Cruising and Touring in Alaska
Alaska – The Great Land
The Largest state of the USA, Alaska is a magnificent destination, with more than half the world’s glaciers to be found there. Since communications are difficult, an Alaskan cruise is an ideal way of getting a taste of this extraordinary region.
While visiting Alaska by land, sea, and air I was most fascinated by the stories of the Gold Rush in the mountains of the Yukon. The historic White Pass and Yukon narrow gauge railway was built to transport prospectors from the port of Skagway to the region. Now a popular tourist attraction with cruise ship companies, passengers can view glacier-covered peaks, waterfalls and alpine lakes. Various other fascinating tours are available while cruising in Alaska: sea plane rides, helicopter ride, sledging, and many more activities. All the scenery is wonderful.
Alaskan Port Tours and Tours of the interior of Alaska
Most cruises take the Inside Passage Route from Vancouver or Seattle and they are normally one week’s duration. Some itineraries may be longer and take you further up the coast to Seward, near Anchorage, from where you can fly in and out. Excellent rail and tour options are available to take passengers into the interior of the country, towards Fairbanks. I can assist with what to do and see at all Alaskan ports, just contact me. If you think you would prefer a stand alone tour rather than a cruise that can easily be arranged as well.
Which Cruise Line should I consider travelling with?
You might read all the brochures, guides and websites and still not grasp what cruising is all about, especially for first time cruisers. Nothing replaces personal experience and knowing what the publicity material is actually saying! For instance, ‘luxury’ is a very misleading term as many describe every cruise as luxurious, which is not exactly true.
Things to consider: size and type of accommodation; itinerary; entertainment; choice of restaurants; size of ship; facilities and activities for solo travellers; family facilities – the list is endless. Sometimes the answers are not obvious. For instance, several dining options on a ship might be limited as to what is included in the price and you may find some restaurants are surcharged.
The newer giant ships might not be appealing to some, but they usually have larger cabins, more space and better facilities. Older, smaller ships might be more intimate but some have smaller cabins and older air-conditioning systems. Questions on dressing-up for dinner, all-inclusive drinks, and shore excursions are all things to consider when choosing your cruise.
Ultra Luxury Cruising in Alaska
If you are looking for a special cruise experience, the Regent Seven Seas relaxed style of ultra-luxury cruising may be for you. There are no hidden costs on board – all inclusive pricing covers drinks, entertainment and gratuities. There are no supplements for any of the dining options, of which you have three choices (including a more casual option). I am particularly familiar with the Regent brand as I have travelled several times with them as a guest so please give me a call for advice. Regent is also offering selected free shore excursions (which includes many of the more expensive ones at reduced rates) on all cruises, which particularly makes them an attractive choice in Alaska for obvious reasons.
Silversea also operate in the area and are well known for their elegant, spacious and luxurious ships offering a six star service on an all-inclusive basis. Most of their ocean view suites have a private teak veranda. I am also familiar with this line so please give me a call to discuss differences and options open to you.
Specialist Cruise Operators
There are a few specialist operators who run very small ships in Alaska – where you get really close to nature, the wildlife and the glaciers – standards are still high on these more specialised ships – the number of guests are normally around 100 plus and the dress code is casual. Please ask me for further details.
Which Itinerary in Alaska should I choose?
This can depend on the cruise line you travel with and how long you want to cruise and what else, if anything, you are considering doing in your itinerary. Some Lines cruise Vancouver back to Vancouver for 7 nights which is normally adequate for the first time UK cruiser. However if you wish to see the very north coast above Skagway you can travel one way to Seward serving Anchorage. This is particularly suitable for clients who wish to take a mini tour of the interior of Alaska after their cruise; normally you need to allow a minimum of 5 days or longer for this. However the flight from Anchorage back to Vancouver or vice versa can add an extra £200 plus to your bill which is not insignificant if there are four of you.
Ports of Call available in Alaska
Ports of Call and places of interest in Alaska include: Glacier Bay, Haines, Inside Passage, Juneau, Ketchikan, Misty Fords, Sawyer Glacier, Sitka, Skagway, Valdez and of course Vancouver, Victoria (Vancouver Island) and Seattle. For further information on these destinations please don’t hesitate to contact me.