Alaska Hubbard Glacier Cruise Celebrity Eclipse
This starts in Vancouver and takes you through the iconic Inside Passage to Ketchikan and Juneau. Youll explore basically the entire Alaska panhandle, which is home to some of North Americas most breathtaking coastline, including deep fjords, calving glaciers, and coastal mountains and forests. The final destination on this epic Alaska cruise is the massive Hubbard Glacier.
This is one of the best Alaska cruises if you have a weeks time. In 2019, there are twelve sailing dates, running from late-May through mid-September.
- From/to: roundtrip from Vancouver
The Best Small Ship Cruises To Alaska
What is ‘small’ when it comes to cruise ships? It meansdifferent things to different people, but for us, small comes downto an attitude, a state of mind, and a way of behaving.
Our favourite ‘small’ ships in Alaska range from the tiny22-guest Safari Quest of UnCruise Adventures to the spaciousindulgence of Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner, carrying 700 luckyguests. Whichever you choose, it’s still a far cry from those giantvessels you may have seen plying the waters off Alaska, withpassenger capacities higher than the number of residents in some oftheir ports of call.
On board a small ship cruise you can expect charming andattentive service, great food, fellow passengers of a similarmindset, and comfortable accommodations. Ashore, what youexperience will definitely depend on the ship you choose.
Visiting Alaska by ship is an extraordinary experience, andwhilst certain ports might be very busy indeed – Juneau for example- it is comparatively easy to find yourself in a remote wildernesswhich feels as if it has never been visited before. So if you arechoosing a classic cruise ship, it’s all about the shore excursions.
But if you want to feel like an intrepid explorer, go insteadfor one of the expedition ships offered by our sister company MundyAdventures. On these cruises you will meet wildlife on desertedbeaches, watch glaciers calve in a timeless and ancient landscape,and hike through untouched rainforest in the footsteps of theTlingit people.
Beauty To Go Wild Over
With vast forests, rolling tundra, mighty rivers, pristine lakes and towering mountains, you will feel tempted to continue exploring the outdoors with Alaska land tours after your cruise. Whether in remote outposts or cities surrounded by wilderness, the people who call the Great Land home share an independent spirit, a strong sense of community and a love of Alaskas wild beauty so their welcome will make your visit truly memorable.
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What Excursions Do You Want To Do
Each cruise port has a range of different excursions available at an extra cost. Some of the more common ones like floatplane sightseeing, bear-watching, whale-watching, dog sledding and fishing you can do in multiple places, but others are only available in one location.
Its worth doing a bit of research in advance to work out what you want to do as some of the most popular excursions book up fast, especially in peak season. So if theres something you particularly want to do then its a good idea to reserve a spot when you book your cruise. The pros of official cruise line excursions is that youre usually allowed off the ship first and itll wait if there are delays, but they can be pricey and sometimes have big group sizes.
Float plane in Juneau
You can also book excursions independently, either through companies like Get Your Guide or Viator, or directly with local operators. There are usually tour desks lined up at cruise ports too where you can book something last-minute too if you dont want to book ahead we did a last-minute trip to the Mendenhall Glacier from Juneau when we knew itd be a sunny day. Make sure you allow plenty of time though as the ship wont wait if youre late back.
An excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier
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 To Pack For An Alaskan Cruise
I have a whole post about what to pack for Alaska, including if youre taking a cruise! Head over there for all the details, but the MOST important things to have and bring from home are an excellent rain jacket and waterproof comfortable walking shoesor boots!
If you are coming from a hot climate, make sure to bring plenty of warm clothes. Temperatures in Southeast Alaska and along the Inside Passage are generally in the 50s and 60s in the summer. It is possible to have much hotter days but definitely be ready for some chilly and damp days, even in the middle of summer!
Youll also want to make sure you have sunscreen because when the sun does come out its INTENSE during Alaskas long summer days. You can find sunscreen everywhere, but if you like a particular brand definitely bring it with you.
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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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.
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.
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.
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Youll Learn Heaps About Alaskas Gold Rush History
Given that almost every major town or city in Alaska has gold mining history at its heart . Some of the best experiences include following the trail of the wide-eyed gold prospectors along the White Pass and Yukon Route in Skagway, strolling the Red Light District of Creek Street in Ketchikan, and panning for gold at Crow Creek and Indian Valley mines. Also visit-worthy is Fairbanks, the Gold Rush boomtown that became Alaskas largest producer of gold for the 15.4 million ounces of gold that were extracted from its mineral deposits . Nowadays, it embraces its Gold Rush roots with a slew of attractions, including Gold Dredge 8 where you can enjoy a close-up view of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, hop aboard a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad in the Interior’s original goldfields, and sift through the dredge tailings for yourself. Equally fabulous is the Riverboat Discovery III, a three-hour, fully-narrated Tanana and Chena Rivers cruise on an authentic sternwheeler departing from Steamboat Landing – a replica Gold Rush-era river port complete with dining hall, gift shop, museum, and ice cream parlour.
When Is The Best Time To See Alaskas Glaciers
Alaskas glaciers are spectacular. The deep blue ice that forms the glaciers is a sight you wont forget.
