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Ocean Waters and Snow Mountains Part of the Alaska Experience

ADVENTURE ON THE WILD SIDE

Alaska cruises.

Adventure comes first on the last frontier.

No vacation in the world delivers once-in-a-lifetime adventure like Alaska. Mark this as your year to cross this bucket-busting destination off your list once and for all. Take off by dogsled across thousand-year-old ice as you soak in otherworldly sights. Trek across the majestic Mendenhall Glacier for breathtaking views of the wildest country. Get to know wildlife, big and small, that call this wilderness home, like otters, eagles, bears, and whales. And do it all from onboard one of four thrill-filled ships. This is Last Frontier pioneering with the cruise line voted Best Overall by Travel Weekly readers for 20 years running.

alaska cruise liners

Save Big With These Alaska Cruise Deals

Want more time to plan the adventure of a lifetime? Our 2024 Alaska sailings are now open.

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Family watching out for whales on an Alaskan Cruise

OF ICE AND MOUNTAINS

Adventuring in Alaska is all about getting to know this state's stunning landscape. It might seem cold and unforgiving at first glance, but the best Alaska cruises allow you to explore the quiet lakes,  imposing glaciers  and breathtaking mountain views, you'll have only warm impressions of this wilderness. 

Seals in Alaska Inside Passage

JOURNEY INWARD

Exploring the interior of Alaska will give you an entirely different perspective on this vast and rugged state. Take an Inside Passage cruise and gaze upward at the sky that is as blue as the lakes below. Hop on the Alaskan Railroad near Anchorage and see the spruce-lined, mountainous landscape whir by from a new perspective.

Majestic Glacier in Alaska

GLACIERS WILL MOVE YOU

In Alaska, ancient rivers of ice wind between mountains and grind out of valleys. Towering walls of ice like the Hubbard Glacier, Endicott Arm Dawes and the twin Sawyer Glaciers thunder as they calve  massive icebergs . Some shore excursions allow up close interaction with these natural wonders.

Magnificent Denali National Park Alaska

JOURNEY TO "THE GREAT ONE"

In the center of the state,  Denali National Park  is blanketed in wildflowers punctuated with mountains, raging rivers and serene lakes. Denali, "The Great One," formerly known as Mt. McKinley, rises to the tallest peak in North America and can be seen from as far away as Anchorage on a clear day. An up-close view is more than worth the expedition during your vacation.

Beautiful Mountain View in the National Park, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

FEEL THE RUSH

Alaska is tailor-made for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Whether you sail its icy bays trying to spot huge cold-water whales or fly high above this rough-and-tumble landscape from the vantage of a helicopter, you're sure to come away with memories you couldn't have made anywhere else during your cruise to Alaska. 

Alaska Dog Sledding Excursion

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?

In some parts of the state, dog sledding is still the primary mode of transportation through the winter months. Visit Alaska and get the experience for yourself at the  Skagway Yukon Discovery and Dog Sled Tour . The Siberian Huskies are sweet and energetic, and the ride is a thrill.

Whale Watching Activity in Alaska

WHERE ARE THE WHALES AT?

Head to Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward for a  whale watching tour . There's nothing like seeing these behemoths hurl themselves out of the water, to splash back into the sea. Don't pass up an opportunity to watch these giants feed and play in the water.

Alaska Charter Helicopter Tour

Planes are plentiful in Alaska, where they're a common form of transportation across the state. Charter a helicopter or fixed-wing flightseeing tour at Juneau and get an unforgettable perspective of the mountains and glaciers of this vast landscape.

Juneau, Alaska Blue Glacier Ice Cave

RELEASE YOUR WILD SIDE ON THE BEST ALASKA CRUISE

Embark on an unforgettable Alaska adventure cruise and experience the ultimate vacation. Immerse yourself in the thrilling destinations that Alaska has to offer, each brimming with its own unique style and vibe. Discover the wonders of Alaska with the Best Cruise Line for 20 years running.

iFly and Flowrider Sunset in Alaska

QUANTUM OF THE SEAS

Quantum of the Seas® heads to the Last Frontier from Seattle . This adventure packed ship offers glacier gazing from the tallest viewing deck on a cruise ship and activities you can enjoy in any weather. Edge of your seat entertainment, all weather activities like the fan-favorite Flowrider®* and unparalleled views from every room.

EXPLORE MORE

Ovation of the Seas North Star Bar in Alaska

OVATION OF THE SEAS

Pioneer America’s Last Frontier onboard Ovation of the Seas®, one of the world's most groundbreaking ships and among the boldest ships to ever sail Alaska. Gaze at giant glaciers from the pool deck while you sail through Endicott Arm . Scan the surrounding waters on your way to Juneau for glimpses of wildlife from the North Star®, the tallest viewing deck on a cruise ship. 

Brilliance of the Seas Hero

BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS

Brilliance of the Seas® gets you up close to the glacial giants of The Last Frontier — from the expansive Hubbard to the calving Dawes. You can add once-in-a-lifetime to the itinerary for your wildest week ever. Go wildlife spotting in Juneau, peak-seeking in Sitka , and take-on rugged adventure in Haines. Getting to your coolest getaway yet is easy for the whole family with sails roundtrip from Vancouver

Radiance at Hubbard Glacier - Alaska

RADIANCE OF THE SEAS

Sail into the Last Frontier from Seward or Vancouver onboard Radiance of the Seas®. With over three acres of windows and glass exterior viewing elevators, you can watch for whales along Alaska’s Inside Passage when you aren’t wandering wilderness paths from Ketchikan to Juneau. And for the ultimate outdoor adventure, take a CruiseTour into Alaska’s interior where you can hang with huskies in Denali, and scale glaciers in Alyeska.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Alaska Cruises Insider

The sheer size of Alaska lends itself to a wide variety of terrain and travel experiences. This diversity means you need to be prepared for a lot of change while traveling.

The best time to travel to Alaska depends on your priorities. If you're interested in the Midnight Sun, the longest day of the year is June 21, when you can experience close to 20 or more hours of sunlight in some parts of the state. If you're more interested in the Alaska Northern Lights, the earlier sunset in later summer will allow more contrast and better views of this natural wonder.

No two days will be the same, and you'll need to pack your clothing to prepare for temperature changes throughout the day. Think layers: zip-up sweaters, boots, rain jackets.

Best Helicopter Tours to Take when Flying over Alaska

Alaska Helicopter Tours

March 8, 2024

There's nothing quite as exhilarating as a helicopter tour over Alaska's sprawling landscapes. Take your breath away as you travel above its amazing glaciers.

Alaska Yukon Skaqway White Pass

The Best Alaska Cruises

Your Guide to the Best Cruises From Alaska. Learn more about the most stunning destinations you can visit on an Alaska cruise from Seattle or Vancouver.

Alaska is not a formal place; people even wear jeans to the opera. Focus more on comfort when deciding what clothing to pack.

Cameras, binoculars, rain ponchos and jackets are useful, but add these to the souvenirs you'll be picking up and soon your bag will be too heavy to tote around. Bring along a quality day pack to make it easier to hold your necessities.

Learn a few words in Alaska's local lingo: The "Alcan" is the Alaska-Canada Highway, for example, and "fish stories" are the local version of tall tales — unreliable yarns of mythological proportions, often told by fisherman.

ALASKAN CUISINE WILD IS THE WAY 

Alaskan food focuses on locally sourced ingredients that reflect the state's rugged terrain and the vast oceans surrounding it. These nutrient-rich waters serve up some gorgeous fish and shellfish, from super-fresh salmon to huge Alaskan King Crabs that can feed a crowd, while game meats and berries from the wilderness form a perfect marriage of flavor.

Best Alaska Smoked Salmon

SALMON IS CENTRAL

Fresh-caught wild salmon is served up at backyard BBQs and the finest restaurants. For something different, try the sweet and savory treat Indian Candy, salmon that is sweetened and smoked till hard.

Typical Alaskan Sourdough Bread

SOURDOUGH WON'T LET YOU GO

Sourdough is such an important part of Alaskan culture that long-time Alaskans are actually called sourdoughs in local parlance. Try a sourdough bread bowl filled with salmon chowder for a hearty lunch.

Alaskan Wild Berries Pie Dessert

GO WILD FOR BERRIES

Alaskan wild berries are sweet and pack a powerful punch of flavor. Whether served up in jams, candies, pies or cobblers, Alaskan blueberries, high-bush cranberries and other local wild berries are a staple when it comes to Alaskan summer eats.

RELATED PORTS

Whether you're interested in hiking through a forest, trekking to glaciers or a shopping spree downtown, the towns along Alaska's inside passage provide a variety of adventurous activities. Alaska cruise ports such as Juneau and Ketchikan are small cities with their own personalities. Anchorage is the state's largest city and a gateway to the rest of the state. Denali National Park takes you out of the city altogether, into a wilderness full of spruce forests and snow-capped mountain peaks.

 National Park Mountains Snow, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Flowers Nature Mountains , Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

Misty Fjords National Monument, Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska

Coastal Town Seascape Views, Sitka, Alaska

Sitka, Alaska

National Park Forest, Inside Passage, Alaska

Alaska Inside Passage, Alaska

Iceberg Snow Glacier, Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Vancouver Island Mountains, Inside Passage, British Columbia

Inside Passage, Canada

Seascape Mountain Side Ocean, Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Glacier Icy Snow, Endicott Arm & Glacier Dawes

Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, Alaska

Chilkat Peninsula, Skagway, Alaska

Skagway, Alaska

Alaska Glacier Bay Mountains

Glacier Bay (Cruising), Alaska

Chilkoot Lake Haines Alaska

Haines, Alaska

Downtown Lodge Houses Stilts, Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan (Ward Cove), Alaska

Resurrection Bay Mountain Side Ocean Kayaking Nature, Seward, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

Related Destinations

Canadian Rockies Park in the West Coast

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the most sailings to glacier bay. authorized concessioner glacier bay national park.

Alaska Cruises

Embark On The Ultimate Alaskan Cruise

Find the Best Alaska Cruise for You

Explore the dynamic glaciers, soaring peaks and captivating history of the 49th state on our award-winning itineraries. Sail Alaska’s serene seas to Glacier Bay National Park or Hubbard Glacier for a chance to witness ice calving, known as “white thunder.” Extend your Alaska vacation with a cruisetour, a combination of ocean cruise and land tour deep into Alaska’s rugged interior.

View of an Alaska glacier

Cross Alaska’s massive ice shelves, crystal fjords, and fascinating marine wildlife off your bucket list with itineraries that conveniently depart from Seattle and Vancouver. Enjoy perks such as privileged access to Glacier Bay National Park and prime docking locations that give you a head start on sightseeing.

View of Alaska mountain range

Our cruisetours combine an ocean cruise with a land tour into Alaska’s interior. Watch northern wilderness views unfold from aboard our glass-domed train, the McKinley Explorer®. Stay up to 3 nights at the McKinley Chalet Resort near Denali National Park. Go into the Yukon with a guide.

Find Your Perfect Cruisetour

Find Your Perfect Cruisetour

On this page, why cruise alaska with holland america.

With us, Alaska travel is personal. We’ve been sharing the wonders of Alaska longer than any other cruise line. See the best of the Great Land’s glaciers, coastal towns and wildlife on board perfectly sized ships offering superior service and exclusive programming.

Alaska Wildlife

Few places can compete with Alaska’s wildlife diversity. With more than 20 animal sanctuaries and sightseeing excursions, we bring you closer to creatures great and small. Learn about the Big Five and other amazing animals you might spot.

White Pass & Yukon Railroad

Hop a train back in time to the Klondike Gold Rush. Built during peak gold fever, this 120-year-old iron trail traverses tunnels, trestles and misty valleys to the White Pass Summit at 2,865 feet.

Alaska National Parks

Like everything else in Alaska, the Great Land’s national parks far exceed expectations. Read about Glacier Bay’s seven tidewater glaciers, Denali’s 6-million acres of undisturbed wilderness, Kenai Fjords' astonishing Exit Glacier and other national parks.

Alaska's Glaciers

Glaciers are more than breathtaking rivers of ice. They are living laboratories that show what the Earth was like thousands of years ago and how it is changing today. Get ready for the ultimate glacier experience.

Northern Lights

Many flock to Alaska every year for a chance to witness the aurora borealis. Did you know they are more likely to display during high solar activity cycles? Find out how to pick the best time to see the northern lights in Alaska.

Alaska Cruise Sneak Preview

Video about cruising Alaska on Holland America Line

Meet Alaska's Giants, Face-To-Face

With 75 years in Alaska, we know every nook, cranny and crevasse. We have more Alaska cruise port departures featuring Glacier Bay National Park than any other cruise line. All Alaska cruises include one or more glacier-viewing days, and you’ll get closer to ‘the giants’ on ships perfectly sized for the Great Land.

View of Glacier Bay across the inlet.  Logo of the national Park Service identifies Holland America Line as an authorized concessioner

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier in Hubbard, Canada.

Cruise To Hubbard Glacier

Seals resting on and ice flow near College Fjord, Alaska, seen on a Holland America Line cruise

Read More About College Fjord

A view of Port Tracy Arm Inlet

Cruises To Tracy Arm, Alaska

alaska cruise liners

Glacier Bay Experts

Alaska cruise itineraries, weekly alaska cruises may to september.

Stretch out your Alaska cruise vacation with convenient weekend departures. Enjoy a roundtrip Alaska cruise from Seattle on Alaskan Explorer itineraries or from Vancouver on Alaskan Inside Passage itineraries.

Alaskan Explorer

Alaskan inside passage, featured alaska cruise itineraries.

Roundtrip Alaska Cruise from Seattle

A 7-day roundtrip Alaska cruise from Seattle.

Roundtrip Alaska Cruise from Vancouver

A 7-day roundtrip Alaska cruise from Vancouver.

Alaska Cruisetours

Cruise to Alaska, explore Denali or Denali and the Yukon.

We Bring Alaska On Board

Experts on board your cruise to alaska, an unrivaled culinary journey, alaska immersion with explorations central™.

Mother and Daughter looking at an Alaska glacier from the deck of a Holland America ship

Alaska Up Close

Certified Sustainable Alaska RFM logo and catching fish

Our Alaska Seafood Is Certified Sustainable

Why cruise our mid-sized ships.

Choose from seven refreshingly uncrowded ships for a front-row seat to Alaska's splendor.

Fluid lines, light-filled spaces and a blend of modern elegance and nautical tradition make Koningsdam a sublime ship for Alaska cruises.

Eurodam was named “Best for Great Dining & Diverse Destinations” and features a vast selection of entertainment venues and restaurants.

Nieuw Amsterdam

Cruise to Alaska in high style. Nieuw Amsterdam's exceptional onboard experience earned "Best Cruise Ship Overall" at the Travvy Awards.

Named for the Northern compass point, Noordam is fitting for a cruise to Alaska. Museum-quality art outfits this ship, from oils to photographs of music legends. 

An elegant and spacious Alaska cruise ship with fresh floral arrangements and garden-inspired décor. Master frontier flavor with regional cooking demonstrations on board.

Sink into refreshed suites and a new lounge, plus dining and entertainment venues. Take in Alaska’s evergreen fjords and thunderous glaciers on this Vista-class Alaska cruise ship.

Classic nautical finishes and a spectacular art collection make the Zuiderdam the ideal sanctuary for your cruise to Alaska.

Best Shore Excursions On An Alaska Cruise

Top 10 alaska shore excursions, great for families, ideal for adventurers, iconic alaska cruise ports & destinations.

Totem art in Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska is one of the best spots along Alaska's Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. Amble historic Creek Street, a boardwalk over a wide creek that fills with salmon during certain times of year.

Skagway, Alaska

Go back in time to the Klondike Gold Rush on cruises to Skagway, Alaska , once the primary gateway to the goldfields. Take a trip on the scenic railroad and still have time to dine and shop.

Convenient Alaska Cruise Departure Ports

Our Alaska cruise departure ports have big personalities and loads of attractions.

Best Alaska Cruises from Seattle

Set out on your Alaska cruise from Seattle’s serene waterfront. Visit its most popular attractions, such as the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Do as locals do and fuel up at one of the numerous cafes.

