But You Can Take A Cruise This Summer
And even though big ships are resuming their itineraries, you might consider a small-ship cruise instead. Operators will sail this summer out of Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and even Seattle. These ships, carrying 10 to 100 passengers, do not offer the bells and whistles of a big-ship cruise. But youll visit smaller coves and communities, with the focus on wildlife viewing and beach landings in small skiffs, kayaking, hiking and photography.
Gulf Of Alaska Cruise
If you book a Gulf of Alaska cruise, youll have the opportunity to visit Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan, Haines, and Icy Strait Point, among other destinations along the Inside Passage.
Youll also have up to two days of scenic cruising, during which youll be able to take in the beautiful scenery but wont be able to get ashore. Youll visit some spectacular vistas, such as Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Parks& Preserve, so this isnt quite as dull as you may expect.
These one-way cruise sailings usually depart from Anchorage or Anchorage and arrive in Vancouver . The majority of itineraries are seven nights, although there are a few that are longer.
When looking at cruise itineraries, youll see that some embarkation/debarkation ports are specified, such as Anchorage . That means youll have to travel into Anchorage and then transfer to Seward for your trip. The transfer is normally somewhat long, so cruise companies specifically include these ports in their brochures. Transportation to the port is normally included or available for a nominal price if you purchase your cruise Alaska airlines fare. For example, when I sailed from Anchorage , Regent included a ride on the Alaska Railroad from my hotel in Anchorage to Whittier.
If youre prone to seasickness, keep in mind that Gulf of Alaska sailings, especially those in late August and September, may suffer some strong waves in the Gulf of Alaska section of the journey.
The Best Alaska Cruises For Families
Nothing is as easy as finding cruise vacations that suit the needs of your family. Even so, you can never go wrong with an Alaskan cruise. Taking a family cruise to the state is something that youve undoubtedly considered.
Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful but also radiates the calmness of nature, which your whole family will love.
If youre planning a leisurely cruise to Alaska, here are 13 of the best cruises to consider.
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Compare: 12 Cruise Ships In Alaska
A message from Cruise Critic: During this unprecedented time throughout the world and across the cruise industry, it is important to note that article information might be impacted by cruise line hiatuses and port closures due to COVID-19. For the latest information, please visit our regularly updated article on what cruisers need to know about coronavirus.
It’s hard not to revert to hyperbole with Alaska. Here lie more than enough towering snow-capped mountains, breathtaking calving glaciers, extraordinary wild animals and quirky frontier towns to wow hundreds of thousands of cruisers annually. With more than two dozen mainstream ships plying Alaska’s island-filled southeast region from May to September, passengers certainly have options.
This chart features a representative from every major line in the mainstream and luxury markets, from the intimate and upscale Silver Muse to mega-ships like Norwegian Bliss.
Each of the 12 ships, which were hand-picked based on their popularity among all cruise options in Alaska, caters to a different type of traveler. Families on a budget might find the most “bang for their buck” onboard Carnival Spirit, while couples looking to splurge can pamper themselves with Seven Seas Mariner’s lavish suites and all-inclusive fine dining.
Familiarize yourself with the biggest contenders’ itineraries, exclusive regional offerings and more to determine which is the best Alaska cruise option for you.
Things To Do In Skagway
You may stroll from the cruise terminal to town on your own or take a guided shore excursion. Panning for gold, snowshoeing, and White Pass Rail trips are all included in the cruise tour. Visit a waterfall, trek the Chilkoot Trail, take an ATV tour of Glacier Point, take a helicopter trip to observe the glaciers in the vicinity, or rock climb and rappel. If you havent tried a dogsled ride yet, Skagway is the place to go. Take the Skagway Street Car city tour if you merely want to see the attractions.
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Cruise Lines Navigate Complex Rules As Alaska Sailings Resume From Seattle
Its a sight Seattle hasnt seen in a while: lines of vacationers at Pier 91, many dressed in Hawaiian shirts, bucket hats and sunglasses, with suitcases and smiles. The Majestic Princess floats on their left, the Serenade of Seas to the right.
Under sunny skies, the first Alaska cruise of the season and the first since the onset of the pandemic weighed anchor Monday as Royal Caribbeans Serenade of the Seas set off on a seven-night voyage.
The long anticipated return of cruising in Seattle continues this month as six other cruise lines resume sailing, among them Seattle-based Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Starting Friday, ships will leave Seattle almost daily for the rest of the month. In August, some days will see two departures.
Weve been waiting two years now to go to Alaska, said Peter Dorney, 52, one of the first people in line with his wife, Kathy, 51, waiting to board the Serenade on Monday morning. The Massachusetts couple is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and Dorney said they have been on more than 20 cruises. Were frequent cruisers.
Princess Cancels Select Sailings
Princess Cruises has now announced more cancellations through 2021 as a result of the Canadian Transport Ministrys in its waters for one year. The Carnival-owned cruise line has cancelled select sailings which include the following:
- Alaska seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruises, sailing between Vancouver, B.C. and Anchorage
- Pacific Coastals that start or end in Vancouver, B.C.
