Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (2022)

Those of you following me on Instagram came along on a trip I took with my husband a couple weeks ago: a cruise to Alaska on Princess Cruises. I shared a lot of our day-to-day on Instastories and I honestly have never had a responseto a travel series as massive as I did this time.SO many messages, questions, and comments- which I loved! So many of you said that Alaska had never even been on your radar until I shared some peeks into our trip and I was so happy to hear that. I have so much to show you and tell you about this trip, but before I do, I wanted to answer the most commonly asked questions I saw over and over again. If I missed any, definitely leave a comment and I’ll answer there! Alaska is absolutely BREATHTAKING.

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (1)

WHAT CRUISE DID YOU DO?

We did this round-trip cruiseon Princess, starting and ending inSeattle, WA. It’s a seven-day cruise through Alaska’s famed Inside Passage. It stops in several ports, including Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria B.C. and also includes a whole day sailing through Glacier Bay National Park. Princess also offersround-trip cruises from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Victoria, if that interests you. Click here and you will find links toall the Alaska options!

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (2)IS IT WORTH PAYING EXTRA FOR A ROOM WITH A BALCONY?

I had a lot of people ask me this and I’m a little claustrophobic by nature so I don’t think I could do any cruise without a balcony, but I would say it’s especially worth it on this particular cruise. The unique thing about Alaska is that a huge portion of your voyage follows land. While some cruises will just have you out in the middle of the ocean for days, Alaskan cruises have gorgeous vistas of mountains and wild life on a large portion of your trip. This photo was just snapped on my cell phone one morning off my balcony one day.

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (3)

Our favorite thing was waking up each morning and opening the door to see where we were! There was always a new gorgeous view and we loved having breakfast on our balcony in our pajamas just soaking it all in. We saw whales, sea otters, and bald eagles often from our balcony.

(Video) Answering Your 2022 Alaska Travel Questions!

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (4)

WHAT WAS THE WEATHER LIKE?

The weather on our trip was nothing short of phenomenal, but from what I hear, we really lucked out! We only had 1 day on our whole trip that was overcast and drizzly. The other 6 days were stunningly sunny. September tends to be a cooler, wetter month, so we feel so fortunate to have such incredible weather.
Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (5)

Alaska’s weather is somewhat unpredictable and often rainy, so you do need to be mentally and physically prepared for a variety of weather conditions. I’ve had friends go durning the summer months and say it was warm and they wore shorts and t-shirts, but I’d say usually the weather is pretty temperate. We cruised in the very middle of September (the 2nd to last cruise of the Alaska season on Princess) and while we definitely needed warm coats (and hats were nice!) in the mornings and nights, the days were rather pleasant, yet cool. I most often wore a sweater or long-sleeve shirt during the day with a beanie, and birkenstocks. The best thing to do is check the weather in ALL your ports the week before you leave.

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (6)

SERIOUSLY THOUGH, WAS IT ALL OLD PEOPLE?

Not kidding, this was definitely one of the most asked questions! Was it all old people? No. Was there a considerably larger demographic of “mature” folks over the age of 50? You bet. And we loved it. The vibe on a cruise to Alaska is different than the crowd you get on say, a Caribbean cruise. You don’t get the wild “spring break” types, and you don’t have tons and tons of children running around, it’s definitely a little slower paced and calm and we loved that.

WHAT KIND OF EXCURSIONS DO YOU DO IN ALASKA?
DID YOU BOOK THEM THROUGH THE CRUISE LINE?

(Video) Top Alaska Cruise Tips and Tricks for 2022! What You Need to know Before Taking an Alaskan Cruise!

The excursions in Alaska are one of the things that makes this cruise so unique. There are things you can do here that you simply can’t experience anywhere else! I’ll share more of what we did in another post, but just to name a few things that are readily available there: float planes, kayaking, fishing, hiking, helicopters, glacier walking, air boats, sled dogs, trains, wildlife boat trips, and so much more. I noticed there are many “adventurous” excursions that are also wheel chair accessible.

