Best Cruise Lines For Adventure
Active travelers may prefer expedition-style voyages on smaller ships that include more time for adventurous activities, such as hiking in the Tongass National Forest, wildlife and glacier viewing from Zodiac rafts or kayaks, or even overnight camping. These ships often feature complimentary shore excursions, kayaks and bikes for guest use and onboard scientists and naturalists.
If youve got active teens who have an interest in nature and the environment, an expedition voyage could be exactly what will keep them engaged and off their devices. Just expect the majority of your shipmates to be older adults.
Look to UnCruise Adventures, Alaskan Dream Cruises, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions and Ponant for the best adventure cruises.
City Of Gold At The Edge Of The Arctic
Back in 1901, riverboat captain E.T. Barnette ran aground in the shallows of the Chena, so he set up a trading post. A year later, the nearby discovery of gold transformed the remote settlement into a boomtown, and Barnette the first mayor. Fairbanks today remains a destination for adventure seekers, as the gateway to Alaskas northern wilds and some its most isolated terrain. While home to just 32,000, Fairbanks is the big city of the interior and cultural hub for the sparsely populated region. You can still go for the gold in Fairbanks, panning just like the early prospectors did.
When Is The Best Time To See Alaskas Glaciers
Alaskas glaciers are magnificent, and Celebritys Alaska cruise itineraries take in two of the most accessible glaciers in Southeast Alaska: Hubbard Glacier and Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier.
The height of the Alaska cruise season is the best time to cruise Alaska on these itineraries to ensure youll be able to see and enjoy the glaciers on each of the routes.
Cruising during peak season increases the probability that warmer temperatures have allowed more of the winter ice to melt, allowing for smooth sailing through the Inner Passage and the fjords, and the captains ability to get as close as possible to the glacier to give you the most spectacular experience possible.
When sailing the Hubbard Glacier itinerary, your ships captain will slowly turn the ship so that passengers on all sides will be able to enjoy the view and witness any calving that might occur while the ship is in the glaciers vicinity.
Sailing the Endicott Arm fjord toward Dawes Glacier is just as spectacular an itinerary, and this Alaskan glacier is just as magnificent.
For these peak season Alaska cruise routes, its advisable to book early so you get the best stateroom. Booking a veranda stateroom ensures that youll have your own private space to see glaciers during your cruise.
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Expand The Land Portion Of Your Land & Sea Package With Land Excursions In Denali
Your Cruisetour experience with Celebrity is a build-your-own adventure. On an Alaska cruise, Denali is a hidden gem thats not always easy to get to on your own. Denali is nearly 300 miles from the Seward cruise port after all. With Celebrity Cruises®, however, we take the guesswork out of Alaskas most memorable places for you. While your Cruisetour has land experiences included in your package, you can also book optional land excursions on your Denali Cruisetour with your tour guide. Luckily, there are options for all types of vacationers, whether youre a thrill-seeker looking for your next adrenaline rush or a seasoned traveler wanting to learn something new about Alaskas natural history.
Soar Above Denali Mountain in a Helicopter
Ever taken a helicopter tour at the end of the world? Well, you can on a helicopter ride across Denali National Park and Denali Mountain, which was once called Mt. McKinley, and is the highest mountain in North America. Glaciers and seemingly-endless stretches of tundra will fill your eye-line, and youll be surrounded by quiet, natural beauty, and roaming wildlife below.
Whitewater Adventure on Nenana River
An early morning on the Nenana River can be a peaceful, lazy experience for some, but if youre looking for action, try out the two hour whitewater ride on intense, high class rapids. This unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime river tour is an adrenaline surge.
Explore Denalis Many Hiking Trails
Hurtigruten Expeditions Inside Passage Bears And Aleutian Islands
- Cost: From $10,420 per person
For its inaugural season in Alaska, Hurtigruten Expeditions is not holding back. In 2022, the company is offering an 18-day sailing that starts in Vancouver, Canada, before working its way past the fjords, glacier-filled straits, and Indigenous villages of the Inside Passage. Unlike most other sailings that stay within the southeast, from here, the ship hangs a hard left and chugs along to Kodiak, an island community known for humongous brown bears and prolific crab fishing. Though its the second-largest island in the entire United States, its rare that cruise ships visit, mainly because it lacks the infrustructure for big ships.
Then its onward to the even less visited Aleutian Islands , where guests visit the uninhabited St. Paul and St. Matthew islands and Unga Village , before crossing the International Dateline, sailing through the Bering Strait , and eventually docking in Nome, the far-flung city best known as the finishing point for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Perhaps even more interesting than the itinerary is the fact that the vessel, the 528-passenger MS Roald Amundsen, is battery hybrid-powered. In addition to being a model for cruising sustainably, the MS Roald Amundsen features an observation deck, science center, three Nordic-style restaurants, an infinity pool, and hot tubs. In other words, its definitely a place you wouldnt mind spending 18 days.