- Canadian Adventure sailing roundtrip from Southampton, UK
We share in our guests disappointment over these cancelled voyages especially as we have been preparing our ships for our return to service.
Princess Cruises has sailed to Alaska for more than 50 years and the incredible Last Frontier is part of our proud heritage. We understand, how much of Alaska is dependent on the cruise economy. We are going to do all we can to help our business partners and the communities of Alaska.
Princess is actually engaged with authorities in the United States and Canada to see if any Alaska and Canada & New England sailings can be saved so there could be further details still to come.
For now, Princess has committed to options on land with the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and the McKinley Chalet Resort in Denali as well as the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel during the summer. We can expect an announcement soon on new land packages which the cruise line is currently working on.
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Cruises Of Various Types
Youll be able to locate whatever kind of cruise youre searching for in Alaska. All of the main ships traveling in Alaska in 2020 are included in my graphic at the bottom of this page.
Sailings to Alaska are available on almost every mass-market second cruise company. Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, both of which have a lengthy history in the area, provide cruises and cruise-and-land tour vacation packages. Plus they have hot tubs to die for on the starboard side!
However, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and other major cruise lines offer trips as well.
Adventure Seekers And Teens Cruises
Suppose you have energetic children who are interested in nature and the environment. In that case, an adventure journey may be just what you need to keep them occupied and away from their electronics. Anyone else interested in seeing Alaska up and personal preference might take an adventure cruise, where youll board boats for up-close views of the top of a glacier, hike through Tongass National Forest, and kayak the tranquil waters of the Inside Passage.
Look for expedition ships from UnCruise Adventures, Alaskan Dream Cruises, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions , Ponant, or Silversea .
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Make Anchorage Your Base
Anchorage, Alaskas largest city with a population of about 290,000, sits on the Cook Inlet in the south-central part of the state. A 5½-hour flight from LAX, it offers visitors a variety of hotels, restaurants and museums. But its still wild enough that you might see a moose bolt across a city street, as I once did.
Anchorage sits at the geographic center of a range of adventure activities, with the glacier-clad Chugach Mountains rising to the east and volcanoes spiking the horizon across the inlet to the west.
Keep in mind one challenge travelers face everywhere this year: Car rentals are in short supply. Choose your hotel location carefully bunking in downtown Anchorage means there are plenty of restaurants, breweries and cafés within walking distance.
Canyoneering involves moving up and down steep slot canyons, using climbing, crawling and rappelling. And, in my case, praying, cursing and regretting my decision to leave L.A.
The excellent Anchorage Museum features the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, a collection of Indigenous Alaska artifacts, and through Nov. 28, an intriguing exhibit, Black Lives in Alaska. You can also visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center outside Anchorage, said Golden. It offers a fantastic introduction to native culture, with all the major tribes represented.
What It Is Really Like On The First Princess Cruises Cruise In 2021
Find out what it is really like on Princess Cruises first cruise of 2021 in Alaska as we report live from onboard Majestic Princess.
The first Princess Cruises ship has officially set sail after 16 long months. Of course, we wanted to be among the first to cruise Alaska with this popular brand. Having sailed on three other cruises with three different brands so far, we were eager to find out what was similar and what was different on Princess Cruises. Now, we are ready to give you our honest take on what it is really like on the first Princess Cruises cruise in summer 2021.
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The Best Places To Visit In Alaska
Youll most likely visit a combination of these ports, regardless of the sort of itinerary you choose. Like so many others across the globe, many of these ports now cater to the cruise business. Go outside the nearby port area if you want to experience nature in its best way. Book a cruise with a service like Alaskan Dream Cruises or UnCruise that visits sites like Baranof Island, Chichagof Island, Petersburg, and Wrangell to experience some of Alaskas most rural and picturesque settlements.
Princess Cruises Sending 7 Ships To Alaska In 2021
Princess Cruises, the #1 rated cruise line in Alaska, has announced their 2021 itineraries and will have seven cruise ships sailing to the region. The seven ships will visit 17 destinations on 11 unique itineraries from five homeports.
Also included in the 2021 season are 25 cruisetour options which combine a 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise with multiple days on land, scenic rail travel and overnight stays at Princess Wilderness Lodges.
Highlights of the 2021 Princess Cruises Alaska season, running from May through September, include:
Regal Princess debuts in Alaska, sailing roundtrip Seattle on Sundays on seven-day Inside Passage cruises, opposite Emerald Princess on Saturdays.
Royal Princess, Star Princess, Sapphire Princess and Coral Princess, sail between Vancouver and Anchorage on the popular Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary, with two glacier-viewing experiences. Guests sailing on these voyages can choose to take a cruisetour, traveling through the interior of Alaska to Denali National Park before or after their cruise.
