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The best cruises to Alaska from Seattle for every type of traveler

Gene Sloan

What are the best Alaska cruises out of Seattle ? It depends on what kind of traveler you are.

If you're a parent traveling with teens and tweens, you'll probably want to pick a voyage on one of the big, family activity-filled cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line that sail out of Seattle each summer.

If you're looking to get away from families with young children — maybe you're a retiree looking to travel with people your own age — you'd want to check out the itineraries operated by cruise lines that cater more to couples without kids, most notably Holland America and Princess Cruises.

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

Other cruises might be best for solo travelers or travelers on a tight budget.

Here we list our top picks for the best Alaska cruises from Seattle for six different types of travelers.

Best for families: Ovation of the Seas

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It isn't easy picking the best Alaska cruise out of Seattle for families. There are four world-class family-focused cruise ships in the market, each of which is a contender for the best for families title: Royal Caribbean 's Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas, and Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Bliss.

All four ships are loaded with all sorts of gee-whiz family attractions, from bumper car pavilions and skydiving simulators on the Royal Caribbean vessels to go-kart tracks and laser tag courses on the Norwegian ships.

Unlike the Royal Caribbean ships, the Norwegian ships also have epic waterslides on their top decks, which in theory, might put them over the top in any listing of the best cruise ships for families based in Seattle.

However, keep in mind that Alaska can be chilly, even at the height of summer, and rainy, too. For that reason, we discount the value of some of the family-friendly attractions on the Norwegian ships, which are open to the elements, and consider the Royal Caribbean ships the best of the bunch for Alaska cruises from Seattle.

Both of the Royal Caribbean ships sailing to Alaska from Seattle are loaded with attractions that are protected from the elements, including those bumper car pavilions and skydiving simulators. In fact, both Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas were specifically built to operate in areas of inclement weather.

Of the two ships, which are nearly identical and part of the relatively new Quantum class of vessels, we give the 4,180-passenger Ovation of the Seas the nod for best Alaska family cruise ship sailing from Seattle only because it's a couple of years newer. Newer is almost always better in the cruise world.

Related: The 6 types of Royal Caribbean ships, explained

A cavernous indoor activity area on each of the two Quantum-class ships called the SeaPlex is home to the aforementioned bumper cars, as well as such family-friendly activities as roller skating, basketball and even trapeze lessons. The two-level complex also has upstairs nooks for playing Xbox, ping pong and foosball. It's like one big play zone for families that will keep your kids busy for hours.

Each of the ships also offers one of the most unusual attractions you'll find at sea: A glass-enclosed capsule mounted on a mechanical arm that will take you and your family soaring into the sky for bird's-eye views. It's called the North Star ride.

All the above come in addition to many of the core Royal Caribbean attractions you'll find on most of the brand's ships, including pools, rock climbing walls, casinos, spas and Broadway-style shows, plus lots of eateries and bars.

Related: The 9 craziest attractions you'll find on a cruise ship

Of particular note, given Alaska's weather, is that one of the two main pool areas on each of these Quantum-class ships is enclosed.

Best for budget travelers: Eurodam

alaska cruises leaving from us

Our pick for the best Alaska cruises from Seattle for budget travelers may come as a surprise to many cruise aficionados. That's because it's not the Alaska voyages from Seattle offered by the North American cruise line best known for budget sailings — Carnival Cruise Line .

Carnival does offer cruises to Alaska from Seattle regularly with two ships: Carnival Spirit and Carnival Luminosa. However, while Carnival is the low-cost leader in many cruise destinations, that's not always the case in the market for Alaska cruises from Seattle. Often, the lowest starting prices you'll find on cruises to Alaska from Seattle, on both an absolute and per-day basis, are the cruises offered by Holland America .

For the coming year, for instance, as of this guide's posting, there were lots of Holland America sailings to Alaska from Seattle available for under $750 per person for seven nights — some as low as $429 per person for seven nights.

There were very few Carnival sailings available for under $750 per person, with most Carnival sailings starting around $800 per person or more for seven nights.

We suspect the lower starting prices for Holland America ships as compared to Carnival ships on Alaska sailings out of Seattle is because Alaska cruises from Seattle are round-trip voyages. Many Holland America fans who cruise to Alaska choose a one-way voyage to or from the state that lets them add extra days for touring in Alaska at the start or end of the voyage. Such one-way voyages only are available out of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Holland America — the longtime leader in Alaska cruises, along with its sister company Princess Cruises — is particularly known for "cruisetours" to Alaska that combine a one-way cruise to or from the state with multiple days touring Alaska by motorcoach and train.

Holland America bases two ships in Seattle for cruises to Alaska: the 2,104-passenger Eurodam and 1,964-passenger Westerdam. Starting prices for both are relatively similar, but we give the nod for the best Alaska cruises from Seattle for budget travelers to Eurodam as it's a somewhat newer vessel.

Best for luxury lovers: Norwegian Encore

alaska cruises leaving from us

No luxury-focused cruise ships sail to Alaska out of Seattle. Still, you can get a variation on a luxury cruise experience on a voyage to Alaska from Seattle on Norwegian Cruise Line 's Norwegian Encore.

Yes, the 3,998-passenger Norwegian Encore is a cruise ship that generally caters to the masses, not the luxury crowd. However, it has its own "ship-within-a-ship" luxury zone that offers a much more swanky experience for those willing to pay.

At the top front of the vessel, this private enclave, called The Haven, is home to dozens of upscale suites; a sprawling, two-deck-high pool area; a private lounge and bar; and a private restaurant. Only the deep-pocketed swells who can afford one of the suites get exclusive access to these areas.

The pool area, a true stunner, comes with comfortable padded loungers, a pool and whirlpools. Its retractable glass roof is perfect for cruises to Alaska when the weather is iffy. Guests can enjoy the deck, rain or shine.

If living large is your goal, you're not going to find anything better than this — other than with a cruise on a similar Norwegian vessel that also cruises to Alaska from Seattle. Norwegian Bliss, also based in Washington during the summer, is part of the same Norwegian Breakaway-Plus class of vessels and has a similar Haven enclave.

Related: How to turn a mass-market cruise into a luxury experience

Why did we pick Norwegian Encore over Norwegian Bliss as the ship offering the best Alaska cruises from Seattle for luxury lovers? Built a year after Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Encore offers one big improvement for the upscale crowd as compared to Norwegian Bliss.

On Norwegian Encore, there's a much bigger version of the exclusive, extra-charge Vibe Beach Club sunning area that's on Norwegian Bliss. Home to a full-service bar, cabanas and two hot tubs, the version of the Vibe Beach Club on Norwegian Encore sprawls across both sides of the ship (instead of just one side on Norwegian Bliss) and extends upward to a partial deck above. It's just $99 or more per day to get in.

It's yet one more stylish and upscale area for cruisers looking for an upgraded experience to retreat.

Note that there is one other option for upscale Alaska cruises out of Seattle: A voyage on Oceania Cruises ' 684-passenger Regatta. While Oceania isn't considered a luxury line on the level of Silversea Cruises or Seabourn Cruise Line , it has an elegant feel. That said, given the ship's age (it dates to 1998) and limited venues, we're still in the camp that favors a Haven stay on a Norwegian ship.

Best for solo travelers: Norwegian Bliss

alaska cruises leaving from us

Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Bliss are also our top picks for ships operating the best Alaska cruises from Seattle for solo travelers. Between these two, it's a tossup, though we put Norwegian Bliss in the headline above since, well, we already gave Norwegian Encore a turn in the limelight with the best-for-luxury category.

