What Are Popular Ports In Alaska
Glacier Bay is not a physical port, but due to its stunning scenery it’s one of the highest-rated destinations in Alaska. The U.S. National Park contains glaciers, lush forests and is part of one of the largest protected biosphere preserves in the world, as well as a U.N. World Heritage Site.
Most sailings to Alaska follow the Inside Passage, or the southeastern “panhandle” around Alaska. Popular ports along this route include Skagway, Ketchikan, Juneau and sometimes Sitka . From Vancouver or Seattle, you will also typically call on the Canadian port of Victoria in British Columbia.
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.;
Victory Cruise Lines Alaska Expeditions For 2022
When Victory Cruise Lines debuts the new Ocean Victory in 2022, it will mark the start of new Southeast Alaska expedition cruises.;
Accommodating only 186 passengers, Ocean Victory;will offer unique 12- and 13-day cruises between Vancouver, British Columbia and Sitka, Alaska.
Onboard enrichment will include the opportunity to observe research students from California Polytechnic University and discussions with Native Alaskans.; Along the route, therell be expedition leaders for kayak and Zodiac excursions from the ship.;;
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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.
Are You Able To Get A Signal
As luck would have it, we were greeted by a lovely sunrise this morning. With few clouds in the sky, it appeared the weather was going to be on our side again this trip, at least for today.
With the coffee shop located on Deck 11, my typical morning routine was a bit different.;Grabbing our coffees, we were ready to test out the main dining room for breakfast.
The large menu was impressive. The service was prompt and friendly as well. While I am not a huge fan of breakfast, even I was impressed with my skillet, while the wifes banana bread French toast was just as delicious as it sounds. ;
With breakfast done, we had the rest of the morning to ourselves. Neither of us are really up on our pickle ball or ping pong, so we found a table near the midship pool to do some work and blogging. This covered space was more airy than typical indoor solariums, offering the chance to watch the scenery while not worrying about the outside weather.
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A Race Against The Clock
The extended time here meant we skipped the north face. With a few minor engine issues on the way back for good measure, we arrived about 30 minutes behind schedule. We did receive a bag lunch on the tour, so we were fine skipping dinner.
What was really on the Princess agenda was the planned comedy show at 9 pm. She was adamant that we were going to get to the show tonight, as this would be the only time we could catch the comedians with the nighttime entertainment lineup.
Getting back to the ship around 8:45 pm, we made a b-line to the B.B. Kings Blues Club for the doubleheader comedy with jackets, cameras, and bags still in hand. Of course, the venue was already filled. Then, out of the corner of our eye, we saw two of our fellow travelers waving at us. They had scored a table, so we squeezed in next to them.
Before the set began, I ran our excess gear back up to the room. It was bad enough we were dressed like those people who had been out all day on an excursion!
The hour long comedy show featured two stand-ups, Warren B. Hall and Steven Scott. For the most part, the jokes were predictable and mildly amusing. Though, Steven did a lot of voices and sound effects which gave his show a unique twist.
Either way, with our signature drinks in hand, it was a excellent way to finish up a very long day on our Holland America Line Alaska cruise.
First Major Cruise Line Restarts Cruises To Alaska
Royal Caribbean has become the first major cruise line to resume cruises to Alaska when one of their cruise ships departed from Seattle on a seven night cruise to the 49th State.
The cruise marks a celebratory moment for the cruise industry, local workforce, regional suppliers and Alaskas beloved communities that were significantly impacted by the absence of all cruise tourism, which normally represents more than 60% of the states visitors and generates upwards of $3 billion for its economy each year. Ninety-seven percent of the entire onboard community on Serenade of the Seas is fully vaccinated.
The cruise ship will visit ports in Alaska that include Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point, Alaska, as well as Endicott Arm fjord and Dawes Glacier.
The cruise ship will be joined by Ovation of the Seas in Seattle starting Aug. 13, rounding out Royal Caribbeans great Alaska comeback in 2021.
Cruising in Alaska is finally back, and we are excited to be the first to return. Alaska is one of the most popular destinations among our guests, especially families with young kids children who are ineligible for the vaccine today, said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. We are grateful for the support of our partners, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and other government and health authorities. This is a return that is significantly felt by many, including those whose communities rely on cruise tourism.
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Carnival Cruise Line Embarks For Alaska
Anne Kalosh | Jul 27, 2021
The ship will sail weekly to Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, with a full day of cruising Tracy Arm Fjord.
‘We are delighted to resume our Alaska sailings and offer guests an opportunity to experience all the beauty of the Alaskan coast while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy,’ Carnival President Christine Duffy said.
Thanks to the port and lawmakers
Duffy thanked the Port of Seattle, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young all proponents of the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act for their ‘tremendous efforts in making our resumption of service a reality.’; She also thanked Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell and the entire Washington state congressional delegation for ‘working so closely with the Alaska delegation and demonstrating first-hand that promoting travel and tourism is truly a bipartisan issue.’
