Monday, March 20, 2023

What Is There To Do On An Alaskan Cruise

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Haines Shore Excursions & Tours

5 things to do on an Alaskan cruise!

Note:Some ships that dock in Haines offer tours to Skagway. Unless youre a serious history buff, we dont recommend it. Instead, take advantage of having the town of Haines to yourself. You can enjoy any of the four tours mentioned above: rafting, jetboat, kayaking, and nature tours are also offered from Skagway. Or try one of our recommended tours below.

Travelers to Alaska often wonder what its like to live in a small Alaskan town year-round. This tour is designed to show you. Your fun and informative local guide will take you to out-of-the-way places, like Svensons Extreme Dreams Art Studio. Youll also visit the Hammer Museumthe worlds only museum dedicated to mans first tool.

Which Cruise Lines Sail To Alaska

Alaska is one of the most popular cruise destinations, and interested travelers have a variety of options to choose from. Almost all cruise lines travel to Alaska during the summer. Cruisers should first identify what type of cruise they are looking to take, and where their closest port is, to select which cruise line is best for them.

Best Cruises For Extended Trips To Alaska

If you want to cruise Alaska but also see some of the interior and enjoy a stay in a lodge or hotel, go for a cruise-tour package from either Holland America or Princess Cruises. Both have fantastic itineraries that take passengers not only to the Inside Passage, but also Anchorage, Denali National Park, the Yukon, Kenai Peninsula, Talkeetna and Fairbanks. Princess even owns a handful of its own lodges.

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Wondering What To Wear On Your Alaskan Cruise

I get asked a lot of it was worth it to wear Hunter Boots to Alaska and the answer is an enthusiastic YES! This was one of the best purchases I made for my Alaskan Cruise. The soles have great tread on them, making them great to hike in.

They are also super comfy to walk around in all day and of course they are waterproof. I was the only person at Nugget Falls who got to splash around in the water and get really close to the falls because I had my rain boots on.

They come in a TON of colors too, so you can still look super fashionable!

TIP: Pair your hunter boots with some wool socks and they are warmer and more waterproof than any expensive snow boot.

How Do You Get To The Port Of Skagway From The Cruise Ship

There are hundreds of things to do on an Alaskan cruise ...

The ships dock about ¼ mile from the center of town so its a very easy walk. You can easily go back and forth between the heart of the town and the ship without any problem.

You can also ride the shuttle if you have mobility issues. You wont need to worry about arranging your own transportation unless you want to see some of the sights outside of town.

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Insider Tips For Alaska Cruises

  • Transfer day is a sightseeing day The trip between Whittier or Seward and Anchorage travels one of the most scenic stretches of road in the state. Youll cross the mountains and follow the coast of Turnagain Arm. Transfers are typically by motorcoach, private shuttle or train, but this is far more than getting from A to B. Keep your camera at the ready, and dont be surprised if you spot wildlife and incredible natural landscapes along the way.

  • Day cruises get even closer to glaciers Its worth adding a day cruise either in Prince William Sound or Resurrection Bay/Kenai Fjords. These nimble vessels are able to slip into smaller spaces than the big ships, better navigate to sea lion haulouts, bird nesting areas and whale watching hot spots in the moment, and get closer to glaciers and then linger in silence. These incredible sights also makes day cruises a great option for independent travelers as well. If spending nights aboard a ship doesnt appeal to you, day cruises are a great way to sample the marine ecosystem and keep the start of each day on solid ground.

  • Anchorage as flightseeing capital Anchorage isnt just the spot to catch the flight into or out of Alaska. With a huge concentration of pilots and small aircraft, its also a prime spot for sightseeing tours by air. Flights from Merrill Field or Lake Hood in Anchorage take off for glaciers in the nearby Chugach Mountains, the waters of Prince William Sound, or even circle Denali by air.

  • Cruise Hack #: Explore The Whole Ship On Day 1

    We didnt do this, but we wish we had. On Day 6 we learned about a coffee shop and panini stand on Deck 5 that we would have been hitting up EVERY DAY if we had known about it! Whats the lesson? Take some time day 1 to explore!

    Wander aimlessly around the common areas of the ship to learn everything you can about the food and amenities on board so that you dont miss out! Also, this will help you get the lay of the land on board so that you dont get lost after that 3rd cocktail on your way back to your room !

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    White Pass And Yukon Route

    This is probably the most popular excursion that you can take when visiting Skagway. The trains even come right down to the different cruise ship piers so it’s super easy to get on if you don’t want to walk. Different railway tour excursions are offered and every cruise ship is going to offer their own package as well. Options range from the Summit Excursion to a visit to the Fraser Meadow by steam train. You can even purchase a hiking pass enabling you tackle the famous Chilkoot Trail and then ride home in comfort. That’s probably not a great fit for visiting on a cruise ship since you don’t want to miss sailaway, but gives you a reason to come back and spend more time in Skagway!

