Alaska Vacation Cruises

Written by Anmy Leuthold
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More than 30 ships from 13 Alaska vacation cruises take place in Alaska's waters. The ships range from smaller, nature-oriented ships with fewer than 200 passengers, the medium size (800 to 1500 passengers) cruises , to the mega-size (2000 and more) cruises. The smaller ships focus more on cultural and nature activities. However, the small ships can't provide the resort-like facilities of the larger ships such as casinos, nightclubs, spas, and shops. The medium size and mega-ships are floating resorts with an abundance of organized activities and entertainment facilities. As a result, you should select your ship based on what type of cruise experience you want.

Many cruises ply the Alaskan waters going south or north between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage), with passengers flying into one city and out of another. Ships cruise somewhat close to the coastline for full views of dramatic fjords and mountains, glaciers, and rainforests. An added bonus for those passengers concerned about rough seas, is that most ships travel in sheltered waters for practically the entire trip. Some new trends are longer round-trip itineraries out of San Francisco and back, and the addition of 7-day round-trip cruises from Seattle and Vancouver.

Alaska Vacation Cruises for Fun and Adventure

The focal point of Alaska vacation cruises is as much on onboard activities, as it is on the cruise shore excursions. Denali National Park is the major attraction In Alaska. The cruise lines offer various optional land packages that include stays in lodges there or near Mount McKinley, bicycle down the side of a 10,000 foot volcano, and animal watching treks into the wilderness. You can also Ride a raft over river rapids, fish for king salmon in Ketchikan, learn about wildlife through talks by naturalists, pan for gold in an ice cold creek outside of Skagway, and more. Some lines do allow you to pre-book the more popular excursions, but most excursions are booked on the ship.

Alaska's cruise season runs from May to September, but the most popular months are July and August. September is great for the fall foliage, but the weather might be capricious and May is best for wildflowers. In any case, you can relax on the boat, and mix adventure activities, such as kayaking and natural history walks. In short, cruise vacations are the easiest way to do all the things you have ever dreamed of, while seeing new places. Cruising is the perfect way to sample a number of destinations, and you never have to pack and unpack, because the destinations and adventures come to you.

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