Alaska cruises have surged in popularity in recent years, and demand to see
America's last unspoiled frontier continues to grow. If you decide to cruise
Alaska you can see snowcapped peaks, mighty glaciers, steep fjords and such
wildlife as whales, black bears, brown bears, bald eagles, sea otters and
seals. You'll also find historic gold rush towns, Native American art and
culture, Russian heritage and plenty of outdoor adventure. Because of this
region's popularity and short season, the per-diem prices for Alaska cruises
are among the highest in the cruise industry.
Alaska cruises are generally divided into two types, Inside Passage cruises
and Gulf of Alaska cruises. The Inside Passage has been the traditional way
to cruise Alaska, with most ships sailing round-trip from Vancouver or Seattle,
through glacier country as far north as Skagway or Juneau. Gulf of Alaska
cruises cover more territory as they travel from Vancouver through the
Inside Passage and up to Seward/Anchorage (or the reverse). Airfare for a
Gulf of Alaska cruise is generally more expensive because Anchorage is so far north.
- The Alaska cruise season lasts from May through September.
- Cruises to Alaska are 7 to 12 nights in length.
- You can find the most affordable Alaska cruise rates in May
and September, the off-peak periods.
- Nearly half of all passengers add a land tour to their Alaska cruise.
Denali National Park, the Yukon gold rush country and the Canadian Rockies
are among options.
- Alaska experiences long hours of daylight during summer, lasting
up to 23 hours a day in June.
- In addition to popular sightseeing tours via train and motorcoach,
cruise lines have added more adventurous shore excursions to Alaska
itineraries, such as sea kayaking, mountain hiking and salmon fishing.
- If you have frequent-flier miles, this may be a good time to use a free
ticket to fly round trip to Vancouver, the main port of departure for
Inside Passage cruises.
- Because in most cases you'll need to fly a long distance to reach your
port of departure, we suggest that you arrive at the port city at least
one or two days in advance of your cruise. This will give you time to rest
and get oriented before boarding the ship. Most cruise lines offer
pre-cruise hotel packages.