    Why We Chose An Alaskan Cruise

    9 Best Things To Do On An Alaska Cruise

    Lets start with a very important question: why do an Alaskan Cruise? That is a very good question. Isnt Alaska cold and snowy all year? And doesnt Alaska have zero sunlight?

    Well, folks, it might surprise you to learn that Alaska is flipping BEAUTIFUL! Especially during the summer months. The weather is top notch, youll have days full of sunshine and warmth, though it probably wont be as tropical as a Caribbean cruise You will still have time to stay by the pool, sip fruity drinks, and eat eat eat until you burst !

    But, all of this STILL misses the point on WHY you would choose an Alaskan Cruise. It is because Alaska is an absolute wonderland of sights and sounds and wildlife and more! The Last Frontier, as they call it, has whales, glaciers, lakes, mountains, fjords , cliffs, rivers, salmon, bears, bears eating salmon, sea lions, orcas, the Northern Lights , and we are barely scratching the surface!

    • On board our Princess cruise through Alaska and the Inside Passage
    • White Pass Summit & Yukon Route Train Ride from Skagway, Alaska! A great Alaskan excursion to do on your Alaska cruise!
    • On board our Princess cruise through Alaska and the Inside Passage
    • Mendenhall glacier in Juneau, Alaska

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    Is An Alaskan Cruise Mostly For Old People

    They sure are. BUT they are for kids and young adults and everyone in between too. While the crowd is a bit older then a Caribbean cruise, there were also plenty of young couple and families aboard our cruise with Princess Cruise Lines.

    We decided to make this an adults-only trip but every step of the way we kept saying The kids would LOVE this! There is so much to do on the ship and tons of excursions that work for any age group. And cmon, show me one kid who wouldnt be excited getting a sled dog ride and then holding puppies at the sled camp? Yeah I thought so!

    Eastern Alaska: The Quietest Place In September

    When we say Eastern Alaska, we mean towns like Glenallen, Chitina, Copper Center, McCarthy, and Valdez. This area is similar to Denali in the sense that many hotels and tours shut down by mid-Septemberafter which things are really shut down. So, if you want to experience this area, you just have to come in the early part of the month.

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    Your Phone Might Work On The Ship

    One issue with sailing on most cruises is that your phone doesnt work on the ship. If sailing to Alaska, there is at least a chance that youll have your normal cell service. Since Alaska is part of the United States, your cell service provider may also offer service in this area with any additional charges. Check with your provider for a current map, or see our article here.

    Trek Glacier Point Or Mendenhall Glacier

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    Once youve spotted enough glaciers from afar, youre going to want to get up-close and personal. With Princess Cruises, youll find glacier trek options at both Skagway and Juneau, exploring the surfaces of Glacier Point and Mendenhall Glacier, respectively . Strap on your crampons and get ready to explore one of the most unique environments on the planet, from the icy blue deep crevasses to the otherworldly spires of ice.

    INSIDER TIPMany of these excursions involve a plane or helicopter ride taking you to the glaciers. Its a very fun way to arrive, but temperamental Alaskan weather means they dont always go off as planned . To ensure you get your chance to walk on a glacier, either book an excursion that doesnt involve a flight or sign up for a trip later in the day, when its more likely the morning fog has lifted.

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    Different Cruise Lines Appeal To Different Passengers

    While the cruise lines all sail similar routes and see similar things, but there is a difference between the cruise lines and what they offer passengers. Some passengers are simply looking for the cheapest fare while others want to highest-level of luxury. Still others want to sail the biggest and newest ships. Theres no doubt that different ships will have different experiences, so do your research before booking. Be sure to read our article on the best cruise lines to sail to Alaska.

    Klondike Rock Climbing And Rappelling

    Cost: $99.95

    Port where available: Skagway

    If youre like me, you may be a little terrified at the idea of climbing the sheer face of a rock cliff. But dont let that scare you away from this 3 1/4-hour tour. Its a hoot.

    Experienced climbing guides will meet you at your ship and drive you up the Klondike Highway to an area of granite cliffs thats the perfect playground for beginner and more seasoned climbers alike. Upon arrival, the guides provide you with all the gear you need climbing shoes, helmets and harnesses for a safe scramble up a 70-foot-high wall. Theyll also offer plenty of instruction plus a snack of trail mix and hot chocolate.

    If it all sounds a bit daunting, know that you dont need any experience at climbing to do it . There are multiple routes up the cliffs, some perfect for beginners. After making it to the top, youll rappel back down an entirely different kind of thrill.