Ruby Princess becomes the largest ship to sail on the cruise lines 10-day Inside Passage voyage, roundtrip from San Francisco offering guests the added bucket-list experience of sailing under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Coral Princess offers a 12-day Inside Passage cruise in May, roundtrip from Vancouver, featuring Glacier Bay National Park, Hubbard Glacier and Prince Rupert, B.C.
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The Capital City Of Ketchikan
The city of Ketchikan is noted for three things: Native Alaskan totem poles, Misty Fjords National Monument, and its status as the salmon capital of the world. More standing totem poles may be found in the town than anyplace else in the state, and they can be seen in many parks and at the Totem Heritage Center.
Princess Cruises Completes First Voyage To Alaska
Princess Cruises completes its first voyage to Alaska and from the U.S. since the start of suspensions in 2020.
Majestic Princess returned to Seattle on August 1 after completing its first cruise back in operation. Majestic Princess was the first of fourteen Princess ships to resume operations.
Guests were joined onboard by Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz on a seven-day voyage that sailed from Seattle to Alaska with ports of call in Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. In the meantime, Regal Princess commenced operations in the UK on July 31, and the cruise line intends to have all ships operational by the end of the year.
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Princess Cruises Holland America Return To Sailing From Seattle To Alaska
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome you back on board and to show you around Alaska,” Holland American captain, Jeroen Van Donselaar, said in a video.
Princess Cruises and Holland America Line each resumed cruising over the weekend, both sailing to Alaska to kick off their cruise seasons.
On Sunday, Princess Cruises set sail from Seattle on the Majestic Princess, heading for Alaska on a 7-day round trip journey, including stops at Glacier Bay National Park, in Juneau, and in Skagway. To celebrate, guests were greeted by masked and cheering staff wearing “welcome aboard” sashes.
“After 500 days of missing you all, #MajesticPrincess welcomed guests aboard today,” the cruise line tweeted. “Our hearts are full on this special day.”
On cruises to Alaska, Princess requires all guests to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before the start of the trip and includes several touchless features on board, including keyless stateroom entry and the ability to make guest service requests through a mobile device.
A day earlier, Holland America set sail on the Nieuw Amsterdam, heading out from Seattle to The Last Frontier.
On board, all guests must be fully vaccinated, according to the company, and will not be required to wear masks which is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for vaccinated passengers.
Two Princess Cruise Ships Delayed
The Carnival-owned cruise lines return to service had been going smoothly with multiple ships already back in service. However, the much-anticipated restarts for Island Princess from Fort Lauderdale in Florida and Crown Princess from Los Angeles in California are delayed.
Princess Cruises did not go into the specific reason for the delayed restart for the two ships. The only reason was to enable a further staggered return to service. This could be related to getting enough vaccinated crew to the ships and more time to prepare.
Princess Cruises said in the update,After careful consideration, we have found it necessary to delay the restart of Island Princess and Crown Princess to Spring 2022 to enable further staggering of our broader return to service plans. Island Princess will now return to service on April 27 with her published 14-day Panama Canal cruise and Crown Princess will restart on her published May 7 seven-day cruise to Alaska. As a result of these changes, the following cruises have been cancelled.
Island Princess cruises are now cancelled through April 17, 2022. The ship will finally restart operations on April 27, 2022, from Fort Lauderdale on a 14-day Panama Canal voyage. Crown Princess cruises are now cancelled through April 29, 2022. The ship will return from Los Angeles on May 7, 2022, on a seven-day voyage to Alaska.
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Helpful Tips Before You Go
- Be aware of the unusual length of days and nights in these northern latitudes. In May or June, the sun doesnt set until after 11pm giving you more time to see more of Alaska.
- In Alaska, some of the best tasting water comes right out of the tap. Thats because its glacial watercrisp, clean and clear.
- Much of Alaska is covered by a rainforest, so pack water-resistant clothing.
- Temperatures can vary based on what you are doing . Wearing layers can help keep you comfortable throughout the day no matter what the activity.
- Book Flights by Celebrity® to be protected in case there is any cancellation.
- Research the shore excursions and book them in advance, pre-cruise. The popular shore excursions get sold out fast.
- All destinations in Alaska take U.S. dollars and most take credit cards but be sure to check before your purchase.
The Seven Princess Cruise Ships That Visit Alaska Are:
|Grand Princess||Island Princess|
If you would like more information on a Princess Cruise to Alaska, check out theeBrochure. And be sure to watch theExperience Alaska Video below!
You can book your Princess Cruise to Alaska online or call 1-800-PRINCESS to speak to a booking agent.
Alaska Princess Cruises are perfect for frequent cruisers who want easy-paced travel, are not demanding, and prefer an even balance between sea and land time, or modestly affluent first-timers.
Prices for a 7 day Princess Alaska cruise begin at around $700/person and go up from there.
Be sure to check out the Specials available and sign up for their newsletter to be alerted to specialinternet-only deals on a Princess Cruise to Alaska.
Princess Cruises also offersCruisetourswhich combine a cruise with wilderness lodges, land excursions, railroad service, & a Denali Park tour.
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