No matter which cruise line you choose for your Alaskan cruise or when you decide to go, you are guaranteed a front seat to more than 100,000 gleaming glaciers, 16 of the country’s 20 tallest mountains, and wildlife that has to be seen to be believed!
Many of the world’s top premium cruise lines feature frequent sailings to one of the earth’s most pristine locations – Alaska! Some of the top Alaskan cruises are offered through: Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise West, Princess Cruise Lines, and Holland America Line. For vacationers on a budget, try Carnival Cruise Lines popular “Gulf of Alaska Cruise.”
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 number of shops and restaurants available at every stop and the many architectural sights of Vancouver.
Alaskan cruises 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.
Top Alaskan Cruise Lines
Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Celebrity Cruises are popular for the personal service and pampering, luxury accommodations, world-class cuisine, and amazing views. Most cabins on these luxury lines have private balconies! 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, which also offers world-class cuisine, 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 these 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 cruise tours. 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 Alaska cruises mentioned above are kid-free, so there are several cruise lines that top the list for families interested in an Alaska cruise. These include Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines. 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.
Alaskan Cruise Season, Excursions, and Prices
While a few of the smaller ships begin their Alaskan cruise season around April, the Alaskan cruise season runs 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 Alaskan 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” in terms of weather. 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.
The vast majority of Alaskan cruises offer excursions, which involve 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.
Alaskan cruise prices vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as cruise line, accommodations, itinerary, number of guests, type of cruise, and more. Prices may range from $399 up to $1,000 or more. Base prices for most Alaskan cruises 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, your best bet would be to book online. Most cruise lines offer amazing Internet deals and discounts as well as specials for purchasing excursions in advance.
To book an Alaskan cruise, contact your favorite Alaskan cruise line or you can contact your local cruise travel agent. To search for discounts and deals on your own, visit any of the discount cruise websites listed below.