Planning a trip to Alaska
The first thing people ask when we tell them we live in Alaska is, “Is it cold?” After that they immediately fall into a series of questions about planning a trip to Alaska.
Where should we visit in Alaska? How long should we stay in Alaska? How do we get around Alaska?
Alaska is a big state and it’s topography, culture, attractions and weather are vastly diverse. South East Alaska is comprised of the renowned Tongass National Forest, Glacier Bay National Park and a host of small quaint towns and cities where you’ll find an abundance of adventure and culture based activities. South Central Alaska incorporates Alaska’s largest city– Anchorage– and the world famous Kenai Peninsula. Hiking, fishing, glaciers, wildlife viewing are the most popular activities in this region. Further inland you’ll find the Alaska rage and Interior Alaska with North America’s tallest peak– Denali. Fairbanks is the largest city in the interior and offers a wide variety of activities including dog sledding, hiking and hot springs. Fairbanks is also a great jumping off point for Arctic exploration as you can take a variety of excursions up to the Arctic Circle and Gates of the Arctic National Park from here.
In order to get the best Alaska experience we want our clients to do and see it all. The best way to do this is a combination one way cruise to or from Seward/Whittier with a inland journey. Ideally you should plan on a seven day cruise and a 4-7 day land portion. For those who are on a budget though, a seven day round trip cruise will give you an in depth look at south east Alaska– this is how we spent our first trip to the state. And finally, if you don’t want to cruise Christopher Travel suggests focusing on a land tour of South Central and the Interior of Alaska.
Regardless of how you choose to see Alaska, Christopher Travel will help match you with the perfect cruise line and/or land itinerary for your budget and traveling needs.
There are as many different types of cruise lines as their are types of travellers, but the following categories give you an overview of what is available. Most cruise lines do not fall perfectly into a single category so please ask us to help you find the best Alaska Cruise for you.
This is for true adventurers who also appreciate the finer luxuries in life. These smaller vessels appeal to adults of any age who are active and looking to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of Alaska. Because of their smaller size they can visit more remote ports and offer a very personalized cruise. Most expedition cruises have on board naturalists and adventure guides to educate guests both before and during zodiac excursions. Expedition cruises also boast some of the world’s finest cuisine and a luxurious onboard atmosphere so you can explore all day and come back to pure bliss and relaxation.
Traditional Luxury Cruising:
These vessels offer a refined experience that captures the essence of a classic cruise. You’ll find exquisite cuisine, white glove service and an elegant atmosphere on board. These ships are more likely to have things like formal night and evening dress codes for certain venues. They are less likely to appeal to families with children and younger adults.
Some luxury lines have adopted a more modern version of the traditional luxury cruise experience. Dress codes are more relaxed and formal nights are optional, but there is still an overall feeling of sophistication. Contemporary luxury cruises are more likely to offer some services for children like kids clubs and adjoining cabins.
Upscale Contemporary Cruising:
Although their suite class and higher end rooms offer a similar atmosphere to the more luxury brands contemporary cruises appeal to a wider range of budgets. Service on board is fantastic and there is usually an abundance of children’s activities and a wide range of family friendly services.
These ships are the most budget friendly. The aren’t as all inclusive as the more expensive cruise lines, but they still offer top notch service and great food. Families usually love contemporary cruises because they are easier on the wallet and they provide a fun vacation for the whole family.
Organized Land Tours
Organized land tours work best for people who prefer to sit back and relax and enjoy the adventure without having to worry about getting themselves around the state. Whether by rail, air, or motorcoach organized tours are a very efficient way to see the best Alaska has to offer. Small group tour operators appeal to all types of travelers from those with mobility impairments to hard core adventure enthusiasts. Group tours can also be a fun way to meet other travelers with similar vacation styles.
Renting a car and driving around Alaska offers a great way to see and explore on your own. With a multitude of beautiful unnamed and unknown places to stop everywhere you go in Alaska this option gives you flexibility to meander a bit more off the beaten path. It’s also a perfect option for families with younger kids who may not be up for the schedule of a organized tour. One thing to consider though is that Alaska roads can be a challenge so you really need to do your homework when planning an Alaska road trip.
Back Country Lodges
Most of Alaska is “off the road system” and only accessible by plane and/or boat. Spending time totally Fly-in Back Country Lodges are the experience of a lifetime and are truly the quintessential Alaska experience. Most offer everything from fishing and bear viewing to kayaking and hiking all in one location. If it’s in your budget a back country lodge experience is really the best Alaska has to offer.
Some people like a combination of on your own and with a group and we can arrange that too. One of the best ideas is to combine a luxury back country lodge stay with a more adventurous small group tour so you get the best of both worlds.
Christopher Travel will help you plan your trip to Alaska
There are a million different ways to see the state of Alaska and each one will create the memories of a lifetime. Christopher Travel will help you find a customized option that works best for you. Make an appointment with us and let’s start planning
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