When people think of Alaska, they often picture snow-capped mountains, zero-degree weather, bears, and very little flora. That is why people are often surprised to hear that there are Alaskan cruises. Who would want to go on that? The Alaska that you know about may be based on what you have seen in movies and shows. The extreme cold and the never-ending daylight are not a myth, but this is only common in the far northern parts of Alaska. You could even cruise the Alaskan Panhandle or the southeast of Alaska, which paints a very different, naturally lush picture.
When to Cruise
Prime touring months to Alaska are June, July, and August. These are the months when the temperature is at its best, even under fickle weather. With temperatures from 39 degrees to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, you may want to pack a light bag, but bring warm clothes and layer up to protect yourself from the elements. Bring waterproof clothing in case of rain or mist. Wear versatile outfits ideal for slight temperature or weather changes, such as long pants paired with a breathable top. A warm cardigan or sweater, sunglasses, a hat, a scarf, and moisture-proof gloves should never be left behind. Make sure to wear non-slip, closed-toe, and sturdy footwear. Bring sunscreen even if you think you will have enough shade.
What to Expect
Wildlife sighting is a popular attraction in Alaskan cruises. Grizzly bears and black bears are often spotted. Moose, deer, foxes, and wolves are also seen on the land. Bald eagles will also fly overhead and can be appreciated from the deck of the cruise ship.
For ocean wildlife, pods of orca, and humpback whales are often sighted during migration season. Dolphins, seals, and sea lions can also be spotted — and you might even be lucky enough to catch a school of Alaskan salmon swim by.
While only 5% of Alaska is covered in glaciers, do not let this fact disappoint you. There will be plenty of snow caps to see. Plus, did you know that Southeast Alaskan sunsets take at least two hours? Make sure to use this time to take out your camera and capture the colors of the sky reflected in some of the beautiful lakes and rivers in the area. Marvel at the beauty of the long, languid sunset kissing the mountains and lingering in the horizon.
Where to Disembark
Ever since the gold rush, ships have been leaving Seattle on their voyage to Alaska. Modern-day cruises take the same route. Traveling to Seattle to get to your port terminal is a fun journey in itself.
You may want to allow yourself an extra day or two to roam around the very interesting city of Seattle. Take the time to sample their coffee — Starbucks got its start here — and wine or visit the Space Needle and Boeing’s Future of Flight Aviation Center. If you are a fan of ’90s rock music, Seattle will be your Mecca. The pilgrimage to the largest city in the Pacific Northwest will have you shuffling back to your grunge playlist.