While it's far too easy to spend a large amount of money on an Alaskan cruise, you certainly do not need to do so. I personally use a few simple strategies to turn up some great Alaska cruise deals. With a little research, flexibility, and determination, it's possible to find discounts and specials on an Alaska cruise that will be a wonderfully memorable experience for years to come.
The time of year when you choose to head to Alaska can have a huge impact on its cost. If at all possible, be flexible! As with any tourist destination, the best discounts are found on departures during the non-peak, shoulder seasons. To find the best Alaska cruise deals, stay away from the peak months of June, July and August, and instead look for departures in May, September and October. The days will be a little shorter, and it's bound to be colder, but an Alaskan cruise is beautiful year round.
The type of cabin you choose is another area where you can easily shave a large amount off the potential cost of an Alaskan cruise. For example, it costs quite a bit more to have an outside cabin, and an outside cabin with a balcony is even more expensive. In my experience, most cruisers to Alaska find that they do not really spend that much time in their rooms. Part of the fun of a cruise is being able to meet the other guests, and the views of the glorious Alaskan coast from the deck or the bar can not be beat!
The type of ship you select can also have a big impact on your budget. There are basically three types you can consider. First, all of the major Alaska cruise lines have very large ships, and can often have some very attractive promotions to fill them. As you might expect, they have a strong incentive to make sure they're not leaving port with empty cabins. The downside, of course, is that because their ships are so big, it can be hard to get in close to the glaciers and other wildlife that you're looking to see.
Two other types of ships offer a more intimate experience, but for vastly different budgets. Priced towards the higher end, a few boutique cruise lines specialize in small ship adventures that bring you much closer to the scenery. A final, super cheap option is to take one of the ferries that head up and down the Alaskan coast. You might be rolling out your sleeping bag on the deck, but you'll also be saving a ton of money!
By far one of the best strategies is to take advantage of the experience of others cruisers. There are a number of forums where up to date information can be found on the latest specials and bargains in the Alaskan cruise market. You'll be amazed how much information your fellow cruisers will know, how happy they'll be to share it with you, and how quick they are to respond. I've listed a few of my favorites Alaska cruise forums at my blog, which you can access below.
In conclusion, there are a few easy guidelines you can follow to help find great Alaska cruise deals. With these tips, you can make sure your Alaska cruise is an experience of a lifetime, and does not bust your budget!