Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

What is the Best Alaska Cruise to Take

Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license
Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license

The best Alaska cruise lasts at least a week, embarks from Seattle or Vancouver and visits at least six major destinations on the way to Anchorage.

The best destinations include Ketchikan, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Juneau, Seward and Whittier.

Other great cruises embark from Victoria in the south or near Anchorage in the north. But these aren’t the only choices. Plenty of cruisers board near Anchorage and travel south to end in Seattle, Vancouver or Victoria.

An Alaska cruise ranks among the most popular cruise options in the world.

An estimated 1 million people visit cruise ports along the Alaskan coast line every year just between May and September.

But is it a good choice for everyone? It depends on their location and what they find most enjoyable about any cruise. There are four reasons to consider choosing Alaska.

Why Should You Take an Alaska Cruise?

1. You live on the west coast of the United States and can take advantage of the convenience and lower cost of leaving from Seattle or Vancouver.

The cruise is cheaper for you than many people because you can drive to the embarkation port or take a brief, inexpensive flight to get there.

2. You live farther away—for example in the eastern half of the U.S. or Canada—and think of Alaska as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This matters because of the higher airline ticket prices to get there plus the hassles of the three-hour time change and the amount of travel time.

3. You value the rugged outdoor beauty and the educational experience that Alaska offers.

The mountains, forests and waters around the cruise ports offer many unique and inspiring experiences. School children and even people of any age will learn about nature, climate, history, the environment and the economy from a variety of perspectives.

4. You have gone on other cruises elsewhere and want to give Alaska a try for a new experience.

Not surprisingly, the experience is quite a bit different than a Caribbean cruise.

What Not to Expect

People don’t go on an Alaskan cruise to spend time at a beach—the few beaches are mainly rocks and crushed seashells. They also don’t go to get a suntan because the weather is often cool, although they can get great sun when the weather goes their way.

We found that shopping is not quite as robust as the massive outdoor malls and tourism districts that are growing in the Caribbean. But the shopping was adequate for our needs.

People who plan carefully, know what to expect and take full advantage of the experience go on an Alaskan cruise and come home again with lifetime memories.

Anecdotally, Alaska cruises tend to attract older people such as retired couples in part because of the lack of beaches and in part because older couples often cruise elsewhere. But families also go on Alaska cruises for the reasons above.

For all of the beauty and unique experiences this trip offers, an Alaska cruise does have one risk over other destinations. It has a higher amount of rainfall during the May to September cruise season than other destinations.

But we found the rewards of an Alaska cruise more than made up for the risk.

Mendenhall Glacier, the White Pass Railroad, Glacier Bay and other experiences were unique in our lifetimes of extensive travel.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.
January 07, 2022