The exotic national treasure, Alaska, is more than just a state in the United States. It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Though remote, surrounded by wilderness all around, you do not have to let go of comfort and luxury when it comes to exploring the state the right way, i.e., via cruise!
Alaska celebrated 60 years of statehood in 2019. This event sparked the right interest among people in various Alaska cruise trip adventures. Now, with the pandemic restrictions decreasing day by day, it is the perfect time to look forward to planning a much-deserved vacation of a lifetime!
When is the right time to go to Alaska?
The right seasons to visit Alaska are during spring, summer, and early fall. Every major and minor cruise line is functioning to cater to your needs during these seasons. These tours usually start in late April and go through mid-September.
When you consider taking an Alaska cruise trip, you are going to be welcomed by the state’s lovely weather. Be it spring, summer, or even early fall; everything is going to be splendid. However, ensure you are still carrying your layers since it can become a little chilly during nighttime and in the morning. The temperature can go down between 40 to 50 degrees during these times, while the temperature can shoot up to 80 degrees during the day.
Apart from these temperature fluctuations, you could also be welcomed by rain. So be prepared with the proper rain gear for your trip!
What are the different kinds of cruises for Alaska?
There are quite a few options when it comes to planning your Alaska cruise trip. These options can fit your budget and your requirements correctly, just the way you want.
Almost all the mainstream or mass-market cruise lines offer trips to Alaska. Some cruise lines like Holland America or the Royal Caribbean have a long history of serving some of the best Alaska cruise vacation packages. Their packages include both cruise tours, as well as a land tour.
Small expedition sail ships
Almost everyone, especially active wanderlusts, prefers expedition-style cruise ships. The highlight of a small expedition sail ship is that you get more time ashore, which directly means you can take part in hikes, camping trips, and so much more!
Moreover, compared to the other expensive mainstream voyages, you can benefit from a small expedition ship. These include kayaking, shore excursions, biking, and exploring the wilderness. Apart from these advantages, there are always going to be experts like naturalists or biologists present to help you explore better.
On such cruise ships, you get more time to connect with nature.
Luxury cruise options
If you look forward to splurging and elegantly exploring Alaska, ensure you are getting on board a luxury Alaska cruise ship.
On a luxury cruise, you will be accompanied by free-flowing wine, champagne, butlers, best-in-class catering, and much more. Every single whim you can think of, you name it, and it will be there!
Luxury cruise options like the Regent Seven Seas, Viking, Oceania, Windstar Cruises offer you an experience of a lifetime.
The best Alaska itineraries
There are multiple options when it comes to itineraries for Alaska.
The Inside Passage
One of the most popular routes, the Inside Passage journey, starts from Seattle, Vancouver, and British Columbia.
The Inside Passage welcomes you to glacial ice and some of the most spectacular natural sights in the world.
This path is chosen by nature lovers and sports enthusiasts interested in fishing charters, sightseeing, bird watchers and bear watchers, kayaking and hiking enthusiasts. The course is also popular with people interested in marine life, be it looking out for whales, sea lions, seals, or dolphins, or simply fishing.
This passage will lead you to the best topography, some magnificent snow-capped mountains, milky waterfalls, lush forest terrains, glaciers, and fjords.
Some of the most popular ports on the Inside Passage are Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Haines, Skagway, and Ketchikan. You will also come across Glacier Bay National Park, Dawes Glacier, and Endicott Arm.
Pro Tip: Look out for the calm and serene waters while you are on this path; you will be spellbound!
One nice thing about the Inside Passage is how calm the water is since you’re sailing between land masses. If you worry about seasickness, an Inside Passage trip is a safe bet versus an itinerary where your ship transits rougher, open waters.
Gulf of Alaska
If you are looking forward to booking a Gulf of Alaska cruise trip, you will enjoy exploring parts of the Inside Passage and additional scenic cruising. The trip option is a mix of the best of the Inside Passage and the incredible “scenic cruising” of the landscapes of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and the Hubbard Glacier.
Generally, these are one-way sailing trips from Anchorage to Vancouver. There are, however, some itineraries that offer a seven-night trip planned out. But, of course, there are going to be plenty more that are longer than these.
Travelling could be a bit of a hassle since you will have to fly into Anchorage and then transfer to Seward cruise port later. This can add some extra cost and distance to your total fare. However, it is a small fee if you opt for the cruise’s airfare and transportation.
The Gulf of Alaska sails during August and September can be a bumpy experience, due to rough seas, especially for those prone to seasickness.
Longer west coast sails
The journey for the west coast sails begins from San Francisco as a part of a 10-night long round-trip. There are a few more extended west coast sailing options between Vancouver and San Francisco.
The tours are highly suitable for people who love the seas. You can get four days on the sea through these tour options, including two days from San Francisco to Juneau and a day of pleasuring your eyes on the scenic beauty at exotic spots like Tracy Arm, Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park, and Endicott Arm.
Depending on the season you go in, the waters can be either calm or rough.
Some of the most popular ports on this route include Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, British Columbia, and Victoria.
As you have read above, there are three major categories of Alaska cruise ships: Mainstream ships, small expedition ships, and luxury cruise options. Considering a cruise line that fits your needs, your vacation goals, and your budget can sometimes come across as a tough choice. We have compiled a small list that might suit your needs.
Check it out!
Best Alaska cruises for extended trips
If you are looking forward to enjoying the interior beauty of Alaska and not just the exterior sea beauty, this option is meant for you. You can opt for cruise-tour packages from Princess cruises or Holland America.
These cruises offer a spectacular itinerary that takes you to some of the most eccentric interiors of Alaska as well. The itinerary includes some great accommodations as well that will fit any average traveler’s budget.
Best Alaska cruises for families with children
Royal Caribbean, Princess, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival, and Norwegian have some of the best Alaska cruise tour options with amazing facilities for children on their ships. While you are taking in the sea, your kids can hang out with Mickey and Miney aboard the Disney cruise ship or chill with Dr. Seuss on the Carnival. Our little fans of Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, or the Madagascar Penguins can choose the Royal Caribbean options. There is something for everyone!
Best Alaska Cruise trips for adventure seekers
This category supports people with a great adrenaline rush and some very active individuals. Voyages like Dream Cruise, Uncruise Adventures, Hurtigruten, Silversea’s expedition, and the Lindblad “National Geographic” Sailings offer you much more than just nature and beauty.
Along with comfort, you can also explore Alaska as wildly as you want to. You can kayak, hike, camp, and do everything to keep your imagination alive!
Best Alaska cruise options for multigenerational families
If you are sailing with your entire family and not just kids, this is the option for you!
Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Holland America are some options that include activities for all family members.
Best cruise options for big celebrations and couples
Have you got an engagement party coming? Or are you planning your honeymoon? Then, this is the option for you.
Luxury cruise liners offer you not only spectacular suits, extra pampering, and the best gourmet food you can think of, but they also provide you an experience of a lifetime. Though a bit high in terms of an average budget, this experience is something you cannot miss, only because you are looking to celebrate it with someone special!
Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Oceania, Scenic Seabourn, Viking, and Windstar cruises are some of the best options to look forward to.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on our lives so far. It has impacted both our physical health as well as our mental health. Now, with the vaccination drives pumping up our spirits and restrictions easing, we all deserve a break!
And what better way to do it in Alaska?
Everyone should experience Alaska at least once in their lives. The thrill, the wilderness, the beauty, and the mysteries will surely lift your dampened spirits.
Thinking of booking your next Alaskan adventure? Here are a few more reads to guide you: