There are several reasons why Alaska is a bucket list destination. From marveling at the epic landscapes, to viewing wildlife in their natural habitats, and learning about the local culture of Alaska’s indigenous people, there’s just so much to take in! It’s truly the dream. The best way to explore Southeast Alaska is by ship, and Alaskan Dream Cruises ensured that we had the most personal, authentic experience that we could have asked for.
The Alaskan Dream – Alaskan Dream Cruises
When most people think of cruising, they think of the “floating cities” with thousands of passengers. While there are the more well-known cruise lines in Alaska, they are limited in the areas they can reach. If you want an intimate experience with a handful of friendly passengers, a wonderfully knowledgeable and helpful staff, and the ability to explore more remote or out-of-the-way small towns and glaciers, then read on because Alaskan Dream Cruises is the ideal choice!
Photos in this article taken by David M Gallo Photography. This page may contain affiliate links, meaning that The Five Foot Traveler may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your continued support!
Alaskan Dream Cruises? Tell me more!
Alaskan Dream Cruises was founded by true Alaskans to show you true Alaska. Their real focus is on experiential travel — to introduce travelers not only to their incredible wildlife and picturesque landscapes, but also to encourage education within the communities. While the ship’s staff members were extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife, the land, and its peoples, Alaskan Dream Cruises also provided encounters with members of both the Tlingit and Haida who gave us insights into their tribal histories and current lifestyles. This falls in line with Alaskan Dream Cruises’ commitment to sustainability and supporting local economies. Read more about Alaskan Dream Cruises’ story and experience here.
Love the importance of both nature and culture on Alaskan Dream Cruises
Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure
We boarded the 7 night, 8 day Alaska’s Glacier Bay and Island Adventure cruise on the Alaskan Dream. Holding a maximum of 40 passengers, the Alaskan Dream was able to navigate through fjords that the bigger ships simply cannot reach due to size, and we were granted a spectacular, authentic Alaskan adventure. We had the ability to get up close and personal with beautiful glaciers, cute harbor seal pups, and pretty waterfalls. You can even paddle board, kayak, and hike, amongst many other activities. So let’s dive in (literally, as you’ll have the opportunity to polar plunge too)!
A nightly occurrence when cruising Alaska
Our itinerary with Alaskan Dream Cruises started in Sitka, and ended in Juneau. Sitka is a small, lesser-visited port town on the Northwest corner of Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska. Alaskan Dream Cruises has a Hospitality Lounge located in the heart of downtown with some light refreshments, and you’ll meet there to begin your Alaskan Dream! The first excursion is to three key sites in Sitka: the Alaska Raptor Center, the Fortress of the Bear, and the Sitka Sound Science Center. Read more about my pre-cruise time in Sitka here.
Fortress of the Bear – Cruise Excursions in Sitka
While we were out sightseeing, the staff efficiently brought all of our luggage from our accommodations into our staterooms onboard. We had a lovely captain’s welcome; as we were some of the first guests cruising since March 2020, it was particularly poignant to be back at sea!
Now before I reveal all of the amazing experiences we had on board, I must first give credit where credit is due. Sometimes staff can make or break a vacation, and it’s safe to say that the crew on board the Alaskan Dream truly went above and beyond to ensure that the passengers were well taken care of. Captain Eric is one of the coolest, most approachable, down-to-earth captains I’ve ever encountered, and it was obvious that he genuinely made every effort to give his passengers the best, most memorable experiences; he went out of his way to show us the true Alaska — particularly when it came to wildlife sightings! Between Captain Eric, the enthusiastic naturalists, and super sweet hospitality staff, each and every crew member that we had contact with were all friendly, attentive, helpful, and a joy to be around.
Captain and I toward the end of our Southeast Alaska Cruise
The Alaskan Dream
Alaska is well-known for its salmon, bears and whales, as we’ve all seen on National Geographic, but there’s nothing like seeing it in real life, right in front of your eyes! Rather than giving you a rundown of our itinerary day-by-day (feel free to send me a message if you want that!), I thought it’d be interesting to highlight what makes Alaskan Dream Cruises exceptional.
