Based on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) website analytics and enquiries, Alaska is quickly emerging as the most sought-after cruise destination amongst South African travellers. The peak season for Alaska cruises is from May to September, with most cruise ships departing from Seattle, Vancouver, Seward and Anchorage.
“The chance to explore two countries on one trip, and stretch their rand as far as possible, is a big selling point for South Africans when it comes to Alaska cruises,” comments Kevin Bubolz, Vice President & Managing Director Continental Europe, Israel, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) at NCL.
“Alaska has a little bit of something for everyone. The state’s natural scenery is unlike anywhere else in the world. Wildlife is abundant, and many cruise passengers can spot whales, bears, moose and eagles while on their cruise.
I took my kids on a cruise to Alaska in 2016 and fondly remember the excitement as they spotted whales from the balcony of our cabin. It was a dream vacation come true and we still talk about this trip today. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
“Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, is known for its thriving food scene, with a wide range of restaurants serving everything from traditional Alaskan cuisine to international dishes. Finally, Juneau, the capital city and most popular port of call, is known for its outdoor adventures, including hiking, kayaking, fishing and wildlife viewing. Visitors can take a whale-watching tour, go on a bear-watching excursion or even embark on a helicopter flight to a remote glacier,” Bubolz adds.
NCL Alaska cruise itineraries
This season, NCL boasts seven cruise ships sailing from six departure ports. Cruises include shorter sailings from seven days and global journeys spanning 15 days or more.
“Our seven-day ‘Alaska: Hubbard Glacier & Skagway’ cruise on board the Norwegian Spirit, departing from Vancouver, British Columbia, is a favourite amongst South African cruisers, with bookings from just *R20,638 per person in a balcony cabin. The itinerary includes a train ride along the iconic White Pass Scenic Railway and whale watching in Valdez. Cruisers can also choose to embark on this itinerary departing from Seward, Alaska, from R22,400 per person,” says Bubolz.
“The ‘Alaska: Glaciers, Skagway & Juneau’ cruise is a seven-day cruise on board the Norwegian Jewel, selling from just R27,300 per person. This cruise also departs from Seward, Alaska and includes excursions in Icy Strait Point, sailing through the Inside Passage and foodie adventures in Juneau.”
With one-stop flights available on various respected airlines, air accessibility for South Africans heading to Vancouver, British Columbia – a popular homeport for Alaska cruises – is fantastic. However, when investigating cruise and flight logistics, anyone travelling on a South African passport must note that a cruise to Alaska requires two visas. That said, a US visa carries a 10-year validity, allowing for convenient travel in the future.
“If travellers have family or friends in Canada or Stateside, this may be the perfect opportunity to take a cruise and extend their trip to spend time with loved ones. Alternatively, a traveller’s friends or relatives could meet up with them and embark on an NCL bucket list cruise together,” Bubolz suggests.
“Ultimately, a cruise to Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime getaway and the best way to explore the United States’ largest state. Travellers only have to unpack once, and their trip is fully inclusive in terms of accommodation, dining, entertainment and activities. The cherry on top? Exclusive to NCL, all Cruise Tours are led by local Alaskan guides to provide travellers with an unrivalled, 100% authentic Alaska experience,” Bubolz concludes.
South African cruisers interested in booking an Alaska cruise with NCL can contact a travel professional or visit www.ncl.com to explore offers.
*Price per person is correct at time of writing and based on a per person rate in a balcony cabin.
About Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)
As the innovator in global cruise travel, NCL has been breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising for 56 years. Most notably, the cruise line revolutionised the industry by offering guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal holiday on their preferred schedule with no assigned dining and entertainment times and no formal dress codes. Today, its fleet of 18 contemporary ships sail to over 300 of the world’s most desirable destinations, including Great Stirrup Cay, the company’s private island in the Bahamas and its resort destination Harvest Caye in Belize. NCL not only provides superior guest service from land to sea, but also offers a wide variety of award-winning entertainment and dining options as well as a range of accommodation across the fleet, including solo-traveller staterooms, mini-suites, spa-suites and The Haven by Norwegian®, the company’s ship-within-a-ship concept. For additional information or to book a cruise, contact a travel professional, or visit www.ncl.com. For the latest news and exclusive content, visit the media centre and follow Norwegian Cruise line on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube @NorwegianCruiseLine; and Twitter and Snapchat @CruiseNorwegian.