2009 Alaska Cruises – Planning and Choosing Your Cruise

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It seems like just yesterday when the 2008 Alaska Cruise season was in full swing. With fall in full gear and winter right around the corner, thoughts of the 2009 Alaska Cruise season are starting to creep in.

Deciding on which itinerary to select from can be a bit of a challenge. To make things clearer, here’s a spin on the selection of small ship Alaska itineraries, in logical groupings.

Beginning & Ending of Cruise Season

In late April/early May and again in late August/early September, the cruise lines position their ships into Alaska. These early/late season itineraries travel between Seattle/Vancounver and Juneau. These itineraries tend to be cheaper than prime time season sailings, yet cover more ground than the other itineraries. The weather during this time period tends to be cooler and drier. If variety and budget are a priority, then definitely consider one of these cruises.

Itineraries:

Short Trips

If a week or more away from home or the office is unbearable, there are some options for you. Especially if a focus on glaciers are of interest, Cruise West offers 3 and 4-night sailing, roundtrip from Juneau, that feature either Glacier Bay National Park or Prince William Sound’s College Fjord.

  • Glacier Bay HighlightsSave up to $600 per cabin! Sail Glacier Bay National Park’s remote and protected waterways, teeming with life. Get up-close with whales, sea lions, bears and sea birds. Sail through ice-studded waters, listening for the thunderous clap of calving glaciers. And learn from National Park Service Rangers and Native Cultural Interpreters about the Park’s thriving flora, fauna and its rich history. More…
  • Glaciers of Prince William SoundSave up to $600 per cabin! Dubbed the “enchanted circle of emerald isles,” the spectacular scenery of Prince William Sound is best explored aboard the Spirit of Columbia. Cruise cliff-walled fjords and narrow passages. listen for the “white thunder” of massive glaciers calving into nutrient rich water. More…

The Inside Passage

Alaska’s Inside Passage is the main focal point to any trip to Alaska. The good new is most itineraries traverse part if not all of this important waterway. Itineraries span from extensive to focused exploration.

Cruise West

  • Alaska’s Inside PassageSave up to $1,100 per cabin! This is Cruise West’s most popular Alaskan cruise itinerary. It covers many of the main ports of calls (Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway) and regions (Glacier Bay National Park) while visiting less frequently visited locations (Petersburg, Sitka, Haines). This is a itinerary for individuals who haven’t visited Alaska before. More…
  • Alaska’s Whales & WildernessSave up to $1,100 per cabin! This itinerary is less focused on ports, visiting only Sitka besides your starting and ending port of Juneau. The emphasis is on Alaska’s endless natural beauty. You’ll spend an entire day in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, visit various wilderness areas, watch whales in Frederick Sound and head up the majestic fjords of Tracy Arm. More…

Lindblad Expeditions

  • Exploring Alaska’s Coastal WildernessComplimentary round-trip group airfare and up to $500 savings! Lindblad Expeditions exploration of Alaska’s Inside passage will be a bit more scientific and active than most. You’ll sail with a group of naturalists and explore remote areas aboard inflatable zodiac. There are opportunities to self-explore via kayaks. There’ll be plenty of whale watching, and learning about Alaska’s rich Native American heritage. A full day is spent in Glacier Bay National Park. More…

American Safari Cruises

  • Voyagers’ Glacier Country – Sail roundtrip from Juneau aboard a luxury yacht, exploring Alaska’s rich beauty in the most intimate way.  Explore via kayak Alaska’s rich wilderness. The focus is on wildlife viewing and experiencing. More…
  • Discoverers’ Glacier Bay – This unique itinerary sails between Juneau to Sitka an features two full days exploring Glacier Bay National Park with a park Naturalist. You;ll also have the opportunity to kayak in the park. More…
  • Naturalists’ Whale Country -Sail between Juneau and Petersburg onboard a luxurious yacht. Kayak in remote bays and experience humpback whales and other native wildlife. More…
  • Adventurers’ Fjords & Bears – Sail between Juneau and Prince Rupert, British Columbia onboard a luxury yacht, exploring Alaska’s natural assets. During your time onboard, there’ll be plenty of unhurried time for watching whales, bears, and other wildlife. You’ll also have the opportunity to take your exploration further, with self-guided kayak exploration of Misty Fjords National Monument. More…

Grand Voyages

If you’re looking for something different, more extensive, consider a grand voyage, covering the Pacific Northwest to the Bering Sea and beyond.

Cruise West

  • Coastal OdysseySave up to $2,200 per cabin! Cruise over 1,600 miles between Vancouver, B.C. and Anchorage, exploring the entire Inside Passage between British Columbia and Glacier Bay National Park, and the spectacular Gulf of Alaska coast. More…
  • Voyage to the Bering Sea –  Save up to $2,200 per cabin! Sail nearly 2,000 miles to some of the most remote and spectacular islands on earth. Every place you go is rarely, if ever, visited by other cruise ships. Here you’ll experience sights, sounds, and people you’ll remember the rest of your life – the white bones of a whalebone repository on the dark tundra, Native cultures who still rely on sealskin kayaks, and wildlife so prolific, the cliffs and shorelines seem to shift and move like a mirage. One day, you may travel by inflatable excursion craft to a wilderness shore to see a grizzly browse alone the beach. Another, search for petrified wood on a deserted beach. Truly a voyage beyond the ordinary. More…
  • In Harriman’s Wake –  Save up to $2,200 per cabin! What do you get when you combine the Coastal Odyssey and Voyage to the Bering Sea itineraries? You get In Harriman’s Wake, a revisits the areas Harriman’s historic expedition explored. This special itinerary, In Harriman’s Wake, a voyage of almost 3,600 miles that takes you between Vancouver, B.C., and Nome, Alaska. In 25 life-changing days, you’ll discover, as the original expedition did, the true wonders of Alaska – its thundering glaciers, its clamoring wildlife, its scenic wonders, and its welcoming people. More…
  • Ring of FireSave up to $1,600 per cabin! Begin your journey to Anchorage, cruise through the Bering Sea past the Aleutians to the Kamchatka Coast, through the Kuril Islands into Japan’s northern islands, ending up in Kobe. Enjoy dramatic scenery, and encounter the region’s ancient cultures and fascinating people whose lives are rarely touched by outsiders. More…

