Best Cruises For Extended Trips To Alaska
If you want to cruise Alaska but also see some of the interior and enjoy a stay in a lodge or hotel, go for a cruise-tour package from either Holland America or Princess Cruises. Both have fantastic itineraries that take passengers not only to the Inside Passage, but also Anchorage, Denali National Park, the Yukon, Kenai Peninsula, Talkeetna and Fairbanks. Princess even owns a handful of its own lodges.
Enjoy Food & Excursions On This 7
This 936-foot long cruise ship is packed with everything you need to have a good time while embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. You can enjoy regional cooking, spa and salon amenities, wine tastings, and a host of onboard activities. Some of the activities include a blues club, performance stage, a casino, and a kids activity hall.
Dining options that are included in ticket costs are Pinnacle Grill, Lido Market, and The Dining Room. There are also other dining options onboard including a cafe, sushi restaurant, and a pizzeria.
This week-long cruise follows the following itinerary:
- Day 1: Seattle & Puget Sound
- Day 2: Cruising
Grand Lounge. Photo courtesy of Oceana Cruises.
What Cruise Ship Sails Roundtrip From Alaska To Seattle
When you book round-trip cruises from Seattle to Alaska, youll sail on Celebrity Solstice, the debut ship of Celebritys award-winning Solstice class.
The ships accommodations range from spacious veranda staterooms with 24-hour room service to luxuriously appointed suites. During your cruise, get pampered at the onboard spa and indulge in world-class cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef.
Spend your days at sea lounging at the adults-only Solarium pool or on the main pool deck. Pull up a chaise, drink in hand, and watch Alaskas gorgeous seascapes and landscapes glide by.
Play lawn sports like croquet, golf, or lawn bowling by day and listen to jazz concerts by night at the innovative Lawn Club. Play a pick-up basketball game on the outdoor court or take a turn or two around the jogging track. Take a dip in a hot tub to relax those well-used muscles.
Learn culinary tips and tricks on galley tours, during cooking demos, and while enjoying tastings from cheeses to bourbons. Speaking of learning, on Alaska cruises, an onboard naturalist conducts lectures on local wildlife and culture and has answers for any questions about Alaska that you might have.
Evenings on board Celebrity Solstice are equally active and exciting. Meet friends and make friends at the Martini Bar, one of the ships most popular spaces for drinks. See Broadway-worthy shows and entertainment in the state-of-the-art theatre.
Us Senate Greenlights Alaska Cruises For Summer
The U.S. Senate has greenlit Alaska’s summer cruise season.
Canadas decision in February to ban cruising through February 2022 was seen as a death knell to Alaskas summer cruise season, which powers a $1.2-billion industry for the 49th state.
But as it turns out, any obituaries were premature.
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, sponsored by Alaskas Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, which gives large cruise ships a lifeline and a way around the Passenger Vessel Services Act for as long as Canadas cruise ban is in place. The bill is expected to be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden.
The PVSA prohibits foreign-flagged ships like those operated by big-ship cruise lines from embarking and disembarking passengers at two different U.S. ports without stopping at a foreign port in between. Most cruise ships sailing between the Lower 48 and Alaska are registered in Panama, the Bahamas, Bermuda or the Netherlands.
Normally, Alaska-bound ships departing from Seattle would need to spend a day in Vancouver or Victoria to satisfy the law. The new legislation from Murkowski and Sullivan would allow ships to bring passengers directly from Washington to Alaska.
Murkowski added that bill helps safeguard the livelihoods of Alaskan-owned small businesses, and entire communities, that serve these cruise passengers.
How Much Does An Alaska Cruise Cost
An Alaska cruise can cost as little as $350 per person for a seven-night cruise in an inside cabin on a mainstream line. Or, it can cost upwards of $10,000 per person for a week in a suite on a luxury cruise ship. The price varies greatly depending on the cruise line and ship, departure date, and itinerary.
Plus, youll need to factor in airfare, hotel stays, shore excursions, and other costs to determine the total price of an Alaska sailing. Below, we answer the question of how much an Alaska cruise costs by breaking down the expenses you are likely to incur on your vacation up north.
Check out our Alaska cruise guide for more planning tips and the best itineraries.
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Small Ship Alaska Cruises From Seattle
At this time, AAA does not offer 3-day Alaska cruises from Seattle, small boutique cruises from Seattle to Alaska, or cruises from Seattle to Alaska one way.
Please contact one of our travel agents with any questions you may have about our Alaska cruises leaving from Seattle.
We hope to see you soon on one of our cruises!
How Many Days Do You Need For An Alaska Vacation
The sweet spot for an Alaska vacation is seven to 10 days. If you’re traveling on a land tour only, in seven days you can go all the way from Kenai Fjords National Park to Denali National Park with plenty of time for day-long guided excursions along the way. If you’re interested in an Alaska cruise, a 10-day vacation could include seven days sailing, plus three days on a pre-cruise or post-cruise land package.
There is one thing to keep in mind: Alaska is big! That means that it takes time to travel between favorite destinations. To go from Anchorage to Denali, for example, it takes about four hours by car, six hours by motorcoach, and about eight by train.
You can use our Trip Finder tool to easily search for itinerary ideas based on the number of days you’d like to travel, plus must-see destinations and preferred transportation. The packages listed are fully customizable.
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Longer Sailings From The West Coast
Finally, youll find some San Francisco round-trip itineraries usually 10 nights long as well as longer sailings between San Francisco and Vancouver. These cruises are best suited to travelers who love days at sea. Youll have four sea days plus a day of scenic cruising at a spot like Tracy Arm , Endicott Arm, Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay National Park. The waters before you enter the Inside Passage can be calm, rough or anything in between, depending on when you go and luck of the draw.
Ports on these longer sailings may include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Victoria, British Columbia.
Alaskas 2021 Cruise Season Looks To Be Back On
Courtesy of Holland America Line
Holland America Line is one of several cruise lines that has already opened up bookings for Alaska sailings this summer.
New legislation offers significant hope, and cruise lines are already announcing plans to begin sailings in July.
Alaska officials have been heavily pushing for a return of cruising this summer. The U.S. Congress has heard the call and by unanimous consent has now given the green light to a bill that could make that dream a reality. Assuming President Joe Biden signs the bill into law, cruises could start bringing thousands of passengers to Alaska on a weekly basis beginning in July.
The legislation approved by Congress on May 20 temporarily waives the Passenger Vessel Services Act allowing cruise ships sailing from Seattle to bypass Canada. The PVSA, which dates to the 1880s, is a law that otherwise requires foreign-flagged ships sailing from the United States to visit another country before returning to the U.S. The majority of larger cruise lines operate foreign-flagged ships. So, in order to be able to sail in Alaska, they need to also make port stops in Canada. Therein lies the problem: Canada has banned larger cruise ships from sailing until February 2022 due to the pandemic, thus big ship cruising in Alaska has been effectively off the table for 2021 as welluntil now.
It remains to be seen whether some of the more boutique luxury cruise lines will announce Alaska itineraries in the coming days and weeks, too.
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Yacht Sailboat & Private Charters
Few visitors realize they can charter a small vessel for a custom adventure, or join just a few other travelers on a luxury yacht cruise. These exclusive trips are available in Prince William Sound , Seward and Kenai Fjords, and the Inside Passage.
- Activities launch from the boat. Kayak, paddeleboard, head ashore for a hike along the coast, pause to view spawning salmon and bears waiting to catch them. Or relax on the ship playing games, reading a book, and sharing stories with your fellow travelers. The choice is yours.
- Casual & intimate. If you’ve booked the boat, it’s just you your family / friends and the crew. If you’re on a shared trip, you’ll get to know the other few travelers on board.
- Maximum Flexibility. Yes, there’s a schedule, but it’s typically centered around exactly what you’d like to do.
- Fine Cuisine. The food is a point of pride for these smaller vessels, and it often centers on locally sourced products. Most trips also include beer and wine.
- Great for families. Chartering a boat is a fantastic multi-generational family trip where everyone will have the opportunity to do things they enjoy.
- Possible Downsides: Smaller boats are more prone to the elements, but cruises in Prince William Sound are generally very well protected.
Top Alaskan Ports Of Call
No matter which type of itinerary you select, youll likely visit a mix of these ports. Like so many places around the world, many of these ports now cater to the cruise market. If you want to see nature at its finest, go beyond the immediate port area. And if you want to see some of Alaskas most rustic and charming villages, book a voyage with a line like Alaskan Dream Cruises and UnCruise that visits destinations like Baranof Island, Chichagof Island, Petersburg and Wrangell.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Alaska Cruises
Alaska is a cruise destination like no other with so much to be appreciated both on shore and from the deck of your ship. Most Alaska cruise itineraries will voyage along The Inside Passage, which offers the chance to traverse piercing blue fjords, icy glaciers and snow-peaked mountains. Hubbard Glacier is another must-see on an Alaska cruise, as is the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Glacier Bay National Park. Plus there’s always the added possibility of spotting whales from your ship as you sail in Alaska too.
An Alaskan cruise requires a good mix of warm, waterproof and practical outdoor clothing, coupled with a selection of eveningwear outfits to wear on board and swimwear if you’re planning to make use of your ship’s pools and spa. Bring base layers and sensible walking shoes with a sturdy grip, as well as gloves, a hat and scarf, and a jacket capable of keeping you warm and dry. Long sleeves and trousers are advised for daytimes, particularly if you’re planning to observe the scenery from deck as you sail the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay. A camera is also an Alaskan cruise essential as the landscape here is truly otherworldly.
Layers are essential to pack for an Alaska cruise, as are comfortable shoes and wet weather gear, such as a light rain mac. A more substantial coat is also recommended, particularly if you plan to stargaze from deck in the evenings or get up early to see the sunrise.
US English is the main language in Alaska.
When Is The Best Time To Cruise To Alaska For Maximum Daylight
Imagine being able to enjoy Alaskas incredible natural beauty during days of near-continuous sunlight. With so much daylight, you can enjoy all the best Alaska shore excursions, from biking alongside the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau to hiking in the Tongass National Forest.
If you want to experience the phenomenon of sunlit nights for yourself, the best time to go to Alaska on a cruise is right around the Summer Solstice in the second half of June. This is the time when days are longest in the entire Northern Hemisphere.
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Your Adventure Is Only A Click Away
“The ability of a small boat to maneuver into hidden places makes for an unforgettable experience.” Patricia G, Park Ridge, IL
This was perfect for us! Like everyone we met on board, we would not consider a cruise with thousands to be a vacation. We made friends each night in the lounge and it felt like a dinner party. The flexibility of the captain and our guides was a fantastic touch. Being able to go into places where it was just our boat was very special. Richard L, Kamas, UT
Ally P, Poway, CA
Tips For Alaska Communities
The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in Fairbanks, which is open year-round, introduces visitors to the areas Athabaskan culture.
What can communities do to assist with transportation and visitor experiences?
Service the same niche markets cruise industries are catering to, members of a special panel on the cruise sector told members attending the Alaska Travel Industry Associations annual conference.
The fastest growing segment is multi-generational family groups so offer an experience that accommodates a range of ages. Cruise ships, for example, have responded to the multi-generational market with three-bedroom suites and have designed ships with a range of mobility issues in mind. A land tour experience needs to accommodate the same.
Royal Caribbeans Russel Benford suggested that there is growing interest is cultural experiences and his company is looking to stay ahead of the trend. He hoped that communities and operators would see value in changing their mix of products to accommodate this growing area of demand.
He went on to say that the big mega ships are packed with thousands of visitors who are looking for unique, custom experiences. Small group tour options can be packaged as intimate and private, even when they sell at a premium, he said. Successful cruise destinations need fresh product to keep the destination fresh.
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When Is The Best Time To Visit Alaska To Avoid Crowds
Shoulder season is also the best time to go on an Alaska cruise if you prefer fewer crowds while exploring the historical and cultural aspects of Alaskan cities and towns.
Shore excursions are easier to book, so take full advantage of roomier whale-watching cruises and less crowded restaurants.
Schools are still in session in May and September, so fewer families are traveling. Also, many cruise passengers prefer to travel to Alaska in the warmer weather, so crowds on both sea and land tend to thin out.
Got Questions About Alaska Cruises
If you have any questions about which Alaska cruise and itinerary would be best for you, get in touch with one of AAAs travel agents today.
Here at AAA, weve made it our mission to provide travelers with access to luxurious and fun cruise experiences. We look forward to providing you with the answers that you need in order to make the best decision for your upcoming trip.
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When Is The Best Time For Families To Visit Alaska
Summer break, which is peak cruising season, is an ideal time for families to go on an Alaska cruise. Depending on your familys interests, youll want to decide whether to book earlier or later in the season, since there can be a difference in weather and activities between the end of June and mid-August.
Some of the shore excursions you can experience when going on an Alaska cruise with kids include hiking the Tongass forest, whale-watching tours, kayaking, and learning about Tlingit culture.
Aim for the week right after school ends or the week before school begins if youd like to get there just ahead of the most crowded part of peak season. A cruise to Alaska is an unforgettable summer family vacation experience your kids will cherish forever.
Benefits Of Doing An Alaska Cruise From Seattle
Alaska cruises are great fun for cruisers of all ages. Some of the things we hear people praise the most about doing a cruise from Seattle to Alaska are:
- Alaska cruises are surprisingly cost-effective, especially during shoulder seasons.
- You can enjoy some of Mother Natures greatest artwork
- Alaska cruises offer a variety of different types of excursions to appeal to all guests.
- Taking an Alaskan cruise gives you the chance to make forever memories with your friends or family.
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How Much Should I Budget For Shore Excursions
I definitely recommend giving yourself a large budget for shore excursions on your Alaska cruise. Given that Alaska is part of the U.S. and also a remote destination where many products must be shipped long distances from elsewhere, goods and services in Alaska tend to be more expensive than youll find at home. Shore tours are typically priced higher than in the Caribbean or the Bahamas.
Second, youll discover a few fun attractions and lots of shopping within walking distance from each Alaska cruise pier, but the real draw lies beyond the city limits. Youll want to take tours in nearly every port to make the most of your once-in-a-lifetime visit to the 49th state.
Looking at Alaska shore excursion prices on Norwegian Cruise Line, one- or two-hour city tours or guided walks cost $40 to $100, but youll find the majority of half-days tours cost $100 to $300 per adult. A dogsledding and flightseeing tour on a glacier can cost $550 or more.
Depending on what kind of bucket list experiences you plan to have, you might want to budget $1,000 per person for shore excursions on your Alaska cruise.