Cruising to Alaska with Holland America was sudden — in a great way! We cowl itinerary choices, port stops, when to go to and extra!
Cruising will not be at all times my most well-liked solution to journey, however there are particular locations the place cruising is the right solution to get a style of loads of completely different locations in a brief period of time. Alaska is a type of locations!
A bulk of the motion in Alaska is out on the water — with glacier viewing and whale watching — so a cruise is smart, particularly should you’re undecided which cities you need to go to. I cherished getting a really feel for the completely different areas of Southeast Alaska on this cruise and it helped me work out which spots I’d wish to plan a future journey to.
I additionally need to observe that Holland America provides Cruisetours to Alaska, which features a few nights on land. That individual itinerary was my first alternative, however due to timing, I selected the 7-Day Alaskan Explorer cruise from Seattle to Seattle on the Eurodam — which ended up feeling like the right period of time on this journey!
What To Anticipate On An Alaskan Cruise
The Expertise On The Ship
Holland America has been my go-to cruise line for a number of years. I wouldn’t journey with simply any cruise line, however I like cruising with Holland America as a result of they cater to a selected sort of traveler and, moreover, they’re the primary and solely Alaskan cruise line to be licensed by the Accountable Fisheries Administration!
The environment on Holland America is enjoyable however not too loopy, which is ideal for me. I personally wouldn’t take pleasure in a cruise the place a bunch of younger adults are getting wasted each day or loads of youngsters working round. There have been just a few youngsters on my cruise, however these cruises don’t appear to be geared in direction of kids so it’s often the extra mature ones.
The views of Alaska from the new tub on the Seaview pool space have been wonderful on this cruise. I like the brand new addition of the cabanas by the pool you can hire — for a bit extra privateness throughout these days at sea.
It’s also possible to go to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon on board. They provide many various choices for therapies in addition to a thermal suite with a hydropool.
Eating On The Eurodam
There are 8 eating choices on board the Eurodam ship, most of that are included within the worth of your cruise — with a few further cost choices for a extra upscale eating expertise. Along with the eating places, you may also order from the 24-hour room service menu.
I used to be impressed with the gluten-free and vegetarian choices on this cruise. There have been gluten-free choices for pasta, bread rolls, and even the hamburger and sizzling canine buns on the Dive-In Grill. They tasted even higher than loads of the gluten-free choices I’ve at residence.
For the vegetarians, there have been loads of vegetarian dishes, combined greens and Past burger and sizzling canines. It appears they’ve made loads of adjustments in relation to dietary restrictions inside the final couple of years.
Their on-board Navigator app makes every little thing extraordinarily straightforward and cuts down on the quantity of paper used. Excursions tickets, your on-board statements, eating menus, and day by day itineraries can all be discovered on the app. I preferred that I might save the actions that me and the app alerted me about an hour earlier than every exercise.
7-Day Alaskan Explorer Cruise Itinerary
Juneau is the capital of Alaska and the gateway to glaciers, whale watching and mountain climbing. I booked the Night Whale Quest which included a catered meal aboard a small lined vessel. There’s each indoor and outside seating, so that you don’t want to fret about being too chilly if the climate is wet — and it rains rather a lot in Juneau!
When you do stroll across the downtown space of Juneau (it’s beautiful and simply walkable proper from the ship), I like to recommend making a cease at Purple Canine Saloon for an genuine Alaskan expertise from the mining period. You’ll discover sawdust flooring, nice hospitality and leisure!
Different highlights in Juneau embody Mendenhall Glacier, the Mount Roberts Tramway, canine sledding on a glacier, flightseeing, Glacier Gardens Rainforest Journey (I visited on a earlier journey and cherished it!) and lots of mountain climbing trails.
Learn extra: Surrounded by Whales in Stephens Passage, Alaska
We cruised via Glacier Bay Nationwide Park and it was one in all my favourite components of the journey. I actually was shocked at how shut we have been in a position to get to the glaciers. I like to recommend getting a room with a balcony as a result of you will have it for this portion of the journey!
We spent a superb period of time stopped at Margerie Glacier and the captain made positive to provide each side of the ship ample time to take pictures. When you don’t have a room with a view, you possibly can take pictures from one of many many outside decks — or simply admire it from the eating room.
The most effective half for me, although, was sitting on my balcony with espresso in hand, watching the icebergs float by with mountains because the backdrop. I like that solely two giant cruise ships are allowed per day in Glacier Bay so it actually offers you the sensation of being the one ones on the market.
Learn extra: See a Glacier – Restricted Time Solely!!