Notably, both Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore boast large private zones for solo travelers — something you won't find on any other cruise ship sailing out of Seattle. It's a hallmark of Norwegian's newest and biggest ships.

On each of the ships, the "studio" zones, as Norwegian calls them, are made up of 82 special solo cabins and a private Studio Lounge where solos can gather for happy hours and other events. Only the studio zone on Norwegian's 2010-built Norwegian Epic is bigger.

Passengers staying in solo cabins get exclusive access to the Studio Lounge (using their keycards), meaning a maximum of 82 people will share the space.

A special zone for solo travelers is a rare concept in the cruise world, where almost all rooms for vacationers are designed for two people and sold with per-person fares that are based on two people occupying the room.

The solo cabins in the studio zones are small (measuring 100 square feet) but are superbly designed to maximize storage space (something I learned firsthand staying in one on Norwegian Epic).

Related: The best cruise lines for solo travelers

Solo passengers on Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Bliss will also find a sometimes rollicking bar scene, with plenty of counter-style seating in bars that are a great place to meet other solo travelers and friendly guests. We recommend the Sugarcane Mojito Bar on Norwegian Bliss. There, the bartender will muddle your mojitos with raspberry, guava, passion fruit or even jalapeno pepper to spice things up when you're sitting with your new solo friends.

One warning if you're considering booking one of the solo cabins: They've become so popular that they often sell out far in advance and at prices that aren't much better than booking a cabin for two.

Best for multigenerational travel: Discovery Princess

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Looking for the best Alaska cruise from Seattle if you're bringing three generations of your family along for the ride? We can think of nothing better than a voyage on one of the two Princess Cruises ships that sail out of the city, the 3,660-passenger Discovery Princess and 3,560-passenger Royal Princess.

Both ships are almost identical, but we give Discovery Princess the edge only because it's newer than Royal Princess. The two vessels were built in 2022 and 2013, respectively.

Princess has long been heralded as one of the best cruise lines for multigenerational travel, in part because its ships offer a little something for travelers of all ages.

Unlike the Royal Caribbean and Norwegian ships mentioned above, the two Princess ships sailing from Seattle don't have top decks heavily skewed to family fun. Instead, their top decks offer lots of quiet and relaxing pool and lounge areas where you can enjoy the experience of being at sea without much hustle and bustle.

That makes these ships more appealing to an older demographic that doesn't necessarily want to be on a vessel that's loaded to the gills with children's fun zones and the younger family travelers drawn to that. Notably, the average age of Princess passengers is around 57, and you'll usually see many couples on board in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

Still, unlike some lines that cater to an older crowd, Princess doesn't ignore the children's market. Both Discovery Princess and Royal Princess offer an extensive children's program that gets high marks from parents, with dedicated Discovery Channel-themed Camp Discovery areas where counselors supervise free activities daily for children ages 3 to 17.

When sailing to Alaska, these ships also offer other kid-friendly events, such as Puppies on Princess, when dog mushers and their newest sled dogs come on board for meet-and-greets (and photos!). In partnership with the Discovery Channel and Glacier Bay National Park, the line also adds such kid-friendly fun during Alaska sailings as a Junior Ranger Program, totem pole decorating and a "Deadliest Catch-"themed crab sorting challenge.

In addition, an onboard Klondike Festival brings added family entertainment, including gold nugget arts and crafts projects, a naturalist exhibition, harmonica music classes and North to Alaska dance performances.

In short, Princess provides an Alaska product specifically designed to appeal to a wide age range. It's the line you take if you want an affordable ship that'll appeal to your 70-year-old parents as much as your 12-year-old kid.

Best for retirees: Westerdam

alaska cruises leaving from us

The best Alaska cruises out of Seattle for retirees, in our view, are the sailings offered by Holland America on both the 1,964-passenger Westerdam and 2,104-passenger Eurodam. We give Westerdam the slight edge for reasons we will explain below.

While Holland America draws some families with younger children, the passengers on its ships skew heavily toward middle-aged and older travelers, including many retirees. If you're nearing or already have hit retirement age and prefer to travel mostly with people who are at a similar stage in life as you, you'll feel right at home on a Holland America ship.

The top decks of Holland America vessels, notably, lack many of the kid-focused attractions found on the top decks of more family-focused ships operated by the likes of Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian. That often keeps families with younger kids from booking the ships.

What you will find on the top decks of both Eurodam and Westerdam are more serene sunning areas with pools and whirlpools. Depending on your travel style, that might be all you need.

Related: The best cruises for seniors who love to travel

Both Eurodam and Westerdam mostly sail seven-night trips to Alaska out of Seattle. However, for 2024, Westerdam has added an epic new 28-night Alaska itinerary out of Seattle that will include calls in remote areas that most cruise ships never visit. The new itinerary is one reason we give Westerdam the edge among ships when rating the best Alaska cruises out of Seattle for seniors.

It's the sort of itinerary that specifically appeals to retirees with the time (and money) to book such a long trip.

Westerdam is also a slightly smaller ship than Eurodam, and as a result, its demographics on any given sailing are more likely to skew toward a retired crowd. To the extent that families with younger kids book Holland America ships, they are more likely to book one of its larger vessels.

In addition to Eurodam and Rotterdam, two other good choices for retirees considering Alaska cruises out of Seattle are the two Princess ships that sail on such itineraries: Royal Princess and Discovery Princess. Like the Holland America ships, they aren't loaded with kid-focused attractions that draw families.

Bottom line

Nearly a dozen major cruise ships operate Alaska cruises out of Seattle during the summer months, giving cruisers plenty of choice.

What is the best Alaska cruise from Seattle for you? That'll depend on your personal interests and travel style because there are cruises from Seattle that appeal to everyone, including family travelers, budget travelers and retirees.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 best cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • 15 ways cruisers waste money
  • 15 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
  • What to pack for your first cruise

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Alaska Cruises

Things to do on a cruise to alaska.

Alaska offers a landscape unlike any other in the United States of America. This rugged state is filled with wildlife and the prospect of adventure. While the snow peaks may be covered with snow, you’ll be surprised to find out that during the summer months Alaska can get into the 70s and sometimes up to the 80s at its peak. 

Glacier Bay, Alaska

  • The waters surrounding the coast of Alaska are littered with amazing glaciers. Be sure to experience the Mendenhall glacier and Glacier Bay National Park. You’ll also be delighted to sail through Tracy Arm a 30-mile long fjord near Juneau.  
  • Experience the unique culture of Alaska with a ride on a dog sled pulled by a team of huskies. You will also learn about the history of the yearly dog sled race, the Iditarod and spend some time with Husky pups.  

Caribou in Denali Nation Park, Alaska

  • Taste the fresh flavors of Alaska at a typical Salmon Bake or at a Crab Feast. Both of these quintessential outdoor events offer authentic Alaskan cuisine served in typical Alaskan fashion.  
  • Spot caribou, grizzly bears and eagles as you tour the expansive landscape of Denali National Park, home to Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. The park also is a great spot to go fly fishing.  

Totem pole in Alaska Heritage Center

  • Discover the stories behind Alaska’s natives through their striking totem poles carved into tree trunks, depicting family legends, events and beliefs. Ketchikan is home to the Totem Heritage Center and the Totem Bight State Historical Park.  
  • Get a grasp on this land by heading up above the clouds in a small plane for a flight seeing adventure. This is truly an adventurous experience to spot the unspoilt landscape from an Eagle’s vantage point. 

Map of Alaska:

Top 10 alaska cruises.