Alaska Cruises from Vancouver

Sightsee in this bustling metropolis before gliding the Inside Passage en route to Alaska. Historic neighborhoods and a thriving food scene await.

Alaska Cruises from Whittier

Conveniently located an hour and a half from Anchorage, Whittier is a small town on the shore of the glacier-filled Prince William Sound.

Cruise To Alaska Travel Tips & Articles

  • What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise
  • Planning an Alaska Cruise Itinerary with Kids

Alaska wilderness seen on a Holland America Line Land and Sea cruisetour

  • How to Pick the Best Month For Your Alaska Cruise
  • The Complete Guide to Alaska Glacier Viewing
  • Top Things to Do in Alaska
  • Best Places to Visit in Alaska
  • Whale Watching on Alaska Cruises

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  • Alaskan Cruises

10 Best Alaska Cruises to Take This Summer, According to Experts

We spoke to cruise experts to find the best Alaska itineraries to book this year.

alaska cruise liners

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

With its majestic wildlife, otherworldly glacial scenery, and endless outdoor adventure, a trip to Alaska is one for the books — and the best way to experience it, in our opinion, is by cruise. An Alaska sailing offers travelers the chance to get up close and personal to some of the destination’s most stunning natural wonders (think: Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, the Tracy Arm Fjord, and so much more). Fortunately, when it comes to the best Alaska cruises, options abound, from small-ship luxury sailings and expedition voyages to mega-ships that feel like a floating resort and theme park all in one. Ultimately, explains Travel + Leisure A-List travel advisor Eric Goldring , “The question of which are the ‘best’ cruise lines for Alaska really depends on the guest’s desires as there is a balance between how in-depth they wish to delve into Alaska’s nature and Indigenous culture, what type of onboard experience they desire, and, of course, whether the cruise is family-focused.” To determine which Alaska cruise is best for you, Goldring recommends using a travel advisor “who has actually been to Alaska more than once and on different ships” so that you have “access to important first-hand knowledge.” 

According to T+L A-List travel advisor Ashton Palmer , the Alaska cruise season is short (typically from May to September) and availability is limited, which is why travelers should plan their sailings six to eight months ahead of time. While the travel advisor notes that “most trips average a week in length,” he also recommends cruisers allow time to “visit the northern part of the state, including Denali National Park, the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, and Fairbanks,” either before or after the cruise. Several cruise lines also offer land extensions (sometimes called “cruisetours”) to make the experience as seamless as possible. 

While the Alaska cruise season takes place in the warmer months, be sure to pack a few sweaters — and consider dressing in layers. When I cruised Alaska in summer 2022, the weather was (mostly) warm and sunny; however, when we sailed through Glacier Bay, it was chilly, and I was especially glad to have brought a scarf, hat, and light jacket to help brace the chill. Rob Clabbers , another T+L A-List travel advisor , agrees. What’s more, he says, “Weather can change quickly in Alaska, so one moment you may need a sweater, and the next you’re better off in shorts.” 

Meet the Expert

Eric Goldring is a T+L A-List travel advisor specializing in expedition, small-ship, and medium-ship cruises. 

Ashton Palmer is a Seattle-based T+L A-List travel advisor who specializes in expedition cruises.

Rob Clabbers is a T+L A-List travel advisor specializing in cruises, and he’s the founder of Q Cruise + Travel. 

Dawn Gabree is a travel advisor who specializes in Alaska cruises at Travels by Danielle.

Mary Curry is another T+L A-List advisor who specializes in small-ship cruises to Polar regions and the Galapagos. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics of all things Alaska cruising, keep reading to discover the best Alaska cruises for every type of traveler, featuring expert insight and award-winning picks.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruisees

Dawn Gabree, a travel advisor at Travels by Danielle who specializes in Alaska cruising, deems Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) "excellent for multigenerational families" thanks to the abundance of onboard activities. "Their larger vessels used in the Alaska market ( Encore and Bliss ) feature must-do activities like go-karting, laser tag, and water slides." On the contrary, "Their smaller vessels ( Jewel and Sun ) provide a more intimate atmosphere over the large ships." Regardless of which ship you choose, expect an array of entertainment options, including Broadway-caliber shows, which Gabree describes as "excellent." What's more, she says, "We saw their production of 'Six' on an Alaskan sailing, and it was phenomenal." The travel pro also loves the World's Best Award-winning mega-ship ocean line for its Freestyle Dining program (read: no assigned seating or fixed reservation times) and plentiful dining options to appease even the pickiest of eaters. Lastly, says Gabree, "A huge selling point for NCL is always their Free at Sea promotion, which includes perks like specialty dining, an unlimited open bar, Wi-Fi, and more. "It's a great value, in my honest opinion." 

Itinerary: The 7-day Alaska: Dawes Glacier, Juneau, and Ketchikan itinerary sails from Seattle on select dates between April and October. Ports of call include Sitka, Juneau, Ice Strait, and Ketchikan in Alaska, as well as Victoria in Canada. Scenic cruising through the Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier is also included.

Holland America Line

Tim Rue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Holland America Line (HAL) — which recently snapped up a 2023 World’s Best Award in the large-ship ocean cruise line category — has been cruising Alaska for over 75 years. HAL prides itself on having more permits for Glacier Bay National Park visits than any other cruise line. The cruise line also offers beloved live music programming, which I got to experience firsthand on a summer 2023 Alaska sailing. Most ships boast a “Music Walk,” a section home to venues like B.B. King's Blues Club, Billboard Onboard (a dueling piano bar), Lincoln Center Stage, and Rolling Stone Rock Room. After our shore excursions, we’d hop back on board the ship for drinks, dinner, and a nightcap at the dueling piano bar to jam out to hits from Billy Joel and Elton John. All of the above make HAL a popular pick among middle-aged and mature couples traveling without kids; however, onboard our summer sailing, I did notice quite a few small children traveling with their parents and grandparents. 

The onboard culinary offerings are especially noteworthy. While pulling into port one day, I remember digging into a hearty lunch of fish and chips featuring fresh-caught Alaskan halibut. (HAL is the first cruise line to serve fresh, certified-sustainable Alaskan seafood.) As of September, acclaimed chef Masaharu Morimoto is the Fresh Fish Ambassador as part of the line’s Global Fresh Fish Program . Cruisers can try his flavorful seafood dishes during their sailing. 

Itinerary: As a first-time Alaska cruiser, I thoroughly enjoyed the Alaska Explorer itinerary , which cruises round-trip from Seattle between June and September. Enjoy scenic cruising along the Puget Sound and Stephen’s Passage before calling on Juneau, followed by more scenic cruising in Glacier Bay. From there, it’s off to Icy Strait Point, Sitka, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Victoria.

Related: The Ultimate Alaska Cruise Packing List

Royal Caribbean International

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International — or Royal Caribbean for short — offers great fun for families of all ages looking to experience Alaska. As such, it’s no wonder why the mega-ship ocean line is loved by T+L readers and travel advisors alike. What’s more, says Gabree, “Their larger ships (Quantum Class) have equally impressive amenities like skydiving simulators (RipCord by iFLY), the FlowRider surf simulator, and SeaPlex (an indoor recreation center with bumper cars),” says Gabree. The pro is also quick to highlight the North Star observation capsule, which is available on Ovation of the Seas , which cruises Alaska. The attraction whisks passengers over 300 feet above sea level, offering picture-perfect 360-degree views. Put simply, she says, “This is a one-of-a-kind experience when sailing scenic destinations like Alaska.”

The fun continues the minute cruisers disembark in each port, with excursions ranging from dogsledding to private helicopter tours. Back on board, Gabree recommends The Chef’s Table for a truly memorable meal — and I, too, can attest to this. While on board a Caribbean sailing with the cruise line, I had the chance to indulge in this chef- and sommelier-led multi-course food and wine pairing adventure. Four years later, I still find myself dreaming of the delicious circular-shaped dessert known as “The World” — the perfect combo of peanut butter ganache, chocolate mousse, and salted caramel gelato).

Itinerary: Set sail on the aforementioned Ovation of the Seas and embark on a journey through Alaska with Royal Caribbean’s 7-night Alaska Experience itinerary . Cruising round-trip from Seattle, the ship stops in Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka before heading onto Canada, where it calls on Victoria and Vancouver.

Princess Cruises

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Princess Cruises is among T+L readers’ top five favorite mega-ship ocean lines , and its Alaska sailings are not to be missed. Unlike other mega-ship lines, says Gabree, Princess is not at all flashy. That said, she recommends it for “more mature cruisers or those looking for a quieter atmosphere.” So, while you won’t find go-karts or race tracks aboard Princess ships, you can expect incredible educational programming. Don’t miss Puppies on the Piazza, which offers passengers the chance to interact with sled dogs brought on board by local mushers in Skagway. The line also partners with the Glacier Bay National Park rangers and the Discovery Channel to offer unique onboard exhibits and interactive activities like the Jr. Ranger Program. Similarly, says Gabree, “The naturalists that come aboard are extremely knowledgeable.” Last but not least, the service is top-notch. According to the pro, the staff is best described as “attentive and very pleasant.” 

Itinerary: Book the 14-day Voyage of the Glaciers Grand Adventure , which sets sail on select dates between May and September. Passengers will cruise round-trip from Vancouver and visit Juneau, Skagway, Anchorage, and Ketchikan. Bonus: Scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord, and Hubbard Glacier is also built into the itinerary.

Related: All 16 Princess Cruises Ships, From Newest to Oldest

Seabourn Cruise Line

Courtesy of Seabourn

This World’s Best Award-winning cruise line combines the best of expedition-style and luxury cruising, making it a popular pick amongst well-heeled, adventure-seeking travelers. Highlights include bespoke service, all-suite oceanfront accommodations (most with private balconies), world-class dining (the cruise line has a partnership with Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller), and, last but not least, a swanky country club-esque atmosphere. According to Goldring, both Seabourn Quest and Seabourn Odyssey offer similar Alaska itineraries in 2024; however, it will be the latter’s final sailing since it was sold. 

Alaska sailings feature a team of academics, scientists, and naturalists, all of whom are on hand to provide expert insight and lead excursions (think: kayaking and Zodiac tours, hiking, bear viewing, and so on). Also, according to Goldring, Seabourn ships “travel no further north than Juneau” and offer a “more intensive and nature-focused experience.” On a similar note, says Clabbers, thanks to the vessels’ small size, cruisers can “spend more time sailing through places like Misty Fjords, where most ships can’t go.” Back onboard, says Clabbers, “enjoy Champagne and caviar when you like, or relax in your suite, the spa, or elsewhere.” 

Itinerary: The 7-day Alaska Fjords and Canadian Inside Passage cruise sails from Juneau to Vancouver, calling on Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm, Wrangell, Rudyerd Bay (Misty Fjords), and, finally, Prince Rupert in British Columbia. Scenic cruising through Stephens Passage, Decision Passage, Stikine Strait, and the Behm Canal are also included in the itinerary.

Celebrity Cruises

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Those who prefer a “younger atmosphere on a modern, larger ship with lots of bars and restaurants and entertainment” should consider cruising Alaska aboard the Celebrity Edge, explains Clabbers. (While Edge is the newest Celebrity ship to cruise Alaska, Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Summit also sail here . ) Per the pro, the seven-night sailings on Edge “include key destinations like Ketchikan and Skagway,” along with a quick visit to Victoria in British Columbia and scenic cruising through the beautiful Endicott Arm Fjord. Additionally, the World’s Best Award-winning line offers round-trip sailings from both Vancouver and Seattle — as well as one-way itineraries between Vancouver and Seward, the latter of which offer more time to explore (read: fewer sea days).

Regardless of the ship, passengers can expect a wide range of entertainment offerings, an abundance of bars, restaurants, and lounges, and a handful of accommodation options. Speaking of the latter, wellness-seeking duos can reserve an AquaClass stateroom, which includes perks like complimentary dining at the exclusive Blu restaurant, their very own spa concierge, and unlimited access to the adults-only Sea Thermal Suite. Alternatively, for a worth-it splurge, opt for a suite in The Retreat, which includes a dedicated team of concierges and butlers, access to a private lounge and/or sundeck (note that the latter is not available on Celebrity Solstice ), premium drinks, Wi-Fi, and access to the private Luminae at The Retreat restaurant, helmed by chef Daniel Boulud. 

Itinerary : The aforementioned 7-night Alaska Dawes Glacier itinerary on Celebrity Edge cruises round-trip from Seattle and visits Ketchikan, Endicott Arm Fjord (scenic cruising), Juneau, Skagway, the Inside Passage (scenic cruising), and Victoria.

Related: What to Know About All 16 Ships in the Celebrity Cruises Fleet

Viking Ocean Cruises

Courtesy of Viking Cruises

Viking Ocean Cruises recently nabbed a 2023 World’s Best Award in the midsize-ship ocean cruise lines category, coming in at first place for the second year in a row. The line’s identical ocean ships offer a sleek Scandinavian design, which only enhances the tranquil atmosphere on board. The luxury adults-only line is also all-inclusive, covering meals, activities, most beverages, Wi-Fi, port taxes and fees, spa access, and one complimentary excursion in every port of call. Cruisers can bask in the mountain and glacier views from the comfort of their private balcony — and, if they’re lucky, they may even spot a whale or two. Finally, in addition to classic ports like Juneau and Ketchikan, Viking Ocean Cruises’ Alaska itinerary also calls on Valdez, which is chock-full of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. 

Itinerary : The 10-night Alaska and the Inside Passage itinerary , which sails between Vancouver and Seward, “is a great choice for curious travelers who have a bit more time and want to learn more about Alaska,” says Clabbers.

Courtesy of Silversea

Those craving a luxury Alaska cruise need not look further than Silversea, says Goldring. Additionally, “While primarily for adults ranging from contemplative to active, Silversea is also a good option for families with more mature children who are more engaged with the journey than onboard child-focused activities.” Silversea guests enjoy all-suite staterooms with butler service and an all-around tony atmosphere. The line’s Door-to-Door All-Inclusive fares cover private airport transfers, economy flights, business-class upgrades or air credits, and shore excursions. 

This luxury cruise line offers classic and expedition-style cruising, the latter of which takes aboard the 274-passenger Silver Wind . (Classic cruises, on the other hand, take place on board Silver Muse , Silver Nova , Silver Shadow , Silver Whisper , or Silver Moon ). Nova and Moon offer the Sea and Land Taste program (S.A.L.T), offering culinary connoisseurs the incredible opportunity to experience the local food scene and culture both on and off the ship. Last but not least, keep in mind that Silversea sails between Vancouver and Seward (with the exception of one September 2024 itinerary, which sails from Nome to Vancouver).

Itinerary : The 7-day Vancouver to Seward sailing on board Silver Nova features Inside Passage scenic cruising and stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka. Before disembarking in Seward, enjoy scenic cruising around Hubbard Glacier.

Related: This Is the Cheapest Time to Cruise to Alaska

UnCruise Adventures

Courtesy of UnCruise

“If you are looking for a more casual and laid-back experience, Seattle-based UnCruise Adventures offers down-to-earth trips with enthusiastic naturalist guides, simple accommodations, and hearty local cuisine,” says Palmer. Mary Curry , another T+L A-List travel advisor, echoes these sentiments, explaining that “small ships are the absolute best way to see Alaska if your goal is to immerse yourself in nature and wildlife.” While the cabins are no-frills, Curry stresses that the main focus of the cruise is “getting off the ship and exploring everything Alaska's Inside Passage has to offer.” With that said, when it comes to activities, options abound. Per the pro, travelers can “choose between a menu of included excursions such as kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking, zodiac cruises, whale watching, and more.” All in all, UnCruise really does offer something for everyone. 

Itinerary : For a truly unique Alaska itinerary, consider the Aleutian Islands Adventure with Kodiak, Katmai, and Kenai Wilderness . Cruisers embark in Whittier before making their way to Kenai Fjords National Park, Kodiak Island and Foul Bay, Katmai National Park, Ugashik National Wildlife Refuge, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, the Shumagin and Unga Islands, False Pass, and Unalaska (where they’ll dock overnight in Dutch Harbor before disembarking the next day).

