Best Alaskan Cruises For Families
So what is the best Alaska cruise for families? We have compiled these five favorite family friendly Alaska small ship cruises for their consistent top marks from families. But we know that each family is unique and thus travel is very personal, so review the trips below then contact our experts to be matched with the best Alaska family cruise for you.
Disney Cruise Linesdisney Wonder
If kids were in charge of the cruise planning, theyd choose a Disney Cruise. And Disney Cruise Line caters to families, especially Disney-loving families.
Find interior staterooms, ocean view staterooms, staterooms with balconies along with concierge suites. The 7-night round trip cruises depart from Vancouver. Ports of call include Dawes Glacier, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
Disney Cruise Line sails the Wonder to Alaska. Onboard, youll find Disney characters, Disney stage shows, kids clubs, tweens club and teens club. Three pool areas, including a splash area for babies and toddlers, a double-looping water slide and an adults-only area, help keep everybody cool. Hungry? There are three main dining areas, and three casual dining areas along with character meals.
Port excursions and extras are not included, like Signature dining experiences , bottled water, alcohol, and specialty drinks and gratuities.
Easy-to-use website, especially for those whove planned a Disney Parks vacation before. Find the best price for this cruise here.
The Best Cruises In Alaska
Cruise lines are in the business of giving their guests a good time, so they’ve all got something going for them. Here are our picks for Alaska’s best, in a few different categories.
- The Best Ships for Luxury: Luxury in Alaska is defined in 2012 by Regent Seven Seas and Silversea. If you want a more casual kind of luxury , the Seven Seas Navigator offers just that on an all-suite vessel with excellent cuisine. Silversea, on the other hand, represents a slick, Italian-influenced, slightly more formal luxury experience with all the perks — big suite cabins and excellent food, linens, service, and companions. Both Regent and Silversea include fine wine and booze in their cruise fares. For the ultimate Alaska experience in a small-ship setting, check out the intimate offerings of American Safari Cruises, where soft adventure comes with upscale accouterments.
- The Best of the Mainstream Ships: Every line’s most recent ships are beautiful, but Celebrity’s Infinity is a true stunner, as is its sister ship, Millennium. These modern vessels, with their extensive art collections, cushy public rooms, and expanded spa areas, give Celebrity a formidable presence in Alaska. And the late-model Sapphire Princess and Diamond Princess have raised the art of building big ships to new heights. Both of these vessels will again be in Inside Passage service this year from Vancouver.
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Skagway Best Shore Excursion
Skagway is a tiny town with a very busy cruise port! This is as far north as cruise ships go in the Inside Passage . Skagway was put on the map by the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898 and has a colorful history. In fact, the entire downtown is a national park!
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad was built during the Gold Rush and remains today as a tour for visitors and I will tell you that in my opinion this is the best shore excursion available in Southeast Alaska! There are several options for the train: you can take a round trip summit excursion right from the cruise ship dock, or you can go one way by train and one by bus giving you additional views of this stunning location. You can also do a hike from the train getting dropped off at Denver or Laughton Glacier as part of a tour.
The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad gives you the unique opportunity in Southeast Alaska to get up into the mountains and inland and see a completely different climate. There are good chances to see bears and goats on this trip too! Overall I highly recommend this if you only do one shore excursionmake it this one!
Skagway also has lots of great history to explore and several excellent hikes that leave from downtown and you can easily walk to.
Which Cruise Line Is Best For Alaska
Nearly every major cruise line sails to Alaska, so you have your pick of price points and onboard personalities.
Among the big-ship lines, Holland America and Princess are known as the Alaska experts. These lines typically base the most ships in this region every summer, and offer the largest selection of cruises and cruise tours. They schedule Alaska-specific special events onboard, such as Princess Puppies in the Piazza and Klondike Festival, and even have their own train cars and hotel properties in Denali and Fairbanks.
However, if other lines, such as Royal Caribbean or Norwegian, suit your familys needs and budget better, you will still have a wonderful cruise vacation in Alaska. You might find that these lines offer more competitive pricing, your preferred onboard activities, or more robust kids programming, making them the best Alaska cruise choice for you.
Travelers looking for luxury should consider upscale lines such as Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, and Silversea. These cruise lines offer more intimate ships, inclusive fares, and attentive service, but wont have as many onboard attractions or as expansive kids facilities or activities as the bigger ships.
Choose expedition cruise lines, such as UnCruise Adventures, American Cruise Line, or Alaskan Dream Cruises, for intimate, adventure-focused ships that sail off the beaten path.
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Best Alaska Cruise For You
Nearly every major cruise line offers seasonal Alaskan cruises. With departures as early as May and as late as September, theres never been more options to find an Alaskan cruise for your traveling style and budget.
Most cruise lines offer similar itineraries, like popular one-way formats with departures from either Vancouver, British Columbia or Seward, Alaska . And lots of cruise lines offer pre-cruise or post-cruise tours or trips.
