10 things you need to know about cruising in Alaska

10 things you need to know about cruising in Alaska

What pops into your mind when you hear ‘Alaska?’  Landscapes. Wildlife.  Fresh air.  The Northern Lights.  The Iditarod.  The last thing for many would be a cruise.  Exotic does not necessarily apply to warm tropical climate.  Alaska is by far one of the most exotic and unique places anyone can visit.  From late April to September Alaska offers travelers a once in a lifetime chance at witnessing something truly majestic everywhere they look.  The Caribbean, with its white sunny beaches and blue ocean could not hold a thumb to a glacier or mountains filled with gorgeous trees wherever you look.  But you can’t just pack up and get on a boat.  There are some recommendations you need to consider before traveling to the Last Frontier.

  1.    Pack for cold brisk whether.

Tourist season usually lasts for about four or five months and the weather is by no means tropical.  While it will get a little warm on occasion, Alaska weather is usually no higher than the 70s during tourist season.  You should definitely take clothing that will keep you as warm as possible.  Cruises are usually windy and this can make it feel a little bit more chilly than usual.  A jacket, sweater, and windbreakers are definite items in any suitcase.  Plenty of sock just in case.  Cruise ships offer aquatic venues so taking a pair or two of shorts won’t do any harm.  Since it could get a little warm on occasion and you are visiting a coastal destination, some bug repellent and sunblock should also be in your briefcase.

  1.    Ask for a view.

The landscape is unique in Alaska.  You might only find such views in two or three more places worldwide.  It would be a shame to miss it because you are stuck with an interior room instead of cabin with a window.  Definitely spring a little more of the green for a chance to see spectacular views that you will never forget.

  1.    Book early.

Alaska is quietly becoming a preferred travel destination and the closer you wait to book for your expected arrival the less chance of getting a good spot on the ship is.  Booking earlier will allow the traveler to pick where he or she will be most comfortable and will most surely save some money.

  1.    Research itinerary.

Get a little research done before you pick where you want to go and what destinations you want to visit.  It’s also important to take a look at the different tours offered to you by local agencies and the cruise ship.  Every destination has its advantages so taking a little time to check out what each has to offer could prove for a valuable experience.   Royal Holiday Cruises has several amazing destinations to choose from.

  1.    Pick your season.

    Image courtesy of greenzowie at Flickr.com

    Image courtesy of greenzowie at Flickr.com

Tour season in Alaska usually runs from the end of April until September.  Depending on your interest there will be a better moment for you to visit.  The Northern Lights have a good chance at being seen in September.  If you want to get a look at the Alaskan wildlife then the latter part of summer is your best bet.  For those who are not very fond of cold weather but still really want to experience Alaska, July through August have the warmest weather of the season.  It’s really a matter of what you expect to see.

  1.    Update your passport.

This is a must if your cruise departs from Vancouver or if it’s one of the places you plan on visiting.  Otherwise you won’t be able to set foot there.  Canada and the US both require a biometric passport.

  1.    Enjoy the land.

Make sure you take some time to get off the cruise ship.  Alaska has some amazing hiking trails and wildlife that you can only experience on foot.  Furthermore, most cruises arrive at quaint homely places that are definitely worth walking around.

  1.    Unplug.

One of the beautiful things about nature is that it isolates you from the noise and fast pace of the city.  If you are addicted to chatting, tweeting, liking, instagramming then you better get ready for some withdrawal syndrome.  Wi-Fi connectivity and cellphone service could be hard to come by and you know what? That’s just fine and dandy.  Disconnect and enjoy the sites that the Land of the Midnight Sun has to offer.

  1.    Buy from the locals.

No matter where your cruise docks you have to visit the local shops.  It’s very common to see family owned businesses in every place you arrive.  Tourism is a huge part of the economy so why not help the locals.  The locals can give you a lot of interesting information on a town and its customs.

  1.   Have your camera ready.

A capital sin of visiting Alaska is not having your camera on hand.  Any time of the day is a great time to capture a jigsaw puzzle quality picture.  Make sure you have a big enough memory card and snap away. It would be a shame that you missed a chance of photographing an orca or that beautiful mountain landscape because you took too long to take out your camera or it was low on memory.

Whether you are a seasoned cruiser or a rookie to ocean leisure, an Alaskan cruise should definitely be on your bucket list.  Beaches are abundant in this world.  Glaciers, that’s a different story.  The Last Frontier is calling.  Answer.  You won’t regret it.