The very mention of Alaska conjures up awe-inspiring glaciers in pristine blue seas, breeching whales and otters, kayaking and underwater exploration in submarines, and a really cool atmosphere. This is the driving force for a hundred thousand people to go to Alaska every year. Over a hundred popular cruise lines provide all kind of vacation packages to cruisers from all over the world. The best months for taking a cruise in Alaska are the summer months of May to September. The period between June and July is particularly packed due to the length of the day, making more exploration possible.
An Alaskan cruise vacation can refer to the cruise itself or the cruise tour package. Broadly divided, there are two kinds of Alaskan cruises – those that go around the Inside Passage and those which go one-way along the Gulf, popularly known as Alaska Glacier Cruises. The roundtrip cruises sail from Seattle or Vancouver and stop at Alaskan and Canadian ports like Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Glacier Bay National Park, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, and Haines. Those that follow glacier paths begin from Vancouver and end at Seward or Whittier for northbound cruises, and reverse for southbound cruises. Cruise tours offer motor coaching from Vancouver, Seward, or Whittier up to Anchorage, from where people can continue exploring Alaska on land. Cruise passengers are lodged at luxurious hotels at Denali, Kenai Peninsula, or Fairbanks.
Generally, Alaskan cruise vacations are at least a week long. Cruise tours, which continue with land exploration, may go up to eighteen days. There are also short weekend cruise vacations or five-day cruise vacations. Major cruise lines that offer packages on Alaskan cruise vacations are the Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, Silversea, Radisson, Holland America, Norwegian, and Carnival. Lindblad and American Safari cruise lines specialize in cruise vacations for small groups, mostly on chartered yachts.
Smaller cruise lines like Clipper and Cruise West make adventure cruising possible for their passengers. Big ships cannot navigate most of the coves of the Alaskan shore line. Hence, adventure seekers prefer smaller ships for better navigability. Small ship cruises also make many water sports possible for cruisers, along with a catamaran cruise. Apart from that, there are onshore activities like a helicopter flying session, mountain biking, and hiking.