It’s still peak summer travel here in Alaska, but airlines and cruise lines are planning special deals for the off-season. That means lower prices for travelers in August, September and beyond.
For airfares, it’s still hot for most of August. But rates are dropping in select markets as fall approaches.
Between Anchorage and Seattle, prices for Delta travel fell to as low as $99 each way in the last week of August. But they went back up to $117 each way from August 27, with wide availability after September 18. Although Delta initiated the fare reductions, Alaska Airlines typically adjusts fares on select flights. Remember: rates are subject to change without notice and are constantly changing.
Anchorage to Los Angeles fares are expensive until August 24, when Delta cuts the fare to $178 one-way.
Travelers to Hawaii will have to wait until after Christmas for relief. Although Alaska Airlines non-stops to Honolulu will resume on November 18, non-stops to Maui and Kona will not begin until mid-December. These vacation rates are high. But starting January 4, Alaska is offering one-way tickets for all three routes starting at $198 each way.
Holland America Line offers Alaska residents bargain fares on crossings between Whittier and Vancouver, starting at $199 per person, plus $260 for port fees and dues. Total price for a week-long cruise is $459 per person based on double occupancy. On Holland America’s website, the cheapest itinerary is $519 per person, plus $260 in taxes and fees, for a total of $779 per person.
The lowest available price is for inside cabins for cruises between August 7th and September 22nd. There are two northbound cruises departing from Vancouver on August 14th and September 4th. There are five southbound cruises on two ships: the Noordam and the Nieuw Amsterdam.
Aside from Inside Staterooms, Holland America offers discounted rates for all other categories: Oceanview (from $399), Verandah Rooms (from $599), and Suites (from $899). All prices are per person based on double occupancy. Plus port dues and taxes: $260 per person.
There are all sorts of additional services and excursions to choose from, although they are not specifically discounted for these cruises. The Have It All add-on is $50 per day and includes a beverage package, $100 shore excursion credit, Wi-Fi connectivity, and specialty restaurants. Ports include Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. The ships make “scenic cruises” in Glacier Bay and College Fjord.
Nobody goes hungry on a cruise. But Holland America has partnered with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to offer “sustainably sourced Alaskan seafood” on all of its Inside Passage cruises, including ships sailing across the Gulf of Alaska to Whittier.
According to Holland America’s Erik Elvejord, the company orders more than 5,000 pounds of Alaskan seafood for each trip of its six ships sailing Alaska this summer. These include salmon, cod, halibut and scorpion fish.
Seattle celebrity chef Ethan Stowell, member of Holland America’s Culinary Council, this summer launched a selection of Alaskan seafood dishes available on board all ships. One dish in particular features Alaskan salmon with a honey-lemon glaze and dill butter, also known as “melt-in-the-mouth salmon.”
Because this cruise sale is limited to Alaska residents, there are a few extra hoops to jump through. You won’t find the prices on Holland America’s website, although you can search for itinerary details there.
All bookings must be made through a travel agent or by calling Holland America at 877-932-4259. To receive Alaska Resident discounted rates, quote promo code “KJ3”.
“These are great prices,” said Nate Vallier, president of Alaska and Yukon Tours in Juneau. Vallier noted that masks are still required for Gulf crossings aboard Holland America ships, as stated on the company’s website. A company representative said masks are no longer required on the ship, although they may be recommended in certain areas of the ship “like show lounges”.
As COVID-related policies can change frequently, travelers should be prepared to wear their masks on board.
All cruise travelers on Holland America must be fully vaccinated in order to board. Also, all travelers must have a valid passport as cruises begin or end in Canada.
Take advantage of Air Canada’s non-stop flights between Anchorage and Vancouver to combine with a cruise. One-way tickets are $205-$215 through September 17. After that, you can either fly or take a shuttle to Seattle for the ride back to Anchorage.
Holland America’s late season sale may be the first offer for travelers, but it won’t be the last. Also, keep an eye on airfares as they change frequently – and they tend to go down.