Cruise to Alaska: Strike Gold With These Alaskan Cruise Reviews & Guide

Get the best trip with these Alaskan cruise reviews and guide

Posted 09.14.2009 in Articles by Angela

Before venturing out to the wild frontier of Alaskan glaciers and snow, make sure you're prepared. What type of cruise is best for you? When is the best time to go? Which cruise line is the best? How will you face the weather and the mountains during your trek to see unmatched natural beauty? We've drawn on the experience and knowledge of previous travelers to put together a guide for your smoothest and most comfortable journey to the icy north. 

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The views on an Alaskan cruise are gorgeous. However, sometimes the weather is not. To combat chilly days and rain, passengers should dress in layers, at least one of which should be waterproof. Additionally, much of the Alaskan frontier is rugged, so packing waterproof hiking footwear is a necessity. Sunburns can happen on a cruise to Alaska, making sunscreen a must have item. Summer is the high season for an Alaskan cruise, but it is also the high season for insects. Bug repellant will make shore excursions much more comfortable. A digital camera with an extra SD card makes it possible to capture all of the memories, while compact binoculars have the power to bring distant wildlife and vistas up close.

It’s only possible to cruise to Alaska from May through September each year. Outside of that time frame, the weather is simply too harsh and unpredictable to make for reliable vacationing. Travelers on a budget should consider sailing in May or September, as these shoulder months typically feature chancier weather and lower fares. In June through August, days are longer and temperatures can get quite warm. However, insects are also at their heaviest. Many Alaskan cruise reviews suggest that people journey to this remote location with the hope of spotting the Aurora Borealis. A September cruise is generally the best bet for spotting this spectacular light display in the sky. Many people also come to Alaska with the hope of spotting magnificent bear, moose, elk and other wildlife. The good news is that summer offers excellent opportunities for witnessing all of these creatures in their natural habitat. A cruise to Alaska offers the perfect chance for wildlife photography.

When it comes to choosing a cruise line, Alaskan cruise reviews suggest that there is a little something for everyone. Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival are mainstream lines that provide plenty of entertainment options and visit all of the major ports, while offering affordable rates. Each of these lines creates a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere that younger cruisers in particular seem to favor. For a slightly more upscale adventure, some passengers choose Celebrity, Princess or Regent Seven Seas. These cruise lines may charge a bit more, but they also typically provide outstanding service and more elegant amenities. A slightly more formal atmosphere appeals particularly to older cruisers. 

On the Royal Caribbean line, Alaskan cruise reviews suggest that the Rhapsody of the Seas and the Radiance of the Seas provide some of the best amenities and itineraries. The Norwegian Pearl and the Golden Princess are also lauded for offering great style and substance along with excellent personalized service. The Celebrity Infinity has routinely earned rave reviews for its gourmet meal service, spacious cabins and onboard amenities.

For most people who embark on an Alaskan cruise, it is the shore excursions that are the highlight of the voyage. Skagway is a perennially popular stop, where most passengers ride the White Pass & Yukon Railway much like the prospectors of the gold rush would have done. Most people also make the time to stop at the historic Red Onion Saloon and Brothel Museum. At Ketchikan, the highlights include a rousing lumberjack show and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Mendenhall Glacier beckons to most cruisers in Juneau, while stops in Anchorage frequently emphasize the exciting Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

No matter which excursions are chosen, any cruise to Alaska will present ample means to explore the rugged countryside, view wildlife and sample local delicacies like smoked salmon. With Native American culture and breathtaking landscapes to behold, Alaska is a treasure for all who visit. 

Image (CC) Just B Cuz

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