Icy Strait Level
Icy Strait Level — situated on Chichagof Island — will not be a metropolis or a city; it’s a cruise port cease to provide passengers an genuine Alaskan expertise. The port options replications of the tradition and historical past of the Huna individuals in addition to a restored 1912 salmon cannery and museum.
Chichagof Island is residence to the most important focus of bears on the planet. It’s one other improbable port for whale watching excursions and the chance of seeing bears and whales on a tour could be very excessive.
Sitka was a shock for me. I didn’t know a lot about this island metropolis tucked between the mountains and the ocean. Sitka feels distinctive as a result of it’s not on the street system so it’s solely accessible by air or water.
I took the Sizzling Italian Glass tour within the coronary heart of city and I realized a lot concerning the space and the lively arts group in Sitka. I usually do extra journey and wildlife excursions and I’m so glad I took an opportunity on one thing completely different!
We realized about sizzling Italian glass making that dates again tons of of years — and we even obtained to make our personal cane! Canework is the method that Italian artists use to create intricate colours and patterns of their glass items.
I had loads of time after the tour to discover extra of Sitka. I like to recommend consuming at one of many many meals vans alongside Lincoln Road. The recent fish tacos I ordered have been wonderful. Sitka is unquestionably a spot I might journey to once more and keep for an extended go to!
This was my second go to to Ketchikan and it was simply as wonderful as the primary time. Creek Road is a fast 5-minute stroll from the cruise ship dock and I extremely advocate a go to! This a part of city was the purple mild district a few years in the past. It’s stated to be “the place each males and salmon went upstream to spawn.”
Dolly’s Home Museum is unquestionably value a cease. It was as soon as the residence of Dolly Arthur, a girl who provided feminine companionship to loggers, miners and fisherman who got here via the realm. As you stroll by the museum, the ladies working on the museum will usually make cat calls to the vacationers.
When you observe the creek, you’ll discover the fish ladder the place — throughout spawning season — you possibly can watch the salmon bounce within the air as they attempt to swim their means upstream to breed.
Earlier than you head again to the ship, be sure that to cease and seize a espresso at Candy Mermaids!
Learn extra: See What You’re Lacking in Southeast Alaska
I used to be actually excited to see Victoria this journey as a result of it’s a spot I’ve been desirous to probe for some time now. We have been initially scheduled to achieve the dock at 8pm which wouldn’t give us any daylight on land, however our captain obtained us in a bit early so we did get about an hour of sunshine. A few of their cruises will get you docked into Victoria at 6pm, so I like to recommend selecting that one, if attainable.
There’s a shuttle you possibly can take to downtown Victoria, however since I had restricted time this journey, I made a decision to stroll from the cruise ship dock to Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a straightforward 10-minute stroll and probably the most lovable wharf with eating places, dwell music and houseboats. It’s also possible to take a fast water taxi from Fisherman’s Wharf to downtown.
When you do make it downtown, be sure that to go to Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown. The alley was initially a playing district with eating places, retailers, and opium dens. It’s an excellent picture alternative at night time too!
Additionally, in your means from Ketchikan to Victoria, search for whales! I noticed tons of spouts and whales flapping their fins alongside the highest of the water.
The Greatest Time To Take An Alaskan Cruise
The most effective time to take an Alaskan cruise is throughout the months of Might via September. June via August offers you the next likelihood of sunshine, hotter temperatures, and the potential of seeing whales. It’s additionally when a bulk of vacationers journey to Alaska.
The months of Might and September are thought-about the shoulder season. Explanation why you may need to go to in Might are fewer crowds, it’s the driest month of the yr, you could have a greater likelihood of having the ability to discover an ice cave, and also you’ll get to see snow-capped mountains within the distance.
The month of September cools off considerably in comparison with summer season, however additionally, you will have the next likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights!
What To Pack For An Alaskan Summer season Cruise
I’ve been to Alaska twice throughout the summer season and have discovered there are just a few necessities which are at all times wanted — which I’ve included beneath. (To see precisely what I pack for my journeys to Alaska in the summertime, go to my detailed Alaska packing listing.)
Moisture Wicking Base Layer: Moisture wicking base layers are a necessity in chilly climate. This thermal prime is designed for heat and luxury with a close-to-body match and a tag free label.
Fleece Jacket: Good for layering, this fleece jacket will maintain you heat, it’s fitted (so it may be worn beneath a water-resistant coat), and it is available in a wide range of colours.
Waterproof Jacket: A Waterproof jacket with a hood is one other will need to have for layering and for the inevitable rain. Sure, even in the summertime!
Mountaineering Boots: These snug, waterproof mountain climbing boots will maintain your toes dry whether or not you’re out on a skiff, strolling via city or mountain climbing within the rainforest.