Cruising to Alaska
Alaska cruise tips, including the best time to visit AlaskaAlaska covers an area approximately 586,000 square miles in size, and it's by far the largest state in America. It's also home to North America's tallest mountain – the majestic Mt. McKinley, rising an incredible 20,320 feet into the sky. Alaska boasts 34,000 miles of coastline – more than all of the other states combined – and a total of 3 million lakes dot the Last Frontier's wilderness. Alaska's famed Inside Passage is a web of quiet fjords and peaceful islands forested with hemlock and spruce. Shaped by glaciers millions of years ago, it's the traditional home of Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Indians.
The Alaskan cruise season begins in May and ends in September. Not surprisingly, the peak travel period occurs during the warmest part of the year - mid-June through mid-August. Many travelers, however, consider the fall and spring to be Alaska's most beautiful seasons - and these months generally offer more opportunities for big cruise savings.
It's a good idea to plan for four types of weather - warm, cool, cold, and (occasionally) wet. Alaska's vast size, varied topography, and geographical location can result in a wide range of conditions.
During the summer months, high temperatures in the inland town of Fairbanks can reach 80°F. Cruising among the Inside Passage's glaciers generally means cooler temps (with more sea breezes blowing on deck). Further along the coast in Anchorage and Denali, the weather is normally pleasant and sunny but slightly cooler. Average temperatures across the state hover in the mid-60s during peak season and the mid-50s in the spring and fall.
Families who want to experience Alaska's beauty on land can choose from more than 60 organized shore excursions (in three activity levels - easy, moderate, and adventure/considerable). Excursions range from exciting glacial flight-seeing tours and mountain biking expeditions to more leisurely pursuits like nature walks and city tours.
Dressing For An Alaska Cruise
Cruising the Inside Passage and planning to do a little sightseeing on deck? Keep a waterproof windbreaker (or a light jacket) and an umbrella handy - the region is cool year-round and subject to sporadic (but gentle) showers. Rubber-soled shoes are a good idea, too. Touring Alaska's coastal towns? An umbrella may be cumbersome. A raincoat, however, frees up your hands - perfect if you'll be carrying around a camera or a shopping bag filled with souvenirs in a port like Ketchikan, which receives up to 100 inches of rainfall annually. Dressing in layers is the way to go if you'll be exploring the Alaskan wilderness. Pack some short-sleeved shirts (though it's doubtful you'll have much need for a pair of shorts), sweaters, and sturdy, comfortable hiking boots or rubber-soled shoes.
Packing For An Alaska Cruise
The biggest factor to consider is Alaska's weather, of course. But activities at sea and ashore may also require special packing. The following checklist includes some additional suggestions to help you get started - it's by no means comprehensive, but it's a good place to begin.
- Binoculars (one pair per passenger)
- Camera (with extra film and batteries)
- Video Camera
- Hiking Boots
- Thermal Socks
- Heavy jacket
- Light Jacket/Windbreaker
- Sweaters, Sweatshirts & Long-Sleeved Shirts
- Short-Sleeved Shirts
- Long Underwear
- Formalwear (for dining and cocktails)
- Swimsuit (for the swimming pool/whirlpool)
- Exercise Clothes (for the fitness center)
- Comfortable Walking Shoes
- Overnight Bag (for the train)
- Government-Issued Photo I.D. (driver's license/military I.D.)
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship (valid passport/notarized copy of birth certificate with photo I.D. - Canadian ports of call only)
Alaska Land and Cruise Tours
The most popular way to see Alaska, cruise tours combine the best of the sea and land - a top-brand cruise plus a scenic land tour with deluxe hotel accommodations - to create the ultimate Alaskan adventure. Cruising gives you the chance to get close to the region's magnificent glaciers and marine life, and provides passengers with the opportunity to sample a variety of coastal ports. Land tours feature lodging in one or more destinations and take you deep into the heart of Alaska's mountain wilderness and myriad cultures. Select packages include transportation in the famed domed cars of the Alaska Railroad, offering incredible views en route to Denali National Park or Mt. McKinley. Many cruise tours also include premium motorcoach service, plus fully escorted sightseeing tours of city centers, national parks, and museums.
Cruise tours run anywhere from 9 to 21 nights. For the most variety, choose a one-way northbound or southbound cruise, since any pre- or post-cruise hotel stay allows for extended sightseeing in two different cities. When you choose a Northbound Cruise Tour, you'll cruise first and conclude your journey with a land tour. Southbound Cruise Tours are a popular choice with travelers looking to treat themselves to a relaxing voyage at sea after experiencing the excitement of a land tour. You can't go wrong either way.
Amazon.com Gift Card:
Up To $750 To Prepare For Your Vacation *Amazon.com Gift Card: Up To $750 To Prepare For Your Vacation *Get the fun started before you’ve even boarded your cruise! Book a new and qualifying cruise and receive a Amazon Gift Card valued up to $750. Spend it on luggage, flip-flops, sunscreen, bathing suits, or any other Amazon.com merchandise that would make your upcoming vacation that much more special. Your gift card code will be emailed to you approximately 30 days before departure date. Amount of bonus varies & is based on your booking price (found in your invoice as "Total") MINUS taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges*
If you book a cruise that departs soon (within 36 days), your gift card code will be sent to you after you return home. Use your gift card to prepare for your adventure or to enhance your next vacation experience!
