If you're not set on blazing temperatures, calypso bands and rum cocktails, a cruise during Alaska's shoulder, or off-peak, season -- that's May through early June, and again in September -- could have you back at sea in no time.
Peak-season Alaska cruises, during the summer months, tend to be more expensive than similar length sailings in the Caribbean. Fewer ships sail there, it's a limited cruising season and the area is more costly in general (particularly with the controversial $50 head tax, which was a hot topic at the Cruise Shipping Miami convention this week).
However, shoulder season fares are currently running very close to what we're seeing in the Caribbean, which makes them a great value -- especially if you're eager to explore Alaska's wilderness and get a peek at its natural beauty. Here's an example: Right now, a seven-night roundtrip Eastern Caribbean sailing on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas in early June is priced from $866 per person. Meanwhile, you can currently book a seven-night roundtrip Alaska cruise on Celebrity Infinity in late May from $729 per person.
With fewer than two months before the onset of the season, Alaska deals are steadily rolling out, so to get you started, we've compiled a list of shoulder-season sailings -- and some of the pros and cons of cruising the region during off-peak weeks.
CLICK HERE for the full roundup of 2010 shoulder season Alaska deals!
One final note: Keep in mind that last-minute deals typically appear within 60 or 90 days of sailing, so you'll want to keep an eye out for additional offers. Bookmark Cruise Critic's Deals section and check back often for the most up-to-date bargains.
--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer