Easier To Make Friends
The intimate nature of small ship cruises allows passengers to cross paths more easily and make connections more rapidly. So whether youre traveling solo or with a partner, you can be certain that at the end of your cruise you will leave with a group of enthusiastic adventure-loving friends.
Many passengers on small ship cruises are those who value good conversation and quality travel experiences. This makes it very easy to form effortless friendships with like-minded fellow passengers.
Two Weeks+ Alaska Cruise
Travelers who have two weeks can really do it right. You can combine itineraries, take longer small ship cruises to Alaska from Seattle or consider a cruise plus a land extension into Alaskas interior or other national parks. See our Alaska land tours for a full selection of trip extensions and land-based tours.
Small Ship Cruises Are Not For Everyone
Small ship cruises are for travelers who understand the difference between Mass Market and Expedition-Style cruising. On a small ship cruise, Alaska is the focal point, not the ship. These ships are small, intimate and able to take guests up close to find Alaska’s hidden treasures, where the big ships don’t – and can’t – reach.
American Cruise Lines Alaska
American Cruise Lines small ship sailings in Alaska include itineraries through the Inside Passage and Southeast Alaska. The line has traditionally drawn an older crowd more interested in ports than adventure, and its Alaska sailings are heavy on narrated boat, coach and walking tours.
Related:Alaska on a Budget
American Constellation, built in 2017, carries 175 passengers and most of its staterooms have private balconies. Rooms range from 226 to 450 square feet — they’re billed as being among the largest in Alaska. There’s elevator service to all decks, which is a great feature for those with mobility issues.
Round trip sailings out of Juneau, or between Juneau and Seattle, generally include stops in Glacier Bay, Icy Strait Point, Petersburg, Sitka and Tracy Arm.
What Should I Pack For My Small Alaskan Cruise
While your packing list may vary depending on the season that you visit Alaska during, here are 10 general things that you should never embark on an Alaskan cruise without.
- Lightweight jacket
- Scenic railway excursions
If there are specific excursions that you hope to participate in, you should look at cruise itineraries to find one that includes the activities that you would like to do.
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Enjoy A More Luxurious And Inclusive Experience
Alaska inside passage small ship cruises offer a relaxed atmosphere, with more window and balcony options a smaller, narrower boat means fewer interior cabins and more water-view staterooms.
Also, in contrast to the Bellagio atmosphere of large ships, smaller boats can take on a boutique, luxury hotel feel. This means well-maintained, state-of-the-art facilities, price-included gratuities, free shore excursions, and more.
Cruising From Juneau With Uncruise Adventures
We boarded our ship The S.S. Legacy in Juneau with 80 other passengers. With our name tags strapped to our necks, we were determined to get to know everyone by the end of the trip.
It didnt take long to bond with our fellow passengers. The UnCruise Adventures crowds are friendly and are well-traveled and open to trying new things.
A bonus to having such a small number of passengers was how quickly we got to know each other. At the open bar cocktail hour, we roamed from table to table chatting with everyone. We knew we were going to love our week in Alaska.
If we forgot a name, we didnt have to awkwardly glance down at their name tag, we could go to the wall of photos to look up everyones name. They called it the UnCruise Adventures on Facebook and we thought it was a genius idea.
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Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Seven Seas Mariner returns to Alaska each summer, providing anexcellent combination of comfortable spacious suite living withexcellent dining choices and a whole selection of excursionsincluded in the fare, unusual for a classic cruise ship. This isone destination where you’re going to want to take loads oforganised trips, so with up to 43 excursions on offer on a 7-dayitinerary, you can really get your money’s worth. There will alsobe guest lecturers and a great family programme.
Benefits Of A Small Ship Cruise
Imagine sailing within Glacier Bay filled with calving glaciers as icebergs float past while you watch from the deck of your ship. Now imagine standing on a small ship free from crowds, where the crew knows you by name, and they explain every detail of what you see before your eyes. That is UnCruise Adventures
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Uncruise Adventures Wild Woolly And Wow
- Cost: From $4,495 per person
- Days: 8 days
- Book now
Cruise vacations often have the reputation of being not very active. However, this UnCruise Adventures sailing is aimed at those who want an more heart-pumping immersion into some little-visited areas of the 49th state, like South Baranof Island Primate and National Wilderness Area and Chichagof Island.
One day might involve kayaking in Patterson Bay followed by a brisk snorkeling session. Another could see guests hiking to a glacial lake or going for a skiff tour among icebergs. And another could involve biking in an area known for its healthy population of brown bears .
These sailings take place on the intimate 86-passenger Wilderness Legacy, with cozy but comfortable cabins and unlimited activities and beverages.
