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Best cruises to Alaska

Set sail and discover the land of the midnight sun.

Updated

Lake Against Mountains

Alaska — a land of gorgeous glaciers, rich Indigenous culture and forests teeming with incredible wildlife. Is America’s last frontier calling your name? Get up close and personal with this arctic beauty on a cruise to Alaska.

Best cruises to Alaska

Princess

With over 50 years of experience sailing to Alaska, Princess Cruises' itineraries through the Great Land are pretty much perfect. Hunt for dinner in icy waters with its Cook my Catch program or settle in for stories from local lumberjacks, a trailblazing mountaineer and members of Deadliest Catch.
  • Dance under the midnight sun at a deck party with live music.
  • Indulge in local cuisine like fresh Alaskan seafood and dishes from local dives.
  • Cuddle with sled dogs during its Puppies in the Piazza event.
Price range

Norwegian

Ideal for families, NCL's well-rounded itineraries hit all the major Alaskan landmarks — including the Hubbard Glacier and Icy Strait Point. If you're hoping for uninterrupted views, sail on the new Norwegian Bliss, which has alfresco dining and a 20,000-square-foot observation lounge.
  • See Denali and explore the national park with a tundra wilderness tour on its 14-day northbound cruise.
  • Do as the locals do with Alaskan craft beers served in bars around the ship.
  • Little ones can get in on the fun with educational sessions about Alaska's nature and culture at the kids' club.
Price range
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Celebrity

Celebrity's ships are elegant and modern, without a stuffy atmosphere. Along the way, enjoy naturalist lectures from local experts and spot humpback whales from the deck. On shore, take food tours of the Last Frontier, scout brown bears from a float plane and treat yourself to a traditional salmon bake.
  • Curl up in the Sky Lounge to watch Alaska's landscape pass by.
  • Grab a blanket and hot chocolate in the alfresco dining areas.
  • Enjoy 5-night itineraries available when you're short on time.
Price range
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Royal Caribbean

Well-known for its huge array of onboard recreation, from climbing walls to water parks and trampolines, Royal Caribbean has some of the largest ships that sail to Alaska. Its itineraries strike a balance between wilderness and civilization — giving you time to explore towns and villages and stand in awe before imposing glaciers.
  • Spend your days taking in the scenery, and fill your nights with show productions, lounge performances and nightclub acts.
  • No need to fork out for a balcony room, with great views available from the nine-story central atrium and all-glass elevator.
  • Learn more about the region's flora and fauna from the onboard naturalist.
Price range
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Holland America

For a relaxed, traditional cruising experience, Holland America Line offers a more intimate feel. You'll find fewer crowds on its mid-size ships and itineraries that stop at less-visited ports. It has routes that last as long as 21 days for long wilderness escapes.
  • Sit back, relax and enjoy Alaska in Concert by BBC Earth Experiences.
  • Find out more about Glacier Bay from a variety of experts, including a naturalist, park ranger and a Huna totem Elder.
  • Visit the Culinary Arts Center for local cooking classes and tips or catch a live America's Test Kitchen show on board.
Price range
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Silversea

Small ships and ultimate luxury set Silversea apart as the most pleasurable way to see Alaska. All cabins include butler service, and most have a private veranda so you're only steps away from breathing in the fresh sea air. Its expedition leaders provide educational, immersive excursions to glaciers, through fjords and beyond.
  • Everything is included in your fare — including gratuities, premium wine and spirits and economy airfare if you please.
  • Learn more about your surroundings from noted historians and conservationists.
  • Complimentary items such as backpacks and parkas are included for excursions.
Price range
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Other cruise lines that sail to Alaska

Best lines for cheap Alaska cruises

Top deals on cruises to Alaska

Travelocity Travelocity

Over 75% off bookings with top cruise lines

Book cheap Royal Caribbean cruises from just $156 to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, South Pacific and more. T&Cs apply.

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Avoya Travel Avoya Travel

Up to 75% off cruises to the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and Beyond

T&Cs apply

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Deal ends

CruiseDirect CruiseDirect

7 night Alaska cruises from $659 per night on Holland America

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Where do Alaska cruises sail to?

Most cruises to Alaska sail through the Inside Passage, which is a network of passages that weave between islands lining the Pacific Coast.

Inside Passage ports of call typically include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Glacier Bay National Park. Popular Gulf of Alaska ports include Hubbard Glacier, College Fjord, Whittier and Seward.

The classic Alaska cruise is one-way between Vancouver or Seattle and Anchorage, with stops along the Inside Passage, and is usually seven to 10 days long. You can also find round-trip journeys that could help you save on one-way flight costs, especially if you’re not interested in doing a land tour.


When is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

In general, the best time to cruise to Alaska is June through August — summertime (you’re probably not surprised).

If you’re excited about shore excursions through the wilderness, cruise in July or August, as the wildlife will be easier to spot, the fish easier to catch and the weather most conducive to your outdoor exploration plans. Shore excursions in May and September sometimes get cancelled due to storms and choppy water.

However, you’ll find the cheapest fare on cruises to Alaska in May and September, plus fewer tourists and more opportunities to take pictures of snow.

What are the best cruise excursions in Alaska?

When it comes to cruise excursions in Alaska, it’s hard to go wrong. Many of the best things to do involve diving headfirst into its vast wilderness — but not the Pacific Ocean. You probably shouldn’t dive headfirst into that.

Here are some of top adventure picks:

  • Watch for humpback whales (and sea lions, and bald eagles, and orcas)
  • Attend — and eat — a salmon bake
  • Trek through a glacier
  • Travel by dog sled
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Go kayaking
  • Go deep sea fishing
  • Ride an alpine zipline
  • Go on a local seafood tour

How we chose these cruises

When choosing cruises for this list, we looked at the quality of routes available from each cruise line, prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at key destinations around the region.

We also considered onboard dining and weighed the number, variety and overall quality of restaurants against passenger reviews. Finally, we weighed cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.

Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.

Bottom line

Cruising through Alaska is a jaw-dropping — not to mention efficient — way to see the region. Before booking your trip, check to see if you can snag a discount for your fare.

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