Though many independent travelers may find the strictures and experiences of ‘cruise life’ slightly stifling, there are still many reasons to take your much awaited Alaskan cruise; namely, the two ‘Cs’: convenience and comfort. An all-inclusive package, smartly planned itinerary helps you thoroughly explore and come closer to the bountiful delights and allures of Alaska –the right way!
In accordance to the trip chosen by you, you are provided options disembarking for anywhere between four to eight hours for discovering the attractions of a particular port; bopping around town, taking a small hike or an excursion… you may even go in for longer trips inland. If you prefer to stay on board, sit back on your sun kissed deck and stare bald eagles hunting; glaciers calving and humpback whales breaching, these and other small “sightseeing” activities promise to make your trip worthwhile.
The smaller lines offer many more small stops and wildlife excursions; so independent travelers, backpackers and thrifty types are better off booking themselves a ticket on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. While they get to savor the same sights, they do not get the heated pool, casino, hot-tub, all-you-can-eat buffet, B-team comedian, or cruise director. Read on for some simple but effective tips for picking your ship.
Large Cruise Ships
If you are longing for the comforts of a floating, sophisticated and all-inclusive hotel at sea, then you certainly cannot beat the facilities provided by large cruise ship. However, these well maintained and fully equipped resorts on the sea do have their own limitations too. As you will soon be aware, most of the larger cruises slow down/stop only at the major ports of call. They generally trigger off their journey from Vancouver or Seattle and their excursions range from zip line tours to heli-seeing trips, kayaks, guided hikes and day trips to the enthralling precincts of Denali National Park. Most of these cruise liners end up costing $120 a night and fail to include your flight to/from the port of embarkation/disembarkation. Holland America, Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess provide Alaskan cruise options. (Image by Jon Cooper)
Only a meager 3 percent of Alaskan cruisers offer small-ship voyages. Providing better chances of spotting wildlife, more land/kayak excursions, better food, onboard naturalists and a more casual atmosphere; these rides have bumpier seas, tighter quarters, and less entertainment options than those offered by bigger boys. These smaller cruise lines sleep anywhere from 8 to 100 and have a greater likelihood of departing from Alaska. If you are looking for ways to match up authentic experiences with comfort, quality and affordable price tags, then these are the safest bets for you. Adventure Smith Explorations, Adventure Life Voyages, Discovery Voyages, Cruise West, America Safari Cruises, Lindblad Expeditions and the Yukon Queen II rank high on the list of small boat cruises. (Image by Andy2982)
Are you ready for the magic of Alaska?
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Featured image courtesy by lyricaglory