How Is The Weather On Alaska Cruises
While spring, summer, and early fall on an Alaska cruise can be fabulous, you should always come prepared.
This means you should definitely dress in layers to have the best Alaskan cruise. Mornings and nights can be quite chilly , however, mid-day when the sun is at its best can bring the high 70s and low 80s.
It also rains a lot in Alaska, so make sure to bring your best rain jacket and umbrella. When I went on my Alaskan cruise, I forgot my umbrella and instantly regretted it as while my body was protected, my face and shoes became soaked. Thus, also pack some waterproof shoes whether hiking shoes or rain boots.
Anchorage Ak Tours Shore Excursions Hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Fairbanks City tour
Port Anchorage AK cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port’s schedule lists all ships with cruises going to or leaving from Anchorage AK, Alaska, Denali NP. To see the full itineraries and their lowest rates just follow the corresponding ship-link.
Seattle Vs Vancouver: Where Should You Start Your Alaska Cruise
Seattle and Vancouver are two of the most popular embarkation ports for Alaska cruises. Both are incredible cities with major airports and plenty to explore on pre- or post-cruise stays. So how do you decide which port is better for starting out on your Alaska cruise? Take a look at what’s offered from each homeport to help you decide.
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Leaving Canada By Air Or Sea Back To The Us
When traveling by air from Canada back into the United States, U.S. citizens are required by U.S. law to present a U.S. passport book. There are a few exceptions to this rule and a full list of documents that can be used at land and sea borders are provided on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
Where Does The Alaska Cruise Take You
Typically, this is a round-trip cruise from Seattle or Vancouver, then back to the same port, with stops at three or four port towns, such as Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and either Sitka, Haines, or Victoria, B.C. These 7-day cruises usually spend a day in Glacier Bay or another glacier area, and two days at sea.
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How To Pick The Best Alaska Cruise For You
Youll see from our chart below that dozens of ships are sailing Alaska in 2020. And this just includes the mass-market and luxury ships. There are even more if you count all of the small ship and expedition vessels. Thats a lot of information to parse as you determine which ship is right for you, so consider a cruise line that caters to your specific needs or interests. Consult this list, and then check the chart to find a vessel that might fit your own preferences, from ships with the fewest passengers to those with the least expensive cruise fares to the ones offering exactly the itinerary you want.
Best For Teens And Adventure
If youve got active kids who have an interest in nature and the environment, an expedition voyage could be exactly what will keep them engaged and off their devices. Anyone else looking to really explore Alaska should also consider an expedition cruise where youll hop aboard skiffs for up-close looks at glaciers, go hiking in Tongass National Forest and kayak the calm waters of the Inside Passage. Look to UnCruise Adventures, Alaskan Dream Cruises, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions , Ponant or Silverseas expedition ships .
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Inside Passage Cruise Terminal
The following map shows all ports of call, islands and destinations visited on traditional Alaska Inside Passage cruise itineraries.
Port Inside Passage cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port’s schedule lists all ships with cruises going to or leaving from Inside Passage, Alaska-Canada. To see the full itineraries and their lowest rates just follow the corresponding ship-link.
Longer Sailings From The West Coast
Finally, youll find some San Francisco round-trip itineraries usually 10 nights long as well as longer sailings between San Francisco and Vancouver. These cruises are best suited to travelers who love days at sea. Youll have four sea days plus a day of scenic cruising at a spot like Tracy Arm , Endicott Arm, Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay National Park. The waters before you enter the Inside Passage can be calm, rough or anything in between, depending on when you go and luck of the draw.
Ports on these longer sailings may include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Victoria, British Columbia.
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Are The Waters Rough On An Alaskan Cruise
Alaska. Rough Waters: The majority of sailing on an Alaska cruise is done in the protected waters of the Inside Passage, but ships sailing to Seward, Whittier or Anchorage must cross the Gulf of Alaska, which is much rougher. Cruise staffers say the gulf gets especially bad after Labor Day, in the shoulder season.
