Make the Most of Your Vacation With These Alaska Cruise Tips
Taking an Alaska cruise is a dream vacation for many people since it gives you the opportunity to experience the wonders of Alaska both from land and from sea. You’ll spend blissful days sailing through fjords and passageways with mountains, glaciers, and icebergs surrounding you. To make the most of your Alaska vacation, here are five Alaska cruise tips to make sure your Alaska cruise is everything you dreamed it would be.
Alaska Cruise Tip #1: Book Early
One of the top Alaska cruise tips is to book early. This isn’t the time to look for a last minute cruise fare if this is your dream vacation. That's because things like the best shore excursions, accommodations, and dining times tend to fill up fast and far in advance. In particular, veranda staterooms tend to book up first on Alaska cruises and you don’t want to miss out on the chance of staying in one in an ideal location on the ship.
Alaska Cruise Tip #2: Book a Veranda Stateroom or Suite
That brings us to next top Alaska cruise tip: book a veranda stateroom. Veranda staterooms are desirable on Alaska cruises due to their accessibility to the great outdoors and all those incredible views of America’s 49th state. The more you can spend outside on an Alaska cruise the better – you’ll have more of a chance to see wildlife and all of the incredible scenery your ship will pass throughout the cruise.
Sit on your veranda and enjoy the later time of the setting sun up north while you marvel at Alaska’s scenic Inside Passage and the towering mountains you can see in the distance.
In addition, you can just roll out of bed and take your morning coffee on your private veranda while your ship sails along Endicott Arm to Dawes Glacier. No matter what side of the ship your veranda is on, you’ll get a full awesome view once you’re at the glacier. The captain will turn the ship in a full rotation so both sides of the ship get picture perfect views of the icy glacier.
As for what side to book your cruise on, it really depends what you’re most interested in seeing. Most people think the side closest to the shoreline of the mainland is ideal since, for example, if you're cruising north on a one-way Alaska sailing, and are on the starboard side, you’ll be facing east for the entire journey up and can see the shoreline. However, the port side on such an itinerary also has its advantages as it has gorgeous coastal views going through the Inside Passage and you’ll also have a perfect spot to sit to watch the sun setting in the west. If you're doing a roundtrip cruise out of Alaska, the side really doesn't matter too much since you'll be facing one way on the way up and the other on the way down -- so check the itinerary to see what side you would prefer depending on the number of days you're heading north versus south.
If it’s in your budget, a suite is an amazing way to cruise to Alaska. All suites on Celebrity Cruises have a veranda, some of which are quite large and even have a hot tub. In addition, you’ll have extra space inside since many of the suite categories have a bedroom that is its own separate room from the living space, and all suites have separate designated sleeping and living areas.
The other great thing about staying in a suite on an Alaska sailing with Celebrity Cruises are the perks that come along with it. Suite guests may be offered the chance to go out on the helipad for glacier viewing. Suite guests also get exclusive access to Luminae restaurant, Michael's Club (a private lounge with concierge service), and impeccable butler service to help make all your Alaska travel dreams come true.
Alaska Cruise Tip #3: Attend the Port of Call Information Seminars
There is so much to see, do, and learn about in Alaska. Celebrity Cruises sails to Alaska with a naturalist on board. Throughout the cruise these naturalists often conduct informational seminars in the onboard theater, during which you can go and learn about the nature and wildlife of Alaska.
Alaska Cruise Tip #4: Pack Layers & Binoculars
Alaska cruise tips when it comes to packing are pretty straightforward: pack layers and make sure some of those layers are warm and waterproof.
Wool baselayers, down vests, and waterproof jackets that easily fold up are all ideal for staying warmer, but the Alaska sun can heat things up in the afternoon so having a t-shirt on underneath and a well-fitting daypack to stow extra layers in will help you to have a comfortable and fun day in port.
For scenic cruising or for days in port when you’re hiking or going on an animal watching excursion, it’s wise to have a pair of binoculars packed with you. Plan on keeping them with you most of the time whether on the ship or on land because you never know when you’ll see a whale or bald eagle and want a closer look!
Alaska Cruise Tip #5: Wake Up Early
Get yourself to be an early bird on an Alaska cruise and you might see more of Alaska's beautiful birds! (And bears...and whales...and so much more.) The earlier you wake up, the more time you’ll have to explore.
Some ports of call get in quite early and you’ll be able to get off the ship shortly after arriving. In addition, if you opt for an early shore excursion you still may have time to explore the town after your excursion before you have to head back to the ship.
Even if you’re up early and you’re not in port yet, you’ll get to walk around the ship and head to the observation lounge or sky deck when it’s peaceful and quiet so you can soak in the sounds and sights of nature without many other people milling about. However, on certain mornings on Alaska cruises, those areas of the ship are going to be crowded at the first light of day; on scenic cruising days, such as when you’re sailing through Tracy Arm Terroir Wilderness on Tracy Arm Fjord itineraries, the ship will start traveling through the fjord bright and early so prime spots in public viewing areas get nabbed early – like before 6am early. So set that alarm clock! (Or get that aforementioned veranda stateroom so you don’t have to worry about getting a front row seat.)
Put These Alaska Cruise Tips to Use
Now that you’re ready to book your vacation and start putting these Alaska cruise tips into action, visit Celebrity Cruises and browse all of the exciting Alaska sailings and cruisetour itineraries you can do, and book the one that's the best fit for you.