Just as big cruise ships are mostly for people who want every resort amenity, small or alternative ships are best suited for people who prefer a casual, crowd-free cruise experience that gives passengers a chance to get up close and personal with Alaska's natural surroundings and wildlife.
It's a little-known chapter in U.S. history: Alaska was an active theater during World War II, and Hawaii wasn't the only place bombed by the Japanese. In fact, just six months after the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese military attacked and occupied two remote islands in Alaska's Aleutian Chain, Attu and Kiska.
Have you considered an alternative alaska cruises? We all know that big ship cruises offer a wide variety of amenities. Many love the entertainment, late night buffets, and social events offered by the big ships. For some they offer the best way to see Alaska for the first time. Or if you are traveling with a group with limited mobility, large ships make a lot of sense.
As an alternative Alaska cruise style, small ship cruise lines like Un-Cruise Adventures and Allen Marine Adventures offer a more intimate, activity packed experience. Often with no ports of call, these nimble expedition ships which accommodate no more that 80 passengers, travel off the beaten path in order to explore hidden hot-springs, temperate rain forest hikes, native villages and wildlife encounters.
Alternative Alaska Cruises
If you see yourself spending more time exploring the coastline by kayak, getting up-close to bubble feeding whales, and hiking pristine forests with a naturalist, you must consider a small ship cruise. If movies, casinos, and all-you-can-eat buffets are on your radar, the traditional cruise will be the ticket.
Don’t think for a minute that you will be sacrificing luxury on a small ship cruise. Most offer spa services, sauna, hot tubs, and yoga classes. Food is still a big part of the small cruise adventure. I find the more I am out hiking and kayaking the better it all tastes at the end of the day. You’ll find well a stocked bar and wine list to complement your meal.
If you are imagining an alternative alaska cruise as opposed to a floating hotel, you might just picture your vacation ending like this…
On the last day of your cruise, you enter Endicott Arm and Fjord’s Terror and explore the fjord by kayak, approaching Dawes glacier, majestic and undulating as if it were alive.
You look up at the ice castle of a mountain and it breaks off, calves into the water, creating ripples that gently rock your kayak and your sense of wonder. Just as the chill begins to permeate your layers of clothing, a skiff pulls up beside you with hot chocolate and an offer of Bailey’s.
As you continue along the coast, a bear tries to catch a salmon and your reflection almost touches his atop the the clear water until he retreats inland and you return home.
If this sounds like the way you would prefer to experience Alaska, you may be a prime candidate for an Alaska small ship cruise.
There are two distinct versions of Prince of Wales Island, the one that 99% of visitors from the lower 48 will experience, and the one I am about to describe.
There truly is nothing better for an avid fisherman than traveling to the Alaskan wilderness to appreciate some of the finest fishing in the world. Sitka, Alaska is particularly famous for the opportunities it gives visitors to fish for huge salmon and halibut.
Are you planning a trip to Alaska? What is the main attraction that draws you to this particular location? For many people, it is the wildlife and sense of open air that can be found in very limited places around the world today.
I recently returned from Coiba National Park in Panama where I was hosted by the Lost Coast Explorer, a 100' converted crabber. The LCE acts as a mother ship and accommodates up to 12 guests. There are (3) 25' cruisers equipped for diving, fishing and shore excursions.