Find opportunities to explore the rugged wilderness of the national parks in Canada and the U.S. Additionally, some cruise lines offer scenic train rides. Find bucket list add-on excursions like dogsledding, flightseeing and helicopter glacier tours.
The typical ports of call include cruising the Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, Juneau, and cruising the Hubbard Glacier. Additional ports of call include Icy Strait Point and Tracy Arm Fjord or the Endicott Arm.
And for first-time cruisers, the waters of the Inside Passage are relatively calm. Of course, its always smart to pack remedies for seasickness for your cruise. And, dont forget to learn the unique cruise vocabulary youll need onboard.
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Ride The Alaska Grandview Train
TripSavvy / Linda Garrison
Choose a cruise that embarks from Seward so that you can fly into Anchorage, then ride the Alaska Grandview Train almost right to the port. The Coastal Classic route winds through pristine mountains and ends at the sea. The ride takes four hours and rest assured, it’s worth the extra time.
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Dog Sledding With Temsco Helicopters
Most folks identify Alaska with dog sledding. But since dog sledding is a winter activity, cruise ship visitors in the early days never had a chance to experience it. That all changed when helicopters became readily available to travelers. On this wildly popular tour with TEMSCO Helicopters, you travel to the Juneau Ice Field by helicopter and get a chance to travel by dog sled on a stretch of gorgeous glacier. Sure, its expensiveits also unforgettable.
Dog Sledding with TEMSCO Helicopters
Ciao Bambino Can Help You Plan An Incredible Family Vacation In Alaska
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If youre thinking about whale watching, Juneau is the place to take a cruise. Humpback whales summer in Alaskas rich feeding grounds and in their sated state, they put on tremendous shows with breaching and group bubble net feeding.
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How Much Does An Alaska Cruise Cost
If you are looking for the best Alaska cruise, you will certainly need to consider the costs. When Alaska cruise planning, you should know that Alaska cruise vacations are a bit on the pricey side when compared to Caribbean cruises.
Alaska cruise costs fluctuate considerably depending on a few factors. The cruise line, cruise ship, Alaskan itinerary, and time of year will all weigh heavily on pricing.
If you have flexible vacation time, choosing the right time to take an Alaskan cruise can have a big impact on your budget. As mentioned above, the middle of the summer, which coincides with the best weather, most wildlife, and school break, will usually be the most expensive.
Further, the cruise line and cruise ship you choose will also dictate the cost of your Alaskan cruise. Most major cruise lines now sail to Alaska. So, you will have a wide selection from which to choose.
Generally speaking, the newer ships from each cruise line will be more expensive than some of the older ships in the fleet as there is more demand for these vessels. Premium and luxury cruise lines will also be more expensive than the more family-friendly cruise lines.
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Other factors to consider when determining costs for your best Alaska cruise are the embarkation port, stateroom category, and shore excursions.
If you are trying to decide what type of cabin is right for you, we have a complete guide to cruise cabin categories.
Blending Tradition With Modernism: Celebrity Cruises
If you want to take the extended family on an Alaskan cruise, then Celebrity Cruises will provide a wonderful experience that you will remember for decades to come. They have three ships dedicated to Alaskan cruises and offer a multitude of choices.
Celebrity Cruises creates a blended version when it comes to attractions. Their belief is that there is more to Alaska than just myths and legends. Therefore, they have decided to blend the old traditional elements of this area.
Additionally, they have combined wilderness attractions with urban life to create a well-rounded appreciation for all that Alaska has to offer.
Voyages depart from Seattle, Washington Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia. They range from 7-11 days in duration departing from various ports.
If you enjoy nature or the great outdoors, you will appreciate Dawes Glacier, Hubbard Glacier, Inside Passage, and Tracy Arm Fjord. Guests will enjoy watching majestic icebergs jutting out from the sea and the splendor of snow-capped mountains.
If you enjoy history, you may want to go to Icy Strait Point which features a completely restored salmon cannery originally built in 1912 that was converted to a museum. For the adventure seeker, this same area contains a 5,330-foot-long ascent with a 1,300-foot ride on the ZipRider.
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Alaska Cruise Itineraries From Seattle
Alaska cruises departing from Seattle typically last seven nights and feature stops in five ports of call: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria, and Seattle.
These itineraries also include a cruising day through Alaskas Endicott Arm Fjord, a 30-mile-long stretch full of natural beauty, that ends at the gorgeous Dawes Glacier. Step out into your veranda or head up to one of the ships outdoor decks and be soothed by the granite Alaskan mountains, cascading waterfalls, drifting icebergs, and spectacular glaciers.
During a round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle, youll also sail through the Inside Passage, a maze of fjords and bays home to a number of animals including bald eagles, sea lions, and whales.
The Best Alaska Cruise Sailing In 2022
Visiting Alaska is on many peoples bucket lists. This remote US state captures the imagination of people young and old. With majestic mountains and glaciers, dense arctic forests, and barren tundra, Alaska is a nature lovers paradise. With so much wilderness, Alaska is also a great place for amazing excursions, up-close encounters with wildlife ranging from bears and moose to whales and seals.