  • Norwegian Bliss 7 Night Alaska - Seattle (SEA/SEA) Departing From Seattle, Washington (Apr 2024 - Oct 2025)
  • Norwegian Spirit 16 Night Alaska - Other (HNL/VAN) Departing From Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (Apr 2024)
  • Radiance of the Seas 4 NIGHT PACIFIC COASTAL CRUISE Departing From Los Angeles, California (Apr 2024)
  • Norwegian Jewel 7 Night Alaska - Southbound Whittier (SWD/VAN) Departing From Seward, Alaska (Apr 2024 - Sep 2024)
  • Radiance of the Seas 7 NIGHT ALASKA ADVENTURE Departing From Vancouver, British Columbia (Apr 2024)
  • Koningsdam 7-day Alaska Inside Passage Departing From Vancouver, British Columbia (Apr 2024 - Sep 2025)
  • Norwegian Encore 7 Night Alaska - Seattle (SEA/SEA) Departing From Seattle, Washington (Apr 2024 - Oct 2025)
  • Nieuw Amsterdam 7-day Alaska Inside Passage Departing From Vancouver, British Columbia (Apr 2024 - Sep 2025)
  • Norwegian Jewel 7 Night Alaska - Northbound Whittier (VAN/SWD) Departing From Vancouver, British Columbia (Apr 2024 - Sep 2024)
  • Quantum of the Seas 7 NIGHT ALASKA ADVENTURE Departing From Vancouver, British Columbia (Apr 2024)

Alaska: Cruise Lines

Whether it’s in the popular, premium, or luxury sector of cruising, it’s important to choose the right cruise line for your Alaskan cruise. Learn more about the cruise lines that can take you sailing through Glacier Bay and so much more by clicking one of the pictures below.

Carnival Cruise Line

Fun with a capital F is what you can expect on a Carnival Cruise. With the largest fleet at sea Carnival offers sailings perfect for the whole family.

Celebrity Cruises

With innovative spaces like the Lawn and the AquaSpa Celebrity Cruises gives their customers a taste of modern luxury.


Sail like the royalty on a Cunard ocean liner. This regal line has been sailing its famed transatlantic crossings since the 1840s.

Holland America Line

Amazing food and superb service make Holland America one of the longest running cruise lines.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered freestyle cruising with a variety of specialty dining restaurants, entertainment and onboard activities, including go-kart racing!

Oceania Cruises

Epicureans are delighted by the Oceania Cruises experience where Jacques Pepin is Executive Culinary Director and the Culinary Tours introduce you to a world of flavors.

Princess Cruises

Best known for the Pacific Princess on the Love Boat, Princess Cruises has been a leading name in cruising and visits a wide range of destinations.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Offering a completely all-inclusive cruise, Regent Seven Seas is known for exquisite service on beautifully designed intimate ships, classic cruising at its best.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International is known for ships with a wow factor. From ice skating rinks to zip lines, if you can think of it, you can find it on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Seabourn Cruise Line

Whatever you desire, on a Seabourn cruise you’ll have it. This luxury brand offers small ships that allow you to explore less traveled ports for unique experiences. 

Silversea Cruises

Silversea's luxurious small-ship cruises and expedition voyages sail the world for unique and in-depth experiences in remote locales. 

Viking Ocean Cruises

Focusing their sailings on the culture of each cruises destination. Onboard each sailing you have lectures, demonstrations and tastings as part of a Culture Curriculum.

Alaska: Departure Ports

The vast majority of cruises that travel to the rugged American landscape of Alaska leave from the West Coast. Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver are all great starting points for a cruise where you’ll hopefully spot bald eagles, trek on a glacier and possibly pan for gold. A few cruises begin in the great wilderness of Alaska in cities like Anchorage and Juneau and the picturesque port city of Sitka. All of these ports offer an insight into different aspect of Alaskan culture like totem poles, fisherman and dog sleds. 

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska

Discover something new while exploring Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. The city is surrounded by natural beauty ripe for sight-seeing.

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Honolulu, with its near perfect weather every day and beautiful mountains and tropical landscapes, is a destination not to be missed.

Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

On a visit to Juneau, the only state capital with no roads in or out, you’ll be amazed by the seclusion of this city and the amazing Alaskan history it presents.

Los Angeles, California

The possibilities are endless when cruising to or from the City of Angels. Let your inner rock star shine as you explore the many wonders of Los Angeles, California.

San Francisco, California

On a cruise from San Francisco you can experience all that the ‘City by the Bay’ has to offer, from its artistic, forward-looking culture to the beautiful coastline.

Seattle, Washington

Known as The Emerald City, Seattle is a beautiful, luscious city with incredible views of the Cascade Mountains and Elliott Bay. The city is full of activities for both water lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Seward, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

The beautiful small coastal town of Seward, which is most known for its picturesque scenic views and many visitors’ attractions, is a perfect addition for your next Alaska cruise.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Whether it’s your cruise destination or a launching point, Vancouver is a beautiful destination in itself with a sophisticated downtown and lots of natural elements to explore.

Whittier, Alaska

Whittier, Alaska

Experience the best of the Last Frontier in quaint Whittier, Alaska. Enjoy the clear water filled with salmon, red snapper and trout along with the freely roaming wildlife, all combining to make Whittier a treat to visit.

Photo Gallery for Alaska Cruises

Enjoy the following Alaska cruising image gallery for an indication of the beauty waiting for you in the Last Frontier. From majestic wildlife and stunning history to rushing rivers and mighty mountains, Alaska is sure to amaze.

Alaskan Railway

Alaskan Railway

A totem wood pole in Alaska

A totem pole in Alaska

Aurora Borealis Northern Lights over trees

Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights

Autumnal Denali Nt. Park scenery with mountain ran

Denali National Park during the autumn time

Dog sled team Alaska

Dog sled team

Grizzly bear fishing for fresh fish in Alaska

Grizzly bear fishing for dinner

Grizzly bears at Katmai National Park

Grizzly bears in Katmai National Park

Ketchikan Alaska picturesque town view

Picturesque town view of Ketchikan, Alaska

Mendenhall Glacier expedition in Alaska

Mendenhall Glacier expedition

Salmon Glacier at Hyder Alaska

Salmon Glacier in Hyder, Alaska

Seaplane or Float plane in Alaska

A seaplane, also known as a float plane in Alaska

Alaskan Railway

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Is an Alaskan Cruise Worth It? Pros and Cons for 2024

Are you wondering if an Alaskan Cruise is worth it? You’ve come to the right place!

Are you considering taking an Alaskan Cruise but unsure if it is worth it? As a travel advisor who has booked numerous clients on Alaskan Cruises, and with my own experience of having been on several myself I can give you all the pros and cons of an Alaskan Cruise.

As a cruise specialist, you can trust that I will provide honest advice to help you decide whether or not an Alaskan Cruise is the right choice for you.

Let’s dive in and explore what makes this trip so special, and by the end of this post, you’ll know exactly if booking an Alaskan cruise is worth it!

Free Cruise Planning

A vacation is supposed to be fun! Let me handle all of the planning and work, so you can just sit back and enjoy your vacation!

Is an Alaskan Cruise Worth it?

If you’re looking for a vacation that offers stunning views, exciting excursions, and a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life, an Alaska cruise might just be the perfect choice for you.

Let’s start with the Benefits of taking an Alaskan Cruise:

1. Captivating Scenery

One of the key reasons travelers choose Alaskan cruises is the breathtaking landscape that surrounds you throughout the journey.

