Alaska Small Ship Cruises

Searching the internet for small ships cruising in Alaska brings up many companies with ‘small’ ranging from 6 to 380 passengers.  What’s clear is that they are not the huge all singing all dancing super liners that sail the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, these ships would simply be too big to dock here, but it can still mean more than you or I may consider to be ‘small’.

Alaskan Cruising

The Alaskan cruise season is generally between late April and mid September and offers trips to the Hubbard Glacier on the Alaskan coast, Prince William Sound famous not only for its glaciers but sea lions and bald eagles, the Inside passage covering 1,000 miles of bays, islands and fjords, and Glacier Bay, a protected area with visitor numbers controlled by permits; as the name suggests the area is full of cracking glaciers often called the ‘White Thunder’.  On most trips visitors can expect to see waterfalls and fjords, humpback and orca whales, brown bears, puffins, otters and all different kinds of birdlife.

Advantages of Small Ship Cruises

Whatever their size ships will depart from Vancouver, Seattle, Juneau or Anchorage and offer short cruises for anything from 4 nights up to two weeks.  Cruises can be one way or there and back, some will give an overall view, others will be more specific.  The small ships are in a position to offer very specialist cruising with some even having the opportunity of heading out into the open waters in your very own kayak, this leaves behind the larger ships which are more confined to visiting the bigger more popular ports of call.  The smaller ships are also able to offer a better overall experience; there are certainly advantages to being part of a small group taking an excursion into a small town or fjord, rather than being part of a group of over a thousand people descending on the area. Ships with under 150 guests are also able to enter the small channels and waterways such as the Misty Fjords National Monument, visitors can then go even further into the inlets and coves by zodiac to witness soaring granite cliffs covered with misty clouds and its slopes covered in lush rainforests, very peaceful and full of interesting flora and fauna.

Points to Ponder

We’ve covered the advantages of cruising on a small ship in Alaska there are perhaps one or two disadvantages as well.  The small ships tend to be more expensive, there’s less space so they get booked up more quickly and paying more doesn’t necessarily mean more comforts.  The smaller vessels tend to have fewer amenities such as entertainment and choice of places to eat; however, let’s hope that what you’ve really come to see is the outstanding nature and landscape and not necessarily the ships latest show production.

Related posts:

  1. Swan Hellenic Cruises: Small Ship Cruising
  2. Cruising in Canada and New England

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