Thursday, 29 March 2012

Alaska Cruise Updates for 2013

                      Alaska Travel & Cruise News 
                                                      Rosswin Travel, Courtenay, BC   

Savage River Valley Photo
Morning's Glory
This was a special autumn sunrise in early Sept. Denali National Park, Alaska

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Some interesting facts on Alaska
 . Alaska, the largest state in the US but the least densely populated state in the US.
 . Population of Alaska, 663,661
 . The Capital of Alaska is Juneau, population 31,118
 . Largest City is Anchorage with population of 272, 687
 . The population of Alaska is about the size of Austin, Texas
In 2010 1.5 million people visited Alaska a decline from 2009 and 2008
Of the 1.5 Million visitors in 2010, 
     58% (878,000) came by cruise Ship
     37% (551,600) came by air 
     5% (78,000) came by highway or ferry.
. Visitors to Alaska spend an average of $830 during their visit. 
. Tourism is the second-largest private sector employer and accounts for one in eight Alaskan jobs.
. Cruise related spending accounts for more than 13,000 annual equivalent jobs and over $1.35 billion flowing through     the Alaska economy each year. 
. Many business report that they would not be able to keep their doors open for residents   if it were not for the cruise  industry. 
. 12% of travelers to Alaska spend time traveling on their own. 
. The average age of visitors to Alaska is 52 years old.

Check out the following websites for information on Alaska, Vancouver & more
by Sue Bradley


  from the Princess Cruise Line web site
The most popular time to visit Alaska is between May and September, when the days are longer and the weather more welcoming. Many Alaska tours take place in the later weeks of May and throughout June, when travelers can enjoy warm afternoons and bright, sunny skies. Summer and fall tend to be the rainier seasons in Alaska. The different regions of Alaska all have different climates and receive different levels of precipitation throughout the year.
 White Pass & Yukon Rail Road
Niebrugge Images
  • Southcentral Alaska enjoys fairly mild temperatures, but does receive a fair amount of precipitation. Over the year, it’s common for certain cities in the area to receive a total of 25 feet of snow.
  • Southeast Alaska is warmer but definitely rainy. Some areas in the southeast receive 220 inches of rain in the course of a year. Rain gear is recommended for trips along the Inside Passage at any time of the year.
  • The Interior’s weather is unpredictable at best. In the summer, temperatures can soar to 90 degrees Fahrenheit one day, only to be followed by a snowstorm the next. Temperature and weather swings are common. In the winter, you can almost always rely on extremely cold temperatures, dipping as low as minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit for periods of several days
  • The Northern area of Alaska is rightly considered a frigid place to visit. In the winter, days colder than minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit are common. While many parts of the north don’t get much warmer than F15  in the summer, some protected places have been known to reach 70 F and higher.
  • Western Alaska’s proximity to the sea makes it a stormy place to visit, but the frequent rain and fog make it a great habitat for salmon.
Sun and the seasons in Alaska
Many visitors arrange Alaska tours to take part in the phenomenon that is the midnight sun. Just as Alaska has its summer, winter, fall and spring, it also has sun seasons. Because of Alaska’s northerly location and the axis of the earth, it enjoys the phenomena of the midnight sun and polar night.
On March 21, the vernal equinox brings the sun in line with the equator. By June 21, Alaska receives its longest day of the year - a day when the sun never sets. Some areas of the state experience 24 hours of sunlight and locals celebrate with late-night ball games and extended shopping hours. These long days last for weeks, but slowly, the days become shorter, culminating six months later in polar night.
As the days shorten, starting around September 23, Alaskans prepare themselves for polar night, a period of days in December when the sun never peeks over the horizon. During polar night, the state is left in darkness even at high noon. The phenomenon of extremely long days and nights draws many visitors to book their Alaska tours around these two solstices.

