How To Book A Small Ship Cruise
Small ship cruise lines do not offer online booking capability. Since small ships depart from more remote Alaska ports and there are so many different vacation extension options, we highly recommend you speak with an AlaskaCruises.com cruise expert to help you plan your small ship vacation.
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Get Wild & Woolly On The Best Small Ship Alaska Cruise 2022
New in 2022, the 8-day Wild & Woolly Alaska Cruise invites travelers to get active. Venture out on all-day kayak and bushwhack tours. Enjoy hiking, birding, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling and skiff tours. Each day is packed with options, from sun up to sun down.
This itinerary uniquely offers the chance to bike , as well as exclusive permitted access to the Outback of Glacier Bay National Parka guide favorite. Rounding out the experience is a shoreline campfire, as well as a visit with a local family that reveals how people live and work in the wilds of Alaska. A truly special experience among our many Alaska Inside Passage small ship cruises!
The 86-guest Wilderness Legacy hosts this new adventure, conveniently cruising round-trip from Juneau. Between activities, guests can enjoy her dance floor, saloon, yoga mats, workout equipment, dual hot tubs and ample deck space for spotting whales in Alaska and other wildlife.
What is the best small ship Alaska cruise in 2022 for you? Every Alaska traveler has different goals and priorities. Maybe you want an Alaska cruise with kids? The smallest ship? A departure during the best time to visit Alaska? The best naturalist guides? Or a focused Glacier Bay National Park cruise? Let our experts help you find your ideal trip based on interests, budget and timeline.
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The Small Ship Advantage
A cruise on a small ship is not filled with elaborate distractions, sleek resorts and packaged tours. Rather, small ships are perfect for intimate exploration of off-the-beaten track waterways, narrow channels and tiny ports that passengers on large ships will never see. When Lindblad Expeditions guests visit a small port in Alaska’s Inside Passage they don’t overwhelm the local communities. Their largest vessel hosts just 62 guests.
Small ship guests would rather watch for whales in Frederick Sound than spend the afternoon in a casino. They linger outside on deck as the Captain noses under a waterfall, rather than watch a video. On a small ship, the focus is very often outside, on what Nature has provided for entertainment, rather than on amusements provided to occupy your attention on board.
Your time is spent wisely, too. Rather than making a beeline from port to port, small ship Captains have the flexibility – and the inclination – to linger when whales are putting on a show, a glacier is calving spectacularly, or to seek out sea otters when a nearby fisherman radios the word.
On a small ship cruise, you are not just a visitor. You are a participant. Whether kayaking next to a glacier, hiking in a rain forest in Alaska, or enjoying a spectacular spring garden in British Columbia, a small-ship cruise is an engaging experience for all the senses.
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Deals: Small Ship Alaska Cruises 2022 & 2023
Save on your small ship Alaska cruise for 2022 by using our Alaskan cruise deals. Enjoy special deals for groups and solo travelers, or receive complimentary airfare, while supplies last. Our Alaska specialists offer the most up-to-date incentives available and will keep you apprised of all opportunities to save on your 2022 Alaska small ship cruise. Due to our longstanding business relationships and volume-driven buying power, you will never pay more for your cruise.
As the season for a small ship Alaska cruise in 2023 grows closer, watch for 2023 deals here, which will increase in number following the end of small Alaska cruises in 2022. At AdventureSmith, we always recommend booking early to be rewarded .
Best Small Ship: Oceania Cruises
Oceania cruises introduce Alaska to guests by offering local experiences in partnership with native tribes for a more meaningful connection to the area beyond sightseeing.
Two specialty restaurants , WiFi, and free and unlimited soft drinks replenished daily in refrigerated mini bar
Onboard menus feature local Alaskan delicacies, such as Halibut, King Crab, and Alaskan blueberry pancakes
Impressive guest-to-staff ratio: maximum of 656 guests served by 400+ officers and crew
4 open-seating restaurants, 8 lounges and bars, and a casino
Not all staterooms feature private verandas
Built in 1998 but fully refurbished in 2019, Oceania Cruises Regatta dazzles guests with bejeweled chandeliers in the Grand Dining Room, fresh color palettes, and new furnishings in the public spaces, plus new everything in the suites and staterooms. Between the gentle rocking of the ship and the Ultra Tranquility Bed, youre sure to sleep like a baby.
When youre not off exploring Alaskas many wonders, keep busy at the casino, take in an after-dinner production of Tuxedo or Gatsbys or chill out and choose a book from the English-style library with 2,000 options. Book a spa treatment or work out in the Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center, play nine holes of golf on the putting greens, shop the three boutiques, and unwind, help yourself to afternoon tea with all the accouterments at 4 p.m. daily.
