The very best Alaska cruises for each sort of traveler

Even with a season that solely runs from April by way of October, there are some 40 large ships and dozens of small ships cruising Alaska, making it some of the fashionable cruise locations on the earth after the Caribbean and Europe. The very best Alaska cruises vary from off-the-beaten-path voyages on vessels carrying fewer than 100 passengers to weeklong jaunts by way of the Inside Passage aboard megaships that maintain 1000’s.

The itinerary selections are quite a few in Alaska. Some ships stick with tried-and-true ports, crusing by way of Southeast Alaska and into western Canada. Others wander deeper alongside the Alaska shoreline to locations such because the Kenai Peninsula, north to Nome and Barrow and even deep into the Bering Sea. Some journeys hit a number of nationwide parks; others dive into Alaska tradition, permitting friends to be taught the tales instructed by totem poles or hear about “the massive one” from a fisherman at a dive bar.

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It may be onerous to determine which ship will ship your thought of a “bucket listing” expertise in The Final Frontier. Rather a lot comes right down to your journey fashion, preferences and finances. Some vacationers demand luxurious, whereas others don’t thoughts going much less fancy if it means shut encounters with, say, bears within the wilderness. Some search for romance, whereas others wish to introduce the children or grandkids to glaciers and eagles, gold panning and sled canines.

The excellent news is there’s a ship in Alaska for you irrespective of your style or fashion. Right here’s a newbie’s information to the perfect Alaska cruises that can assist you slender down your selections.

Finest for megaresort followers

Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean each sail a few of their largest ships in Alaska. They’re floating megaresorts, carrying 1000’s, and are large on facilities, glitz and a specific amount of glamor — suppose flashy casinos, Broadway exhibits, lavish spas. Eating and ingesting venues quantity within the dozens, whereas amusement park options thrill the children and adrenaline-seekers.

Norwegian Encore

On Norwegian Encore, you’ll be able to race alongside a go-kart racetrack, compete in out of doors laser tag and zoom down slides on the water park whilst you traverse Alaska’s Inside Passage. The ship sails seven-night cruises from Seattle, visiting Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska, in addition to Victoria, British Columbia, and Glacier Bay Nationwide Park and Protect.

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Ovation of the Seas

On Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships, you’ll be able to order a drink from a robotic bartender, strive simulated skydiving or browsing experiences and take a journey in a glass capsule that travels excessive above your ship on a mechanical arm — a extraordinary option to see the Alaska surroundings.

Ovation of the Seas sails round-trip from Seattle on seven-night cruises, however the precise itinerary varies by week. The ship cruises Endicott Arm for scenic views of Dawes Glacier and usually visits three Alaska ports and Victoria.

Finest for land and sea adventures

Island Princess in Glacier Bay, Alaska. PRINCESS CRUISES

You’ve traveled far to get to Alaska and it might be a disgrace to overlook inland sights equivalent to Denali Nationwide Park and Protect and the sight of Denali, North America’s largest peak — so large it’s usually shrouded in clouds attributable to its personal climate system.

Market leaders Holland America Line and Princess Cruises each ship a half-dozen ships to Alaska annually, they usually have 75 and 55 years available in the market, respectively.

They prime the listing when it comes to cruises, in addition to cruise excursions, which mix time crusing with in a single day stays on land. The businesses function their very own lodges, rail vehicles and motorcoaches for exploration of Alaska’s inside and past. Lots of the ships have permission to sail in Glacier Bay.

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Select from 10- to 17-night land excursions that mix a normal weeklong cruise (typically half a cruise) with time spent exploring Alaska’s inside by bus, prepare and even aircraft.


Holland America will base six ships in Alaska in 2023, with tour choices to Denali, Fairbanks and Talkeetna.

Nevertheless, it additionally presents 10-night cruise excursions on Koningsdam that head into the Canadian Yukon, following the route of the Klondike Gold Rush from Alaska to northwestern Canada. Disembark your cruise ship in Skagway, then journey to Whitehorse and Dawson Metropolis within the Yukon earlier than persevering with on to Fairbanks (the gateway to Arctic Alaska), Denali Nationwide Park and Anchorage.

Majestic Princess

Princess Cruises presents a cruise tour the place you go to 4 nationwide parks: Glacier Bay, Denali, the Kenai Fjords and America’s largest nationwide park, Wrangell-St. Elias. The 15-night journey combines a seven-night cruise from Vancouver to Whittier, Alaska, with one other week on land, ending in Fairbanks.