Silversea Alaska Cruises As An Innovator In The Ultra
- The days on a Silverseacruise are relaxing and carefree. The Silversea dress code reflects this. Silversea suggest smart resort-style clothing in public areas during the day. For women this includes dresses, shorts, slacks, blouses and T-shirts. Men can wear shorts, jeans, shirts and T-shirts. Attire around the pool deck is even more relaxed …
- Alaska itinerary on board Silver Muse from SilverseaCruises Almost every Silver Muse cruise to Alaska includes a visit to a tidewater glacier, glaciers which flow into the ocean, often with powerful calving. The most popular destinations are Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Strait of Georgia, Tracy Arm.
- American Cruise Lines offers 35 US River Cruises along the Mississippi, Columbia & Snake Rivers, New England & Alaska Waterways on luxurious Small Cruise Ships. SPECIAL OFFERS: Limited time cruise savings available across our 35+ itineraries. Learn more. 800-460-4518 call us
- Silversea‘s 2025 World Cruise is here! Call our experts now to get the best suites first plus extra amenities valued up to $20,000! OPEN FOR BOOKING: Silversea‘s 2024-2025 Itineraries
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Book Your 2023 Or 2022 Alaska Cruise Or Charter Before Its Gone
Small ship cruises and especially private Alaska yacht charters are increasing in popularity as travelers seek smaller, more exclusive experiences aboard Alaska small cruise ships. For 2022 Alaska small ship cruises, availability is waning faster than usual due to re-accommodations of some 2020 and 2021 travelers, coupled with a growing desire to travel close to home. Get your small ship Alaska cruise in 2022 or 2023 confirmed by contacting an Adventure Specialist to be matched with the best small ship Alaska cruise in 2022 for your interests, timing and budget.
Want your experience to be private? Alaska 2022 charters have all been reserved, so charter contracts are now only available for 2023. Our smallest boats book up early, so whether you want an exclusive charter or semi-private experience aboard ships carrying 8-36 guests, contact us now to secure space for your small ship Alaska cruise in 2023.
Alaska Dream Cruises Remote Alaska Adventure
- Cost: From $8,600 per person
- Days: 10 days
- Book now
What makes Alaska Dream Cruises so special is the fact that its the only Indigenous-owned cruise company in the United Statesand that heritage presents itself in an authentic way throughout the sailings. One subtle example of this: At the top of daily dining menus are Tlingit phrases, like Xáanaa atxá gaawúáyá, meaning its dinner time. On a larger scale, the sailings are usually the only ones to visit and get a lesson on the Glacier Bay National Park Huna Tribal House . And because the ships are Alaska Nativeowned, theyre able to go to remote, tribally owned corners of the Inside Passage that non-Indigenous companies simply arent allowed to, like Hobart Bay. Other items on the agenda include exploring the pristine west coast of Chichagof Island, seeing the summer fishing camp of the Tlingit people at Klawock , and walking a rain forest path to the natural hot spring pools of Baranof Warm Springs.
If youre looking to eschew the cruise ship behemoths for something more intimate, this is itAlaska Dream Cruises Kruzof Explorer holds only 12 passengers. And because its so small, passengers can weigh in on the daily itinerary, perhaps opting to skip a hike in favor of more time photographing the face of a glacier or watching juvenile humpback whales learn to breach. The vessel was once a Bering Sea crab fishing boat, but its since been turned into a comfortable expedition vessel. Meals and activities are included.
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Timing An Alaska Adventure Cruise
Small ship Alaska cruises make the most of the summer months when passengers can enjoy warmer temperatures, long days with late sunsets and accessible wildlife. Throughout the summer, weather is variable ranging from warm sunny days in the 70s or 80s to chilly rainy days in the 50s and 60s.
The climate data listed above is for Anchorage, Alaska, but there are Southeast coastal and Arctic microclimates to consider depending on your small Alaska cruise itinerary. For even more detail on thebest time to visit Alaska for your Alaska adventure cruise, view our month by month guide.
Hurtigruten Expeditions Inside Passage Bears And Aleutian Islands
- Cost: From $10,420 per person
- Days: 18 days
- Book now
For its inaugural season in Alaska, Hurtigruten Expeditions is not holding back. In 2022, the company is offering an 18-day sailing that starts in Vancouver, Canada, before working its way past the fjords, glacier-filled straits, and Indigenous villages of the Inside Passage. Unlike most other sailings that stay within the southeast, from here, the ship hangs a hard left and chugs along to Kodiak, an island community known for humongous brown bears and prolific crab fishing. Though its the second-largest island in the entire United States, its rare that cruise ships visit, mainly because it lacks the infrustructure for big ships.
Then its onward to the even less visited Aleutian Islands , where guests visit the uninhabited St. Paul and St. Matthew islands and Unga Village , before crossing the International Dateline, sailing through the Bering Strait , and eventually docking in Nome, the far-flung city best known as the finishing point for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Perhaps even more interesting than the itinerary is the fact that the vessel, the 528-passenger MS Roald Amundsen, is battery hybrid-powered. In addition to being a model for cruising sustainably, the MS Roald Amundsen features an observation deck, science center, three Nordic-style restaurants, an infinity pool, and hot tubs. In other words, its definitely a place you wouldnt mind spending 18 days.
Courtesy of Lindblad
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Alaska Small Ship Cruises
If you’ve traveled with big ship cruise lines in the past, it’s time to forget everything you thought you knew about cruising. And if you’ve avoided cruising because you thought it would be like traveling in a floating mall, it’s time to think again. This is something else altogether.Small ship cruises let you experience Alaska – up close and personally.
Morning Stretch And Yoga
Each morning, you can limber up with a stretch class led by our expedition leader Megan. She offered a couple of yoga classes throughout the trip as well. Its a great way to work out the muscles from a day of kayaking or hiking.
The seven days we had on UnCruise Adventures in Alaska zipped by. We had made incredible new friends who felt like family by the end of the trip. We all laughed a lot and bonded over shared experiences that can only be had in Alaska.
When I look back on our time on UncCuise, I will always think of the people we met from around the world and smile. It was the journey of a lifetime.
Our trip to Alaska was in partnership with UnCruise Adventures. Our Alaska Itinerary was the Alaska Glacier Country cruise. But they have many Alaskan cruise itineraries to choose from.
Travel Planning Resources
Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.
Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner
Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Don’t leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:
- World Nomads – Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
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Best Rated Alaska Small Ship Cruises
Alaskan adventures come in all shapes and sizes, so if youre planning a cruise to Alaska, there are countless options to select between. From massive ships nearly 1000 long to Alaska small ship cruises, the Last Frontier offers something for every type of traveler.
That said, there are distinct advantages to selecting small ship cruises to Alaska over larger boats. Smaller cruise boats are more intimate, helping you make friends and also connecting you with the water below on large ships, its easy to forget that youre even on the ocean not so with small ship Alaska cruises.
Another huge benefit of Alaska small ship cruises is that these boats are able to navigate tight waters that prevent large ships from entering. This gives you access to a more wild and untouched Alaskan experience.
Here, pristine waters reverberate with life, endemic animals migrate across the shores, and distant peaks are clad in dazzling glaciers the welcoming spirit of Alaska is palpable.
Ready to begin your journey? Continue reading to learn more about the best small ship Alaska cruises offered by AAA.
Con: Fewer Dining Options
If your idea of vacation is to sample as many restaurants as possible, small cruise ships arent for you.
Ocean Victory, for example, has only two dining venues the main dining room and a more casual bistro-style area with indoor and outdoor seating on the top deck. The menus vary daily, serving a wide range of options at every meal, and I certainly never lacked for food I enjoyed.
However, if you prefer variety, the ship has no room for specialty venues or bonus shops like ice cream or hamburger stands. On the flip side, you avoid the up-charges and scrambles to secure reservations that go along with additional onboard restaurant options.
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Should I Plan My Small Ship Alaska Cruise Myself
Whether this is your first or fifth Alaskan cruise, having a convenient, professional platform to book through can eliminate stress and ensure that you get the vacation experience that you want.
As a busy individual, you deserve to have a seasoned travel expert take care of the logistics for you so that you can sit back and fully enjoy your time off.
Where Do Alaska Cruises Depart From
The departure port for your Alaska cruise varies depending on the itinerary, but the most common departures are below
Ketchikan – Located on Revillagigedo Island, Alaska Airlines provide daily flights from Seattle. It is also possible to get to Ketchikan via sea with the Alaska Marine Highway System which has connections from the US and Canada, although to get from Washington to Ketchikan takes around 3-4 days!
– There are 2 ways to get to Juneau, either by air or by sea. Alaska Airlines offer daily flights year-round from Seattle or Anchorage, and Delta Airlines offers seasonal flights from Seattle to Juneau. The other option to get to Juneau is by the state-run ferry the AMHS.
Petersburg – Alaska Airlines offer twice-daily flights from Washington, Seattle and Anchorage, and the is also the option to get to Petersburg via the AMHS.
Sitka – With links from Seattle, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska Airlines offer daily flights to Sitka. There is also the option to go via ferry, but again this can take 3-4 days.
Seattle – As a major US city, Seattle offers numerous ways to get there, from planes, trains to trams, there are plenty of options to get to Seattle.
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A Note About Your Travel Days
Take note when making your small Alaskan cruise comparison that there are a variety of ports where cruises begin and end including Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka and Anchorage. And some will require more time to arrive and depart.
Flights to Juneau and Anchorage are common, while the smaller ports of call used by many Southeast Alaska small ship cruises may require a bit more padding on your travel days in and out. A pre-cruise overnight is always recommended in case of delays. Travelers east of the Rockies will certainly require one in order to safely embark their Alaska small ship cruise on time.