Medium Ship Line #1: Marella Cruises
U.K.based cruise line Marella, which is operated by TUI UK, has a fleet of six ships that hold between 1,100 and 2,000 passengers, sailing itineraries around Europe, the Middle East, North America, and the Caribbean, with some special journeys to Asia. The sailings are billed as all-inclusive, and they do include alcoholic beverages and tips, but some of the specialty restaurants cost an extra fee.
Small Ship Line #: Lindblad Expeditions
This fleet of 15 vesselswith passenger capacities ranging from just 28 to 148sails to rugged, far-flung destinations including Arctic Svalbard, Antarctica, Indonesia, and the Galápagos. A Lindblad cruise typically prioritizes adventure over luxury so on most ships, expect small, simple cabins, but plenty of memorable excursions, like snorkeling in Borneo or hiking an ice field in Patagonia. But some of its recent fleet additions are truly luxe, from its two polar-sailing expedition ships, National Geographic Endurance and National Geographic Resolution, to the elegant Oberoi Philae, which sails the Nile. Each sailing has an expedition team made up of experts in fields like marine biology and photography.
Other Alaska Cruise Ports And Embarkation/disembarkation Ports
If youre traveling on a small ship, your ship may call at Wrangell, Petersburg or go ashore at Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park. These are all wonderful and intimate ports with lots to see and do. Learn more here about Wrangell, here about Petersburg and here about Glacier Bay.
Even though it isnt in Alaska, many cruises which start or end in Seattle stop in Victoria. If your ship calls at Victoria, read all about my suggestions for what to do in Victoria here.
If youre embarking or disembarking in Whittier or Seward, youll be flying in or out of Anchorage. If youre looking to spend a few extra days exploring, read more about all the wonderful things to do in Anchorage here.
Fun fact: my second favorite city in the world in Vancouver, BC! If youre adding some time before or after your cruise, check out my top recommendations for Vancouver here.
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Medium Ship Line #: Celebrity Cruises
Celebritys Millennium-class shipsCelebrity Millennium, Infinity, Summit, and Constellationare the smallest in the fleet, each with a capacity between 2,100 and 2,200 passengers. The ships just got a bevy of both new and upgraded staterooms as part of Celebrity’s fleet-wide modernization, and when they launched in the early aughts were some of the first ships to use more eco-friendly engines that combined gas and steam power. The four ships sail from home ports around the world, from Europe to North America to Asia.
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.
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Top Alaska Cruise Tours
Cruise tours to Alaskas interior come in different lengths and visit different areas of the state. The most popular visit Talkeetna for views of Denali and Denali National Park to see wildlife and learn about the parks history and ecosystem.
Some Alaska cruise tours will give guests a night in Anchorage to explore the city, or travel as far north as Fairbanks. Others will swap Anchorage with a stay on the Kenai Peninsula or at the Alyeska Resort in the Chugach Mountains before heading north.
Other cruise tours combine interior Alaska with trips to Canadas Yukon. Some simply extend the land portion of the trip to include Dawson City or Whitehorse for one epic trip. For those with less vacation time, Holland America has an option that combines half an Alaska cruise with a land extension through the Yukon to Fairbanks and Denali, ending in Anchorage.
For a different Canadian adventure, Princess offers a cruise tour that starts in Calgary and visits Banff and Lake Louise before finishing up in Alaska to meet the cruise ship. This tour does not venture as far as Denali.
Which Alaska cruise tours are the best? That decision is personal, but Holland America and Princess lead the pack for the most diverse tour options, company-owned Alaska railway cars and resort properties, and experience in the region.
When Is The Best Time To Take An Alaskan Cruise
We prefer cruising to Alaska in the fall toward the end of the season. Youll escape insects and crowds on an autumn visit, but shoppers may find that boutiques and gift stores are either closed already or offering limited merchandise.
Spring is another good time for an Alaskan cruise, with the promise of drier weather and fewer crowds . In both fall or springknown as shoulder seasondiscounted fares are a possibility.
Of course if youre traveling on a multi-generation Alaskan cruise, with work and school schedules to accommodate, summer may be your only choice. This is when an UnCruise adventure makes especially good sense for those traveling with tweens and above, since the line skips typical ports in favor of helping you experience wild Alaska.
No matter which line you choose, expect rainier weather on a summer Alaska cruise, especially in July and August.
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Small Ship Line #1: Star Clippers
Star Clippers has a fleet of three ships, with its flagship Royal Clipper holding the record as the worlds largest full-rigged sailing ship. All three are sailing yachts, unfurling their sails for itineraries across the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, with classic exteriors and interiors featuring several bars, a swimming pool, library, and formal dining room.
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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Small Ship Line #1: Hapag
German company Hapag-Lloyd is not just in the shipping business: its building a luxury expedition cruise empire, too. Though it currently only has two ships in its fleet, the MS Europa and MS Europa 2, the line has impressed its customers with suite-style cabins, impressive itineraries across all seven continents, and extremely polished service thats anything but stuffy. Hapag-Lloyds budding empire will expand with three new expedition ships scheduled to launch in 2021.
Large Ship Line #: Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Lines is all about good family fun at a pretty affordable price point. The largest cruise line in the world in terms of number of annual passengers as well as fleet count, it has 24 ships that sail North America and Europe, with about half of them having a capacity between 2,500 and 3,900 guests. Carnival is known for its fun upper decks that are akin to an amusement park at sea, between water slides, ropes courses, mini-golf, and attractions like SkyRide, where guests pedal a hanging vehicle around a suspended track.
