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What to Expect on an Alaskan Cruise

When many people think of an Alaskan cruise, they think of freezing-cold weather, glaciers, and bears. Of course, visitors are likely to experience all of the above on an Alaskan cruise, but there is so much more to expect and appreciate!

Expect to see a wide variety of wildlife

You will have the opportunity to encounter bears. You may also encounter rare deer, exotic seabirds, moose, bald eagles, Alaskan salmon, harbor seals, sea lions, and even humpback whales!

Expect ample coastline, lakes, rivers, volcanoes, and volcanic fields

Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United states combined. It has over 34,000 miles of shoreline, contains more than 100 volcanoes and volcanic fields, has more than 3,000 rivers, and has over 3 million lakes. Yep, you read that correctly: 3 million lakes! How incredible!

Alaska is Family-Friendly!

People also expect to Alaskan cruises to be for a more “mature” audience, but it is actually quite young and family-friendly. This makes it a perfect choice for a family vacation. You can expect to see multi-generations on an Alaskan cruise, often with parents and grandparents sharing the wild beauty of “The Last Frontier” with their children and grandchildren. Some cruise ships also offer onboard enrichment activities such as whale-watching programs, children’s sing-a-longs, learning about glaciers, and more. Alaskan cruises can be the perfect blend of family fun, nature, and science. They can also be a welcomed change from the usual beach vacations.

Alaskan Weather

Often people expect constant snowfall when cruising Alaska. Depending on what time of year you visit, you’re more likely to encounter rain. First-time travelers may be shocked to find winter in Alaska can actually be warmer than other cold regions in the US! So, since the weather often fluctuates during an Alaskan cruise, expect to dress in layers that are easy to pull on and easy to remove. Think lightweight t-shirts, thin sweaters, waterproof jackets, scarves, and warm hats. As long as you remember these items, you’ll stay nice and comfy throughout your vacation.

You can also expect the days to be much longer than the typical cruisers’ usual day. For instance, some sunsets may not occur until 10pm and sunrises can be as early as 3am. So be sure to pack a sleep mask to get some sound sleep.

Expect to reserve a stateroom with a balcony and to book as many excursions as possible

You won’t regret it. Sure, you can stand out on the ship’s deck to view glaciers and wildlife as you drift by, but there is nothing quite as phenomenal as the views from your own private balcony – while sipping hot cocoa underneath a cozy blanket!

Choosing a Cruise Line

There are many options when it comes to choosing a cruise line for your Alaskan cruise. So how do you know which one is best? Well it really depends on what you want out of your Alaskan cruise and of course your budget.

If you are planning a family vacation and would love to have the beautiful views but plan on just cruising with plenty of activities for the kids, and maybe visiting a port or two, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Disney Cruise Line offer plenty to fit this bill.

If you are looking for a land and sea adventure in order to really experience Alaska, Holland America or Princess are better suited for this. They do CruiseTours and operate their own lodges, rail cars and motorcoaches to give you the best experience to explore Alaska’s interior. And they are one of the few that have permission to sail in Glacier Bay.

Princess offers tours that visit four national parks and are extended 15 and 17-night trips that combine a 7-Night cruise with another week or more on land.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian will offer more budget-friendly options for cruising Alaska.

When to Cruise Alaska

The Alaskan Cruise season generally runs from April through October. The shoulder season is April-early June and September is when you can find better deals than the during the peak summer time. Just keep in mind if you choose September, you could run into colder weather and/or rain; however, for me, part of the experience is the weather. And as you get later into the season with more hours of darkness, you have a greater chance of catching the Northern Lights.

If you are an avid cruise, expect a less rowdy scene than most beach cruises. Alaskan cruises are not only fun but educational as well and are truly in a league of their own. It’s easy to get the “full-on” Alaskan experience if you know what to expect. You will return home enlightened and invigorated.

More than anything you can expect to take a ton of pictures to capture all of those once-in-a-lifetime memories!

When would you like to book your next cruise to Alaska? We are now booking Alaskan cruises for next Summer, 2024! Get the best availability and pricing when you book early! Contact us today to get started!

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