Before You Travel: Prior To Leaving Home
Before You Travel: Prior to Leaving Home
- All guests must fully complete online check-in and select a port arrival time, which will become available as soon as 21 days and up to 3 days before the cruise embarkation date.
- Due to limited capacity in the terminals, port arrival times selected during online check in will be strictly enforced.
- Luggage tags must be attached to each piece of luggage when arriving at the port to expedite the baggage drop-off process.
Two Cruise Lines Offering Alaska Land Vacations This Year
Two cruise lines, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, will offer land vacations to Alaska this year where you can see glaciers up close, spot bucket-list wildlife, explore national parks and see Denali, North Americas tallest mountain.
This summer, the two cruise lines offer many ways for travelers to experience Alaska through Gray Line Alaska, Princess Alaska Lodges and Holland America Lines Westmark Hotels, giving travelers a combination of tours, lodging and sightseeing options on land.
This years tours highlight the best of Alaskas interior with COVID-19 health and safety precautions top of mind, both for the well-being of employees and guests. For travelers who want to take the legwork out of planning their Alaska vacation, a tour is a great option. For travelers who want to go at their own pace and make their own itinerary, hotel and sightseeing options make for a custom experience.
Among the highlights for escorted tours will be the full eight-hour Tundra Wilderness Tour at Denali, where guests have opportunities to see the big five grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep.
Other included tours are the Portage Glacier Cruise near Anchorage and Riverboat Discovery excursion in Fairbanks. In addition, optional tours such as flightseeing around the mountain, river rafting, and more will be available to book at each hotel property.
Options this summer include the following:
Getting To Alaska By Cruise Ship
Without a doubt, getting to Alaska by cruise ship is immensely popular for Alaska visitors. While cruise passengers may never experience the authentic Alaska while on board, off shore excursions and cruise and land packaged vacations can give many an affordable, easy way to begin to explore Americas 49th state. The major Alaska cruise ports include Skagway, , Sitka and Ketchikan.
The major cruise lines servicing Alaska include:
Large Cruise Ships
- Carnival Cruise Line 2,124 Guests
- Celebrity Cruises 1,814 2,850 Guests
- Crystal Cruises 940 guests
- Disney Cruise Lines 2400 guests
- Holland America 1,380 1,960 Guests
- Norwegian Cruise Line 1,936 2,394 Guests
- Princess Cruises 1,970 2,670 Guests
- Royal Caribbean 2,435 2,501 Guests
Mid Size Cruise Ships
- Oceania Cruises 684 Guests
Small Cruise Ships
- American Cruise Lines 93 guests
- Ponant Cruises 64 264 Guests
- Regent Seven Seas 490 Guests
- Silversea Cruises 382 Guests
- Seabourn Alaska Cruises 208 450 Guests
- Un-Cruise Adventures 60 76 Guests
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To Cruise Or Not To Cruise
If you truly only have a week for an Alaska vacation, consider forgoing the cruise and let us help you arrange a land tour from Anchorage. Not only can you explore spectacular land side destinations like Talkeetna and Denali National Park, we can get you out on the water as well with stunning day cruise options. You can take in both magnificent glaciers and abundant marine wildlife in destinations like College Fjord in Prince William Sound from Whittier, Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward, or even the massive Columbia Glacier from Valdez. These day cruises operate with smaller vessels, allowing you to get much closer to the wildlife, scenery, and glaciers.
Six Popular Ports Of Call On Alaskan Family Cruises
Alaska is vast and is home to some of the most breathtaking and untouched natural wonders, including volcanoes, glaciers, shorelines, and wildlife. A cruise to Alaska should be considered incomplete if you fail to explore the interior and the ports of call along the route. That said, these are six of the most popular ports of call on Alaskan family cruises:
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Alaska Cruise Ship Passengers
Here are highlights over the past few years:
Alaska closed the books on its best cruise season ever in 2019 when it greeted 1.33 million cruise visitors, a 14% increase over the prior year.
The state expects to welcome 1.4 million cruise visitors in 2020, an estimated 6% increase over 2019. With the addition of a second dock, Icy Straits Point is scheduled to receive 383,834 guests, a 50.6% increase while scheduling changes will most impact Haines and Kodiak.