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic

Courtesy of Nation Geographic

For a true expedition-style experience, Lindblad Expeditions is your best bet. The cruise line offers itineraries in partnership with National Geographic, which have come highly recommended by almost every travel advisor we spoke to. Just take it from Curry, who tells T+L, “If you want to learn about Alaska from a team of exceptional experts, there's no better choice than a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic itinerary. “Every night before dinner,” she says, “We would hear about what we had seen on our excursions that day from the perspective of the experts — naturalists, geologists, marine mammal researchers, and even a diver who would share magical and colorful images from underwater of the area we had explored via Zodiac during the day.” According to the pro, the vessels are “some of the nicest and most modern small ships in the area,” some of which have private balconies along with “little extras” like water bottle filling stations, a mudroom to store gear, and multiple disembarkation platforms to get travelers on and off the ship quickly. Meanwhile, Goldring notes the line’s National Geographic Global Explorers family program, “which focus[es] on interactive and hands-on education with a true naturalist during outings.” As a result, cruisers can expect “a far more enriching experience [than those] offered by most other lines.” 

Itinerary : The weeklong Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness itinerary is “perfect for couples and multi-generational families interested in an engaging and authentic experience exploring the fjords, islands, and small coastal communities,” says Palmer. The itinerary sails between Juneau and Sitka throughout May and September. Along the way, cruisers will visit Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness, the tiny fishing town of Petersburg, Glacier Bay National Park, and more.

Related : 21 Cruise Tips That Will Help Make Your Trip Even Better, According to Experts

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If you’re looking for a cruise vacation that’s a little bit out of the way and a little bit out of the ordinary, make an Alaska cruise your first choice. If your first thought is “Alaska… cool!” you’re on the right track — even in the mild summer season, you should still pack your sweater. Grab it and get up here because Alaska is a natural wonder through and through, and the coastal panhandle region Carnival sails to is perhaps the most stunning. How’s Alaska planning on stunning you? Alaska cruises will do it with quaint seaside towns like Ketchikan and Skagway, and with stunning harbor vistas like Juneau’s. Cruising Alaska will also give you a first-row ticket to the best of nature — including fjords, wildlife and mountains galore. “Oh, mother nature… now you’re just showing off.”

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Alaska cruise guide: Best itineraries, planning tips and things to do

Erica Silverstein

Alaska may be one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it's rugged and can be tricky to get around. Explore the Last Frontier by cruise ship, and you can travel to Gold Rush towns, glaciers, Alaska Native heritage sites and natural areas brimming with wildlife in comfort, even luxury.

When planning an Alaska cruise, you have many things to consider: when to go for the experience you're anticipating, which cruise line is best suited to your travel style, the best Alaska cruise ports to visit and which shoreside activities you want to prioritize. It's not the kind of trip you want to throw together at the last minute — especially since the best fare deals typically go to organized travelers who book early.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

If you're eager to spot bald eagles in the wild, ride a dogsled atop an ice field or pan for gold after a hearty salmon feast, an Alaska cruise is calling your name. Dive into The Points Guy's Alaska cruise guide for all the planning tips you need for your dream cruise up north.

Why cruise Alaska?

Most people have similar reasons for cruising Alaska. They want to admire its rugged beauty, seek out wildlife (such as eagles, bears and whales) and learn about its native cultures and Gold Rush history. It's so far from the rest of the mainland U.S. that it's become a bucket list destination, especially for travelers looking to visit each of the 50 states.

One of the key reasons to cruise Alaska versus taking a land tour is to visit destinations along the Inside Passage that you cannot reach by road. Plus, many of the state's famous glaciers are best viewed from the sea.

If you want to see landlocked areas, such as Denali National Park, you can tack a cruise line-operated tour onto the beginning or end of your sailing for a seamless land and sea vacation. It's easier than fumbling with multiple train, bus, ferry and hotel reservations to cobble together the same trip on your own.

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A cruise can also make an Alaska trip more affordable. Instead of taking a long and expensive flight to Anchorage or Fairbanks, you can choose a cruise that sails round-trip from Seattle or Vancouver (note, you won't be able to tack on a post-cruise land trip to Denali if you do this). Restaurant prices in Alaska can be high, but a cruise bundles meals, accommodations and transportation into one price that, with sales, can be cheaper than you'd think.

Related: Best Alaska cruise tips to help you make the most of your time aboard and ashore

When do cruises go to Alaska?

Nearly every major cruise line has a presence in Alaska from May through mid-September, with some offering sailings as early as April or as late as October. The season is short due to weather. Cold temperatures, icy waters and a long snowy season are not conducive to early spring and late fall cruises.

Alaska cruise weather can be chilly (in the 40s to 50s) first thing in the morning and at night. However, if it's a sunny summer day, temperatures can shoot into the 70s and even low 80s. It also rains a lot in Alaska; it's drier in the spring than in the summer.

When you want to go will depend on which activities you want to do, how you feel about cool weather and rain, and the price. Cruises at the beginning (April and May) and end (September and October) of Alaska's cruise season are generally a bit cheaper than those in June, July and August.

Related: Best time to cruise to Alaska

Best Alaska itineraries

Where do Alaska cruises even go? Most sail along the Inside Passage, a maritime route along the state's southern coast (and into British Columbia and Washington state) that weaves around the area's thousand islands. Some venture farther north into the Gulf of Alaska; these are often one-way cruises that begin and end at the ports near Anchorage.

Learn more about the best Alaska cruise itineraries for your next vacation.

Inside Passage

The Inside Passage is the most popular Alaska cruise route. Weeklong itineraries generally embark in either Seattle or Vancouver, British Columbia — though some itineraries originate in Juneau.

Glacial ice carved this passageway long ago, and today, cruise ships and fishing vessels thread their way through the islets and channels to see some of the most spectacular natural sights in the world.

You'll find magnificent mountains (often snow-capped, even in the summertime), lush forests, waterfalls, fjords and calving glaciers. If it's marine life you've come to see, you'll find it in abundance, from whales and dolphins to sea lions and harbor seals. On land, you'll likely spy bears and Dall sheep while eagles, puffins and a host of seabirds circle above.

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Many people trek to Alaska to commune with nature, but there's history here you shouldn't overlook. Shore excursions and onboard lectures will explain the cultures of the Indigenous peoples of Alaska, as well as more recent inhabitants from the Russian community in Sitka and the fortune-seekers who moved to Skagway during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s.

Popular Inside Passage ports of call include Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Haines and Skagway. Most cruises will visit three or four ports of call.

Additionally, you'll have one day spent cruising the Inside Passage and one focused on "scenic cruising," where you can enjoy the landscapes but won't go ashore. This is not nearly as boring as you might think since you'll see incredible sights like Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve or Hubbard Glacier .

One nice thing about the Inside Passage is how calm the water is because you're sailing between land masses. If you worry about seasickness, an Inside Passage trip is the best Alaska cruise itinerary versus a sailing where your ship transits rougher, open waters.

Related: The best Alaska cruises out of Seattle for every type of traveler

Gulf of Alaska

If you book a Gulf of Alaska voyage, you'll also enjoy exploring parts of the Inside Passage and its ports that could include a mix of Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan, Haines and Icy Strait Point.

You'll have up to two days of scenic cruising, in addition to sailing the Inside Passage. Because Gulf of Alaska cruises sail farther north, scenic destinations may include College Fjord, in addition to Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier.

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Generally, these one-way sailings travel from Seward or Whittier (the cruise ports closest to Anchorage) to Vancouver (or vice versa). Most itineraries are seven nights, but you'll find a handful that are longer.

For these itineraries, you'll need to fly into or out of Anchorage and take a train or bus to/from the cruise departure ports, which can take an hour or two. You can book the transportation on your own or through your cruise line.

Gulf of Alaska sailings — especially those in late August and September — can encounter rough seas in the gulf portion of the voyage. Be prepared if you're particularly prone to seasickness.

Related: The best Alaska cruise for every type of traveler

Longer sailings from the West Coast

Finally, you'll find some San Francisco round-trip itineraries — usually 10 or 11 nights long — as well as longer sailings between San Francisco and Vancouver. These cruises are best suited to travelers who love days at sea.

You'll have four sea days (for example, two days from San Francisco to Juneau) plus a day of scenic cruising at a spot like Tracy Arm (Twin Sawyer Glaciers), Endicott Arm, Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay National Park. The waters before you enter the Inside Passage can be calm, rough or anything in between, depending on when you go.

Ports on these longer sailings may include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Victoria, British Columbia.

You may also find one-way repositioning cruises between southern California ports (Los Angeles and San Diego) and Vancouver at the beginning or end of a ship's Alaska cruise season.

Related: The best Alaska cruises for couples

Cruisetours

Cruise lines understand that not all of Alaska's best sights lie along the coast. Denali National Park and the city of Fairbanks are well inland. And some coastal highlights, like the Kenai Peninsula, aren't typically visited on a seven-night cruise. So the cruise lines created their own "cruisetours": vacations that combine a weeklong cruise with a two- to seven-night bus tour.

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On a cruisetour, you'll sail a one-way Gulf of Alaska cruise, so your cruise starts or ends in Alaska. Depending on the tour itinerary you choose, you might visit Seward and the Kenai Peninsula, Alyeska, Talkeetna, Anchorage and Fairbanks — as well as spend one to three nights in Denali National Park.

Some lines also offer Alaska cruisetours that venture into Canada's Yukon, including a few Holland America tours that combine half a cruise with a cruisetour that starts or ends in Skagway.

Your tour may include a ride on the scenic Alaska Railroad . Some activities are included in the cost of the cruisetour; other outings can be booked like shore excursions depending on your interest and budget. If you're hoping to see the northern lights, booking a cruisetour in September might be your best bet to see the aurora on a cruise vacation.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Best Alaska cruise lines

Most big-ship and luxury cruise lines send at least one cruise ship to Alaska every summer. Some of the best Alaska cruise lines are Holland America and Princess because they have especially long histories in the region and offer cruises, as well as cruise and land tour combinations, on multiple ships each season.

If you want a more active trip in less touristed areas, a great choice would be a small-ship expedition line, including Alaska specialists such as Alaskan Dream Cruises and UnCruise Adventures.

Ships in all price ranges sail a variety of itineraries, so don't let budget stop you from visiting. If luxury is what you're after, you can find lines that will go overboard pampering you on your journey north.

Related: A beginners guide to picking a cruise line

Best cruise lines for extended trips to Alaska

If you want to cruise Alaska but also see some of the interior and enjoy a stay in a lodge or hotel, go for a cruisetour package from either Holland America or Princess Cruises. Both have fantastic itineraries that take passengers not only to the Inside Passage, but also Anchorage, Denali National Park, the Yukon, Kenai Peninsula, Talkeetna and Fairbanks. Princess even owns a handful of its own lodges.

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Best Alaska cruises for families with kids

Carnival, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean all have extensive kids clubs aboard their ships that cater to all ages, from babies to teens. Little kids will adore meet-and-greets with beloved characters onboard Disney cruises or hanging with Dr. Seuss characters when sailing with Carnival. Older kids will love the rock climbing walls, video game stations, sports courts, go-karts and laser tag on Royal Caribbean and NCL ships.

Related: Which cruise ship cabin category should your family book?

Best cruise lines for adventure-seekers

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Active travelers may prefer expedition-style voyages on smaller ships that include more time for adventurous activities, such as hiking in the Tongass National Forest, wildlife and glacier viewing from Zodiac rafts or kayaks, or even overnight camping. These ships often feature complimentary shore excursions, kayaks and bikes for guest use and onboard scientists and naturalists.

If you've got active teens who have an interest in nature and the environment, an expedition voyage could be exactly what will keep them engaged and off their devices. Just expect the majority of your shipmates to be older adults.

Look to UnCruise Adventures, Alaskan Dream Cruises, Hurtigruten and Lindblad Expeditions for the best adventure cruises.

Related: Pros and cons of small-ship cruising in Alaska

Best for multigenerational groups

Sailing with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and kids? Try Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and Princess Cruises. These cruise lines, especially on their newer ships, offer something for everyone — as well as a higher caliber of onboard dining than on the cheapest cruises.

Kids can hang out in the youth lounges while parents hit the spa or try a wine-tasting class. Everyone can come back together for dinner and evening entertainment or onboard activities suitable for all ages.

Best for couples and big celebrations

The luxury cruise lines are your best bet if you're a couple and enjoy spacious suites, gourmet food, pampering (many luxe lines hire butlers to cater to every passenger) and the opportunity to meet other like-minded cruisers. The personalized service and all-inclusive nature of luxury voyages may also be attractive to anyone celebrating a milestone, such as an anniversary, big birthday or retirement.

Look at Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea and Viking.

Related: 8 luxury lines that'll make you rethink everything you thought you knew about cruising

Things to do in Alaska

Alaska cruises offer a wide range of activities in port, with options for active travelers, wildlife lovers, history buffs and shoppers. Whether you're traveling with young kids or require more sedentary recreation, the Alaska cruise ports won't disappoint.

Related: Best shore excursions on an Alaska cruise

Wildlife tours are available in every port. Hop a bus, kayak, boat or plane to look for bears, eagles, whales, sea otters and other wildlife. Note that moose don't regularly show up in the Inside Passage; you'll need to head farther north to find them.

Book a fishing trip to try your hand at catching salmon or halibut, or go out crab fishing for a glimpse into that type of work.

Active travelers can explore Alaska by sea kayak or canoe, hike on glaciers and through rainforests, zip line, bike, ride an ATV and even snorkel (you'll need a dry suit). You can even opt for a round of golf at the course in Haines.

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In Alaska, sightseeing doesn't only take place on the ground. Floatplane and helicopter tours take you around scenic areas like Misty Fjords or land you on a glacier, perhaps for a dogsledding or hiking adventure on the ice. If you prefer to stay grounded, you can find informative trolley tours of ports like Skagway.

Alaska cruises provide plentiful opportunities to learn about native Alaskan culture. You can get a taste of the Gold Rush life by trying your hand at panning for gold, attending a salmon bake or visiting a dogsled camp. A hike on the Chilkoot Trail or ride on the White Pass Railway lets you follow in the footsteps of the miners who came to seek their fortunes. Cap your day by trying out locally brewed craft beers.

Shopping abounds, and you can buy everything from diamond jewelry to T-shirts and other souvenirs. You'll need to look carefully for Alaskan-owned stores selling local handicrafts, but they're worth seeking out.

Related: 15 Alaska cruise mistakes you never want to make

Best Alaska cruise ports

The best Alaska cruise ports are also the most crowded because no matter which type of itinerary and cruise line you select, you'll likely visit a mix of the same ports. The immediate port area will be filled with tourist shops and eateries. If you want to see nature at its finest, you must book a tour or venture farther afield.

If you want to see some of Alaska's most rustic and charming villages or stick to wild places, book a voyage with a line like Alaskan Dream Cruises and UnCruise that visits destinations like Baranof Island, Chichagof Island, Petersburg and Wrangell.

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Ketchikan is known for three things: Native Alaskan (Tlingit) totem poles, Misty Fjords National Monument and the city's distinction as the "salmon capital of the world." The town has more standing totem poles than anywhere else in the state; see them at the Saxman Native Village and the Totem Heritage Center. Access the Misty Fjords by kayak, floatplane or scenic cruise. Fishing excursions are plentiful here, too.

Ketchikan is where folks go to see the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, with athletes wielding axes and saws in traditional lumbering activities. It is also the jumping-off point for a Bering Sea crab fishing tour.

Alaska's capital city is interesting because no road leads from here to the rest of the state. It's located at the base of Mount Juneau, and you can only get there via boat or small plane — even residents have to bring their cars to Juneau via ferry. Home to Mendenhall Glacier, this is a popular port for hikes by, kayak tours to and helicopter landings on the glacier.

For a view of the city and cruise port, take a ride in the sky on the Mount Roberts Tramway. Various wildlife-viewing trips (whale, bears and more) and visits to dogsled camps and salmon bakes leave from Juneau.

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If you're interested in Alaska's Gold Rush history, Skagway — 90 miles northwest of Juneau — is a port you shouldn't miss. In fact, it's the gateway to the Klondike and Dawson's mining district in Canada's Yukon territory, where prospectors searched for gold in the late 1890s. The historic district still has a Wild West feel, though that's been a bit commercialized for the modern era. This port can get crowded in summer when several ships can call on the same day.

