Frequently Asked Questions
What will I see on my Alaska cruise?
An Alaska cruise gives you the opportunity to see Wildlife, Wilderness, Mountains and Glaciers, Alaska's natural beauty as well as a chance to enjoy attractions and museums that relate to the Native American Culture and Gold Rush History that is unique to the area.
On an Alaska cruise you may see:
Wildlife - moose, caribou, Dall sheep, grizzly bears, puffin, seals, humpback and killer whales, and eagles and more.
Mountains - 7 of the tallest mountains in North America are located in Alaska and the Yukon, some of which are visible from your cruise ship. To see Mt. Denali, North America's largest mountain, you'll need to take a cruise tour into Denali National Park.
Wilderness - rafting trips, salmon bakes, horse backing trips, fishing tours and hikes can take you into some of the most beautiful wooded areas you'll ever see. You can also take a helicopter to the glacier, where you will stop and get out and walk on the glacier and then later fly to top of mountain where your dog sled awaits. That is an excursion you will remember forever!
Glaciers - depending on your itinerary, you will see one or more of these glacier areas: Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord, Mendenhall Glacier, or the glaciers of College Fjord.
History - all of Alaska is rich with Native American and Gold Rush history. Totem Bight Park, the White Pass Railroad are just a few of the many attractions you can see.
You'll see many of these right from your cruise ship or on your own. Or, you can enhance your trip by taking an optional Shore Excursion in the different ports of call.
Will Alaska be too cold?
Alaska is our country's northern most state. It's above Canada and close to the North Pole. The cruise ships visit places with lots of ice and you can take tours which give you the opportunity to go dog sledding or trek across a glacier. Temperatures in Alaska vary based on the time of year and the port or city you are visiting. The weather off the ship is unpredictable but here is the average daily high temperature in Alaska major ports and cities:
Most days are very comfortable, but it's important to be prepared for both cold and warm weather. Pack wisely and dress in layers and you should be able to enjoy Alaska whatever the weather conditions may be.
What should I wear on an Alaska cruise?
The key words for dressing for an Alaska Cruise are "comfortable" and "layering." Casual sportswear including windbreakers, pants and jogging suits are well suited both at sea and ashore in Alaska. Remember to bring a sweater or jacket for cool evenings. The weather is unpredictable, and you should plan on bringing a rain-resistant jacket for shore side activities. Light gloves, a hat or visor and sunglasses are also recommended. You'll also want comfortable walking shoes and sandals with a rubber sole as you explore the shores of Alaska.
Alaska Cruises tend to be more casual than other destination. However, many of the contemporary cruise lines still observe formal nights and resort-casual nights Alaska cruises. Smart Casual is similar to what you would wear at home going out to dine at nice restaurant and can include skirts/dresses, slacks, sweaters and blouses for ladies and pants and open neck shirts for men. A jacket and tie are optional. In the dining area, items such as cutoff t-shirts, halter tops and torn jeans are not permitted.
In the evening, ships vary as to dress. As on shore, attire is dictated by occasion. For the Captain's Gala, for example, you'll probably want to wear something more formal, but Alaska is more laid back than any other itinerary. There are those that dress up in dark suit, or cocktail dress; perhaps even a dinner jacket or gown but most people are casual on an Alaskan cruise.
Is it true it doesn't get dark in Alaska?
Alaska is known as the Land of the Midnight Sun because of the really long days you may experience in April through September. It's really quite an experience to be cruising the Inside Passage, and step out onto your private balcony and to enjoy the view at MIDNIGHT and it’s till daylight!
The amount of daylight you experience while in Alaska depends upon where you are and when you travel. Here are the number of average daylight hours in Alaska major ports and cities during the Alaska cruise season:
With this said, you can't use the excuse "there are just not enough hours in the day." Longer days give you even more opportunities to see wildlife and enjoy the natural, pristine beauty of Alaska.
Which side of the ship is best for viewing glaciers?
This is one of the most common questions asked of our agents. Some think that the right side of the ship (starboard side) is better for scenery on a Northbound cruise and the left side (port side) better on a Southbound cruise but this isn't always true. It depends on the itinerary and the scenic opportunity. When cruising the Inside Passage, there is scenery on both sides of the ship and if you are entering the fjords in Alaska, the viewing will be equally good from both sides of the ship. Over the duration of your cruise vacation, you'll see scenery from both sides of the ship.
Should I bring my kids?
Absolutely! Alaska is not only a fabulous, unforgettable vacation destination full of cool, high adventure activities, it's also an unbelievable educational opportunity for the kids. If your children are active and love adventure, they will enjoy an Alaskan cruise.
Several of our cruise line partners who sail Alaska cater to and provide facilities and services for families with children of all ages including toddlers, youth, tweens and teens. This includes extensive kids' programming, kids' facilities, kids' menus and even special Alaska Shore Excursions and activities for kids. And of course, their favorite characters like Dr. Seuss, Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Shrek and more will be aboard, too - and even in port sometimes!
Most cruise lines have staterooms that can accommodate three, four or five passengers in one cabin. This means that children can often travel at substantially reduced rates when they share a stateroom with their parents, making it more affordable to take the whole family to Alaska.