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Which Cruise Lines Sail To Alaska
Alaska is not one of the absolute top cruise destinations in the world, so not every cruise line offers sailings in the region. Due to the nature of the ports, its not ideally suited to the largest ships in the world, that are more designed for action-packed fun cruises for families in more tropical climates. Few people are going to Alaska to enjoy a water park!
Thats not to say that youre short of choice. Many varied cruise lines do offer Alaska itineraries, on-board some of the newest ships in the world too. Whether youre a family who wishes to enjoy the innovative features of Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line or Princess Cruises, or a couple who want to relax with Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises or Cunard, you wont be limited in your options. Guests looking for luxury cruises wont be disappointed either with Azamara, Crystal,Oceania and Silversea cruises available.
Featured June Cruises To Alaska
Experience the wonders of Endicott Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier on the gorgeous Celebrity Solstice on a to Alaska. This popular itinerary sails roundtrip from Seattle, Washington.
Along the way, youll stop in the Alaskan port towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, as well as Victoria, British Columbia. As you sail through Endicott Arm to Dawes Glacier, relax on your private veranda and admire the stunning landscapes.
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Best For Couples And Big Celebrations
Look to the luxury cruise lines if youre a couple and enjoy spacious suites, gourmet food, pampering and the opportunity to meet other like-minded cruisers. The personalized service and all-inclusive nature of luxury voyages may also be attractive to anyone celebrating a milestone, such as an anniversary, big birthday or retirement. Look at Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Scenic, Seabourn, Silversea , Windstar Cruises and Viking Ocean.
Medium Ship Line #: Azamara
Though Azamaras three 700-passenger ships are lovely, with top-quality dining and plenty of on-board activities to fill days at sea, passengers choose this cruise line for the experience at its destinations, which span all seven continents. Azamara not only offers personalized shore excursions , they also do a number of overnights, allowing guests to explore more destinations farther inland. The overnights also allow passengers to experience an evening out on the town in port cities, if they so choose.
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Princess Cruises Alaska Cruise Itineraries 2022 / 2023
Princess Cruises really do offer superb Alaska itineraries and there are various options in 2022 and 2023 for you to choose from: 7-day cruises from Seattle or Vancouver 10-day cruises from San Francisco 7-day cruises from Vancouver or Anchorage and a 7-day Alaskan cruise from Anchorage or Vancouver which also offers 3-8 night land tour programmes.
These superb itineraries include some of Alaskas best-loved ports, including Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord , Glacier Bay National Park , and Hubbard Glacier , as well as unique extras such as pre and post-cruise land programmes.
What To Do On An Alaskan Cruise
When it comes to planning shore excursions or time in port, youll find more things you must see or do on your Alaska cruise than you have time for.
Flightseeing is a popular activity, either by a floatplane that will soar you over beautiful natural areas or a helicopter that will fly up to the top of a glacier. Dogslide rides or visiting a dogsled training center and playing with the huskies are quintessential Alaska activities. To get more of a glimpse of Alaska culture and lifestyle, get tickets to a lumberjack show, attend a salmon bake, or go on a crab fishing tour.
History buffs will want to explore the states Gold Rush history, either with a local tour of Skagway or a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad. Culturally curious cruisers can visit a totem park or see a performance by native Alaskans.
Animal lovers can sign up for a whale watch, visit a bald eagle preserve, or take a tour to observe bears in their natural habitat or at a sanctuary. Active travelers can work up a sweat hiking, kayaking, biking, zip-lining, and even snorkeling in Alaskas wilderness. Gentle rafting and float trips are a less intense way to get outside and bond with nature in this cruise destination.
Dont want to book a tour? Alaskas cruise ports provide plenty of shopping opportunities for souvenirs and locally made crafts. Grab an Alaskan beer at a historic saloon, or try local seafood at any number of portside restaurants.
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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.
Which Ship Is Right For Your Alaska Cruise
Update: Royal Caribbean is committed to delivering vacations that are as safe as they are memorable. We are thrilled to welcome our guests to experience the memorable vacations we are known for once again, starting summer 2021. As you plan your next trip with your loved ones, well be here with inspiration in all forms whenever you need it.
Royal Caribbean visits top spots in Alaska each summer, including the Inside Passage, Juneau, Icy Strait Point and Skagway.
There is a lot of ground to cover when visiting Alaska, from its vast, rugged terrain to the many animals that call it home. Planning a vacation to the 49th state may seem like a daunting task. But with two Royal Caribbean ships sailing to the Last Frontier in 2021 and departing from convenient cities in the Pacific Northwestthis must-see destination has never been more within reach. Your big decision is choosing which ship is right for you!
Whether youre in it for the views, activities, destinations or an extended experience, every ship offers a bit of everything, but each has its perks:
Quantum of the Seas is packed with family adventures for the young and young at heart.
The Family Vacation Quantum of the Seas
Explore more of the family adventures that await when you sail aboard Quantumhere.
The Nonstop Views Ovation of the Seas
Sneak a peek at the views from Ovationhere.
When sailing on Serenade of the Seas, its as much about the destinations as it is the journey.
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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.
What Is The Best Month To Cruise Alaska
The best month to visit Alaska depends on what you hope to experience during your trip.
- Do you want as much sun and daylight as possible? Then book a June or July cruise.
- Would you like to see lots of wildlife? Then purchase a May, August, or September cruise as these months feature young animal families and migrations.
- Do you want to get into the interior and see Denali National Park or the Yukon? Then select July or August.
- Are you chasing bright tree foliage? Then book a cruise at the end of August or in September.
- Would you like to avoid mosquitoes? Then May and September are the best months for your cruise.
- Are northern lights on the itinerary? Then your trip will be in September or October. Would you like to fish for salmon? Then select any summer or shoulder month.
The good news is that no matter which month you choose, your Alaskan cruise will reward you with incredible experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
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