Skagway is an easy port for independent travelers who want to explore the town or go for a hike on their own. It's most famous as the terminus for the White Pass Railway into the Yukon.

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Sitka is as much a working fishing town as it is a tourist destination. Sitka's Russian heritage also sets it apart from other Alaskan ports on your cruise itinerary. See St. Michael's Orthodox Cathedral with its onion dome and the Russian Bishop's House.

Before the Russians came, the Tlingit people settled here. You can learn about their history and culture at the Sitka National Historical Park and Sheldon Jackson Museum of native Alaskan art. Wildlife enthusiasts may want to visit the Alaska Raptor Center or go bird- and bear-watching.

The population of Haines remains less than 2,000, according to the United Status Census Bureau, and it isn't yet as touristy as some of the other Alaskan ports, such as nearby Skagway. It's known for great fishing (salmon, halibut and trout) and an eagle preserve — because eagles know where the best fish can be found.

Animal lovers and kids tend to enjoy a visit to the Kroschel Center for Orphaned Animals here. For a special tour, go bear-watching at twilight.

Icy Strait Point

Icy Strait Point is notable among Alaska cruise ports because the area and its attractions are all native Alaskan owned. Most port and tour staff hail from Hoonah, Alaska's largest Tlingit village. The port is set on Chichagoff Island, which is known for its large bear population. Wildlife lovers have plenty of opportunities to search for whales and eagles here; adventure-seekers won't want to miss the ZipRider, with its course of six zip lines.

Scenic cruising

Most Alaska itineraries include some "scenic cruising," where your ship sails past incredible natural sights. You'll rarely leave the ship during these sail-bys (unless you happen to be aboard certain expedition, luxury or small ships that offer the chance to get on board a skiff to get closer … but, even then, you're still viewing these sites from the water).

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Onboard naturalists generally narrate what you're seeing, so head to the observation lounge (or tune to a broadcast on your in-room television) to learn about some of the top sights featured on scenic cruising days.

Top scenic cruising destinations in Alaska include Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve , Hubbard Glacier, Tracy Arm (Twin Sawyer Glaciers), Dawes Glacier at Endicott Arm and College Fjord.

When to book an Alaska cruise

The best time to book an Alaska cruise is when a cruise line first opens bookings on that sailing, often more than a year in advance. You'll have your pick of itineraries and cabins — balcony cabins are popular in this scenic destination — and often the best fares.

Because Alaska has such a short season with a limited number of ships and is a dream trip for many, cruises are in high demand and people plan early.

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If you wait to book, you're not entirely out of luck. Cruise lines often run sales in the fall or in the early months of the year (a period known in the cruise industry as " wave season "). You can take advantage of discounted fares, free upgrades or complimentary add-ons, such as Wi-Fi, gratuities, restaurant meals, beverage packages and tours. Some of the most desirable cabins might be sold out; being flexible about your sail date or itinerary can help.

In general, waiting until the last minute is not the best idea, unless you live in Seattle or Vancouver and don't need to book flights. While some less preferred sail dates or cabin categories may be available a few months out, spurring cruise lines to drop rates, you might have trouble finding affordable airfare and pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodations that do not consume your cruise savings.

Related: When is the best time to book a cruise?

What to bring on an Alaska cruise

When it comes to packing for an Alaska cruise, your mantra should always be: dress in layers. On the same day, you might be warm in town but chilly on your tour to a glacier. If you plan on hiking, kayaking or riding on a dog sled, you'll need the appropriate activewear.

Definitely pack for rain; consider skipping the umbrella and instead bringing a wide-brimmed waterproof hat, rain jacket, rain pants and waterproof shoes or boots.

This is also the trip for a camera with good telephoto lenses and binoculars. For more on what to bring on an Alaska cruise, check out our Alaska cruise packing list.

Bottom line

An Alaska cruise is a memorable experience. The beauty of the land and its immense history; the thrill of seeing bears, moose and bald eagles; and the mysteries of the surrounding marine life will astound you. It's a trip worth taking the time to plan and doing right — because who knows if or when you'll make it back to the Last Frontier.

Thinking of booking a cruise? Here's some more advice:

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Alaska Cruises

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Discover The Wild Beauty Of The Last Frontier

From 6-night getaways to immersive, 13-night Cruisetours that combine the wild, forested beauty of Alaska’s coast with the majesty of Denali National Park, there’s an Alaskan cruise style and length to suit you. Sail one-way between Vancouver and Seward or Vancouver and Seattle, round-trip from Vancouver or Seattle, or on a Cruisetour between Vancouver and Anchorage or Fairbanks.

Featured Alaska Cruises

Dawes glacier cruises.

Prepare for a thrill as you approach the head of the 30-mile Endicott Arm fjord to face Dawes Glacier, a 600-foot-tall wall of ice. Other Alaska cruise highlights include Juneau; remote Ketchikan, and historic Skagway.

View Sample Itinerary Map

Hubbard Glacier Cruises

Sail from Vancouver to North America’s biggest glacier, seven miles wide and the height of a 30-story building. Ports along this Alaska cruise include Ketchikan; Juneau, the perfect spot for whale-watching; and Icy Strait Point, where you can search for bears and eagles.

One-Way Alaska Cruises

Sail one-way between Vancouver and Seward or Vancouver and Seattle, and you’ll see a stretch of Alaska’s forested coastline against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and lichen-draped forests.

Option for Land & Cruise Package: Extend your sailing with a Cruisetour, which will take you to Denali National Park, Anchorage, and Talkeetna, among other destinations.

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Why Cruise to Alaska with Celebrity Cruises

Live life to the fullest on a luxury Alaska cruise with Celebrity. We have three ships in Alaska, sailing itineraries ranging from 6 or 7 nights to immersive 9- to 13-night Cruisetours that combine the excitement of sailing Alaska’s rugged coast with the awe-inspiring wilderness of Denali National Park and the towns and cities of the vast interior. Explore the best Alaska cruises available with a range of departure ports including Vancouver, Seward, and Seattle, and a choice of thrilling round-trip or one-way itineraries. 

Immerse yourself in the wildlife, scenery, and culture ashore and return to aboard our contemporary, design-led ships. After enjoying the untamed beauty, return to your Alaska cruise and rejuvenate your spirit in The Spa. Watch for whales and dolphins from the privacy of your Infinite Veranda stateroom, where the touch of a button brings the outside in. 

Elevate your Alaska cruise to the next level at The Retreat®, with sumptuous suite accommodation, access to a tranquil lounge, and dining at the exclusive Luminae at The Retreat. 

Let Celebrity take you to some of Alaska’s most exciting ports, whether your dream is to get close to breaching humpbacks on a whale-watching adventure or follow the treacherous trail of early gold prospectors over the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Sail the Inside Passage, watching for bears foraging on stony beaches, or gaze in wonder at the towering, blue-white wall of the mighty Hubbard Glacier.  

Personal service will be the hallmark of your Alaska cruise adventure, on board as well as ashore, where our range of carefully curated excursions includes everything from zip-lining over the forest canopy to floatplane adventures and driving a team of sled dogs across the icy expanse of a glacier. Choose the style to suit your personal taste, from Destination Highlights to Small Group Discoveries, or even custom-designed Private Journeys.

Endless Options for Exploration

You’ll be immersed in nature at every point of your Alaska cruise. Vast, creaking blue-white glaciers inch their way to the sea as jagged, snow-capped mountain peaks pierce the sky. Bears prowl rock-strewn beaches, while salmon-laden rivers rush through pristine, old-growth forest, bald eagles perched watchfully in the treetops. 

Learn about the heady days of the Gold Rush. Kayak silent fjords on your journey along the coast of the Last Frontier. Let Celebrity’s award-winning ships take you to the most dazzling locations in the 49th state, from bustling Juneau to pretty Ketchikan. Or extend your stay with one of our Alaska Cruisetours to explore Alaska’s interiors. Head deep into the wilderness of Denali, immerse yourself in the exciting contemporary culture of Anchorage, and spend time in quirky, arty Talkeetna.

On an Alaska cruise, you’ll experience everything from raw, untamed natural wonders on an extravagant scale to rich history, buzzing cities, vibrant and delicious cuisine, and a warm welcome.

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Cruising in Alaska

Is an Alaska cruise good for families?

Absolutely. With spectacular wildlife and dozens of thrilling, kid-friendly activities, Alaska is perfect for families. Kids will love spotting bears and whales, and the whole family can try sea kayaking, go zip lining, join guided hikes through the forest, and learn to drive a team of husky dogs. Here’s all you need to know about cruising in Alaska as a family.

Find out More

Can I add a land tour before or after my Alaska cruise?

With one of our 9- to 13-night Alaska Cruisetours, you can combine your seven-night Alaska cruise with an exciting land tour where you’ll visit destinations like cultured Anchorage, folksy Talkeetna, and wild Denali, giving you a more diverse experience of the magnificent 49th state and more opportunities to spot the Big Five: Moose, caribou, wolf, Dall sheep, and grizzly bear. 

Will I see a glacier on my Alaska cruise?

Many of our itineraries spend a day cruising the beautiful Endicott Arm Fjord, the end of which is dominated by the mighty Dawes Glacier. Others take you to Hubbard Glacier, a vast wall of ice. 

From Juneau, you can take an excursion to Mendenhall Glacier, where you can see fantastic views of the ice on a hike or join a kayak tour. From Seward, you could join a challenging hike to Exit Glacier, which flows slowly from the enormous Harding Icefield. Wherever you go in Alaska, you’ll see glaciers in the distance, high in the mountains, sometimes hanging dramatically over a wall of rock.

What should I pack for an Alaska cruise?

When you’re packing for an Alaska cruise, you’ll want to plan for any kind of weather, from hot sun to ethereal mist and rain showers—often in the same day. Layers, light waterproof jackets, good walking shoes, and a hat and gloves are the essentials; Alaska can be cold as well as warm and sunny.

Pack binoculars for spotting all that incredible wildlife, and camera lens or smartphone. You will also need sunblock and insect repellant. Remember swimwear for the ship; even if it’s cool outside, the Solarium on board is climate controlled and covered, so you can relax on a lounger in the warmth, and swim in the pool. Pack Evening Chic outfits for our dressier nights. 

If you join activities like kayaking, all safety gear will be provided.

What are the best things to do in Alaska?

Alaska is all about exploring the Great Outdoors with family and friends, learning about US History and enjoying wildlife. There are hikes, kayaking, mountain biking, ziplining, and dog sledding for more energetic travelers. 

For a less testing but equally thrilling experience, you could join a whale-watching tour, or take a helicopter or floatplane flightseeing trip, soaring over forests and glaciers. Alaska is brimming with history and culture, too. Explore the cultures of the Native Alaskans, and learn about the Klondike Gold Rush.

Make a point of trying the local cuisine in Alaska, which is famous for its seafood. You’ll find Alaskan salmon on every menu. King crab is delicious in a chowder, or with melted butter. Black cod and halibut are delicious and often served with fries; fish and chips is a popular dish in Alaska. You’ll also find seasonal berries on every menu, locally roasted coffee, and a wide assortment of craft beers.

What kind of animals can I see in Alaska?

You’ll likely see a wide variety of animals in Alaska. If you’re lucky, you can spot brown and black bears; the Spasski River Valley near Icy Strait Point is a great place for bear-spotting, as are the rivers around Ketchikan in July, peak salmon spawning season, when bears come to feast on the fish. For guaranteed bear viewing, head to the Fortress of the Bear near Sitka, which raises orphaned bears in a natural setting. 

You’ll also see whales; the Inside Passage is a great place to spot humpbacks and orcas. Look out for bald eagles perched in the trees, steller sea lions spread out on rocks, and cute sea otters bobbing in the water. To search for the Big Five—grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, Dall sheep, and moose—extend your vacation with a Cruisetour and a visit to Denali National Park. 

When's the best time to cruise to Alaska?

Alaska’s summer season begins in early May and extends until late September. There are compelling reasons to cruise to Alaska in any month of the summer, depending on whether you’re interested in maximizing your chances of spotting whales, seeing the Northern Lights, getting closer to glaciers, or traveling when there are fewer people around. See our blog post to learn more about the best time to cruise to Alaska. 

What Celebrity ships sail to Alaska?

Celebrity Cruises has three ships operating different itineraries in Alaska. These include Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Solstice, and Celebrity Summit.

Where do Alaska cruises embark from?

Most of Celebrity’s Alaska cruises sail round-trip from either Vancouver or Seattle. You could also opt for a one-way cruise between Vancouver and Seward or Vancouver and Seattle. If you choose a Cruisetour, you could sail from Vancouver to Seward and then fly out of Anchorage after the tour. Other itineraries begin in Fairbanks and, after the land journey, sail south from Seward to Vancouver.

How long are Alaskan cruises?

Celebrity’s Alaskan cruises range from six to seven nights, but if you extend your voyage into a Cruisetour, the duration is nine to 13 nights. You could also consider extending your vacation with a night or two in either Vancouver or Seattle, depending on which itinerary you have chosen.

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9 Best Alaska Cruise Lines

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Whether you want to witness epic wildlife, see calving glaciers in person, or check the so-called Last Frontier off your bucket list, an Alaska cruise deserves your consideration. I was born and spent my young childhood in Alaska, and the natural beauty of the state is unparalleled. A cruise along the coast anywhere in the state — especially in summer, the season of the Midnight Sun — is an excellent way to experience it.

Let these reader picks for the best Alaska cruise lines inform your itinerary, Alaska shore excursions, and beyond.

Holland America cruise ship in Glacier Bay, Alaska

1. Holland America Line (Winner)

Holland America is celebrating 150 years of cruising this year and Alaska is one of its most popular destinations. The cruise line has an 11-ship fleet that takes cruisers all around the world, but in Alaska, where it’s operated cruises for more than 75 years, it doesn’t stop with sailing the seas and stopping in ports of call: Holland America offers both Alaska cruises and Alaska Cruisetours that invite travelers to go inland aboard the McKinley Explorer, its exclusive glass-domed train, for a McKinley Chalet Resort stay that gets them up close and personal with Denali National Park.

Between its straight-up Alaska cruises and Alaska Cruisetours, you have over 100 Holland America itineraries and seven ships to choose from. The cruise line’s ships exude classic elegance. You’ll get to marvel at the Inside Passage, an Artic Circle Summer Solstice, or the Aleutian Islands; taste the culinary creations of celebrity chefs; enjoy a diverse onboard music and entertainment lineup; and, once you’ve had your fill, sink into your stateroom’s Mariner’s Dream Bed — a plush “Euro-Top” mattress made exclusively for Holland America’s ships.

Norwegian Joy in Ketchikan, Alaska

2. Norwegian Cruise Line

When it comes to its Alaska cruises , Norwegian’s goal is for cruisers to realize what it feels like “when you let the outside in,” and it boasts the best glacier-sighting experiences in the state. This pairs perfectly with Norwegian’s signature offering: Freestyle Cruising. Think an Alaska cruise with no set schedule and plenty of accessible onboard options.

Norwegian’s big, bold ships offer amenities like The Waterfront, a dedicated promenade that lets you walk a quarter-mile of the waterfront while sailing the seas (available on three of its Alaska ships: Bliss , Encore , and Joy ).

The cruise line’s seven Alaska ships depart from six ports. In addition to shore excursions, Norwegian also offers 10 Alaska Cruisetour options that take cruisers inland to Denali National Park & Preserve and as far north as Fairbanks. In many cases, cruisers are transported via a domed railcar on the famed Alaska Railroad, which promises to take anyone’s Alaska experience to the next level.

Ruby Princess cruise ship in Glacier Bay, Alaska

3. Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises’ six Alaska cruise and cruisetour itineraries prioritize travelers’ glacier, wildlife, and national park experiences. The cruise line boasts a “50-year legacy of sharing the best places and experiences.” In Alaska, it delivers on that commitment by serving up fresh Alaska seafood on board; introducing guests to local Alaska craftspeople, rangers, and guides; and making space for Alaska-only experiences — think on-deck sled dog puppy meet and greets and northern lights viewings from the ships’ planetariums.

