Planning an Alaskan Cruise

Alaskan cruise cr-fodors.com

Alaskan cruise cr-fodors.com

A cruise trip to Alaska can be an exciting adventure. A little planning ahead can save money and ensure a great trip. Big cruise ships are like little cities with dining, swimming, gyms, snack bars and entertainment. Here is some information about the different types of cruises offered to Alaska and their prices and accommodations.

Choosing a Cruise Itinerary

There are two basic routes for an Alaskan cruise, the round trip from Vancouver to Seattle or the north or southbound route between Vancouver or Seattle to Seward or Whittier, Alaska. Most big ships visit the popular ports of Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway. Cruise ship routes vary slightly and may visit different destinations so if there is some place in particular of interest the traveler wants to see, such as the island of Sitka,they should make sure it is included in the ports of call.

Selecting a Cruise Ship and Cabin

There are three types of cruises offered: Contemporary, Premium and Luxury. The cruise ship companies offer something for everyone. Carnival provides entertainment and activities for children. Norwegian is known for their budget prices. Cabin costs within the cruise ship also vary. Most cabins have private baths and twin beds. If most of the time will be spent sightseeing, it is wise to go economy by choosing one of the cheaper cabins on the interior of the ship. For the traveler who intends to spend time in the cabin, one with window instead of a porthole, extra space and a balcony might be worth the extra money.

Cost of an Alaskan Cruise

The cost of a cruise varies depending on how long the trip will be and what kind of accommodations are booked. Cruises can range anywhere from seven to seventeen days or longer. Air fare or the cost of driving to the embankment point of the cruise must be considered. Port entry fees are also the responsibility of the traveler. One important point to remember is the cost of the cruise doesn’t cover everything. The base price usually covers only the cabin and food served in the dining room. Anything extra will either be charged the ship’s customer tab or will have to be paid for out of pocket. With extra expenses considered, most vacationers will find that the actual cost of a cruise vacation will be at least a few hundred dollars more than the basic price.

Once on the cruise, day excursions are extra. Usually the ship offers shore activities that can be signed up for such as city tours and tours of attractions such as wildlife or glacier-viewing excursions. The price of these vary from 35 dollars for a city tour to 200 dollars or more for glacier viewing or wildlife tours. The ship-sponsored tours may be a little more expensive, but they can also be the safer choice as the ship will wait if one of their sponsored tours becomes delayed.

Extra Expenses
  • port fees
    • shore excursions
    • on-board purchases
      such as pop and ice cream
    • off-board food and purchases
    • tips
Popular Cruise Ship Lines to Alaska

Contemporary

    • Carnival
  • Norwegian

Premium

    • Celebrity
  • Holland America
  • Princess

Luxury

    • Crystal
  • Silverseas

It pays to do a lot of looking around and comparing prices before booking a cruise. Prices vary greatly. Sometimes local groups such as church groups have better values than travel agents. Not sure what to take along? See this article for packing suggestions:

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