Now is a Great Time to Book an Alaskan Cruise
Last updated 8/21/2014 at 9:21pm | View PDF
Pristine views, native traditions, unique wildlife; there is so much to see and do with a visit to Alaska. And while on a cruise, vacationers can pick and choose just how much they want to do, or how much they just want to relax.
May through September is cruise time to the 49th state, when the weather and water is best for travel. There are a wide variety of cruise lines and options from which to choose, and travelers should spend some time researching for what is best for their needs and what they want out of the trip.
And while there generally are no "senior discounts" available, now it is quite affordable to take an Alaskan adventure. Plan on a seven or 10 day cruise, or even longer. Cruises leave from ports in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver.
Each cruise generally has a southern-central Alaskan destination port such as Seward or Whittier, where travelers may choose to spend a few days, exploring the local towns, habitat and lifestyle.
Cruises travel each way, so there is a choice to cruise up or down, or both. Some may wish to try a sea/land package, where the tour continues on land by rail or bus returning to the departing city.
Consulting a travel agent is a good idea, as they have a lot of experience working with cruise lines and can arrange the most desirable package for an individual, couple or family.
"We tailor the client to the right ship," said Christine Rowan, manager of Altour-Lewis Travel in Visalia. "It's like hotels, every hotel is different."
Some are more likely to enjoy a casual experience. Others would prefer to "dress" for dinner. Different itineraries and cruise lines offer different experiences.
It is important to take into consideration just what someone wants to see. Some trips show off more spectacular glaciers and wildlife, right from the ship, while others may offer more land excursions.
Alaskan cruises are a great vacation for grandparents to travel with their grandchildren or entire families, Rowan said.
Booking can be done as early as 18 months ahead of a cruise, and good deals can be made if booked early. However, for those who are more flexible and want to consider a last minute booking, great deals can be had, according to Yeti Ortiz, a consultant with Pro Travel in Hanford.
"We get new specials all of the time," she said.
Prime travel time to Alaska is June through August, but there may be better deals for those who are willing to travel in May or September.
"I've gone in September, and we had the most beautiful weather," Ortiz said.
If an Alaskan cruise has been the wish list for some time, or is a spur-of-the-moment idea, this may just be a great year to go. With the competition for tourists up and the price of cruising down, it would be wise to check it out.