Alaska cruises vs Caribbean cruises: Which one is better?

Cruising is a holiday type unlike any other, and one that is loved by many. A once-in-a-lifetime cruising adventure can take you anywhere across the globe, from the coldest locations to some of the world’s warmest climates.

Two of the most popular cruising locations take you to two opposite corners of the globe, Alaska and the Caribbean. Stark contrasts in many ways, these two locations both offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences; from stunning views and unique cultures to wildlife sightings in abundance. But which location is actually better?

In this article, we dive deep into the facts and figures to bring you the answer to that all-important question: Alaska cruises vs Caribbean cruises: Which is better?

Alaska cruises vs Caribbean cruises infographic part 1
Alaska cruises vs Caribbean cruises infographic part 2
Alaska cruises vs Caribbean cruises infographic part 3

 

Methodology

 

This article compares a set of factors to work out which location is better and more suited to your cruising type. Using fair data, we have compared a number of qualities that make a great cruising location, these include: Shore excursions, History, Culture, Food, Nature and wildlife, Architecture, Views, Social mentions, Local prices, Number of visitors, and Pollution

Continue reading to find out which name takes the top spot as the best cruising location.

Alaska

Experience an Alaska cruise

 

Alaska is now one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world and is known for being pure, raw and humongous in scale.

To put the size of Alaska into perspective, it is home to national parks that are the size of entire nations and is home to glaciers that are bigger than some US states. It is the largest state in the US and is seven times the size of the UK, covering more than 660,000 square miles.

Alaska is also the least densely populated state and its vast stretches of unspoilt landscapes are home to northern lights dancing in the sky, crystal clear lakes, calving glaciers, evergreen rainforests and stunning wildlife.

We spoke to some travel bloggers who have visited Alaska before and James Smith from Only By Land felt the state was home to some of the most beautiful places he has seen.

“Alaska is home to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Many of these are glaciers which are best viewed from the sea. I particularly remember Glacier Bay. In fact, one of the most memorable experiences of my life was viewing the snow-capped mountains and huge glaciers from the emerald-coloured water. What's more, the cruise ship captain rotated the ship so not only could I view it privately from my balcony but so could everybody else on board. The visit to Glacier Bay alone warrants cruising to Alaska.”

Christy from The Ordinary Traveler has been on a cruise to the Caribbean as well as Alaska and for her, there was only one winner.

“ I’ve been on cruises in both destinations and as an outdoor enthusiast, I would have to pick Alaska as my favourite. Alaska is one of the few destinations that I feel a cruise might be a better option for many people than travelling by land. I chose a small boat cruise with plenty of adventure activities — including daily hikes, kayaking, SUP and Zodiac tours. Every morning we woke up to the most breathtaking views like glaciers and mountain scenes that looked like they belonged on a postcard.”

The state is also easily accessible as you can book flights to Canada and travel to Alaska from there as well as from the US.

The Caribbean

A cruise ship in the Caribbean

 

The Caribbean is a destination on the wish lists of many and one that offers a whole lot more than just warm and vibrant climates and stunning views everywhere you go. It is a location of immense history, abundant wildlife and exquisite cuisines.

We spoke to a selection of travel bloggers who have visited the Caribbean on a cruise, Ben from Cruise Fever was the first to tell us why he loves the Caribbean:

“ The Caribbean is the ultimate location for cruises. It's perfect for those who want to explore the Caribbean and are afraid of flying. It's easily accessible without getting on an aeroplane. You will visit multiple islands, sample different cultures, explore exotic beaches, and the weather is great year-round.”

The Caribbean is often chosen as a top destination due to its wonderful culture and sense of community, those who visit will feel like they are truly welcome. Laura from Cruise Lifestyle Blog agrees:

“ Overall, the Caribbean is a really good destination for first-time cruisers. A Caribbean cruise is what most people imagine a cruise to be and there are many reasons to choose this type of cruise. Island life seems to make people happy and it's always refreshing to meet friendly locals who want you to enjoy your time on their island. I have fallen in love with destinations like Barbados and St Lucia so much that I want to go back and see more. The beauty of a Caribbean cruise is that the islands are relatively close to one another and therefore you get the chance to visit many places in one trip.”

Alaska shore excursions vs Caribbean shore excursions

 

Alaska

Northern Lights in Fairbanks Alaska

 

The best way to see the glorious scenery is by taking an Alaska cruise as from the deck of a ship, you can enjoy panoramic views of the icebergs and the small islands that line the coast. To get the best of both worlds you can go on cruise holidays that give you opportunities to disembark and explore areas on foot and learn about the history of the region and its indigenous people.

Explore the Mendenhall Ice Caves

Just 12 miles outside of Alaska’s capital, Juneau, is the Mendenhall Glacier, and with many Alaska cruises stopping at the city, it’s the perfect spot for some exploration.

The glacier is half a mile wide and it feeds Mendenhall Lake, but its main attraction is its ice caves. The glacier has ice caves that you can hike to and explore from the inside, giving you plenty of opportunities to take some spectacular photographs.

Northern Lights viewing

Watching the spectacular Northern Lights is another natural phenomenon that you can do in Alaska in the non-summer months.

Fairbanks, known as the Golden Heart of Alaska, is located under the “Aurora Oval”, a ring-shaped region around the North Pole and in winter it makes the city one of the best places on earth to view the Northern Lights.

The Aurora season can begin as early as 21st August and it will often extend through to 21st April. The best displays of the Aurora Borealis occur in the early hours of the morning or late on in the evenings.

Go whale watching

Whale watching is another hugely popular excursion that you can do in Alaska and most coastal towns feature whale watching tours. Whales that you can see in Alaska include Humpback whales, Gray whales, Killer whales, Beluga whales and more.

Christy from The Ordinary Traveler told us that she highly recommends going whale watching: “Our whale encounters were by far the highlight of the trip — with whales surrounding our boat on several occasions. Getting out on the water in Alaska is a must but choosing a cruise that also allows you to hike on land really gives you the best of both worlds.”

Hiking in the Tongass Rainforest

From the port town of Ketchikan, you can go on a Tongass Rainforest hiking expedition and experience the world’s largest temperate rainforest.

Here you can enjoy a three-mile walk and will come across mountains, fjords, islands, bays and an old-growth forest. There is also the opportunity you can spot wildlife such as deer, wolves, and brown and black bears.

A helicopter tour and dogsled excursion in Skagway

With a helicopter ride, a dogsled tour and glaciers, this shore excursion offers you a bit of everything.

You can get some spectacular views of Alaska’s ancient glaciers when you fly over them in a helicopter and then learn about the sport of dog mushing and have a go at it yourself. In total, the trip takes around two hours, but the memories of this trip will last a lifetime.

Rafting at Chilkoot

From the port town of Skagway, one of the best excursions you can enjoy is the hiking and rafting excursion at Chilkoot.

Excursions include a two-mile hike and once you get to Saintly Hill you will be met with some spectacular views before you board a raft on the Taiya River. Here you can enjoy a peaceful journey down the river to the tidal estuary and get some great views of the fjords and snow-capped peaks.

Caribbean

Women swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean sea

 

One of the most notorious qualities about a cruise to the Caribbean is the plethora of shore excursions on offer. The Caribbean is known for hosting some of the world’s most thrill-seeking and breathtaking activities that really cannot be seen or experienced anywhere else.

Swimming with dolphins

The crystal clear blue waters of the Caribbean sea make it a hotbed of wildlife, especially under the warm waters. Swimming with dolphins is a popular excursion and rightly so. Get up close and personal to the stunning animals in their natural habitat. Whilst you’re there, keep an eye out for tropical fish, sea turtles and many more exotic creatures.