Three Basic Itineraries to Alaska - When planning your Alaska cruise, you will have three basic itineraries to choose from:
  • Inside Passage. Ships sail roundtrip from Vancouver or Seattle to the southeast panhandle of Alaska, which is often called the Inside Passage. Cruises usually include stopovers in Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and the famous Glacier Bay National Park, home of 16 magnificent glaciers. Sailing roundtrip often makes your airfare cheaper since you embark and disembark in the same port. Small cruise ships are primarily based in the Inside Passage of Alaska because the waters are much calmer and the distances are not as far. The small ships like those of American Safari Cruises, InnerSea Discoveries, The Boat Company, and Lindblad Expeditions usually sail from Juneau or Ketchikan.
  • Gulf of Alaska. Working north from Vancouver, the south central coast of Alaska is added to the Inside Passage. Ships sail one-way between Vancouver or Seattle and Seward, the closest port to Anchorage. Your embarkation and disembarkation points are different, but you have the opportunity to see much more of Alaska's spectacular scenery, including the glacier-clad Gulf of Alaska and the Hubbard Glacier. Large and mid-sized ships often cruise this itinerary.
  • Bering Sea Cruises. Expedition ships sail this historic sea between North America and Asia. Most of the larger, mainstream cruise lines do not venture this far north.
Many cruise lines offer cruisetour packages to "add-on" to your cruise. These packages can last anywhere from a couple of days to over a week, and include visits to inland Alaska, such as Denali National Park, home of Mt. McKinley. When planning your cruise, you might want to think about staying a few extra days to experience more of this magnificent part of North America. Whichever Alaska cruisetour or cruise itinerary you choose will be sure to be a memorable one!
Cruising in Alaska
Large or Small Cruise Ships.
 Margerie Glacier
Glacier Bay National Park
Niebrugge Images
Small ships although more expensive offer you a variety of stops that the large ships cannot, the smaller number of passengers (6 or less to 100) make it a more intimate voyage. 
Or any of the many sites by Googling Alaska Small Ship Cruising.
For a Side by Side comparison with pictures (large cruise ships versus small cruise ships) go to
Another good website is Cruises

                          Alaska Cruises 
10 Tips for Finding the Cruise that's Right for You
With cruising becoming one of the most popular ways to see the world, we can narrow down your search for the perfect one. Enter in your trip details and we'll compare prices across the top sites to find you the best deal there is. It's that easy. And to make sure you make the right decision, check out our
Top 10 Tips for Finding the Cruise that's Right for You:
1) What's your style? Every cruise line has a different style, eg. Celebrity has a mature & luxurious feel, Carnival is just that - great for partiers, Disney is the ultimate family cruise, and Royal Caribbean specializes in activities on and off-board.
2) Choose your timing wisely to get a deal. January to March is the busiest booking period for cruises, where cruise lines make 35% of their annual sales and offer the best deals.
3) Keep the season in mind. Northerly cruises are very popular including Alaska & the Baltic Sea, but only run from late spring to early autumn. Warmer climates are generally offered year-round.
4) How long do you want to go for? Depending on the cruise line, you can cruise from one day to over 100. A general rule - the longer and more expensive the cruise, the older the clientele.
5) Budget is key. Most cruises don't include alcoholic beverages, tips, off-shore transfers and off-shore activities. Make sure to factor those into your budget when planning your cruise. Opt for an inside cabin for even more savings.
6) Are you nauseous? The larger the ship, the less chances are that you might be seasick. Try an inside cabin in the middle of the ship, where there is less movement to avoid nausea.
7) When do we eat? Choose a cruise that fits your dining style. They can range from cafeteria style buffets to elegant sit down dinners. Food is never lacking on a cruise ship.
8) Known when to go. School holidays and holiday times mean a ship full of children;
off-season is quieter and you'll often get a better deal.
9) Size matters. Smaller ships mean less crowded and less popular ports of call where you can discover 'off-the-beaten-path' gems.
  1. Check your itinerary. Some cruises will emphasize activities at the ports of call, while others are more focused on the ship/cruising. Be sure to pick a cruise that fits with your preferences.
Photo: Images for Alaska Pictures

Booking Cruises
Cruise line companies are not always the cheapest place to book cruises, after checking out the cruise line pricing, check out our travel site for pricing and/or call us at 1-866-517-2113 or e-mail us at "" and we will see if we can match or beat the price as we have access to other bookings engines that have great prices. 

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Check out the following web site for some beautiful pictures of Alaska

Learn to “Speak Alaskan”

