Alaska isn’t like a Caribbean destination at all. In fact, booking an Alaska trip has a lot more moving parts and could be compared to a European trip. Though the miles to Alaska aren’t quite as far, the planning is just as involved.
Here are seven things to know about planning your Alaska cruise:
Cruise Off-Months to Save
The peak of the Alaska season is the mid-summer. If you want to save a few dollars, consider booking in late April or early May on the front end and late August or early September on the back end of the season (one great tour to check out is our “Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Rafting from Skagway” tour, which is available in both May and September).
Don’t Skimp on Anything
Allow plenty of room for things to do in Alaska. Alaska is one of those destinations where you want to go big. It’s on a lot of folks’ bucket lists, and they save a lot to enjoy everything. Take in the seafood, sights and everything else there is to do in the last frontier. Alaska cruises offer a lot of on-board like naturalists and lecturers, so take advantage of all activities the cruise line offers. Knowledge is power.
Book with Third-Party Excursion Companies
We know that sometimes the cruise line excursions are pricey; we also know that if we don’t use them, we might be left in port. The cruise lines seem to have us backed into a corner – but that may not be the case. Shore Excursions Group offers affordable Alaska tours with a worry-free guarantee.
Book a Balcony
Embarking on an Alaskan cruise without booking a balcony is like going to your car without your keys. The vessel is beautiful, but without booking a balcony or a ocean view at the very least, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. The views, wildlife and intimate accounts of nature that can be seen from the privacy of your own stateroom are unbelievable.
Do a Pre-Cruise Stay
Stay overnight in your port city, especially if you’re coming from the East Coast. Anytime I fly to the West Coast, I always allow myself one extra pre-cruise night for a couple of reasons. The first reason to spend a pre-cruise night in your embarkation port is things happen, and flights do get delayed. The last thing you want is to arrive in Seattle or Vancouver when your cruise ship is already northbound to Alaska. The second reason is just for the sight of checking out the city. It doesn’t make sense to fly into say, Seattle, and just go to the cruise port. There are so many landmarks and sights there (such as the Saxman Native Village, totems and more on Ketchikan tours), that it’s really worthwhile to build it into your vacation.
Get Travel Insurance
Personally, I am a heavy advocate of travel insurance. Anything can happen. I booked my Alaska cruise at the end of March and paid $800 for my airfare. On April 5, I fractured my ankle. You want to outline your health insurance coverage before you leave. The small price of travel insurance can save you if things go wrong.
Study the Weather
Alaska is known for rain, but it shouldn’t limit your vacation. Look at the best time of year to travel to Alaska, and study the climate charts. When I sailed in Alaska in both early June and late August, I still needed a sweatshirt in almost every port.
When it comes to booking your Alaska cruise, make sure you use a travel adviser who knows the ins and outs of Alaska. It’s a very exciting destination, but you will want to make sure you have all your bases covered when investing so much in a vacation.