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Choose Your Small Cruise Ship To Alaska
Once you have an understanding of where you want to cruise and what style of travel you seek, next in your how to choose an Alaskan cruise quest is selecting your small ship. Among our selection of vessels ranging from 8 to just over 100 guests, find more than 25 small cruise ships in Alaska, ranging from high-tech expedition ships to family-owned yachts.
There are numerous considerations for choosing your ship when you are looking at the options for small ship Alaska cruises. Size is certainly one of them, and style is another. Considerations include private balconies, the onboard programming, the crew-to-guest ratio, the adventure equipment aboard, family-friendly programming and so on.
Larger expedition-style Alaskan cruise ships in the 50 to 100 passenger range typically have larger cabins, many with view windows, more deck space for watching wildlife and more common areas. Not to mention additional adventure gear aboard and more guides to diversify your experience. Smaller motor yachts carry 8 to 22 guests and range from rustic floating B& Bs to luxurious yachts. Paying attention to the varied amenities, cabin sizes and other features that are important to you is key in choosing among the many small cruise ships to Alaska.
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The Best Alaska Cruise For Every Type Of Traveler
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Even with a season that only runs from April through October, there are some 40 big ships and dozens of small ships cruising Alaska, making it one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world after the Caribbean and Europe.
Choices of type of ship abound from vessels carrying fewer than 100 passengers to megaships that hold thousands. Some ships stick to tried-and-true ports, following the Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska and into western Canada. Others wander deeper along the Alaska coastline to places such as the Kenai Peninsula, north to Nome and Barrow and even deep into the Bering Sea.
It can be hard to figure out which ship will deliver your idea of a bucket list experience in The Last Frontier. A lot comes down to your travel style, preferences and budget.
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The good news is theres a ship in Alaska for you no matter your taste or style. Heres a beginners guide to help you narrow down your choices.
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Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ five all-suite ships travel to more than 450 destinations around the globe and boast the world’s most inclusive cruise experience. Airfare, accommodations, all meals, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, gratuities and most shore excursions are included in fares. Most passengers are upward of 55 years, although you will see an occasional family traveling with younger children, making it one of the best cruise lines for seniors who want to take along the grandkids.
Why Regent Seven Seas Is Great for Seniors: Regent offers a true luxury experience, with personalized service, the convenience of all-inclusive pricing and a high ratio of staff members to passengers to increase the pampering factor. The ships themselves are gorgeous, with high-end artwork and sumptuous furnishings. Regents newest ships, Seven Seas Splendor and Seven Seas Grandeur are well known for their extravagant and massive Regent Suites.
Regent Seven Seas dining options are top notch and plentiful, with all dining options included in the fare. Extravagant Sunday brunches include Champagne and caviar. During dinner hours, you can order meals from the dining room directly to your suite through room service. The atmosphere is more country club casual than formal.
Spend Less Time In Line
Waiting in line is undoubtedly one of the most tedious aspects of going on a cruise.
Embarkation, debarkation, tendering , and waiting for your turn at the buffet all require standing in line sometimes for extended periods.
Small cruises mean that far less time is wasted in line, giving passengers more time to mingle with others and enjoy land-based excursions.
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Best Safety Steps For Cruising
Scandinavia And St Petersburg
Travel to Scandinavia and St. Petersburg on a cruise with overnight stays in two ports of call. The first overnight stay is in Copenhagen, where you can spend time at Tivoli Gardens, see the city from the waterside, and experience hygge, the concept of coziness, warmth, and comfort.
After visiting ports of call at Stockholm, Sweden and Tallinn, Estonia, youll sail into St. Petersburg for a second overnight in one of the most historic and culturally exciting cities in the world. See the Hermitage that houses one of the largest art collections in the world and explore the city at night.
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Alaska Cruises Small Ships Versus Big Ships
Some people automatically think that bigger is better. At small ship cruiselines, they think differently. They believe that close is better than far away…that personal is better than mass produced…that a few like-minded friends are better than thousands of strangers. No waiting in line. No trying to find a window seat. No crowds.
That’s why each of their ships only hold around 100 guests, and why almost all of their cabins face outside with large windows or portholes. That’s why they serve delicious informal meals in comfortable dining rooms where you can sit wherever and with whomever you like.
