Sunday, April 21, 2024

Which Cruise Line For Alaska Is The Best

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Where To Eat In Port In Skagway


Skagway, like other Alaskan ports, offers tons of delicious restaurants with American fare and bar food, as well as tons of fresh seafood options that will completely ruin you for fresh fish forever – I know halibut just won’t ever be as good as the fish and chips I had in Skagway, until I am there next time!

What Are The Excursions Like

Alaska is about getting out into nature for those once in-a-lifetime experiences. Heres a look at the type of shore tours offered in some of the most popular ports:

What to Do in Juneau:

Alaskas state capital sits at the base of Mount Roberts explore the nearby ice fields of Mendenhall Glacier or take the tram up to the top of Mount Roberts for spectacular views of the harbor. Or kayak in nearby Auke Bay to soak up the beautiful scenery of the area and maybe spot seals and eagles as youre paddling around.

What to Do in Skagway:

Charming Skagway is all about the legacy of the Klondike Gold Rush it was the place prospectors converged more than a century ago to seek their fortunes in the snowy mountains about the town. From Skagway, take a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route narrow-gauge railway , or sign up for the mostly downhill 15-mile bike ride along the scenic Klondike Highway with endless views of snowcapped peaks.

What to Do in Ketchikan:

It might be the rainiest port of the Inside Passage, but dont let that stop you from checking out Ketchikans totem poles, salmon, and flight-seeing opportunities over the Misty Fjords National Monument. From Ketchikan, the Misty Fjords flight-seeing tour will give you aerial views of rocks rising 3,000 feet from the sea. The grand finale is when the floatplane actually lands on a wilderness lake for a quick look around. Juneau is also a great port for flight-seeing tours, many flying over the nearby ice fields.

Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In September

  • Pack warm clothes and enjoy Septembers cool temperatures that vary between 35-55 degrees. If youre on an arctic tour, pack winter coats, as youll experience daytime temperatures of 28-33 degrees.
  • Looking for a bargain? September increases your odds of finding low-cost tours and other Alaska cruise deals.
  • Elk, caribou, bears, moose, and deer can be spotted across the wilderness. Above, raptors and gulls migrate south and bald eagles hunt for prey. Below, harbor seals and sea lions dot the beach, and pods of gray whales pass your cruise ship.

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Northbound Alaska And Hubbard Glacier

TheVancouver ToSeward journey is a great way to take in as much of what Alaska has to offer in the shortest possible time. Vancouver is, after all, only one day’s sail from the Inside Passage.

A pause atKetchikan — the salmon capital of the world no less — allows you to stretch your legs before you head deeper into the Alaskan hinterland. Making its way past theIcy Strait Point, the cruise stops at Juneau, Skagway, and then up to the spectacularHubbard Glacier.

The last leg of the trip takes you to the charming town of Seward, one of Alaskas oldest communities. And from there, you can fly back home in comfort.

Which Cabin Should You Book

Best Alaskan Cruises

Cruisers tend to be split into two camps the ones who dont spend any time in their cabins and are happy to go without a window to save money, and the ones wholl pay a bit extra to have a balcony to relax and soak up the views from. As Alaska is such a scenic area, with some great views along the Inside Passage, we decided it was worth the cost to have a balcony. Turns out we had fog on the way up and didnt see a lot, but it came into its own at the glacier.

It can help to be able to see the horizon and get some fresh air if youre worried about seasickness. You can also choose a cabin on as low a deck as possible, in the middle of the ship rather than the forward or aft as they move less. It can cost a bit more to reserve a specific cabin rather than a generic category but I like to know where Im going to be .

Misty balcony morning

So which is your ideal cruise? I was travelling with my parents at the end of August, wanted to do a round trip from Vancouver, didnt mind too much about what stops we made, and wanted a mid-size ship with a bit of luxury. So we ended up choosing a Celebrity Cruises seven-night Hubbard Glacier cruise and really enjoyed it, but there are tons of options to create your own perfect 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.

