Alaska is on almost everyone’s travel bucket list for retirement. But in the last few years, some new, VERY family friendly ships have made their summer homes in Alaska. I would like to encourage you to consider taking your family on an Alaska cruise this summer.
Embrace the Journey Travel has arranged a large number of family groups to visit Alaska, and they have come back and RAVED about the wonderful time they experience in this amazing, natural destination. Some guests have had so much fun, they have rebooked for another Alaskan cruise to visit “Nature’s Playground”.
Here are a few tips on picking an Alaskan cruise for your family:
#1 When to sail to Alaska:
The Alaska Cruise season runs from April to September each year. If your kids are younger and can miss school or they are homeschooled, the prices are usually less expensive in early April to mid-May or September. When school is in, we call this shoulder season for Alaska travel. Although the weather is normally cooler for May and September dates, the crowds are smaller than too.
If you pick Mid-June – Mid-August you will see summer in full effect for Alaska; the Salmon may be spawning, the flowers are blooming, and you usually get a little less rain, and have more chance of sunny days. You can’t go wrong with either season.
#2 Which sailing do you pick? Inside Passage, Gulf of Alaska, or Cruise tours:
We normally help families plan 3 types of cruises. The first and most popular for us is the round trip Seattle or round trip Vancouver sailings. These are very easy for family groups as you fly in and out of one airport. These cruises normally sail to a combo of these ports Juneau, Skagway, or Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, British Columbia. You typically spend one entire day sailing to Glaciers.
If you do not have a passport and don’t plan to get one you will want to sail round trip to Seattle. At this time you are not required to have a passport for roundtrip Alaska cruise sailing from Seattle. (this is subject to change at any time) This is a great choice especially for first time Alaska cruisers. We do highly suggest flying in the day before your cruise.
Then, there are what we call open-jawed cruises where you sail out of one port and into another for Alaska. These normally sail in or out of Vancouver and then Seward or Whittier Alaska.
These cruises normally spend two days sailing to Glaciers and give you more time in ports depending on the sailing. These are fantastic for a guest who wants to spend more time in port, see more Glaciers and travel a deeper into Alaska. The main disadvantages for families is you do need to fly longer to get into Alaska for either your arrival or departure.
Then the third type of Alaskan cruise we plan often are Cruise Tours, where you take a cruise and land tour. This is an AMAZING way to see Denali National Park and more mainland Alaska and get on an iconic Alaskan Cruise to see Coastal Alaska. I suggest that your kids are 5 and up for the cruise tour, if you have a 5 years old or below I would suggest the round trip Seattle or Vancouver.
#3 Picking your ship:
For families, there are some great new ships that are bigger with lots of family activities onboard. Norweigan has 2 new ships for the 2019 season, the NCL Bliss and Joy will both be sailing in Alaska this year and the ships are packed full of fun stuff for families to do. There are rooms that hold 5 guests and studios that hold one guest, there truly is a room type for all types of families.
These are a few of the fun things for families onboard these ships:
- Onboard Race Track
- It boasts virtual reality and laser tag
- It features an outdoor promenade, The Waterfront
- It has an exclusive retreat called, The Haven
- It has a wide array of dining options. Hopefully, everyone in the family will find something they like to eat.
In order to get the most from your Alaskan cruise and not worry about the hassle of planning your vacation, we suggest working with a travel professional who specializes in Alaska Land and Cruises like us 😉 You can begin your adventure here.
Here are some bonus tips once your cruise is booked:
#4 Shore Excursions are a must, read more about why here.
#5 Packing for your Alaskan Cruise, these are our top tips.
#6 Always remember to check the local weather forecast.
#7 When in Juneau, eat at Tracy’s Crab Shack! You can thank me later!!