A-Z Guide to The Best Alaska Cruise [2024 Updated]

Alaska, United States, has been a popular cruise destination for decades, attracting an increasing number of visitors each year with an abundance of new cruise lines, itineraries, amenities, and excursions. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best Alaska cruise, even for experienced cruisers.

Fear not, as I am here to assist you in planning your dream Alaska cruise itinerary. In this blog post, I will guide you through every step of the process, from determining the best time to visit and selecting the perfect Alaska cruise line to choose the ideal activities.

To help you make an informed decision, I will provide valuable tips and advice to ensure that your Alaska adventure is unforgettable, whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time cruiser. By the end of this post, you will have all the necessary information to embark on the Alaska cruise of your dreams, tailored to your preferences and your family’s needs.

Read before visiting Alaska: Worst Time To Visit Alaska: When Not To Visit Alaska?

Also, check out the complete Guide to the Largest Cruise Ship in the World: Symphony of the Seas!

Things to look out for when booking the best Alaskan Cruise

These are the things to look out for as you plan for the best Alaska cruise itinerary

Vision of The Seas cruise ship by Royal Caribbean International, in Alaska
Vision of The Seas cruise ship by Royal Caribbean International, in Alaska

Consider Your Budget When Planning an Alaska Cruise

When planning an Alaska cruise, it’s important to consider your budget before making any decisions. With a wide range of prices available, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of how much you are willing to spend. In addition to the cost of the cruise itself, you should also factor in expenses such as airfare, shore excursions, and any additional activities you want to participate in. By having a clear budget in mind, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and find the best Alaska cruise that fits your financial plan.

Also, check out The Cheapest Cruise to Antarctica if you’re looking for more budget options!

Season and Weather

alaska glacier
Season and Weather in Alaska

If you’re planning an Alaska cruise for 2023, the cruise season runs from May through September, with many cruise lines offering itineraries during this time. The most popular time to cruise Alaska is in July, while September is the least crowded.

Choosing the best time to take an Alaskan cruise depends on what you want to see and the weather you are willing to endure. July offers some of the longest and warmest days in the region, with potential sightings of the Midnight Sun and wildlife, including whales on their migration patterns. However, temperatures can dip down to 30 degrees (F) in the Arctic and reach up to 70 degrees (F) in Denali.

Alternatively, September is much colder but sees significantly fewer crowds. It’s the best time to cruise Alaska for experiencing the Northern Lights. Keep in mind that weather patterns can be unpredictable, and you should pack for all conditions.

Overall, choosing the best time to cruise Alaska depends on your personal preferences and what you want to experience. Consider the weather, crowds, and wildlife sightings when making your decision.

Departure Ports for Alaska Cruises in 2023

Ogden Point Victoria, BC
Ogden Point – Cruise Terminal for the City of Victoria, British Columbia

Alaska cruises departing in 2023 offer various departure ports for travelers. You can start your cruise from Alaska’s Anchorage, Juneau, or Ketchikan, or board your ship from Seattle, California (Los Angeles or San Francisco), or Vancouver.

By departing from these ports, you can experience different parts of Alaska, as well as explore other destinations in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. Each departure port offers unique advantages and may have different embarkation procedures, so be sure to plan accordingly and allow ample time for travel and boarding.

No matter which port you choose, you can look forward to a memorable Alaska cruise adventure filled with stunning scenery, wildlife, and exciting excursions.

Duration and Itinerary

Alaska cruises in 2023 offer a range of itinerary options, with cruise durations varying from 4 to 22 nights. However, most itineraries fall within the range of 6 to 9 nights.

The length of your Alaska cruise will depend on several factors, including your preferred ports of call, activities, and available time. Shorter cruises may focus on specific regions or attractions, while longer cruises may offer more comprehensive itineraries that cover a broader range of destinations.

Best Alaska Cruises

there is a ship in Alaska for everyone, no matter your taste or style. To help you narrow down your choices and select the perfect Alaska cruise, here is a beginner’s guide to the best Alaska cruises.

Best Alaska Cruise Picks For Megaresort Fans

symphony of the seas

  • Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line’s

Norwegian Encore is a floating megaresort, carrying thousands, with a focus on amenities, glitz, and glamor.

  • Ovation of the Seas by Royal Caribbean

Ovation of the Seas offers a unique experience with robotic bartenders, simulated skydiving and surfing experiences, and a glass capsule ride above the ship for an unusual view of the Alaskan scenery.

Best Alaska Cruise Picks For Land & Sea Adventures

snow rested alaska
Alaska Land and Sea Drone Image – Image by NASA.gov
  • Koningsdam by Holland America Line

Offering 10-night cruise tours into the Canadian Yukon, following the route of the Klondike Gold Rush from Alaska to northwestern Canada.

