I have a 1/2 off from Carnival, so I plan on using it for the Alaskan cruise. Is there a better time of year to go. I was looking at May, but is June, July, or August any different? I really want to make the most of it, I plan on taking as many tours as I can, so I assume the weather would be a factor. Additionally, is the North, or South generally considered a better tour? I appreciate your help.
The month of May usually has less rain but the weather is unpredictable at any time so go prepared!
If you want to see the salmon running go mid July to late August and bear viewing tours are usually around the same time.
We did a north-south cruise but I would opt to do south-north if I went again but if you plan on doing land touring then you may want to do that before your cruise so that is also a factor.
Glacier landings and dogsledding excursions are very popular so you might want to book these online before you go. Booking independent will usually give a slightly cheaper and more personal experience.
Regarding clothing... layering is your best option; rain jacket, gloves and knit hat are a must... the glaciers cruising can be quite cold.
Do plenty of research as this will result in a more enjoyable experience.
Half off brochure rates is a common "regular" price- without coupons. So hopefully your coupon is usable for any low fare?? Compare rates and try this site's bargain finder feature. As for Carnival- the first 2 and last 2 salings are usually round trip- including Glacier Bay. For that alone- Carnival would be an excellent choice for a May sailing. No guarantees with weather - so be prepared!! You certainly have the potential for getting more for your money going in May. Myself- I would never consider any one way cruises without adding at least 5 days indepenent travel interior (7 on a cruisetour). As for tours- going in May will have most operating- except perhaps the glacier dog sledding. I never take any ship tours and always book direct with the venders. Always more personal service and better tours- my opinion only. Look over a shore excursion list and narrow down your interests- then go to each city's visitor guide site- request their brochure- independents listed there. Plenty of great touring opportunities await!!!
I consider the northbound to be the best route. With the northbound or southbound routes, you'll get to see the College Fjord/Prince William Sound area, which is spectacular. Also, when sailing northbound, you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn on your disembarkation day to be on deck for the sail into Vancouver, which is really scenic. We also enjoyed our day in Seward, if that is available on some of the itineraries that you are looking at. Sailing out of Vancouver northbound is the best, in my opinion.
Donna have you sailed both ways? Sailing north you miss a big marine wildlife sailing area the last sailing day back to Vancouver so my preference is south. I never find getting up early a problem- I seem to alway keep NY time anyway. Certainly pros and cons on every trip. Tough and perhaps too many choices!!!!!!!