lining through the forests.
Alaska is the northernmost and westernmost state in the U.S.A. and has the most easterly longitude in the United States. It is the only non-contiguous U.S. state in continental North America.
This 49th state of the U.S.A. is one of the worlds most popular cruise destinations and best-known for its majestic scenery stretching along its icy coastline and other offshore side trips it offers.
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Explore The Exotic Natural Setting
How about spending your days taking part in a safari in Anchorage, then touring Denali Nature Park where the mountains meet the sky in the most dramatic style? You can also wander down the paths of remote villages that have been untouched by time. These and a variety of other tours can be booked either through the cruise line or through your travel agent directly. While such excursions are usually an added expenses, they are usually well worth the investment so you can see the region in its natural setting.
Small Ship Alaska Cruises From Seattle
If it’s Small Ship Alaska cruises from Seattle you’re searching for, look no further than Lindblad Expeditions & National Geographic.
The Lindblad Expeditions Alaska Adventure cruises allow you to see, do, & learn more than any other cruise line.
Choose between a 14 or 15 day adventure cruise aboard their expedition ships, the National Geographic Quest or Venture.; These small ships have access to many more places than a larger cruise ship, giving the feeling ofbeing on a private yacht.
With only 100 guests on board, you have almost limitless access to the expedition staff, naturalists, and seasoned crew.
Oceania Cruises has another Small Ship Alaska Cruise option – The Oceania Regatta offers an experience that’s close to luxury without being all-inclusive. With only 684 passengers on board, 5 Star Dining, & an excellent Spa, what could be better?!
And oh boy, do you have options! There are many Alaska cruises from Seattle options available for a luxury Alaska cruise on the Oceania Regatta:
Prices for a 7 day Cruise begins around $2,000 per person and goes up from there.
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Whales Wildlife And Brown Bear Search
For a full-day, 5.5-hour wildlife adventure, try the Whales, Wildlife, and Brown Bear Search out of Icy Strait Point. This excursion is offered by Princess and Celebrity cruise lines and the cost per person starts at $210.
On this guaranteed whale sighting tour, jump on a high-speed catamaran to cruise the very active feeding ground of the humpback whale. Return to shore for an often bumpy ride to the Spasski River for a guided drive in search of brown bear, black-tailed deer, and bald eagles. The walking portion involves covering about a half-mile of gravel and boardwalk pathways, meaning this excursion requires moderate exertion.
How Much Are Alaskan Cruises Shore Excursions
If all of these costs are making you feel a little stressed out, then the pricing of shore excursions might just put you over the edge. Unlike Caribbean cruises, which can include some relaxing beach breaks or;island tours, Alaska offers so many unique and amazing experiences. With choices like zip lining through the national forest, bear watching and whale watching expeditions, Glacier treks, dog sledding camps, and more,;you may feel compelled to try them all.
Helicopter Flight and Glacier Trek was Amazing but a;Bit Costly
Sure, there are plenty of reasonably priced tours that give you the authentic Alaskan experience, or you can even;explore some of the small Alaskan towns on your own. But, if you are looking for adventure and once in a lifetime experiences, then you have to be willing to pay up.;Walking on glaciers, touring the Misty Fjords via;sea plane, taking;a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Railway, and many other uniquely Alaskan shore excursions are quite costly.
Ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway
For our cruise, stopping at four ports, we averaged a total of $175, per person per port for our shore excursion costs. We splurged on the helicopter ride and glacier trek in Juneau but;opted for other less expensive tours in other ports, saving;a float plane ride for another time. That said, know that your total shore excursions could easily cost you $600-$1000 a person depending on your picks.
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