Everyone in the lower 48 thinks of Alaska as the last rugged frontier in the United States, which makes it hard to believe that some million plus passengers stop in the port of Juneau each year. And hundreds of thousands of those people also traipse through Ketchikan and Skagway. It is only the smaller cruise lines, such as Alaskan Dream Cruises that stop in the tiny town of Kake which has a population of only 500. But this is where cruise travelers get to witness the true Alaska that we all dream of.
With 2000 or more fellow passengers on a mega ship, you might not even see the captain of the ship. But on the smaller cruise lines with under 100 guests, you will not only meet the captain, but he will most likely know your name by the end of your adventure. And the rest of the crew will quickly become familiar with your preferences for things like table location at dinner, your drink order, and the types of excursions and activities that you enjoy.
Another awesome benefit to the smaller ships and crews is that they are busy taking care of passengers every need, not collecting extra fees or charges for every last activity or drink that you request. Most of the smaller cruise lines are really all-inclusive. This means that there are no charges for special meal requests, airport or hotel transfers, excursions or drinks with your meals. And with under 100 guests, you will not spend half of your trip standing in line for meals, activities or to speak to a crew member.
If you just want to see snow and ice, then the deck of a mega ship meets your needs. But for the true explore’s heart, the small cruise lines will offer what you desire. Fewer passengers allow these cruise lines to take excursion groups on hikes, walks and kayak adventures far beyond the end of the cruise ship dock. Often times a crew member doubles as the onboard naturalist and provides a guided adventure to witness the wildlife and natural beauty found only deep in the heart of Alaska. You will even have the opportunity to join the “Five Percent Club”. Sadly, only a meager 5% of all visitors to the world-famous Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve actually step on land at the park. The remaining 95% glide by and get only a view from afar as the ship sails right past all of the majestic glaciers.
For an authentic view of Alaska, smaller ships offer many benefits that cannot be found on the larger cruise ships. While the amenities might not be as extensive, the intimate experience with nature will certainly make up for the lack of waterslides, nightclubs and other big city entertainment that makes mega ships the choice of many travelers.