So, I’ve broken our trip into four unique categories: Wildlife Sightings, Leisure & Outdoorsy Activities, Scenic Vistas, and Cultural Experiences.
The opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat is one of the big draws to Alaska and one of the main reasons why people cruise Alaska’s inside passage…and it certainly didn’t disappoint! There was a variety of bird and marine life, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll just mention some of the highlights so that you can visit and witness this firsthand! Wildlife (and the education of said wildlife) is an important part of the experience on board Alaskan Dream Cruises, and there was certainly no shortage of wildlife sightings!
Now my five highlights were: humpback whales, seals & pups, bears and a cub, puffins, and orcas.
The most frequent encounters we had were with the humpback whales. Of our seven nights on board the Alaskan Dream, we had up close and personal encounters with humpback whales five of those nights; three nights in particular were incredibly memorable because of the whale behavior and activity that we observed. We saw half breaches, rolling to show their pectoral fins, full breaches, and even synchronized diving! One at a time, each whale in the pod of six would dive down, lifting their whale tails (flukes) straight up before fully submerging for a deep dive. We even heard one humpback whale vocalize above the water. For a split second we thought it sounded like a blow horn and looked for a nearby boat before realizing the whale was communicating. Ending our day watching the glow from the two hour+ long sunset reflect off the white underside of the fluke was truly beautiful.
A humpback whale breaches in Alaska – Alaska cruise
Seals & Pups
There are few images that portray life in or near the arctic like that of a seal floating on a block of ice! As we approached LeConte Glacier on one of our excursions, we started seeing icebergs of various shapes and sizes, and colors ranging from white, brown, crystal clear, and of course that most beautiful glacial blue. The closer we got, we realized that many of the smaller icebergs that we thought had dirty spots were in fact small harbor seal mamas and their newborn pups floating on ice in front of the glacier!
A seal and pup floating on an iceberg – LeConte Glacier
Apparently it’s a relatively safe place for them to give birth since all of the ice in the water lends some protection, making it harder for predators to nab a snack of a helpless baby. It was something that was so special to see, as pup season is a relatively short window. There was an audible “Awwww” from our boat as these little babies wiggled into the water after their mama seals as our jet boat cautiously maneuvered for a closer view of the glacier.
Bears & a Cub
While it isn’t yet salmon spawning season (which I have to come back to witness!), we saw three brown bears and a cub throughout our cruise in Glacier Bay National Park. This was particularly exciting as I knew we were too early to see them plucking salmon from the rivers and wasn’t sure I’d have the opportunity to see them out in the wild.
Two bears were first spotted along a steep mountain side so we watched them climb and graze for a bit. One even got on its hind legs to scratch its back against a rock!
I guess this bear had an itch!
A short while later, we came across a mama bear and her cub down by the water. It was something special to have had the opportunity to witness them graze on the grass on a rocky outcropping, while the mama kept a close eye on her baby. It was just the cutest!
Mama bear and cub – Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
So I’ve always wanted to see a puffin, and I can finally cross that off my list! The Tufted Puffin has a black body with a relatively large white face, big orange beak, and long slicked back white “eyebrows.” Although they were absolutely adorable splashing around the surface of the water, they’re not particularly graceful fliers. It looks like it’s a struggle for them to get into the air (we watched one try about 4 or 5 times before he made it!). Thankfully, I’m sure they’re much more adept at diving for fish!
You can do it, little guy!
As our cruise drew to an end, while reminiscing about how much we enjoyed the various wildlife encounters we had, we expressed disappointment about not seeing the elusive killer whale: the orca (although, technically an orca is in the dolphin family, not a whale). In the midst of packing up on our final night, Captain Eric announced on the loudspeaker that he had a marvelous surprise…he was able to locate some orcas for us! We threw on our layers, ran outside, and discovered multiple orcas (both adults and calves) splashing around not only in the distance, but right beside the Alaskan Dream too! We saw (and heard) them pounding the water with their tails for the purpose of either stunning fish to feed on, teaching the technique to the young, or just playing.
