Category: Alaska Cruising Info

How Do We Cruise?

Small Ship Cruising

Most readers have an idea of what a “cruise” looks like. Fewer know what “small ship cruising” looks like. Our trips take cruising to a niche level. Both of our boats have four staterooms and can sleep up to either 10-12 guests in a party. We see a lot of families, groups of friends, and couples on our trips. The Golden Eagle only sees full boat charters, and the Sikumi offers both full boat and mixed charters. Our most common number ranges are 5-8 guests, whether it be a full boat or mixed charter. We typically see our larger groups of 12 when families book the boat to themselves. 

The Crew          

  Our boats are staffed with five crew members; a captain, two deckhands/guides, steward, and a chef. It is common for guests to form friendships with the crew on their trips. We think that is part of what makes the experience we offer memorable and personable. Each crew member is there to ensure that all needs are met and service is prioritize. The crew shares local knowledge, stories, and experiences that help mold the trip into the experience our clients look for. 

Our Operation

 The captain oversees safety throughout the trip, plans activities for the day, and oversees all activities on and off the boat. You’ll be guided on excursions by our two deckhands. They are your door to the remote Alaskan wilderness and adventures you’ve always dreamed of. Our steward will make sure all your comforts are met in your staterooms and anytime you are on the boat. The stew typically works closely with the chef, who arguably has the most important job on the boat! The chef, ah.. where do we begin! Our chefs work tirelessly to exceed all of your culinary expectations! We feature locally caught (often times by you) seafood throughout the week, while also throwing in some classic favorites. They are very well trained and highly capable of accommodating an assortment of dietary restrictions- so fret not! Our crew functions as a team, relying on each other as needed, to ensure your vacation has the highest quality of service (on and off the boat).

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So, Who Are We?

            Custom Alaska Cruises is an Alaskan family owned business that provides intimate, luxury cruises in Southeast Alaska’s inside passage. We have two beautiful vessels in our fleet, the M/V Sikumi and the M/Y Golden Eagle. Our trips are seven days and six nights, and we will take you to some of the most remote and pristine places the Tongass National Forest has to offer. Our trips offer custom itineraries, comfortable accommodations, privacy, relaxation, adventure, and memories that will last you a lifetime. In this blog, you will find stories of adventure and what we have to offer, beyond the sales pitch. 

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Types Of Whales In Alaska

There are nine different types of whales in Alaska. The Beluga, Blue, Bowhead, Bottlenose, Gray, Humpback, Orca, Minke and Sperm. The most common whales that you will see whale watching in Alaska are the Orca and humpback whales.

Beluga Whale

Beluga whales are the easy to identify as they are pure white and quite a bit smaller than other types of whales in Alaska.

Beluga whales can also be easily identified because they do not have a dorsal fin and have a larger round head and forehead. Their forehead is soft and non-bony..

A really unique feature of these whales is that several of their neck vertebrae are not fused, which allows the Beluga to turn its head without turning its body. This gives them an incredible advantage for visibility and movement when they are swimming. This is gives them an incredible advantage from predators like sharks and polar bears.

Beluga whales are also quite a bit smaller and are comparable in size to dolphins. View the image below to see the difference between a dolphin and beluga whale:

Beluga Whales have a life expectancy of around 30 years and will reach their full size at around 10 years old.

Beluga Whale Sizes:

  • Males: 11 – 18 Feet in length and weigh 2,400 lbs  to 3,500 lbs.
  • Females: 9 – 14 feet in length and weigh 1,500 lbs to 2,600 lbs.

Diet:

Beluga Whales eat marine species that are most common depending on the season and location. They feed on salmon, shrimp, whitefish, cod, mussels and more.

Range of location:

Beluga whales inhabit the range from Russia to Alaska and down to Canada. And also from Canada up to Greenland and Norway. You can view Beluga whales in the following locations in Alaska: Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay, eastern Bering Sea, eastern Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea.

Check out this incredible video of a Beluga Whale teasing a couple kids at the museum. I couldn’t help but share it 🙂

Blue Whale

Bowhead Whale

Gray Whale

Grey whales are one of the most unsung marine mammals of Alaska’s Inside Passage.  These barnacle-covered beauties are not hidden from view because they are small – they are the size of a school bus – but because of their feeding habits are much less frequently seen than their counterparts like the humpback or orca are. Grey Whales like to move along the bottom of the ocean floor and suck up sand and silt filled with krill, plankton, and other tiny organisms.

Instead of teeth, they have big sieve-like plates known as Baleen.  Grey whales take immense gulps off water, silt and plankton off the ocean floor and then push out the excess water and sand leaving only the tasty plankton behind.  They head north from Mexico every year because they know that Alaska has exceptionally nutrient-rich water.

Humpback Whale

 

 

Orca Whale

 

Minke Whale

Minke whales have the biggest population of any whale species, so you may be wondering why they are so elusive. These sleek, dark-colored whales are smaller than a humpback, but bigger than an orca, and can swim at speeds up to 20 miles an hour.  They also have a smaller blowhole and spout, and can submerge faster than many other species.   Because of their large numbers, Minke whales are still hunted in the waters of Japan and Norway.

However, Minke whales frequent the waters of the Inside Passage, and their curious nature often draws them to inspect and play near cruise ships. Ask our naturalist during your next private Alaska yacht charter and maybe you too will spot one of these elusive whales.

Sperm Whale

Who, what (whale watching), when, where,

Best Time Of Year For Whale Watching In Alaska

Where To See Whales In Alaska

Link to whale watching page –

On the Sikumi, Grey Whale watching is another reason why you should book your next cruise with us. View our Whale Watching Exursion here.

