For many folks, a cruise to Alaska is a bucket list experience that they will only end up doing once ... or maybe twice in their lives. As a result, it is important that they take the opportunity to plan things well and maximize their investment. An Alaska cruise isn't like a Caribbean cruise where you can just get on the boat and drink fruity drinks as you float around from island to island. It is a much more intense experience that requires the perfect ship, right choice of itinerary, and proper planning or you will miss those million-dollar moments that you and your family will take abuot for months and years after you get home. Don't worry though, we've come together with our blogger friends to prepare some tips to help!
We appreciate you joining us in this effort to highlight and support tourism destinations that we love with a conversation about different aspects of Alaska Tourism featuring some of our favorite blogger / influencer friends. This is purely a work of passion for our team who believes in sharing our talents and resources to help others.
You can join us here on the blog - don’t forget to scroll down for the giveaway! - and on social media as we post photos and discussion questions with some of our favorite Alaska tourism destinations and tour operators.
Alaska represents different things to different people. It is a land of spiritual wonder filled with exotic animals and indigenous traditions, rituals, and wisdom that can be experienced firsthand if you are willing to listen, watch and explore. Whether you have a singular goal - see whales, walk on a glacier, see a grizzly bear, explore art created by First Nations peoples such as jewelry and totem poles, or you just simply want to relax with a cup of coffee and forget about work … THIS is the place to do it!
We’ll be publishing a monthly series of blog and social posts, giveaways, and live stream shows talking about different aspects of visiting Alaska. This series of blog posts with some of our favorite blogger friends reflects our collective passion for the state.
I hope you can join us for the journey!
Upcoming Alaska Travel Topics Include:
April: What Are Some Great Ways To Explore Alaska’s Indigenous Culture?
May: Let’s Talk About Natural Adventures In Alaska
This month though, we’re going to discuss how you can get the most out of an Alaska Cruise. Some of us have visited recently, others have only explored the state virtually by watching the adventures of others. Collectively though, we all want to support the state’s tourism efforts to recover from the challenges faced over the past years.
Time Of Year Is Critical When Planning Your Alaska Cruise
Any visit to Alaska is going to be a memorable experience. Unfortunately, not everything on your Alaska cruise bucket list will be available throughout the entire season. For instance, if you want to see more active bears and salmon then later in the season is better than April or May when things are just starting to warm up. Folks hoping to see the Northern Lights might get lucky any time of year but it is very unlikely during the peak summer season because the sun stays up as long as 19 hours at Summer Solstice in Anchorage. As a result, the best time to see the Aurora Borealis would be very early season or very late season on itineraries that go as far north as possible.
There is no “perfect time of year” to visit Alaska because the definition of perfect depends highly on your idea of a perfect Alaska cruise and that is very personal for each and every person.
Submitted by James from ManTripping.com
Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime experience so I want to make sure I am hitting all of my bucket list opportunities. That’s why we chose cruising as the best way to see Alaska. I love the fact that we will have easy access to different ports and the list of excursions that cruise lines offer are top not. Before heading on your cruise it’s best to sit down and make a list of all the things you really want to do. Excursions can be expensive, so I suggest picking out your top 3 bucket list things to do instead of just going for a bunch of smaller ones. When you book an excursion, you are getting a VIP experience. These excursions are led by people who know the ins and outs of the area. They know the best times to spot wildlife, hidden spots to check out and the best times to go according to the weather. This is a trip worth saving up for.
Submitted by Daniel and Melissa from https://www.RoamingMyPlanet.com
Make A Foodie Plan To Taste Your Way Through Alaska
Alaska, like most “exotic” destinations offers a wide variety of local food and drink options to explore. While glaciers, whales, dog sledding, and hiking through the forests are all wonderful things to do on your Alaska cruise … so is sipping some local craft beer, toasting a successful salmon fishing trip with some local whiskey, and trying local seafood dishes too.
While you can get most of these things in almost any port - as well as on the ship itself during your cruise, create a plan for where to go in each port to get the maximum experience. For instance, Juneau is the home of Alaska brewing Company, Ketchikan is the salmon capital, Skagway has a bunch of history bars from the gold rush glory days where you can enjoy spirits from Port Chilkoot Distillery.
If you are stopping at Icy Strait Point you can even take part in some cooking demonstrations to learn how indigenous Alaskans caught and prepared salmon and other seafood.
You gotta plan though because otherwise you might miss out on some great memory making foodie experiences!
