1) Where will I go?
Alaska cruise itineraries typically sail through the Inside Passage – one of the most beautiful parts of its landscape that reaches along the southeast coast. While sailing the Inside Passage, you’ll also be able to have a wonderful view of the Hubbard Glacier – as well as other glaciers and fjords. Wildlife throughout Alaska is abundant, and many cruise lines offer tours to begin or end your cruise through the inland of Alaska. The 2 most popular places to start your Alaskan cruise are Seattle and Vancouver. Leaving from Seattle, for example, you’ll be able to see many parts of the beautiful Canadian coastline as you sail north.
2) When should I go?
When it comes to selecting a time of year to visit Alaska, keep in mind their winters are incredibly cold. Cruise lines offer itineraries beginning in April and ending in October. This is the safest time to cruise to Alaska, avoiding ice that may form in the waterways, and also much more comfortable for the passengers as it's much more mild than the incredibly cold winter months. This is not to say that the summer months are warm. Sweaters, jackets, windbreakers, hats and mitts are all recommended for cruising even in July and August. Active shore excursions are popular in Alaska - hiking, fishing, canoeing, dog sledding, and many more - therefore bring clothes you're not afraid to get a little dirty.
3) What are the popular ports of call?
Juneau: Alaska's capital is a great port for animal lovers. Humpback whale watching is incredibly popular - as well as the opportunity to see seals and sea lions. Nearby to Juneau is the popular area for viewing Brown Bears called Pack Creek. You'll be able to see brown bears in their natural habitat!
Anchorage: Anchorage is another fantastic port, and one of the furthest north that you'll go on most Alaskan cruises. Anchorage has some of the most impressive scenery - mountains and glaciers are abundant - therefore a lot of their shore excursions include ice and snow. You can take a ride high above the glaciers, or head out on a dog sledding adventure.
Ketchikan: Did someone say rain forests in Alaska? You heard right! You can zip line in the rain forest, do a nature hike, or canoe through beautiful lakes in Ketchikan. With its rich Native American History you'll never run out of things to do and history to discover.
Skagway: White water rafting through the rivers of Skagway are the most popular adventurous excursions in this port of call. You can also head out on a scenic hike through the Chilkoot Trail, or visit one of many beautiful waterfalls. Home to many gold-rush era buildings (which are now part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park), this port is rich in history and in adventure. Fun fact? The White Pass & Yukon Route railroad runs vintage locomotives past the Chilkoot trail - some of the most stunning mountainous views!
4) How should I choose my stateroom?
When cruising to and through Alaska, it's always suggested you get a room with a balcony - the scenery is arguably the best in the world. Being able to watch the whales and bald eagles, glaciers and fjords, from your own private balcony is a breathtaking and also a calming experience like no other. Of course, there are always the public decks throughout the ship that you're able to sit and view from. Really though - who can argue with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning lounging on a balcony, or wine in the evening as the sun is setting?
In terms of where you should choose your stateroom - it depends on where you're coming from. If you're sailing South to North (Seattle/Vancouver to Alaska) choose a stateroom on the 'starboard' side of the ship - you'll have beautiful mountain views. If you're doing the opposite - Alaska - Seattle/Vancouver - choose the 'port side' of the ship - you'll see all of Alaska's mainland.
5) Which cruise lines go to Alaska?
Alaska has an abundant of options in terms of cruise line selection. There are family friendly, luxury, or expedition ships - depending on your needs and expectations of your adventure!
Some of our preferred partners include; Regent Seven Seas on their Mariner ship, Crystal on their Serenity ship, Silverseas on both their Silver Shadow and Silver Explorer ships, and Seaborn on their Sojurn ship.
6) Looking for a bit more adventure?
If you're looking for a bit more of an adventure on your Alaskan cruise, an expedition ship is definitely the way to go. An expedition ship is smaller than normal cruise ships, therefore can fit into areas that are much smaller and more narrow. What does this mean for you? More beautiful scenery and wildlife to be seen! Even if you choose a larger ship - keep your camera (or smartphone!) with you at all times. You never know when you'll be passing by some enchanting wildlife or beautiful landscape.
For more information on upcoming Alaskan cruises, contact us at 604-736-7447 or by sending us a message through our website by selecting the 'contact us' button!