Alaskan cruises offer a breathtaking experience, both on and off the ship. A lot of people assume that they are stuck on board during the duration of an Alaska cruise because of the climate and terrain. Other people assume that there are only certain times of the year that Alaskan cruises are available. None of this is entirely true. These cruises can offer a memorable experience for anyone. You won’t be stuck on the ship, and you can choose to cruise year round. If you are considering an Alaskan cruise vacation, here are some things to make yourself aware of.
Best Time to Go
Many people assume that summer months are the best months to cruise Alaska. While late June through August is the most popular and the warmest, you can also enjoy cruising as late as September and October, and as early as May. In fact, if you wait until the later months you can get a much better deal. When you go will determine the type of experience you have. May through June will be chilly, but not freezing. You can expect the average temperature to be in the 50s and 60s. If you can handle wearing a sweater or light jacket on deck, you can enjoy watching wildlife on shore and seeing wildflowers everywhere. It’s also drier in the earlier months. July and August will average in the 70s. You may experience some rain and snow as well. The snowfall in the mountains usually starts to happen later in August and can provide for a beautiful backdrop to your experience. You will also have a better chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis during this time. September and October will be cooler, but not unbearable. You should expect the same mild weather you would see in the earlier parts of the year. Another benefit to traveling in August or September is the decrease in the mosquito population.
Off Shore Excursions
Staying on a ship during an Alaskan cruise is going to give you part of the experience of these trips. Going offshore can add to the excitement greatly. Look for trips that take you on river tours of the Yukon, glass domed train cars that will take you through the wild areas, or just enjoy a day exploring on your own. Since Alaskan cruises typically last 7-10 days, they will port for at least a day in the more popular areas. This gives you plenty of time to rent an SUV or RV and go exploring. If you want to explore more offshore, look for cruise packages that offer sightseeing tours for several days in places like Vancouver or Anchorage.
Large or Small Ships
Larger ships will have plenty of advantages. They may offer amenities that you won’t find on other ships. They may offer activities, have several restaurants, bars, and even casinos. The cost is also usually lower since more people can cruise at once. Small ships will offer advantages as well. The smaller ships can get in areas where the massive Alaskan cruise ships can’t. You can see more on shore since the small ship can get closer. You’ll pay more for the smaller ship, but when you consider the extras you have to pay for on the larger ships the gap narrows. Many people also feel that the larger ships take away from the true adventures Alaska can offer.
Alaskan cruises have a reputation for being more expensive than other cruises. And while they typically are, you can use a few tricks to save some money. First, look for deals where a passenger can go with you for free. You can also find tickets where children can cruise for free if you look for family cruises. You can find these if you sign up for discount Alaskan cruise alerts. Also seriously consider going off season. The rates will drop 20-40% if you go in May as opposed to July. Cruise lines will drop the rates as the date of the cruise approaches. If you don’t mind having a limited selection when it comes to the rooms, this can be one way to get a more affordable ticket. Along the same lines, if you watch the prices many cruises will offer to refund the difference if the fares go down after you purchase. You just need to ask. Finding discounts on Alaskan cruises is easier than you may think.