Carnival Miracle Capt. Vito Giacalone said the crew were ‘excited to welcome our guests on board again and provide them with the incredible Carnival vacation theyve been waiting for.’
Fourth Fun Ship back in service
Carnival Miracle is the lines fourth ship to return to service, following Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze from Galveston and Carnival Horizon from Miami. The new is scheduled to begin sailing from Port Canaveral July 31.;
A New Nightly Routine
Ready for dinner early, we headed down to the restaurant for a pre-dinner drink. As the rest of the crew arrived, we were sat at the same tables as our previous visit to the venue.
We are not usually fans of seafood restaurants on cruise ships. As New Englanders, we have some of the best seafood back home. Plus, Heidi is a picky eater.
Though, our meals at the restaurant were certainly better than expected. The seafood tower offered some sweet crab meat and a light shrimp and lobster cocktail. The boiled lobster was flavorful; although, I could have sworn it was grilled.
Likewise, the Princess cheese soufflé was light and airy. Both of our desserts were quite tasty also. I thought my profiteroles were the clear winner. Although, Heidi felt her Apple Tarte Tatin was better.
Either way, we were able to squeeze in all three courses in just under two hours. So, we excused ourselves right around 9 pm to head to the Mainstage.
Tonights show featured a magician, Joseph Reohm. As a headliner act, this show was a little lacking. While some of his stunts were entertaining, he certainly did not rank among the top illusionists that we have seen at sea.
The 45-minute show had us out just in time to get to B.B. Kings for the Sweet Soul set.
We found a booth at the edge of the stage and listened to a few songs. Knowing we still had a few bars to cross-off our drink around the ship, we ended the evening with a drink at the Ocean Bar.
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Best Overall: Norwegian Cruise Line
Courtesy of; Norwegian Cruise Line
- Ship Name: Norwegian Bliss
- Itinerary: Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Victoria
Norwegian boasts that it has the youngest fleet cruising to Alaska,” and the Norwegian Bliss is NCLs newest ship . Bliss has buzzworthy features like laser tag, a race track on the top deck, and thrilling waterslides that overhang the sides of the ship. The ship has accommodations for every type of cruiser, including solo staterooms and elegant suites in the Haven, a luxurious enclave. Another perk of this cruise is that is sails round-trip from Seattle, so guests can drive or fly into the same port for departure and arrival .;Bliss also has a beautiful observation lounge ideal when sailing the Inside Passage.;
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Bhupesh Singh, 44, who was boarding the Serenade of the Seas on Monday with his wife, Hansi, and their two unvaccinated children both are under 12 said he felt comfortable with Royal Caribbeans approach, even with the extra precautions hed have to take travelling with kids. He noted that he brought his family to cruise from Seattle, where Royal Caribbean at least requires all adults to be vaccinated. In Florida, where hes from, that isnt the case.
The reduced capacity on board the Serenade of the Seas was also encouraging for Singh. Royal Caribbean declined to say exactly how many passengers it will have on board, but said it would be much lower than full capacity, which is typically almost 2,500 people. Holland America and Princess Cruises said they will be starting their Alaskan cruises at approximately 60% capacity, moving up gradually over the course of the season.
Some cruise lines will also be using technology to trace passengers location. Royal Caribbean will be using tracelets, or wristbands that passengers must wear in order to be tracked on board. Princess Cruises will be using medallions, portable devices used for various functions on board the ship, which will keep a log of who passengers come in contact with.
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The Best Cruises In Alaska
Cruise lines are in the business of giving their guests a good time, so they’ve all got something going for them. Here are our picks for Alaska’s best, in a few different categories.
- The Best Ships for Luxury: Luxury in Alaska is defined in 2012 by Regent Seven Seas and Silversea. If you want a more casual kind of luxury , the Seven Seas Navigator offers just that on an all-suite vessel with excellent cuisine. Silversea, on the other hand, represents a slick, Italian-influenced, slightly more formal luxury experience with all the perks — big suite cabins and excellent food, linens, service, and companions. Both Regent and Silversea include fine wine and booze in their cruise fares. For the ultimate Alaska experience in a small-ship setting, check out the intimate offerings of American Safari Cruises, where soft adventure comes with upscale accouterments.
- The Best of the Mainstream Ships: Every line’s most recent ships are beautiful, but Celebrity’s Infinity is a true stunner, as is its sister ship, Millennium. These modern vessels, with their extensive art collections, cushy public rooms, and expanded spa areas, give Celebrity a formidable presence in Alaska. And the late-model Sapphire Princess and Diamond Princess have raised the art of building big ships to new heights. Both of these vessels will again be in Inside Passage service this year from Vancouver.