Antigua helicopter tour

If you want to see the sights from a whole new perspective, why not take to the skies and witness the magical colours of the beaches and sea with your very own eyes? When in the Caribbean, heading up into the sky on your very own helicopter tour isn’t out of the question. Head over the sights of Antigua and get a glimpse of the entire island from new heights.

Ziplining

If something a little more thrilling is what you’re after, the Caribbean can offer that too, with ziplining and paragliding on offer at many of the islands. Take an adrenaline-filled journey through the treetops.

Laura thinks that the Caribbean is one of the best cruise locations for activities and excursions: “There is also great diversity in activities that you can enjoy in the Caribbean (it's more than just beaches) from watersports, food tours, visiting natural beauty spots, adventure sports to luxury resorts. Trying local food is one of my favourite things to do and you should not pass up the opportunity to go to a Friday night fish fry if you are in port.”

Which location is better for shore excursions: Alaska

Alaska history vs Caribbean history

 

Alaska

Native American Totems and Clan Houses at the Totem Bight State Historic Site in Alaska

 

Although it is said that Alaska was founded several hundreds of years ago, it wasn’t named an official American state until 1959 almost 100 years after it was bought from Russia in 1867, when it was named the largest by size. Later in history, during WWII, two of Alaska’s islands were occupied by the Japanese and used for almost 16 months to fight the enemy.

Although not famous for its rich historical past, Alaska is home to some fascinating sites waiting to be explored, including 22 historical sites of importance.

Totem Bight State Historical Park

The 11-acre park known as Totem Bight State Historic Park is situated just north of Ketchikan and is the home to historically restored and re-carved totems as well as a colourful community house to greet visitors. Totem poles have been a symbol of tribes for thousands of years, with these significant poles being discarded by their tribes. The U.S. Forest Service took it upon themselves to restore these overgrown memorial columns for those visiting the area to witness.

Saxman Native Village

Known as the totem capital of the world, Saxman Native Village is home to 25 replica totem poles dating back to the height of totem pole making in the 17th Century. A visit to the village will give you an insight into the lives of native settlers and the cultures they were accustomed to. You’re free to wander the park for a small fee or you could join one of the guided tours to find out a little more about this historical site.

Shakes Island Historic Site

As the name suggests Shakes Island Historic Site is located on Shakes Island and houses a historical collection of original native Alaskan artefacts. The island features a historic community house, totem poles and original Tlingit work. If you want to enjoy the real beauty of Alaskan history, this is a must-visit location.

Caribbean

Remains of the French Citadelle Laferriere in Haiti

 

The Caribbean has been a talking point in history for thousands of years, for many reasons. Discovered by Christopher Columbus the islands are rich in historical sites, amazing tales and ancient ruins. If you’re a lover of history, the Caribbean can offer you an insight into its past, although not as well known for being a historical destination as some. The islands play host to 17 historical sites of importance, meaning you may have to travel if you are wanting to see some of the main ones.

The Citadelle

A hill-top fortress located on the top of the Bonnet a L’Eveque mountain just 5 miles from the city of Milot in Haiti. Built in the 17th century, the large stone structure was said to have been constructed by over 20,000 workers and was designed to protect the island from French invasion. The sheer size of The Citadelle has made it the Haitian national symbol and is well worth a visit if you are on the island for the day.

National Museum of Bermuda

A site of significant importance on the island of Bermuda, the National Museum of Bermuda has been the home and custodian to the cultural heritage of the island for hundreds of years. Preserving the national history through collections, exhibitions, tours and site visits. If learning a little more about some of these unique Caribbean islands interests you, a visit to the museum is a must.

George Washington House

Visiting Barbados in 1751, the George Washington House was named after its famous visitor, commonly known as the 1st president of the United States of America, George Washington. Now owned by the Barbados National Trust, the house is a point of historical interest and supplies an insight into the history of Barbados over the last 250 years.

Which location is better for history: Caribbean

Alaska culture vs Caribbean culture

 

Alaska

Native Alaskan dance performance

 

Alaska is a location rich in ancient culture and cultural traditions. Prior to the arrival of Europeans and the amalgamation of Alaska with America, the indigenous people ruled the lands and their stories and marks are still left around the country to this day.