You’ll be met with soaring mountains, crystal-clear glacial waterways, and lush forests, all unfolding right before your eyes.

Alaska’s waters, bordered by natural beauty and history, flaunt stunning vistas that will leave you in awe.

Get ready to have your breath taken away by the magnificence of glacier-carved fjords, walls of ice in Glacier Bay National Park , or the grandeur of the Hubbard Glacier.

And let’s not forget the mesmerizing sights of massive glaciers calving into the ocean – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2. Alaska’s Unique Wildlife

The array of wildlife that thrives in Alaska’s diverse ecosystems will make your heart skip a beat. Marvel at soaring bald eagles, black and brown bears, humpback whales, sea otters, harbor seals, and mountain goats.

Cruise lines often arrange wildlife excursions , such as whale-watching tours or bear-spotting treks, ensuring that you’re up close and personal with these fabled creatures.

From humpback whales gracing the icy waters to bald eagles soaring in the skies, the opportunities to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat are truly unparalleled.

3. Diverse Cultures and Rich History

If you have a passion for history or wish to explore Alaska’s vibrant heritage, then an Alaskan cruise is a perfect choice! Enjoy incredible sights and sounds as your journey takes you through this historical land.

You’ll have the chance to explore charming coastal towns, like Ketchikan and Juneau, where you can wander through quaint streets replete with timber-clad houses and storied totem poles.

Or, visit the historic towns of Skagway or Sitka , and witness the Gold Rush era’s remnants.

You might also get the opportunity to visit indigenous communities, where you can engage with the local Tlingit and Haida tribes to learn about their unique artistry and cultural practices.

4. Relaxation

Not only do Alaskan cruises offer a myriad of experiences that immerse you in the spectacular wilds of the Last Frontier, but they also give you a chance to unwind and indulge in some pampering.

You can choose from a range of luxurious cruise ships offering outstanding amenities like elegant cabins, spa services , fine dining, and even onboard entertainment.

In Alaska, there are many places without cell phone service or the internet. This can be a fun time to relax and spend time with your friends who are traveling with you.

Alaska Cruise Packing List

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5. Meet like-minded travelers

Embarking on an Alaskan cruise also provides you with the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who share your passion for wildlife, nature, and adventure.

During your journey, you’ll develop heartfelt, lifelong connections that can transcend geographical boundaries or even inspire future trips together.

After all, it is often the people we meet during our travels that transform a wonderful vacation into an unforgettable human experience.

6.Unique Shore Excursions

From thrilling adventures to peaceful escapes, Alaskan cruises offer a myriad of activities that are sure to excite and delight everyone.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, culture connoisseur, or outdoor enthusiast, there’s something for everyone.

For those who crave exhilarating adventures, consider kayaking through ice-filled bays, zip-lining above vast forests, dog sledding atop epic glaciers, or helicoptering to remote mountain peaks.

For the culturally inclined, visit museums, theatres, and galleries, join a local fishing expedition, or savor the flavors of regional delicacies.

7. Ease and Convenience of Cruising:

Alaska is HUGE!

“Alaska is about one-fifth the size of the entire Lower 48. If you combined the area of Texas, California, and Montana, it would still be less than the size of Alaska. East to west, Alaska measures 2,500 miles, which is just about the distance from Savannah, Georgia, to Santa Barbara, California” – Royal Alaskan Movers

Planning for, paying for, and executing a trip of this magnitude can be overwhelming. Cruising makes it easy!

An Alaskan cruise offers convenience and comfort in one package. Your ship serves as transportation, accommodation, and a dining hub, making travel arrangements relatively seamless.

Most cruises provide gourmet meals, plush accommodations, and excellent guest services catering to your every need. This extensive range of onboard amenities makes cruising a popular choice, particularly for those who value hassle-free vacations.

Furthermore, the cruise route is preplanned, giving you ample time to research and plan your shore excursions. Travel is often arranged by the cruise line, minimizing preparations and ensuring that disembarking and returning to the ship is a breeze.

If you want to get deeper into Alaska, consider a cruise tour, where the cruise is one way, leaving you time to explore further in areas such as Denali National Park.

The Downside of an Alaskan Cruise

Of course, every rose has its thorn right? (Did I just show my age?)

There is a downside to everything in this life.

Fortunately, in the case of an Alaskan Cruise the plus sides greatly outweigh the negatives, but lets discuss them anyway.

Environmental Impact Considerations:

While the advantages of an Alaskan cruise are plenty, it’s essential also to consider the environmental footprint of such travel options.

Improper waste disposal and air pollution from large cruise ships have been detrimental to Alaska’s fragile ecosystem.

In response, some cruise lines have implemented stringent environmental policies and advocate responsible tourism.

Be mindful of your choices and opt for a cruise that adheres to eco-friendly practices and actively supports environmental conservation efforts.

Only a select few cruise lines are given permits to explore protected areas such as Glacier Bay National Park. This limits access to these areas and helps keep them pristine.

I also believe that exploring these areas and seeing them firsthand, helps travelers to understand why conservation is so important and makes them feel inspired to do their part.

Alaskan Cruises arent available year round

Due to the extreme winter weather Alaska experiences, cruising is not possible year round.

Whereas in warmer destinations, you have hundreds of sailings to choose from, on Alaska cruises, you have a very short sailing window.

Alaska Cruise season is May – September with July and August being the most popular times.

Alaskan Cruises can be expensive

This is the biggest downside to Alaskan Cruises. Due to the remote nature of the cruises, the short window for travel, and the popularity of the itineraries, Alaskan cruises are much more expensive than the Caribbean, or even European cruises.

Additionally, I always highly recommend my clients get a balcony stateroom when cruising to Alaska, which cost a bit more than interior rooms. The wildlife viewing opportunities and spectacular scenery make having a balcony room 100% worth it!

Nothing compares to the excitement I felt each morning, on my balcony sipping coffee and watching whales or cute little sea otters drifting past!

You can keep costs down slightly by booking at less popular times. Sailing in early May or into September are cheaper options than mid-summer. You may have to deal with not-so-ideal weather, but it can still be fun!

So, is an Alaskan Cruise Worth it?

Ultimately, an Alaskan cruise is as memorable as you make it. If the idea of sailing amidst glacier-carved fjords, witnessing the wonders of wildlife, and embarking on shore excursions that challenge your senses and inspire your soul resonates with you, then an Alaskan cruise is a journey unquestionably worth exploring.

Personally, my Alaskan cruise vacations are some of my best memories, and I will never tire of the beauty and magic I experience in the last frontier.

So, is an Alaska cruise worth it?


With its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and onboard amenities, an Alaska cruise offers a one-of-a-kind vacation experience that is sure to leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-time traveler, an Alaska cruise is an adventure that should not be missed.

Skipped to the end? No Worries, here’s the summary!

Alaska Cruise Pros

  • Breathtaking Scenery
  • Amazing Wildlife
  • Wake up somewhere new each day!
  • Food and entertainment
  • Exciting shore excursions

Alaska Cruise Cons

  • Short Season
  • Environmental concerns

Cruise Resources

These are my tried and true, favorite cruise-planning helpers:

➡️ Cruise Critic – for reviews, deck plans, and cabin choices

➡️ Parking – for saving on your long-term parking

➡️ Travel Insurance Master – Because, yes, you do need insurance

➡️ Trip Advisor –

For Reviewing Tours and Excursions

➡️ Viator – For Shore Excursions

➡️ Shore Excursions Group – More choices for small group excursions

➡️ Resort for a day Passes in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas

➡️ Atlantis Day Pass

➡️Cruise Packing List for Caribbean , Mediterranean or Alaska

➡️ Cruise Tips

➡️Also, if you don’t want the hassle and stress of booking your own cruise, I can do it for you at no additional cost! You can read more about

These products are services I have used myself and trust. Purchasing through the links above, helps me continue my blog at no additional cost to you, and I appreciate it so much!