Princess also boasts exclusive service on Alaska railways and five Princess Wilderness Lodges that put cruisetour travelers close to Alaska’s national parks in Kenai, Denali, Fairbanks, and the Copper River Valley. 

4. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean currently offers a whopping 75 Alaska cruise options with round-trip and one-way cruises departing from Seattle, Washington; Seward, Alaska (a 2-hour drive from Anchorage); and Vancouver, British Columbia. Cruisers can choose from four ships, including Quantum of the Seas , the largest and potentially most decked-out ship (on-board sky-diving simulator, surfing, and rock climbing) to cruise the region.

Pro Tip: Quantum of the Seas sailings are exclusive to Alaska and Australia, so unless you’re planning to cruise “Down Under,” an Alaska cruise is your chance to experience this first-of-its-class vessel perfect for family groups and thrill-seekers of all ages.

Regardless of which ship you choose, Royal Caribbean’s Alaska expeditions promise “warm impressions of the wilderness,” meaning shore excursions and glacier viewings that prioritize comfort. Royal Caribbean also puts an emphasis on hearty, locally sourced food like wild-caught salmon, satisfying sourdough, and fresh-picked Alaska berries galore.

Celebrity Millenium in Skagway, Alaska

5. Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity’s 14 Alaska cruise itineraries and 42 cruisetour options center the state’s natural beauty, wildlife, and history. The cruise line boasts five elegant ships including the recently renovated Millenium , a Forbes Four-Star-Rated “resort at sea.”

All of Celebrity’s Alaska ships feature luxurious cashmere bedding (perfect for chilly Alaska nights!), adult-only solariums, and the opportunity to upgrade to The Retreat — an exclusive all-suite, all-inclusive vacation experience that includes access to a private restaurant and private resort-style lounge.

6. Viking Cruises

Unlike other cruise lines on this list, Viking centers its Alaska & the Inside Passage itinerary around native Tlingit culture and the “region where a Wild West spirit still feels very much alive,” rather than Alaska per se. Ports of call during the 11-day cruise (Viking’s sole Alaska offering) include Vancouver, British Columbia, and Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Valdez, and Seward in Alaska.

The itinerary’s Scenic Sailings include the 500-mile Inside Passage on Day 2 and glacier-ensconced Yakutat Bay on Day 8. Cruisers will be accompanied by a Viking Resident Historian who will deliver lectures on Pacific Northwest expansion and development, indigenous people, and glaciers.

While this singular offering makes choosing your Viking Alaska blissfully straightforward, you can opt for pre- and/or post-cruise extensions in Vancouver, Anchorage, Denali, and beyond.

7. Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan Dream Cruises is unique in that it offers small-vessel expeditions — no more than 76 passengers per sailing, compared to the thousands who could be aboard giant Alaska cruise liners. Itineraries combine excursions in Alaska towns and native villages with glacial bay and fjord sailings.

On board, cruisers enjoy what the cruise line calls a “relaxed ambiance” that is less about frills and more about experiencing “True Alaska with True Alaskans.” Get ready for ocean views from whichever cabin you choose, the freshest Alaskan cuisine, and opportunities to taste local craft beers and Pacific Northwest wines daily.

Pro Tip: If you want to charter your very own Alaska cruise, Alaskan Dream Cruises offers excellent options. Cruisers can charter the Misty Fjord or the Kruzof Explorer and customize an itinerary for up to 12 guests.

Alaskan Dream Cruises also boasts two exclusive island lodges — Fin Island and Orca Point — both constructed of beautiful local timber. Guests on every Alaskan Dream Cruise get a night at one of these two remote lodges, where they’ll enjoy a special seafood dinner, a campfire, cultural presentations, and, at Orca Point, an opportunity to peruse the exclusive gift shop.

Fun Fact: Alaskan Dream Cruises’ history is intimately intertwined with the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 rescue efforts, also known as Miracle on the Hudson, where half the vessels that responded to the downed flight were “highly maneuverable” ferries built by its parent company in Sitka, Alaska.

Oceania Regatta cruise ship in Juneau, Alaska

8. Oceania Cruises

Oceania currently offers 30+ Alaska cruise options , plus Pre- and Post-Cruise Land Programs that let cruisers explore places like Anchorage and Denali in Alaska and Calgary in Canada. For cruisers 5–12 years old, it also offers the Alaska Youth Explorer Program, which is staffed by camp counselors and centers around Alaska-inspired activities and programming.

All of Oceania’s cruises emphasize the locals and cuisine is a highlight. It boasts “the finest cuisine at sea,” so if you’re a foodie in search of Alaskan flavors, an Oceania cruise could be the ideal fit for you. Of its 275+ Alaska itinerary shore excursions (some of which are in the Pacific Northwest and Canada), over 50 feature drinking and dining experiences — think tea service, winery visits, cooking classes, “seafood feasts,” and beyond.

9. UnCruise Adventures

UnCruise Adventures is a favorite among TravelAwaits readers and writers alike. Recently, writers have raved about their UnCruise experiences in Mexico and the Pacific Northwest (and shared photos you have to see to believe!). Like Alaskan Dream Cruises, this is a small-ship cruise line — vessels accommodate a maximum of 86 cruisers, meaning a truly intimate experience.

UnCruise’s seven-, 12-, and 14-night Alaska itineraries are all about exploration. Their mantra: “Get ready to put boots on the ground.” Yes, there’s time to get cozy on the ship, but expect days filled with water activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, and whale watching, plus hiking and northern lights spotting. Feeling brave? You could even say “yes” to an UnCruise polar plunge!

Still considering your Alaska cruise options? Don’t miss TravelAwaits writer Parm Parmar’s UnCruise tell-all, Alaska By Small Ship Cruise: Wilderness, Solitude, And Wildlife Sightings .

Read more from our  2023 Best Of Travel Awards .

Image of Linsey Stevens

Linsey Stevens is a University of Chicago-trained editor who joined the TravelAwaits team in early 2019 and served as the site’s Managing Editor from January 2021 to April 2023. She’s also edited lifestyle and wellness content for other sites and print publications, plus the Nautilus award-winning 2017 book Iphelia: Awakening the Gift of Feeling from Tyrian Press. In addition to her writing and editing, Linsey has interests in travel, depth psychology, collaging, and magical realism. She calls the Midwest home but was born (and spent her young childhood in) Alaska and has spent time in Mexico, Australia, India, and the Caribbean. She serves on the board of the C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis and is passionate about eating well and the em dash.

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The 13 most affordable alaska cruises for 2024 & beyond.

Book your Alaska cruise during one of the best promotions of the year.

The Most Affordable Alaska Cruises

The Holland America Noordam in Skagway.

Courtesy of Holland America Line

There's no better time than now to book your dream vacation to The Great Land. Cruise vacations are more popular than ever, and affordable cruises are getting harder to find – especially for beloved destinations like Alaska.

Cruisers can nab some of the lines' best deals of the year during wave season. This period, which extends from January to March, refers to the "tidal wave" of lower pricing across the cruising industry during this time. Some cruise lines even kick off their sales in December, so it's advisable to begin your search for discounted pricing early.

Below, we've included some of the best Alaska cruise deals available right now for sailings in 2024 and 2025. All quoted prices are per person for double occupancy and were accurate at the time of writing. Keep in mind: Each itinerary may be available on multiple dates; we've listed the date with the lowest starting price to get you the best value.

Read on to explore the top options for an affordable Alaska cruise.

Find your perfect cruise

Holland America Line

The Holland America Noordam in Yakutat Bay.

Holland America's "Time of Your Life" wave season deal features up to 40% off bookings for select sailings from summer 2024 through spring 2025; the sale ends at the end of February. You can also add the premium "Have It All" bundle. This added perk features a signature drink package , specialty dining, shore excursions and Wi-Fi access. The exact pricing and benefits of the package depend on the length of the cruise. The wave season pricing also features a complimentary stateroom upgrade, reduced deposits, and free or discounted fares for kids.

7-Day Glacier Discovery Southbound

Holland America's seven-day voyage aboard Noordam includes an afternoon cruising in Hubbard Glacier and a full day of sailing through picturesque Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. The ship also calls on the ports of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, with one additional day of scenic cruising on the Inside Passage, before disembarking in Vancouver. Plan to stay an extra day in Vancouver to explore on your own, or opt for a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour with Holland America (complete with luggage service and an airport transfer) before taking a flight home later that evening.

This southbound itinerary is also available on May 25, 2025, aboard Nieuw Amsterdam , starting at $679 per person.

7-Day Alaska Inside Passage

This round-trip sailing on Zaandam from Vancouver highlights the Inside Passage with a day of scenic cruising, plus a limited stop in Tracy Arm Inlet for excursions, before reaching the coastal towns of Juneau and Skagway. Then, you'll enjoy another day of scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, followed by a stop in Ketchikan and cruising the Inside Passage before disembarking in Vancouver .

The Tracy Arm fjord features glacier-covered mountains and the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest in the country. It is also home to abundant wildlife, including whales, harbor seals, bald eagles, bears and mountain goats. Book the Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer excursion to see the majestic beauty of the Tracy Arm wilderness and the twin Sawyer Glaciers up close. You might even see and hear ice calving into the pristine waters. You'll cruise through Stephens Passage on your way back to meet the ship in Juneau.

Zaandam sails this itinerary in 2025, as well. The lowest fare starts at $629 per person for the voyage on May 14, 2025.

Princess Cruises

The Majestic Princess in Skagway.

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises' wave season deals feature up to 40% off cruise prices, complimentary room upgrades, $100 deposits, and free fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom or suite. The advertised fares on the Princess Cruises website are for the line's MedallionClass experience, which includes dining at the complimentary onboard restaurants, entertainment on the ship, fitness facilities, and the youth and teen clubs. You can add optional upgrades, such as a beverage package, specialty dining, shore excursions and Wi-Fi access, either individually or with a Princess Plus or Princess Premier package.

7-Day Voyage of the Glaciers with Glacier Bay (Northbound)

Princess' seven-day itinerary aboard Grand Princess features the lowest available fare for the line's 2024 Alaska season. The itinerary starts with a relaxing sea day, followed by stops in three ports of call in Alaska: Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. You'll also have two days of scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and College Fjord before disembarking in Whittier, near Anchorage .

The southbound voyage (which is the reverse itinerary) on Grand Princess departs May 15, 2024, from Anchorage and also starts at $398 per person. Or, you can sail that southbound itinerary on Sapphire Princess on May 18, 2024, for the same price.

In 2025, you can book this itinerary on Caribbean Princess for as low as $467 per person, embarking on May 10, 2025.

7-Day Inside Passage (Roundtrip Vancouver)

This shoulder season sailing in September is available on Grand Princess. The round-trip voyage from Vancouver features two days at sea; one day of scenic cruising in Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier; and stops in the coastal towns of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. While on the ship, spend warmer days outdoors relaxing at The Sanctuary, an adults-only venue. You can also experience one of the line's Discovery at SEA enrichment programs on board, or book one of the affiliated excursions ashore.

This Grand Princess itinerary is also available on May 27, 2025, for as low as $547 per person.

Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian Jewel in Alaska.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian's current "Free At Sea" promotion includes a free unlimited open bar package, free specialty dining, free shore excursions and complimentary Wi-Fi access. You'll also find additional deals like 50% off deposits, free third and fourth guests (or $99 per additional person, depending on the sailing), and free airfare for a second guest. Be sure to check the terms and conditions before booking a Norwegian sailing.

7-Day Alaska: Hubbard Glacier & Skagway

Norwegian's sailing from Seward to Vancouver on Norwegian Jewel features two days cruising through Hubbard Glacier, where you'll be able to book the Hubbard Glacier & Wilderness Explorer excursion for an up-close look at North America's largest tidewater glacier. Afterward, the ship calls on Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan (Ward Cove).

In Ketchikan, reserve a spot for the Alaskan Cultural & Lumberjack Show Experience, which includes an entertaining show, a chance to learn about Alaska Native culture, and a tasting of local food and wines. Alaska also offers some of the best fishing conditions in North America, so anglers may want to consider booking a private excursion to go fishing for halibut or salmon. After several days in port, enjoy one more day of scenic cruising through the Inside Passage before disembarking in Vancouver.

In 2025, the seven-day Hubbard Glacier & Skagway itinerary will sail from Vancouver to Whittier. The lowest fare for this cruise starts at $529 per person aboard the Norwegian Jade on May 5, 2025.

7-Day Alaska: Glacier Bay, Skagway & Juneau

This sailing on Norwegian Jewel departs from Vancouver and includes three sea days cruising the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and Hubbard Glacier. The itinerary also calls on the ports of Ketchikan (Ward Cove), Juneau and Skagway.

The 13-mile-long Mendenhall Glacier is one of the top attractions in Juneau, and the line offers a variety of excursions to view the impressive ice sheet. For a bucket list adventure, splurge on the helicopter and dog-sledding excursion to Mendenhall Glacier from Skagway. You can also opt for another once-in-a-lifetime trip: a flightseeing tour by floatplane. You'll fly into the wilderness, kayak across a stream and then hike the surface of the Norris Glacier, a remote glacier in the Coast Mountains that's only accessible by plane or on foot.

If you're looking forward to 2025, you can book a similar itinerary from Whittier to Vancouver on April 28, 2025, starting at $499 per person on Norwegian Jade.

alaska cruise liners

Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Celebrity Cruises

Balcony of the Celebrity Suite on the Celebrity Summit.

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity's 2024 wave season includes flash sales with offers like 75% off the second guest on nonrefundable deposit rates and a 50% discount with refundable deposit fares. Other deals may include free upgrades, depending on the sailing. Refer to the Celebrity Cruises website for the current promotions, or consult with a cruise specialist for the best deals and pricing.

7-Night Alaska Southbound Glacier

This mid-May itinerary on Celebrity Summit is currently the line's lowest-priced Alaska cruise for the 2024 season. The one-way sailing from Seward includes a day of scenic cruising around Hubbard Glacier: one of Alaska's most beautiful natural treasures at 7 miles wide, 76 miles long and an impressive 30 stories high. The ship also calls on ports in Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan, with an additional full day cruising the Inside Passage, before disembarking in Vancouver.

For 2025, this same itinerary currently starts at $649 per person for the May 16 sailing on Celebrity Summit.

7-Night Alaska Northbound Glacier

The reverse itinerary of the southbound voyage above, this cruise offers similar ports of call and sea days, except you'll stop in Sitka rather than Skagway. This sailing is also on Celebrity Summit. During your time in Icy Strait Point, consider a whale watching excursion; you are guaranteed to see whales (or receive your money back) on one of the tours departing from their shores. In Sitka, take a guided hike to explore the beautiful Tongass National Forest or a tour to learn about the Tlingit culture. This outing includes a visit to local totem artists and a beer meister, as well as a sampling of regional foods at a popular restaurant.

Or, consider a comparable cruise aboard Celebrity Summit on May 9 or May 23, 2025. Fares start at $649 per person.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas on the open ocean.

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean's current deal features up to $600 in onboard credit, 60% off the second guest and kids sail free fares . The line offers sales throughout the year, so you can check back to see what promotions are available at a later date, or contact a cruise specialist for additional specials. Below, you'll find the lowest fares currently available for Royal Caribbean sailings in Alaska.

7-Night Northbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier

Royal Caribbean's one-way sailing aboard Radiance of the Seas features scenic cruising along the Inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier, as well as stops in the ports of Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Skagway. Consider booking a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route while in Skagway: The historic narrow-gauge railway offers a picturesque ride through Alaska's wilderness, with views of White Pass.

The reverse itinerary, the Southbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier voyage, is also available on Radiance of the Seas; prices start at $339 per person for the May 10, 2024, sailing. In 2025, the May 30 northbound itinerary aboard Radiance of the Seas currently begins at $680 per person.

7-Night Alaska Experience Cruise

This round-trip voyage from Seattle on Quantum of the Seas calls on Sitka, Skagway and Juneau in Alaska. It also makes a late afternoon stop in Victoria, British Columbia , where you can plan to have dinner that evening. You'll have two days at sea for relaxing or enjoying all the activities and attractions on the ship, including the RipCord by iFLY skydiving simulator, robotic bartenders and live performances with aerial entertainers. You can also take a ride on the FlowRider surf simulator, surrounded by snowcapped mountain views and calving glaciers.

