Why go? What to expect?<br />Experiences to remember.<br />Cruising Alaska<br />
Top 5 Reasons To Go<br />5. See nature up close and personal: glaciers, wildlife, Mt. McKinley (Denali), northern lights<br />4. Adventure: dog sledding, helicopter & seaplane tours, glacial hikes, water rafting, zip line tours<br />3. Do what you want, skip what you don’t: it’s the beauty of cruising – there are options for everyone, and we can all meet at night to share our experiences<br />2. It won’t be here forever: environmental forces are changing the scenery and the glacial footprint; let’s see it while we can<br />…and the number one reason to go on an Alaska cruise in 2012<br />
1. 2012 is our 15 year cruise anniversary! let’s celebrate our friendship with old and new friends!<br />
<ul><li>Alaska is big & bold, offering an intriguing, culturally diverse destination with thousands of miles of scenic coastline – perfect for cruising!
Nine cruise lines have 27 large ships and six lines have small ships in Alaska this year – each experience offers pros & cons
2 itineraries: Inside Passage & Gulf of Alaska (if seas are choppy, Gulf of Alaska itinerary is more prone to exposure)
Season lasts five months: May-September, with the shoulder seasons (May & August/September) being less crowded. Mid-June through Mid-August are peak season. Salmon start running in late June – when there are salmon, there are bears. Northern lights can be seen in late-September.
Weather is always a factor, and though daytimes can be balmy (60s-70s), nights can be near freezing. Key word: layers</li></ul>What to expect?<br />
Best ships by category: http://www.hillmanwonders.com/alaska_cruise/best_alaska_cruise_lines.htm<br />Luxury-small sized ship (under 500 ppl) – Silversea Cruises has 382 passengers, n an all balcony ship. <br />Luxury-mid sized ship (500-1k ppl) – Regent Seven Seas (Mariner & Navigator) 700-passenger Mariner is slightly better. All cabins have balconies<br />Upmarket ship – Celebrity Infinity & Millennium both accommodate 2k passengers. Holland America is runner-up<br />Mid-priced ship – Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas & Radiance of the Seas. Princess, Carnival and Norwegian are runners-up.<br />Expedition ship – American Safari Cruises carries 12-26 passengers, with a focus on wildlife, wilderness and conservation. Their small size allows them to go places that big ships canoot. Rates are high, service is outstanding, and cabin space is small.<br />Which is best? Big or Small?<br />
<ul><li>Juneau – America’s smallest state capital is accessible only by boat or aircraft.
Ketchikan – Gold rush town where miners debarked ships to begin their trek to Yukon. It rains far more in Ketchikan – 13’/year.
Sitka – picturesque town bordered by snow-capped mountains and the sea with a dual heritage (Russian settlers and Tlingit people). Former capital of Russia.
Skagway - Period storefronts and an old-fashioned boardwalk have retained the gold rush ambiance in this town which has the least rainfall of the four top ports (less than 2”/month)</li></ul>Best cruise ports<br />
<ul><li>Haines – Small town which can be visited as a day excursion from Skagway
Homer – known for sports fishing and Salty Dog Saloon, near Seward
Ice Straight Point – Its cannery is the chief tourism draw. Near Glacier Bay.
Petersburg – Nicknamed Little Norway, limited tour options.
Seward – The leading cruise port serving Anchorage. The SeaLife Center is the town’s finest attraction. Kenai Fjords is the best excursion.
Vancouver – Many cruises start and end here. Wonderful, livable city. One of the best attractions is the 360-degree view from The Lookout’s observation floor.
Victoria – Attractive city with attractions including: Butchart Gardens, Empress Hotel, Miniature World, Parliament Building, Royal British Columbia Museum</li></ul>Other Known Ports<br />
Suggested “Harder-To-Get-To” Sites<br /><ul><li>Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord
Both of the above are often not a stop on big line itineraries, but accessible via a boat tour or air tour out of Juneau and Ketchikan (respectively)
Mendenhall Glacier – 20 minutes outside Juneau by bus or helicopter</li></li></ul><li>Juneau - helicopter sightseeing with dogsledding or glacial hike, floatplane sightseeing, Mt. Roberts Tramway, Red Dog Saloon, Salmon Hatchery<br />Ketchikan – floatplane sightseeing to Misty Fjord, Creek Street (former red light district), Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, Bear viewing tours, totem poles, rainforest tour, zipline, sea kayaking, salmon or crab fishing<br />Sitka – Alaska Raptor Center, St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church, Sitka National Historic Park, Russian and native Indian dance presentations, sea otter & whale watching<br />Skagway – Tours by helicopter or floatplane, exploring the main street, white pass & Yukon route railway, sled dog experience, red onion saloon, wilderness hiking & sport fishing, rock climbing & rappelling, bald eagle preserve<br />Best shore excursions<br />
http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1347</li></li></ul><li>Next steps…<br />Let me know if you’re interested<br />If there is a time you CAN’T go, let me know<br />I’ll research various ships, itineraries & prices<br />I’ll get back to those who are interested with the options, timelines & costs<br />