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (7)We did book our excursions directly through Princessahead of time. You could also book your own “off shore”. There are tons of companies offering excursions right off the boat and in town. One of the benefits of booking through the cruise line is that should anything happen to deter your schedule, the boat will not leave without you!

WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES DO YOU PACK FOR A TRIP LIKE THIS?

Ask anyone this question and they will answer the same thing: layers. For one, the weather can be a little unpredictable (as explained earlier) but it also really changes depending where you are and what you’re doing. Toward the end of the season, and I imagine the beginning, mornings and evenings are quite chilly. I brought a big puffy coat and wore it often. People visiting from places like California and Arizona were freezing, and those of us used to colder weather were just fine, haha.

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (8)

However, during the day there were many days and times where the weather was perfectly comfortable. Again, during the summer months it can get quite warm. You’ll also definitely want a rain jacket. I brought my big puffy coat for warmth and then a light waterproof shell as a lighter option. There were many days where a hoodie was perfect. Bottom line? LAYERS. You’ll also want some comfortable shoes for hanging out on the ship, and some sturdy ones for excursions if you’re planning on adventures like hiking, fishing, or just walking through towns. I also was glad I brought plenty of “cozy clothes” like activewear and casual-comfy sweatshirts and sweaters.

ARE THERE ANY ITEMS YOU WOULD RECOMMEND BRINGING THAT ONE MIGHT NOT THINK OF?

Large fridge magnets- my friend Mique told me about this one. All of the walls in cruise ships are metal, so they are magnetic! Large clip magnets are awesome for organizing all the many papers you’ll get during your trip.

(Video) ALASKA Cruising EVERYTHING You Need to Know | OVATION of The Seas| Tips & Tricks for a BETTER Cruise

Umbrella – might be a duh moment, but bring a small travel one, easy to toss in a backpack or purse.

Laundry Detergent- You can grab some onboard, but next time I might toss in a small bag of powder detergent just to save money on the expensive single-load packs you can buy on-board. I packed light on some things knowing I could just do a load of laundry in the coin-operated machines and it was super convenient.

Purse or Backpack – another one that seems obvious but sometimes when I pack suitcases and carryons, I forget to bring a good bag for excursions and off-board stuff. I also brought a small clutch to use when we were attending formal dinners.

Formal wear. I always thought formal dress was optional on cruises and didn’t think I’d need any haha. Turns out you really do need a nice outfit or two. I just brought this super easy to pack dress that takes up as much room as a t-shirt, and was soft, stretchy, and comfortable! I hanged it up when we got on board and the wrinkles were out by the next day. I brought a sparkly necklace and earrings to dress it up and it was perfect. Also great to have something loose and comfortable when all you’re doing is eating, haha.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

With the unusually clear weather we had, the captain explained it’s what they call “Severe Clear” and gives you the best chance of seeing the northern lights. You also need to be away from city lights, so a cruise is a great spot if the weather conditions are favorable.You can find many tools online that will help predict aurora borealis viewing, like this one. Many cruise ships (and hotels in Alaska) offer wake-up calls if you like, in the event that the Northern Lights are visible. We lucked out and saw them just before bed time, from our bedroom balcony! Cruises later in the season, like ours in September, will also give you a better shot than cruises in the summer, because of Alaska’s long days and short nights.

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (9)

HOW WAS THE FOOD?

(Video) Alaska we answer your cruise questions about taking a cruise to Alaska - Cruiseweek.tv

I will give you the same answer I gave my trainer at the gym when I returned home and he asked the same question: plentiful. Haha! Like all cruises, there are many, many options for eating on-board the Ruby Princess. There is of course a standard buffet, and I would compare it to any sort of all-you-can-eat-buffet restaurant. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t anything special. I would however say that if I had kids on the ship with me, we’d (or rather, they’d) be at the buffet every single day- they had a huge variety of options from a ramen bar to tacos, to prime rib, so that’s a great option in some cases. We only ate at the buffet a couple times because we quickly found some options we preferred so much more. There was a great pizza place where you can buy brick-oven-style pizza by the slice, and grab a soft-serve cone right next to it. My favorite place for general meals, from breakfast until late afternoon was hands down a place called “The International Cafe”. Besides having an amazing selection of baked goods and confections and sitting right next to the coffee shop, they also had perfect light-lunch fare inspired by countries around the globe. Some of my favorites were a Thai Beef Salad, Greek Salad, and their little snack sandwiches like Ham and Cheese Croissants, Cubans, and Italian Pesto and Cheese. We ate there ALL the time. They were open 24 hours so it was perfect when we needed something at random hours of the day. This photo is a selection of the breakfast pastries we had on our balcony with hot chocolate one morning.

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (10)

When it came to dinners, the specialty restaurants are where it’s at! Don’t waste time on the buffet, hit up the amazing restaurants like Curtis Stone’s Share, where you choose options to create a personalized 6-course fine dining meal. We loved this whole experience and if 6 courses sounds like overkill- don’t worry, they’re small, perfectly-sized portioned plates so you can enjoy each and every course.

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (11)

Our other favorite (and if I had to pick one, THE favorite) was The Salty Dog, a gastropub born from a partnership with renown chefErnesto Uchimura. This burger (fresh ground rib eye and short rib patty, grilled pork belly, caveaged Gruyère, caramelized kimchi beer battered jalapeño, charred onion aioli on a smoked salt & pepper brioche bun and served with Truffle-Parmesan fries WHAT) was named “Best Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic. (Below that burger, and also the photo above are some of the dishes from Share so you can see the portions)

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (12)So ya. How was the food? Fantastic. If you find yourself on this ship, definitely make some reservations and pay the extra (reasonable fee) for the nicer restaurants, they’re worth it. I should mention, we also made a point to look up local restaurants in each city we visited and eat in town, supporting the local businesses and experiencing local dining, and we loved that!

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IT?

Heck Yes. 100%. As I mentioned, sooooo many people commented after seeing my photos and hearing about my experiences on our cruise, that a cruise to Alaska wasn’t even on your radar. Not something you’d ever even considered, but that you’d changed your mind seeing mine! That made my day because if there was one thing I was hoping to communicate in photos, it is just how magnificent this place is. A true place of awe and wonder, and while so close and so accessible, it still feels hidden away, like a special little secret. So now you’re in on the secret. I’ll be sharing more peeks into some of the adventures we got into while on this cruise, but I wanted to have all the bases covered here so you started with all the info, and the questions I keep hearing over and over again! If there’s anything you’d like to ask about our individual ports of call, or anything else, definitely let me know! No go dream of a cruise…

(Video) 8 Things to Know Before You Go Cruising in Alaska - DO NOT book a cruise before watching this video!

Commonly Asked Questions about Cruising to Alaska! (13)
This post is in partnership with Princess Cruises and contains affiliate links.

FAQs

What is included in an Alaskan cruise? ›

The Cruise portion of your trip will include:

7 Night Alaska Glacier or Inside Passage Cruise. Deluxe Accommodations on the ship. All meals onboard including 24 hour room service. Coffee, Tea, Milk, Juice, non-bottled water.

What is the best month to sail to Alaska? ›

Traditionally, July and August have been considered the best time to cruise to Alaska, as these months offer warm sun, long days, and abundant wildlife.

Do you have to go through customs on an Alaskan cruise? ›

Bringing proper proof of citizenship including passports, visas, photo identification is the responsibility of the guest. Any guest traveling without proper documentation will be denied boarding by the cruise ship and no refund of the cruise fare will be issued by the cruise line or WMPH Vacations.

Why are cruises an excellent option for Alaska? ›

A cruise is the best way to see Alaska because you'll have a viewing advantage where wildlife roams in their natural habitat. You may even wake up to views of eagles or whales outside your cabin window. Look for harbor seals lounging in drifting icebergs and Stellar sea lions hanging out in groups on craggy outcrops.

How much money should you bring on a cruise? ›

What Is The Average Amount of Cash to Bring on a Cruise? On a cruise, most guests bring between $100-$120 in cash per day to be spent on transportation, tips, gifts, food, and shopping. In a survey of 850 cruisers, 71% stated that they took over $100 per person per day when cruising.

