When many people think of an Alaskan cruise, they think of freezing-cold weather, glaciers, and bears. Of course, visitors are likely to experience all of the above on an Alaskan cruise, but there is so much more to expect and appreciate!
Expect to see a wide variety of wildlife. Not only will you have an opportunity to spot bears, but you may also encounter rare deer, exotic seabirds, moose, bald eagles, Alaskan salmon, harbor seals, sea lions, and even humpback whales!
Expect ample coastline, lakes, rivers, volcanoes, and volcanic fields. Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined. It has over 34,000 miles of shoreline, contains more than 100 volcanoes and volcanic fields, has more than 3,000 rivers, and has over 3 million lakes. You read that correctly: 3 million lakes! How incredible!
People also expect Alaskan cruises to be for a more “mature” audience, but it is actually quite (young and) family-friendly, making it a perfect choice for a family vacation. You can expect to see multi-generations on an Alaskan cruise, often with parents and grandparents sharing the wild beauty of “The Last Frontier” with their children and grandchildren. Some cruise ships also offer onboard enrichment activities such as whale- watching programs, children’s sing-a-longs, learning about glaciers, and more. Alaskan cruises can be the perfect blend of family fun, nature, and science. They can also be a welcomed change from the usual beach vacations.
Often, people expect constant snowfall when cruising Alaska, but depending on what time of year you visit, you’re more likely to encounter rain. First-time travelers may be shocked to find winter in Alaska can actually be warmer than other cold regions in the US! So, since the weather often fluctuates during an Alaskan cruise, expect to dress in layers that are easy to pull on and easy to remove. Think lightweight t-shirts, thin sweaters, waterproof jackets, scarves, and warm hats. As long as you remember these items, you’ll stay nice and comfy throughout your vacation.
You can also expect the days to be much longer than the typical cruisers’ usual day. For instance, some sunsets may not occur until 10 pm and sunrises can be as early as 3 am. So, be sure to pack a sleep mask to get some sound sleep.
Expect to reserve a stateroom with a balcony and to book as many excursions as possible; you won’t regret it. Sure, you can stand out on the ship’s deck to view glaciers and wildlife as you drift by, but there’s nothing quite as phenomenal as the views from your own private balcony – while sipping hot cocoa underneath a cozy blanket!
If you’re an avid cruiser, expect a less rowdy scene than most beach cruises. Alaskan cruises are not only fun but educational as well and are truly in a league of their own. It’s easy to get the “full-on” Alaskan experience if you know what to expect. You will return home enlightened and invigorated.
More than anything, you can expect to take a ton of pictures to capture all of those once-in-a-lifetime memories!