To cruise or not to cruise Alaska.....
In May my family and I took a cruise to Alaska. The ship left out of Vancouver and ended in Seward. Alaska is by far one of the most beautiful places I have been to. The rich beauty offered by nature is unquestionably astounding in every way. It was every bit as breathtaking as I thought it would be. The following is my list of pros and cons about traveling by cruise to Alaska.
You can see a great deal of Alaska in such a short time. There is always a gorgeous backdrop. One of the most coveted areas of the boat was the back deck. It was an amazing view each night around 11pm on the back deck because it was dusk all night long.
You can also see wildlife from the boat. This is a very very soar subject for me, because I went with every intention of seeing breaching whales and porpoises. This is did not happen. I am not sure if It was the time of year or if it was just my luck. What really made this sting for me were the amount of people running around screaming an bragging about all the whales they saw. I saw one whale come to the surface and two whales spout out of their blow holes. That was it. No orca, this was the most heartbreaking for me. However, I do believe if I sat out and just watched I would have seen more, just like everyone else.
I never had to carry my wallet, I could eat at anytime, and it was a great way to see Alaska. Like all cruises I take I always feel like there isn't enough time in port, but then again I feel that about everywhere I go.
One of the really cool things about cruising Alaska was Glacier Bay National Park. The ship travelled through the park with a park ranger as a guide on board. The entire time he was using the loud speaker to inform everyone of what they were looking at, and described the history of the glaciers. The boat would even do a complete turn in front of the glaciers and allowed time for photographs.
Everyone in Alaska is the most helpful person in the world, and they all love Alaska and want you to love it as much as they do.
The ports were not flooded by other cruise ships.
It also offered a child friendly atmosphere.
I did think that the boat was a little small. I have a strong feeling Alaska is where the cruise lines send their boats before they are officially docked. The average age was 58, so most people on the cruise were pushing retirement. (There were only two babies on board, mine and someone else. The entire crew knew both their names )
When choosing excursions it can be really hard. Its not like snorkeling on Caribbean cruises. With those one snorkel is the same as the other it just depends if you want rum punch or not. However, the Alaskan excursions were very intriguing and all seemed like a blast. The prices I thought were really high. I got a strong feeling the locals don't love dealing with the cruise ship companies, but I did find that you could book the same excursions for cheaper and there were many excursions that were not offered to the cruise ships. It is disappointing to think about the rising cost. Your excursions could easily total more than the cost of your cruise.
When you are traveling with a 1 year old, who walks like she has had one too many glasses of Chardonnay on a regular basis, the cruise ship will prove to be a difficult playground. My daughter was right at those early walking stages and it was hard to let her wander with such bad balance. She was really great about riding in her stroller, but she really wanted to try walking around. This was really the only downfall to cruising with a 1 year old. Other than the constant urge to get out of her stroller if it wasn't moving, she was a trooper. Everything was easy. We never needed formula or baby food because she ate what we ate and drank milk and water. This made packing so much easier. If she was slightly older it would have been much easier for her to walk around.
Transportation in Seward is tough because some cruise ships just started docking there, and the low population. The cruise line has a train that takes you directly too Anchorage, but I was headed to a hotel about 2 hours away. Originally I wanted to wander around Seward, but it really wasn't working out time wise so I chose to grab a taxi and head to the hotel.
I do think a cruise is a great way to see Alaska, but if I went back I would easily travel by car just to see it differently.