Orcas spotted from the Alaskan Dream
Let me tell you, this was SO MUCH better than Sea World (to note: I do not support SeaWorld and animal tourism — when you see them in captivity their dorsal fins are curled over, which is a sign of depression, while these completely wild and free adults sported nearly 6 foot dorsal fins that stood upright and tall!). To see these beautiful creatures thriving in their natural habitat rather than being forced to perform was simply a moment I will never forget. What a phenomenal way to cap off an exciting week of wildlife sightings!
Absolutely left in awe
Leisure & Outdoorsy Activities
One of the reasons I was drawn to Alaskan Dream Cruises, other than the fact that they are owned and run by born and bred Alaskans and offer the small ship experience, was the opportunity to be somewhat active and explore on both land and sea. Since the Alaskan Dream fleet has ships all small enough to pull into protected coves and bays that the bigger cruise lines simply cannot navigate, we had several chances not only to hike on relatively secluded trails (ranging from easy to challenging, depending on your preference), but to partake in water sports a few times too. Each of the trails offered great opportunities to learn about the flora and fauna and what makes them unique to Alaska (like the muskeg!), and even some of the more remote communities had great trail maintenance. While I enjoyed being one with nature on a daily basis, I certainly recommend the following:
Try Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUPing)
The Alaskan Dream cruises with 3-4 sturdy stand up paddle boards so that, whenever time allows, we could get out on the water! I chose to SUP in a beautiful protected bay somewhere between Kake and Wrangell, with the sun lowering in the sky and the mountains as a backdrop. Despite the possibility of falling in the frigid water, I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to SUP in Alaska! Thankfully, the SUPs on board were extra buoyant, as no one wants to risk losing their balance and slipping into 41 degree water! With that said, feeling the freezing Alaskan water run over my toes with the sun shining, and taking in those views, was pretty incredible.
SUPing in Alaska – Alaskan Dream Cruises
Hike Cascade Creek Trail
While anchored in Thomas Bay, I highly recommend the Cascade Creek Trail to view an absolutely massive waterfall fed by nearby glaciers. Very early in the hike the trail goes beside the lower falls, where you will get a light shower from the mist created by the strength of the waterfall. Since we lucked out with yet another hot, sunny day, it was quite refreshing (particularly on the way down after we had already worked up a sweat)! Up the trail a bit from there we came to a bridge that crossed the waterfall where you could see, feel, and hear the power of the glacial runoff. After crossing the bridge, you’ll enter the rainforest. The hike was muddy and slippery, but offered beautiful views of not only the waterfall, but the rainforest too! I highly recommend wearing a pair of good hiking boots (Lowa Boots are my favorites!), and a good rain jacket in case there’s inclement weather. Don’t let this deter you though, as the Cascade Creek Trail is certainly worth the effort!
The powerful waterfall along the Cascade Creek Trail
Visit Orca Point Lodge
Orca Point Lodge is Alaskan Dream Cruises’ private day lodge on Colt Island. There our chef and crew prepared an incredible dinner of fresh caught Alaskan king crab, salmon filets, and/or prime rib – grilled by our very own Captain Eric on a Traeger!
After a delicious dinner, I warmed up in front of the fire while chatting with my fellow shipmates. I put this under the “active” section because while I indulged in s’mores, many of the passengers were playing corn hole, throwing around a frisbee, tossing a football, kicking a soccer ball, or walking around the beach. One brave youngin’ even decided to take a dip in the water. As I type this, I question whether or not she was brave or just crazy…I was shivering just watching her! It was an all around lovely, relaxing evening!
Passengers toss the bag at Orca Point Lodge – Juneau, Alaska
When we anchored at Cedar Island in Freshwater Bay, we jumped into sea kayaks to explore for a few hours! Now, it’s safe to say that kayaking is not my forté, but my mama was with me and did most of the hard work (thankfully!). As we were out there, a playful seal popped his head up next to our kayak, and we so enjoyed watching him splash around! It really doesn’t get much cuter than that! My brother and grandpa paddled in a different direction and had the good fortune of finding themselves surrounded by a dozen inquisitive harbor seals and three harbor porpoises. There’s always something special about seeing animals in their habitat, but it’s even more exciting when it’s from something as small and peaceful as a kayak.