Alaska is unique in every way, it even has its own vocabulary. We offer you a guide to some of the words and phrases, ancient and recent, known only to those who inhabit Alaska.  Study these terms and you just might convince the locals that you are a true sourdough.
 Sea Otter
Niebrugge Images
-Outside: Anywhere outside Alaska but generally means the continental 48 states. 
Eskimo Ice Cream: The fat of a Seal or Caribou is whipped to a creamy texture and mixed with chopped meat or berries. Yummy
-Muktuk: An Eskimo delicacy consisting of the skin and attached layer of whale blubber. It can be eaten dried or cooked but usually consumed raw. 
-Muskeg: Swamp or bog composed of layers of decomposing plant like. Often found in tundra regions.
-Termination Dust: The construction workers during the building boom in the 1940s called the snowfall each year termination dust because it meant the end of their jobs would be terminated for the season. Now t is used to refer to the first snowfall signaling the end of the summer season.
-Cheechako: The Alaskan term for someone who is new to the country.  A “tenderfoot” or “green horn”
-Denali: Literally, means the “High One” or the “Great One” Denali is the name given to the massive peak also known as Mt.McKinley, by the Athabascan Native People. Congress officially changed the name of Mt. McKinley National Park to Denali National Park in the Alaskan Lands Act in 1980.
-Sourdough: The name originally came fro the Gold Rush of 1898 era when prospectors and other wanderers carried a lump of fermented starter dough for making bread in pouch around their neck. The fermented dough was kept close to the body to stay warm. A sourdough pouch hanging around a miner’s neck was a clear sigh of experience in survival. So, the term came to be associated with an old timer or someone who has been in the north country a long time.
-Lower 48 - Alaskans refer to the continental United States as the lower 48.
-Combat Fishing: Alaska features the most salmon rich fishing streams in the world. Opening day is so eagerly anticipated that hundreds of Anglers will line the banks of the river, shoulder to shoulder, casting for fish.  The trick is to hook a salmon and not a fellow salmon fisherman.
-Tundra: The word comes for the Finnish word meaning barren of treeless land.  Most of the Tundra on the planet exists in the Northern Hemisphere in a belt along the Arctic Ocean.
-Mukluks: Mukluks are a soft boot made of caribou or sealskin and typically worn by the Eskimo.
-Noseeums: Tiny winged insects (a form of a small Gant) that is nearly invisible.  The bug packs a nasty bite slightly less bothersome than a bear chewing your leg off.
-Iditarod: Know as the “The Last Great Race on Earth” from Anchorage, in South Central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher cover over 1150 miles in 10-17 days.
-Ice fog: Is what occurs when water vapor meets bitter cold air that can’t hold any more water in 10 seconds or less.  Water cooled that fast forms tiny ice particles.  Collectively, millions of these particles take form as ice fog, the cotton candy-like clouds that hang over our roads.
-Break-up: The spring melting season is a season unto itself. The rivers thaw and begin to flow again, carrying hugh chunks of ice down river.  Breakup is followed by days of celebration as Alaskan’s emerge from long, long winter nights.
-Aurora Borealis: the official term for northern lights, which are visible for more than half the year in the far north.  The University of Alaska Fairbanks houses a research center dedicated to studying the phenomenon which is caused by magnetic particles from the sun as they hit the earth’s atmosphere.
-Permanent Fund: A State savings account created by constitutional amendment that requires at least 25% of Alaska’a royalties from oil to be set aside, with only the interest earnings available for spending.  Permanent residents receive a yearly dividend check.
-Mushing: Is the game of sled dog racing.
-Cache: A small shed-like building on stilts where furriers and hunters kept their goods.
-Alcan: The Alaska Highway, also “Alaska-Canadian,” of “Al-Can Highway,” runs from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska via Whitehorse, Yukon.  It is 1,523 miles or 2,451 kilometers long.
-Blanket Toss: The blanket toss is now conducted as entertainment, but it didn’t originate that way.  The Inupiaq hunter would be tossed in the air, enabling them to see across the horizon to hunt game. Now thirty or more Inupiaq gather in a circle, holding the edges of a large skin made from walrus hides, and toss someone into the air as high as possible.  The person being tossed throws gifts into the crowd and loses their turn when they lose their balance.  The object: to maintain balance and return to the blanket without falling over.  This is one of many games played during the course of a 10-day celebration.
-Totems: Totem poles are known as silent storytellers, depicting figures that were relevant to a specific Native tribe.
-Ulu: The native people of northern Alaska invented this knife centuries ago. It is used for hunting, fishing, skinning, filleting and every other imaginable domestic cutting need by the Inuit (Eskimo) people.  Nowadays, replicas can be purchased at any souvenir shop on Alaska.
-Ice Worms: Ice worms are real. They live in pools of water and crawl around between ice crystals near the glacier surface.  ice worms have been observed to move around in the ice at depths near two meters.  Even in the Alaska Range, the glacial ice at that depth can remain near freezing and so can provide at least a marginal ice worm habitat. 


