The Luxurious Side of Alaska Cruising

Sponsored by Seabourn
by Kerry Tice
The Luxurious Side of Alaska Cruising

Alaska's lack of luxury hotels or resorts make luxury cruises the accommodation of choice in this region. Photo: Seabourn Cruises.


Whether your clients have never cruised before or they are seasoned cruisers, Alaska should no doubt be on their list of places to go in 2019. The reasons to visit this fascinating destination are endless, and the options abound, but have they considered exploring The Last Frontier luxury-style? Just because a destination is adventurous, that doesn’t mean the journey has to be traditional. In fact, luxury small ship cruising to Alaska can make all the difference, and here are the reasons why:

Intimate ships
With the atmosphere of a private club, luxury ships offer intuitive, personalized service from staff who are passionate about exceeding guest expectations. For Alaska, in particular, luxury hospitality properties are not abundant, making luxury cruises the accommodation of choice in this region.

With all oceanfront suites, most including floor-to-ceiling windows and many with verandas, these small luxury ships offer accommodations that set them apart. The suites are spacious, thoughtfully appointed, and come with European soaps as well as welcome champagne and complimentary in-suite bars stocked with the guests’ preferences. Tipping of the staff is not required nor is it expected, and no request is too big or too small. 

And then there are the special touches, like the use of complimentary high-precision, long-range binoculars to capture all the wondrous sights; and all-weather jackets to brave the elements. Nearly everything is thought of (and included) in advance, so you and your clients don’t have to.

Unique access
In a destination like Alaska, exploring the most hidden gems can be the sweet icing on what is already a delectable cake. Small ships give luxury travelers access to places that larger ships simply cannot go. And with the vast size of Alaska, including many destinations that are largely inaccessible by land or air, luxury small ship cruising is an ideal way to get there and see these locales up close.

In addition to the traditional ports of Juneau and Ketchikan, small luxury vessels can visit out-of-the-way areas like Misty Fjords, Klemtu, Wrangell, Inian Islands, Chiswell Islands, Aialik Glacier and Holgate Glacier. Visits to smaller, lesser-known ports provide opportunities to launch Zodiacs and kayaks directly from the ships, enhancing and extending the way in which travelers can explore the destination.

For example, small luxury ships can sail up into the back of Misty Fjords, just past Nooya Lake. From this position, Zodiacs and kayaks can be launched offering tours to the most northern arm of Misty Fjords, an area almost never seen by visitors except in a float plane, but not from water level. Guests have the chance to enjoy the silence and take in the magnificent scenery, waterfalls, and the possibility of seeing bears.

Gourmet dining experiences
Dining is, by far, an integral part of the overall Alaska cruise experience, and when you sail on a luxury small ship, the bar is raised to a whole different level. With regionally inspired cuisine prepared by world-renowned chefs using local seasonal produce and seafood, guests are guaranteed world-class culinary experiences. And, with no set reservation times to stress over, guests can relax and choose to dine where, when and with whom they wish, every night of their sail. Luxury small ship sailing provides a feeling of being at home, even if you are hundreds of miles away.

Shore excursions like no other
Once your clients have decided to make the journey to Alaska, there are so many options to expand their experience, on either end of their journey, with shore excursions. These excursions allow for experiencing the destination both by land and sea, giving guests the best of both worlds. Some highlights include world-class bird watching on an expedition catamaran; a retreat to a rustic waterfall resort just outside Skagway; an exploration by helicopter, taking in the high alpine lakes and icefalls hanging from sheer cliffs in and around Juneau; and even soaring above Denali National Park in a flightseeing plane coupled with a ride in a luxurious, domed rail car.

If your client is going to Alaska, don’t miss out on the opportunity to add even more value and exploration to their experience by considering an extension to their trip, or even a longer itinerary for those seeking a more immersive experience. Whatever their preference, sailing luxury style will satisfy both their thirst for adventure and their desire to be pampered.

FROM THE SPONSOR: For your most discerning clients, nobody tops Seabourn’s award-winning blend of authentic, immersive adventures and all-out, ultra-luxury amenities in Alaska on Seabourn Sojourn. On select cruises, a Ventures by Seabourn™ Expedition Team of scientists, naturalists and other experts provide insights and information onboard; and lead optional kayaking, Zodiac cruising, and trekking excursions in select ports of call. Itineraries are carefully curated, taking full advantage of the ship’s intimate dimensions, eschewing more mass-market ports in favor of picturesque locations that few Alaska visitors ever see. All this natural splendor is presented in the context of a shipboard product that has repeatedly been named the world’s best. Spacious, oceanfront suites; a variety of dining options inspired by Michelin-starred Chef Thomas Keller; a world-class spa facility; all-inclusive value; and sincere, intuitive service from a crew whose heartfelt hospitality is an industry legend, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the elements of a guest experience the company defines as the Seabourn Difference.

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Tip of the Day

I do think there are possibilities for traveler advisors to make money doing domestic trips. I charge a planning fee for my time and expertise, and then book commissionable hotels and activities that meet the client’s needs.

Terri Weeks

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