Six Popular Ports Of Call On Alaskan Family Cruises
Alaska is vast and is home to some of the most breathtaking and untouched natural wonders, including volcanoes, glaciers, shorelines, and wildlife. A cruise to Alaska should be considered incomplete if you fail to explore the interior and the ports of call along the route. That said, these are six of the most popular ports of call on Alaskan family cruises:
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Highlights Of A Viking Ocean Cruise
On a Viking ocean cruise, you will sail into the heart of your destination. From our prime, central berths in the worlds great cities such as Venice, London, Hong Kong and Sydney, and in seldom-visited ports like Kotor, Montenegro and Scotlands Shetland Islands, enriching cultural discoveries are just a short walk from your ship. Further, you will spend more time in port, with overnight stays in virtually all ports of embarkation and disembarkation. Here is a small sample of where a Viking ocean cruise can take you:
- Majestic fjords from Norway to Chile
- Up the Thames River for easy access to historic London
- Into the mighty Amazon River
- New Zealands magnificent Milford and Doubtful Sounds
- Great canals of the world: from the Panama to the Suez
- Small and stunning ports such as Norways Lofoten Islands
- Remote islands such as Easter Island and Mauritius
- Among the soaring karst islands of Vietnams Ha Long Bay
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Things To Look Out For When Booking Cruises For Seniors
Importance of cruise travel insurance for seniors
Any holiday comes with its risks and when you consider the points above like onboard and port accessibility, shore excursions and the destinations visited combined with the possibility of limited mobility and other pre-existing health conditions that come with age, its important to make sure that youre covered should anything not go according to plan.
Once youve booked your cruise, make sure to consider seniors travel insurance policies for cruises to find a plan thats best suited for your needs and destination.
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Things You Need To Consider:
Before you even start scouting for the best cruise packages, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself first to help you narrow down your choices:
How many days do you intend travel? Are you traveling solo, with a partner, family, or with a group? What are you looking forward to achieve from this trip? Do you have any mobility issues? Any health conditions that need to special assistance? How much is your budget?
You see, different ships offer different amenities, different services, and different facilities. Some cruise lines dont offer the utmost convenience to passengers with disabilities, even though they have complied with ADA . Yet, some cruise lines go as far as featuring hydraulic pool chairs in their pools as well as providing wheelchair accessibility. Some ships cater to multi-generation families while others are designed to exclusively accommodate adults.
Small Expedition Ship Alaska Adventures Are Fun Too
If youve cruised in Alaska before, or if you prefer waking up to the quiet of a bay in the Inside Passage, UnCruise offers a different take on an Alaska cruise vacation with choices that fit both moderate and luxury travel budgets.
Alan and I enjoyed an UnCruise small ship adventure focused on outdoor activities while exploring the bays, fjords and glaciers of Alaska. You wont find many ports on UnCruise itineraries with the exception of a few smaller ones like Wrangell and Petersburg. The adventure cruise line uses and Ketchikan as embarkation and disembarkation ports.
Silversea expedition ships offer a luxurious adventure option. Some itineraries cruise in and out of Nome with routes that explore Dutch Harbor, Far-east Russian ports and Wrangell Island.
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More Flexible Itineraries And Close
Big boats tend to stick to large, popular ports and are extremely rigid in their itinerary. Small ship cruises in Alaska, on the other hand, are able to adjust schedules for unexpected sightseeing opportunities. Even better, while large boats are forced to sail far out from land in the deep ocean, small cruise boats are able to hug the shore during their trip.
Easier To Make Friends
The intimate nature of small ship cruises allows passengers to cross paths more easily and make connections more rapidly. So whether youre traveling solo or with a partner, you can be certain that at the end of your cruise you will leave with a group of enthusiastic adventure-loving friends.
Many passengers on small ship cruises are those who value good conversation and quality travel experiences. This makes it very easy to form effortless friendships with like-minded fellow passengers.
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Best Overall Cruise: Windstar Cruises
Because of their small, yacht-like size, Windstar Cruises ships grant unparalleled access to Alaskas glaciers and fjords other ships cant squeeze into some of these special places.
All-inclusive option includes WiFi, unlimited drinks, Signature Expeditions program offers expert guides who give lectures and take guests on intimate excursions
Only 312 passengers
Each cabin is a suite there are no interior cabins
Ship was reimagined in 2021, with additional dining experiences, a new World Spa, and infinity pool
Fewer entertainment options than on larger ships
When it comes to experiencing the splendor of Alaska, your cruise is only as good as the direct access it offers to this regions beautyand Windstar Cruises delivers access like no other. Because of its dainty size, guests are treated to unique experiences, like anchoring right in Misty Fjords and Kenai Fjords, which is something youd have to do on a shore excursion if you were on a larger ship with another cruise line. For an even closer look at Mother Natures impressive work, from icebergs to whales, book a kayak or Zodiac Signature Expedition with their incredibly knowledgeable guides.