Activities On Princess Alaska Cruises
While sailing to and through Alaska, youâll find plenty of onboard entertainment to keep you busy and inform you of what to expect in your next destination. Princess incorporates the local community into cruises in many exciting ways, like âPuppies in the Piazza,â an Alaska-exclusive program that brings Skagwayâs adorable new sled dogs onboard. Dog handlers will explain what itâs like to train these pups for dog mushing, while you snuggle with the puppies.
âTales From the Deadliest Catchâ is also a local highlight, with Captain David Lethin and his shipmates from the popular Discovery Channel TV show share stories about their adventures at sea. Other interactive experiences include an onboard presentation with a real-life lumberjack, who hosts an axe-throwing competition.
Beyond the Alaska-specific entertainment, Princess offers all the luxuries youâd expect from a premium ship: a spa, fitness center, library, card room, and casino. Complimentary gaming lessons are available for guests looking to sharpen their skills or learn a new game. If youâre looking to be pampered, several treatments are available in the Lotus Spa, including facials, body wraps, massages and hot-aroma stone therapy. At the gym, work out on your own or take a group class, like Zumba, yoga or tai chi.
Princess Cruises Childrenâs Programs
Princess Past Guests
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A Note About Your Travel Days
Take note when making your small Alaskan cruise comparison that there are a variety of ports where cruises begin and end including Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka and Anchorage. And some will require more time to arrive and depart. Flights to Juneau and Anchorage are common, while the smaller ports of call used by many Southeast Alaska small ship cruises may require a bit more padding on your travel days in and out. A pre-cruise overnight is always recommended in case of delays. Travelers east of the Rockies will certainly require one in order to safely embark their ship on time.
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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Six Popular Ports Of Call On Alaskan Family Cruises
Alaska is vast and is home to some of the most breathtaking and untouched natural wonders, including volcanoes, glaciers, shorelines, and wildlife. A cruise to Alaska should be considered incomplete if you fail to explore the interior and the ports of call along the route. That said, these are six of the most popular ports of call on Alaskan family cruises:
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.
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When Is The Best Time To Cruise Alaska To See Whales
Watching a humpback or grey whale gracefully breach from the dark blue Alaskan waters is a sight you will never forget.
Alaska is home to eight magnificent species of whales. And as luck would have it, the Alaska cruise season perfectly coincides with the prime whale-watching season.
Whales begin their migration from the warm waters of Mexico in February, arriving in Alaska waters around April. Whales are a common sight along the Alaskan coastline from May through September. The peak season for whale watching is in June when most whale species can be found in the Inside Passage and Alaskan Coast.
Its not uncommon for cruise passengers to see whales right from the ships deck. However, there is no guarantee that you will see whales from the cruise ship. You can increase your chances of seeing whales by taking a whale watching tour as one of your shore excursions.
The smaller boats on a whale watching tour allow you to get a closer view of the whales. And its always great fun learning fascinating facts about the local whale pods from your guide.
Depending on which itinerary you sail and when you choose to cruise can help improve your odds of seeing certain whale species. Popular whale species include humpbacks, orcas, grey whales, and minke whales. Dont forget to take a good pair of binoculars when packing for your trip!
Princess Cruise Ships In Alaska
Princessâ magnificently decorated ships have all the bells and whistles of a five-star hotel, with the added bonus of being able to bring you to each new destination in style. The cafes, restaurants, pool decks and even nightclubs are all whimsically decorated, with nods to the sea in many of the details. With between 2,200 and 3,000 passengers, these ships are quite large, but have plenty of public spaces and dining options to cater to all guests comfortably. Several Princess ships sail to Alaska, including the Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Golden Princess, and Ruby Princess. On each ship youâll find a spa, wellness center, casino, library, theater, many dining venues and bars, and of course, spacious, comfortable accommodations.
A hallmark of the Princess experience is its attentive and friendly staff, who are experts in making guests feel at home while also creating an escape from the ordinary. Your stewards will know you by name, and be sure to keep you feeling pampered and comfortable throughout your journey.
