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Cruising is a fantastic way to explore some of the best that Alaska has to offer, and learning the optimal way to plan and book your vacation will help you get the most value during your voyage to this wondrous destination.
Here are several useful tips and considerations to keep in mind when booking a cruise to Alaska.
Alaska’s Most Popular Attractions
Alaska is home to some of the largest national parks in the United States, with vast expanses of untamed wilderness that has made the state a favorite among adventurers and nature lovers alike.
Dubbed “The Last Frontier,” Alaska boasts a wealth of natural wonders ranging from awe-inspiring glaciers and snow-capped mountains to lush forests and cascading waterfalls—with many breathtaking sights viewable from aboard your cruise, and even more immersive experiences awaiting you at its many ports of call.
Denali National Park & Preserve is the third-largest national park in the country, and contains the highest mountain peak in North America, its namesake. Its 6 million acres of wilderness consists of a broad diversity of landscapes and ecosystems including winding river valleys, barren tundras, and much more. It’s also a go-to location for wildlife viewing—the native habitats for grizzly bears, wolves, reindeer, elk, and more than 160 species of birds.
Explore other scenic locations such as Tracy Arm Fjord within Tongass National Forest, and Kenai Fjords National Park, for breathtaking views of must-see glacial landscapes and rushing waterfalls—visible by ship and during port excursions. The Alaskan Rainforest has more than 5 million acres of towering trees, lush flora, and a consistently temperate climate.
Cruise along Alaska’s Inside Passage—a 500-mile stretch along the Pacific Ocean teeming with stunning natural beauty—and enjoy the many serene coastal communities along the way. If you plan to explore on your own terms, rent a car and explore its long, remote roads, such as Dalton Highway—extending more than 400 miles and offering lucky visitors dazzling views of the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis.
Visit Anchorage, the state’s largest city, for a wide selection of luxury hotel accommodations and adventurous opportunities, including an 11-mile bike-riding tour through scenic Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, or a train voyage aboard the Alaska Railroad for spectacular views of the wilderness and local communities.
Best Time to Book & Travel
Booking your trip during the optimal time of year for your preferred itinerary will help ensure you get the most value, and best experience.
Unlike other popular destinations, Alaska has a limited cruising season—from May to September, as this is typically when weather conditions are most hospitable.
To secure the best prices, book your ticket around so-called “wave season” between January and March, when many major cruise lines offer deals and reduced fares. Travelers can also commonly find discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Others can often be secured about 45 to 60 days prior to your departure date, as cruise lines attempt to fill any remaining vacancies.
Between July and August is generally considered the best to visit Alaska, as travelers enjoy the warmest temperatures, best weather conditions, and plenty of wildlife.
Consider Your Preferred Ship Size & Cabin Style
Alaska is an incredibly popular cruise destination, with numerous ports, and plenty of choices regarding accommodations. The size of your ship and style of your room can have a huge impact on your overall experience.
Here’s what you should know when making these decisions.
Larger ships are distinguished by their wide variety of onboard entertainment and premium amenities. Expect a wide selection of accommodations, dining options, and more.
Their sheer size limits the number of ports they can visit, however—granting fewer opportunities for land excursions. Therefore, bigger ships are more ideal for travelers craving more time onboard.
Smaller cruise ships hold less passengers and feature more port excursions with tours and activities—but less onboard entertainment options and amenities.
They are perfect for romantic couples, special occasions, and immersive, onshore experiences exploring local communities.
Best Cabin Style
A big part of the wonder and appeal of Alaska as a cruise destination is its glorious scenery, and the best cruise cabins are those enabling guests to truly appreciate the state’s beauty and majesty from the comfort of their rooms.
Be sure to book an exterior or balcony cabin or suite so you won’t miss out!
Best Cruise Lines & Port Activities for Your Alaska Trip
Your choice of cruise line and preferred itinerary will significantly impact your overall experience—from the number of onboard entertainment and dining options to the selection of port excursions.
Here are some of the best cruise lines for an Alaska vacation.
Holland America Line
Holland America Line (HAL) is known for its premium, mid-sized cruise ships with comfortable, spacious accommodations, and upscale amenities for every type of traveler. HAL sails weekly Alaska cruises to popular ports including Glacier Bay National Park, Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, College Fjord, Tracy Arm Fjord, and more.
Guests enjoy activities and exploration opportunities including ATV wilderness rides, floatplane flightseeing safaris, native cultural tours, helicopter tours, ziplining adventures, and plenty more.
One of the largest cruise lines in the world, Princess Cruises boasts a fleet of innovative ships of various sizes featuring exceptional onboard services and amenities.
Its Alaska cruise itineraries focus on port excursions and activities exploring the natural wonders of the region, including stunning glaciers, awe-inspiring mountains and parks, and diverse wildlife. Princess Cruises also visit up to 10 popular Alaska ports of call, with stops at College Fjord, Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria, and more!
Whether taking in the glorious landscape from the air with a soaring helicopter ride, enjoying activities such as fly fishing, or roaming the frozen wilderness by dogsled, Princess Cruises gives guests the freedom to experience their Alaska vacations on their own terms!
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line provides big-ship amenities and high-quality onboard entertainment and dining options. Its “Freestyle Cruising” concept eliminates the need for dress codes and set dining times, so guests can have even more control over their experiences.
Norwegian offers land and sea packages featuring a wide variety of tours and activities for intrepid travelers—whether seeking to explore the wide open wilderness, or remain onboard for some spectacular sightseeing. Norwegian’s Alaska Cruisetours include immersive shore excursions with options including riverboat cruises, railroad rides, whitewater rafting, helicopter flightseeing, and more.
InteleTravel Will Plan Your Dream Cruise to Alaska
Whether viewing the incredible northern lights from the top deck of your luxurious ship, or witnessing Alaska’s breathtaking beauty and fascinating wildlife during an onshore excursion—cruises to Alaska provide endless opportunities to experience all its boundless splendor and wonder in style.
The best way to ensure yours is the best it can be is to work with certified travel professionals such as those at InteleTravel.
Our InteleTravel Advisors will arrange the ideal itinerary according to your unique travel preferences, book the various aspects of your vacation, and provide support along every leg of your journey!
They’ll also utilize their industry knowledge and connections to secure valuable travel deals and bonuses to further enhance your cruise experience.
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