What About The Ferry
You might have heard someone refer to the Alaska ferry as a locals cruise or a cheaper cruise and I want you to know that is not accurate! I cringe whenever I read or hear this. The Alaska ferry is absolutely wonderful, but its public transportation and that is how its used by Alaskans. Its also more expensive than people expect and there are lots of hidden costs, such as getting a small cabin and eating in the cafeteria. If youre interested in taking the ferry to or within Alaska, its an amazing experience, but its very different from a cruise! Learn more in my complete guide to riding the Alaska ferry here.
Dog Sledding Or Helicopter Flightseeing
Most folks identify Alaska with dog sledding. But since dog sledding is a winter activity, cruise ship visitors in the early days never had a chance to experience it. That all changed when helicopters became readily available to travelers. On this wildly popular tour with TEMSCO Helicopters, you’ll fly over the Denver Glacier by helicopter, then land there to visit a dog camp. You can take a ride on the sled and even learn the basics so that you can take the reins yourself. Definitely an unforgettable experience!
When Is The Best Time To Cruise Alaska: Ultimate Guide
If you are thinking about taking an Alaska cruise vacation or have already booked your trip, youll be happy to know that a cruise ship is the best way to explore Americas Last Frontier. If you havent taken an Alaska trip before, you may be wondering when is the best time to cruise Alaska?
Alaska is a unique cruise destination, unlike the typical Caribbean or Mediterranean getaways you might have sailed in the past. The remote location, picturesque landscapes, and abundant wildlife provide memories unlike anywhere in the world.
The long, cold winters and short summers mean that cruise ships only have a short window to sail the Alaskan waterways safely.
Alaskas cruise season is five months long, from May to September. Youll find noticeable differences in wildlife, weather, pricing, and crowds from one week to the next.
Whether youre looking to spot wildlife, catch a king salmon, or hope to see the northern lights, well help you find the best time to book your cruise to Alaska.
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What Are The Best Alaska Cruise Ports
First-time cruisers to Alaska want to see glaciers and eagles and salmon and bears but they dont always know which port is best for the activities they want to do.
Not all weeklong Alaska cruise itineraries feature the same ports, so you need to know which destinations should be tops on your list. You dont want to travel all that way to find out that your ship stops in Sitka, when your dream excursion departs from Icy Strait Point.
All of the ports in Alaska offer shopping, dining, and hiking opportunities, but the best Alaska cruise ports offer diverse activities, landscapes, and wildlife. Learn more about these popular ports, so you can plan the perfect cruise vacation.
Note: This article focuses on the best cruise ports in Alaska, but Alaska cruise itineraries often include ports in Canada, as well. In addition, not all regular activities may be operating for summer 2021 cruises, so check with your cruise line about available excursions.
Big Ship Or Small Ship
One of the first things youll need to decide when looking at itineraries and best Alaska cruise ports is whether you are going to travel on a big ship or a small ship. This question is worth considering because they are very different experiences. Your budget is an important first consideration as small ship cruises are generally about triple the cost of big ship cruising. This varies based on the length of the trip and the choices you make as well as the specific cruise company you plan to travel with.
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Princess Cruises Announces 2023 Alaska Cruises & Cruisetours Program
Six MedallionClass® Ships, Including the New Discovery Princess, Sail from Four Departure Ports to the Sought-After Great Land
SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Aug. 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ More guests choose Princess than any other cruise line to experience the incredible glaciers, wildlife, fresh seafood and the local culture of Alaska. The newly announced 2023 cruises and cruisetours program offers something for everyone to explore this destination, including the top-rated Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary, award-winning North to Alaska enrichment program and the ultimate experience of combining a cruise with a land tour including scenic rail travel and stays at Princess-owned wilderness lodges.
The 2023 Alaska cruises and cruisetours season, on sale Aug. 18, features six MedallionClass ships, including the cruise lines newest Discovery Princess, returning to Alaska for a second season. With 145 departures, 14 unique itineraries, five glacier viewing experiences and departing from four convenient departure ports, cruise offerings include:
Combined with a Voyage of the Glaciers cruise, guests can experience Alaskas top-two attractions Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park by choosing from 24 cruisetour itineraries, ranging from three to 10 nights on land, before or after the cruise.
Here are the top-10 reasons to see the very best of Alaska with Princess:
Princess is #1 in Alaska!
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.
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Best Luxury: Regent Seven Seas
Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas
- Ship Name: Seven Seas Mariner
- Itinerary: Sitka, Juneau Skagway, Ketchikan, Vancouver
For a luxury cruise experience though the Inside Passage, Regent Seven Seas has a few sailing dates on the Seven Seas Mariner, an all-suite ship. On Mariner, all staterooms have a private balcony perfect for watching the glaciers and fjords float past and a minimum of 300 feet of space. Onboard, guests can unwind in the award-winning Canyon Ranch spa, take in an evening show, and dine on gourmet cuisine. Being a smaller ship , its size allows the staff to anticipate guests needs and personalize the experience. On the Alaska voyage, the ship calls on many popular ports and also treats passengers to Sitka, a unique port steeped in Tlingit culture and Russian history, before concluding in Vancouver.
Best Luxury Alaska Cruises
When booking your luxury Alaskan cruise, here are some key things to consider. First, you review all fine print before signing any contracts because many companies use tricky marketing tactics. Things such as low-price promises to get ahead. Its also important to know exactly what kind of amenities each company offers. That way you can find the perfect one for your needs.
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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.
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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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.
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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What Should I Pack For My Luxury Alaska Cruise
Temperatures in the 49th state can vary greatly depending on the season and your location within the state. Therefore, youll want to pack clothes that will keep you warm and a raincoat or jacket. Its also important to bring sturdy shoes as there is a lot of walking involved in most Alaskan cruises.