Total Price (taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges)Gift Card Value$0 - $1,250$25$1,251 - $2,250$50$2,251 - $3,000$75$3,001 - $3,500$100$3,501 - $4,000$125$4,001 - $4,500$150$4,501 - $5,000$200$5,001 - $7,500$300$7,501 - $10,000$400$10,000+$750
Hurry - Offer Ends Soon!
Up To $750 To Spend Onboard †- Book Online or Call!Onboard Credit: Up To $750 To Spend Onboard † - Book Online or Call!Spend it in your ship's spa, shops, and specialty restaurants or apply it towards shore excursions! Simply book a qualifying voyage, then prior to departure, complete and submit the redemption form found on your invoice, and we'll credit up to $750 to your onboard account, which you can use while you're sailing. Please see our grid below for bonus amounts. Restrictions apply, see terms below for details. Amount of bonus varies & is based on your booking price (found in your invoice as "Total") MINUS taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges †
Total Price (minus taxes, fees, port expenses, & port charges)Onboard Spending$0 - $1,250$25$1,251 - $2,250$50$2,251 - $3,000$75$3,001 - $3,500$100$3,501 - $4,000$125$4,001 - $4,500$150$4,501 - $5,000$200$5,001 - $7,500$300$7,501 - $10,000$400$10,000+$750
Book Online or Call!
Book Now, Pay Later:
We'll Waive Your Deposit- Book Online or Call!Book Now, Pay Later: We'll Waive Your Deposit - Book Online or Call!Put your dream vacation on the calendar now, and pay for it later! When you book select 3+ night sailings, we'll waive the booking deposit for the first 5 staterooms on your reservation.
BOOK NOW - OFFER ENDS FRIDAY!Additional Terms & Conditions
Advanced Deposit offer is valid for new individual cruise reservations for sailings departing by 12/31/20. Offer is limited to sailings of 3 nights or longer booked at least 110 days prior to departure (or 140 days for Disney, 7-night or longer Norwegian sailings, and 15 night or longer MSC sailings); maximum $500 value and not valid on bookings requiring non-refundable deposits. Deposit must be paid 10 days prior to final payment due date; if changes are made benefit will become void and the cruise lines full deposit is required; changes resulting in a new cruise line booking are considered a cancellation, subject to cruise line’s cancellation policy, our $24.99 processing fee, and $100 cancel fee. Credit card used at time of booking will automatically be charged when the deposit remainder is due. Offer limited to 5 deposited cabins max. for 1 sailing. Offer is not applicable for redemption bookings. Additional restrictions apply.
Our Princess Exclusive:
Upgrade Your Alaska Experience with a CruiseTourOur Princess Exclusive: Upgrade Your Alaska Experience with a CruiseTourDiscover the beauty of Alaska with next-level excursions and complimentary cruisetour upgrades! You'll have the unparalleled opportunity to explore more by both land and sea – offering an authentic taste of Alaska like never before. Witness awe-inspiring glaciers, incredible Music of Denali Dinner Theater, and take advantage of an exclusive $50 bonus spend on board. These premier, multi-night cruisetours give you the unique opportunity to experience Alaska and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Search Princess Alaska CruisesAdditional Terms & Conditions
Cruisetour offers and upgrades valid only on new individual and qualifying Princess Alaska Cruise bookings made between 9/20/18 and 8/29/19. Offers may vary. Call for details.
MORE FEATURED ALASKA CRUISES
NORTH OR SOUTHBOUND GULF OF ALASKA CRUISES
Crisp air, the spray of ocean as whales crest the surface, and thundering cliffs – welcome to Alaska. Choose from a huge selection of cruise lines and set out into the great North, where you'll visit settlements and cities, witness herds of wildlife on the shores, and encounter the splendor of Mother Nature every time you step out onto deck. Alaskan Gulf cruises span all the way up into the Anchorage area, and include sailings across the Icy Strait, a visit into Sitka for shopping and hiking, and encounters with the Mendenhall Glacier when you weigh anchor in Juneau.
ROUNDTRIP ALASKA CRUISES
From drifting icebergs to towering pine trees and beyond, an Alaskan getaway through the Inside Passage is a strikingly beautiful voyage. The passage itself is over 1,000 miles along and is famous for its unusually calm waters. Take in the sights of gray wolves, herds of caribou, and grizzly bears. Sail Glacier Bay and snap photographs of tidewater glaciers. Dock in Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau to learn more about the history and culture of this rugged landscape. Visit research stations, parks, hiking trails, shopping centers, and more. With a wide range of cruise lines to choose from, build you dream Alaskan vacation and explore the Great North at your own pace, in your own style.
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About Alaska Cruises
Book an eligible stateroom on any qualifying sailing and receive a free upgrade! In some cases, you'll be upgraded to a more desirable location aboard your ship. In other instances, you'll be upgraded to a stateroom with extra space and/or a better view. It's also possible that you might receive all of these benefits. Select your sailing date to see which upgrades are available.