Cruises slowly return to Alaska: What you need to know


(KRON) – After nearly a two year pause, cruises are slowing returning to the water, allowing destinations like Alaska to open for travel and restart their economy.

A number of safety precautions have been put into place. Travel enthusiast Dana Rebmann joins us to explain.

It’s been a slow return for the cruise industry and the economic impact is especially notable in Alaska, where more than half of the state’s visitors would typically arrive on large cruise ships.

Alaskan Cruises Holland America Line has been cruising to Alaska for nearly 75 years.

This summer it has one ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam, sailing an abbreviated schedule from Seattle.

It started at the end of July and is set to end in early October.

It’s sailing with an average 30 % less capacity.

Guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated and have a negative medically supervised COVID-19 test taken within two days of embarkation, and face masks are required in indoor public spaces.

To anyone who has been to Alaska before, the ports are noticeable quieter, but there’s also a sense of gratitude to see travelers returning from local hospitality workers and tour operators.

So much about a trip to Alaska is about being outside. In Juneau, there’s a long list of ways you can see Mendenhall Glacier. You can go hiking, kayaking, and river rafting.

The guide is the only one with paddles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get wet as you’re taking in the scenery.

Kayaking is another popular way to explore when visiting Alaska, and it’s particularly colorful to go paddling in Sitka.

You’ll see sea stars, urchins, abalone, and crabs. Guides are quick to point out anything they think you might miss.

Excursions like this are designed to be enjoyable for all levels of paddlers. There’s no reason to be in a rush when you’ve got the scenery like this.

Kayaking is great because it gives you an incredible, up close, view. The only way to get closer would be to actually get in the water. You can do that in Ketchikan.

You can go snorkeling in Alaska. Water temperatures in Ketchikan range from 55 to 65 degrees in the summer.

The guides at Snorkel Alaska have thought of pretty much everything to keep brave snorkelers warm. High-tech, thick wetsuits, hoods, boots and gloves do an amazing job of making you forget where you actually are during the tour.

For more about Dana’s adventures and writing, follow her on Instagram @danarebmann and Twitter @drebmann. You can also visit her website.

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