If you are a first-time cruiser, or simply have never embarked on an Alaska cruise, then you may not know what to expect – from the scenery to the weather!
Here is our helpful guide on what you should know about your cruise, no matter which line you sail with.
Close Encounters with Wildlife
A visit to Alaska is packed full of chances to get close to wildlife, and a cruise is no exception. Alaska cruises will normally travel through the iconic Inside Passage, which will provide your best opportunity to spot Orca and Humpback whales. Seal-spotting from the ship is also quite common. Most cruises involve days entirely at sea, which is the perfect time for you to whip out your binoculars and scour the sea and sky for wildlife! It is worth booking a Balcony Cabin on an Alaska cruise for this reason alone. You will have your own private viewing deck to take in nature’s wonders.
Something you may not know is that Alaska cruises can only take place at certain times of the year. Voyages run from April to October due to the incredibly cold winters. However, you may be surprised by the weather if you cruise between June and August. Don’t let the white-capped mountains confuse you – Alaska isn’t all snow and ice!
Visiting in the summer months means you can experience much milder temperatures with a lot of rainfall. Weather can also change drastically within a day. You could wake up on a foggy and chilly morning which could end gloriously sunny. Pack for all seasons and include layers and raincoats to ensure you are covered no matter the weather.
Incredible Cruise Ships
With a cruise to Alaska being a once in a lifetime experience for many people, it can be tough to choose who to sail with. Different cruise lines offer different onboard and on-shore activities, so you can easily choose the one that fits best for you.
Princess are a great option for all ages. Facilities onboard covering everything from adult-only sun decks to movies under the stars (blankets and popcorn included). Additionally, a partnership with the Discovery Channel results in engaging educational activities that are sure to keep all ages entertained.
If you would prefer a more relaxed affair, Holland America Line offer a more traditional cruising experience. The dining in particular onboard will be sublime. With Alaskan salmon available each night, there is no better ship if you would like to try local produce.
Finally, Celebrity Cruises are renowned for having the best architecture at sea, meaning if you would like to experience a large cruise ship without feeling crowded, this is the voyage for you. Celebrity not only offer fantastic excursions, but bring Alaska on-board to you. Naturalists will provide more information on the Alaskan wilderness and local performers will give you a sample of their culture.
Incredible Shore Excursions
One thing that Alaska cruises are famous for is the incredible excursions that you can book while onboard. Juneau is one of the most popular ports on an Alaska cruise. On offer are a whale-watching tours and a bear viewing area, which allows brown bears to stay protected in their natural habitat.
Ice-fishing for salmon in one of Alaska’s many frozen lakes is also a popular excursion. For those seeking more of an adrenaline rush, our top recommendation is to book a trip on a floatplane over glacier peaks. You can even walk over the top of a glacier for the ultimate thrill! Finally, if given the chance enjoy a stop at Denali National Park. This phenomenal park covers 1.3 million acres of wilderness and is one of Alaska’s most awe-striking natural landscapes.
Shore excursions give you a chance to get off the ship and get right into the heart of Alaska’s savage beauty. With the landscape ever-changing, these opportunities are not to be missed.
One thing that comes as a guarantee on an Alaska cruise is unparalleled views of panoramic scenery. The sun typically rises as early as 3.30am and can set at 10pm. There are plenty of hours in the day for all your photo opportunities – if you head to the very north of Alaska, you can experience close to 24 hours of daylight during the summer solstice! Make sure you wake up early to enjoy the most incredible scenery as you cruise past mountains, glaciers and stretches of wilderness. The Hubbard Glacier in particular is included in most Alaska cruise routes, and is one of the most magnificent natural wonders in the world.
A Cruise for All Ages
Finally, perhaps one of the most surprising things about an Alaska cruise is just how multigenerational the voyages are. Cruising traditionally appeals to a more mature audience but this is where Alaska differs from the crowd. You will always find lots of children and families onboard because Alaska appeals to all ages! A cruise in Alaska is the perfect opportunity for children to learn all about nature and wildlife. With many cruise lines having first class facilities for kids, there has never been a better time to choose this unforgettable trip as your next family getaway.
Has this post left you dreaming of embarking on a life-changing cruise around Alaska? Browse our itineraries here.