Sitka Best Alaska Cruise Port To Explore On Your Own
If you like to explore on your own, Sitka is the port for you! Sitka has far fewer ships than many other ports so its fun for an independent minded traveler to explore. Most likely your ship will dock a few miles outside of town, but theres a free shuttle downtown that goes every 15 minutes while a ship is important and its easy to zip around. You can also link up with Sitkas bus system to get to trailheads and other areas.
Sitkas beautiful setting on Baranof Island combined with an intriguing history of Tlingit history and modern culture with Russian and American rule make it an interesting place to visit.
Whens The Best Time To Take An Alaska Cruise
The cruise season in Alaska runs from late April/early May until early September, and can be broadly split into three different seasons: spring, summer and autumn. Theres not really a best time to take an Alaska cruise as each season has different advantages and disadvantages which might relate to the weather, the wildlife, the prices or the size of the crowds.
Its important to remember weather in Alaska is pretty unpredictable, so youre never going to be guaranteed blues skies and sunshine, even in the middle of summer. I travelled in late August and got lucky with some beautiful weather, but the same cruise a week earlier had thick fog and rain, so theres always a bit of luck involved and you need to be prepared for changing weather conditions pack wet weather gear and warm layers whenever youre travelling.
General Overview Of The Weather In Alaska
While ice and snow abound, Alaska cruise routes steer clear of the Arctic zone, which means that the weather during Alaska cruise season is not as cold as you might think. In fact, many mid-summer days are surprisingly warm.
Most of the regions Alaska cruises visit are in the South-Eastern and Southern parts of the state, which both have a milder, wetter climate than the Northern Arctic regions.
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Looking For The Best Time To Visit Alaska This Is It
An Alaska adventure belongs at the top of your bucket list. Nows the best time to start planning.
Americas Last Frontier is a land of endless new discoveries, breathtaking landscapes, and off-the-beaten-path trails that lead to bucket list adventures. From glacier gazing and wildlife watching to catching a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights, youll find plenty of ways to fill your days with awe-inspiring thrills. But like many of the worlds most incredible destinations, figuring out the best time to visit Alaska depends a lot on which experiences interest you. And with cruise itineraries that run from spring to the start of fall, getting there is easy.
Known To Alaskans As The Blue Canoes
Want to have a great time and see the real Alaska up close and personal? Try the Blue Canoes . The Alaska Marine Highway System achieved the nations highest designation for a scenic route. It is one of only 27 highways in the country that have been designated as an All-American Road. The 3,500-nautical-mile ferry route connects 33 ports and stretches from Bellingham, Wash., to the Aleutian Islands. Alaska Marine Highway ships run for 8,834 miles from Bellingham north to Skagway, across the Gulf of Alaska, into Prince William Sound, and out to Dutch Harbor, the tip of the Aleutians.
Additional service is offered across the Gulf of, Alaska stopping in Valdez and Whittier. The M/V Tustumena provides service from Homer, Seward, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor. The super fast ferry, M/V Chenega runs in Prince William Sound.
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Visit Homer On An Alaska Cruisetour
Located on Kachemak Bay on Alaskas Kenai Peninsula, Homers reputation as a fantastic destination for kayaking, wildlife viewing, hiking, and fishing is well earned. Aside from its varied outdoor opportunities, Homer is also popular for the many shops, seafood restaurants, and art galleries that line the busy Homer Spit strip, as well as its lovely coastal views and beautiful gardens, which are often blooming with peonies.
This small city, known as the eco and adventure tourism capital of Alaska and the halibut fishing capital of the world, is one of our new Alaska Cruisetour stops for 2021. Visit Homer before or after embarking on one of our 7-night Northbound or Southbound Glacier cruise itineraries, by extending your vacation with a Cruisetour that visits Homer and other exciting destinations in Alaskas expansive interior.
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Appreciate The Great Outdoors At Chilkoot Trail Or Misty Fjords National Monument
Alaska is, of course, an outdoor adventure wonderland, and each port of call offers plenty for those who want to stay active on vacation. Hike the famous Gold Rush-era Chilkoot Trail in Skagway, kayak to the banks of the Mendenhall Glacier, zipline through the rainforests near Ketchikan, or snorkel the calm waters of Mountain Point, southeast Alaskas prime snorkeling destination. Less active outdoor adventures also await, from riding the rail to the Klondike Summit in Skagway to sailing into the gorgeous Misty Fjords National Monument to riding a Zodiac from Saxman Native Village through Nichols Passage in Ketchikan.