What Are The Different Alaska Itineraries
My first cruise to Alaska started in Seattle and went up the western Canadian coast, eventually bringing me through the inside passage. I was traveling with a group of over 20 people, so it made sense financially to start in the continental United States.
Our cruise was through the Norwegian Cruise Line and was 7 nights. For us, that was perfect, however, others may be looking for a shorter or longer experience spending more time in the Last Frontier. While that particular cruise was through a popular cruise line, there are ships running throughout the season sailing a variety of itineraries with their version of the best Alaska cruise.
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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.
Ports In Alaska Cruises And Things To Do
Go to your booking online and check for each port. Or go online and search for each port, as we have no idea what your interests may be.
It all depends on your interests and your budget. You could just get off the ship and walk around the town.
Get a good guidebook about Alaska and start reading the short chapters about each port to give you a good overview of what the main attractions are. Bob Devine just released a really nice new book from National Geographic called “National Geographic Traveler: Coastal Alaska: Ports of Call and Beyond” that is super current. Each community also has visitor bureau websites. With many dozen excursions and attractions in each historic and vibrant community, we can’t answer your question in just a blog post.
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Why Your Cruise Ship Must Stop In A Foreign Country
The Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 states that No foreign vessels shall transport passengers between ports or places in the United States, either directly or by way of a foreign port. Done. Archaic? Id say yes.
Since most of the cruise ships departing from U.S. ports are foreign-built, flagged and crewed, they have to include a foreign port call in all itineraries. Thats why even round-trip Hawaii cruises leaving from Los Angeles or San Diego stop at Ensenada on their way back from the islands.
To recap, if you are on a round-trip Alaska cruise that departs from the United States in the Lower 48, you will need a passport book for your Alaska cruise.
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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Reasons To Cruise To Alaska
Alaska is a destination for true explorers. With immense glaciers, deep fjords, and vast stretches of wilderness, its scenery alone is sure to impress you. See remains of the Gold Rush era in the fishing villages, abandoned towns, and bustling harbor towns we visit. The waters of Alaska are teeming with life. You might see whales, porpoises, dolphins, or even large colonies of sea lions. On land, look for moose and caribou wandering the forests and brown bears fishing for salmon in the rivers. Birders, get your binoculars ready to spot the many rare species that call Alaska home.
Cruises To Alaska From Seattle Or San Francisco
For a round-trip cruise to Alaska from Seattle or even San Francisco, youd think you dont need a passport, right? Wrong. In order to return to a US port, your ship needs to stop in a foreign portin this case, in Canada. Either north or southbound, your ship will stop somewhere in Canada. In order to enter Canada, set foot on Canadian soil and then re-board your ship, you must have a passport book.
When a cruise ship cruises the Inside Passage to Alaska departs from a US port, the ship mustMUST stop in a foreign-flagged port before returning to the US. Why?
First of all, almost every large cruise ship that departs from a US port was built and flagged in a foreign country. Cruise lines erroneously site the reason for stopping in for example, Vancouver or Ensenada, as the Jones Act of 1920. This Act states that only vessels built, crewed and flagged in the US may carry cargo between US ports. It was a protectionist Act aimed at preventing foreign-flagged ships from moving their goods between US ports. But thats not actually the reason.
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The Best Alaska Cruise Ports And Choosing The Right Itinerary For You
Thinking about setting sail for Alaska? Not sure which itinerary to choose? This article is all about the highlights and best Alaska cruise ports to help you !
This article doesnt include a review of different cruise ship companies, rather it is information about the ports you may visit and how to decide based on whats most important to you. Great news to get started you really cant go wrong here as all the Alaska ports of call are interesting and different in their own ways and all are surrounded by life affirming natural beauty!
Ill also talk about how to decide between a cross gulf cruise or inside passage only , a big ship or small ship and options for scenic cruising around glaciers. I spent seven seasons working in the Alaska cruise industry and have visited all of these ports multiple times and even lived in two of them, so Im excited to share my insider knowledge with you!