In 2025, this round-trip voyage from Seattle on Quantum of the Seas starts at $840 per person for the Sept. 8 voyage.

Carnival Cruise Line

The Carnival Miracle in Alaska.

Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

This cruise line advertises limited-time promotional rates and deals throughout the year. You can join Carnival 's VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) Club to unlock even more deals and additional perks. Current specials include reduced deposits, up to 35% off fares, free room upgrades, onboard credit and discounts for families traveling in the same stateroom.

7-Day Alaska from Seattle

This seven-day voyage on Carnival Spirit sails round-trip from Seattle and features one day to explore the ship while at sea, plus a scenic cruising day in Tracy Arm Fjord. Ports of call include Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, as well as a late evening stop in Victoria before you disembark the next day in Seattle. For your day in Ketchikan, consider booking the award-winning Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour on the famed Aleutian Ballad from the Discovery Channel show, "Deadliest Catch."

This itinerary is also offered on Carnival Luminosa . If you are sailing in 2025, you can book the same seven-day cruise starting at $609 per person for the April 14 voyage on Carnival Spirit.

Shorter cruises

A shorter cruise may be an attractive option if you don't have extensive vacation time or you prefer to spend a few days ashore before or after your sailing. If kids are in tow for the adventure – and it's your first time cruising with them – you might also want fewer days at sea to test the waters (literally). See our pick of competitively priced four- and five-night Alaska cruises, below.

Princess Cruises: 4-Day Alaska Sampler

This 2025 cruise aboard Discovery Princess includes one port of call, Ketchikan, and two days at sea between Vancouver and Seattle. This 4-Day Alaska Sampler itinerary is also offered on May 13, 2025, on Royal Princess , with a starting price of $327 per person. The reverse itinerary (Seattle to Vancouver) is offered on May 23, 2025, on Grand Princess; pricing starts at $347 per person.

Princess Cruises: 5-Day Alaska Sampler

If you want to sail with Princess for one extra day, consider booking the five-day sampler cruise sailing round-trip from Vancouver. This early season itinerary aboard Caribbean Princess calls on Sitka and Ketchikan, offering more time ashore to explore these two popular coastal towns along Alaska's Inside Passage. Guests will also have two sea days to enjoy activities and dining experiences on the ship.

How to find the best Alaska cruise deals

Book during wave season.

As previously mentioned, you can take advantage of some of the best deals of the year during wave season. Promotions offered during wave season include lower cruise fares, reduced deposits and onboard credits. You can also find special rates (or free fares) for the third and fourth guests in the same room, making this the perfect time to book a family cruise.

In addition, look for discounts on higher-level staterooms and suites, or even accommodations in exclusive areas of the ship, such as The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line or The Retreat on Celebrity Cruises. These private spaces offer swanky extras like luxurious accommodations, all-inclusive pricing , butler service, a team of attendants and concierge service, as well as private restaurants, lounges and pools. With lower pricing, wave season may be the best time to splurge on a cruise vacation in one of these upscale enclaves.

Promotional pricing beyond wave season

If you miss booking your cruise during wave season, don't panic. Many lines offer special pricing and flash sales throughout the year and advertise lower fares for voyages during Alaska's shoulder seasons, which fall in May and September.

"You will always find the more affordable Alaska cruises toward the beginning and end of the season. This year, the Alaska cruise season begins in April and continues through October," says Chris Gray Faust, executive editor of Cruise Critic. She adds, "The challenge with shoulder season Alaska cruises is that the weather might not be the best – it can snow in Alaska in April and early May – and in the fall, the nights will be longer (although, there is a chance you might see northern lights )."

In addition to giving up the warmer summer weather (and possibly having snow), you may also miss some optimal wildlife viewing opportunities if you cruise early or late in the season. For example, the peak time for bear-watching excursions extends from mid-June to mid-August, which falls during the height of the Alaska cruise season in July and August.

If you're looking for other ways to save money on your cruise, Gray Faust advises that older ships also provide more value when you're looking for deals.

It's important to note that a few of this year's wave deals extend just until the end of February 2024, so you'll need to refer to the individual cruise line websites to see the exact dates for the special offers. You may also be able to find lower prices on some discount and aggregator sites, like Cruise Critic, Cruises.com and Priceline.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed on nearly every type of cruise ship, including the newest megaships, traditional masted sailing ships, river ships in Europe and a small luxury expedition vessel in Antarctica. She has cruised to Alaska and visited The Great Land in the summer, fall and winter, and journeyed to remote areas by bush plane above the Arctic Circle. She used her knowledge of Alaska cruises and extensive research to write this article. Pratesi covers the travel and culinary industries for major publications, including U.S. News & World Report.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Best Time to Cruise to Alaska
  • Alaska Cruise Packing List: Must-Have Items
  • The Top Alaska Cruise Lines
  • The Top Northern Lights Alaska Cruises
  • The Top Alaska Shore Excursions

Tags: Travel , Cruises , Alaska Vacations , Budget Travel

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Book a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see glaciers, national parks and wildlife!

glacier bay national park and preserve, alaska

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While some travelers dream of lounging on a beach in the Caribbean, others might be itching to put on hiking shoes and explore the great outdoors. If glaciers, wildlife and picturesque coastline have long been on your bucket list, consider booking a cruise to Alaska. The northernmost American state offers an activity for everyone's interest and level of adventure. You can take a thrilling helicopter flight to explore a glacier on foot or observe miles of Alaska’s lush scenery and spy whales from a comfortable seat on a boat.

Princess Cruises

majestic princess in glacier bay alaska

A top choice for multi-generational families and larger groups seeking on-board experiences for a wide age range, Princess will sail seven ships to Alaska in 2024 — more than any other line. Princess also offers the most departure cities , potentially saving you money on airfare. Alaska sailings range from 4 to 22 days, though a week is the sweet spot. The line is also only one of seven permitted to enter the magnificent Glacier Bay National Park (shown); check out the tips at the end of the story for details.

Good Housekeeping Contributing Travel Editor Karen Cicero and her daughter recently sailed on Majestic Princess, a Family Travel Awards Winner , and raved about the ship's amenities, especially the Hollywood Pool Club. She described it as “an indoor space with a heated pool, plush loungers, and cabana-like spots that are free for all guests to use.” Cicero was also impressed with the entertainment and activities suitable for all ages, the excellent dining options and a supervised kids’ club for ages 3 to 12. "We saw grandparents and grandkids on the dance floor, at the shows, on the excursions — bonding moments were everywhere," Cicero said.

In 2024, Majestic Princess and Discovery Princess, the line's newest Alaska ship, will both sail roundtrip from Seattle. "You can't beat Princess if you're looking for an experience that will please all ages," said Cicero.

Departure Cities: Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Vancouver; Whittier, Alaska Cruise Ships: Crown Princess (2024 only); Grand Princess, Caribbean Princess (2025 only), Royal Princess, Sapphire Princess, Discovery Princess, Majestic Princess (2024 only), Crown Princess, Coral Princess (2025 only)

Norwegian Cruise Line

norwegian cruise line encore in alaska

Passengers are loyal to Norwegian for its beautiful ships, top-notch service and innovative amenities. The cruise line pioneered the concept of “freestyle cruising," which includes a flexible dining time. Flexible cruising continues to be a major selling point , according to our testers who recently sailed roundtrip from Seattle to Alaska on the Norwegian Encore (pictured). "We enjoyed not having to rush back to the ship after an excursion because we had a dinner reservation," said our tester who sailed with her spouse.

They also frequented the Encore’s Observation Lounge, where they were able to cozy up and spend hours searching for marine life from floor-to-ceiling windows. Activities and entertainment, like go-karting, slides and laser tag, are abundant. For a premium experience, consider booking a stateroom in The Haven. The Encore's most luxurious accommodations feature spacious rooms — the bathrooms are nearly double the size of those in standard staterooms — a private sundeck and a concierge.

The variety of sailings to Alaska is also another reason to choose Norwegian. "If Hawaii is also on your bucket list, Norwegian is one of the only cruise lines to offer a 16-day cruise departing from Honolulu that sails through both Hawaii and Alaska so you explore two dreamy destinations on one vacation," said Cicero. She added that Norwegian sails to Alaska until late October — about a month longer than most cruise lines.

Departure Cities: Honolulu; Seattle; Seward, Alaska; Vancouver; Whittier, Alaska (2025) Cruise Ships: Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Jewel (only in 2024), Norwegian Spirit (only in May 2024), Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Jade (only in 2025), Norwegian Joy (only in 2025)

EXPLORE NOW

Disney Cruise Line

disney cruise ship docked in ketchikan, alaska

Disney lovers will have the time of their lives sailing roundtrip from Vancouver to Alaska aboard the Disney Wonder. "It was the best experience ever," said a mom of two young adults who sailed on the ship in May 2023. "We felt like it was a great combination of Disney and Alaska."

On-board experiences brilliantly align with the destination. For instance, Disney characters are dressed in special outfits for Alaska and are on deck during the days at sea. "We were able to get incredible photos with the glaciers behind the characters," said the mom, who also noted that you can order Mickey Mouse ice cream bars from room service. Cicero added, "Disney has the best kids' and teen clubs of any cruise line. They're enormous, filled with epic activities like superhero training and are a great place for kids and teens to make friends."

If you want an equal dose of Disney and Alaska, this is the cruise for your crew. Sailings range from five to nine nights. All routes head to Stikine Icecap so guests can observe stunning glaciers, cliffs, waterfalls and wildlife.

Departure City: Vancouver Cruise Ship: Disney Wonder

Royal Caribbean International

juneau, alaska, usa

Royal Caribbean doesn’t only sail to the Caribbean. This global cruise line whisks passengers to Alaska from popular ports such as Seattle and Vancouver. You can choose a classic seven-night itinerary or a 13-night land-and-sea getaway.

Cruise enthusiasts at the Good Housekeeping Institute are fans of Royal Caribbean for its state-of-the-art ships, exceptional service and high-quality entertainment. "Royal Caribbean had the first rock-climbing wall and ice-skating rink on a cruise ship," said Cicero. "Since then, they've brought so many other epic activities to sea." For instance, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class, which includes Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, offers skydiving, a surf simulator and a robot bar. "This line is an especially good fit for families with tweens, teens and young adults ," said Cicero, who sailed on Royal Caribbean with her teen daughter.

Departure Cities: Seattle; Seward, Alaska; Vancouver Cruise Ships: Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas (only in 2024), Ovation of the Seas (only in 2024), Serenade of the Seas (only in 2025)

National Geographic Lindblad Expeditions

lindblad expeditions ship national geographic sea lion

For an incredible small-ship experience, look no further than the Lindblad Expeditions–National Geographic team-up. The largest of its ships that sail to Alaska can accommodate no more than 138 passengers — just a sliver of the 4,900 or so that Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas can hold. " Being on a smaller vessel means that you’ll be able to sail right up to less frequented glaciers, waterfalls and fjords, " said Cicero.

Of course, an intimate experience comes at a higher price tag — its eight-day Alaskan adventure starts at about $6,200 per person, though you won't need to pay extra for excursions. "Voyages tend to be themed and stress the educational component," said Cicero. For instance, one focuses on coastal wildlife while another explores native cultures. A Good Housekeeping staff member who sailed the line to the Galápagos Islands (a providence of Ecuador) raved, "The ship was beautiful! I was super impressed with the staff and the service felt above and beyond.”

Departure Cities: Juneau, Alaska; Ketchikan, Alaska; Seattle; Sitka, Alaska Cruise Ships: National Geographic Quest, National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Sea Bird, National Geographic Sea Lion, National Geographic Resolution

Holland America Line

holland america line cruise to alaska

Holland America has a well-earned reputation for bringing guests to new destinations for more than 150 years. Its ships tend to be mid-sized — larger than Lindblad's offerings but smaller than the Quantum ships from Royal Caribbean. While Holland attracts an older demographic, its Alaskan cruises are often filled with multi-generational families.

One of the cruise line’s most popular itineraries is the Seven-Day Inside Passage, which takes you through Glacier Bay National Park, the Inside Passage, Tracy Arm Inlet and several must-visit port towns. But for adventure seekers curious to see as much of Alaska as possible, you’ll find tons of extended itineraries including a robust 28-day voyage that crosses the Arctic Circle.

Holland America is the only cruise line permitted to serve glacier ice, using it for cocktails like the Blue Iceberg and Juneau Gin & Tonic. The line also launched a new Alaskan-themed brunch menu offered once per cruise.

Departure Cities: Anchorage, Alaska (for land-sea tours only); Fairbanks, Alaska; Seattle; Vancouver, Whittier, Alaska Cruise Ships: Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Zuiderdam, Zaandam

Celebrity Cruises

topshot france transport sea tourism

Celebrity is popular with adults and couples looking for a premium onboard experience, including delicious cuisine, luxurious staterooms and a high-end spa . We can’t imagine a better way to rest and relax after spending a day exploring the Alaskan wilderness. Our travel experts suggest choosing one of Celebrity's many Alaska itineraries that sail through the Inside Passage and up to Dawes Glacier or Hubbard Glacier, two of the state’s gems.

Of the three Celebrity ships that sail to Alaska, we recommend the Celebrity Edge for those new to cruising or seeking a more contemporary experience. Launched in 2018, the ship features standout innovations like Eden, a multi-level bar with panoramic views, and the Magic Carpet, a multi-purpose floating space suspended directly above the sea.

Departure Cities: Seattle; Seward, Alaska; Vancouver Cruise Ships: Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Summit, Celebrity Edge

Tips for booking your cruise to Alaska

line break

✔️ Check your itinerary. The itinerary you choose is key on an Alaskan cruise. If you have your heart set on visiting Glacier Bay National Park, make sure that your cruise line has it listed on the schedule. "Only seven lines were awarded the Glacier Bay contract by the National Park Service ," Cicero said. If you're not sure whether the cruise you have in mind will go through Glacier Bay, double-check with the cruise line or your travel agent.

✔️ Book shore excursions well in advance. Alaskan cruises generally sail from April to October. Because of the shorter season, your ship will likely be close to capacity and several ships may overlap in ports. Excursions will book up quickly. To secure your spot, book excursions well in advance or as soon as they're available.

✔️ Focus on family. Alaskan cruises are best for kids who are at least 5 years old. "Keep in mind that cruise lines don't allow kids who aren't potty-trained to be in pools, even if they're wearing a swim diaper," Cicero said. It's also worth noting that most cruise lines don't permit babies under 6 months or pregnant passengers who are 24 or more weeks along. Cicero advises families with school-age children to look for on-ship amenities, such as an indoor heated pool, a supervised kids' club and a variety of family-friendly nighttime entertainment. "Before you sail, you should also find out which non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary," Cicero said. "Many cruise lines charge extra for soft drinks, but milk and juice are usually included." Free room service is another big perk for families, she notes, so see if that's offered on the line you're considering.

✔️ Check your passport. Even if your cruise starts and stops in a U.S. port like Seattle, there's a high chance your ship will dock in Canada at some point throughout your trip. Also, " some of the excursions in Alaskan ports venture into Canada and will require a passport," explained Cicero. For instance, you may take the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway from Skagway into Yukon, a Canadian territory. Your passport will need to be valid for at least 6 months following the cruise.

✔️ Pack layers. This is especially crucial if you're traveling in Alaska's shoulder season — May and September. While May tends to be drier, temperatures remain relatively chilly. Likewise, September marks the end of the summer season and welcomes cooler temperatures and more rainfall. Because you'll be spending a lot of time outdoors, it's important to prepare for all weather scenarios, including windy conditions common to sailing cruise ships.

✔️ Book next summer's cruise soon. To get the best staterooms and excursions, start looking for a 2025 cruise in 2024, Cicero said, noting that many ships start to fill up at least 6 months in advance. And don't forget about major sale days. "Last year, cruise lines had fantastic Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals," she said.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

line break

Good Housekeeping Institute Writer and Product Analyst Olivia Lipski covers everything from tech to travel, fitness, outdoor, home and more. Not only does she have years of product review experience under her belt, but she’s also a travel enthusiast who has been on more than 20 cruises (and counting)!