You may not think that Alaska has any differences from any of its 48 neighbouring states, but throughout the year, the state is home to a selection of wonderful cultural festivals, celebrations and experiences, including native dances, totem pole celebrations and music and art festivals. Even a wander around the state will offer glimpses of these ancient cultures, so keep your eyes peeled.

“For thousands of years, Alaska Native people have preserved their rich traditions and passed this cultural heritage from generation to generation. While the languages and philosophies vary from region to region, many common goals, values and spiritual beliefs weave these Native societies together in the past as well as today.” Travel Alaska reports.

Alaskan cultural highlights:

• Unique native settlements

• Traditional native dances

• Totem pole celebrations

• Traditional music and art festivals

Caribbean

Cuban musical trio

 

Culture is a large part of everyday life in the Caribbean and it is common for communities and villages to be very closely knit, meaning everyone knows everyone and families often share food and supplies.

The Caribbean can have a reputation for being a somewhat unsafe place, as Ben from Cruise Fever explains in a little more detail: “The one downside about cruising to the Caribbean is that locals tend to be more aggressive than in other areas, whether they want to sell you an excursion or visit their shop. However, a simple ‘no thank you’ usually solves this problem. However, not every island in the Caribbean is like this.”

A wander around any Caribbean port will introduce you to the way of life on the islands, with a wealth of history and culture for you to explore. Adam from The Cruise Critic agrees that there is a lot more to the Caribbean than just stunning views and sandy beaches:

“The Caribbean is breathtakingly beautiful and exceptionally varied. Most people think of it just as palm-fringed beaches, but there is a wealth of history and culture, which includes historical monuments such as garrisons and colonial architecture, as well as unusual experiences like the world’s only drive-in volcano, on St Lucia.”

A common theme that those who have been on a Caribbean cruise often comment on is the busyness of the ports. It is well worth moving away from the built-up, tourist areas and venturing further afield, as Adam continues: “As Caribbean cruise ports are entirely geared up to the cruise passenger, it’s advisable to look beyond these areas as much as possible. Explore a little if you can - just one street off the main drag can give you a glimpse of the ‘real’ Caribbean. Some areas like Roatan, Jamaica can be dangerous, so avoid exploring the area on your own, and book a cruise ship sponsored tour, if you can, as you will be looked after well.”

Laura from Cruise Lifestyle Blog also agrees that looking to find the less commercialised areas is the best way to explore: “I particularly enjoy visiting the less commercialised ports in the Caribbean as it gives you a real insight into local life. I admire the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the locals. They use what they have, which can be seen in the hand-painted signs, rustic beach bars and local crafts.”

Caribbean cultural highlights:

• Enjoy an afternoon of ‘liming’ or chilling out as it is commonly known

• Explore ancient forts and castles and learn about ancient tribes

• Music and dance carnivals

Which location is better for culture: Alaska

Alaska food vs Caribbean food

 

Alaska

Alaskan King crab

 

Seafood is the main attraction with salmon and crab being two of the most popular dishes you can try, but there are lots of other iconic dishes that you can try on your Alaska holidays. Below are some you should look out for.

Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon, also known as King Salmon, is known to be the best-tasting in the world and it can vary in flavour. The fish is native to the North Pacific Ocean and can be found in rivers all over Alaska. Find the recipe here

Alaska King Crab

The largest and most impressive of all crabs caught in the world, the Alaskan King Crab is known for its unmatched flavour, quality, and texture. Find the recipe here

Alaska Reindeer Dogs

Reindeer dogs are an Alaskan hot dog variety in which the sausages are made with caribou, pork, and beef. The split and grilled hot dog and the steamed bun are topped with Coca-Cola-deglazed onions, mustard, and cream cheese, while ketchup and relish are also commonly added to this tasty street food. Find the recipe here

Wild Berries

The Alaskan lands are rich in a variety of species of wild berries such as cranberries, salmonberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Locals use these to make pies, jams, liquors and other delicacies. Some good spots to find wild berries are Denali and Chugach National Parks. Find the recipe here

Alaskan craft beers, wines, and spirits

As well as its food, Alaska is home to lots of Alaskan craft beers, wines and spirits. From its award-winning Alaskan Amber to its Alaskan Summer Ale, there are lots of tasty tipples you can try on your Alaska holiday.

