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Oct 082012
 
 October 8, 2012  Posted by  Travel
Alaska cruise travel

Alaska is on everyone’s bucket list. In addition to perennial favorite activities and attractions in this majestic land of timeless beauty, there’s something new for visitors every year. Thirty-one large ships are scheduled to sail 396 times in Alaska’s waters in 2013, a gain of one ship and 19 trips for a total passenger gain of 65,647. Celebrity Solstice, a larger ship, is replacing the Infinity. Carnival Miracle is replacing the Carnival Spirit. The 700-passenger Regatta is also returning, its last call being in 2011. The Grand Princess is replacing Sea Princess on a San Francisco round trip and the Amsterdam returns to seven-day Inside Passage sailings, which will double its visits.

The bad news is that cruises to Alaska are very popular and sell out quickly. The good news is that you can still find a deal if you do a little research — because there is no one single strategy that will get you the cruise you want at the best possible price.

National Cruise Month/National Cruise Vacation Week. October is National Cruise Vacation Month, so there will be industry-wide promotions and sales. October 21-27, National Cruise Vacation Week, is the centerpiece with more than 5,000 travel agencies in the United States and Canada expected to participate through special events, including online travel agency promotions throughout the month and special live, in-person travel agent events such as Cruise Nights at travel agencies and in partnership  with other local businesses. Check out some of the promotions at the website of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Carnival, for example, is offering special rates, up to $200 cash back per stateroom, 50% reduced deposits and up to a two-category upgrade on some sailings. Other cruise lines, including Celebrity and Holland America, are also offering deals on Alaska sailings.

Compare different booking websites. Go to Cruise Critic’s comparison page and you’ll be able to check the price on the Alaska cruise you want on many booking sites. You’ll find different prices for the same cruise on the same sailing date. Pick the best one.

Consult a Travel Agent. Many people believe that they will pay more if they book a cruise through a travel agent. That’s not true; in fact, if you consult a travel agent who specializes in cruises, you may well get the best possible deal — because these specialists have up-to-the-minute information on prices and availability — and they may have the “clout” to get you an upgrade or some on-board perks. Perhaps best of all, you will have someone to call if you encounter any problems.

Not everyone chooses to see Alaska from a cruise ship. New land offers include arctic polar bear viewing with Bald Mountain Air (Anchorage), overnight itineraries at the new Kodiak Brown Bear Center (Kodiak) and the addition of the Rainforest Islands Ferry that will connect Wrangell, Petersburg and Price of Wales Island for increased visitor access. Request your FREE 2013 Alaska Travel Guide, which is chock full of information on these and other new and ongoing programs.

 

Lillian Africano

Lilllian Africano is the editor-in-chief of SpaReviewMag.com, cruise editor at JAX FAX, senior editor at Elegant Accents and executive editor at Global-Writes.com. She also blogs on AllThingsCruise.com and TheCruiseEditor.com. She formerly served as a freelance editor and writer at AOL Travel and is the author of 16 books, including three best-selling novels (under the pseudonym “Jessica March”). She co-authored the 9th edition of Off the Beaten Track Guide to New York, as well as You Know You’re in New Jersey When… and two editions of The Insiders Guide to the Jersey Shore. Lillian is president-elect of the Society of American Travel Writers and past president of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. Find her on Google +.

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