Gulf Of Alaska Cruises

Gulf of Alaska cruises usually run from Vancouver to Seward/Whittier or vice versa. Ports typically include Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan with a day in the Inside Passage. Youll either fly into or out of Anchorage depending on the itinerary. And youll have the opportunity for land adventures either pre or post cruise.

Because the ship leaves the protection of the Inside Passage, you may experience rougher seasor not. If you do, heres my favorite sea sickness remedy.

Alan and I give the nod to Alaskan cruises that include Sitkaeasy to explore on your ownand Kodiak Islandwe went hikingtwo of our favorite Alaska ports.

Most of the small, luxury cruise lines offer Sitka as a port as well as Holland American and Celebrity. Cruises that stop at Kodiak Island are harder to find and are usually part of a trans-Pacific cruise.

All Alaska cruises offer scenic cruising in addition to the Inside Passage. Look for itineraries that include a day in Glacier Bay National Park . Visiting Hubbard Glacier, College Fjord or Tracy Arm are other scenic cruise day options worth considering.

Im seeing Victoria, Prince Rupert, and Icy Straight , appearing on some cruises to Alaska. Keep this in mind if youre looking for new-to-you experiences on a second, third or even fourth cruise in Alaska.

Boomer Travel Tip

Check for best Alaska cruise prices here.

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Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Float

There are really only two choices for river float trips in Southeast Alaska: the Mendenhall River in Juneau or the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve float trip in Haines. The Mendenhall is a fun whitewater trip that starts with a spectacular view of the Mendenhall Glacier. However, if youre looking for a wilderness or wildlife trip, choose the Chilkat float. This trip begins with a scenic, 25-mile drive into the heart of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, an extremely rich wildlife area. Youll board rafts and float on the swift current of the shallow, glaciated Chilkat River through the Eagle Council Grounds, which are crisscrossed with tracks of bear, moose, wolves, otter, and other wildlife. Keep an eye out for these creatures, but youre more likely to spot eagles . When the sockeye salmon are running in July, you may spot 100 bald eagles or more. And thats not even peak season. To see thousands of eagles at once, youll have to come back in November.

Another way to see the Preserve is by jetboat tour, which goes up the Chilkat River into a wetland environment thats an excellent place to see moose and bald eagles.

Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In August

Alaska Cruise Tips | Top Tips for Cruising Alaska | Princess Cruises
  • Warm weather, with temperatures between 45-65 degrees and 18 hours of daylight.
  • Abundant fishing opportunities, as halibut, northern pike, rainbow trout, and salmon are all in season.
  • Numerous cruise and land tour packages on offer, giving you access to the breathtaking fall foliage of the Last Frontier.
  • As for wildlife, August is peak migration season for songbirds and youll see numerous caribou, bears, beavers, orca, and loons on your adventure.

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Haines Shore Excursions & Tours

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.

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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Alaska Cruise Guide: Planning Tips And Best Cruise Itineraries

Most people equate cruising with tropical destinations. Why would anyone cruise to chilly, rainy Alaska, where you might be wearing fleece jackets and knit hats and gloves in July?

Look beyond the iffy weather, and youll find many reasons to cruise Alaska. Perhaps youre drawn to the gorgeous scenery, the areas cultural and historic riches, or its abundant wildlife. With a variety of itineraries, cruise ships, destinations, and activities to consider, no two cruises to Alaska will be the same. However, first-timers can easily become overwhelmed choosing the best Alaska cruise itinerary or picking the perfect cruise line or cruise tour.

In our definitive Alaska cruise, well take you through everything you need to know to choose and plan the Alaska cruise vacation of your dreams.

Saxman Totem Village With Lumberjack Tour

Top 8 best cruise ships going to Alaska in 2020

A visit to Southeast Alaska is not complete without an introduction to the areas original inhabitants. Their fascinating history and culture is one reason Ketchikan is such a special place to visit. Another important element of the town is the logging industry, which was one of the mainstays of the Ketchikan economy through the 1990s. This tour introduces you to both.

The Saxman Village tour offers a deep look at the culture overall, and particularly their totem poles. In fact, Saxman Totem park is one of the worlds largest collections of totem poles, and your guide will help explain the stories and symbolism behind them. The Lumberjack show is an entertaining look at the world of logging and the skills needed to survive in this dangerous industry. Lumberjacks compete in a dozen events including sawing, chopping, axe throwing, and log rolling.