READ MORE: Brewery tour of Alaska

Alaskan Birch Syrup

Alaskan Birch syrup is used to add flavour to savoury meals and it is something you should certainly try while you are in Alaska. Made from the sap of birch trees, Alaskan Birch Syrup is produced in the same way as maple syrup. Find the recipe here

Caribbean

Caribbean jerk chicken

 

When it comes to food, spice lovers will be much more at home in the Caribbean, as most islands will have a signature dish that is well worth trying while you’re in port. Here are some of the most popular dishes you can try.

Flying fish and Cou Cou

The national dish of Barbados consists of a fillet of steamed or fried flying fish, accompanied by a side of cou cou, which is reminiscent of polenta. The dish is often accompanied with fresh vegetables and spices to take the flavours up a notch. Find the recipe here

Jerk Chicken

There are lots of different takes on Jerk Chicken, but something that remains consistent is the chicken coated in seasoning mixtures that contain spices and chillies. This iconic Caribbean dish is usually served with rice and peas. Find the recipe here

Goat Curry

This is a classic Jamaican dish and it is a must-try meal for anyone visiting the Caribbean on a cruise. Often made from cheaper cuts like goat and mutton, this type of curry is slow-cooked in strong spices to soak up the flavours. Find the recipe here

Rice and Peas

Rice and peas are a staple dish of the Caribbean and it often is served with BBQ meats and seasoned with the special trinity of thyme, scallion, and garlic. Find the recipe here

Breadfruit

Breadfruit is a commonly eaten food across the Caribbean, but it isn’t native to the region as it was transplanted here by Captain Willian Bligh in 1793. The food is quite heavy, but with its carbohydrates, calcium, iron, potassium, Vitamin B and low in fat, it is seen as a superfood. Find the recipe here

Callaloo

The Trinidad Callaloo is another iconic dish, but it should not be confused with the Jamaican callaloo. The Trinidadian version is a type of soup that is often considered a side dish by locals. It is a combination of dasheen—eddo and taro leaves—okra, crab, salt meat, onions, pimento peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, green onions and thyme, which are all cooked in fresh coconut milk. Find the recipe here

Rum Punch

This classic Caribbean drink usually consists of rum and lots of fruit juice such as orange, pineapple, lemon or lime. The drink is sweet as it has lots of fruit in it. Find the recipe here

Which location is better for food: Tie

Alaska nature and wildlife vs Caribbean nature and wildlife

 

From golden beaches to enormous icebergs and glaciers, both the Caribbean and Alaska are home to lots of natural wonders that shouldn't be missed. Both destinations have an abundance of wildlife and here we take a look at some of the most recognisable animals that call the respective destinations their home.

Alaska

Alaskan Brown Bears fishing salmon in Katmai National Park in Alaska

 

From whales and bears to eagles, Alaska is teeming with life as almost everywhere you look there is something to see. That is why Alaska is the number one destination for nature lovers all over the world.

This is something that really impressed travel blogger Jonathan Rundle, who runs the Jon The Road Again site, when he visited Alaska.

“Alaska offers so much more than any other location can. Okay, it's going to be colder than Aruba, but there is nowhere else that you can watch a glacier calve into the water with massive force and just a few hours later observe a moose calf and his mother walk gently along the hillside among the alpine brush. Orcas and humpbacks fill the coastal waters. It's a place where bald eagle sightings become as common as spotting a robin or sparrow from your window at home. At night, look up - the northern lights may be dancing above your head.