Are you wondering if an Alaskan Cruise is worth it? You’ve come to the right place! Are you considering taking an Alaskan Cruise but unsure if it is worth it? As a travel advisor who has booked numerous clients on Alaskan Cruises, and with my own experience of having been on several myself I can...

cruise obsessed - for people who can't stop thinking about their next vacation.

The Best Alaska Cruise Departure City: Seattle or Vancouver?

The Best Alaska Cruise Departure Cities: Seattle or Vancouver on

Most Alaska cruise itineraries depart from either Seattle, Washington or Vancouver, British Columbia . Both are fantastic cities in the Pacific Northwest with lots of things to see and explore. ( Check out my one-day Seattle destination guide here! )

You can’t go wrong, right?

Before you pick an itinerary at random, though, it’s important to realize that choosing the city you depart from isn’t arbitrary. There are differences that could impact your entire vacation experience – from the sights you see in Alaska to the time you spend in the airport.

I’ve sailed to Alaska from both of these ports, so I know the pros and cons of each. If you don’t know which departure city to choose for your next Alaskan cruise, read on for some info that’ll help you decide.

Don’t have a passport? Choose Seattle.

Want scenic cruising choose vancouver., need more flight options choose seattle., interested in an alaska cruise tour choose vancouver., need help planning your alaska cruise email me..

Alaska cruises leaving Canada require a passport for US citizens. Why? Because you’ve got to fly into Vancouver to board the ship, and US citizens need a passport for air travel to Canada.

On the other hand, if you’re on an Alaska cruise sailing round-trip from Seattle, you can usually sail with either a passport card or your drivers license and birth certificate. That’s because closed-loop cruises – cruises that start and end in the same US city – are generally less restrictive when it comes to documentation requirements.

A map of Vancouver and Seattle in relation to one another when choosing an Alaska cruise on

Of course, you’ll want to check the requirements for your specific cruise line before you book. Also? I always recommend having a passport to cruise. I explain more about that in my post about cruising without a passport .

Vancouver is about 140 miles north of Seattle, which means it’s 140 miles closer to Alaska. What does that mean for your cruise itinerary? That the ship has a shorter distance to travel to get to those glaciers.

When sailing from Alaska, your ship will generally go out to sea as it chugs its way north. And while endless ocean is absolutely a beautiful view, it’s not quite as rapturous as the greenery and mountains you’ll see when you sail from Vancouver – those sailings hug the shore between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

Here are just a couple of breathtaking photos I took during a sea day on my last cruise from Vancouver to Alaska:

Beautiful scenery from Vancouver to Alaska on

Also: when you sail to Alaska from Vancouver, you don’t need to make that extra stop in Victoria that’s required on round-trip Alaska cruises that leave from Seattle. Why do they have to stop in Victoria? Because of the Jones Act . (Warning: it’s a very boring explanation.)

You’ll find way more non-stop flights to Seattle from another city within the United States than you will to Vancouver. Which also means the prices for Seattle flights will be cheaper.

To give you an idea: I just searched for round-trip flights to Seattle from San Diego for next July – peak Alaska cruise season. There are a whopping 14 non-stop flights available, the cheapest one priced at $238.

For Vancouver, my options are much more limited. There are only three daily flights, all over twice the price at $561. *blows raspberry*

Not to mention you won’t have to worry about going through immigration and customs at the Vancouver airport, or dealing with foreign transaction fees on your credit card for any purchases you make while you’re in town.

If your goal is to really explore as much of Alaska as possible, it might be worth it to spend a bit extra to sail out of Vancouver. Because the only way to see the interior is to take a land tour – and that’s only possible on one-way sailings out of Vancouver.

You know those Alaska cruises with a train ride at the end? Those are called cruise tours, and they’re spectacular. Princess Cruises, in particular, has some fantastic cruise tour itineraries, like the Denali Explorer . It starts with a 7-day cruise out of Vancouver that takes you to all the usual stops – Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau – before sailing through Glacier Bay and ending in Whittier, Alaska.

From there, you hop right on a train that takes you directly to the wilderness, where you can spend a couple of days at rustic lodges in the shadow of Denali.

A woman enjoying the beauty of Denali National Park on

An Alaska cruise tour really gives you the best of everything Alaska has to offer – both the cities that are inaccessible by land and the beauty that can’t be reached by water. And pretty much all of these require a departure (or arrival) in Vancouver.

Still undecided about which departure port to leave from for your next Alaska cruise? Or are you thinking about doing an Alaska cruise tour but can’t figure out which of the billion options you should choose? I’m and Alaska expert and I’m here to help.

Send me a message and we can start planning today . Alaska cruises for 2024 are already starting to fill up. By booking early you’ll get the best prices available.

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Where do Alaska cruises leave from & which should you choose?

Cruise terminal and port in Seattle

Alaska is a breathtaking destination to explore, and taking an Inside Passage cruise is the perfect way to see it. 

Cruise options typically begin in either Seattle or Vancouver, and deciding which port to depart from can seem daunting. However, each city has its own unique benefits that make it well worth considering.

Seattle offers travelers convenient access to Alaska-bound cruises since it’s only a short flight away from many major cities in the US. 

Additionally, many Alaska cruises that leave from Seattle feature overnight stays in Alaska ports like Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan—allowing for more time to explore Alaska’s stunning coasts and mountains. 

On the flip side, some of these Alaska cruises may not be able to visit the famous Glacier Bay due to tight Alaska cruise schedules departing from Seattle.

On the other hand, Vancouver is often favored by Canadian travelers looking to take an Alaska cruise due to its proximity.

Many of the Alaska cruises leaving from Vancouver offer more time in Alaska’s remote ports like Sitka and Haines—as well as more chances to take part in popular activities like whale watching and kayaking around serene bays! 

Plus, most of these Alaska cruises will also include visits to Glacier Bay National Park so you can view its impressive glaciers up close!

Should you cruise from Seattle or Vancouver?

For Alaska cruise-goers looking for a budget-friendly option, cruising from Seattle is the ideal choice. By taking advantage of the comparatively lower airfare costs within the United States, passengers can save money on travel expenses without needing to obtain a passport. 

What's more, booking with one of several mainstream cruise lines out of Seattle allows travelers to compare prices. Additionally, selecting Seattle as the starting point gives cruisers an opportunity to explore Victoria’s waterfront and Butchart Gardens before or after their Alaska trip, while also avoiding having to extend their Alaska cruise with post-cruise tours into Alaska’s interior if they don't have the extra time or budget.

Alternatively, Vancouver offers Alaska cruisers options for luxury lines and one-way sailings combined with post-cruise tours into Alaska. 

Passengers who prefer itineraries with more scenic cruising or who wish to explore Canada before or after their Alaska trips might find it worthwhile to acquire a passport in order to take advantage of this option. Furthermore, depending on the chosen itinerary, pre-or post-cruise tour offerings from Vancouver will likely provide travelers with a deeper and more immersive experience than they would receive from Seattle sailings alone.

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Nature Park Hike, Sitka, Alaska

7 Night Alaska Inside Passage

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Day 1: vancouver, british columbia.

