Alaskan cruises, rich with their natural beauty and surrounded by wild nature, are a popular summer travel destination. There are numerous options for complete vacation packages that focus around the amazing features of this state. At one time, this kind of cruise was reserved for the elite, however, nowadays, it is a popular trip made by families, couples and honeymooners. Both first time cruisers and experienced ones enjoy this tour.
When to Take an Alaskan Cruise
Due to the extreme climate of the region, Alaskan cruises are available only during the summer months from May to September. During the winter months, the days are extremely short and therefore, shore excursions are not an option at dusk or night time. As well, there is often intense ice formation along cruise ship routes. Cruises fill up quickly due to the limited cruise season. It is recommended to consult a travel agent in order to make arrangements.
The majority of Alaskan cruises offer a 7 day itinerary for both southbound and northbound voyages. There is a number of longer cruises provided by certain cruise lines, up to 10 to 14 days for example. These may be available as round trip voyages. Every Alaskan itinerary involves a decent amount of time dedicated to cruising beside fjords, scenic glaciers and majestic bays. Multiple ports of call are on tour so that passengers can experience the cities of Alaska and have time for shopping and shore excursions.
Typically, embarkation ports are situated in Canada and the northwestern USA along city shorelines. Due to the fact that the voyage is in the USA waters and stopping in American ports of call, Canadian departing passengers need to be aware of customs regulations. They are required to provide proper passport documentation for their journey, similar to air travel. Some of the major embarkation ports for Alaska include:
Vancouver, British Columbia: Canada Place on the downtown waterfront is a popular cruise ship terminal. This is a common departure point for the majority of northbound Alaskan itineraries.
Seattle, WA: Seattle is another poplar departure point for cruises. It is close to Vancouver, BC and offers convenience and peace of mind for those who are uptight about departing from a foreign country.
San Francisco, CA: From this northern Californian city, there are a limited number of longer, luxury cruises available.
Anchorage, AK: According to many sources, Anchorage may be named the departure point for a variety of southbound voyages; however, the true ports are situated in Whittier and Seward. These cities are located south of Anchorage. The nearest airport to the cruises is based in Anchorage; transportation from the cruise port to the airport are usually offered.
Ports of Call for Alaskan Cruises
The amazing natural beauty is the main attraction for many travelling on an Alaskan cruise. It is found simply travelling throughout the region. However, there are numerous interesting ports of call, including:
Ketchikan: Located just north of the Canadian border, Ketchikan offers a host of shopping stores. Within the immediate port vicinity, there are dozens of gift shops, making it a shopper’s paradise. The national monument of the Misty Fjords is a great photo opportunity. Cruise ships have a variety of shore excursions available to view the monument either by sea, air or land.
Juneau: Juneau is the capital city of the state. It provides a vast array of unique attractions for visitors such as the most visited glacier in the world: Mendenhall Glacier situated just on the outskirts of town. There are many cultural attractions and landmarks devoted to Alaska’s economic industries and history as well.
Sitka: Sitka lies just south of Juneau. It is considered to be a quintessential Alaskan town. There is a rich history and variety of cultural venues for interested visitors to take in. Since the town does not have a large dock, there are not as many megaships that visit this port of call. Generally, it is less crowded than most other destinations in Alaska.
Skagway: Along the Lynn Canal, Skagway is situated just north of Juneau. During the 1890s, it was a pivotal departure point for thousands of prospectors searching to strike gold. Nowadays, it is a treasure for cruise passengers. There is a wide variety of attractions to take in; everything from modern golf courses to a genuine ghost town!
Inside Passage: Technically, the Inside Passage is not considered to be a port of call; however, no Alaskan cruise would be complete without this scenic venue. Ships weave between massive glaciers and cruise among the thousands of islands. There are stunning views to behold. It is common for lucky passengers to glimpse whales swimming alongside the boat. This definitely makes the days at sea much different than those experience on voyages to tropical places.
There are a variety of historical and rustic attractions to take in all amongst nature’s profound beauty. Alaskan cruises provide a unique vacation experience and visit several ports of call. Extended stays may be available depending on the itinerary of a ship, in order to accommodate longer and more challenging excursions. For example, there are wildlife quests, glacier hiking, and helicopter tours available. Tourists may be able to photograph natural wildlife such as caribou, moose, bears and more!
The experiences on this cruise vary greatly from tropical vacations that offer sunbathing and snorkeling. Alaskan cruises offer an ideal summer getaway for those seeking adventure. There are numerous cruise lines offering longer voyages so that passengers can enjoy marveling at the wonders of the world. The convenience and comfort of a cruise ship extends the best of both worlds!