Finest for vacationers on a finances

Older ships in Norwegian and Royal Caribbean’s fleets have a tendency to supply extra diminished costs than you’ll discover on the traces’ bigger and newer ships, based mostly on the very fact the older ships don’t have as many bells and whistles.

Since they’ve so many ships available in the market, Holland America Line and Princess cruises additionally have a tendency to supply frequent gross sales — particularly on their older tonnage. These ships have a loyal following and have a tendency to have fewer households on board, which some {couples} discover notably interesting.

Associated: Finest time to cruise Alaska

In case you’re in search of different surefire methods to avoid wasting, take into account sailings within the space’s shoulder season. You’ll discover higher offers from April to early June and in September than you’ll within the peak of summer season.

Additionally, in Alaska, balcony cabins are extremely fascinating, with everybody in search of views of the wilderness, snow-capped peaks and glaciers. As these reserves get low, the costs are likely to get increased. Discount seekers ought to both e book early for these lodging or select inside, exterior or assure cabins (the place you do not decide your room location) to avoid wasting extra.

Radiance of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s 20-year-old ship Radiance of the Seas primarily sails weeklong, one-way cruises between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska, with costs beneath $100 per individual, per evening, for inside and out of doors cabins on many departures.

Nevertheless, its end-of-season September 2023 crusing, round-trip from Vancouver, is the most cost effective Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise of the season. It begins at $455 for an inside cabin.

Grand Princess and Majestic Princess

Princess Cruises has so many ships based mostly in Alaska that you simply’re sure to seek out offers, particularly on shoulder-season cruises. Each Grand and Majestic Princess have weeklong Alaska cruises in Might 2023 ranging from $498 per individual for inside cabins. The itinerary begins in Vancouver and ends in Whittier, Alaska, with calls in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway and scenic cruising in Glacier Bay and Faculty Fjord.

Finest for off-the-beaten-path journey


Need to see and deeply expertise coastal Alaska, and don’t thoughts a mellower atmosphere the place lectures and impromptu guitar singalongs substitute casinos and present productions? Think about traces equivalent to UnCruise Adventures, Lindblad Expeditions and Alaskan Dream Cruises, all with ships that carry fewer than 100 passengers (and within the case of Alaskan Dream, even below 20 passengers).

On these small ships, captains have the pliability to change itineraries and linger if the naturalist onboard spots a pod of whales or bears digging for clams on a seaside.

Small ships can go locations greater ships can’t, so itineraries stretch far past the standard ports. You’ll go to extra distant locations equivalent to Petersburg, a fishing city with sturdy Norwegian roots, and Wrangell, certainly one of Alaska’s oldest communities. Some itineraries are performed solely within the wild, with no port calls in any respect.

UnCruise Adventures

UnCruise Adventures explores Southeast Alaska on seven-, 12- and 14-night itineraries. A day would possibly begin with a morning birding expedition, proceed with a kayaking journey and finish with a night campfire ashore. You would possibly go to LeConte and Baird Glaciers (the place the massive ships do not go), plus UnCruise has the one permits for climbing and biking adventures on Chichagof Island.

Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions frequents off-the-beaten-path locations in each Alaska and British Columbia, with itineraries starting from six to fifteen nights.

Friends would possibly discover the small fishing city of Petersburg or uncover native petroglyphs on the seashores of Wrangell Island in Alaska, or seek for grizzly bears in Canada’s Nice Bear Rainforest. Lindblad has particular permits to convey passengers into the wilderness of Glacier Bay Nationwide Park and Protect and the Tongass Nationwide Forest, past what the massive ships can supply.

Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan-owned Alaskan Dream Cruises’ ships carry 10 to 76 passengers to distant Native villages that hardly ever see guests, with loads of time for wildlife viewing removed from the cruise ship crowds. Itineraries vary from 5 to 9 nights, from departure ports equivalent to Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau.

Finest for households

In case you’re touring along with your children or grandkids in Alaska and wish an activity- and entertainment-packed expertise, goal the latest and largest ships of Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival and particularly Disney Cruise Line. All have wonderful camp-like exercise packages for youths, plus eye-popping amusement points of interest.

Disney Surprise

On Disney ships, Goofy would possibly make an look as you admire hovering eagles, blue icebergs and glaciers. The intensive youngsters’s program, leisure and such actions as super-fast water slides ship what you’ll anticipate from the purveyor of goals. Bonus: Cabins are designed with households in thoughts and embody cut up loos (one with a rest room and sink, the opposite with a bathe/tub combo and sink).