Mama and I kayaking near the Alaskan Dream
Take a Polar Plunge
Although I’ve done a “polar-plunge” in Antarctica, I couldn’t let my grandpa join the “Killer Whale Club” without me — Alaska’s version of the polar plunge! While visiting Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park, I stripped out of my layers and into a bathing suit… and on the count of three, my grandpa and I jumped off the dock holding hands and submerging ourselves in the frigid 42 degree water! My mom and brother were happy to sit this one out, but I’m glad I did it!
Polar plunging with my 74-year-old grandpa!
Sometimes you just want to take in the view! And one of the coolest things about this cruise is that everything we did had this spectacular backdrop of snow covered peaks, tall trees, small islands, massive fjords, glaciers, glistening water and waterfalls. There are numerous locations on the ship from which to watch this amazing scenery go by: from the comfort of your cabin (because, yes, every room has large windows!), from the top deck offering 360 degree views, from the stern with protection from the wind, from the viewing platform at the bow, from the bar and common area, and even from the dining room windows! While every day was a beaut, these were some of our favorite stops:
We had a rare opportunity to visit the LeConte Glacier. If you’ve ever wanted to be surrounded by icebergs, watch seals with their pups, or witness glaciers calving, this tour is for you! This four-hour tour with Alaska Waters – as an optional excursion through Alaskan Dream Cruises – was simply amazing, and must not be missed if given the opportunity.
Our first view of massive icebergs!
Visiting the LeConte Glacier is tide dependent, as it’s on the other side of the Dry Strait. During low tide, this strait is uncrossable because it becomes a giant sandbar. During high tide, however, the clearance at the deepest point is between 7-8 feet, which makes a jet boat necessary if you want to cross. There was a 2.5-3ft clearance when we crossed the Dry Strait, but our jet boat could have made it with just 8 inches of water! The Stikine River is the fastest free-flowing navigable river in North America with 100 glaciers feeding it; it was great to not only experience the LeConte Glacier but all of the majestic peaks en route there! The two boats carrying all of the passengers from our cruise were the only ones there taking in the surroundings, hearing the thunderous sounds of the thousands of years old ice calving and falling into the water. What a sight to behold!
A calving glacier – LeConte Glacier
Tracy Arm Fjord
We woke up in Tracy Arm Fjord, with the beautiful South Sawyer Glacier directly outside our window! What a way to start the day. We spent the morning cruising through the stunning Tracey Arm, surrounded by 360 degree views of mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls.
The color of this water took my breath away!
The weather turned typically Southeast Alaskan on this day, which was to be expected given the glacial climate; so, be sure to have your base layers, mid layers, outer shell, hat, and gloves handy if you plan to spend a lot of time on deck as we did because it sure gets chilly! Get your camera ready, as you won’t want to step away.
Bundle up! And check out my Olympus review here.
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park was arguably the most memorable day of the whole trip. As our alarms went off to get ready for breakfast, we opened the window to see the beautiful Margerie Glacier, right along the US-Canada border! The Margerie Glacier is said to be one of the most beautiful glaciers of them all, and we could surely understand why! Beside the Margerie Glacier was the Grand Pacific Glacier, which was the start of Glacier Bay National Park. Unfortunately, today it just looks like a patch of gravel as it’s no longer terminal.
Margerie Glacier – Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Within the Park, from our ship we saw bald eagles perched on icebergs, brown bears, mountain goats, sea lions, and puffins – so to say it was an exciting day is an understatement! We also made our way to Bartlett Cove and enjoyed walking the serene Forest Loop Trail before capping off the day with a polar plunge.
A Steller Sea Lion, as seen from the deck of the Alaskan Dream
The Forest Loop runs through an old growth rainforest with lots of Pine (various types, Hemlock, and Aspen) and moss. Along the beach we noticed a tall pine with two young eagles perched on branches very serenely surveying their world. Then we encountered the 45½ foot long skeleton of a humpback whale that was incredible in its size!