I prefer Mother Nature's architecture to anything man-made. In Alaska, see North America's tallest peak, experience its most rugged national parks, and watch the sunset behind a distant island volcano in Homer. Trade in your bikini for a warm coat - I promise you won't be disappointed.”

We’ve listed some of the most impressive animals you can see on an Alaskan cruise:

• Polar Bears - The largest and most carnivorous of the three bear species that live in Alaska. Kaktovik and Barrow are the two communities that see the bears most regularly.

• Grizzly Bears and Black Bears - Black bears are more populous in Alaska than grizzly bears, but both are commonly seen in the state. The grizzly bear is much larger and stands at eight-to-nine feet in height on its hind legs, while black bears are smaller and are found in forested areas.

• Orca Whales (aka Killer Whales) – The iconic black and white Orcas, which are the largest members of the dolphin family, can be commonly seen around Alaskan waters. Some of the best places where you can see these majestic mammals in Alaska are Juneau and Seward and being highly social animals you are likely to see them in large pods. You are most likely to see these whales in early May through to September.

• Humpback Whales – If you are visiting Alaska in the summer, then you are likely to see humpback whales who have come to enjoy the summer feeding grounds.

• Bald Eagles – They are the national bird and animal of the United States, as they are seen as a symbol of freedom. They are often found near coasts and Homers Spit is one of the best eagle-watching spots in Alaska.

• Puffins – There are two species of these distinctive birds that can be found in Alaska, the tufted and horned. They are found all along the southern coast and the best time to see puffins is from May to September as this is their breeding season.

• Caribou – An animal synonymous with Canada and North America, in general, is Caribou or reindeer as they are also known. It is estimated that Alaska alone is home to over 750,000 caribou and they roam from the prairie-like barrens of the Arctic Slope to the Kenai River flats, and the foothills in the Denali National Park.

Caribbean

Hammerhead shark in the Bahamas

 

The Caribbean is a warm, welcoming paradise of natural beauty and with its lush nature trails and marine parks, there are lots of opportunities to get up close to a variety of animals.

Don and Heidi from the travel blog Eat Sleep Cruise told us there are lots of wildlife you can see in the Caribbean: “Nature lovers can also set sight on the wild side of the Caribbean. From sloth encounters to river rafting, and rainforest hikes, our travels to the Caribbean have given us a new appreciation for the biodiversity and natural beauty of these tropical locales.”

Adam Coulter, UK Managing Editor at Cruise Critic, agrees that the Caribbean is a great location when it comes to seeing amazing wildlife.

“The great thing about the Caribbean is that the best wildlife is usually found underwater. The Caribbean offers some of the best diving sites in the world, such as Bonaire, Roatan and St Lucia.”

“I personally love the dramatic contrasts between the islands – whether it’s the sophistication of St Barths (like a French Riviera resort); the nature and wildlife of Puerto Rico; the musical heritage of Jamaica; the cuisine of Barbados; the politics and history of Cuba; or the desert landscape of Aruba.”

We’ve listed some of the most impressive animals you can see in the Caribbean:

• Humpback Whales - Mid-January to mid-March is considered the peak season for seeing humpback whales in the Caribbean.

• Dolphins - There are resident pods of dolphins and migratory pods and these include bottlenose, Fraser, spotted and spinners.

• Leatherback Turtles – Regarded by many as the most magnificent residents of the Caribbean, the turtle nesting season generally runs from January to September, with activity peaking between March and June.

• Flying Fish - Their large pectoral fins look like wings and this allows them to fly above the ocean. The greatest number of flying fish can be found in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Barbados.

• Hammerhead Sharks – This iconic shark can be found in the Caribbean Sea and some of the best places to see them in the world are the Bahamas and Tobago.

Which location is better for wildlife: Alaska

Alaska architecture vs Caribbean architecture

 

Alaska

Ketchikan in Alaska

 

Since the first Russian outposts appeared in Alaska, buildings have been constructed in a wide variety of architectural styles. They have ranged from the vernacular log cabins of the late 18th century to steel and glass curtain-wall buildings that have been popular in the 20th Century.