The former travel editor at Parents magazine, Karen Cicero specializes in travel, children's book, lifestyle and food coverage. She manages the experience portion of the Good Housekeeping Family Travel Awards. She has sailed on four cruise lines with her family and toured several others. She recently was a featured speaker at several travel industry conferences, including PRSA, Mid-Atlantic Tourism Alliance and the Family Travel Association.

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Alaska Cruises

DON’T LET ALASKA SAIL AWAY

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Untouched. Untamed. Unforgettable. Filled with icy fjords that tower over the Pacific Ocean whilst snowy peaks stretch toward the horizon, Alaska feels boundless. Sail the youngest fleet cruising Alaska's captivating coastline on any of our three award- winning ships and explore the Last Frontier as intimately as the locals do.

Discover Why Norwegian To Alaska?

alaska ship

Youngest Fleet in Alaska

Norwegian has the newest fleet in Alaska, with unmatched amenities such as 20 dining options, the largest suites available in Alaska, and a world-class spa.

alaska float

Freestyle Cruising

Freestyle Cruising® offers freedom and choices, enabling your holiday to unfold with as much adventure or relaxation as you want.

alaska train tour

Adventure Awaits

Venture into the wilderness with Norwegian and have more variety than any other cruise line! With seven outstanding itineraries to choose from, you can pick your perfect holiday.

alaska whale

Authentic Alaska

Norwegian brings authentic Alaska onboard, with a salmon bake, local beers from the Alaskan Brewing Company, and a national park ranger who narrates the Glacier Bay.

alaska bears

Book with confidence with the "Best Price. Guaranteed." program and ensure you pay the lowest price we offer. If you find a lower published price for the same cruise either on NCL.com or on a piece of communication directly from Norwegian, we will re-price your cruise at the lower price or you'll receive 110% of the difference in the form of an onboard credit.

Live Life To The Fullest

  • Family Cruising
  • Accommodation

alaska freestyle cruise

More choices of what to do and see in Alaska and more freedom to do it your way, that's the beauty of Freestyle Cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line. Unpacking once and journeying from port to remarkable port. Launching a skiff in search of steelhead by day. Then grabbing a massage before dancing all night under the midnight sun. Enjoying a variety of onboard activities, one-of-a-kind entertainment, plus more dining options than days of the week. Dressing up or going casual. Dining with friends or savouring a romantic dinner à deux. Doing what makes you happy with no planned timetables, ever. Because your holiday is exactly that - yours.

norwegian gem dining

Nobody Does Dining Like Norwegian

That's because we invented Freestyle Dining in 2000, a revolutionary concept of no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating and more dining choices than any other cruise line. And we do it better than anyone else by continuing to keep things fresh. From the fine products we use, to our handcrafted cooking process and enticing presentations, you can taste our passion on every plate. So enjoy a four-course meal and a great bottle of wine. Or grab a burger hot off the grill. Dress up. Dress down. Sit with your friends or make new ones. Only Norwegian offers incredible culinary experiences with this much freedom and flexibility on a fleet of ships specially built with restaurants from bow to stern.

family cruising

A Frontier For The Whole Family

For kids, our Alaska cruise is like a theme park with the best rides. Take them dogsledding or rock climbing. For families, it's all about options. Only Norwegian offers Freestyle Cruising®, giving families the freedom to do their own thing on their own timetable . From exciting activities at sea to our complimentary youth programmes, Splash Academy and Entourage, we have something to keep everyone happy. Plus, with a wide range of accommodations and enough dining choices to satisfy even the pickiest eaters, seeing Alaska with Norwegian means everyone gets a holiday-even mom and dad.

alaska suite

SEE ALASKA EVERY WHICH WAY

Spectacular views from almost every vantage let you experience more of The Last Frontier. Wake up to snow-capped mountains drifting by your window. Or witness a glacier calving into the sea. And weather you're bringing the whole crew and staying in a Family Suite or enjoying a balcony stateroom with some of your best friends, we've got just the room for you. Want a more luxurious experience? Try the Haven by NorwegianTM - a private enclave at the top of the ship, complete with private heated pool and courtyard, concierge and 24-hour personal butler service. With a wide range of stylish and convenient suites and staterooms on the youngest fleet sailing Alaska, you're guaranteed a great place to rest.

Award-Wining Cruise Line

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Alaska Cruisetours

Explore denali national park on an alaska land and sea package, what's an alaska cruisetour.

Cruise:  Enjoy our top-rated 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska cruise vacation with two glacier-viewing experiences during your time on board.

Train:  Enjoy scenic rail travel from the ship to the lodge via our exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service for an all-encompassing Alaska cruisetour.

Lodge:  As a part of your Alaska cruisetour, spend three or more nights on land at Princess Wilderness Lodges located riverside near legendary national parks.

Explore Your Cruisetour Options

Need help choosing.

10 - 13 Nights

Denali Explorer

  • Most popular
  • 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise
  • 3-6 nights on land
  • Exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness® Alaska rail service
  • Stay in the Denali-area
  • Natural History Tour into Denali National Park
  • Fairbanks or Anchorage
  • Select sightseeing included

13 - 15 Nights

Off the Beaten Path

  • Go deeper into Alaska
  • Kenai and/or Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
  • Unique National Parks and Canadian Rockies Cruisetour options
  • 6-8 nights on land
  • Princess Alaska rail service
  • Fairbanks and/or Anchorage

12 - 17 Nights

Connoisseur

  • Highest level of service
  • Escorted by a Tour Director
  • 5-10 nights on land
  • Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park
  • Most meals included

10 - 11 Nights

On Your Own

  • Most affordable option
  • For independent travelers
  • 3-4 nights on land
  • No pre-scheduled activities

Katmai National Park cruisetour

New and exclusive to Princess! Offering a deeper connection with Alaska wildlife, this brand new itinerary combines a 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise and two nights in Anchorage. Spend a day viewing brown bears at Katmai National Park and visit Alaska’s premier Wildlife Conservation Center

Ultimate Wildlife Adventure cruisetour

A Princess exclusive, this new cruisetour is curated to provide whales breaching in Glacier Bay National Park, bear viewing in Katmai National Park and observing Denali’s “Big 5” such as moose and caribou in Denali National Park. Wildlife enthusiasts will be thrilled with the opportunities to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitats. This 13-night cruisetour also features a visit to Alaska’s premier Wildlife Conservation Center.

National parks cruisetours

Explore five of Alaska’s National Parks with our National Park Cruisetour. Cruise Glacier Bay’s pristine waters, be awe-struck by Kenai Fjords icefields and feed your wanderlust by adventuring into Denali National Park. Accompanied by two more National Parks, the 15-night cruisetour is designed for explorers and wanderers.

Canadian Rockies cruisetours

Experience the breathtaking scenery of Banff National Park in the heart of the Rockies on our 14-night cruisetour with a 7-day Alaska cruise and luxury Rocky Mountaineer rail travel.

Alaska Cruisetour Experience

A closer look at Alaska’s interior.

Princess wilderness lodges

With Princess, you won’t just explore Alaska’s landscapes, you’ll live amidst them in our custom-built wilderness lodges. Located riverside next to some of the most renowned national parks, these warm and welcoming lodges are the perfect spot to bask in Alaska’s best attractions. As a part of your Alaska cruisetour, explore and unwind with comforting amenities and breathtaking scenery.

Voyage of the glaciers

Sail 500 miles deeper into the Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound on our top-rated Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska cruise vacation. Spend seven days traveling from Anchorage (Whittier) to Vancouver, B.C., stopping in historic port cities like Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Along the way, enjoy two glacier-viewing experiences on every itinerary – including Glacier Bay National Park, and Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord.

Direct-to-the-Wilderness® Alaska Rail Service

With glass-domed railcars, our exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service takes you into the heart of Alaska without juggling multiple tickets or confusing transfers. Enjoy convenience and comfort from ship to train and then directly to your Princess Wilderness Lodge in the Denali-area. We’ve taken care of everything on your Alaska cruisetour, so you can spend less time worrying and more time exploring.

Visit Denali National Park on every Alaska cruisetour

Every Princess Alaska cruisetour takes you to Denali National Park so you can enjoy a land beloved by millions but only seen by the adventurous. This national park is a dream destination for any serious Alaska traveler. With some of the most stunning wilderness in existence and famous wildlife, it’s part of the definitive experience of traveling to the Great Land’s wild interior.

Princess Lodges & Alaska Cities

Comfortable riverside lodges surrounded by natural beauty.

  • Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge®
  • Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge®
  • Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge®
  • Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge®
  • Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge®
  • Anchorage (Whittier)

Embark on an unforgettable Alaska cruisetour to the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge®, where you can take in the beauty of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the United States. Snow-covered mountains dominate the skyline while rivers feed the earth below. Explore your surroundings on a Copper River rafting trip, or fish for Alaska salmon in the mesmerizing waters.

All of our Alaska cruisetours include a stay at our premier Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge®, just one mile from the entrance of Denali National Park overlooking the Nenana River. Access some of the most stunning sights on earth — wilderness, wildlife and untamed land. Go flightseeing by Denali’s snow-covered peak, fly-fish for Arctic grayling, raft the Nenana River or venture into Denali on a park tour.

On the banks of the Chena River lies the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge®. With riverside dining and frontier décor, the Fairbanks Lodge is the perfect excuse to extend your Alaska cruise vacation and dive deeper into your surroundings. Cruise down the Chena River on a sternwheeler riverboat, pan for gold at Gold Dredge 8 or ride ATVs through surrounding forests underneath the midnight sun.

Situated on the Kenai Peninsula overlooking the Kenai River, the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge® is surrounded by mountains, rivers and wilderness inviting you to explore. Adventure through Chugach National Forest, cruise past Kenai Fjords National Parks’ glaciers or fish along the Kenai River. Take in the sights of this natural masterpiece at a leisurely pace only on an Alaska cruisetour.

Situated within Denali State Park near the Chulitna River, the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge® offers unparalleled views of Denali from the treehouse as well as the Great Room and expansive deck in the main lodge. Tour a working Alaska homestead and learn how the Great Land’s residents have become so self-sufficient. Or land in a helicopter on a glacier beneath the tallest peak in North America on your Alaska cruisetour.

Only an hour and a half from the cruise port of Whittier lies the largest city in Alaska – Anchorage. Visit the Chugach National Forest, the second largest national forest in the United States. Spend the day absorbing history at the Anchorage Museum. Or visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and see brown bears, moose and bison living in a protected habitat that perfectly emulates the wild.

Explore the Great Land

Voyage closer to the sights, sounds, wildlife and traditions that make Alaska unique.

Between the natural masterpieces and the animate personalities, every part of Alaska tells an extraordinary story. On an Alaska cruisetour with Princess, discover what makes the Great Land so special, and craft your own tales of your time on land and sea.

A sensory experience

Don’t just see the Great Land’s glaciers, feel them come alive on an Alaska cruisetour. Get up close to Mother Nature’s masterpieces and listen for the crash of “white thunder”. Visit wilderness playgrounds like Glacier Bay National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – along with even more natural wonderlands like Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, College Fjord and Hubbard Glacier.

A nature lover's dream

From bald eagles to humpback whales, many animals call Alaska home. The waters are teeming with marine life, like king salmon, while the land is decorated by the colorful coats of Denali National Park’s “big five” – including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, Dall sheep and caribou. On an Alaska cruisetour, encounter wildlife in their natural habitats and experience their unique personalities for yourself.

Mountains & National Parks

National treasures

Alaska’s national parks are nothing short of impressive. Denali National Park boasts the continent’s highest peak, and Glacier Bay National Park is one of the world’s largest protected areas. You can discover even more magnificence during your Alaska cruisetour at Wrangell-St. Elias and Kenai Fjords National Parks, where one of the four largest ice caps in the world invites guests to explore its terrain.

Alaska excursions

Don't just visit this famous land, live it on Alaska excursions. Rush across the snow on a dog sled with a professional musher, fly fish for salmon in fresh rivers and soar over miles of glacial tundra in a helicopter. Watch migrating humpback whales from the deck of a catamaran or Native craftsman carve a traditional totem pole, and expand your Alaska cruise experience.

Alaska Cruise Onboard Experience

Our award-winning North to Alaska program brings local personalities, culture and cuisine on board and ashore to immerse you in all things Alaska during your cruise to the Great Land.

Alaska Seafood

Fresh and bountiful, like Alaska itself

Alaska's seafood is famous, and we bring the best to you with locally inspired dishes from the state’s best eateries. With Cook My Catch excursions, catch your own salmon or halibut with the help of a local expert, and in the evening our talented chefs will prepare your haul for your dinner — a Princess exclusive. From ship to shore, the best is at your fingertips on our Alaska cruises.

Meet Local Alaskans

Real Alaska from local Alaskans

Alaskans are inviting people who love to share what makes their state unique. Watch lumberjacks in action, learn from Glacier Bay National Park rangers and craft with a Native totem pole carver. Or listen to harrowing Tales from the Deadliest Catch fishermen and climbers who have summited Denali during your Alaska cruise.

Unique Alaska Cruise Experiences

Great experiences from the great land

Travel back in time and pan for gold like a prospector during the Gold Rush. Snuggle sled dog puppies in the ship's Piazza, or see the Northern Lights in the planetarium. At the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, explore our treehouse and enjoy unmatched views of Denali. Or savor tree-inspired bites at our very own Sappy Hour. Dive deeper into what makes the Great Land special on your cruise to Alaska.

Alaska Cruise Articles and Videos

Read about Alaska’s must-see attractions, signature cuisine, and how to prepare for a wild adventure into the heart of The Great Land.

Discover Alaska with Princess in 2024-2025

The best cruise line in Alaska just keeps getting better! From top-rated cruises that visit Glacier Bay National Park to scenic rail travel and exclusive Princess lodges, you will find a seamless Alaska experience with Princess.

Best Dishes to Try on Your Alaska Cruise

No one does seafood quite like Alaska—which is why we brought the best of the Great Land on board, so you can experience it all with Princess.

Top Alaska Cruise Destinations

From exploring Denali National Park to fishing for salmon in Anchorage, discover the top Alaska destinations on a Princess cruise.

Inside Passage Alaska Cruise

From exploring historic gold mines to venturing in the footsteps of early explorers, learn about Alaska’s Inside Passage and discover the wonders awaiting you.

Alaska Ports of Call

From the sweeping mountains of Juneau to the fish-bearing seas of Ketchikan, discover our Alaska cruise ports and set sail into the adventures that await you.

What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise

Check out our helpful checklist so that you know exactly what to pack for an Alaska cruise with Princess.

Travel, Airfare, & Hotels: Let Princess Get You There

Princess EZair® Flights

Stress-free airfare

Remove the hassle from air travel and give yourself the gift of flexibility, time and a thicker wallet with Princess EZair flights. We negotiate lower rates with the airlines, allow you to modify your flight up to 45 days prior with no penalty and protect you if your flight is late or canceled.

EZair flight quotes are available on our cruise search result details pages.

Airplane to Ship Transfer

We get you where you need to go

Let Princess pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your ship or hotel when you arrive, even if you didn't book your airfare through us. A uniformed Princess representative meets you at the airport after you've retrieved your luggage and transports you directly to your ship or hotel without you having to worry about the logistics of navigating a new city.

Cruise Plus Hotel Packages

Stay longer and relax

Extend your cruise vacation, and simplify your travel plans with a hotel stay at the beginning or end of your cruise. With a Cruise Plus Hotel Package, a Princess representative meets you at the airport and pier, transporting you to and from your hotel. The package includes the cost of your hotel stay, transportation, luggage handling and the services of the representative.

Need help planning?

Princess Cruise Vacation Planners are a dedicated resource to help you every step of the way through the planning process of your cruise vacation. And the best part is, they are absolutely FREE!

Cruise deals & promotions

Find our top sales, deals, partnerships and promotions for our destinations all in one place. We run promotions throughout the year and sometimes run sweepstakes where you could win prizes!

#PrincessCruises Alaska Connection

See Alaska through our guests' eyes.

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How Much Does an Alaska Cruise Cost in 2024?

I f you're planning a cruise to Alaska this year, you may be enticed by low prices (in the hundreds) for a weeklong cruise. However, it's important to know that those fares are just the beginning of the cost for the entire trip.