In early 2009, it was announced that Alaska would lose three cruise ships and approximately 142,000 passengers in the 2010 season a 17% decline in cruise business after 30 years of growth. That loss equated to:
- $165 million/year in lost revenues, cruise line purchases, passenger spending, jobs and payroll
- 51,000 fewer crew visits to Alaska ports
- 1,800 fewer full-time jobs for Alaskans
In April 2010, the Alaska State Legislature passed SB 312, paving the way to a comeback for the states cruise businesses. The bill adjusted the cruise passenger excise tax from $46 to $34.50, with a credit for head taxes charged by other ports.
Reducing operating costs through adopting a more competitive tax structure has been key to putting Alaska back on a path for growth, and SB 312 had a swift, positive effect on Alaskas visitor industry.
Alaskan Shore Excursions And More
Shore Excursions and Sightseeing Tours. Never pay cruise line prices again. Shore Explorersreveals over 5,500 Discount Shore Excursions and Sightseeing Tours priced as low as $29! Shore Excursion Reviews. Alaska Cruise shore excursions, tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more.
Up to 40% off regular pricing! Cancel any time and receive a full refund up to day of cruise Full refund if cruise is cancelled Full refund if ship misses port
Alaska is Adventurous!
Come explore some of the top active / adventure Alaska destinations, resorts, wilderness lodges and activities. Alaska Cruises Direct has you covered – whether it’s kayaking, hiking, cycling, helicopter glacier landing, flightseeing, fishing remote lakes, or zip lining through Alaska’s mountains, we know where to have fun!
Alaska Cruises, Rail & Tours, Alaska’s National Parks
With over 150 unique itinerary possibilities, from the 3 most popular cruise lines and hundreds of shore excursions, the combinations for your bucket-list inspired adventure are nearly endless. With Alaska Cruises Direct, you’ll enjoy the best of Alaska by combining a seven-night sailing with a land tour into Alaska’s most magnificent inland destinations.
Choose From 5 Great Ways To Sail Alaska
3 – 8 day land tours combined with a 7 day Alaska Cruise.
Start with glaciers and frontier towns on a 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise
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Small Ship Alaska Cruiseswith Adventuresmith
Choosing an Alaska adventure cruise with AdventureSmith means choosing an award-winning company founded by a former Alaska naturalist guide. And our greater team of Alaska cruise specialists have lived, worked and explored the region in depth. Let us help you create a rare and unique adventure, through firsthand experience and insight. Need more reasons to book your small ship Alaska cruise with AdventureSmith Explorations?
Work one-on-one with an Alaska cruise specialist to research, purchase & prepare for your trip.
We offer an unmatched selection aboard more than 25 small Alaska expedition ships.
Our founder is a former naturalist guide who helped pioneer Alaska adventure cruises.
Take advantage of deals & other Alaska cruise perks. Our buying power means you save.
Ask Our Alaska Cruise Specialists
AdventureSmith sends hundreds of passengers to Alaska each year thus, we answer a lot of questions about Alaska cruising. Our team can be a personal resource for you throughout the selection, booking and trip preparation process.
What are the current Alaska travel advisory considerations? Where do small Alaska cruise itineraries embark? Whats the best Alaska cruise for adults? For kids? Which Alaska passages offer the most glaciers? What is the most sustainable eco cruise? Browse our Alaska Cruise Guide to research some of our most popular Alaska small ship cruise FAQ topics, or simply contact us for a one-on-one answer now.
Best Large Cruise: Royal Caribbean
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
- Ship: Ovation of the Seas
- Duration: 7 nights
- Itinerary: Alaska Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria
If youre looking for a cruise to Alaska with all the theme-park-like attractions, then the Ovation of the Seas will not disappoint. Built in 2016, Ovation is currently ranked as one of the 10 largest cruise ships in the world with onboard features like a skydiving simulator, a cocktail bar tended by robots, aerial performances in the theater, and the North Star, a moving observation pod with surreal views. The first two days of the voyage are spent at sea so theres plenty of time to explore the ship and try different activities. Or, dine at specialty restaurants like Chops Grille, Royal Caribbeans iconic steakhouse Wonderland, an eclectic array of dishes, or Giovannis table, a favorite Italian restaurant.
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Two Weeks+ Alaska Cruise
Travelers who have two weeks can really do it right. You can combine cruises to see more of coastal Alaska, take longer routes up 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.
Independence Of The Seas Live Blog Day 3 Nassau
I spent today exploring Nassau, our first port of call. My first port day in Nassau last August was a bit of a mess due to lack of planning and rain, so I felt more prepared today.Prior to my cruise, I purchased a day pass to the Warwick Paradise Island from Resortforaday.com. Resort For A Day allows you to purchase day passes to hotels and resorts in popular Caribbean, Mexican, and American
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Alaska Cruise Guide: Planning Tips And Best Cruise Itineraries
Most people equate cruising with tropical destinations. Why would anyone cruise to chilly, rainy Alaska, where you might be wearing fleece jackets and knit hats and gloves in July?