Bridge to the City, Vancouver, British Columbia


Stanley Park Urban Greenspace, Vancouver, British Columbia


Empress Hotel Butchart Gardens Victorian Architecture, Vancouver, British Columbia


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Totem Pole, Vancouver, British Columbia

Day 2: Inside Passage, Canada

Ocean Mountain View, Inside Passage, British Columbia


Sleepy Bear in the Forest, Inside Passage, British Columbia


Popular shore excursions, amazing experiences coming soon., day 3: sitka, alaska.

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Day 4: Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Waterfall Mountain, Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska


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Day 4: juneau, alaska.

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Day 5: Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Iceberg With Sunset in the Background, Hubbard Glacier, Alaska


Yakutat Bay Bird Area, Hubbard Glacier, Alaska


Day 6: ketchikan, alaska.

Downtown Lodge Houses Stilts, Ketchikan, Alaska


Majestic Body of Water Along the Mountains of Misty Fjords, Ketchikan, Alaska


Grilled Salmon Topped with Rosemary, Ketchikan, Alaska

Day 7: Inside Passage, Canada

Day 8: vancouver, british columbia.

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More From Forbes

Why you should add a land extension to your alaska cruise.

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The breathtaking scenery is reason enough to visit Alaska.

Alaska cruises are so popular because they’re an easy way to surround yourself with some of the country’s most beautiful scenery while taking advantage of all the perks of a luxury ship – like top notch accommodations, fun activities and great food.

To give you an even more immersive Alaska experience that goes beyond shore excursions, many cruise lines offer land and sea packages so you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Your week-long cruise is followed by (or preceded by) a five-day land tour that takes you on a deep dive into Denali National Park and areas you otherwise wouldn’t get to explore on the ship.

Princess , a leader in this area, actually owns and operates five unique Wilderness Lodges which you get to call home each night as you’re whisked around the state, taking in wildlife sightings and mountain views along the way.

The gorgeous, ever-changing landscape of Denail National Park.

If you don’t have time to add a land portion to your cruise, don’t worry. Princess is an expert in Alaska and, in addition to an extensive selection of shore excursions, they offer exclusive onboard activities to help immerse you in the culture, including the always popular Puppies in the Piazza, which features a visit from the cutest future four-legged Iditarod champions, and a fascinating presentation by Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the prestigious sled dog race.

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I did a Princess Alaska Cruisetour two summers ago and am seriously considering planning another one. I’ve done Alaska cruises before but this one was extra special – both onboard, thanks to the amazing Princess crew who literally treated everyone like royalty, and on land, where I got to experience parts of The Last Frontier I’d never had access to on a ship.

You probably don’t need more reasons to book an Alaska cruise but, if you want to know what to expect on the land portion, here are just a few of the reasons you should start thinking about a Princess Alaska Cruisetour :

The intrepid explorer for whom Hotel Captain Cook is named.

You’ll start your extension in Alaska’s largest city, with an overnight at the legendary Hotel Captain Cook , a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Collection. The historic hotel features an extensive art collection, four restaurants and a dozen shops. Plus, its Athletic Club is a great place to get in a swim, workout or massage after a long flight. Centrally located downtown, it makes an ideal homebase from which to explore the city like the hotel’s namesake.

Princess Wilderness Lodges

A magical view of Mt. McKinley from Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.

Because Princess owns their own properties throughout Alaska, Cruisetour guests are treated like family as they’re welcomed to different lodges along their journey. Every lodge has its own distinct personality but all offer cozy rooms and delicious meals along with stunning scenery. They also offer a variety of activities and places to just sit by the fire so you can be as busy or as relaxed as you choose. At Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, you can take a glass class from a local artist and at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, you can enjoy the views from the floor to ceiling windows in the communal Great Room or get outside and take a hike up to the Treehouse to try to get a glimpse of the peak in person.

Talkeetna was the inspiration for the hit TV show, "Northern Exposure."

The town that inspired the hit TV show, Northern Exposure , Talkeetna is quirky and charming and, thanks to its strong artist community, a great place to shop for local art. We took a fun ride with the sled dogs of Sun Dog Kennel , led by Iditarod musher Jerry Sousa, and loved meeting the newest additions to their furry family! Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet the mayor of Talkeetna — who, um, is a cat — but that’s just another reason to come back and spend more time in this unique town.

Direct-To-The-Wilderness Railway

The views are everywhere on Princess' glass domed railway.

Princess uses its own luxury train to transport guests from Talkeetna to Denali and it’s proof that the journey is as important as the destination. The glass domed railway cars provide all-around views – and you won’t know where to look first. (It’s similar to the Rocky Mountaineer experience, which is also a must-do.) You’ll enjoy a made-to-order lunch in the dining car and snacks and drinks are always available. The ride is lovely and you won’t want to close your eyes to rest because there’s always so much to see.

Denali National Park

The highlight of our visit to Denali National Park.

It’s impossible to describe a visit to Denali because it is constantly changing but just know that it is magnificent in every iteration. The scenery is just breathtaking and we got to see lots of wildlife but the hands-down highlight was when a bear came right up to our bus. Everyone went silent and just watched as it sauntered by without a care in the world. This is something every traveler should experience.

Discovery Riverboat Cruise

Don't miss a Discovery cruise on the Chena and Tanana rivers..

Take a riverboat ride on an authentic sternwheeler – which is a totally different experience than your Princess cruise ship! This slow-moving steamboat will show you a fascinating side of Fairbanks, making stops for you to get up close and personal with sled dogs and to tour a replica of an Athabascan Indian Village. You’ll also get to watch a bush pilot demonstrate their skills while you enjoy a snack.

Running Reindeer Ranch

Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks gives you a once-ina-lifetime opportunity to get up close and ... [+] personal with these magnificent creatures.

Visiting this family-run reindeer ranch in Fairbanks is like walking into a fairy tale and you won’t stop smiling the whole time you’re there. Not only do you get to take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful boreal forest with actual reindeer but you get to know them individually and can even take photos with them. You’ll learn so much about these magnificent creatures and, depending on the time of year, you may also be able to sign up for reindeer yoga or reindeer music. This is an unforgettable experience and the animals are just pure joy.

Lois Alter Mark

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Travel | travel: alaska is ready for another record-breaking cruise season.

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Alaska is home to more than 30,000 grizzlies, but the state’s cruise industry is experiencing anything but a bear market as momentum of last year’s record-breaking season is expected to continue in 2024.

Looking at the most-visited Alaskan port as a proxy for the ship-shape southeastern side of the state, Juneau set a new mark a year ago with 1.65 million passengers descending on the capital city during cruise season, which generally runs from early April to late October. That figure from the Juneau Chamber of Commerce is a Danali-sized jump of 30% compared to the previous mark set in pre-pandemic 2019.

Coinciding with Alaska’s 65th anniversary of statehood, the upcoming cruise season appears to be just as robust with 19 cruise lines sending 43 ships to the Last Frontier. Kicking things off for the second straight year is the 4,008-passenger Norwegian Bliss, which is scheduled to dock in rustic Skagway on April 8. With four mainstream-category ships homeported in either Seattle or Vancouver, Norwegian Cruise Line ( ) has nearly 100 more after that. Impressive, but two competing companies have staked out larger claims in this modern-day, maritime Alaskan gold rush; Holland America Line ( ) is sending seven premium-class ships for 141 total cruises, and at the top of the totem pole is Princess Cruises ( ), which is celebrating its 55th year in these waters with seven premium ships sharing 158 departures.

