Planning An Alaskan Cruise

Alaska CruiseThis time of year, the vacation of choice for many people comes in the form of an Alaskan cruise. Alaska is a spectacular state renowned for its breathtaking views and thrilling wildlife encounters. However, planning Alaska cruises is often a tedious process. Any hiccup or failure in the course of your planning can make or break the trip. To help you get the most out of your vacation, here are some tips for booking an Alaskan cruise.

Time it Right, Pay Less

In the start of the cruise season, which is typically between May and September, many cruise lines offer steep discounts on many Alaskan trips. They may also offer additional free amenities on these trips. When you’re planning your cruise, try booking either very early or late in the cruise season to get the best possible pricing. Some cruise-planning experts recommend booking your cruise about three months prior to your intended departure date. This helps ensure that your price is locked in and that you’re not stuck with what’s left of the cabins after they’ve been picked over.

Your Itinerary

Generally, there are two different kinds of itinerary for Alaska cruises: Round-trip and one-way. The benefits of a round-trip cruise is that you can schedule your trip closer to the date of departure. Numerous flights are coming in an out of major Alaskan cruise boarding ports on a daily basis, which means headache-free travel for you. These flights also tend to be less expensive because they’re not as long.

With a one-way itinerary, you’ll be able to experience Alaska’s interior during any of the scheduled land tours. Many Alaskan cruise lines choose to expand their trips by providing tours of this great state. If you’re considering a one-way itinerary, it’s important to bear in mind that trains, buses and even lodgings often become sold out early on because of the influx of other tourists around the peak of the tourism season. For guaranteed availability, it’s strongly recommended to book these things well in advance, at least 90 days.

Dressing for the Occasion

The Alaskan weather is widely known for its unpredictable nature. Although July and August see the warmest weather this far north, the daytime highs are typically only in the 60s. Rain is also common during this time, but don’t let that stop you. The fact that the weather in Alaska is unreliable highlights the importance of choosing the right clothing.

Ideally, you should pack in a way that leaves you prepared for anything. Sweaters, sweat shirts, long pants, hats, gloves and coats are all highly recommended. For days when the weather is a bit more pleasant, you should also have some lighter clothing handy, such as shorts and a t-shirt.

Of course, you’ll also need to consider how you’re going to dress when you’re below deck. Some cruise lines have a dress code, so check with the company before booking an Alaskan cruise to find out what sort of dress, if any, they require. Formal parties and dinners are also common on these ships, so try to bring at least one appropriate outfit.

Passports and Documentation

When you’re making a list of everything you need to bring with you on your trip, don’t forget to jot down your passport, ID and other important documents. If you’re a U.S. citizen flying to Canada for departure, you and everyone in your group will be required to have a passport. You will need it again upon re-entry of the United States, regardless of whether you’re traveling by air or land. If you’re bringing minor children along, they will also require a standard passport for air travel. If they’re under 16 and traveling with you by land, however, a passport card or birth certificate will be sufficient, but it won’t allow them to fly.

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