The history of the park itself is interesting. It was visited in the 1880’s by the famous environmentalist John Muir (who was instrumental in creating Yellowstone National Park). It was named a National Monument in 1925. Alaskans became concerned in the 1920’s that the federal game wardens who managed the area (remember that Alaska was still a colony) were not doing a sufficient job of protecting the dwindling brown bear population and lobbied the federal government for more protection. In the 1930’s they were successful in having the area added to the Tongass National Forest as a bear sanctuary. Finally in 1980 an expanded area was named the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
Throughout our entire cruise, an effort was made to educate us about the First Alaskans – Alaska’s indigenous people. Indigenous peoples first inhabited Alaska thousands of years ago when the last Ice Age allowed them to cross the Bering Strait from Asia on a land bridge and developed their own languages and cultures. They lived undisturbed supporting themselves off the land and sea until Asians and Europeans started to arrive in larger numbers in the eighteenth century. Alaskan Dream Cruises acknowledges the importance of recognizing this history and ensured that we learned – firsthand – from the local communities. We visited:
Kake is a native Tlingit community and home to about 400 people. While we had a hot, sunny day, they typically get 300 inches of rainfall a year! We learned about woodcarving, sea otter tanning, weaving, and traditional dancing in the Tlingit community from a friendly pair of local people who told us of growing up in such a small environment. It was nice to see them passing along their heritage and traditions so that they don’t get lost over time.
Fal teaching us of their weaving traditions
One of the main reasons that people visit Kake is to see the tallest totem pole in the world made from a single tree, standing at 127 feet. There are three main types of totem poles: memorial poles (for important departed souls), shame poles (for those who have harmed you in some way; the shame pole comes down when the aggrieved party has been satisfied with appropriate restitution), and story poles (the most common type of totem). The totem pole in Kake is a story pole, and has a legend from every clan in the community. Few ships visit Kake, with the largest ship holding no more than 300 passengers.
Wrangell is home to 2400 people and, as with most islands in Southeast Alaska, the only way on or off the island is via boat or plane. It’s crazy to think that modern places like Wrangell still rely on a barge to deliver their groceries once a week! Wrangell is the third oldest city in Alaska, and the only city to have been governed under 4 nations: the Tlingits, Russians, British, and Americans.
The main attraction in Wrangell is Petroglyph Beach, a beach with over 40 petroglyphs etched into rock. The meaning is lost to the people of Wrangell today, so they decided to leave the petroglyphs where they were found so that they could serve their original purpose (whatever that might be).
A petroglyph on Petroglyph Beach
Petersburg is known to Alaskans as “Little Norway.” It was founded by Peter Bushman, a Norwegian who came to Alaska looking for a place to call home. He was taken by the mountains, glaciers, and fishing grounds and, before he knew it, he opened up his first cannery (after first building a sauna, of course!). He wrote to his friends and family telling them about the beautiful town, and ever since Petersburg has been a vibrant fishing community. We began our morning at the Sons of Norway Hall, where we ate delicious Norwegian baked goods while watching the youth perform traditional dances. We then had a walking tour of the local muskeg. Muskeg is the term used in Alaska for the very moist ground we in the lower 48 would call bogs.
Muskeg in Petersburg
Meals with Alaskan Dream Cruises
Now for the food lovers among us, bring your appetite with you! As I’m sure you know, Alaska is renowned for its salmon, and Alaskan Dream Cruises does an incredible job of highlighting the local cuisine while on board. In fact, we learned that some of the fish they served was caught earlier in the day! Talk about a meal from sea to plate! Of course, if you’re not a fish or seafood person, there’s something for everyone.
For breakfasts you’ll find a variety of foods from oatmeal and fruit to pancakes and French toast, to omelettes, bagels, and specials of the day (typically incorporating smoked salmon).
For lunches, you’re looking at a soup, entrée, and dessert (should you choose). There are a few different entrées to choose from, like burgers, salads, and sandwiches. I personally recommend skipping dessert at lunch because… around 4 o’clock light snacks are put out, which usually consists of deliciously warm baked cookies. Be sure to have the peanut butter!
