Northern Lights Tour and Aurora Borealis Travel Guide

Guide for Northern Lights Tour – Aurora Borealis

  • northern lights tour
    Megan Hazel asked:

    Romantic ocean breezes, a midnight walk on deck, dazzling dinners at the Captain’s table, and days full of planned activities which the kids will love. These days, cruises are not just for singles, honeymoon couples, or senior citizens. Most major cruise lines have discovered that families are a great market for spectacular and fun cruises, and developed special tour and cruise offerings that cater to family fun. If you are considering a cruise vacation for your family, here are some tips and suggestions that can make your travel experience a wonderful family memory.

    1. Include the family in the planning.

    A great way to ensure that your children will love the activities that you plan for them is to include their ideas in the planning process. By the time kids are old enough to have opinions; they will enjoy any trip more if they have a hand in the choosing. Gather information about various cruises and destinations that fit into your budget and encourage the children to offer some suggestions. It’s a great way to find out that your eight year old is a budding archaeologist with an affinity for the Nile, or your fourteen year old dreams of seeing the Northern Lights. Even if their only input is to suggest the cruise ship with the full theme park on Deck Three, you’ll know what’s important to them when booking your cruise.

    2. Choose a kid-centered cruise.

    Most cruise lines allow children. Some cruise lines even specialize in catering to families with children. When you’re cruising with a family in tow, it’s important to choose a cruise line that designs activities for children. While long, lazy days at sea with nothing to do may be your idea of heaven, your children probably need more stimulation. Besides the activities planned by the cruise line, your children will also have the benefit of the other kids onboard to share the experience with. Any experienced cruise traveler can tell you, half the fun is in the people that you meet on board the ship.

    3. Consider how much togetherness you want.

    The most attractive family cruise programs feature a well-rounded selection of activities geared to all members of the family. The activities offered are likely to include “family activities” for parents and kids together, as well as a variety of things for kids to do without parents in tow. In addition, there will be activities geared to all age groups, from toddlers to teens – with and without parents. That provides “couple time” for mom and dad, as well as time for each person in the family to pursue their own interests. Look for a family centered cruise that offers the degree of togetherness that’s right for your family, and a wide range of activities that everyone can enjoy.

    4. Put safety up front.

    When choosing a family cruise, ask hard questions about how the cruise line provides for the safety of your children. Are their activity counselors trained to work with children in the age group with which they are working? Is each activity staffed with trained counselors/guides who are certified in first aid and safety? Does the company do thorough background checks on any person who is hired to work with your children? Don’t make assumptions – get assurances. The following are some questions that the cruise line should be able to answer:

    - How are counselors working with children trained?

    - What background checks do you perform for the employees who work with children?

    - Do your cruise counselors have first aid and safety training?

    - If babysitting is available, what background checks are done for babysitters?

    - What safety measures are in use to keep track of children while they are in the care of ship staff?

    - Do you require parents to check children in and out of activity areas and activities?

    5. Kids’ menus, cabins and other practicalities.

    Before you make your final decision on a family cruise, look into the availability of any special needs your children may have. If you’re booking with a line that caters to children, you can expect them to have a children’s menu – but that might not be all you need. If your child needs a special diet because of allergies, religion, health or just overall pickiness, it’s important to know that those foods will be available for your child. Likewise, it’s important to know the cruise line’s policy on adults and children in rooms – some, for instance, require an adult in each room where children are staying, which may mean the entire family sharing a room.

    Family cruises are growing in popularity year by year, and why not? They offer an all-inclusive vacation experience that the whole family can enjoy. Shop around for the cruise that offers the best deal for your family, and have a great time.

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  • northern lights tour
    Scott Russell asked:

    There are certainly quite a few myths out there about Alaskan cruises, and during my time working in the travel industry, I heard all of them. So in order to set the record straight, I have put together this list of the top 10 myths about Alaskan cruises.

    When you take an Alaskan cruise, the experience is unforgettable – the shore trips range from fascinating to thrilling, the towns along the route are wonderfully quaint, and the scenery is simply spectacular. As far as I am concerned, it is the most amazing scenery anywhere in the world.

    An Alaska vacation is one you will remember for the rest of your life. Alaska will, no doubt, defy many of your preconceived notions. It is a place that exceeds all expectations.

    So without further ado, let’s move right to the myth busting.

    1. You’ll see the Aurora Borealis

    There is a chance that you could catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) at some point along your cruise, but the odds are definitely against it. You can increase your chances of witnessing the Northern Lights by including an inland tour that stops in Fairbanks or by scheduling your cruise at the very beginning or end of the season.

    2. The weather in September and May is too cold

    The Inside Passage actually has a relatively mild and moderate marine climate, more like that of Seattle than of northern Alaska. The temperature along the Inside Passage only varies about ten degrees from the coolest part of the cruise season in May and late September to the warmest time of the summer, when it can get up to the high 60′s.

    3. Passports are not needed for an Alaska cruise

    As of 2009, passports will be required for all passengers on Alaskan cruises. In fact, anyone who flies in or out of Vancouver from the U.S. has been required to have a passport for a number of years. So do yourself a favor and get your passport early.

    4. It rains constantly

    It definitely does rain quite a bit in southern coastal Alaska. In fact, without the rain, there would be no lush rainforest vegetation or breathtaking waterfalls and glaciers. But still, it is very likely you will experience a mix of rain and sunshine during your cruise.

    5. It is always less expensive if you cruise from Seattle

    It is definitely often less expensive to fly to Seattle than it is to fly to Anchorage or Vancouver. However, the money you save on flights can be eaten up by higher cruise fares, since sailings from Seattle often cost a bit more.

    6. The front section of the boat is better for those with motion sickness

    Neither the bow (front section) nor the top floors of the ship are your best bet if you suffer from sea sickness. Instead, people who are concerned about sea sickness might want to consider booking cabins on the lower floors of the ship, where there is less motion.

    7. It is possible to make cell phone calls on an Alaska cruise

    It’s true that you should be able to use your cell phone in some of the port towns (especially in Juneau). However, there is little chance your phone will get a signal in some of the more remote segments of the cruise.

    8. The left (or right) side of the ship is better

    Many people planning Alaska cruises seem to be under the impression that the right side of the boat is far better on a northbound Gulf of Alaska cruise (and that the left side is superior on a southbound cruise). There is indeed a period of about 1-2 days when your ship is out at sea in the Gulf of Alaska (assuming you have booked a one-way cruise). On those days, if the coastline is not shrouded in clouds (as it frequently is), you would have a better view from the rooms facing the coast. But for the remainder of the cruise, the views from both sides of the ship are often equally wonderful.

    9. You can save big bucks by booking last minute

    Through those buying last-minute might get great deals on cruises of the Caribbean, the same does not really hold true for Alaska cruises. Alaskan ships often sell out far in advance for cruises in the months of July and August. If you are really looking for a last-second deal, you might be able to find one in May or September, though you could have to settle for an inside cabin.

    10. You can see polar bears on the cruise

    While there are many incredible sights that you will see on an Inside Passage or Gulf of Alaska cruise, you won’t see any Polar bears. These massive bears live almost exclusively on arctic ice flows in the far northern region of Alaska. The cruise route focuses on southern and central Alaska. However, you might well see grizzly bears on your cruise, for they are very common in lower Alaska and are an incredible sight.

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