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How To Choose The Perfect Alaska Cruise
The thunderous crack of a calving glacier, snow-capped mountain peaks, bears fishing for salmon in clear meltwater streams, humpback whales swimming through turquoise waters. Alaska takes natural beauty to another level. This vast wilderness isnt the easiest place to get around though, especially if you only have a week or two to spare. But its coastal network of islands, fjords and glaciers make Alaska one of the best parts of the world to cruise in.
But if youre planning an Alaska cruise youll soon find out there are a baffling array of options different departure ports, routes, stops and cruise lines. Cruises can be pricey and you cant exactly change your mind halfway round and get on a different ship if you decide its not right, so you want to make sure you pick a good one. But how do you decide which that is? Heres my guide to the questions to ask to help you choose your perfect Alaskan cruise.
Tips For Alaska Communities
The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in Fairbanks, which is open year-round, introduces visitors to the areas Athabaskan culture.
What can communities do to assist with transportation and visitor experiences?
Service the same niche markets cruise industries are catering to, members of a special panel on the cruise sector told members attending the Alaska Travel Industry Associations annual conference.
The fastest growing segment is multi-generational family groups so offer an experience that accommodates a range of ages. Cruise ships, for example, have responded to the multi-generational market with three-bedroom suites and have designed ships with a range of mobility issues in mind. A land tour experience needs to accommodate the same.
Royal Caribbeans Russel Benford suggested that there is growing interest is cultural experiences and his company is looking to stay ahead of the trend. He hoped that communities and operators would see value in changing their mix of products to accommodate this growing area of demand.
He went on to say that the big mega ships are packed with thousands of visitors who are looking for unique, custom experiences. Small group tour options can be packaged as intimate and private, even when they sell at a premium, he said. Successful cruise destinations need fresh product to keep the destination fresh.
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Ships Sailing Alaska In 2020
This chart shows the major ships that are sailing Alaska in 2020. Itinerary types include IP , GA and L . RT indicates a round-trip sailing that originates and ends in the same port. Other itineraries begin in one city and end in another.
Also, remember that cruise fares fluctuate over time. The per person fares are whats currently listed on the cruise lines website, but you may be able to find a lower or higher price than whats published here.
Finally, cruises at the beginning and end of Alaskas cruise season are generally a bit cheaper than those in June, July and August.
|Cruise Line/ Ship|
Visit A Sled Dog Camp
Another popular shore excursion, Skagway and are home to some of the states most prestigious young learners: sled dog puppies. Come meet the dogs training to be future Iditarod champions and try out mushing yourself . And then of course meet and cuddle with the puppies, and try your hardest not to sneak them back on the ship with you.
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Explore The Small Towns Of Skagway And Ketchikan
Most cruise lines stop at several small towns and cities along the Inside Passage, all of which offer great excursions for your time off-board the ship. But sometimes the best choice is to keep your afternoon open and explore the towns on your own. I stopped at three ports in all: Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan, and all three offered a unique glimpse into different parts of Alaskas fascinating history. Skagway is a former Gold Rush boomtown that still gives off a very Wild West vibe is a low-key capital city with plenty of cute cafés and boutique shops and Ketchikan is a vibrant fishing community with a strong Native Alaskan culture. Even if there are excursions at these ports you dont want to miss, its worth it to set aside some time while the ships in port to walk around these fascinating little communities and see how real Alaskans live.
Where Does The Ship Depart From
The three main departure points for Alaskan cruises are Seattle and Vancouver in the south and Anchorage in the north. Seattle is popular with cruisers from the US as they dont need to go through immigration and can often get cheap flights. But you end up travelling through a large section of open sea which can be rough, some short trips miss out the Inside Passage and ships have to make a compulsory stop in Canada so theres less time in Alaska.
Vancouvers Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal
Vancouver is the most popular departure point for Alaska cruises so youll have the biggest choice of cruise lines, itineraries and departures. If youre travelling internationally there are plenty of flights, and routes mostly travel through the Inside Passage with more to see.
Most departures from Anchorage actually leave from the ports of Seward or Whittier rather than Anchorage itself. So you need to allow time to get to the ship from the airport. Its 60 miles to Whittier and 125 miles to Seward so will take at least a couple of hours, but its probably safer to stay overnight, especially if youre flying internationally. Theres some beautiful scenery along the way though, and one bonus is you can get there via the Alaska Railroad.
Sailing out of Vancouver
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Small Ship Alaska Cruises From Seattle
If itâs Small Ship Alaska cruises from Seattle youâre 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 â The Oceania Regatta offers an experience thatâs 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.
Check out their fantastic eBrochure and be sure to check for special offers.
Travel To The End Of The Road
The most southerly tip of Alaskas Highway 1, the bustling city of Homer might be the last stop, but its certainly not a destination to be overlooked. Protected from harsh winds by the Kenai Mountains, Homers mild temperature makes it a favorite amongst tourists. Nestled between mountain bluffs and Kachemak Bay, downtown Homer is a hillside mecca for unique, local goods. Stroll down the peony-lined Pioneer Avenue to discover a variety of upscale restaurants, cafes, art gallerieseven a local brewery and winery.
Stretching from the citys downtown into Homer Bay, the 4.5-mile long Homer Spit is the site of much activity. With a multi-use trail that runs the length of the spit, its a great spot for beachcombing, biking, and birding. Its also the best place to cast a line or catch a charter tour to deeper waters in search of the regions best catcheshalibut and king salmon.
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Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In May
- May is part of the spring shoulder season and sees fewer visitors than later in the year, so you should be able to find better travel deals and lower cruise prices.
- For wildlife spotters, May offers migratory songbirds, pods of gray whales, and herds of moose. Bring a pair of binoculars and you may even catch the occasional wolf or lynx on the prowl.
Whens The Best Time To Cruise To Alaska For Salmon Fishing
Luckily, any cruise season month is a good time to fish for salmon in Alaska. Heres a quick guide to help you time your trip to match when your favorite salmon is running:
- King salmon: May-June
- Silver salmon: Mid July-late August
- Chum salmon: July-August
Cruise ship in Alaska. Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.
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Canada Place: The Centre Of Everything
Located in the heart of Vancouvers waterfront, Canada Place consistently earns high passenger satisfaction scores and top marks for user-friendliness and luggage handling. With a storied 35-year history, Canada Place offers modern conveniences and services, above-and-beyond customer service, and all the bells and whistles required to ensure passengers enjoy a positive and safe cruise experience.
Q: What Is The 2022 Alaska Cruise Season And When Is The Best Time To Cruise Alaska
A: Cruises will be available between May through September from a variety of cruise lines, with July 2022 being the most popular time to cruise Alaska and September 2022 being the least crowded time to go. When the best time to take an Alaskan cruise is all depends on what you are looking to see and what weather you are willing to endure July experiences some of the longest, warmest days of the region in the Arctic but going up to 70 degrees in Denali), giving you the opportunity to potentially experience the Midnight Sun and plenty of wildlife on the other hand, September is much colder but experiences significantly less crowds and is the best time to cruise Alaska to see the Northern Lights.
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Visit A Native American Community
Fifteen miles south of Ketchikan is Metlakatla, the only Native American reservation in Alaska. It’s located on Annette Island, 86,000 acres of dense rainforest and tranquil salmon streams that can be accessed via a 45-minute ferry ride from Ketchikan. Here, visitors get the opportunity to learn all about the Tsimshian culture and history by touring the local totem poles, embarking on a wildlife safari, or learning intertidal harvesting techniques from the natives. A side trip to Metlakatla provides a historical perspective of Alaska’s complex past.
Best Things To Do In Homer
Nestled on Alaskas Kenai Peninsula, Homer is focussed around the central point of the Homer Spit. A long strip of land where you will find shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants and beaches.
There are plenty of things to see and do and a wealth of history and natural spaces to explore.
The town is also famous for being featured in the Discovery channels Alaska the last frontier and some episodes of the deadliest catch. This indicates the kind of wilderness you will find here.
When visiting Homer, you can expect lots of opportunities for adventure and there are so many local tours and friendly people who will be more than willing to point you in the right direction.
Lets explore the best things to o in Homer, Alaska:
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Trek Glacier Point Or Mendenhall Glacier
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.