One of the most adventurous cruises on the planet is an Alaska cruise. Even more adventurous is a small ship Alaska cruise — which allows the passenger to get up close and personal with amazing sea life such as the elusive humpback whale and natural wonders like brilliant crystal glaciers. Alaska is by far one of the most pristine places on the planet featuring more than 100,000 gleaming glaciers, 16 of the countryâ€™s 20 tallest mountains, and wildlife beyond your wildest dreams.
And contrary to popular belief, you donâ€™t need a dumpy down coat and oversized boots to experience Alaska. The weather can be absolutely wonderful during certain times of the year, so the only things youâ€™ll need are a few cotton layers, binoculars, a camera, and some sunscreen and youâ€™re ready to explore! So, youâ€™re probably thinking an Alaska cruise sounds expensive and thereâ€™s no way you can afford it. Not so. While some Alaska cruises can be pricey depending on the cruise line and the type of cruise (luxury, small-ship, mega-liner), there are a few tricks and tips to help you score a cheap cruise to Alaska without missing out on a thing.
Before you start searching for cheap cruises to Alaska, itâ€™s important to know a little bit about the basics of an Alaska cruise including popular types of Alaska cruises, ports of call, busiest seasons, and length of cruises. Three of the most popular types of Alaska cruises are: Alaska Inside Passage Cruises (roundtrip), Alaska Glacier Cruises (Gulf of Alaska) and Alaska â€“ Cruise and Land.
Inside Passage cruises typically begin and end at the same port of call, they are usually seven nights and they set sail from and return to Seattle or Vancouver. Inside Passage cruises are popular for cruisers on a budget or cruisers that are short time.
Alaska Glacier Cruises are one-way cruises sailing North from Vancouver or South from Anchorage. An advantage to this type of cruise is passengers will see more glaciers, mountains, wildlife and scenery in seven nights than on typical Alaska Inside Passage Cruise.
An Alaska Cruise and Land tour combines an Alaska cruise with an Alaska land tour. These types of tours allow the passenger to explore the coastline and interior regions of Alaska, including Denali National Park.
Cruises range may range from seven to 23 nights depending on the itinerary. Ports of call include: Anchorage, College Fjord, Glacier Bay, Haines, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Straight Point, Inside Passage, Juneau, Ketchikan, Misty Fjord, Nome, Prince Rupert, San Francisco, Seattle, Seward, Sitka, Skagway, Tracy Arm, Valdez, Vancouver, Victoria and Whittier. In many cases, shorter cruises such as 7-night cruises offer the hottest deals. Some may start as low as $499.
While a few of the smaller ships begin their Alaska cruise season around April, the Alaska cruise season runs May-September. Because the sun doesnâ€™t set in the summertime and temperatures are mild, June, July, and August are the most popular (and most expensive) months to take an Alaska cruise Thanks to thinner crowds and super low fares, May and September are quickly becoming popular months to book. The weather can be tricky during the month of May as it is Alaskaâ€™s â€œtransitional periodâ€? weather wise. Temperatures dip fairly rapidly during the month of September, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before you go so youâ€™ll know exactly what to pack.
Base prices for most Alaska cruises will 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 â€œair and seaâ€? package, you will also pay for airfare from your town/city to the port of embarkation, which is typically Anchorage or Vancouver. If you want to save money, best bet is to book online. Most cruise lines offer amazing Internet deals and discounts as well as specials for purchasing excursions in advance, online. Hereâ€™s a final tip: book at the very last minute and you are guaranteed to score a cheap cruise to Alaska!