We booked a Celebrity 7-night cruise for Alaska after enjoying our Mediterranean experience on Celebrity's Solstice. We purchased a package that also included a 5-night land tour, beginning in Anchorage and ending in Seward, where we embarked for the southbound leg of the ship's Inside Passage loop. My husband and I are in our early 60s and this may be our only visit to Alaska, as there are just so many places to go. If you've read a lot of these reviews, as I have, you appreciate that they are very subjective. I offer the following observations for what help they afford to fellow travelers.
Visiting Alaska is, in several ways, a lot like visiting China. There is a a tourist route. If one hundred tourists spend a week each in New York City they'll likely have 100 diverse experiences. If 100 tourists go to China for a week, they'll all see the Wall and the Forbidden City. And if you go to Alaska with a tour you'll see a somewhat predictable pattern of glaciers, mountains and fabulous sea and land animals. Moreover, you'll have your adventure within a 4-month timeframe - tourist season runs mid-May to mid-September. Many of the folks with whom you interact may not even be Alaskans - young people come from the world over to staff the tourist venues, restaurants and hotels. So, do some research before you book. What do you really want to see and do in Alaska? If what's covered in the tour route (sea and/or land) is sufficient, great. If not, you'll want to pay a little more to 'get out there'.
Our Millennium 7-night Southbound tour from Seward to Vancouver took us to within 2 miles of the Hubbard Glacier and to 4 Alaskan ports - Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, & Ketchekan. I'll review the ports separately elsewhere in Cruise Critic, suffice it to say that they are all 'staged' ports, colorful little tourist sections of town lined with shops and more shops. If shops aren't your thing, well, again, do your research. Each port offers a hundred opportunities to really see Alaska. Celebrity offers some great excursions and there are many private companies with competent, trustworthy staff to help you plan your adventures. Aside from the ports what is really nice about cruising Alaska is the opportunity to see whales - several kinds of whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins, --- and maybe walk out on your veranda, as we did one morning, just in time to watch a bald eagle fly overhead. Wow! Cruising the Inside Passage, mountain ranges on both sides of you, is just awesome and using your 'floating boat' to explore different areas and do different things is what makes the Alaskan cruise a good choice.