Explore Alaska – America’s final frontier
If you’ve never been to Alaska before then it’s hard to imagine the wonder of it all. Alaska is made up of over 56 million acres of untouched wilderness; in fact, only 4 percent of the land in Alaska is populated. The rest of Alaska promises visions of soaring mountains, vast glaciers and a pristine sea coast. Whether you’re gazing out at the sea or landscape, you’ll encounter wildlife like bald eagles, whales, grizzly bear, moose, caribou, walrus, and countless species of birds and marine life. Watch whales breach and glaciers calve right before your eyes! Explore this page to find the perfect Alaska vacation.
Visit Alaska by land or by sea… or both?
Whether or not to choose an Alaska land vacation or cruise really depends on what kind of experience you want. Some other things to consider are your budget, how much time you have, and the ages and needs of everyone in your party.
Alaska by Land
Alaska land vacations are a great way to experience the state up close and personal. But because the land is so vast, it requires a time commitment. If you’re set on seeing the best of Alaska, be prepared to do a lot of driving. There are tour operators available to escort you to just about anything you want to see and do in Alaska, but choose your excursions wisely. Some require more ability than others. And excursions can be costly as can car rental, gas and lodging. So seeing Alaska by land requires a more generous budget than a cruise vacation. But it’s worth it!
Alaska by land and experience so much more! You’ll be able to take in more of the frontier and the diverse culture of it’s people. Exploring further inland gives you access to so much more of Alaska’s geography and landmarks that you don’t have access to on an Alaskan cruise-only itinerary, like Denali National Park and Mt McKinley, Hatcher Pass, Kodiak Island, and cities of Anchorage and Nome. Spend time fishing and hunting, gazing at the Norther Lights, or visiting the state’s many historical sights and museum.
Alaska by Sea
Alaskan cruises are the most convenient and affordable way to see Alaska. Simply pack and unpack once, and let the ship deliver you to some of the most scenic and historic sites along the inside passage. Alaska’s cruise season is short, operating from mid-May to mid-September. So it’s important to plan early. There are presently over 12 major cruise lines sailing Alaska, but not all cruise ships offer the same experience.
Remember, Alaska is about the destination, not the ship. Choose the cruise itinerary that best meets your travel needs. Why choose a small ship? Well, they can sail where big ships can’t. You’ll be able to view secluded bays and fjords, and smaller ports of call. Although the overall cost is generally higher than a large ship cruise, they are a good value as excursions are usually included in the cost. Small ships cruises provide more immersive experiences and chances to learn about the history, culture and wildlife from local folks. But keep in mind, small ships have smaller cabin space and less amenities, so plan on making the most of your time on land.
Larger cruise ships have a lot more to offer to keep guests pampered and entertained. More dining options, live entertainment, spas, casinos nightclubs, and shopping are just some of the luxuries aboard a larger cruise liners. There’s more for kids to do too. Most large cruise ships provide supervised kids clubs and baby sitting services so adults can enjoy some time to themselves. There is a wider stateroom selection with more room to spread out than on the smaller vessels. Choosing a large ship is a more affordable option but be prepared to pay additional for excursions which can cost $50 and up per person, per excursion.
The best of both worlds, a land and sea package
If you’ve got the time and more room in your budget, you can explore Alaska by land and sea, by extending your vacation with a pre or post-cruise land package. Most cruise lines offer land/ cruise packages that let you experience the best of both worlds for one price. Visit Anchorage, Talkeetna, Seward, and Whittier, and explore sites such as Denali National Park and Kenai Peninsula. Traverse the land via the Alaskan Railroad or take a sea plane to more remote areas. You’ll have so much more time to enjoy all there is to see and do in Alaska by spending a little time inland.
Something for everyone
Alaska is a destination that has something to amaze and enrich everyone, regardless of age or ability. But there are a lot of choices so pre-planning is a must. Take into consideration the age, activity level and interests of everyone in your party. Whether you choose a land vacation, cruise, or a combination of the two, allow time to make the most of your visit. And don’t forget to pack a good camera to capture those unforgettable moments and breathtaking scenery.