Rafting alongside Mendenhall Glacier is a chance-of-a-lifetime adventure for many. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Not counting grand voyages with itineraries so rich that they make a visit to Alaska seem more like a pitstop, this cruise season will see more than 800 trips of mostly seven to 10 days starting or ending on this side of the Pacific. Where they’re all going is a destination rich in unparallel wilderness, wildlife and native culture. In other words, bucket list stuff.

“Alaska is one of those places that draws you in and sets the hook right away,” said Kristi Switzer, destination marketing manager for Travel Juneau ( ). “Visitors come for the otherworldly experience of being in the presence of glaciers and fjords, seeing whales and bears, and finding the balance of Alaska Native cultural heritage with the rustic sophistication found in the capital city and other places within this magnificent state.”

Sometimes just seeing a whale's tail is a win when on an Alaskan tour. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Although Switzer recommends visits lasting several days instead of several hours, the city’s destination evangelist hopes that a partial day in Juneau and each major Alaskan cruise port has over 1.5 million passengers wanting more.

“This magical corner of the world has so much to offer beyond being a checkmark on people’s bucket lists,” she said. “Make time to enjoy the fascinating culture, spectacular outdoor recreation, unique shopping, amazing restaurants and artist galleries that Juneau and all of Southeast Alaska have to offer.”

Walking on a glacier is one of the more exciting shore excursions Alaska has to offer. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Alaska is a checkmark for about three-quarters of all passengers headed there, according to the Alaska Tourism Industry Association, and the same can be said for two ships this season.

Starting with a six-day sail out of Vancouver on May 11, the namesake of Celebrity Cruises’ ( ) popular Edge class will make her Alaskan debut with weeklong roundtrips from Seattle through Sept. 13. The 2,918-passenger vessel features a unique “outside-in” architecture that provides more floor-to-ceiling glass on the exterior and expanded outdoor spaces to soak up the Alaskan coastlines.

Skagway, a popular cruise port, is the northernmost point in Alaska's Inside Passage. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Edge will be joined by a pair of fleet mates for the season, albeit Summit’s seven-day roundtrips are turnarounds out of Anchorage or Vancouver and Solstice’s weeklong jaunts are solely based in the British Columbian seaport. Celebrity, a premier-category cruise line, meaning it’s between the economical mainstream class and pricy luxury level, has 57 departures to Alaska scheduled this year.

The other new recruit is Silver Nova, the youngest Silversea Cruises ( ) ship in the luxury fleet to ever service Alaska. Capped at 728 guests, Silver Nova was launched last year and has the goods to do justice to a dreamlike place that captures the imagination of wilderness lovers and history buffs.

“Silver Nova is the ideal ship for Alaska cruising,” said company spokesman Brad Ball. “Her innovative design, which prizes openness over symmetry and incorporates an unprecedented use of approximately 4,000 square meters of glass, immerses guests into the incredible scenery of Alaska from virtually all venues and suites, with far-reaching views at every turn.”

While in Skagway, let happy and hard-working sled dogs take you on a spin around Musher's Camp. (Photo by David Dickstein)

The ship’s reimagined pool deck, which overlooks the water on her starboard side, and all-new outdoor venues — the Dusk Bar and the Marquee — allows unique openness to view spectacular Alaskan glaciers and wildlife. Those who want to experience an older and smaller Evolution-class Silversea vessel can book the Silver Muse, which also will sail mostly seven- to 14-day trips between Anchorage and Vancouver.

Because nearly every Alaskan cruise includes the staples — Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Inside Passage, and Denali with a land add-on — some cruise lines like to shake things up with unique itineraries.

Holland America has a roundtrip that makes it easy to visit the 49th and 50th states without a long flight. A new “Glaciers & Volcanos: Alaska to Hawaii” cruise, part of the premium line’s Legendary Voyages collection of journeys from 25 to 59 days, departs on Aug. 31 from Seattle or Sept. 1 from Vancouver aboard the 1,916-passenger Westerdam. The near-four-week-long itinerary includes seldomly visited Kodiak and Dutch Harbor before heading down to the tropics to make four calls to three Hawaiian islands.

Seabourn ( ) strives to offer a more tasteful Alaskan cruise and not only because it’s an ultra-luxury cruise line. “Caviar on the Ice” is a savory and swanky soiree on every Alaskan voyage, and when the 450-passenger Odyssey is in Sitka, a town originally built by Russian traders in the early 1800s, Seabourn guests can enjoy a culinary adventure that includes a scenic drive to a taproom for a sampling of local brews and a few eateries to try Siberian-rooted pelmeni dumplings and a hot dog made with caribou that the locals call “reindeer dawgs.” Sorry, vegetarians and friends of Santa, but Blitzen on a bun is da bomb.

Red Onion Saloon, a former bordello built in 1898, is a top attraction in historic Skagway. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Carnival Cruise Line ( ) is staying with a three-ship deployment in Alaska this season. Sharing the workload of 55 roundtrips generally lasting seven to 11 days are Carnival Spirit (2,610 passengers) and Carnival Luminosa (2,260) out of Seattle, and Carnival Miracle (2,667) from San Francisco. Another mainstream cruise line, Royal Caribbean ( ), has four ships making 85 runs to Alaska from Seattle, Vancouver and Anchorage: Ovation of the Seas, (4,905) and older sister Quantum of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas (2,543) and Radiance of the Seas (2,466).

Disney Cruise Line ( ) is sending its 2,700-passenger Disney Wonder out of Vancouver for 15 week-long roundtrips, one five-day spin leaving on July 24 and an extended nine-day voyage on July 15.

Other cruise lines showing passengers a whale of a time in Alaska include Crystal, Cunard, Hurtigruten, Lindblad/National Geographic, Oceania, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas and Viking.

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Alaska Cruises from Vancouver

Take in the scenic inside passage on a roundtrip alaska cruise from vancouver.

Uncover treasures in the Great Land on an Alaska cruise from Vancouver. Relive Gold Rush history, experience Native Alaskan culture and come face-to-face with some of Mother Nature’s greatest masterpieces. On a roundtrip Inside Passage cruise, enjoy quicker access to Alaska while also exploring the friendly ports of British Columbia.

Itinerary Ports

When you cruise to Alaska from Vancouver, encounter unique ports of call that are rich in history, culture and natural beauty.

  • Endicott Arm
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Hubbard Glacier
  • Icy Strait Point

Endicott Arm is a jewel in Alaska’s crown. This 30-mile waterway is surrounded by cliffs, valleys and dozens of waterfalls. Icebergs and harbor seals decorate the water below while Dawes Glacier soars into the sky above. Revel in the beauty of Mother Nature’s masterpiece and listen closely as the scenery whispers secrets of times long ago during your cruise to Alaska.

When you cruise to Alaska with Princess, sail through one of the most iconic locations in the Great Land — Glacier Bay National Park. Listen to Margerie Glacier’s signature crack and boom rumble across the waves. Bring binoculars and scan both the shore and the waves for wildlife like brown bears and migrating whales while Park Rangers teach you the history and geology of the park.

The largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier has been moving its mass towards the ocean at a rate faster than most of its kind. Towering above the water over 30 stories, the glacier often calves 100-foot chunks of ice into the ocean. What lies beneath the waves is almost as impressive, where ice plunges 1,200 feet beneath the surface. See it for yourself on an Alaska cruise with Princess.

Icy Strait Point is home to the remote Tlingit village of Hoonah, home to fewer than 800 people and a deep Native history. The nearby Spasski River Valley holds one of the world’s largest populations of brown bears, who are often found hunting for salmon in the rivers. Zipline over the wilderness, watch a tribal dance or kayak in coastal waters to see the wildlife up close during your Alaska cruise vacation.

