I am planning a cruise to Alaska for July 2014 (yes I am starting way early lol) but the more I read the more questions I have... I have only been on 2 cruises and both with Carnival to the Caribbean but Carnival does not have the options I want. I know I want to do a cruisetour, I want to spend a day or 2 in Seatle (hubby & Mom want to see some of the sites there since we are that close), we def want to go to the Danali state park. So what cruise line would be best for this? We want a room that will sleep all 3 of us also. So what is the best way to see the glaciers I want to get as close as possible and would love to walk in them if possible? What clothes should we take for July (I know to dress in layers but I have seen where we should wear water resistant pants & I am not sure where to get those & why not wear jeans)? I saw a snorkel excursion & it sounds great but has anyone done this excursion & is it worth it? What are the best excursions to do to experience the best of Alaska? Thanks in advance for any advise and/or tips.
I think for what you want to do, I would look at a Princess ship along with their cruisetours. They do have many to choose from and they have their own train and lodges. As for clothes, the key in Alaska is to dress in layers, pack a few t-shirts and sweat shirts, etc. Depending on when you are going, it can even get warm, you just never know. It is almost certain, that you will find some rain along the way, so some rain gear is a good idea.
What clothes should we take for July (I know to dress in layers but I have seen where we should wear water resistant pants & I am not sure where to get those & why not wear jeans)? I saw a snorkel excursion & it sounds great but has anyone done this excursion & is it worth it?
First, the Snorkel tour is in Ketchikan and I highly recommend it! I did the tour a couple years ago and absolutely loved it. I have lived in Ketchikan for years and had heard that the Snorkel Tour was awarded as the top tour for several years so I figured I would find out what the big deal was. Well, it is a top notch tour, and snorkeling in Alaska is absolutely gorgeous - the colors, the crystal clear water, the sea animals! It was amazing!
As for how to dress - you're coming in July which is one of our driest months....BUT it's still in the rainforest and we get rain! (It rains in Ketchikan an average of 300 days a year). The reason you saw a note to bring rain pants is that if it's pouring (and yes, we do get sideways rain!) and you're walking around in jeans, they will get soaked, cold, & heavy quickly. Why come on vacation and be miserable? If you are here on a rainy day, you'll notice all of the locals working on the docks are in rain gear - they know that as long as they stay dry they will be warm & happy.
So - where to get rain pants? I'm not sure where you live but your local sporting goods store should have them. Of course you can find them online like this one. And since you have lots of time before your Cruise - check out your local Thrift Stores, they may have something that would work just fine too! I say that because my family lives in Palm Springs and came out to visit last year. My Sister-in-law went to the Thrift Stores and found some NICE rain jackets for little to nothing! And since she wouldn't use them again, left them here to save room in her suitcase for all the goodies she bought. haha!
Thanks so much for the info. I booked my cruise 2 nights ago we will be on Royal Caribbean due to it being over $1000 less per person than Princess. Now for excursions and flights. My Mom wants to go Salmon fishing so does anyone know the best stop to do this if there is an excursion for this lol? I also think we will come a couple days early so we can explore Seattle and then Vancouver. Anyone have any advise on a hotel in Seattle and in Vancouver don't want to spend a fortune but I want it to safe and clean, we are not fancy so we don't need a 5 start resort just a place to sleep at night, don't plan on being in the room much
Now, all you need to do is go to the Royal Caribbean site and look through all the tours they provide in the ports you will be at. You will notice, most of the Alaska excursions are pricey, so you need to pick and choose accordingly. Whale watching in Juneau is one of the highlights of an Alaska cruise too. There is so much to choose from, but you have plenty of time to narrow it down.
Just so you know it could be snowing or could be 100 degree when you in the Fairbanks area in July...as for dressing, layers as Denali creates it's own weather...Princess has a huge operation in Alaska and we had many a friend who worked for them during tourist season...also I would honestly try to go as early as you can in the season, reason is July is fire weather and if the fires get big your see mostly smoke on your trip through the interior...many times as a fire fighter up there I heard tourist ask why there is so much smoke all the time...because unless the fire threatens population centers they are allowed to burn...best places to see in the interior of Alaska...Fairbanks Ice Museum, Denali National and State Parks (I refuse to use the US Government name) and we loved the Kenai and Valdez...there is so much to do in Alaska I always tell people if you have the time and money take the ferry out of the lower 48 to Whitehorse Yukon, and then drive from there down the Alaskan Highway to Delta Junction, drive to Fairbanks, then Denali then Anchorage, then down to the tip of the Kenai, back to anchorage, to Valdez and catch the ferry back to the lower 48...or you can fly in and rent a RV and drive and see everything with your own bedroom...in Alaska you can camp just about anyplace as it is all state and federal lands open to recreation....
Our first Cruise: Carnival Conquest 9/16/12 to 9/23/12