Don’t forget the Land Extensions

As the saying goes, “if you’re going to come this far, you might as well do it up right.” While an Alaskan cruise affords you many of the marine aspects that Alaska has to offer, Alaska does offer a land mass of over 656,424 square miles to explore. And the pinnicle of this exploration is Denali National Park. So why not add-on one of these land extensions to your cruise of a lifetime.

Cruise West

  • Denali National Park: Extend your cruise, either before or after, with a trip to Denali National Park. Starting in Fairbanks, you’ll travel via motorcoach to Denali National Park, staying at a comfortable hotel surrounded by forest not far from Denali Park’s bustling entrance area. This is your base to enjoy optional tours such as flightseeing and river rafting, rollicking evening activities.  Cruise West has created the most flexible tour options in Denali- where you may choose one of three included tours- the Denali Park Tundra Wilderness Tour, Denali History Tour or full-day Kantishna end of the road tour.  There are opportunities on these tours, to seek the great mammals which abound here: grizzly bears, caribou, moose, and Dall sheep, among others.
  • Denali Park plus Prince William Sound: Extend your cruise with a land-tour into expansive and wonderful Denali National Park and Preserve (above). Then enjoy a shorter cruise into the pristine Prince William Sound for the most comprehensive tour available. These cruises are perfect to explore these remote coastlines and hidden inlets. The plankton-rich waters provide the food chain for sea otters, humpback whales, brown bears and a multitude of birds. In Prince William Sound, slowing down to linger and quietly observing nature at its own speed is a must.
  • Extraordinary Alaska Wilderness Lodges: Add an extraordinary – and exclusive – adventure on land to your cruise. Cruise West takes you to a wilderness lodge deep in the backcountry of Denali National Park, or the foothills of the Alaska Range where a true paradise of diversity awaits. Several premium wilderness lodges provide a truly memorable experience in the wilderness.  At Camp Denali, North Face Lodge and Kantishna Roadhouse, you are steps away from wilderness trails, forested hillsides, placid lakes and a host of wildlife-viewing opportunities. At any moment, Mt. McKinley could dazzle you in all its mountain majesty.

Lindblad Expeditions

  • Denali National Park: By staying at North Face Lodge, the most exclusive property in Denali National Park, you’ll be able to travel deep within the park – and remain there. And with space for only eighteen guests on this extension, you know you’ll always be part of a very intimate experience. Winding through the remote Alaska Range, deep into the heart of the park, the “Park Road” offers opportunities to see Denali’s famed wildlife: grizzlies, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, wolves, eagles, and weather permitting, views of magnificent Mt. McKinley. Other highlights include a visit to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum and a ride on the scenic Alaska Railroad.
  • Kenai Peninsula Extension: Fish, hike and whitewater raft in this dramatic landscape. Ride a tram to the top of Mt. Alyeska for an incredible view of glacier-capped mountains. Trek through Chugach National Forest or Kenai National Wildlife Refuge then relax in a wood fired sauna. Visit Anchorage’s acclaimed Alaska Native Heritage Center.

American Safari Cruises

  • Alaska Wilderness Lodge Adventure: Experience Alaska’s interior on a 4-night, 5-day custom land extension that features two remote fly-in wilderness lodges, Winterlake Lodge and Redoubt Bay Lodge. Both lodges offer complimentary wine service and gourmet dining. The itinerary includes suite accommodations at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage; two full days at Winterlake Lodge for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, world-class hiking on the Iditarod Trail, complimentary massage, – even cooking classes, plus optional heli-hiking; and a full day at Redoubt Bay Lodge for a pontoon-boat excursion to a creek where bears feed.
  • Custom Land Tour Extensions: Extend your up-close and unique yacht cruise adventure with a custom land extension to Alaska’s interior. Experience Denali National Park, historic Fairbanks, the famed Alaska Railroad (dome car service), Kenai Fjords, Prince William Sound, the Arctic Circle, river rafting, fishing and wildlife viewing while staying at remote lodges and more. Whether you are interested in a shorter tour in Denali or an extended stay in an Alaskan fishing or wilderness lodge, we can help. Our extensive knowledge and experienced staff provide a complete travel experience. We have long standing relationships in Alaska and British Columbia that enable us to create the perfect land extension to compliment your yacht adventure.

For more information or to book your 2009 Alaska trip of a lifetime, contact Sunstone Tours & Cruises toll-free at 888-815-5428

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3 thoughts on “2009 Alaska Cruises – Planning and Choosing Your Cruise

  1. Hi

    We are looking to book a luxury Alaskan cruise

    We will be in Canada arriving at Vancouver on either 8 or 15 August, and departing from Vancouver either 15 or 22 August

    We have a 9 month old child

    We like the idea of a small cruise boat to get up close to the wildlife

    Do you have a suitable itinerary for us ? and how much would it cost ?

    Thanks
    Stu

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