A number of factors should be taken into consideration when planning an Alaska cruise. You need to decide what season you would prefer to cruise Alaska and what part of Alaska you are interested in visiting. You should also keep in mind that size matters when it comes to Alaska cruise ships. Both large and small have their advantages.
Cruises to Alaska are a seasonal activity. In general, May through September is the best season to cruise Alaska. However, there are a number of smaller companies that send the ships out in April. May is the driest month for an Alaska cruise. It also has the advantage of being one of the least crowded months at the ports. However, if you want to stay warm, it behooves you to plan your cruises to Alaska for June, July or August.
Your next step in planning your Alaska cruise vacation is deciding where you want to go. Inside Passage Alaskan cruises sail round trip from Vancouver British Columbia. They usually stop in three or four port towns, which may include Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka or Haines.
In the Gulf of Alaska, Alaskan cruises sail northbound and southbound between Vancouver and Seward. Although their itinerary may be similar to the Inside Passage trip, they may add stops to places like Valdez, Alaska. Although most Alaskan cruise companies travel to similar destinations, the smaller lines may include more wilderness oriented cruises. Your other option for Alaskan cruises is to take a cruise tour. These combine a cruise with a land tour. They are usually the domain of the bigger lines such as Holland America or Princess. If you are looking for a cheap Alaska cruise, they are not a viable option. However, if you are looking for a floating mega-resort, the larger cruise companies will supply you with all the comforts of a dream home.
On the other hand, the large ships are not without their disadvantages. Because of their size, they are unable to slow down to allow you to view wildlife. Also, given the amount of people aboard these ships, when they stop at a port, the town is over wrought with tourists.
Smaller ships may be the closest things you can find to a cheap Alaska cruise. Although they lack amenities, they have some distinct advantages. Their size does not intimidate the wildlife and they are able to reach destinations that are more unique than the ones visited by the larger ships. However, there is one caveat. Smaller ships are less stable. If you are subject to motion sickness, be sure to bring a sufficient supply of Dramamine.