There are hundreds of reasons to cruise Alaska, truly America’s last frontier. On any bucket list trip to Alaska, expect to see nature at her best: calving glaciers, bears, eagles and, of course, Humpback whales in Glacier Bay.
Why go now? Because this summer, there are 10 more reasons to put Alaska cruises back on the bucket list.
1. Cruise Safety Protocols Exceed Those at Home
The CDC’s relaxed public health guidelines acknowledge the cruise industry’s multi-layered approach to health and safety. From pre-boarding testing to contactless check-in and apps to book your onboard activities, safety features span the entirety of the cruise experience. That doesn’t mean ships won’t be full. Experts are forecasting 1.5 million people to cruise before the Alaska cruise season ends in September.
2. The CDC Says Cruising Is Safe
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently modified their travel guidance and removed COVID-19 warnings, especially for the vaccinated. Guidelines now stipulate cruise ships should sail with 90% of passengers aged 5 and older and 95% of crew vaccinated. Embarking passengers must present a negative COVID-19 test. Passengers who are not vaccinated may be required to wear masks at certain events. Families with toddlers may find that with so many on board vaccinated and tested, there is no safer vacation option.
3. Alaska Bound Ships Are the Newest and Best
There are no bigger players in Alaska than Holland America, celebrating its 75th season, and Princess Cruises, with more than 50 years sailing Alaskan waters. Each will have six ships in Alaska this summer, including Princess’ newest Medallion Class Ship, the 3,660-guest Discovery Princess.
Innovative Princess suites have bathtubs for those traveling with young children; other ships have dedicated family staterooms sleeping up to five guests.
4. Thrilling Experiences When You Cruise Alaska
Cruises offer more immersive activities than ever, for kids and adults alike. You may meet sled dog puppies or interact with raptors from the Alaska Raptor Center who come onboard. Just one caveat: organized programming is always subject to change and certain activities may not be available for children too young to be vaccinated.
5. Cruise Alaska For Real Life Learning
Alaska is the destination where kids and grandkids learn as well as have fun. Youth programs deliver on that promise with special activities, guest experts at every port and more. Supervised programs also accommodate those with special needs. Princess Cruises, for example, has special Discovery at Sea activities inspired by “Animal Planet.” Teens might get dance lessons from the professional onboard entertainers.
6. Come Home With The Tallest Fish Tale Ever
Have you always wanted to fish in Alaska? Join a fishing shore excursion on Princess or Holland America and you can have your catch served to you at dinner. Catching King (Chinook), Sockeye or Coho salmon is as much of the Alaska adventure as eating just-caught halibut.
Carnival Cruise Line, which carries more children than any other, will have three ships in Alaska. Their “Alaska Fishing & Wilderness Dining” excursion welcomes fishers from age 5!
7. Dine Well When You Cruise Alaska
The pandemic pause gave many cruise lines a chance to up their culinary game. Holland America, for example, offers exclusive FOOD & WINE shore excursions during which guests can chow down at a crab feast or sample Anchorage’s craft beer. Cruise Alaska with Princess to treat yourself or your recent college grads to a Creamy Cinnamon Moonshine, Glacial chilled Martini or a tasting of local spirits from Alaska distilleries.
All six Princess ships feature “Wild for Alaska Seafood” menus with 30 new seafood entrees. Save your appetite for salmon as well as wild Alaska cod (caught by hook and line only), rockfish, Dungeness crabs, wild spot prawns and razor clams.
8. Canada Is Back as a Port of Call
The Canadian government has reopened its borders. Beautiful British Columbia is where many Alaska cruises used to start or end. During the pandemic, embarkation was limited to the domestic homeports of Seattle, Anchorage (Whittier) or San Francisco. Now, Holland America’s MS Koningsdam, the latest Pinnacle Class ship, will be sailing from Vancouver for the first time. If you’re bound for that bucket list Alaska adventure, plan to add some vacation days in Vancouver, BC.
9. Grandparents Should Plan Reunions at Sea
A cruise ship should host your first post-pandemic family reunion, especially a multi-generational one. Why? Because it’s easy. Families appreciate the opportunity to pack and unpack once, the option for many different adventures ashore and the activities for all ages aboard. Remember, there are free organized kids’ and teens’ programs so adults can have some guilt-free time together. Plus, dining options suit everyone.
10. Find Cruise Bargains For Summer 2022
The cruise industry is back, a bit different and, in many ways, better. Ships are constantly being polished and sanitized. Cabins are better designed. There are more dining options outdoors, indoors and out, with tables spaced to maintain social distancing.
After two very lean years, many new ships are making their maiden voyages. With so much capacity – and travel restrictions limiting foreigners who dream of cruising Alaska -– cruising is a bargain all-inclusive vacation. Consider what your family needs and wants most aboard. A travel advisor who is an Alaska cruise expert can help you sort out the options and find the best one for you.
And you likely will find plenty of deals on everything from upgrades to on-board credits, free Wi-Fi, specialty dining and drink packages.
Author Eileen Ogintz is a syndicated columnist and an avid cruiser. She contributed this post on behalf of sponsor, TakingtheKids.com.