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Which Cruise Line Is Best For Alaska
Nearly every major cruise line sails to Alaska, so you have your pick of price points and onboard personalities.
Among the big-ship lines, Holland America and Princess are known as the Alaska experts. These lines typically base the most ships in this region every summer, and offer the largest selection of cruises and cruise tours. They schedule Alaska-specific special events onboard, such as Princess Puppies in the Piazza and Klondike Festival, and even have their own train cars and hotel properties in Denali and Fairbanks.
However, if other lines, such as Royal Caribbean or Norwegian, suit your familys needs and budget better, you will still have a wonderful cruise vacation in Alaska. You might find that these lines offer more competitive pricing, your preferred onboard activities, or more robust kids programming, making them the best Alaska cruise choice for you.
Travelers looking for luxury should consider upscale lines such as Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, and Silversea. These cruise lines offer more intimate ships, inclusive fares, and attentive service, but wont have as many onboard attractions or as expansive kids facilities or activities as the bigger ships.
Choose expedition cruise lines, such as UnCruise Adventures, American Cruise Line, or Alaskan Dream Cruises, for intimate, adventure-focused ships that sail off the beaten path.
The Princess Cruises Fleet
Princess has downsized the size of its fleet considerably over the past year with the removal of five vessels. But its still the worlds fifth-biggest cruise line by passenger capacity, with 14 ships that together offer more than 42,000 berths.
In general, Princess operates big ships. But theyre not quite as big as the vessels operated by Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC Cruises the three lines best known for giant ships. The biggest Princess vessels, the lines five Royal Class ships, measure around 145,000 tons. Thats about 35% smaller than the biggest ships operated by Royal Caribbean.
The Royal Class ships are the belles of the ball in the Princess fleet. Newer and more amenity-filled than the lines 9 other ships, they began rolling out in 2013 and carry about 3,600 passengers a piece at double occupancy. .
One more Royal Class ship Discovery Princess is on order from a shipyard in Italy for delivery in 2022.
Still, at the core of the Princess fleet are its seven Grand Class vessels. Unveiled between 1998 and 2008, the ships are smaller than the Royal Class vessels at around 107,000 to 116,000 tons in size. This smaller size allows them to operate a wider range of itineraries than the Royal Class ships. But theyre still big enough to have a lot of onboard venues. The Grand Class ships carry between 2,600 to 3,100 passengers at double occupancy.
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The Best Alaska Itineraries
My first visit to Alaska started in Anchorage, where we took the Alaska Railroad to Whittier to board Regent Seven Seas Mariner to explore Prince William Sound, Kodiak and the remote Dutch Harbor before heading to Russias Kamchatka Peninsula and the northern islands of Japan.
What I saw in Alaska took my breath away, and weve returned several times since. While that particular cruise was aboard a pricey luxury line, there are ships in all price ranges sailing a variety of itineraries, so dont let budget stop you from visiting.
As the cruise industry continues to come back after a long pause due to COVID-19, excitement for future cruises continues to build. Princess Cruises, a favorite of travelers heading to Alaska, has just announced its cruises and cruisetours in the region for 2023.
Sailings for the newly announced season will go on sale August 18, 2021, and will feature six MedallionClass ships, including the cruise lines newest ship, Discovery Princess, which will be returning to Alaska for a second season.
The 2023 season includes 145 departures, 14 unique itineraries, five glacier-viewing experiences and departures from four convenient ports.
Princess will also offer sailings of the Inside Passage from Seattle. Onboard Discovery Princess or Crown Princess, guests set sail roundtrip from the Emerald City on these seven-day voyages.
Want To Learn More About Alaskas Climate
Please note: The primary ship operating the mentioned itinerary can change from year to year, so the ship this guest cruised on may no longer be sailing this exact route.
Best vacation ever! The cruise staff are fun, flexible and eager to please. The dramatic scenery in Alaska is incredible. It was definitely “unrushed, uncrowded, unbelievable” as their logo suggests. The whole week was perfect. Every day was a new adventure. The captain of the ship was quick to change course if an interesting opportunity came up. The rain sometimes found it’s way through “waterproof” jackets and rain-skirts on all day kayak trips, etc. – COLD!!!!! I will upgrade my rain-gear for my next trip. I have always wanted to cruise the inside passage of Alaska but did not want to go on a large ship and could not afford the National Geographic cruises. I was also attracted by the ready access to kayaks, paddle boards, etc. on the ship.
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Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Seven Seas Mariner returns to Alaska each summer, providing anexcellent combination of comfortable spacious suite living withexcellent dining choices and a whole selection of excursionsincluded in the fare, unusual for a classic cruise ship. This isone destination where you’re going to want to take loads oforganised trips, so with up to 43 excursions on offer on a 7-dayitinerary, you can really get your money’s worth. There will alsobe guest lecturers and a great family programme.
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.
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What Month Is Best To Cruise Alaska
The Alaskan cruise season runs from May through September, with July and August being the busiest months and drawing the most visitors. The ideal months to cruise Alaska, according to convention, are July and August, when temperatures are at their maximum and the weather is typically brighter. These are also the months when there are the most cruise ships in port because they prefer not to sail during the winter months .
There are two main types of cruises available in Alaska: small ship adventures and large vessel vacations. Small ship adventures are day trips that stop at various ports along the way these are the best option if you don’t want to spend a lot of time on board the ship or if you have limited mobility due to health issues. Large vessel vacations are week-long or longer trips that visit a few islands or regions in Alaska these are recommended for people who want to see the whole state or take advantage of special offers.
It’s important to note that the weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, so even if it’s summer down south, don’t assume that the weather will be nice up here too. It’s best to check online before you go to find out what kind of weather we’re likely to get at different times of year, but especially during the summer months, expect the temperature to be higher than you’d expect, and bring plenty of sunscreen and protective clothing.
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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The Best Of Alaska By Boat: Top 10 Alaska Cruise Tips
Lonely Planet Writer
Calving glaciers, miles of untouched wilderness, whales and orcas, and Egyptian-cotton sheets no wonder an Alaskan cruise is on many a bucket list. Southeast Alaska is where a slew of the states highlights are concentrated, many of which are inaccessible to automobiles but easily reached by boat. The major cruise lines can access some of the best Alaskan sights, while offering convenience and bang for the buck.
But this isnt your typical Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise this is the Last Frontier. Here are the top 10 things you should know before you embark on your first Alaskan cruise.
Chilkoot Wildlife Tour And Chilkoot Kayak Tour
The nature tour in Hainesa driving tour with plenty of stopstakes you to one of the most wildlife-rich areas in Southeast Alaska: Chilkoot Lake State Park. Expert naturalists accompany you along the way, taking time to set up spotting scopes and bring the wildlife in close. Look for harbor seals, bald eagles, and mergansers . Later in the summer, spawning salmon and brown bears add to the mix. The guides follow ethical wildlife-viewing protocols to keep people and bears safe.
Another way to experience the Chilkoot surroundings is by kayak. The areas lake is generally protected from wind and currents, so this trip is suitable for beginners. The views are spectacular, with giant peaks surrounding the lake, and waterfalls flowing down from the mountains. Beginning in mid-July, you can often see sockeye salmon spawning in a shallow tributary stream. In August and September you have a good chance of seeing brown bear walking along the river and along the lakes shore.
Two other popular tours to Haines from Skagway include the Takshanuk Mountain Trail 4×4 Adventure and Steve Kroschels Wildlife Center.
Cruise In Sophisticated Style To Exciting Destinations
Consistently a top choice for cruisers and industry experts, Princess offers quality, contemporary cruising with a balance of tradition and innovation. Spectacular ships sail to the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and many more of the worlds most fascinating places. Now you can do more of what you love with Princess® MedallionClass Vacations, offering a more effortless, personalized vacation than you could ever imagine. Enjoy Wi-Fi at sea, expedited boarding, drinks on demand and more on select sailings. Discover the next wave of vacation travel, exclusively on Princess. The MedallionClass experience is currently available on Caribbean Princess®, Regal Princess®, Royal Princess®, Crown Princess® and Sky Princess.
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