Thinking about an Alaska cruise?
And when you’re browsing through your options, consider thinking small – as in small ship, that is.
This summer, my teen daughter and I cruised through the Inside Passage on Fantasy Cruise’s Island Spirit, an owner-operated, environmentally friendly vessel with room for 32 passengers. And while we’ve never done the ocean liner thing in Alaska, we’re convinced that a small ship is the way to go. AdventureSmith Explorations is expert at booking this kind of family-friendly adventure - and many more.
- You can get up close to the glaciers and wildlife.
- Love whales?
- Jeff Behrens, the owner and captain, does too. He’ll keep his trained and experienced eyes peeled for whales, dolphins, bears – you name it – then steer the boat as close as he can get to them. Try doing that on a big ship!
- There’s a naturalist on board.
- Julie, our naturalist, spent a lot of time teaching us about Alaskan culture and wildlife. Because all of the passengers on board could fit into the living room/bar area, it was easy for her to point out the window or play a video to show us stuff. When it was sunny, she’d take us out on deck to help us spot whales bubble net feeding or bears digging for clams.
- The food is made for 30, not 3000.
- On a big cruise ship, the food’s good, right? Well, on a small ship, the chef is cooking for just a few people, which means that he can use the freshest ingredients and the most creativity. Think just-caught Alaskan salmon or fresh-baked blondies and brownies.
- The ship is environmentally friendly.
- The Island Spirit docks at night and doesn’t use generators. That means that it’s super quiet, plus extra “green.”
- You make friends with everyone on the ship.
- When you’re traveling with people for eight days, you really get to know them – when there are only 32 of them, that is. We made friends from Wisconsin, Texas – even Australia.
- You learn a ton.
- Between our info sessions with the naturalist, the tours we took on land, and the many reference books on the ship, we learned a great deal about native Alaskan culture, art, and rituals. Plus, we saw the actual sites where the Gold Rush took place, visited two eagle rehabilitation and education centers, and watched a troupe perform authentic native Alaskan dances.
- You cross an item off your bucket list.
- Just wait until you tell all your friends about your small ship cruise – they’ll be so jealous, they’ll be standing in line to sign up for next year.