  • Majestic Princess by Princess Cruises

Providing a 15-night trip that visits four national parks, including Glacier Bay, Denali, the Kenai Fjords, and Wrangell-St. Elias.

  • Island Princess by Princess Cruises

Perfect for exploring inland sights like Denali National Park and Preserve in addition to sailing in Alaska’s waters.

Best Alaska Cruise Picks For People on Budget

money jar save money
Saving Money on the Cruise Ship

Some older ships offer lower prices compared to their newer and larger ships due to their lack of advanced features.

  • Radiance of the Seas by Royal Caribbean

For budget-friendly prices on older ships.

  • Grand Princess and Majestic Princess by Princess Cruises

for shoulder-season deals on weeklong Alaska cruises.

Best Alaska Cruise Picks For Exploring Lesser-Known Destinations

A remote village in southwestern Alaska on Aleknagik Lake, in the Dillingham Census Area.
A remote village in southwestern Alaska on Aleknagik Lake, in the Dillingham Census Area.
  • UnCruise Adventures

Small ship cruises exploring Southeast Alaska on seven-, 12- and 14-night itineraries.

  • Lindblad Expeditions

Off-the-beaten-path cruises to Alaska and British Columbia, with special permits for wilderness areas beyond what the big ships offer.

  • Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan-owned ships with 10 to 76 passengers visiting remote Native villages, with itineraries ranging from five to nine nights.

Best Alaska Cruise Picks For Families

Royal Suite
  • Disney Wonder

Family-friendly ship with themed entertainment and cabins designed for families.

  • Discovery Princess

Offers spacious facilities for children and teens, and features bringing sled dogs on board.

  • Carnival Spirit

Ideal for families with water slides, a partnership with Dr. Seuss, and a casual atmosphere with a variety of quick eats.

Best Alaska Cruise Picks For Those Seeking Luxury Travels

Best Alaska Cruise Picks For Those Seeking Luxury Travels
Luxury Alaskan Cruise
  • Seven Seas Explorer

Regent’s all-suite ship offers gourmet dining, complimentary beverages, and shore excursions.

  • Seabourn Odyssey

Seabourn’s 450-passenger ship with an expedition team and Ventures by Seabourn program.

  • Star Breeze

Windstar Cruises’ upscale ship with a fleet of kayaks and Zodiacs, featuring casual luxury and James Beard Foundation chefs.

Best Alaska Cruise Picks For Solo Travelers

Solo Traveler
Solo Traveler
  • Norwegian Bliss

Offers 82 solo rooms on its round-trip Seattle cruises that visit Dawes Glacier, Sitka, and Icy Strait Point.

  • Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships offer studio staterooms with balconies for solo travelers in Alaska.

    • Koningsdam

Holland America’s Koningsdam is the only ship offering ocean-view accommodations for solo travelers in Alaska, sailing round trip from Vancouver to Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan with scenic cruising in Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay.


In conclusion, planning an Alaska cruise can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming due to the variety of options available. When planning your Alaskan adventure, it’s essential to consider your budget, the season and weather, departure ports, and the duration and itinerary of your trip.

Additionally, choosing the right cruise line can make a significant impact on your experience, whether you’re looking for megaresorts, land and sea adventures, or budget-friendly options. With careful consideration and research, you can plan the perfect Alaska cruise tailored to your preferences and create unforgettable memories in one of the world’s most beautiful destinations.

Best Alaska Cruise Guide

When is the best time to visit Alaska for a cruise?

The cruise season runs from May through September, with July being the most popular and September the least crowded.

What should I consider when planning my budget for an Alaska cruise?

Consider the cost of the cruise itself, airfare, shore excursions, and any additional activities.

What are some departure ports for Alaska cruises?

Departure ports include Anchorage, Juneau, Ketchikan in Alaska; Seattle; California (Los Angeles or San Francisco); and Vancouver.

How long do Alaska cruises typically last?

Cruise durations vary from 4 to 22 nights, with most itineraries falling within the range of 6 to 9 nights.

What are some options for budget-friendly Alaska cruises?

Look for older ships with lower prices or shoulder-season deals on weeklong cruises.

Umar Ali
As editor in chief, I am always on the road, searching for hidden gems, undiscovered waterfalls, enticing hikes to explore, underrated delis, and more. Crafting compelling content that captures the true essence of each place is my passion. With years of experience in travel journalism, I strive to provide unbiased and factual content based on my real-life experiences. When I'm not out exploring, you can find me delving into local markets and devouring new foods, immersing myself in the cultures and communities that make each destination unique. It might sound like a tough job, but I love it!

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