6 Things to Know Before Booking Your Alaska Cruise

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

6 Things to Know Before Booking Your Alaska Cruise

Alaska is an intriguing, culturally diverse destination with thousands of miles of scenic coastline that make it a natural draw for cruise ships. Each of the ports offers a different perspective on life in the most northerly U.S. state. Ketchikan is a center for several Alaska Native cultures, Skagway is Gold Rush-era oriented, Petersburg reflects its Norwegian heritage, while Sitka touts Russian and Alaska Native ties.

Cruise travelers enjoy the history and the frontier ambience of the 49th state, but its wildlife and scenery are the main attractions. Towering mountains, massive glaciers, tranquil (and sometimes turbulent) waterways, countless acres of rainforest and Arctic tundra are the magnets for cruise passengers. Whales, eagles, bears, moose, seals and seabirds may be seen from your ship, in port or on a shore tour.

Here is what you should know before you go.

  1. Choose Your Dates The most popular sailing dates are from late June through August. The shoulder months of May, early June, September and October offer greater availability and fewer tourists in ports. May and June are traditionally drier than July and August. Daytime temperatures in May, June, and September are in the 50s and 60s. July and August averages are in the 60s and 70s, with occasional days in the 80s.
  2. Consider Your Shore Excursions Early – With everything from dog sledding to hiking, sea kayaking and whale watching on offer, don’t leave the decision-making until you’re on board. Consider booking a higher category cabin which on some sailings, allow you to reserve your excursion before they open to the rest of the passengers. Have a back-up plan in case the weather turns, and if you prefer to get off the beaten track, go for activities with longer hiking times that might deter some travelers.
  3. Choose Your State Room Carefully – Two words: Balcony Room. There’s no better spot to take in glacier views and spot sea lions and otters. While a lower category cabin might makes sense in a different destination, now is the time to go for the balcony. Use an experienced travel consultant who will guide you on your selection of cabin category and location.
  4. Book Ahead – Alaska cruises are in high demand. Book early (12 – 6 months out) for best selection of special offers, sailing dates, cabins and shore excursions.
  5. Consider Adding a Land Tour – A 4-night land tour to Denali National Park is a worthwhile experience to add on to your Alaskan cruise. These are offered through the cruise lines and through independent excursion companies.
  6. Get the Most from Your Alaska Trip with a Travel Consultant – An experienced travel consultant will match you to the best cruise line for you and get you the best value. Many offers that look like a great deal aren’t when you compare the inclusion from one line to another’s. Travel consultants handle all of the details, know which cabins on which ships are best, assist you with shore excursion selections and more. There are a lot of details to be considered on an Alaska cruise and an experienced travel consultant can make a big difference in your experience.

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