Look beyond the iffy weather, and youll find many reasons to cruise Alaska. Perhaps youre drawn to the gorgeous scenery, the areas cultural and historic riches, or its abundant wildlife. With a variety of itineraries, cruise ships, destinations, and activities to consider, no two cruises to Alaska will be the same. However, first-timers can easily become overwhelmed choosing the best Alaska cruise itinerary or picking the perfect cruise line or cruise tour.
In our definitive Alaska cruise, well take you through everything you need to know to choose and plan the Alaska cruise vacation of your dreams.
Choose Where To Cruise In Alaska
Another key step in deciding how to pick a small Alaskan cruise is where you would like to cruise. Coming to our specialists with a good idea of which Alaska region youd like to visit allows us to determine which cruises are best for you. Then you can consider and hone in on which itineraries and ships offer the level of activity, comfort and amenities that fit your travel style. Heres a primer on some key cruise regions to consider when choosing an Alaska small ship cruise:
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What Ports Does A Round
On round-trip cruises from Seattle to Alaska, youll spend seven days visiting ports like Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway and sailing through the stunning Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier and the Inside Passage in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, before returning to Seattle.
How To Pick The Best Alaska Cruise For You
Youll see from our chart below that dozens of ships are sailing Alaska in 2020. And this just includes the mass-market and luxury ships. There are even more if you count all of the small ship and expedition vessels. Thats a lot of information to parse as you determine which ship is right for you, so consider a cruise line that caters to your specific needs or interests. Consult this list, and then check the chart to find a vessel that might fit your own preferences, from ships with the fewest passengers to those with the least expensive cruise fares to the ones offering exactly the itinerary you want.
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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 ship on time.
Best Time To Cruise To Alaska
The Alaska cruise season is short, running mainly from May to September, with a few lines offering sailings in April and October. The best time to cruise varies based on what you prioritize most.
The best Alaska cruise weather is typically found in June, when the summer rains havent ramped up, but the air temperatures are rising. This is the time when the sun barely sets and its light nearly all day long. July and August are the rainiest months in Alaska and see the most mosquitos September is starting to get chilly, with rougher waters and shorter days.
May is the best month to see waterfalls and wildflowers. June is when the salmon start to run, and the different species will appear and disappear throughout the cruise season. Denali lodges and the park road open in June, so your best bet for visiting the national park is in July and August for full accessibility and wildlife activity. However, if you want to see baby animals, plan your Alaska visit for May or June.
The best prices are found in the shoulder seasons: April-May and September-October. The biggest crowds and highest cruise fares come mid-June through mid-August.
Travelers who want the best shot at viewing the Northern Lights should book a cruise at the very end of the season, and tack on a cruise tour up to Denali and Fairbanks for the greatest potential.
Best Luxury: Regent Seven Seas
Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas
- Ship Name: Seven Seas Mariner
- Itinerary: Sitka, Juneau Skagway, Ketchikan, Vancouver
For a luxury cruise experience though the Inside Passage, Regent Seven Seas has a few sailing dates on the Seven Seas Mariner, an all-suite ship. On Mariner, all staterooms have a private balcony perfect for watching the glaciers and fjords float past and a minimum of 300 feet of space. Onboard, guests can unwind in the award-winning Canyon Ranch spa, take in an evening show, and dine on gourmet cuisine. Being a smaller ship , its size allows the staff to anticipate guests needs and personalize the experience. On the Alaska voyage, the ship calls on many popular ports and also treats passengers to Sitka, a unique port steeped in Tlingit culture and Russian history, before concluding in Vancouver.
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.
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Alaska Tourism Recovery Act
The news comes on the heels of the passage of the Alaska Tourism Recovery Actby both Houses of Congress which temporarily waives the Passenger Vessel Services Act, allowing cruising to Alaska to resume upon obtaining the pending Conditional Sailing Certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alaskans are ready to welcome visitors from across the globe to Alaska, where they can personally experience the scenic and cultural wonders that can only be found here, said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. I am grateful for the teamwork and thoughtful planning that many people from Norwegian Cruise Line, Alaskas local governments, our congressional delegation, tourism industry, and the states public health team put into preparing for a cruise ship season that promises to be both safe and rewarding for everyone.