Cruises in Alaska are so much fun, especially for family vacations! However, as you are thinking about your cruise in Alaska, you must decide whether a big ship or a small ship is best. Every family seems to have its own preference. And if you have never experienced one option over the other, you may not even know what you are missing. Therefore, I want to share what you must know about the big ship or small ship cruising in Alaska.
The differences between small Alaska cruise ships and large ships are quite extensive. Yes, they will both get you to where you want to go. But the way you arrive at your destinations will be vastly different.
Honestly, it depends on what you want to see and do in Alaska. If you want to see the main points that are on everyone’s itinerary for Alaskan cruises, then a big ship will fulfill all your needs. But if you want to experience some of the non-touristy attractions and activities, a small Alaska cruise ship will be better. The smaller ships will also give you a more personalized experience for your family vacation.
Only you will know which type of cruise ship is best for your Alaska cruise. The larger ships are known for their rigid schedules and having the same activities on every single cruise. The smaller ships allow for downtime when none was scheduled, as well as different activities every time they go out on the open water.
I recommend choosing your Alaska cruise by really looking at what options are included in each cruise you are considering. Then go with the Alaska cruise that has the most of what you want to experience with your family.
There are so many reasons to want to cruise around Alaska on the most luxurious cruise line. Most luxury cruises in Alaska offer fewer passengers, staterooms with balconies or complete suites, and excellent personalized service.
Regent Seven Seas is the most luxurious cruise line in Alaska. These prestigious cruises offer ways for you to get off the beaten path on a smaller ship. The time you spend with your family on this luxurious cruise line will never be forgotten.
If you are truly looking for an extraordinary adventure during a family cruise in Alaska, I recommend choosing UnCruise Adventure. This cruise line of smaller ships offers tour and excursion opportunities you won’t find anywhere else in the state. There are so few passengers on UnCruise ships that you will be on a first-name basis with all the guests, as well as staff members. Add in the unique itineraries and you will never want to leave the ship to return home.
There isn’t a difference with the direction you sail when taking a cruise in Alaska. Therefore, do not stress over whether you are heading northbound or southbound on an Alaska cruise. I will make sure you have a room on the correct side of the boat for the direction you are traveling through. This will ensure you can see the beautiful landscape when you are out on the water.
Every cruise line offers incredible onboard activities. I will help you find the ship that offers every onboard activity you want to enjoy when you are on your family vacation.
Here are some of the onboard activities offered on cruise lines in Alaska:
Some travelers prefer to be in the center of the ship, while others like to be towards one end or the other. I prefer to book my clients on the side that will be facing the land for cruises in Alaska. If your cruise in Alaska is a round trip, then it really won’t matter since you will be facing that way in only one direction.
I always say it is totally worth it to pay for a balcony on a cruise. When you have a balcony, you will have the opportunity to go on it at any time during your Alaska cruise. You won’t need to worry about getting up and dressed before going out to the deck. Balconies are also perfect for some downtime when you want to be away from people, but don’t want to miss out on the views.
There are multiple ports to visit on an Alaska cruise. But five of them are considered the best of the best.
Juneau is a large city in Alaska, and it is a must-see when you are on a cruise. There is so much to see when you visit Juneau. And if you are the type of person who doesn’t love being out in the wilderness, Juneau will offer the city life you crave. A couple of places to add to your itinerary in Juneau include the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaskan Brewing Company, and the Red Dog Saloon.
If you are cruising within the Inside Passage, you will find the ship stopping in Sitka. Many artisanal items are sold at this port. Therefore, be prepared to spend your souvenir money when you are there. I recommend making sure St. Michael’s Cathedral is one of the first stops on your list.
Skagway is a town that thrives when cruise ships arrive each summer. If anyone loves trains and railroads, you must add this port to your list. That way when you are in port, you can take a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad.
Fishing is one of the most popular things to do in Ketchikan during the summer months. If you are not big on fishing, you will be happy to know that the arts scene is bustling in this town too! Everyone in your family will find something they love to do in this southern Alaskan town.
Glacier Bay ends up at the bottom of the list because it is not really a port. However, it is an excellent place to stop when you are cruising in Alaska. When you are in Glacier Bay, you will spend your time near all the glaciers. You will also have ample opportunities to see an abundance of marine life.
There are so many shore excursions to take on an Alaska cruise. While you can book many of them on the cruise ship, I recommend doing a few that are offered off the ship. It is those shore excursions that give you a more authentic experience.
Here are my favorite shore excursions to take on an Alaska cruise:
Many people love watching whales and other wildlife when they take a cruise in Alaska. Unfortunately, if you take one of the larger ships, you won’t be able to watch these animals for as long as you wish. The larger cruise lines have a schedule to keep and they don’t stray away from their time schedule for even a second.
The good news is smaller cruise ships will stop when there is a pod of whales out in the water or bears and other animals on land. These smaller ships can easily make up time or simply skip over something else, so you can appreciate the unscheduled moments on an Alaska cruise.
I still remember the time when the captain of our ship went off course, so we could sit there and watch a pod of whales. He didn’t care about our schedule, just the fact that we got to see these creatures in their natural habitat!
You are going to be torn when deciding whether to take a big or small ship for your Alaska cruise. After all, you probably have a favorite large ship cruise line from other cruises you have gone on. But trust me when I say that smaller ships are perfect in so many ways for cruising Alaska!
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