Dinner each night begins at 7pm and is a 4 course meal with a soup, salad, entrée, and dessert. I certainly recommend getting the fish entrée each night, as it doesn’t get much better than that when you’re in Alaska!
A typical delicious dinner onboard the Alaskan Dream!
Disembarkation in Juneau
If you’re not ready to give up the dream just yet, I highly recommend staying in Juneau for a few extra days to take in what the capital city has to offer. For us, that meant taking to the skies for a different perspective. I suggest the following three post-cruise activities…
Goldbelt Tram Alaska
Make your way up Juneau’s promenade to the Mount Roberts Tram station and hop on the Goldbelt Tram! Our gondola whisked us up a steep 1800 feet to the platform which is nearly halfway up the 3800 foot mountain. We were rewarded with incredible views of Juneau and the entire bay, and particularly enjoyed watching the bald eagles soar overhead. There are many lovely viewing platforms and multiple hiking trails. We chose to take it easy, but if you’re feeling so inclined, check out the more difficult Mount Roberts summit.
A bald eagle soars over Juneau, Alaska
Northstar Helicopter Glacier Trek
Northstar Helicopter’s Glacier Trek is one of the most popular excursions in Juneau, and for good reason! Our flight took us to the Mendenhall Glacier, where we strapped on our helmets, fastened our crampons, grabbed our ice picks, and got hiking. It was beautiful and awe-inspiring, particularly when thinking of the thousands of tons of snow and ice and eons of time that went into the creation of Mendenhall Glacier.
Ready to go glacier trekking in Juneau!
The sun glistening off the surface of the glacier gave the appearance of a field of sparkling diamonds. Every so often there were small round pools of water — some shallow, some deep — that were varying shades of blue from a light turquoise to a deep lapis lazuli. And turquoise streams ran on the glacier and just under the surface. Be sure to fill up your water bottle with the glacial water while up there, as it’s the most crisp, clean, and pure water you’ll ever taste! Towards the end of our tour, they took us to a fast-flowing stream that disappeared into a newly created 600ft hole. After carefully tethering us, one-by-one they took to the edge of the hole and held us as we leaned over the edge to peer down. Before the chopper came to pick us up, the clouds lifted and we were rewarded with incredible views of the mountains surrounding the glacier! The perfect end to an exciting morning!
Look at those colors on the Mendenhall Glacier – Juneau
Flightseeing Tour through Glacier Bay National Park
While most people visiting Alaska see Glacier Bay National Park from their cruise ship (which was our favorite day on our 8 day journey with Alaskan Dream Cruises!), we had the opportunity to see it from a more unique perspective: from above. Simply put, this was one of those experiences of a lifetime. Our good fortune held as the weather was perfect with not a cloud in the sky. Shortly after taking off in our small 6-seater Cessna plane, we traded the mountains surrounding Juneau for the mountains of Glacier Bay National Park. Our pilot flew high, flew low, circled around some of the more amazing glaciers (and they are all amazing), and brushed past beautiful snow-covered mountain peaks.
Imagine endless views just like this – Alaska Seaplanes
We could see where glaciers began in the mountains and where they ended in the sea. We could see turquoise pools in the glaciers. We could see dark blue glacial lakes. Whether it was outside the left windows or the right windows, gorgeous sights abounded. If you have the opportunity to do a flightseeing tour with Alaska Seaplanes from Juneau, do it without hesitation — you won’t regret it! I’ve got my eye on their Pack Creek Bear Tour for my next visit to Juneau…
Alaska Seaplanes – Glacier Bay National Park
A Heartfelt Thank You!
A trip to Alaska is a unique one. To see whales breaching, orcas pounding the water, harbor seals and their little pups sitting on ice staring at you, bears in the wild, bald eagles in majestic flight, puffins, snow-covered mountains all around you, glaciers that can actually carve out mountains, sunsets that never quite set; to meet different people and learn about their cultures; to be in locations so different from my own; this all creates memories never to be forgotten. The intimacy of a small ship, and virtually private excursions, enhanced our already spectacular journey. A heartfelt thank you to the Captain, Crew, and all of the wonderful people behind the scenes who helped us truly experience the Alaskan Dream!
