Discover icy fjords, snow-capped mountains and an abundance of wildlife, when you cruise to Alaska. Miles of incredible coastline rises above marine habitats, with diverse ports highlighting the heritage of the USA’s most northerly state. On Alaska cruises, what’s often known as the country’s last frontier is comfortably explored from your glamourous, floating hotel.
Running from late April to September, the Alaska cruise season offers a fairly broad choice of vacation dates. The warmest months are June, July and August, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. However, they’re also the most crowded in ports, often prone to rain and you can expect to pay high-season fares. May is one of the driest months and cruise fares tend to be cheaper, with less people to contend with on deck. September gives you the opportunity to see the incredible Northern Lights, however if you get seasick, keep in mind that choppy seas often characterize the Gulf of Alaska at this time.
No matter when you choose to embark on an Alaska cruise, the weather can be unpredictable. Temperatures constantly change, depending on whether you’re in port or cruising by chilly fjords. It’s a unique trip, in that you’ll need both a bathing suit and a winter jacket. Prepare to dress in layers, so you can adjust your clothing according to the weather.
The most popular itineraries sail from Vancouver, Seattle, or Whittier, cruising over seven nights through the sheltered Inside Passage and the Gulf of Alaska. Other options include round-trip vacations from San Francisco and Los Angeles, and extended 10 to 15 night cruise and land packages. With charming coastal towns, calm waters, Glacier Bay National Park and towering forests, the Inside Passage offers the quintessential Alaska cruise experience. Your view from the deck is always changing, with whales, sea lions and seals on a backdrop of incredible natural wonders.
Port and shore excursions include Alaska’s capital, Juneau, where Joe Juneau and Dick Harris Discovered gold in 1880. Visit the historic Red Dog Saloon, discover abandoned mines and trek over the Juneau Ice Field. Another port, Skagway, is a history-lover’s dream, with buildings preserved from the Gold Rush era. Go dog sledding and ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Then, there’s Victoria, a city wrapped in nature with the English charm of horse-drawn carriages and stately mansions.
Choosing a ship to suit you is easy, with options for everyone. Princess Cruises offer luxurious adult-only areas, with Broadway-style productions, dancing under the midnight sun and children’s entertainment in partnership with Discovery Communications, for every age group. It’s a family-friendly favorite and well-known for a casual, yet traditional vibe.
The Norwegian Pearl caters for everyone, however it’s an especially good choice if you’re after sports and nightlife onboard. With a bowling alley, rock climbing, 16 dining options, 15 bars, a casino and award-winning shows, you’ll have a hard time getting it all done in just one cruise. Holland America’s MS Westerdam is newly enhanced, elegant and perfect for cultural enrichment. You’ll enjoy cooking demonstrations, digital workshops, destination lectures, a library, gourmet dining options and ample space for tranquil relaxation at sea. Lastly, and for a splash of 5-star luxury, Scenic’s fleet are renowned for attention to detail. Large balcony suites featuring Egyptian cotton sheets, bathrobes and your own personal butler service is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, to enjoy your Alaska cruise in superior style.