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Cruise Packing List

Here lies the problem in packing for a cruise:

You want to pack the basics of what you NEED for a cruise so you will be comfortable on your vacation; so you pack for every possible scenario. This ultimately leads to over packing.

What you need is a plan. A simple blueprint to help you pack for your cruise to keep from over packing.

To walk you through this we have put together 8 tips to optimize your cruise packing list today.

Ultimately, we’re giving you The Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Suitcase

 

Cruise Packing List: Chapters

Chapter 1: Cruise Planning – Chapter 2: Best Electronics – Chapter 3:  What To Pack

Chapter 4: Alaska Cruise Packing – Chapter 4: Caribbean Cruise – Chapter 5: Packing For Women

 Chapter 7: Packing For Men – Chapter 8: Packing With Kids – Download: Infographic


 

Chapter One: Cruise Planning Guide

Cruise Planning Guide

If you are planning for your first-time cruise or you cruise so much you think you should steer the ship, these resources will help get your cruise off on the right foot.

Planning a cruise with a little research will not only help you to be stress free prior to your cruise, but also show you how to be laser specific when packing.

Check out these 9 tips for how to plan a cruise:

 

 


Chapter 2: Best electronics to pack on a cruise

Best Electronics for a cruise

Now that you have an itinerary of what you are doing on your cruise and what the climate will be like, now is the time to really have some fun.

Choosing which electronics to bring on a cruise is one of the most popular topics when packing for a cruise. This is where we can use technology to really help us save some space in our luggage!

Electronics can make your cruising experience amazing, here are 8 tips how:

 

 

Chapter 3: What To Pack For A Cruise

What to pack for a cruise

Before we could even start getting into what to pack for a cruise, we mentioned planning for a cruise and the best electronics for a cruise.

Those chapters sets the stage for what we should pack by allowing us to know more about our cruise ship, climate, excursions, port activities and what devices will allow us to have a better cruising experience.

By gathering that much needed information, it will help us form The Perfectly Optimized Suitcase.

Let’s take all the information that we gathered to find out what to pack for a cruise using these 7 great resources:

 

 

Chapter 4: Alaska Cruise Packing List

alaska cruise packing list

Hang on one second! Packing for an Alaska cruise is quite a bit different than packing for a Caribbean cruise.

Alaska is one of the last adventurous raw locations on earth. With its ever-changing climate, breathtaking views and wildlife, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience. But before you book your Alaska small ship cruise, check out these Alaska travel tips.

As the average temperatures ranges from 48 degrees to 67 degrees May through September. Alaska is the cruising destination that will have you kneeling on your suitcase in order to close it. Read more on the best time to go on a cruise in Alaska

If you are traveling to Alaska from outside the United States, here are the Visa and Passport requirements to read before you go.

To help you achieve a perfectly optimized suitcase, check out these 9 Alaska Cruise Packing topics:

 

 

 

Chapter 5: Caribbean Cruise Packing List

Caribbean Cruise packing list

There are few places on earth that are as pristine as the Caribbean. The turquoise water, warm weather and local cultures make going on a Caribbean Cruise a must for every family type. As you can travel to the Caribbean year round, here is a great article on the best time to travel to the Caribbean.

No matter what time of year you decide to go on a cruise through the Caribbean, this is the ultimate trip where you can PACK ULTRALIGHT!

Ultra light cruise packing
Ok, maybe your suitcase won’t be this small, but you get the idea 🙂

But before you start packing for your trip, take a look at this Caribbean Travel Guide to give you insight as to what to expect when you travel.

If by the off chance you are overzealous and have reached this page because you want to know what to pack but haven’t selected a cruise ship yet, here are 20 Best Caribbean Cruises. I know you want to know what to pack for a cruise, but don’t forget to book a cruise too 🙂

With all that said, here are 7 tips on how to pack for a Caribbean cruise.

 

 

Chapter 6: Cruise Packing List for Women

Cruise packing list for women

Don’t get stressed out with everything that you have to plan and pack for your cruise.

This cruise packing list for women is designed to keep you from agonizing over every little piece so that you can get the most out of everything you pack.

Check out our cruise packing list for women.

 

 

 

Chapter 7: Cruise Packing List for Men

cruise packing list for men

Men have it easy when packing for a cruise!

Why?

Because quite a bit of your outfits, yep I said “outfits”, in a man’s suitcase are incredibly versatile and suitable for just about every activity. Think about it, one pair of khakis shorts can be worn on excursions as well as for semi-formal nights.

This will help to remove the “Do I have everything” feeling before you leave. 

Get the cruise packing list for men here.

 

 

Chapter 8: Cruise Packing List for kids

cruise packing list for kids

Putting together a cruise packing list for kids can be very tough.

You don’t need to worry. We’ve taken the stress out of trying to decide what to pack for your kids in our cruise packing list. The following packing list is for every age range that your kids may be in, whether they are a infant, toddler, preschooler, middle schooler or teenager.

Here are some great tips if you would like to know how to cruise with a baby. If you have never cruised with a baby, here are some do’s and don’t’s.

Obviously you can’t pack everything you need / want, so be sure to Google: “Your Cruise Ship” + rental, to find a list of what’s available to make your cruising experience better.

Maybe you are going on a cruise with your teenage friends, here is a teenage packing list you can email them to bring.

Before checking out this section, you should check out our cruise packing list chapter on best electronics for cruises. In that guide we go over the incredible benefits of tablets and other electronics that make cruising with kids more pleasurable

Cruise Packing List For Kids:

Embed this cruise packing list infographic on your site:

cruise packing list

What are your must have items that you have on your cruise packing list? Share them in the comments section below.

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