Alaska’s architecture is unique in the fact that Russian Colonial buildings soon evolved to incorporate the traditional vernacular building techniques used in Russia. The only places in the United States where this style of architecture can be found are Alaska and California. Today, the oldest building in Alaska is the Kodiak History Museum, formerly known as the Baranov Museum, which was built in the 1700s.

From the 1970s to the present day, Alaska architecture has seen an increase in the popularity of structural expressionism, which is where buildings display their structural elements inside and out. The tallest building in Alaska is the Conoco-Phillips Building in Anchorage, which stands 296 ft tall.

Caribbean

Havana in Cuba

 

Caribbean architecture has influences from Amerindians, Africa, and the European colonizers and buildings range from Kunuku cottages to great houses.

Back in the 15th century when Europeans arrived in the West Indies there were no fixed settlements and buildings were oval-shaped huts made from timber and palms or grass from swamps that acted as roofs. These were soon replaced with walls and wooden beams and shingles and thatch for roofs. When the sugar trade to Europe started, ships brought huge amounts of red brick and stone and wealthy merchants on islands like Barbados and Antigua built their large houses with it.

Now the architecture has naturally modernised and you’ll see from the infographic the tallest building is the Anacaona 27 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (528 ft tall). There are still buildings that date back to the earliest architecture found on the islands and the oldest building that is still standing in the Caribbean is the Hermitage House in Nevis, which dates back to the 1640s.

Which location is better for architecture: Tie

Alaska views vs Caribbean views

 

Alaska

Calving glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska

 

A fairytale land of glistening peaks, frozen waters and magical mountains, you really cannot get more stunning than the views on offer to you on an Alaskan cruise. Sightsee from your cruise ship as you pass through narrow passageways, past lakes frozen in time and forest edges climbing the hilltops. The views you will encounter in Alaska really top the charts and are views not everyone will get to witness.

Britni, a lifestyle and travel blogger at Play Party Plan, spoke about the natural beauty you can see on an Alaska cruise: “I actually went on a cruise for my mum’s 50th birthday. An Alaskan cruise had always been on her bucket list, so we did a big family cruise together when she turned 50. We’d done quite a few Caribbean cruises together before and the natural beauty and wildlife really inspired us to choose Alaska.”

“The thing that surprised me most was how incredible the scenery is from the ship. Just being on the cruise itself and watching as you passed by glaciers and other natural creations, looking for sea life in the water, and feeling the crisp air while walking around the ship was something I loved and didn’t expect beforehand.”

One of the most spectacular natural treasures you can see in Alaska is the Hubbard Glacier and by going on a cruise in Alaska you will get picture-perfect views of this enormous glacier and because of the strong currents and riptides that flow between Gilbert Point and the face of the glacier you are likely to see calving occur on a daily basis!

READ MORE: A guide to Alaska’s Glaciers

Caribbean

One of the most magical things about the Caribbean is its incredible views and stunning scenery. A cruise to any island in the Caribbean will offer you stunning shorelines, crystal blue waters and quaint, small villages.

Don and Heidi from Eat, Sleep, Cruise told us a little more about their Caribbean cruise experiences: “If you are looking for some relaxation or a little fun in the sun, a cruise to the Caribbean is the ideal vacation. The Caribbean offers plenty of warm weather, sandy shorelines, and so much more. There are activities for all types of travellers like snorkelling, history tours, nature treks, and all sorts of adventures offered at each port of call.”

Which location is better for views: Alaska

Alaska social mentions vs Caribbean social mentions

 

Both destinations are hugely popular places to cruise to and for this comparison, we looked at the social mentions of the Caribbean and Alaska on Instagram as of 25 July 2022 for selected terms and below are the results.