 Whittier/Portage Valley/Girdwood

 For information on Alaska’s National Parks,
For information on Alaska’s State Parks,

Cheap Alaska Cruise
This site has links to just about every major town in Alaska, Parks, Glaciers Hotels, things to do, car rentals, history and more. 
Whether you plan an Alaska cruise aboard an Alaska small cruise ship or a large cruise ship, there are some good options for cheap Alaska cruises. Discount Alaska cruises are available through the famous Inside Passage and through many of Alaska’s most popular ports, including Anchorage, Sitka and Juneau. You can also search for cheap Alaska cruises from southern United States cities such as Vancouver, BC or Seattle, Washington. In general, the key to finding Alaska cruise deals is to look for cruises that are likely to have the least amount of attention or popularity, such as during the off-season or not coinciding with popular holidays.
The cruising season for Alaska cruises starts in April and runs through September. Cheap Alaska cruises can be found by searching for your cruise during the least busy times, which are at the beginning and end of the season. June, July and August are the busiest cruise season and will be the most difficult time to find discount Alaska cruises. Try searching for cheap Alaska cruises during April and during the last few weeks of the season in September, when many travelers may not realize that cruises are still available and many cruise companies offer deals to fill up their last few cruise trips of the season.
Alaska cruise deals can be found on small cruise ships, but are more likely on the larger ships. While cheap Alaska cruises on smaller ships can be found (usually about a 10 – 15% discount off of the highest prices), larger cruise companies sometimes offer discounts of up to 25 or 30%. Due to their larger size, these cruise companies often are able to offer lower prices on discount Alaska cruises.
 Margerie Glacier Glacier Bay
National Park
Niebrugge Images
Travelers can also search for cheap Alaska cruises by booking Alaska cruise packages. An almost endless number of separate activities (generally not included in cruise prices) can be booked in the towns and ports of Alaska. Wildlife tours, whale watching tours, whitewater rafting, fishing trips and other historical walking tours through towns like Anchorage can be booked with your cruise price. If you plan to fly into the town your ship leaves from (usually Anchorage, Seattle or Vancouver), you can also package your flight with your cruise ship price. Often by booking all of these travel amenities together, companies will offer a discounted price overall.
Last minute Alaska cruise deals are yet another way to find cheaper cruises. You can sometimes find 7-night cruises for as low as $599 per person by searching for last minute deals on ships that are about to leave but still have a few empty rooms. If your travel plans are somewhat flexible, try searching for last minute deals. Early booking discounts are also offered by Holland, Cruise America and other major Alaska cruise carriers. They do not offer discounts off of the bottom line prices for early booking, rather, they offer luxury and ocean-view rooms at a discounted cost (usually for the same price as a standard room). As with regularly priced cruises, all cruise trips include breakfast, lunch and dinner.
 Photo, Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park
Air Lines and Alaska
Flight stats for Alaska - did you know?
  • There are 361 airports in Alaska and the 5 biggest are
  • Anchorage Intl. Airport (Anchorage, AK)
    • Right now, 36 airlines operate out of Anchorage Intl. Airport.
    • Anchorage Intl. Airport offers nonstop flights to 44 cities.
    • Every week, at least 1,421 domestic flights and 210 international flights depart from Anchorage Intl. Airport.
  • Fairbanks Intl Airport (Fairbanks, AK)
    • Right now, 14 airlines operate out of Fairbanks Intl. Airport.
    • Fairbanks Intl. Airport offers nonstop flights to 27 cities.
    • Every week, at least 294 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Fairbanks Intl. Airport.
  • Kenai Airport (Kenai, AK)
    • Right now, 3 airlines operate out of Kenai Airport.
    • Every week, at least 196 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Kenai Airport.
  • Ketchikan Intl. Airport (Ketchikan, AK)
    • Right now, 9 airlines operate out of Ketchikan Intl. Airport.
    • Ketchikan Intl. Airport offers nonstop flights to 12 cities.
    • Every week, at least 126 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Ketchikan Intl. Airport.
  • Juneau Intl. Airport (Juneau, AK)
    • Right now, 8 airlines operate out of Juneau Intl. Airport.
    •  Juneau Intl. Airport offers nonstop flights to 13 cities.
    • Every week, at least 224 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Juneau Intl. Airport.
The above information is from 
Airlines flying to Alaska -
 Byron Glacier Trail
Niebrugge Images
Alaska Airlines
American Airlines
Continental Airlines. United Flights
Delta Airlines
North West Airlines

US Airways Flights

Airlines Flying to Cities within Alaska
  ERA Aviation
 Frontier Flying Service
 Penn Air to name a few
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Rosswin Travel, Courtenay, BC
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