What Should You Avoid In Alaska
20 Things Everyone In Alaska Should Avoid At All Costs Farmed seafood. Flickr Judi Knight. Or buying fish in general. Even feeding your dogs farmed fish. Eating hot dogs. Camping without a view. Snacking on chips from the lower 48. Shopping at big corporate box stores. Drinking wine that isnt from Alaska.
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Scenic Cruise Destinations In Alaska
Glaciers are a must-see in Alaska, and every cruise itinerary features at least one day of scenic cruising. Glacier Bay National Park is the top pick for glacier-viewing because of its multiple glaciers and generally passable channel. However, so many cruise lines wish to visit that the national park issues a limited-number of day-use spots each year.
Other scenic cruising sites along the Inside Passage include Tracy Arm with its Sawyer Glacier andEndicott Arm with Dawes Glacier. One-way Alaska cruises that travel to/from Seward and Whittier may also visit the spectacular Hubbard Glacier.
Typically, the big ships will open up all the outer decks for passengers to crowd the railings to watch the glaciers calve and scan the area for wildlife. If you want to get out on a kayak or small boat to get closer to the glacier or the marine life, youll need to book an expedition cruise.
Compare the options in our guide to scenic cruising in Alaska.
Rafting The Mendenhall River
If youre looking to go whitewater rafting in Southeast Alaska, the Mendenhall River rafting trip is your only option. So dont miss out! You start with a float in Mendenhall Lake with a view of the blue-tinged Mendenhall Glacier. The current picks up, and soon youre bouncing through some mild, Class III rapids with ice cold water splashing in your face. The river winds through the forest, and you end the trip floating through a Juneau neighborhood. Watch for real Alaskan wildlife, like a family barbecuing salmon in their backyard!
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Which Ship Is Right For Your Alaska Cruise
Update: Royal Caribbean is committed to delivering vacations that are as safe as they are memorable. We are thrilled to welcome our guests to experience the memorable vacations we are known for once again, starting summer 2021. As you plan your next trip with your loved ones, well be here with inspiration in all forms whenever you need it.
Royal Caribbean visits top spots in Alaska each summer, including the Inside Passage, Juneau, Icy Strait Point and Skagway.
There is a lot of ground to cover when visiting Alaska, from its vast, rugged terrain to the many animals that call it home. Planning a vacation to the 49th state may seem like a daunting task. But with two Royal Caribbean ships sailing to the Last Frontier in 2021 and departing from convenient cities in the Pacific Northwestthis must-see destination has never been more within reach. Your big decision is choosing which ship is right for you!
Whether youre in it for the views, activities, destinations or an extended experience, every ship offers a bit of everything, but each has its perks:
Quantum of the Seas is packed with family adventures for the young and young at heart.
Which Is The Best Cruise Line For Alaska
- #1. Viking Orion. Viking Ocean Cruises.
- #2. Crystal Symphony. Crystal Cruises.
- #2. Silver Muse. Silversea Cruises.
- #2. Seabourn Sojourn. Seabourn Cruise Line.
- #5. Celebrity Eclipse. Celebrity Cruises.
- #5. Disney Wonder. Disney Cruise Line.
- #7. Celebrity Millennium. Celebrity Cruises.
- #7. Celebrity Solstice. Celebrity Cruises.
Hereof, what is the best month to cruise Alaska?
Best Time To Cruise Alaska. Cruise season in Alaska runs from mid-May to mid-âbut within that time frame, is one time better than another to book your cruise? For a lot of cruisers, mid- through mid- is the peak season, because of optimum weather and daylight.
Similarly, what can you not miss on an Alaskan cruise? Whichever month you visit, don’t miss our top must-see Alaska cruise destinations:
- Inside Passage.
Likewise, what is the best cruise line from Vancouver to Alaska?
- #1. Seven Seas Explorer. Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
- #2. Viking Orion. Viking Ocean Cruises.
- #2. Seabourn Odyssey. Seabourn Cruise Line.
- #4. Silver Muse. Silversea Cruises.
- #4. Seabourn Sojourn. Seabourn Cruise Line.
- #6. Celebrity Eclipse. Celebrity Cruises.
- #6. Disney Wonder. Disney Cruise Line.
- #8. Celebrity Millennium. Celebrity Cruises.
Is it worth getting a balcony on a cruise?
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Other Alaska Cruise Ports And Embarkation/disembarkation Ports
If youre traveling on a small ship, your ship may call at Wrangell, Petersburg or go ashore at Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park. These are all wonderful and intimate ports with lots to see and do. Learn more here about Wrangell, here about Petersburg and here about Glacier Bay.
Even though it isnt in Alaska, many cruises which start or end in Seattle stop in Victoria. If your ship calls at Victoria, read all about my suggestions for what to do in Victoria here.
If youre embarking or disembarking in Whittier or Seward, youll be flying in or out of Anchorage. If youre looking to spend a few extra days exploring, read more about all the wonderful things to do in Anchorage here.
Fun fact: my second favorite city in the world in Vancouver, BC! If youre adding some time before or after your cruise, check out my top recommendations for Vancouver here.
How Old Should Kids Be For An Alaska Family Small Ship Cruise
When considering an Alaska family small ship cruise, we suggest age 6 and older. Some ships will allow children as young as 2 years old or even babies. Most small Alaskan cruise lines do not provide babysitting services, video games or kids clubs that separate families. Instead, they provide off-vessel activities and onboard programs designed to bring families together. If your child chooses not to participate in an activity, then an adult will need to stay on board with them, so it is important to choose an Alaska family cruise that is suitable to your interests and ability levels and appropriate to the age level of your children.
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