Typically, the lowest advertised prices with mainstream cruise lines don't include taxes and port fees, specialty dining costs, alcoholic or nonalcoholic drinks, shore excursions , Wi-Fi access, gratuities and other expenses. On top of that, bargain fares usually refer to inside cabins with no windows. In a picturesque, bucket list destination like Alaska, you will realistically want a room with a private balcony so you can take in the spectacular scenery from the comfort of your room.

When to cruise to Alaska depends on what you're interested in seeing and doing during your vacation , but summer is typically the best time to visit The Great Land. Between mid-May and mid-July, you can experience 24 hours of daylight. This period is also an optimal time for wildlife viewing; you can see bears feasting on salmon, humpback whales and orcas, furry baby moose and thousands of nesting bald eagles. Cruise lines often reserve their lowest prices for sailings early or late in the Alaska cruising season , but it's still possible to find deals in the middle of the summer.

With all of this in mind, we've listed both the lowest interior cabin fares and the average total costs for a balcony stateroom across eight popular cruise lines for weeklong itineraries in June 2024. (Note: All fares quoted are per person, double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Prices were accurate at the time of writing.)

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Holland America Line

Holland America Line's 2024 Alaska season extends from April to September; in 2024, there are more than 60 cruise-only voyages and cruisetours (combined land and sea packages). With the exception of one 28-day journey, itineraries range from seven to 18 days.

Average starting price (per person)

This June, Holland America 's lowest-priced itinerary is the 7-Day Glacier Discovery Southbound voyage departing from Whittier, Alaska, on June 23, 2024, aboard Nieuw Amsterdam . The voyage features scenic cruising in Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and the Inside Passage. You'll also stop in the Alaska towns of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, before disembarking in Vancouver, British Columbia . The starting price is $409 per person for an inside cabin, and veranda staterooms start at $2,114 per person (cruise-only fare).

Starting price (per person)

For this sailing, there is a $291 charge per person for taxes, fees and port expenses. Specialty dining, alcoholic drinks (and many nonalcoholic beverages, such as bottled water and specialty coffees), excursions, Wi-Fi access, gratuities and some other amenities cost extra.

Instead of paying for these extras individually, you can book Holland America's "Have It All" package. It covers one dinner at a specialty restaurant; one shore excursion (up to $100 per guest); a signature beverage package (for drinks up to $11 each) and a Wi-Fi package. For a limited time, you can also receive a $200 onboard credit per stateroom. A veranda stateroom plus the package starts at $2,569 per person.

If you purchase the "Have It All" package with the veranda stateroom, select the location of your cabin yourself (an additional $90), add in the port taxes and fees ($291) and include crew gratuities at $17 per guest, per day for non-suite staterooms ($119), the total cost is about $3,000 per person. You'll still need to budget for drinks that cost more than $11 each; bottles of wine with dinner; additional evenings of specialty dining; other shore excursions and miscellaneous expenses.

Total cost: From $3,069 per person

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Princess Cruises

Princess is offering 14 unique itineraries and 68 cruisetours during the 2024 Alaska season, which runs from May to September. Itineraries range from a seven-day cruise to a 17-day escorted cruisetour.

Princess's lowest-priced cruise in June is the 7-Day Voyage of the Glaciers with Glacier Bay (Northbound) from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Anchorage (Whittier), Alaska , on Grand Princess. Embarking on June 5, 2024, the sailing includes scenic cruising in College Fjord and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, a day at sea and stops in the coastal towns of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway in Alaska. Interior cabins start at $448 per person, while staterooms with a balcony start at $1,698 per person. If you select your own balcony stateroom (instead of letting the cruise line place you), the cost is $1,791 per person.

Additional fees (taxes, gratuities, etc.)

Taxes, fees and port expenses for this cruise will run you $284 per person. At the $1,791 rate, you will be in the Princess Standard fare class, which includes the ships' complimentary dining venues, entertainment and the MedallionClass experience.

You can upgrade to Princess Plus (starting at $2,211 for a balcony room) to add Wi-Fi access (one device per guest); gratuities; a beverage package (covering drinks up to $15 each); two fitness classes per cruise; two premium desserts per day; two casual dining meals and more. For additional amenities, such as Wi-Fi access for up to four devices per guest; a higher-level beverage package (for drinks up to $20 each); two specialty dining meals per guest; unlimited exercise classes and more, opt for the Princess Premier package. Balcony rooms under this category start at $2,351 per guest.

If you purchase the Princess Premier package with the balcony room, the total cost with port taxes and fees is a little more than $2,600 per person – and the pricing is nearly all-inclusive. This package may also include free cruise fare for third and fourth guests traveling in the same stateroom. You will still need to budget for shore excursions; note that over-the-top experiences like flightseeing, helicopter and dog sledding tours, and scenic rides on the historic White Pass and Yukon Route Railway can get pricey.

Total cost: From $2,635 per person

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Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line offers one of the longest Alaska cruising seasons. In 2024, there are 44 scheduled cruise and cruisetour itineraries between April and October, ranging from seven to 18 days.

The June 3, 2024, sailing on Norwegian Jewel is Norwegian Cruise Line 's least expensive Alaska cruise that month, starting at $449 per person for an inside cabin. In comparison, a balcony cabin starts at $1,879 per person. The itinerary – Alaska: Hubbard Glacier & Skagway – embarks from Seward, Alaska, and includes scenic sea days cruising Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage, plus stops in the ports of Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan (Ward Cove) in Alaska, before disembarking in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The line's ongoing "Free At Sea" deal is included in the price and features an unlimited open bar, free specialty dining (up to $180 for the first two guests in the stateroom), a discount of $50 per excursion and complimentary Wi-Fi access (a savings of up to $200).

Open bar and specialty dining gratuities in the package are approximately $175 per person. Taxes, fees and port expenses are about $302 per person. You'll also need to include the additional $20 per person, per day service charge ($140 for the seven-day voyage).

If you book the balcony stateroom at $1,879 per person, which includes the "Free At Sea" package, and add in the taxes and port fees, dining and beverage gratuities and the daily service charge for the crew, the total cost for the cruise is around $2,500 per person. Remaining costs for shore excursions, specialty dining over $180, additional Wi-Fi usage, gratuities and other miscellaneous costs are not included in the "Free At Sea" package.

Total cost: From $2,496 per person

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Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International's 2024 Alaska cruise season extends from April to September; there are 50 scheduled cruise-only and land-and-sea tours. Combined pre- and post-cruise tours last up to 13 nights, and cruise-only itineraries last between six to eight nights.

For the lowest fare in June, sail from Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia, on a seven-night cruise aboard Radiance of the Seas on June 7, 2024. The inside cabin fare starts at $438 per person. A balcony stateroom starts at $2,877 per person (to select your own room). This voyage cruises around Alaska's Hubbard Glacier, sails the Inside Passage in Canada and stops in Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan in Alaska.

The guaranteed balcony price at $2,877 is for a smaller stateroom; you can select a larger cabin for a higher cost. Taxes, fees and port expenses for the cruise are $389 per person.

The total cost for the balcony stateroom, port taxes and fees, and gratuities ($18 per person, per day) for this Royal Caribbean cruise is about $3,400 per person. This price does not include extras like specialty dining, shore excursions, beverage packages or Wi-Fi access, so you will need to budget extra to cover those expenses.

Total cost: From $3,392 per person

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Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has 19 five- to nine-night itineraries for the 2024 Alaska season, which runs from May to September.

The lowest price for a seven-night Alaska cruise in June with Disney Cruise Line is the June 3, 2024, voyage on Disney Wonder . The price for an inside cabin starts at approximately $3,472 for two guests, which includes taxes, fees and port expenses. In contrast, the fare for a guaranteed veranda stateroom starts at about $6,482 for two guests (including the additional fees); at this rate, Disney will select your specific cabin.

This round-trip sailing embarks from Vancouver, British Columbia. You'll begin your journey with a day at sea, then glacier viewing at Stikine Icecap in Alaska. Guests will stop in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska before another sea day and disembarkation in Vancouver.

Guests staying in regular stateroom accommodations will have gratuities of about $15 per person, per night. Once you add that in, you're looking at a cost of close to $6,600 per room (based on double occupancy) – or around $3,300 per person, if you split it. This price covers the cruise fare, taxes and port fees, the complimentary dining venues, onboard entertainment and gratuities for the crew.

You will need to budget extra for port adventures, beverages, and meals at adults-only venues like the Cadillac Lounge and Italian-themed Palo. The line offers Wi-Fi packages for an additional fee, which you can select once on board. You will also need to pay extra for alcoholic beverages, and there is an 18% gratuity added to bar and beverage services.

Total cost: From $6,587 per room (double occupancy)

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Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line's 2024 Alaska season runs from April through September, and there are 16 itineraries that range from seven to 14 days.

The lowest Alaska fare in June is $814 per person for the June 4, 2024, voyage aboard Carnival Spirit . The seven-day round-trip itinerary departing from Seattle, Washington , includes one day at sea, cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord and stops in the Alaska port towns of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, plus Victoria, British Columbia. A guaranteed balcony room without an obstructed view starts at $1,579 per person.

Taxes, fees and port expenses for this cruise are about $313 per person. If you'd like Wi-Fi access, you can purchase the Social Wi-Fi Plan starting at approximately $15 per person, per day. The higher level Value Wi-Fi Plan costs about $20 per person, per day, while the Premium Wi-Fi Plan comes in at around $21 per person, per day.

A nonalcoholic beverage package, Bottomless Bubbles, starts at around $10 per adult and around $7 per child each day. For nonalcoholic beverages and select alcoholic drinks (up to $20 each), purchase the Cheers package. It starts at about $60 per person, per day, but you can save 10% if you purchase the package before you sail. With Cheers, you'll also receive a discount on bottles of wine (plus other perks). Gratuities cost $16 per person, per day, in a regular stateroom. Restaurants like the Mexican-inspired BlueIguana Cantina and Guy's Burger Joint are complimentary.

When you add up the price of the balcony stateroom, port taxes and fees, the Value package for Wi-Fi access, the Cheers beverage package and gratuities, you're looking at around $2,600 per person for this Carnival Cruise Line itinerary. In addition to those expenses, you'll have to budget extra funds for shore excursions, specialty dining and some other amenities.

Total cost: From $2,564 per person

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Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises is offering 35 Alaska voyages between May and September 2024. The shortest itinerary is seven days and the longest itinerary is 16 days.

The lowest-priced Alaska cruise with Silversea in June is the June 27, 2024, seven-day sailing aboard Silver Muse from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Seward, Alaska. The intimate 596-guest ship will visit Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Skagway and Valdez in Alaska – and complete two days of scenic cruising – before disembarking in Seward.

The all-inclusive port-to-port fare starts at $4,350 per person for a Classic Veranda Suite (the most affordable suite category with a balcony). For a room with a window instead of a balcony, book a Vista Suite starting at $3,350 per person.

Silversea's all-inclusive fares include luxurious suite accommodations, Champagne upon arrival, butler service and other perks. The pricing covers port taxes and fees; complimentary gourmet dining; all beverages, including Champagne, wine, beer and premium spirits; and gratuities. You'll also receive personalized, attentive service with a nearly one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio, and at least one included shore excursion in every port. Complimentary excursions in Skagway include a ride on the White Pass Scenic Railway, a visit to a sled dog and musher's camp and the Chilkoot Trail Hike & Float Adventure. Many of the included excursions with Silversea are quite costly on other lines.

There are no additional fees with the all-inclusive fare. However, you might incur additional personal expenses if you choose to order a fancy bottle of wine with dinner or book an extreme shore excursion adventure, like flightseeing over the glaciers.

Total cost: $4,550 per person (all-inclusive)

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas' 22 Alaska cruises in 2024 sail between May and September and last seven to 14 nights.

The seven-night voyage on June 5, 2024, is the line's lowest-priced June sailing in Alaska, starting at $6,599 per person. Guests on Seven Seas Explorer will sail from Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia, with stops in Sitka, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska, plus two days of scenic cruising at the Inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier.

The 2-for-1 all-inclusive fares include a luxury veranda suite with a welcome bottle of Champagne and a fresh fruit arrangement. You'll also have an in-suite minibar, free valet laundry service and other upscale amenities. In addition, the fare includes a selection of free unlimited shore excursions; free unlimited beverages with fine wines and spirits; prepaid gratuities; complimentary specialty restaurants; unlimited Wi-Fi access and more.

There are no additional expenses on this Regent Seven Seas Cruises voyage – unless you choose a shore excursion that comes with an added cost or purchase a special bottle of wine at dinner.

Total cost: $6,599 per person (all-inclusive)

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Bottom line

The low base fares for Alaska cruises on larger cruise lines may grab your attention, but as you click through to see what's included and make your booking, you'll find additional costs on nearly every page.

Before making a reservation, be sure to read the fine print and find out exactly what's included (and not included) in your cruise fare. You may find that booking an all-inclusive rate with a luxury line offers a better value – an option that you may never have considered unless you compared the total price of each cruise.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed on nearly every type of cruise ship, including the newest megaships, traditional masted sailing ships, river ships in Europe and a small luxury expedition vessel in Antarctica . She has cruised to Alaska and visited The Great Land in the summer, fall and winter, and journeyed to remote areas by bush plane above the Arctic Circle. She used her knowledge of Alaska cruises and extensive research to write this article. Pratesi covers the travel and culinary industries for major publications, including U.S. News & World Report.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Alaska Cruise Lines
  • The Top Luxury Alaska Cruises
  • The Most Affordable Alaska Cruises
  • The Top Northern Lights Alaska Cruises
  • Alaska Cruise Packing List

Copyright 2024 U.S. News & World Report

The 8 Top Alaska Cruise Lines of 2024

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‘We’re stranded here’: Couple says cruise line abandoned them on African island

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. ( WMBF /Gray News) - A South Carolina couple’s dream vacation has turned into a nightmare at sea this week.

Jill and Jay Campbell say they are currently stranded on a small island off the coast of Africa after their cruise ship left without them.

“We were waiting for the tender boats to come back and get us because our boat was anchored off the harbor, but they didn’t come back to get us. So, we’re stranded here,” Jay Campbell said.

The Campbells were eight days into a 21-day cruise, which started in South Africa and stopped on the island of São Tomé.

“We were on a tour of the island, but we had an issue on the tour, and they didn’t get us back in time,” Jay Campbell said.

Despite help from the island’s coast guard the cruise ship reportedly refused to let them and several others back on board. This has left some without their money, medicine, vaccination certificates required by immigration, and all other belongings left in their cabins.

WMBF reports that the Norwegian Dawn has abandoned seven American and two Australian passengers.

The Campbells said several passengers are older, one has a heart condition, one is a paraplegic, and another is a pregnant woman.

The couple said they are now trying to reunite with the ship at another African port, but the process has been complicated.

“We’re trying to get written permission from the cruise line to reboard,” Jill Campbell said.

Despite the issues, the forgotten passengers are hopeful they can finish their trip.

“We paid a lot for this trip to Africa, so we hope to make it through the rest of this trip and end in Spain,” Jay Campbell said.

All the passengers have reportedly tried reaching out to Norwegian Cruise Line but have yet to get any assistance in re-embarking the ship.

“We’ve got our flights booked to Gambia. However, we don’t know if we’ll be able to get into the country and get back on the ship,” Jill Campbell said.

WMBF reports Norwegian Cruise Lines released the following statement regarding the situation on Saturday:

“On the afternoon of March 27, 2024, while the ship was in Sao Tome and Principe, an African island nation, eight guests who were on the island on their own or with a private tour missed the last tender back to the vessel, therefore not meeting the all aboard time of 3 p.m. local time.

While this is a very unfortunate situation, guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time, which is communicated broadly over the ship’s intercom, in the daily communication and posted just before exiting the vessel.

Guests are responsible for any necessary travel costs to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call. When the guests did not return to the vessel at the all-aboard time, their passports were delivered to the local port agents to retrieve when they returned to the port.

Our team has been working closely with the local authorities to understand the requirements and necessary visas needed if the guests were to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call. We are in communication with the guests and providing additional information as it becomes available.”

Copyright 2024 WMBF via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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