Sep 19, 2012 14:53 - holly | 1,328 views
The Alaska cruise industry is one of the biggest and most promising in the world. Year after year, Alaska cruise operators report huge increases in passengers who come to witness the beauty of the Inside Passage, and the major Alaskan cities report receiving thousands of visitors on a daily basis thanks to the cruise ships that consider those cities an important port of call.
While Alaska is much more than glaciers, secluded wilderness and extreme sports (the shopping in Juneau, for example, is extraordinary), it’s really these aspects that draw visitors to the state. Alaska cruise lines realize this, and many travelers will find the typical Alaska cruise itinerary slightly different to those of cruises in other parts of the world. The cruise ships that sail Alaska routes are floating cities with everything passengers could want, but they may not always have the latest technologies that ships in Europe or the Caribbean offer. Why? Because a large amount of Alaska cruise passengers want to be spending more time in the great outdoors!
Existing Alaska cruise operators have begun offering ‘uncruises’ offering an alternative style of cruising, while other major cruise operators are focusing more on exciting shore excursions than providing an unrivalled onboard experience. Alaska cruise itineraries are evolving to the point where the cruise is merely a method of transportation between exciting daily adventures. The entertainment and restaurants remain top class, but travelers may find fewer formal nights (no need for a cocktail dress or tuxedo, and more space in the case for the hiking boots!) and some traditional cruise ship shows replaced with nature talks and educational activities.
Many Alaska cruise itineraries typically hit land on each day of the adventure and offer a range of excursions that aren’t often available during cruises in other regions. Some excursions are more gentle than others, featuring kayaking throughout the icebergs and hiking through the Alaskan wilderness, while other excursions are for the fearless only, with glacier hiking, rock climbing and dog sledding experiences.
This alternative Alaska cruise itinerary effortlessly blends the big city last frontier state with the hidden outback, combining destinations such as Juneau and Ketchikan with Frederick Sound and Tracy Arm. Cruises may be smaller and more intimate than other popular cruises, some boasting an impressive 3:1 passenger to staff ratio. In many cases the luxurious smaller ships feature swimming pools and jacuzzis that allow for easy unwinding after a long and busy day in the great outdoors.
Fortunately, passengers won’t need to bring their own equipment, with rowing boats, paddle boards, fishing rods and kayaks all provided either by the cruise line or by local companies, but will need to remember to pack a suitcase that’s a little bit different than required on a traditional Alaska cruise. Hiking gaiters, waterproof boots, athletic wear and warm jackets are all necessities!
The aim is to appeal to those who would be uninterested in a traditional Alaska cruise exclusively visiting the big cities and offering city-based sightseeing and to provide passengers with a sense of connection to the environment rather than being seen as a passing day tripper with money to spend. The focus is really on making the most of the beautiful Alaskan landscape and educating travelers about the natural history of the region, all while having a good time!
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