Alaska

Alaska cruise ship

 

• #alaskacruises – 2.5k

• #alaskawildlife – 57.8k

• #juneaualaska – 137k

• #alaskaprices – 28

Caribbean

• #caribbeancruises – 4.5k

• #caribbeanwildlife – 2k

• #kingstoncaribbean – 3

• #caribbeanprices – 9

Which location is better for social mentions: Alaska

Alaska local prices vs Caribbean local prices

 

Alaska

Alaskan salmon

 

Alaska is sometimes given the reputation of being an expensive location to visit due to its somewhat exclusivity, but that is a misconception that those who visit will realise. Alaska, although not the cheapest, has a cheaper average daily price than the Caribbean coming in at £162 a day according to figures from Budget Your Trip. Local meals and rooms are often cheap, tasty and comfortable with varying price options widely available.

Rough expense guidelines:

• Average daily price: (including travel, food and entertainment): £162

• Average cost of meals for one day: £37

• Average accommodation price: £90-£181

• Car rental per day: £50-£85 ($60-$100 according to Lonely Planet)

Caribbean

The Caribbean comes out as the more expensive location with an average daily price of £252, this is based on figures from Budget Your Trip. Prices in the Caribbean can alter greatly depending on the type of purchase you are making, there are often cheaper and more expensive options when it comes to eateries and hotel accommodation, so bear that in mind when planning your trip.

Rough expense guidelines:

• Average daily price (including travel, food and entertainment): £252

• Average cost of meals for one day: £64

• Local room from £157-£314

• Car rental per day: from £50 (around $60 according to Lonely Planet)

Which location is better for local prices: Alaska

Alaska number of visitors vs Caribbean number of visitors

 

Alaska

Alaskan cruise ship

 

In comparison to the Caribbean, the Alaska Resource Development Council reports that before COVID-19, there were more than 2.26 million visitors expected to travel to Alaska in 2020. They also reveal that more than half of all visitors coming to Alaska usually arrive by cruise ship. In 2018, more than 1.1 million travelled by cruise ship, 760,100 were air visitors, and 97,200 were highway/ferry visitors.

With the vast wilderness of Alaska and it being less crowded than the Caribbean, you can really enjoy the stunning natural beauty and wildlife that the state boasts.

Caribbean

According to One Caribbean, there were an estimated 32 million tourists visited the Caribbean in 2019. This was slightly more than the 30.7 million holidaymakers that headed to the Caribbean in 2018.

*Please note, to get more accurate visitor figures we have taken the latest data released before the impact of COVID.*

Which location is better for the number of visitors: Alaska

Alaska pollution vs Caribbean pollution

 

Water pollution is something that we are all worried about, especially when it comes to some of our most-loved locations like Alaska and the Caribbean. But how do each of these popular cruise locations rate against one another when it comes to pollution and the countries’ steps towards a greener location?

Alaska

Caribou bull at Mount Mckinley in Denali National Park in Alaska

 

Alaska contributes a much smaller amount of pollution and is often known as one of the cleanest and environmentally friendly locations in North America.

• Ranks ‘low’ as a contributor to air pollution

• Only 6.4 micrograms of pollution per metre

Caribbean

The Caribbean is known for being one of the worst locations for many types of pollution, such as water pollution, plastic pollution, and air pollution.

World Bank has previously reported about the risk the Caribbean puts on the environment, commenting: “More than 320,000 tons of plastic waste remains uncollected each year in the Caribbean. Coral reef degradation is also strongly linked to marine pollution and represents an estimated annual revenue loss of between US$350 million and US$870 million.”

• 14 Caribbean countries have banned single-use plastic

Which location is better for pollution: Alaska

Book your dream cruise to Alaska

 

Both locations are extremely popular, but out of the factors we looked at Alaska comes out on top. From its wildlife and nature to its onshore excursions and prices, the destination has many attractions that you will love.

If you want to go on a holiday to Canada, we have a selection of trips you can pick from, including a holiday of a lifetime where you can enjoy Canada and Alaska in one go.

 





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