Juneau is unlike any other city in the United States. With no roads connecting it to the rest of Alaska or North America, it is truly a protected destination. Founded as a gold mining town and now the state’s capital, Juneau has one foot in history and one in the future. Embark on a whale watching tour, or sail past Mendenhall Glacier on an Alaska cruise.

Known for its timber, Ketchikan hosts the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, where athletes throw, race and chop their way to victory. Explore one of the world’s oldest collection of totem poles at the Totem Pole Heritage Center, or stroll along Creek Street. As the salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan’s waters make for incredible fishing. Cast your rod into a sea of opportunity on a cruise to Alaska.

On an Alaska cruise, take your pick of attractions in the port of Sitka. See how bald eagles and local bird populations receive first-class treatment at the Alaska Raptor Center. Encounter wildlife in their natural habitat at the Fortress of the Bear. Or experience the culture of Russian Alaska on a visit to St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church, and relive Native history at the Sheldon Jackson Museum.

Once the gateway to Alaska's Gold Rush, Skagway strikes a dramatic image nestled between the water's edge and mountains. Follow in the footsteps of miners with a ride on a scenic train along the famous White Pass route through coastal mountains. During your Alaska cruise, explore the Yukon's pristine wilderness, pan for gold with professionals or meet sled dog puppies in training.

Canada's third largest city feels like a North American metropolis mixed with a small European town. Explore the rainforest within Vancouver, B.C. — Stanley Park — and visit the continent's second largest Chinatown during your Alaska cruise vacation. Soar above the city's lush natural environment in a sky gondola for panoramic views, or get up close to the local sea life at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Why Choose This Itinerary?

Discover the top reasons to cruise to Alaska from Vancouver.

  • Glacier Viewing  — Alaska’s glaciers were meant to be admired. That’s why every Alaska cruise from Vancouver includes at least one glacier viewing experience to either Glacier Bay National Park or Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier.
  • Three Historic Ports of Call  — Fish for salmon in Ketchikan, pan for gold in Skagway or fly over snow-capped mountains in Juneau. Relive Alaska’s greatest tales in these spirited ports of call on an Inside Passage cruise.
  • Convenient Roundtrip Air Travel  — On a roundtrip cruise to Alaska from Vancouver, enjoy easier travels to and from your cruise vacation with the opportunity for even more adventure before you set sail or after your trip ends.
  • A Visit to Vancouver  — From Chinatown to Stanley Park, uncover old-world history amidst new-age living in Vancouver before or after your Alaska cruise.

Ships on this Itinerary

Our Princess fleet includes ships that range from our smaller vessels to large ships. From a balcony stateroom, marvel at the glaciers passing by before enjoying local seafood in one of our many eateries during your Alaska cruise.

Caribbean Princess®

Coral Princess®

Grand Princess®

Ruby Princess®

Sapphire Princess®

Alaska Cruise Experience

We have a 50-year legacy of sharing the best places and experiences with our guests. On an Alaska cruise, unpack once and explore glaciers, wildlife and national parks.

Alaska Glaciers

One of the biggest reasons people visit

Glaciers feel alive. They groan, creak and shudder on their march to the sea, punctuated by the booms and crashes of "white thunder" — a sound that echoes across the water when ice calves into the ocean below. On an Alaska cruise, let us show you Glacier Bay National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, College Fjord or Hubbard Glacier.

Alaska Wildlife

Untamed, just like Alaska

Alaska is home to a rich array of wildlife, from the famous Big Five animals that live in Denali National Park — grizzly bears, wolves, moose, Dall sheep and caribou — to bald eagles and humpback whales that migrate through the Inside Passage. On a cruise to Alaska, live a nature lover's dream in the land where guests can catch postcard-worthy sights.

Alaska Mountains & National Parks

National treasures

With national parks and four of North America’s tallest mountains, Alaska’s wilderness has been preserved for generations. Denali National Park is larger than Vermont and home to the highest peak on the continent. Meanwhile, Glacier Bay National Park has over 2,000 square miles of glacial coverage. Along with Wrangell-St. Elias and Kenai Fjords, a world of natural wonders awaits on an Alaska cruise or cruisetour.

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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Granville Bridge and Downtown Vancouver at night-time

Alaska Cruises From Vancouver

Get closer to awe-inspiring wildlife, charming coastal towns and magnificent glaciers on Alaska cruises from Vancouver. Find one-way and roundtrip cruises to Alaska with convenient weekend departures from Vancouver’s dazzling waterfront. Explore Glacier Bay National Park or Hubbard Glacier on our Inside Passage cruises. Take a Glacier Discovery voyage to glide several of Alaska’s most dramatic icescapes. Or go to the seldom-visited Kodiak Island, home of the famous Kodiak bears on our Great Alaskan Explorer. Continue the exploration on ship with local insights and onboard programming. Read on to plan cruises from Vancouver to Alaska and beyond.

A map showing cruise routes from Fort Lauderdale, Vancouver, Seattle, San Diego, and Boston

See the World From Your Doorstep

Things to do in vancouver.

Find the best things to do before or after your cruise from Vancouver.

Vancouver's famous steam clock on Water Street in the Gastown neighborhood

Stanley Park

Schools of jellyfish swimming at the Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium

More details about cruises from vancouver, vancouver at a glance.

  • When was Vancouver founded?  April 6, 1886 
  • Where is Vancouver located?  Located in the southwest corner of British Columbia, Canada. 
  • What is the population of Vancouver?  631,486 according to the 2016 Canada Census 
  • What language is primarily spoken?  English 
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada is GMT/UTC - 8h during Standard Time
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada is GMT/UTC - 7h during Daylight Saving Time
  • What currency is used in Vancouver, BC, Canada?  CAD (Canadian Dollar)

Travel Tips for Vancouver

How do I book a flight to Vancouver?  At Holland America we offer cruise travelers low prices on their flights. Please see more information on our  Flight Ease program here .

Where should I stay when cruising from Vancouver? We offer hotel packages to our already booked guests. For more information, visit our  hotel packages and pre- or post-travel arrangements .

What are some of the top places to see in Vancouver?  Visit our  Vancouver Port page  for more information on our top travel recommendations.

Port Information

What should I expect boarding to like for my cruise departing Vancouver, BC, Canada?   Please visit our  cruise preparation FAQ  for information on how to access or print boarding passes, how to check in online, and to see if you need a passport.

Can I book an airport shuttle to my cruise?   Book an airport transfer from the airport to your ship after you book a cruise with Holland America Line. We make getting to and from your cruise comfortable, convenient and hassle-free. For more information on EXC City Stays & Overland Tours, please visit: .

Are you an already booked guest with Holland America Line? For booked guests, please see our  travel planning  details on how to book an airport transfer.

Curious about learning more about cruising or want more information?

Please visit our most  frequently asked questions page  on cruise preparation, transportation, safety and security, and more.

Other Cruises Out Of Vancouver

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Add to your cruise.

Add flights, hotel packages and onboard celebrations to your cruise from Vancouver.

Flight Ease

Holland America Line Flight Ease® offers specially negotiated low prices, a convenient and worry-free way to book air travel, late-arrival protection, and the freedom to change your flights with no change fees.

Pre/Post Cruise

Find exceptional City Stays & Pre/Post Overland Packages, which offer a seamless experience ashore to add to your cruise.

Celebrations on Board

Life should be celebrated! What better way than with a Holland America Line cruise? Let us create the perfect event while you relax and have the time of your life.

Sign Up For Special Offers


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