I am thinking of going on a cruise to Alaska between june and august of this year, and I was wondering if anyone has a favourite cruise line or port cities/towns to check out? What activities and must-sees are there? Is dog-sledding really worth the high costs, and are there cheap excursions to be found? Really, anything and everything you've got to say on the subject!
I think you'll need to go just a little earlier in the year for dog sledding!
A good place to start an Alaskan cruise is from Seattle, Wa. During the summer months, there are several cruises to choose from.
I haven't personally taken any of the cruises, but have friends and family who have, and they like Princess cruise line the best....
yap. Seattle, Wa. Sapphire Pricess cruise - 8days
In Alaska spend a day fly fishing (or boat fishing if you prefer and don't know how to use fly gear, or don't want to learn). They'll have trips on the cruise where they pick you up on the dock, take you out via seaplane and even the most inept beginner will catch and release some fish. Definitely an experience as you'll see a ton of wildlife, get into the wilderness a bit and still be in a comfortable place.
One of the nature tours - maybe a kayaking one is a good thing to do.
Helicopter tours of the glaciers were pretty amazing (think that was in Juno).
I haven't tried many cruises, but the average age on even the young people boats in Alaska is probably mid 50s. That shouldn't stop you from having a great time - but don't expect non-stop partying. I believe that Celebrity and Carnival are the cheapest and most young people friendly.
As to cheap excursions - you won't find them onboard any cruise ship. Call ahead and make your own plans, or book them when you get there. There are downsides either way - you don't have a lot of time in any ports - and most of the excursions coordinated by the cruise line maximize that time by having you picked up as soon as you reach dock, so losing an hour or two can really effect how much time you have/can enjoy an excursion. So a four hour trip might have to be done in 2 if you wait and book it when you get there.
Doing it online or by phone, may save you some money and time, but no assurances that you'll get the best option/price. Hopefully though you can get a list of excursions from the cruise line ahead of time with prices and you can try to make your decisions based on that.
I definitely felt they overcharged, but they made sure the tours were all good ones.
and I don't think you'll see dog sledding at that time.
all the best,
Everything in Alaska is very expensive, for obvious reasons. If I could do it again I would have taken the plane ride that takes you near Denali (Mount McKinley). The cruise ships all end up in Steward I believe, unless you only go as far as Juneau which I would not recommend. Denali is a good day and a half drive from Seward so you need to check on how to get there.
Vancouver also is a great place to take an Alaskan cruise. I found a lot of the excursion are a bit pricey but they were all great one. In Skagway you can take the tram and see somebody scenery. In Juneau you can just walk through town and sample Alaska king crab or take a trolley tour. In Ketchikan we went in go carts down some of the trails and then went a small tour on water- fantastic.
One thing I was disappointed in was the inability to buy king crab from some local in a truck by the side of the road fairly cheap. Here in Maryland people are all over the place selling blue crabs that way. I kind of figured it was the same in Alaska. But no, I learned quickly that most all of the king crab ends up in Seattle for distribution nation wide. The only crab I could find was in the Safeway for the same $11 a pound I pay down here.
Another thing I notice was during the long summer days you lose all track of time. Without a sunset to gauge things you find yourself cooking dinner at 10:00. Of course I spent the entire vacation tired as a result. Oh yeah, fireworks on the 4th of July are worthless.
Hi, We have booked a Dog Sledding trip for August, 2011 with Alpine Air Alaska and they take you up to the top of the mountain for the snow and dog sledding. Let's hope it works out ok. There is 4 of us going. It is very expensive.