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Cruise Reviews

Alaska


Destination Overview

Contrary to what many people believe, the US state of Alaska is not merely an ice-filled land mass. Yes, Alaska does have an amazing and vast landscape of massive glaciers; however, Alaska (the biggest state in the United States) also features very greenAlaska Cruises and lush areas, rich with wildlife. From bald eagles and bears, to whales and salmon, there is a very wide range of interesting species throughout Alaska.

Among the most popular activities to participate in while in Alaska are scenic tour-guided drives throughout the cities, wilderness and mountains, luxurious train rides (which are especially popular on Alaska Cruisetours), fishing and hanging out at some of the very casual bars and pubs throughout their cities.

The typical cruising season in Alaska is from May to September, as it is generally considered too cold for mainstream tourist business during the rest of the year. Many Alaska cruises sail round trip from Seattle or Vancouver (usually known as an Inside Passage cruise), while there are other cruises that travel one-way (typically between either Seattle or Vancouver and either Whittier or Seward; typically known as a Gulf of Alaska cruise). Such a cruise allows for a farther distance traveled north or south (depending on which direction that particular cruise is going). As far as duration goes, a typical Alaska cruise is a week long; however, there are some cruises offered that are as long as 10- to 14-nights in length.

Cruisetours
Taking a cruisetour is very popular vacation option in Alaska. A cruisetour is a combination of a (typically) 7-Night cruise with a 3- to 5-night land package. An Alaska cruisetour allows you to experience the best of both worlds - you get a wonderful cruise, going through beautiful sites such as the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay, in addition to the opportunity to visit famous areas such as Denali National Park and Mt. McKinley (the highest mountain peak in North America). Often times a cruisetour in Alaska features a luxury rail ride, with glass-domed ceilings and sides...a fantastic feature, offering unforgettable views! Among the most popular cruise lines that offer Alaska Cruisetours are (in no particular order) Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.
Alaska Cruises
Cruise Lines in Alaska
Alaska is one of the most popular cruising destinations in the world. Princess Cruises and Holland America currently feature the most ships in Alaska, each with 8 sailing in Alaska throughout the year. Among the other cruise lines offering Alaska cruises are (in alphabetical order) Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise West, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Silversea Cruises.

Popular Ports of Call
Among the most popular ports of call featured on an Alaska cruise are Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau. Ketchikan is very popular among fishing enthusiasts, in fact, its nickname is the "Salmon Capital of the World." Among the most popular attractions in Ketchikan is the Misty Fjords National Monument, as well as the largest collection of totem poles in the world. Skagway has a rich history in gold mining and is the home of the White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railroad. Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is home to a nice downtown shopping area and the popular Mendenhall Glacier. Also in Juneau is one of the most popular pubs in all of Alaska, the very lively Red Dog Saloon.

Although it's not a cruise port, Anchorage (Alaska's largest city, and home to over 40% of Alaska's population) is a popular Alaskan city among cruisers, particularly among those doing a one-way northbound or southbound Alaska cruise. Typically, when one takes a cruise that uses Whittier or Seward as an embarkation or debarkation port they need to use Anchorage's airport. As such, many cruisers stay a night or two in Anchorage to enjoy that city before or after their cruise.
Mendenhall Glacier
When's the Best Time To Go?
It depends on what your priorities are. If you're a price-driven consumer, then the best time for you to go would usually be in either May or September. This is because those months are considered "off peak," as the weather is typically not as warm as the summer months and children are not off from school (which limits many families from traveling). As a result of these factors, cruise lines typically offer their best Alaska cruise prices during these months. Another plus is that there's a greater chance of the ships being less packed than normal during these less popular times.

As far as temperature goes, the spring and early summer months typically offer the clearest weather in Alaska. The late summer and fall are usually the rainiest times of the year. The summers are usually in the 60s and 70s (Fahrenheit), and the longest days (daylight-wise) are also during the summer. Regardless of when you decide to go, be sure to bring layers!

Popular departure ports for Alaska cruises:
San Francisco (California), Seattle (Washington), Seward (Alaska), Vancouver (British Columbia), Whittier (Alaska)
 

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