Ps. I hope you’ve read our experience through Vancouver here.
Whether you are interested in seeing glaciers and visiting The Glacier Bay National Park or checking out the Alaskan way of life and visiting old gold rush towns, there is an Alaskan cruise that can help you do just what you want. Cruises to Alaska are usually available from May through September each year. According to Alaska.org, there are around 15 cruise lines that offer Alaskan cruises. So one must do some very thorough research before booking their since this is no cheap affair!
How to choose the ideal cruise liner for you?
Step 1 : The first thing to do is decide what the start and ending destinations of your trip are going to be.
Step 2 : Fix your dates and budgets. These experiences usually range between 6 – 10 nights and it’s important to realise the time on your hands and the amount you’re willing to spend (more days also means more money).
Note : Going through the first two steps will eliminate half of your options and make your decision making easier. Usually, other than citizens of North America, most people take a trip though the Canadian Rockies and then head for a relaxing week on the cruise.
Step 3 : Determine the type of cruise ship atmosphere you prefer, as it can vary between cruise lines. For example, AlaskaCruises.com lists the Alaskan cruises by Norwegian Cruise Lines to have a casual atmosphere, while the Regent Seven Seas have a luxury atmosphere, with Holland America Line Alaskan cruises having a premium feel in between the two.
Note : If you’re confused about which cruise liner to choose or what packages to take, you can check out this really helpful TripAdvisor Article!
We had been on the Holland America Cruises, aboard the ‘Nieuw Amsterdam’. It was humongous, like a floating island, with almost 11 floors and over approximately 2100 people. The ship has multiple restaurants, some common and some, where a reservation and a formal attire is necessary. For more info on this cruise click here.
Pro Tip 1. Carry a suit or a blazer and appropriate footwear (especially for tourists) for an evening called ‘The Captain’s Dinner’ and for entry into some exclusive restaurants (I wish someone would’ve told me that).
Pro Tip 2. It is always preferred to take a balcony room. It is pricier, but it gives you a great view of the glaciers in The Glacier Bay National Park or when you’re simply spending time in your room (which isn’t a bad idea when the tides get rough and a lot of activities are put on a pause and in-room dining is unlimited).
We made the following stops in our journey :
Skagway, Alaska, US
The Municipality and Borough of Skagway is a first-class borough in Alaska on the Alaska Panhandle. The population in this town is close to 1000 people which doubles in the summer tourist season in order to deal with more than 1,000,000 visitors each year.
The port of Skagway is a popular stop for cruise ships, and the tourist trade is a big part of the business of Skagway. The White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railroad, part of the area’s mining past, is now in operation purely for the tourist trade and runs throughout the summer months.
Fun Fact : This town totally reminds me of a typical town in a Texas as shown in various Hollywood movies of the 70s and 80s.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Glacier Bay was pretentious for the way it flaunts its ice. The glaciers practically terminate in your lap. A cruise to Glacier Bay National Park with Holland America Line will show you a UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects a unique ecosystem of plants and animals living in concert with an ever-changing glacial landscape.
When a monumental chunk of ice splits off a glacier and thunders into the sea the impact shoots water hundreds of feet into the air (We could only manage to see small chunks, but it was glorious). You hold your breath as you catch the moment on film. Then you wait for it all to happen again. And it does!
Glacier Bay has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than any other place in the world.
Ps. Within the ship, people park and reserve seats hours before they get to this view. The deck and the viewing area are super crowded and the temperature in is negative and one would have to stand in freezing cold to get a good view. Hence a room with a balcony is a good decision to make. It is more expensive, but definitely money well spent.
Juneau, Alaska, US
No roads lead to Juneau, which gives the Alaskan capital a misty inscrutability. You need to come by air or water, but when you arrive, the place will delight you with its bounty of water, forests, and mountains. Squeezed between the Gastineau Channel and Coast Mountains, Juneau offers a lot of variety in close proximity. The massive Mendenhall Glacier and the immense Juneau Icefields are at its back door. The vast Tongass National Forest stretches away to the northeast. You can shop downtown or get out and kayak, dogsled, raft, hike, whale watch, flightsee or fish. The adventures are as bountiful as the daylight.
The seaplane ride here is a must do, thanks to the glaciers that surround this place!
Ketchikan, Alaska, US
Ketchikan clutches the shores of the Tongass Narrows, with many shops and houses built right out over the water. The stairways are weathered and the vibe is cheerful in the town that calls itself the Salmon Capital of the World. Besides the main attractions — Creek Street, the Tongass Historical Museum, Totem Bight State Park and Saxman Village — try a flightseeing trip to Misty Fjords National Monument. These deepwater fjords were gouged out by retreating glaciers, leaving granite cliffs towering thousands of feet above the sea and countless waterfalls plunging into placid waters.
Something to do in Ketchikan, other than walk around the city is to go on a ZipTrek. This park has about 7 lines, and goes right above the jungle, at an average height of around 70 feet. If you look down, it is very common to spot a bear or even a family of bears, unless the weather reaches an extreme or it starts to rain.
I really really hope y’all liked this entire series of The Canadian Rockies. Stay tuned for more of such experiences. Until next time!