You have been dreaming and saving for a trip to Alaska. Now what? Intrust your wishes and dreams to our professional travel advisors, who have spent countless hours training and actual time in Alaska to assist you in planning.
Here are a few questions that we like to ask our guests to pair them with the right type of trip.
How Long Can You Travel to Alaska?
If it’s eight days or less, you will need to pick between a land trip or a cruise because you will not have time for both. If you have 10 to 16 days, then you have time to do a combo Land and Sea.
Do You Envision A Cruise As Part of Your Trip?
The next set of questions is what type of cruise experience you would like.
Small ship, Mid-size ship, or Large Ship? Each one of these ships has advantages that we can go over.
Easier to get in and out of small ports; you can generally sail to unique ports that midsize and large ships may not cruise to. If you are a foodie, these ships often have small-batch food, depending on the cruise line. You can go with the chef into the local towns to buy fresh food that the chef prepares on board ( on some small ships). On some small ships, you can ride a kayak or zodiac off the back of the ship.
Great for guests who want more activity than the small ships offer. The mid-size ships can sail easily in and out to get up close to see the Glaciers. The mid-size ships will have things like a Casino, more activities, a bigger spa, and a buffet, and then if you are a foodie, we usually suggest booking at least a few specialty dining reservations.
If you want things like Flo-rider, Go-Karts at sea, and lots of activities on the ship for a wide variety of ages, think multi-gen family sailing, then a Large ship would be perfect for you. If you want to sail on a Large ship and have some of the small ship feel, there are specialty rooms that we can book you in, which can have private areas of the ship.
Will Travel On A Land and Sea Trip?
The four most popular cruise lines we currently book for land and sea are Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, and Holland. There are other great choices; we can go over those if you are interested.
Pros of Royal and Celebrity
My favorite thing about these two is they use local lodges. You are encouraged to eat in local restaurants, and on Royal, it is a much younger family crowd, with some of the tours being custom-designed for families. I am a big fan of dining in the local towns. You get a more authentic experience and support locally family-owned restaurants.
Princess and Holland
These two cruise lines pioneered the Land and Sea in Alaska. They have built their lodges and restaurants; you can pay to add to the dining plan. They have their transportation and even their stores/gift shops. If you want seamless and especially if you have mobility issues, then this would be the way to go. There are usually fewer kids on these two land and sea tours.
Your journey planner can give you even more details, but this gives you some ideas on what to think about when thinking about land and sea.
What is On Your Must-See List?
Do you want to see whales, bears, or a specific wildlife time? If so, the seasons will affect what animals are active.
What about crowds? If you don’t like crowds, shoulder season will be better for you. Shoulder season is the last week of April to the first week or two of June and then the end of August into the first week of October.
If you want to see the northern lights, that is not possible on a cruise in the summer. There are very long daylight hours in the summer.
If you want peak flowers, trees, and animals active, the second week of June to August is your best bet for these.
Prices and Budgets
A cruise alone is usually the lowest price, and then shoulder seasons; typically, we see lower prices with peak prices in the summer peak travel season.
It’s always great to provide a budget so that we can plan around your budget.
Land Only Options
We will ask some similar questions about what you want to see for land-only trips.
There is a wide range of land.
These are some of the most popular:
Small Group Land Tours
These are easy, and everyone in the family can see so that no one has to focus on driving.
These are also easy and seamless.
These are also popular for guests who want to explore without guidance. The main downside is that one guest has to focus on driving and understand that most rental cars rented in Alaska are not supposed to be driven down gravel roads.
When you are ready to start planning your trip of a lifetime to Alaska, reach out to one of our Journey Planner Alaska experts.
If you want to see the northern lights, then a land-only trip during the Northern lights seasons will be what you need.
In our next blog, I will discuss winter season travel.