Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Best Alaska cruises

10 incredible voyages through the land of the midnight sun.

Alaska is a land of gorgeous glaciers, rich Indigenous culture and forests teeming with incredible wildlife. Get up close and personal with this arctic beauty on an Alaska cruise.

Budget-friendly lines like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean will take you to America’s final frontier for less than $100 per night. If you’re looking for a luxury cruise to Alaska, go with Silversea, Oceania or Celebrity.

Ports with cruises to Alaska

Most cruises to Alaska start in California, Washington or British Columbia in Canada. There are also cruises that start in Alaska, usually in Seward, taking you southbound to see the Hubbard Glacier, Skagway, Juneau and more. If you choose a luxury line like Silversea, then your flights to the departure port will be included with the fare .

Here’s where you can start your cruise to Alaska:

  • Honolulu, HI
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Seward, AK
  • Vancouver, BC (Canada)
  • Victoria, BC (Canada)

Cruises to Alaska from Seattle or Vancouver tend to be the most time-efficient, since you’ll get to Alaska after a day of sailing. If you start in Los Angeles, you’ll need at least seven days to get there and back.

Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, though it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 2021. It recommends that you delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

When traveling, follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for COVID-19 test results — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.

Our favorite Alaska cruises

  • Off the beaten path: Those in search of a true expedition should check out Ponant’s Northeast Passage cruise, which starts in a remote Norwegian town and follows the famous Northeast Passage along the freezing northern edge of Russia, arriving in Alaska by way of Siberia.
Cruise lineDeparture portCruiseLengthItineraryPriceBook
Norwegian Cruise LineSeattleAlaska: Glacier Bay, Skagway & Juneau7 days
  • Seattle
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Glacier Bay
  • Ketchikan
  • Victoria
  • Seattle
From $811 per personBook now
Princess CruisesVancouverInside Passage7 days
  • Seattle
  • Ketchikan
  • Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Vancouver
From $769 per personBook now
Princess CruisesSan FranciscoInside Passage with Glacier Bay National Park10 days
  • San Francisco
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Ketchikan
  • San Francisco
From $999 per personBook now
Norwegian Cruise LineSeattleAlaska: Ketchikan & Victoria5 nights
  • Seattle
  • Ketchikan
  • Victoria
  • Seattle
From $559 per personBook now
Royal CaribbeanVancouverAlaska Glacier Experience7 nights
  • Vancouver
  • Ketchikan
  • Tracy Arm Fjord
  • Juneau
  • Haines
  • Sitka
  • Vancouver
From $518 per personBook now
Holland America LineVancouverGlacier Discovery Northbound7 days
  • Vancouver
  • Ketchikan
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Glacier Bay
  • College Fjord
  • Whittier
From $969 per personBook now
Norwegian Cruise LineSan DiegoAlaska: Glacier Bay & Juneau to Vancouver10 days
  • San Diego, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Juneau, Alaska
  • Icy Strait Point, Alaska
  • Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
From $734 per personBook now
Celebrity CruisesVancouverAlaska Northbound Glacier8 days
  • Vancouver
  • Ketchikan
  • Icy Strait Point
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Hubbard Glacier
  • Seward
  • From $849 per person
Book now
OceaniaLos AngelesGlitz to Glaciers12 days
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Astoria
  • Sitka
  • Icy Strait Point
  • Hubbard Glacier
  • Juneau
  • Ketchikan
  • Vancouver
From $2,349 per personBook now
SilverseaSewardSeward to Vancouver7 days
  • Seward
  • Hubbard Glacier
  • Skagway
  • Juneau
  • Sitka
  • Ketchikan
  • Vancouver
From $4,320 per person

(includes roundtrip economy flights)

Book now

Best cruise lines that sail 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
Book now

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
Book now

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
Book now

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
Book now

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
Book now

More cruise lines with Alaska cruises

Best for cheap Alaska cruises

Alaska cruise deals

TravelocityTravelocity

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.

Last verified

Avoya TravelAvoya Travel

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

T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends


Where do Alaska cruises go?

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 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.

Top 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.

Frequently asked questions

Can you see the northern lights on a cruise to Alaska?

It’s rare to see the northern lights on a cruise to Alaska, since most itineraries are during summer, when days are longest and sunshine is brightest. The northern lights require clear, dark skies in order to be seen, so book your cruise as early in May or as late in September as possible for your best chances of seeing glimmering aurora.

What are the best small ship cruises to Alaska?

Silversea has the smallest ships out of any cruise line on this list, with capacities ranging between 296 to 608 guests, depending on the ship.

But you could also consider Viking Ocean Cruises, which carries only 930 total guests upon each ships — roughly a third of the size of Royal Caribbean’s ginormous fleet.

Viking has fewer itineraries to choose from than other cruise lines on this list, but its luxury service and curated onboard activities are best in class.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site