A new fleet of cruise line ships, called "floating cities," have made cruises a very popular vacation choice, particularly when it comes to seeing Alaska. But don't stop there, take some extra time and combine your cruise with a land tour, and you'll get the best views, entertainment and lodging offered in Alaska.
Length of Trip
Obviously the more time you have, the less pressure you will feel to try to squeeze everything into your plans. Typically, cruises run seven days in length as do the land tours. But there are longer and shorter options available.
Time of Year
June, July and August are the warmest months of the year, and have an increased number of land tour options available. May and September are good choices for budget-minded travelers and wildlife lovers, as this is when discounts are the deepest and animals are the most active.
Think about whether or not you'd like to cruise first and then take your land tour, or the other way around. Other than personal preference, cost and sites visited are very comparable.
Mode of Transporation
Of course, the cruise is covered with one of many top-of-the-line ships on the seas today. The land tours often combine train and motor coach excursions, but you also can customize your trip and opt for a rental car. That way you're free to explore the area on your own.
One way or the other, most tour combos will afford you the opportunity to see the top attractions in Alaska. But if you have your heart set on scaling Mount McKinley or hiking through Denali National Park, plan your trip accordingly.