The Ultimate Guide to Alaskan Cruises

The Ultimate Guide to Alaskan Cruises: A Journey Beyond Expectations


Embarking on a cruise to Alaska is more than a mere vacation; it’s an immersive journey into the heart of unparalleled natural beauty. As we delve into this comprehensive guide, we aim to equip you with the insights needed to transform your Alaskan cruise into an extraordinary experience.

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Why Choose an Alaskan Cruise?

A Landscape Like No Other

Alaska, the 49th state, stands as one of the last unspoiled gems in the United States. Imagine mountains rising majestically from the water, abundant wildlife including whales and bald eagles, and the regular spectacle of glaciers. It’s a “bucket list” destination with an unparalleled allure that must be witnessed to be truly understood.

Cruise Ship: The Ultimate Explorer

Alaska’s vastness poses a challenge for traditional vacations. Much of its beauty isn’t easily accessible by car, requiring either plane or boat travel. Enter the cruise ship—a floating gateway to multiple locations. Unlike Caribbean cruises where ports are brief, Alaskan cruises offer continuous scenic vistas. The Inside Passage, tracing the southeast of Alaska, immerses you in breathtaking landscapes throughout the journey.

The Atmosphere on Board

Tranquil Elegance

Alaskan cruises redefine the onboard atmosphere. Unlike the lively Caribbean sail-aways, the ambiance is subtly subdued, influenced partly by the weather. Summer temperatures, while not cold, can have chilly moments, making deck parties less common. Expect a diverse crowd, representing all age groups and backgrounds, contributing to an enriching but quieter onboard experience.

Cost of Sailing Alaska

Value Amidst Splendor

Cruises are renowned for offering exceptional value, and Alaska is no exception. The all-inclusive nature significantly trims expenses compared to separate arrangements. However, an Alaskan adventure does come at a higher cost than typical Caribbean getaways. Budgeting between $1,700-$2,400 per person for a week-long cruise, excluding airfare, ensures a realistic estimate.

Departure Ports

Seattle (Pier 66 & Pier 91)

Seattle serves as a prominent departure point. Pier 66 hosts Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas, while Pier 91 sees the departure of Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Princess, providing diverse options for embarkation.

Vancouver (Canada Place)

Canada Place in Vancouver marks the third major terminal, providing stunning departures from the edge of downtown. While flights to Vancouver might be pricier, the allure of its departure warrants consideration.

Ports of Call in Alaska/Canada

Enchanting Destinations

Each Alaskan cruise typically includes visits to four ports, showcasing the region’s diversity:

  • Ketchikan: The “Salmon Capital of the World” boasts a rich native history and scenic totem poles.
  • Sitka: A historical gem reflecting Russian and native influences with landmarks like St. Michael’s Cathedral.
  • Skagway: Immersed in gold rush history, it offers a glimpse into the past with a bustling downtown.
  • Juneau: Alaska’s capital, offering Mendenhall Glacier excursions and city exploration.
  • Victoria: A necessary foreign port stop, the picturesque city of Victoria, British Columbia, enchants with its architecture and history.

Excursions in the Last Frontier

Unparalleled Adventures

Shore excursions elevate your Alaskan cruise, offering unique experiences:

  • Glacier Tours: Helicopter rides and kayak trips allow up-close exploration of glaciers.
  • Wildlife Viewing: From whales to eagles and bears, Alaskan wildlife thrives, providing ample viewing opportunities.
  • Sightseeing Tours: Explore natural landscapes and historic cities through walking, motorcoach, or train tours.

Tips & Things to Know About Sailing Alaska

Insider Insights

  • Long Daylight Hours: Prepare for extended daylight hours, altering your sleep patterns. Indoor spaces on the ship become crucial.
  • Selecting the Right Ship: Given Alaska’s unpredictable weather, opt for larger ships with ample indoor spaces, ensuring comfort during variable conditions.
  • Layered Dressing: Navigate Alaska’s fluctuating weather with layered clothing, adapting to both warm and cool conditions.
  • Excursion Costs: While excursions are pricey, they are worth the investment for exclusive Alaskan experiences.
  • Scenery Between Ports: Unlike Caribbean cruises, Alaskan journeys offer continuous scenic beauty even between ports, emphasizing the need to embrace the journey itself.
  • Balcony Consideration: While balconies enhance the experience, the abundance of open deck spaces on ships ensures everyone enjoys the stunning scenery.


In contemplating an Alaskan cruise, hesitation is unwarranted. The investment not only guarantees a spectacular vacation but a transformative encounter with a landscape that defies comparison. Dive into the extraordinary, and embark on an Alaskan adventure that promises memories to last a lifetime.