Submitted by Tom from BourbonBlog.com
Cruising is a Great Deal
Alaska is a large state and a vacation here can get expensive. Taking a cruise can be the least expensive way to see "the best of" in a short amount of time. Airline tickets from the continental US to Anchorage average $400 round trip during the summer months and the round-trip ferry ticket from Bellingham, WA to Ketchikan is $500 per person and then you need to pay for a rental car, hotels, meals, etc. A cruise gives you a great overview of the state at a great price which includes lodging, onboard activities, meals, and transportation. You can also add on an excursion in each port which gives you a more in-depth look at the area.
Even without the ports of call, an Alaskan cruise is a beautiful journey. The Inside Passage is one of the most scenic waterways in the world with towering mountains, glaciers, and numerous islands. There are cruises with a wide variety of itineraries ranging from 7 to 14 nights, plus select sailings have "Kids Sail Free" program and onboard credit incentives to save you money.
Submitted by Nicky from LittleFamilyAdventure.com
Splurge On The Best Cabin You Can Afford
While many cruisers go for the cheapest room available (often an inside cabin without a window) since they spend very little time in their rooms, when you’re cruising to Alaska, you might want to rethink that mindset. It’s definitely worth the extra money to book a balcony room, or at the very least a room with a window, as you don’t want to miss all of the wondrous wildlife that you can see on your days at sea and such.
One of the highlights of my last Alaskan cruise was our day at Glacier Bay. This day-long journey gives you great viewing opportunities no matter where you are on the ship. We spent much of the time on our balcony, binoculars in hand, watching giant hunks of ice breaking off of the glacier, scouting for wildlife (bald eagles, whales, sea lions, etc), and other cool stuff.
And since the sun doesn’t set until late in the night, you’re afforded great views well into the evening hours. So maybe skip dinner in the dining room one night and get room service instead, enjoying it on the balcony while you marvel at the majestic views that Alaska has to offer!
Submitted by Sujeet from GuysGab.com
The Ship Is As Important As Your Alaska Cruise Itinerary Itself
For some destinations, the cruise ship is more of a floating hotel where features like bars and specialty restaurants as well as activities such as rock climbing, surfing simulators, and go karts are important. On an Alaska cruise though, you’ll want to select a ship with plenty of space to watch the water and shoreline around the ship as it passes by.
Ships that are designed to keep people active on inside activities can be a lot of fun for an Alaska cruise but those like Holland America Line’s Koningsdam where there’s a huge observation deck or Norwegian Encore where there is plenty of outdoor space on lower decks are perfect big ship experiences for an Alaska cruise since you can relax with a cup of coffee or tea and see whales, orcas, and even bears and eagles on shore.
Smaller ships such as those offered by UnCruise, Regent, Viking, and Silverseas offer not only ultra luxury experiences but also can spend more time at key locations such as glacier viewing and better viewing locations closer to the water so that you won’t miss those million dollar moments when a whale breaches or a pod of orcas swims next to the ship.
Submitted by James from CruiseWestCoast.com
Work With A Travel Advisor That Knows Alaska
Some cruise destinations are easy to visit but Alaska is a bit different. It is more complicated, higher cost, and more “bucket list” compared to the classic Caribbean cruise. A good travel advisor will be able to help you identify the right ship for your style of cruising, the best time of year, and the best ways to spend your money wisely on the right excursions and on-board experiences.
For instance, some travelers might want a Holland America Line cruise where the focus on the experience of learning more about the history of Alaska, natural wonders, and culture with enrichment experiences on the ship such as lectures and cooking demonstrations, while others might want a more theme-park experience with skydiving and wave rider action on Royal Caribbean or Laser Tag and Go Karts on Norwegian.
Even basic stuff like being able to ask questions about what to pack on an Alaska cruise can be a big advantage of working with a travel advisor who has taken multiple cruises in this area and knows what to expect.
There are lots of options today for your Alaska cruise vacation but they aren’t all equal and they aren’t all right for every traveler. Make sure to find a Travel Advisor that can find the perfect fit for you and your family so your vacation is as close to perfect as possible!
Submitted by Heather from FlowVoyages.com
Enter For A Chance To Win A $ 100 Amazon Gift Card
Flow Voyages, our Travel Advisor partner has generously provided a $100 gift card code for one lucky winner so they can start shopping for gear to make their Alaska vacation even more amazing. She is even offering a $50 bonus onboard credit to anyone that has entered this giveaway and books an Alaskan cruise with her for the 2022 or 2023 season.
Heather is a cruise specialist and can usually offer the same or better fares than what is published on cruise line websites, plus her services are free to you! She can be reached at: 630-779-9301 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org