The peak season for Alaskan cruises is the best time to see Alaskas glaciers. During peak season, temperatures are at their warmest, allowing the winter ice to melt, allowing for smooth sailing through the Inner Passage and the Fjords.
Captains will often turn the cruise ship so that passengers on both sides of the vessel can take in the extraordinary sight. Alaskan cruises are one of the few places we recommend booking a balcony cabin. One of our favorite things to do on an Alaskan cruise is the ability to wake up and enjoy the views of the inner passage, fjords, and glaciers from our balcony.
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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:
For Couple Romance In The Intimate Ships
If youre a couple, head to the top-rated luxury cruise lines for huge apartments, gourmet cuisine, massages , and the chance to socialize with other travelers. In addition, anyone celebrating a special occasion, such as a big birthday, an anniversary, or retirement, may benefit from luxury cruises personalized attention and all-inclusive nature. A marine biologist could be onboard.
Consider Seabourn, Oceania, Scenic, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Viking Ocean, and Windstar Cruises. Silversea , also sails two expedition cruises, Silver Explorer and Silver Cloud that have a popular route that gets you off the beaten track.
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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|
The Best Excursions For Ketchikan
$ Budget Friendly Ketchikan
Ketchikan is an easy port to do on your own. Its a quaint town full of interesting history and sites within walking distance of your cruise ship. For those with a limited budget for excursions, Id strongly suggest doing Ketchikan on your own and saving your money for paid excursions at other ports. See my Guide For Touring Ketchikan On Your Own, which includes a map with eight highlights identified.
$$ Ketchikan On A Moderate Budget
If youd like to see a bit more of Ketchikan with a guide or want to limit walking, Id recommend doing an all-in-one tour which will include a nice overview of the history, culture, and wildlife of the area as you travel to the famous salmon ladder, the Saxman Native Village, Rotary Beach , and Herring Cove . Note that youll only get a passing glance of Creek Street on this tour, so you may want to head there on your own either before or after your tour. You can find my full review of the all-in-one tour here. And booking and pricing information can be found here.
$$$ Splurge On Ketchikan
If you want to splurge in Ketchikan Id strongly recommend a seaplane tour of Misty Fjords National Monument. This remote wilderness area is only accessible by air or sea, and while some cruise ships travel through it, youll see much, much more from the air. Booking and pricing information can be found here.
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When Should I Book My Alaska Cruise
We always recommend booking your cruise early, even nine to 12 months in advance, to get the lowest prices and best pick of cabins. You can probably wait until January or February, when cruise lines put out Wave Season sales and promotions, to see if you can get a deal on your Alaska sailing.
Once it gets to be March or April, your booking is considered last minute. You might find a low fare, especially on shoulder-season cruises, but you might also find that the room types you prefer are sold out or that fares have gone up on a nearly full ship.
The Best Alaska Cruise Ports And Choosing The Right Itinerary For You
Thinking about setting sail for Alaska? Not sure which itinerary to choose? This article is all about the highlights and best Alaska cruise ports to help you !
This article doesnt include a review of different cruise ship companies, rather it is information about the ports you may visit and how to decide based on whats most important to you. Great news to get started you really cant go wrong here as all the Alaska ports of call are interesting and different in their own ways and all are surrounded by life affirming natural beauty!
Ill also talk about how to decide between a cross gulf cruise or inside passage only , a big ship or small ship and options for scenic cruising around glaciers. I spent seven seasons working in the Alaska cruise industry and have visited all of these ports multiple times and even lived in two of them, so Im excited to share my insider knowledge with you!
- Other ports and Disembarkation ports
- What to pack for an Alaskan Cruise
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Helpful Tips Before You Go
- Be aware of the unusual length of days and nights in these northern latitudes. In May or June, the sun doesnt set until after 11pm giving you more time to see more of Alaska.
- In Alaska, some of the best tasting water comes right out of the tap. Thats because its glacial watercrisp, clean and clear.
- Much of Alaska is covered by a rainforest, so pack water-resistant clothing.
- Temperatures can vary based on what you are doing . Wearing layers can help keep you comfortable throughout the day no matter what the activity.
- Book Flights by Celebrity® to be protected in case there is any cancellation.
- Research the shore excursions and book them in advance, pre-cruise. The popular shore excursions get sold out fast.
- All destinations in Alaska take U.S. dollars and most take credit cards but be sure to check before your purchase.
How To Pick The Best Alaska Cruises
My journey to Alaska began in Vancouver British Columbia, where we boarded Holland America for a cruise through the inside passage. When choosing a cruise for your next trip, here are some things to consider. What is the budget? Where do you want to go? What kind of experience would be best? Do you have any favorite destinations? Or ports of call that should be included in your itinerary? And excursions on land, in addition to tours onboard, do they look interesting? Make sure theyre offered by the cruise line .
Alaskan sailing trips can vary greatly depending upon which route or region you choose. For example, a luxury yacht might give passengers access to more intimate views but wont often allow them onto land. . In contrast, smaller vessels may provide an even closer view of glaciers than their bigger counterparts but may have fewer onboard amenities like hot tubs.
Many cruise lines offer a wide range of itineraries in Alaska, so its important to do your homework before making any decisions. The most popular routes are from Vancouver up to Skagway and then back down again , with occasional sailings around the state. Though shorter versions are available, but these typically last seven nights.
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