- Other ports and Disembarkation ports
- What to pack for an Alaskan Cruise
Skagway Best Shore Excursion
Skagway is a tiny town with a very busy cruise port! This is as far north as cruise ships go in the Inside Passage . Skagway was put on the map by the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898 and has a colorful history. In fact, the entire downtown is a national park!
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad was built during the Gold Rush and remains today as a tour for visitors and I will tell you that in my opinion this is the best shore excursion available in Southeast Alaska! There are several options for the train: you can take a round trip summit excursion right from the cruise ship dock, or you can go one way by train and one by bus giving you additional views of this stunning location. You can also do a hike from the train getting dropped off at Denver or Laughton Glacier as part of a tour.
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad gives you the unique opportunity in Southeast Alaska to get up into the mountains and inland and see a completely different climate. There are good chances to see bears and goats on this trip too! Overall I highly recommend this if you only do one shore excursionmake it this one!
Skagway also has lots of great history to explore and several excellent hikes that leave from downtown and you can easily walk to.
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Anchorage Ak Cruise Terminal
Many cruise ships to Anchorage AK actually dock in Whittier and transport their passengers to Anchorage on bus excursions. Whittier is approx 100 km from Anchorage, accessible by road and train.
At Port Anchorage, passengers can use bus shuttle service , taxis and rental cars downtown. Shore excursions also leave from the cruise terminal.
Scenic Cruising Is Glacier Bay Better Than Other Scenic Glacier Cruising
Theres no question that Glacier Bay National Park is absolutely stunning. However, there are plenty of other glacier cruising areas that are every bit as beautiful, just different. Most Alaska cruises have a day of cruising near a glacier but its not always Glacier Bay. If youre looking at a cruise itinerary that does not include Glacier Bay, you can be confident that you will have an amazing experience! Dont let that on its own stop you from booking. Small ships sometimes dock at Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay , but big ships do not go ashore in the park. Park rangers usually come aboard to share about what youre seeing and experiencing. Other possible glacier cruising areas include:
- College Fjord Cross gulf cruises sometimes call at College Fjord, a spectacular collection of tidewater glaciers, narrow fjords and towering mountains.
- Hubbard Glacier located near Yakutat, this glacier is huge! In fact, this is the largest glacier that big cruise ships visit. It is not in a narrow fjord, but the glacier itself, the icebergs and massive mountains behind more than make up for this
- Tracy Arm located near Juneau, Tracy Arm is a local favorite and an impossibly long and gorgeous fjord. The glacier is not huge but the setting is stunning. Locals will tell you Tracy Arm is more beautiful than Glacier Bay!
No matter where your ship sails for glacier viewing, it is sure to be absolutely stunning.
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Top Cruises From Seattle To Alaska
In search of your next adventure? How would you feel about embarking on an Alaska cruise leaving from Seattle?
Joining an Alaskan cruise enables you to experience the dynamic energy of the Emerald City before boarding and heading into the wild, natural beauty of Americans Last Frontier.
If youre looking for the best Alaska cruises from Seattle, continue reading for AAAs top suggestions or contact us to speak directly with one of our knowledgeable travel agents about your upcoming trip.
Whether youre looking for short Alaska cruises from Seattle or ones that are over a week long, AAA has numerous cruise options for you to choose from each one capable of delivering memories that will last a lifetime.
Join a 7-Day Alaska Cruise From Seattle by Royal Caribbean International
Experience Glacier Bay On This 7-Day Cruise by Princess Cruises
Savor Delicious Food & Rugged Alaskan Coastline on This 8-Night Cruise by Carnival Cruise Line
Join an Exciting 7-Night Celebrity Cruise to Alaska From Seattle
Enjoy Food & Excursions On This 7-Night Cruise by Holland America Line
Relax on Decadent Alaska Cruises From Seattle by Oceania Cruises
Enjoy Roundtrip Alaska Cruises From Seattle by Norwegian Cruise Line
Benefits of Doing an Alaska Cruise From Seattle
Small Ship Alaska Cruises From Seattle
How Do I Plan An Alaska 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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