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Why Cruise To Alaska

The 49th U.S. state is home to a beautiful mountainous landscape and an abundance of wildlife, from bald eagles to bears and moose. It possesses a unique Gold Rush history and a vibrant mix of native Alaskan cultures. You wont find this blend of scenery, outdoor pursuits, history, and culture in any other cruise itinerary.

Plus, many of the Inside Passage ports are tricky to visit by land. For example, Ketchikan is only accessible by air or sea. You cannot visit the breathtaking glaciers of Glacier Bay by car. If you want to explore this region of Alaska, youll need a ship to get there.

Unlike other cruise destinations, Alaskan ports arent separated by vast swaths of ocean. When you cruise the Inside Passage, the ship is constantly within site of land. Most sea days offer something to see, even if not an official scenic cruising day. Its a different kind of cruise experience, and one many travelers are eager to pursue.

Best For Families With Younger Kids

Carnival, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean all have extensive kids clubs aboard their ships. Disney kicks that up a notch with meet-and-greets with its beloved characters on board. You can hang with Dr. Seuss characters when sailing with Carnival and there are DreamWorks personas aboard Royal Caribbean ships.

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Haines Best Weather And Kayaking

Haines doesnt have a lot of cruise ships that call in its port, but it does have some. You can also visit Haines by taking a shore excursion when your ship calls in nearby Skagway. However you get there, Haines is worth a visit for plenty of reasons.

In addition to the scenery that every Alaska town has on offer, Haines is positioned to have the best weather in Southeast Alaska, making it ideal for outdoor activities like kayaking! When I say best weather I mean less rain than most other ports but it doesnt have the wind that Skagway has. In any part of Southeast Alaska you need to be ready for rain, any day, all year, but Haines gives you a better chance of a dry day than most.

Kayaking is unique in Haines because you can take a tour for sea kayaking or you can kayak in Chilkoot Lake, giving options for every preference and every skill level in a kayak. This is a wonderful place to try kayaking for the first time!

Glacier Bay National Park

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Okay, were kind of cheating with this one, but we feel that it deserves to be included on this list. Glacier Bay isnt really a port, and it is mainly used for scenic cruising. However, anyone visiting Alaska should make a point of visiting Glacier Bay. Its known for massive mountains, unique wildlife, and glaciers. Its not the only worthy scenic cruising spot in Alaska, but its definitely one of the most impressive. If youre a nature lover, this is one spot that should be on your bucket list.

Alaska is a big state with a lot to offer. Going on a cruise is one of the best ways to explore it.

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Best Large Cruise: Royal Caribbean

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

  • Ship: Ovation of the Seas
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Itinerary: Alaska Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria

If youre looking for a cruise to Alaska with all the theme-park-like attractions, then the Ovation of the Seas will not disappoint. Built in 2016, Ovation is currently ranked as one of the 10 largest cruise ships in the world with onboard features like a skydiving simulator, a cocktail bar tended by robots, aerial performances in the theater, and the North Star, a moving observation pod with surreal views. The first two days of the voyage are spent at sea so theres plenty of time to explore the ship and try different activities. Or, dine at specialty restaurants like Chops Grille, Royal Caribbeans iconic steakhouse Wonderland, an eclectic array of dishes, or Giovannis table, a favorite Italian restaurant.

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.

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    Royal Caribbean And Celebrity Cruises To Sail In July With Covid Vaccine Requirement

    Royal Caribbean Group announced Friday that its cruise lines Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises will plan to sail from Seattle to Alaska on round-trip itineraries starting in July. Celebrity set a date of July 23, but other restart dates were not specified.

    All passengers over 16 will be required to have been vaccinated to board the sailings. Starting Aug. 1, every passenger over age 12 will be required to be fully vaccinated to board.

    We are so pleased that Congress unanimously voted to pass legislation enabling cruise ships to sail to Alaska this season, Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO, said in the announcement.

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