RE: Alaska Cruise


john s. laughton

We are planning a cruise to Alaska next year. What we need is any information any of you, who have been on an Alaskan cruise, could give us concerning your experiences and any advice such as best time of the year to go, what preparations, type of clothes to pack, excursions(is it better to make our own reservations or utilize the ship's reservations?), just anything that would help first-timers like ourselves. Thankyou ahead of time.

Steve and Janice Laughton


Anytime is good for Alaska, but the middle of the summer does seem to have the better weather as a general rule. Plan for wet and cool weather.
Be sure to bring a good sturdy windbreaker along, with a sweater to put underneath if it gets cold. Ladies, be sure to bring something for your shoulders at dinner if you are wearing strappy evening dresses. However, my experience was on HAL's Westerdam, a wonderful cruise, with the weather sunny and warm in July. It was 98 degrees in Juneau the day we were there, positively steaming. On the day we were in Glacier Bay, the crew were sunning themselves in bikinis on the above deck. This was out of the ordinary, but be prepared for anything....a good motto for cruising anywhere.
My husband went kayaking in Ketchikan and loved it. We had a great jet boat excursion for whale, otter and seal watching in Sitka. In Juneau, just take a taxi out to the Mendenhall Glacier. It's cheaper usually than the tour on the ship, and you see about the same things.

The best thing about the whole cruise is the Inside Passage. It's so narrow that you can just sit at the window and watch the scenery slide by while you're sipping wine or hot coffee. It's like hiking in the great outdoors without leaving the comfort of your stateroom. You'll have a lovely time. I want to go back again.


We just came back from the Summit in Sept. We had beautiful weather. Although we were warned that Sept. is the rainy season, it was only rainy for a short time in all the ports. It didn't slow up the excursions. Got some beautiful photos. We took the Orca Whale Watch in Juneau. Smaller boat only 23 passengers. Saw whales, eagles and otters. It was a wonderful trip and would do this one again. Carben is right about the Medinhall Glacier trip. Take the bus or taxi out there. $5.00 compared to $39 per person. The salmon tour was ok, but we were able to see it another time.
We did the land tour after our cruise and enjoyed the scenery and wildlife that we saw. My husband took a flightseeing tour around Mt. McKinley. It was great. Well worth the money. We would do this trip again in a heartbeat. You will love Alaska.
As far as packing. Pack clothes that can be layered. Casual clothes for touring and of course your dress clothes for formal nights. But don't pack too much. We did, hadn't cruised before and just packed too many clothes. Raingear and sturdy shoes are a must. Small umbrella. and a bag or backpack for shore excursions. I'm sure others will have more information.. But most of all have fun planning. Keep reading the board, there is lots of info out there.


Layers and layers :eek:) Not forgetting the rain mac, although we have only had to use ours once in.

In Juneau you can get the local bus to Medenhall Glacier it is $5 each way and it parked at the pier. (Blue bus)
We have also been whale watching in Juneau with Captain Larry at Orca Enterprises twice now and have already booked with them for next September :eek:)
This company was recommended to us by several people and now we recomend them !
In Ketchikan we didn't get to go due to very bad weather but we intend going next year on a sight seeing flight with another compnay recommended to us! They refunded all our money without any problems, they said it wouldn't have been worth flying in such heavy rains. would only see clouds :lol
In Sitka we did our own tours and went to the Raptor Rescue Centre which was well worth a visit, so much so we ended up 'adopting' an owl who had been shot in the wing and could no longer fly.
Skagway we did the scenic train ride, another beautiful trip, we also did the float down the Chilkat River one time and that was stunning!!! Not sure of the trip name, it was easy , not white water rafting :dizzy
Anyway thats just some of the things we have done , hope it helps .
can't wait until next September!! :eek:)

john s. laughton

Thanks for the info folks.
Since I posted this post, I have contacted several fishing charters in Sitka concerning prices, etc. Want to do some salmon and halibut fishing while there. So far haven't received any e-mails from them. Has anyone ever done any fishing in Alaska, specifically Sitka, while they were in port there?


You asked about making your own reservations vs. utilizing the ships reservations. Making your own is definitely cheaper on almost all excursions, but if you are on the ships excursion and are delayed getting back to the ship they will wait for you. If you booked your own reservations, you get left behind. So, you have to decide how much it is worth to you to be reassured that you won't be left because of a flat tire or some other unexpected occurance. These things rarely happen, but it is like bying inuraance. How much coverage is too much? Whichever way you go, you should enjoy your cruise!


We took the Coastal helicopter tour of the glacier in Juneau and it was awesome.Also it was $50 less pp than the ship tour. It was raining but lightly and they still flew. We were there in June and wore long sleeves and jackets most days, but at least we were not hot. It was never unpleasant. In Ketikan we also booked our own tour of the toems and rainforest. In Skagway we did 2 ship tours, one a ghost tour ( neat) and the train bus combo on the Whitepass RR.

I have pics posted in the gallery, Alaska Radaince ( it was misspelled there so I misspelled it now on purpose)

This trip was awesome and a memory I will cherish forever!

Bob W

Cruised alaska in May this year out of Seattle with NCL free style cruising. Arrived a day early in Seattle and happy we did as it is a very nice city to explore. Downtown, the market, space needle, etc is in walking distance from near any downtown Hotel.

Now Alaska.....Our best 7 day cruise ever. Juneau, Skagway, Katchkan, Haines and Victoria, Canada. The Alaskan port were super. The locals vere super nice and just down to earth people. We took the white Pass train ride in Skagway, 22 miles up into the mountains. The weather in may was just like it is here in Southern Illinois in May.
Juneau and Katchkan, the ship docked with in 100 feet of main street of both towns.
You will love the layed back attidude of Alaskan people.

If i can further assists with any of your questions, email me at:

Bob W.

Bob W

PS: If you take the white Pass Train excursion in Skagway, do not sit in the car behind the engine as the desiel smoke is awful and filters into the car. Seat your self in the middle car of the train, not the rear of the train , as on your return trip the engines hooks to the rear of the train for the return down the mountain,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,take your camera.