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Discovery Princess

Whereas missing in whiz-bang points of interest, Princess Cruises is one other good selection, each for its youngsters’s and teenagers program, full with spacious amenities, and for such programming as bringing sled canines on board, which is successful with younger passengers. The road’s latest ship, Discovery Princess, sails spherical journey from Seattle, a handy U.S. dwelling port for households to fly or drive to.

Carnival Spirit

Water slides, a partnership with Dr. Seuss and three hangouts for youths and teenagers make Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Spirit an amazing guess for households in Alaska.

The ship’s large array of included fast eats — pizza, tacos, Man Fieri’s burgers and limitless gentle serve ice cream — and informal ambiance take the stress out of eating with the household. The ship sails spherical journey from Seattle on seven-night itineraries that decision in Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Victoria, with scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord.

Finest for luxurious lovers

Silversea cruise ship in Alaska. SILVERSEA CRUISES

In case you envision sipping Champagne as you watch a glacier thunderously calve into the ocean, take into account reserving one of many all-inclusive luxurious cruise traces in Alaska: Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas Cruises or Silversea.

All these traces embody ships which might be consultants at delivering gourmand delicacies and the opposite finer issues in life in intimate, comfortable floating environments. Moreover, all of the traces are large on that includes lectures by consultants, which gives passengers with a deeper perception into Alaska.

Itineraries have a tendency to incorporate the favored ports and past. You would possibly, as an illustration, go to Wrangell and Prince Rupert, a port metropolis in Canada, and linger in locations such because the Misty Fjords and Prince William Sound. Seven- to 14-night sailings embark from ports equivalent to Vancouver, Seward and Sitka.

Seven Seas Explorer

Regent’s 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer is an all-suite ship providing friends in Alaska a number of gourmand onboard eating places, all-inclusive drinks, free airfare and included gratuities. Many shore excursions are complimentary. Get pleasure from little luxuries, like a day within the thermal suite of the two-story spa-and-fitness heart, or actually splurge out by reserving the Regent Suite, essentially the most lavish suite you may discover at sea.

Seabourn Odyssey

The 450-passenger Seabourn Odyssey boasts an onboard expedition group and does a complicated model of expedition cruising in Alaska, utilizing inflatable Zodiac craft and kayaks.

Seabourn calls its program Ventures by Seabourn. Specialists onboard these sailings embody naturalists, biologists and different scientists who’re members of the expedition group. As soon as friends end communing with nature, they will take pleasure in complimentary Champagne and caviar on board or relish a meal created by famed chef, Thomas Keller.

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Star Breeze

Upscale Windstar Cruises is one other good selection for intimate exploration aboard Star Breeze, a ship that carries as much as 312 passengers and is supplied with a fleet of kayaks and Zodiacs.

The secret is informal luxurious — no want for fancy garments or jewellery right here, however you may nonetheless be catered to with pleasant service and meals by James Beard Basis cooks. Select a weeklong or 11-night cruise, or add on a cruise tour to go deeper into Alaska’s inside.

Finest for solo vacationers

Solo vacationers do not at all times should pay double to cruise Alaska on their very own. A number of ships characteristic cabins designed and priced for one. Single cruisers must also notice that luxurious traces Silversea and Seabourn, whereas not low cost, do an amazing job of taking good care of single cruisers, internet hosting them at dinner and offering straightforward alternatives to fulfill and mingle with different vacationers.

Norwegian Bliss

The ships in Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway and Getaway courses all have tight studio cabins designed and priced for one individual. Moreover, they’re positioned in a fancy the place a non-public lounge encourages mingling. Norwegian Bliss presents 82 solo rooms on its round-trip Seattle cruises that go to Dawes Glacier, Sitka and Icy Strait Level.

Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s studio staterooms, on its Quantum-class ships in Alaska, give solo vacationers the advantages of each first rate area and balconies.

On Quantum of the Seas, select a 101-square-foot inside cabin or a 119-square-foot ocean-view room with a 55-square-foot balcony. Both manner, you get a full-size mattress and loads of area for one individual. Ovation of the Seas sails an analogous weeklong itinerary to sister ship Quantum of the Seas, spherical journey from Seattle with scenic crusing alongside Endicott Arm.


Holland America presents ocean-view lodging for one in Alaska solely on Koningsdam. Measuring 127 to 172 sq. toes, these rooms include a full-size mattress and an image window.

Koningsdam sails spherical journey from Vancouver to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, with scenic cruising in Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. Its cruises may be mixed into nine- to 14-night cruise excursions to the Yukon and Denali.

Planning a cruise? Begin with these tales:

Further reporting by Erica Silverstein.

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