What side of ship is best for Alaska cruise? ›

Northbound Alaska cruises sail up the coastline through the Inside Passage and along Hubbard Glacier, so your best view of Alaska's scenic landmasses are likely on the starboard side of the ship. Southbound Alaska cruises are the opposite.

Is it worth upgrading to a balcony on a cruise? ›

Larger balconies may have loungers and an actual dining table where you can enjoy a private meal. Some cruisers consider a balcony an unnecessary upgrade. They are just as content to book a cheaper cabin and don't mind jockeying for a lounge chair on the open decks.

What is the average cost of a 7 day Alaska cruise? ›

A 7-night Alaska Cruise can cost anywhere from $500 per person to $5000+ per person, depending on the type of cruise ship and your choice of stateroom. Alaska land tours with 3-star hotels, train travel, and popular day tours generally cost around $300 per person per day, based on double occupancy.

Are Alaskan cruises cold? ›

Temperatures range on average between fifty and sixty degrees with mostly cool afternoons and evenings and chilly mornings and mid-day hours. The late nights and early mornings can be very cold, but these are also the hours when most people are asleep in their cabins.

What documents do I need to travel to Alaska? ›

U.S. citizens and residents do not need a passport to go to Alaska by air. However, from May 3, 2023, U.S. citizens ages 18 and above will need Real-ID Compliant identification to travel by air within the United States. This involves presenting a state-issued real ID, U.S. passport, military ID, etc.

Do customs check cruise ships? ›

When your cruise ship arrives at its disembarkation port, local immigration officials need to clear the ship before anyone can disembark. Ships that terminate in U.S. ports may require passengers to fill out Customs forms and show their passports to border control in the cruise terminal.

Does a cruise count as leaving the country? ›

U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises will be able to enter or depart the country with proof of citizenship, such as an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL), a government-issued birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where he or she was born) or passport, and if 16 or older, a government ...

What is the best time for an Alaskan cruise? ›

Alaskan cruise season is May through September with July and August being the highest season attracting the most travelers. Convention holds that the best months to cruise Alaska are July and August when the temperatures are at their highest and the weather is generally sunnier.

What make Alaska one of the best cruising destination? ›

6 Compelling Reasons to Cruise to Alaska Now
  1. You Can Take Your Pick of Cruise Line. ...
  2. It's Quite Possibly the Most Multigenerational Destination. ...
  3. You'll Experience Unparalleled Access to Ice and Wildlife. ...
  4. The Shore Excursions Are on Another Level. ...
  5. It's the Perfect Excuse for a Pre- or Post-Cruise Land Tour.

Where do most Alaskan cruises start? ›

There are 4 ports that most Alaska cruises depart from: Seattle, Vancouver, Seward and Whittier.

How do you get free stuff on a cruise? ›

How to Get Free Stuff on a Cruise
  1. Typically held the first day or two onboard, these giveaways entice cruisers to swing by and check out the goods. ...
  2. Spa raffles might give away everything from free personal training to a complimentary massage. ...
  3. Get onstage. ...
  4. Attend an art auction. ...
  5. Prove loyalty. ...
  6. Book the right cabin.

Is water free on a cruise? ›

Upscale, luxury cruise lines and river cruise lines include bottled water in your stateroom, in eating facilities, at the gangway in port and often on excursions at no additional charge. In some of those cases, water in your stateroom is provided in refillable glass carafes or bottles.

What should I bring on my first day of cruise? ›

CRUISE CARRY-ON BAG: Things you NEED for the first day of your cruise

What deck is best on a cruise ship? ›

The higher the deck, the better and, often, more panoramic the view. Cabins on top decks aren't always the best on the ship, but many suites and specialty cabin categories are typically located on upper decks.

Are aft facing balconies better? ›

The view from an aft balcony is of the ship's wake; the view from side balconies is better for viewing the port (and late-returning pier runners). Aft cabins can feel more movement from the ship's thrusters; this is true whether your balcony looks aft or faces to the side at the back end of the ship.

