Alaska cruises offer the ultimate Alaska vacation, and Alaska cruises offer you sights that you won’t find anywhere else.
Alaska is home to more than 100,000 gleaming glaciers, 16 of the country’s 20 tallest mountains and wildlife beyond your wildest dreams, and one of the most popular ways to see it all is by cruise ship. Millions of visitors each year travel to Alaska to experience the beauty of this pristine land in all it’s splendor in the crisp, clean open air.
An Alaska cruise allows the tourist to get up close and personal with amazing sea life such as the elusive humpback whale and silver salmon, and natural wonders like brilliant crystal glaciers, all from the comforts of a veritable city at sea. You don’t need a puffy parka and big boots to experience Alaska. The weather can be absolutely wonderful during certain times of the year, so grab a few cotton layers, your binoculars, a camera and some sunscreen and get ready to explore!
While a few of the smaller ships start their Alaska cruise season in April, the Alaska cruise season typically runs May through September. The sun doesn’t set in the summertime and temperatures are mild, making June, July and August the most popular (and most expensive) months to cruise Alaska. In fact, May and September are quickly becoming popular months to book thanks to thinner crowds and super-low fares. The weather can be tricky during the month of May as it is Alaska’s “transitional period” temperature-wise. Temperatures begin to decrease rapidly during the month of September, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before you go on an Alaska cruise in September, so that you’ll know what to pack.
Alaska cruises typically cover Far North Alaska (Nome, Barrow, and Prudhoe Bay), Interior Alaska (Denali National Park), South Central Alaska (Kenai, Seward, and Anchorage) and Southeast Alaska (Skagway, Juneau). Juneau, Nome, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Ketchikan are popular ports of call and the Gulf of Alaska Cruise is the most popular cruise itinerary among the popular cruise ships.
The Gulf of Alaska Cruise offered by Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line, is typically a week long cruise, sailing between Anchorage and Vancouver, B.C. Visitors will tour the glaciers of College Fjord, the mountains of Juneau, and the coastal islands of Glacier Bay. Land excursions will cover many shops, restaurants and architectural sights of Vancouver.
The vast majority of Alaska cruises offer excursions including activities such as hiking, fishing, rafting, kayaking, bear watching and visits to Mt. Mckinley, the tallest mountain in North America. There are also a variety of wildlife tours featuring opportunities to watch sheep, moose, grizzlies, wolves, polar bears, falcons, bald eagles and caribou interacting in their natural habitat.
Base prices for most Alaska cruises include accommodations, onboard entertainment, activities, meals and standard facilities. Expect to pay for alcohol, gambling, tips and extras such as spa treatments as well as port fees and taxes. Unless you book an “air and sea” package, you will also pay for airfare from your town to the port of embarkation which is generally Anchorage or Vancouver. If you want to save money, book online. Most cruise lines offer outstanding Internet deals and discounts as well as specials for purchasing excursions, well in advance, online.
Whether your goal is to simply bask in the midnight sun, gaze at the Northern Lights or catch a rare glimpse of a wild grizzly, an Alaska cruise covers all activities and attractions (and then some)!