When is the best time to take a cruise?
The cruise season runs from May through September. July and certainly August are the busiest months and the warmest. Early May could still be chilly and September may be very wet depending on weather patterns that year.
What itineraries are available in Alaska?
There are two major cruise routes to pick. The first option is a 7 day round trip from Vancouver. The stops include Juneau, the capital of Alaska, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay National Park and Sitka, which is a former Russian outpost. The other major route is a 7 to 10 day one-way cruise from Vancouver to Seward or in the opposite direction. This one-way route works well if you were headed in that direction to begin with. The latter of the two options is much better if you want to take a land tour of Alaska. It also offers more glaciers and Alaskan scenery.
How can I choose a ship?
There are 30 different ships on 13 different cruise lines to choose. This can be a headache to sort out but there are some differences. The larger cruise lines offer more entertainment in the form of casinos, more nightlife and shows than their smaller competitors do. The smaller ships, around a couple of hundred people, are more centered on nature and exploring the beauty of Alaska. You may miss some of that on the larger ships but the smaller ones will not have the luxuries either. Decide if you want the comforts of a cruise over the cost of missing the beautiful views.
What sorts of shore excursions are there?
There is a lot to do in Alaska including some things you may only find there. You can take a helicopter ride to the glaciers, enjoy the wildlife, fishing the world renown salmon and halibut, pan for gold in the icy rivers or experience some Russian culture.
When should I book and how expensive is it?
Cruises are booking up consistently. If you are serious about going you should call today. The sooner the better and it may even be cheaper if you do not wait until the last minute. Cruises are much cheaper than traveling on your own where accommodations, travel, food and other items are not included. A cruise comes out to around $ 150 a day and in some cases less. It is hard to beat that once you add up a hotel and 3 meals a day plus other expenses.
Is there anything to do while on the ship?
Cruises offer many different activities. The newer cruises even offer ice skating rinks and climbing walls. Most offer spas, pools, workout gyms, daily entertainment shows, casinos and a place to practice your golf swing and even shoot some hoops. There is so much to do that you may not even have time to explore everything.
Can I take my family on a cruise with me?
A quarter of all cruises are filled with families with children. There is typically a discount for children and the cruise offers a lot for them to do too.
What should I pack?
A cruise is not that much different from any other vacation. There are some exceptions including at night during formal dinner it is appropriate to wear a suit or dress. Dress causally during the day and on excursions.
How does tipping work on the cruise?
Each cruise is different but if the tip is separate, it is customary to leave a few dollars a day per person for both the waiter and your room steward.