What You Can Expect From Alaskan Cruises

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MIKE SELVON asked:

Thousands of miners left Seattle to pain for gold and fortune in Alaska during the 1890s. Today, more than 835,000 passengers are expected to pass through Seattle on their way to Alaska on Alaskan cruises. Most come for the quiet, untainted scenery or the rare wildlife sightings.

Some visit to learn about the American Eskimo, to take an Alaskan husky dogsled excursion or to feast on Alaskan king crab. With so many quaint port towns and over fifteen cruise lines heading to the glacial waters this season, why not make Alaska your next vacation destination?

“People go to Alaska to see wildlife for a reason, but you see it in many ways and in many circumstances,” said Erik Elvejord, spokesman for Holland America Line. “Don’t expect a lineup of bears when you hit the pier, or pods of whales everywhere the ship goes.” Seeing wildlife in Alaska while on a cruise is all about careful planning, Alaskans say.

While animals won’t be flocking toward the ship, you can visit one of the port stop towns for guaranteed sightings. Carnival Cruise Lines recommends the Sea Otter Quest in Sitka, for example, because there’s a 100% guarantee you’ll see these playful creatures. Holland America recommends the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest in Auke Bay because humpback and orca feeding grounds are located right amid the Alaskan cruise route.

Bears can be a little more hit-or-miss, wildlife experts say. You can take a $100 “Bear Search” at 7am in Icy Strait Point, although there’s no guarantee you’ll spot one. Or you can take a $300 – $1,600 fly-in adventure to Pack Creek on Admiralty Island, Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park or the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, where bears reliably come to feed on salmon.

This summer, you can find some great deals on Alaskan cruises if you know where to look! Since so many people flood Europe during the summer, you can find great savings. For instance, Holland America Line offers 7-night premium cruises (with stops in Juneau, the Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria), with prices starting at $699, down from $1,629! Summer is actually a great time to visit Alaska because the bears are out catching spawning salmon, there are many summer festivals, the flowers are in bloom, the days are longer and the weather’s mild.

If you’re looking to book Alaskan cruises, then you can choose a mega-ship like Holland America, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises or Royal Caribbean. Or you may want a mid-size vessel like Regent Seven-Seas Cruises or Silversea Cruises. Smaller vessels include American Safari Cruises (36 passengers), Cruise West (120), Discovery Voyages (20), Majestic America (220), Maple Leaf Adventures, Lindblad Expeditions or The Boat Company.

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