Cruising is a wonderfully relaxing way to travel. You get to visit multiple places at once and you barely have to lift a finger the entire trip. Your bed is made, your dishes are cleaned, and the sights literally come to you!
The idea of cruising to Alaska always catches folks off guard, though. It is a very different kind of cruise, so I’m going to fill you in on the pros and cons of such a vacation with your family.
PROS of Cruising to Alaska
The number one reason to go cruising to Alaska is for the scenery. The views you’ll get from the ship and land will absolutely take your breath away! You’ll be able to watch eagles soar and possibly see dolphins or whales breech from the decks. Most cruise lines will journey through the Inside Passage and stop at a glacier.
We’ve never had food as good as on our Alaskan cruise! Highlights included fresh caught salmon and halibut and different delicacies like frogs legs. Warm pastries and tea in the afternoons became a staple, and cups of hot chocolate were served on deck to heat our hands or when we came back from an adventure. My fondest memory was ordering room service at nearly midnight with my husband. We had a delivery of warmed up cookies and milk! And it was included in the cost of our cruise!
Cruising to Alaska offers you many opportunities for adventure. You can go dogs sledding through the snow, take a helicopter to the top of a glacier, pan for gold, or go whale watching. There’s also a ton of history to be learned if you’re willing to read the various plaques and pop into the museums. The Alaskan towns are charming and quaint and don’t take a ton of time to wander through.
You’ll still get all the entertainment that you’d expect while cruising, though what that will look like highly depends on the cruise line. Family friendly lines will offer kids clubs and game shows. All companies offer some kind of nightly show as well as live entertainment throughout the day. Most boats (except Disney) also include a Casino. Because the weather is unpredictable, the sailing crew are prepared to keep guests happy as can be while indoors.
Cruising to Alaska is a lot quicker than driving! It’ll take you at least forty hours straight on the road to reach the border of the state from Vancouver, and that’s without doing any exploring or stops. By cruising, you get to sit back and truly enjoy the ride, while also enjoying high class dining and a super comfortable bed!
CONS of Cruising to Alaska
This is probably your biggest concern and rightfully so. Yes, it will be cold despite the fact that you’re cruising in Summer! You’ll be sailing by glaciers and visiting cities with the highest amounts of rainfall in the country. You likely will not be swimming in the outdoor pools or spending time on deck tanning. You’ll have to wear a warm coat and won’t feel up to ice cream and slush drinks. It’s a different kind of cruise and you’ll want to make sure you’re okay with that before booking.
Cruising to Alaska is expensive. Both the cruise itself and the add-on shore excursions cost more than your average vacation. Cruise Lines only have a short season to offer this itinerary and generally only send up one ship, so it’s not surprising that the price would reflect that.
There’s not a ton to do without spending money. When my husband and I honeymooned through Alaska we didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars in every city we stopped in. Because of this, we only spent about three hours in each of the ports we visited. We shopped, we walked through the museums and churches, and took photos of parks and forests.
As previously mentioned, cruising to Alaska is only offered from late May til early September. In other words, if you can’t vacation during the Summer months, you can’t take an Alaskan cruise. It’s so cold up there that the ships cannot get through the ice and snow and they set sail for somewhere down South mid-September.
Should you go Cruising to Alaska?
Only you can decided whether cruising to Alaska is worth the money for you and your family. If you can afford the cost and enjoy fresh air and scenery, I highly recommend it. There’s no rule that says cold weather can’t equal a great vacation!
So far my husband and I only did an Alaskan cruise as a couple, but we hope to take the kids in the next few years. Especially since the Disney Wonder leaves from our home port of Vancouver, Canada!