Is it better to be in front or back of cruise ship? ›

The back of the ship tends to be considered the next best cabin position after midships. Whilst the front of the ship gets the most movement the back also does get some. Whilst it's nowhere near as bad as the front of the ship, you may still notice some movement in rough seas.

Are the seas rough on an Alaskan cruise? ›

Rough Waters: The majority of sailing on an Alaska cruise is done in the protected waters of the Inside Passage, but ships sailing to Seward, Whittier or Anchorage must cross the Gulf of Alaska, which is much rougher. Cruise staffers say the gulf gets especially bad after Labor Day, in the shoulder season.

What is the best floor to stay on a cruise ship? ›

On the typical ship, the top deck of cabins is directly below the pool and activity decks, which can be noisy during the day and even into the night (yes, the noise sometimes will waft through your ceiling). The cabin deck just below that top deck of cabins can be a good choice.

How much do you tip baggage handlers on a cruise? ›

Give the luggage handler a $2- $5 tip per bag, depending upon size, weight and amount of luggage.

How much money should I take on an Alaskan cruise? ›

A typical Alaska Cruise can cost between $600 and $5,000 per person, depending on the length of your cruise, the type of cruise you choose, and your room choice.

What is the cheapest month to cruise to Alaska? ›

The Alaska cruise season typically runs from late April to late September, and the cheapest months to cruise to Alaska are during the shoulder season months of April, May, and September. Prices tend to be cheaper during shoulder season due to chillier temperatures and the fact that school is still in session.

How much is an all inclusive cruise to Alaska? ›

AlaskaCruises.com from iCruise.com has all-inclusive Alaska cruise packages that include air, hotel, cruise, and more. Cruises take place on Regent Seven Seas Cruises and start at $4,799 per person. For that price, you can expect: Airfare, a night at the Hilton Anchorage, and transfers/baggage handling.

What do you wear on an Alaskan cruise dinner? ›

Turn up the formality level for a smart casual dinner by wearing dress pants with a dress shirt and jacket; no tie required. Don polished loafers or dress shoes. If your Alaskan itinerary calls for formal nights, wear a dark suit with a tie and polished dress shoes.

Is it warm enough to swim on an Alaskan cruise? ›

Is There a Warm Swimming Area? If you're getting on a cruise ship, you likely have thoughts of swimming pools, sunbathing, and lounging around with a drink in your hand. Things aren't quite like that on an Alaskan cruise. Even on warm days it doesn't get that warm on the ship… and nights can be downright cold.

Can you use the pool on Alaska cruises? ›

The only indoor pool on the ship is in the Haven area. They will have all pools and hot tubs open during the Alaska sailings.

What is the average cost of Alaskan cruise? ›

A 7-night Alaska Cruise can cost anywhere from $500 per person to $5000+ per person, depending on the type of cruise ship and your choice of stateroom. Alaska land tours with 3-star hotels, train travel, and popular day tours generally cost around $300 per person per day, based on double occupancy.

How much is an Alaskan cruise for 7 days? ›

Seven-day Alaska roundtrip cruises cost about $580-$2,660 for an interior cabin per person, double occupancy, depending on sailing date, choice of stateroom and cruise line.

Is food free on cruise? ›

Your cruise fare always includes food for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a cruise ship. However, not all venues that offer food will be free. The main dining room and cruise ship buffet will always be included in your cruise fare, though a few specialty items might cost extra.

Are Alaskan cruises more casual? ›

Alaskan cruises are by nature more casual than you'll find many other cruise destinations. You'll want to consult your cruise itinerary to find out more about clothing recommendations and if there are formal nights during your cruise. While formal nights are generally optional, they are a great deal of fun!

Videos

1. Alaska Frequently Asked Questions - John Hall's Alaska
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2. Really dumb Alaska cruise questions answered!
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3. Alaska Life: Your Questions Answered
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4. Best and Worst Time to Cruise Alaska
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5. Alaska cruising for 2021 & top health & safety questions
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6. If You're CRUISING to ALASKA - WATCH THIS | Alaska Cruise Excursion Guide
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