Alaska cruise vacations are among the most popular cruises on the market today. Alaska cruise vacations offer spectacular scenery and some of the most unique adventures you’ll ever experience. Just a few Alaska cruise adventures include glacier tours and whale watching.
Some of the world’s top premium cruise lines feature frequent sailings to Alaska. These include: Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise West, Princess Cruise Lines, and Holland America Line. For cruisers on a budget, try Carnival Cruise Lines popular Gulf of Alaska Cruise. No matter which cruise line you choose for cruises to Alaska or when you decide to go, you will have a front seat to more than 100,000 gleaming glaciers, 16 of the country’s 20 tallest mountains, and wildlife beyond your wildest dreams.
While a few of the smaller ships begin their Alaska cruise season around April, the official Alaska cruise vacation season runs from May-September. Because the sun doesn’t set in the summertime and temperatures are mild, June, July, and August are the most popular (and most expensive) months to take an Alaska cruise. Thanks to thinner crowds and super low fares, May and September are quickly becoming popular months to book. The weather can be tricky during the month of May as it is Alaska’s “transitional period” weather wise. Temperatures dip fairly rapidly during the month of September, so keep an eye on the weather forecast before you go so you’ll know exactly what to pack.
Alaska cruise vacations typically cover Far North Alaska (Barrow, Nome and Prudhoe Bay), Interior Alaska (Denali National Park), Southcentral Alaska (Anchorage, Kenai and Seward) and Southeast Alaska (Juneau, Skagway). Juneau, Nome, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, and Nome are popular ports of call and the Gulf of Alaska Cruise is the most popular cruise itinerary among the most popular Alaska cruise lines.
The Gulf of Alaska Cruise, offered by Carnival Cruises as well as Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Holland America Line, is typically a week long cruise sailing between Anchorage and Vancouver, B.C. Visitors will tour the glaciers of College Fjord, the mountains of Juneau and the coastal islands of Glacier Bay. Land excursions will cover the endless amounts of shops and restaurants available at every stop and the many architectural sights of Vancouver.
The vast majority of Alaska cruises vacations offer excursions that feature activities such as bear watching, fishing, hiking, kayaking, rafting, and visits to Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. There are also a variety of wildlife tours featuring opportunities to watch everything from sheep, moose and grizzlies to polar bears, bald eagles and caribou interacting in their natural habitat.
Base prices for most Alaska cruise vacations will include: accommodations, onboard entertainment, activities, meals and standard facilities. Expect to pay for alcohol, gambling, tips and extras such as spa treatments as well as port fees and taxes. Unless you book an “air and sea” package, you will also pay for airfare from your town/city to the port of embarkation, which is typically Anchorage or Vancouver. If you want to save money, best bet is to book online. Most cruise lines offer amazing Internet deals and discounts as well as specials for purchasing excursions in advance.
To book an Alaska cruise vacation, contact your favorite Alaska cruise line directly or visit the cruise lines’ official website. Please click here for a directory of all cruise line websites. You can also contact your local cruise travel agent for discounts and deals or visit any of the discount cruise websites or booking search engines listed below. For detailed information about the best Alaska cruise lines, please continue reading below.
Best Alaska Cruise Lines
Some of the best Alaska cruise lines in service today include Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise West, Princess Cruise Lines, and Holland America Line.
Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Celebrity Cruises offer the utmost in pampering, spas, accommodations, cuisine, and views — most cabins have private balconies. These luxury lines offer the best Alaska cruises for the sophisticated traveler with money to burn. Silversea Cruises offers all-suite luxury on four magnificent vessels including the Silver Cloud and the Silver Wind, as well as the Millennium Class Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper, and a wide variety of Alaska enrichment voyages and explorations. Guests can even personalize their Alaska voyage.
Regent Seven Seas also features all-suite cabins with private balconies aboard the luxurious Seven Seas Mariner, and world-class cuisine as well as enrichment programs with an Alaska theme, and adventure excursions. Celebrity Cruises is excellent for pampering as Infinity and Summit feature AquaSpas with thalassotherapy pools and a wide assortment of beauty treatments. Art aficionados on their way to Alaska will also appreciate the Celebrity’s impressive art collections as well. Guests aboard any of Celebrity’s 11 ships can expect an endless number of unforgettable cruises filled with excursions highlighting culture, wildlife, history, and geology. Alaska excursions will include all highlights along with everything from flightseeing and flights to the Arctic Circle to dog sledding.
Cruise West is perfect for Alaska adventure seekers interested in small ships cruising. Small ships allow the visitor to get up close and personal with marine life, nature, and the elements. Small ships cruises also offer the most ambitious itineraries. The smaller the ship, the more remote the destination will be. This basically means that guests will visit places big ships just can’t reach. The focus of Cruise West Alaska cruises is adventure, enrichment (lectures, learning activities), and tours led by naturalists and historians. Cruise West offers the very best opportunities for whale watching, canoeing and kayaking, wildlife viewing (bears, eagles, seals), and glacier exploration.
Princess Cruise Lines and Holland America Cruise Line are considered some of the best Alaska cruise lines for their excellent cruisetours. These cruise lines currently lead the industry in interior voyages (Alaska and Yukon Territory) and Holland has exclusive passage into the Yukon’s Kluane National Park, as well as Tombstone Territorial Park. Princess Cruise Lines’ 7-day Gulf of Alaska cruise should be noted as well.
The majority of the best Alaska cruises mentioned above are kid-free, so there are several cruise lines that top the list for families interested in an Alaska cruise. Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines feature special shore excursions for kids and teens, as well as onboard activities that will keep kids busy during long days at sea.