Ah, the lure of Alaskan Cruises. You can experience the wild North! We are here to tell you why you don’t need to see Alaska from the confines of a cruise ship.
Top Reasons to Plan Your Own Alaskan Trip
1. YOU can plan your own trip
The price of an Alaskan cruise is often steep. At $500-2,500 per person, based on double occupancy, you will be spending a minimum of $1,000-$5,000 per person for an interior room. If you are a fancy traveler or a solo traveler – be prepared to spend even more. On top of those fares, you will need to purchase a round-trip flight per person out of either Vancouver, Seattle or San Francisco which are the ship launching sites. Don’t forget all the costs of excursions and drinks, with up to 15% gratuity as well.
A portion of your vacation will be spent at sea. This is great if you enjoy socializing or want to take part in the onboard entertainment. However, this takes away from the actual time you will spend in Alaska. Most of the time you only get to spend the better part of a day in each location before moving on. Keep in mind that meals and events will also be run on schedules.
4. Experience the Culture
With only a few days spent docked, there will be little time to immerse yourself in the Alaskan culture. You might get to take part in one excursion per docking. This may give you a brief feel of Alaska, but it will definitely not be life changing.
For your Alaskan trip, plan to fly out of Vancouver or Seattle. Be sure to book the flight far enough in advance, and it will only cost you $300-560 per person to Juneau, AK or Anchorage, AK. A last-minute flight can cost up to $900. Flights are only 2.5 hours in length to Juneau or 5.5 hours to Anchorage. If you are traveling as a group, see if you can share bedrooms or get group discounts at hotels by shopping around. There are a few hotels away from the downtown cruise docking area that are only $110/night.
Meals On Your Own
Meals will be out-of-pocket, but if you are paying for your own meals you will most likely be watching what you spend and eat. This will give the added benefit of watching both your bank account and your figure while you travel. There are local grocery stores and shops where you can grab snacks.
When you are traveling on your own, you will have a flexible schedule. This means you won’t have to rush and you can enjoy your experience. It means there will be time for exploring that National Park and taking a long hike. It also means you can do multiple excursions such as zip lining, taking the tram to the lookout point, shopping, or taking a ride in a float plane.
Book A Hotel
Staying in a hotel will guarantee a better night’s sleep. You won’t have to worry about any motion sickness. Some people can be especially sensitive to motion, despite the large ship. A hotel room will have plenty of room to spread out and breathe, compared to the cramped ship rooms.
For transportation, there are multiple options. Everything is spread out, so your options are to rent a car or to use the cab/taxi system. I would recommend using the cab/taxi system. The fares are reasonable and the drivers are all locals who depend on travel and tourism for their incomes and to support their families.
Best Time of Year to Travel
For the last Thirsty Tourist recommendation, make sure you plan that Alaska vacation for the SUMMER months between May-September. Summer in Alaska is closer to Spring and Fall conditions in the rest of Canada. Flights to Alaska do run year round, but the weather will be quite frigid the rest of the year.
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