However, when choosing a ship to go to Alaska you need to find the best for your party, whether its family, friends or just a couples trip. Thus, we break down the best Alaska Cruise based on your party.
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Private Small Ship Alaska Cruises For Families
Any of our small ships and yachts are available for charter . Blocking off the whole ship is a great option for family vacations, family reunions and multigenerational family groups. A private ship charter offers your family exclusivity, flexibility and savings, equating into truly the best Alaskan cruise for families. Smaller charter yachts in Alaska accommodate between 8 and 22 guests. For more information, readour comprehensive guide to Alaska yacht charters. These private Alaska family cruises will offer a more intimate experience and additional flexibility to craft the meals, itinerary and activities to suit your familys interest and abilities. When considering charter, plan at least 9-12 months or more in advance.
Youll Learn Heaps About Alaskas Gold Rush History
Given that almost every major town or city in Alaska has gold mining history at its heart . Some of the best experiences include following the trail of the wide-eyed gold prospectors along the White Pass and Yukon Route in Skagway, strolling the Red Light District of Creek Street in Ketchikan, and panning for gold at Crow Creek and Indian Valley mines. Also visit-worthy is Fairbanks, the Gold Rush boomtown that became Alaskas largest producer of gold for the 15.4 million ounces of gold that were extracted from its mineral deposits . Nowadays, it embraces its Gold Rush roots with a slew of attractions, including Gold Dredge 8 where you can enjoy a close-up view of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, hop aboard a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad in the Interior’s original goldfields, and sift through the dredge tailings for yourself. Equally fabulous is the Riverboat Discovery III, a three-hour, fully-narrated Tanana and Chena Rivers cruise on an authentic sternwheeler departing from Steamboat Landing – a replica Gold Rush-era river port complete with dining hall, gift shop, museum, and ice cream parlour.
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Cruising The Inside Passage
All Alaskan cruise itineraries include at least one sea day. Spend the day on a deck using binoculars to catch glimpses of lighthouses, bald eagles or fishing boats at work.
Sailing in the Inside Passage is unique since glaciation made deep channels between the mountains. The deep waters allow for deep-draft vessels to sail close to the mountains.
And a bonus for first-time cruisers, the waters of the Inside Passage are relatively calm compared to open ocean cruising.
Sitka Best Alaska Cruise Port To Explore On Your Own
If you like to explore on your own, Sitka is the port for you! Sitka has far fewer ships than many other ports so its fun for an independent minded traveler to explore. Most likely your ship will dock a few miles outside of town, but theres a free shuttle downtown that goes every 15 minutes while a ship is important and its easy to zip around. You can also link up with Sitkas bus system to get to trailheads and other areas.
Sitkas beautiful setting on Baranof Island combined with an intriguing history of Tlingit history and modern culture with Russian and American rule make it an interesting place to visit.
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Best Alaska Cruise For Families With Little Kids
When traveling with young children, cruises are a great option. You never have to worry about packing the kids up in the car for another long drive or worrying if your picky eater will like the local food. We once did a Mediterranean cruise with our little ones and it was absolutely the perfect way to see Europe with the little ones. From the full buffet menus to the onboard entertainment, your little one is sure to enjoy any cruise.
In Alaska though, when it comes to cruising with little kids, our top pick would be the Disney Wonder ship. The Disney cruise line is by far the most kid-friendly option. In Alaska, the Disney Wonder offers a number of special features for families. Some of the features include Frozen-themed scavenger hunts and kid-friendly port excursions.
Disney Wonder also has great staterooms designed with families in mind with fun bunk beds and large bathrooms. The cruise ship also has all the Disney perks like character meet and greets and what is by far the best kids program of any cruise line sailing. We have found that we get more alone time as a couple on a Disney cruise because our kids love the kids club so much.
Your little ones will also love their Broadway-style musicals. They are top notch and on the Disney Wonder, they feature the Broadway Musical Frozen. And if you are worried the kids will be too cold to have fun, trust me, do not worry at all. Disney has the most incredible kids club, that your kids will love.
Best Alaska Cruise Itinerary To See Wildlife
One of the biggest draws of taking a cruise to Alaska is the opportunity to spot abundant wildlife in their natural habitat.
Brown bears in Alaska
An Alaska cruise route that stops in Icy Strait Point is sure to appeal to animal lovers. There, you can trek along the famous Trail of the Bears in Spasski River Valley, where youll find brown bears, black-tailed deer, and regal bald eagles.
Victoria in British Columbia is considered one of the best places to spot whales in the wild. Climb aboard an eco-friendly zodiac boat and search for migrating orcas, humpback whales, seals, sea lions, and marine birds.
In Sitka, double up and take a guided boat tour through the Sitka Sound, where youll see a number of marine wildlife including porpoises and harbor seals, and later visit the Alaska Raptor Center, a facility where injured eagles and other birds of prey are rehabilitated and then released back into the wild.
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