3 generations, and 4 over-the-moon travelers in Alaska!
Alaska’s Glacier Bay and Island Adventure Cruise Map
As I mentioned earlier, we were on the 7 night, 8 day Alaska’s Glacier Bay and Island Adventure cruise on the Alaskan Dream. Check out the map below to see our cruise route through the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska.
Tracy Arm Fjord
Orca Point Lodge
Glacier Bay National Park
COVID-19 Precautions On Board The Alaskan Dream
The cruise industry took a particularly hard hit during the pandemic and no one knew when it would resume, or how it could resume safely. Well, let it be known that Alaskan Dream Cruises went through extraordinary measures to ensure that each guest felt safe and comfortable!
In order to board any of the Alaskan Dream Cruise itineraries, passengers must:
- Be fully vaccinated, and show proof of vaccination
- Take a PCR test 96 hours prior to embarkation, and show proof of negative test
A representative from Alaskan Dream Cruises will check both proof of vaccination and negative PCR when they meet you at the airport to ensure that you can safely board.
Once on board, Captain Eric gave a very heartfelt thank you to each of us for going through the steps necessary to safely explore Southeast Alaska. I must say, it was pretty powerful to be some of the first people to sail the seas after over a year of being unable.
Throughout the ship, there was hand sanitizer readily available in all common areas. Despite being a fully vaccinated ship, masks were still a part of the health and safety of the guests and crew. One of the biggest benefits of being a vaccinated cruise is that it generated a level of comfort which allowed the local communities to accept our calls to port as normal as possible.
Being on one of the first cruises coming out of the pandemic, you’d think there’d be some hiccups… but it was as seamless as could be and, in all honesty, my time on Alaskan Dream Cruises was the first time in over a year where life felt entirely normal. It was as if my fears completely washed away as every single person we encountered was a responsible traveler – both caring about themselves and that of their fellow travelers. Being surrounded by people and crew with that same mentality made all the difference!
Know Before You Cruise Alaska
What to pack for an Alaskan Cruise
When packing for Alaska, there’s only one thing to bear in mind: layers, layers, layers! Southeast Alaska is typically quite rainy, and if you’re on the water, it’s likely to be chilly to downright cold. Waterproof footwear, rain jackets, and gloves are highly recommended. We were lucky on our cruise, as it was warm and sunny most days, but all of the locals said that those temperatures were unbelievably rare. Of course, there are many more things that I recommend packing for your trip though, and I highly recommend that you check out my “137 Travel Essentials” to pack for your cruise to Southeast Alaska.
The best travel card for Alaska
You'll want to take out cash prior to boarding your Alaskan cruise. Before you leave for your trip to Alaska, I highly recommend opening a free Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account. This provides you with your own Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit Card, which offers a ton of benefits both at home and overseas. I’ve been using a Charles Schwab Debit Card since 2011, and it’s honestly the best free travel card out there. You can withdraw from any ATM around the world, and Charles Schwab will reimburse you any ATM fees! They also don’t charge foreign transaction fees either, which is, of course, important when you travel. It’s also worth noting there there is no minimum balance requirement and that they offer free online transfers between accounts (so it’s completely fine if you have another credit card, debit card, or bank account with another company). Open your Charles Schwab account today – for free – by following this link.
Purchase travel insurance for your cruise to Alaska
These days, I hope you don’t embark without travel insurance! If you do, you better think again. Travel insurance is arguably the most important thing to have on hand (after your passports and visas) for a trip like this. I’ve had to use my travel insurance multiple times on the road, even though I’m young and healthy. You never know when something might happen; take comfort in knowing that whether your flight gets cancelled or you wind up sick and in the hospital, you will be covered. I recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance. You can get a free quote here.
Alaskan Dream Cruises: The Alaskan Dream
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*A very special thank you to Alaskan Dream Cruises, Travel Juneau, and Visit Sitka for helping to make this once-in-a-lifetime trip happen!