Emptier Ships And Ports
Our Nieuw Amsterdam sailing, which departed September 4, is approximately 75 percent of the ship’s 2,160-passenger capacity, and for many people, it feels even less crowded than that.
Having sailed the Nieuw Amsterdam in pre-pandemic times, it is refreshing not to face huge lines in the Lido Market or to get off the ship at port stops. There is still some crowding in the ship’s popular, forward-facing Explorations Central cafe during glacier watching days, as well as capacity crowds for comedy performances and the smoking-hot house blues band at B.B. King’s, a smaller venue on the ship’s Music Walk set of public rooms.
Locals in Alaska ports report that cruise ship passengers are pumping sorely needed funds into their tourism-reliant economies. In a typical cruise season, 6,000 to 20,000 cruisers visit a port like Juneau every day. In 2020 and 2021, those numbers have plummeted.
Meanwhile, as rates of COVID infection continue to be high in Alaska, local health authorities urge cruise passengers to continue wearing face masks while ashore, regardless of vaccination status.
Another big change during this cruise season is that cruise lines are temporarily no longer required to stop at a foreign port while sailing on U.S. itineraries to and from Alaska.
This is important because Canadian ports of call have typically been a key part of Alaskan itineraries from Seattle, but Canada has put a stop to cruise operations until at least November 1, 2021.
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Here Are The Mainstream Cruise Ships Set To Sail In Alaska
, the mainstream cruise industry is now back in the market after two years.
Through August, seven cruise lines and eight modern vessels are set to resume service at the Last Frontier, offering a total 83 voyages.
Here are the ships sailing in Alaska:
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International Ship:;Serenade of the SeasCapacity :;2,100 Built:;2003Homeport:;Seattle Itinerary:;Juneau,;Sitka,;Ketchikan;and;Icy Strait Point; scenic cruising in Endicott Arm;fjord and;Dawes GlacierLength: 7 nights;
Capacity :;2,038Built: 2000Itinerary:;Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway; scenic cruising in;Endicott Arm and Dawes GlacierLength: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 23, 2021Cruise Line: Holland America Line Ship:;Nieuw Amsterdam Capacity :;2,100Built:;2010Homeport:;Seattle Itinerary:;Juneau,;Icy Strait Point,;Sitka;and;Ketchikan; scenic cruising in;Glacier Bay;and;Stephens PassageLength: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 24, 2021
Cruise Line: Princess CruisesCapacity :;3,600Built:;2017Itinerary: Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway and KetchikanLength: 7 nights First Cruise: July 25, 2021
Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line Ship:;Carnival Miracle Capacity :;2,100Built:;2004Itinerary:;Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan; scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord Length: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 27, 2021
In addition, a number of small operators with U.S.-flagged ships are operating in Alaska, including Lindblad Expeditions, American Cruise Lines, UnCruise and Alaskan Dream Cruises.
Trying To Get Some Work Done
At the completion of the tour, we were given the option to get dropped off in downtown or head back to the ship. We opted to head back with the hope of getting some work done while we still had LTE.
With sail away at 5 pm, we only had a couple hours left.;
Back on the ship, we grabbed a quick snack at the Lido Market. While it was not open for lunch, there were select stations open for snacks. This gave me the opportunity to try the Asian salad, which was actually quite good.
Settling into our balcony, it was a struggle getting things done as the internet would come and go, and we lost LTE almost immediately upon sail away.
Tonight, we would be having dinner with our group at the Pinnacle Grill for the Rudis Sel de Mer experience. This French brassiere seafood concept is offered one night of the cruise.
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How Close Are We To The Glacier
Finishing up lunch, we were packed and ready to go as soon as we got the green light from Valerie.
Exiting the ship, we found our tour provider and bus that drove us literally around the corner to board our vessel with Allen Marine Tours. Now, we were ready to set off on a sightseeing adventure.
This 7 hour tour would take us into Tracy Arm Fjord, which was about an hour and 45 minutes from Juneau. From there, it would be another 45 minutes down to the South Sawyer Glacier.
With the close to 70 degree, sunny day, the long boat ride wasnt all that bad.
During our trip out the Fjord, our naturalist Robert offered intermittent narration, a few jokes, and bar service. ;
Finally passing the buoys that marked the entrance to the Fjord, and where glaciers used to reside until the 1800s, this is where the real fun began.
Once inside the fjord, the jagged granite mountainsides, carved by centuries of glacial activity, glowed in the basking sunlight. We also had some wildlife sightings, from sea lions soaking up rays to mountain goats darting the hillside.
Passing waterfalls and other scenic landscapes, it was a good three hours into the trip when we got our first glimpse of the South Sawyer Glacier face.
Now, the captain warned us that there was a lot of ice, so he was going to get as close as possible. If he couldnt get us all the way in, we would head over to the north face. Luckily, our boat was able to get within a quarter mile of this majestic natural wonder.