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    Payouts In The Casino Arent That Great

    During your trip there will be plenty of time to try your luck in the ships casino. Now it doesnt take a genius to know that any time you gamble the edge always goes to the house. On a cruise ship that edge is even larger. Payouts are notoriously low on the ships, including blackjack that pays 6-to-5, and video poker with low returns. If you still want to gamble theres nothing wrong with that, but just know that the chips are stacked against you.

    What Is An Alaskan Cruise Really Like

    Alaska Cruise Guide: Top Tips for Cruising Alaska

    Its not like what Mike and I experienced, no word of a lie. I cant lie to you and pretend that our trip was the norm. We had prepared for rainy, chilly weather. We bought new raincoats off of Amazon, we bought new rubber duck shoes and we made sure that we packed umbrellas. We had looked online, read the cruise forums and did our research. We hadnt even taken an Alaskan cruise before so we were prepared for the rainy days that were most likely going to happen on the trip.

    It was sunny the entire trip.

    Not one rainy day. In fact, it was quite hot when we were in Sitka, one of the hottest days they had had all year so far. We had worn layers when walking to the Sitka National Historic Park and we were in t-shirts by the time we hit the totem walk in the forest.

    So first, Alaskan cruises are normally chillier and rainy than what we experienced. That doesnt really matter in my opinion because Alaskan cruises are filled with spectacular beauty. Sitka was one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been to. The National Forest was breathtaking and not to be missed.

    Every port you are at on an Alaskan cruise is candy for the eyes but Juneau will steal your heart as soon as you see her. This is a sight that you will only see if you come in by air or by sea, making it a pretty special thing indeed as there are no roads into Juneau.

    The food?

    Now, I am sure that I missed something so please ask in the comments below and I will try to answer!

    Happy travels!

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    White Pass Railway Rotary Snowplow No 1

    While there are tons of excursion ideas too, Skagway is a great place to visit and simply just walk around too. There are pocket parks, unique shops – for guys as well as the ladies, food ranging from elk jerky to fry bread. There’s also these two trains positioned just before you get into the downtown area from the cruise ship docks. If you’ve ever wondered how the railroads up there could clear the feet of snow that fall … this is how. The giant rotary snowplow dates back to 1899 and supported by two helper engines, could push through up to 12 feet of snow that sometimes covered the tracks. It was retired in 1965 but was used as recently as 2001 for a ceremonial demonstration.

    Today though, it makes a great spot to take a photo and admire the sheer power of both engineering and determination that allowed the frontier to be tamed.

    A Guide To The Best Alaskan Cruise Vacation

    Alaska is a beautiful and wild destination, popular with travelers looking for an extraordinary experience in the United States. With a coastline that’s longer than all the other U.S. states coastlines combined, a multi-day Alaskan cruise is an elegant and relaxing way to see the massive states stunning landscape. Sailing past the icy beauty of some of the world’s most impressive glaciers while enjoying a wide range of services and relaxing options is an experience unique to cruising. On land, Alaska cruise passengers have a variety of tour options in port cities, ranging from rail excursions to zip-line tours to wildlife viewing to sportfishing.

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    Alaska Cruise Weather In September

    September is the last month of the cruise season in Alaska and it is also one of the coldest, with temperatures staying in the low to high forties on average. As the month advances, the temperatures drop lower and lower, and the nights and early mornings can be bitterly cold.

    The abundant cloud cover and frequent rain make the landscape all the more beautiful, but visitors should dress properly for a better overall experience. Travelers still get at least twelve hours of sunlight for excursions and deck activities, but they should pack thick pants, knit sweaters, and insulated shoes to combat the cold along with waterproof rain gear.

    While Alaska might be colder than other summer vacation spots, it offers unique experiences that cant be found anywhere else. These include sightings of wild orcas, sea lions, and humpback whales and riding one of the worlds longest ziplines.

    Youll also have a chance to visit the incredible Butchart Gardens, witness glaciers, pan for gold, hike through temperate rainforests, and much more. If youre prepared for the weather and pack the right attire for your destination, nothing can get in the way of having a good time.

    Hike On A Giant Glacier

    Anchorage Holidays &  Tours, Alaska

    Glacier hiking is undeniably one of the top things to do in Alaska for adventure-minded visitors. Youll see plenty of glaciers in the distance from the ship, but nothing compares to actually walking on one.

    A popular place to do that is Juneau, where you can join an excursion to the mighty Mendenhall Glacier.

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    Utilize Local Transportation In Alaska

    One of my favorite facts about Alaska is that you can drive almost 1,000 miles and only make one left hand turn at a proper light and get from Seward to Deadhorse. So, even though we only have one major highway you can access a huge portion of Alaska from the comfort of a car. And, if you want to be a real Alaskan, youll get off the highway and take to the air or sea to reach all the hidden gems and small villages that make Alaska such a special place.

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