Courtesy of Lindblad
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Popular Alaska Cruise Ports
Most Alaska ports offer a mix of history, culture, scenery, and outdoor activities. If the best Alaska cruise ports are the most popular ones, then the top options are the main Inside Passage ports of Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
Cruise ships sailing one-way voyages often visit Sitka, a former Russian outpost in North America and home to many native Alaskans. Some ships visit Haines instead of Skagway. Icy Strait Point is a native owned and operated port set on a former fish cannery, which has been expanding and growing in popularity. Less common are the ports of Petersburg and Wrangell, located between Ketchikan and Juneau you can find these smaller ports on select itineraries.
For more information on our favorite destinations, read our post on the best Alaska cruise ports.
Alaska Cruise Guide: Best Itineraries Planning Tips And Things To Do
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Alaska may be one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it can also be rugged and tricky to get around. Explore the Last Frontier by cruise ship and you can travel to Gold Rush towns, glaciers, Alaska Native heritage sites and natural areas brimming with wildlife in comfort, even luxury.
When planning an Alaska cruise, you have many things to consider: when to go for the experience youre anticipating, which cruise line is best suited to your travel style, the best Alaska cruise ports to visit and which shoreside activities you want to prioritize. Its not the kind of trip you want to throw together at the last minute especially since the best fare deals typically go to organized travelers who book early.
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If youre eager to spot bald eagles in the wild, ride a dogsled atop an ice field or pan for gold after a hearty salmon feast, an Alaska cruise is calling your name. Dive into The Points Guys Alaska cruise guide for all the planning tips you need for your dream cruise up north.
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Best Alaska Cruise Itineraries
Big ships and smaller luxury cruise lines tend to follow similar cruise itineraries.
Alaska Inside Passage cruises sail roundtrip from Seattle or Vancouver, perhaps with a stop in Victoria, B.C., and explore Southeast Alaska, never reaching Anchorage. They call at the big, tourist-focused Inside Passage ports.
One-way cruises travel between Vancouver and Whittier or Seward in Alaska. These cruises typically visit several Inside Passage ports, but swap Victoria for a more northern Alaska stop, such as Sitka. They take cruisers through the Gulf of Alaska to Southcentral Alaska, close to Anchorage.
Note that if your cruise begins or ends in Canada, you will be required to carry a passport with you. If you’re taking a closed loop cruise from Seattle or San Francisco, a birth certificate and state issued ID will suffice .
The best Alaska cruise itinerary for you depends on what you want to prioritize for your vacation. The benefit of a roundtrip cruise is easier and cheaper airlift to the departure ports. You wont have to bother with one-way flights and the longer transit time to/from Anchorage. A one-way sailing is best for cruisers who want to tack on extra vacation time on land to visit Denali National Park or the Kenai Peninsula.
Top 7 Of The Best Alaskan Cruises For Families
Looking for the best Alaskan cruise for families? Finding one suitable for your needs isnt a difficult task. Plus, an Alaska cruise can be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Alaska from Glacier Bay National Park to the Icy Strait Point to the Hubbard Glacier radiates the serenity of nature thanks to its beautifully breathtaking scenery.
An Alaskan cruise is one the entire family will love, and there is something for everyone. If you are considering a leisurely Alaskan cruise, here are the best ones to consider for your family.
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Best For Megaresort Fans
Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean both sail some of their largest ships in Alaska. They are floating megaresorts, carrying thousands, and big on amenities, glitz and a certain amount of glamor think flashy casinos, Broadway shows, lavish spas. Dining and drinking venues number in the dozens, while amusement park features thrill the kids and adrenaline-seekers.
On Norwegians Breakaway-Plus-class ships, you can race along a go-kart racetrack, complete in outdoor laser tag and zoom down slides at the water park. On Royal Caribbeans Quantum-class ships, you can order a drink from a robotic bartender, try simulated sky diving or surfing experiences and take a ride in a glass capsule that travels high above your ship on a mechanical arm a weird and wonderful way to see the Alaska scenery.
These supersized ships stick to tried-and-true weeklong itineraries, sailing round trip from Seattle to such ports as Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka, Icy Strait Point and Victoria, B.C. Many Norwegian sailings spend time in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Ships that don’t visit the national park, regardless of cruise line, will call at other exciting tidewater glaciers.
The Best Cruises In Alaska
Cruise lines are in the business of giving their guests a good time, so theyve all got something going for them. Here are our picks for Alaskas best, in a few different categories.
- The Best Ships for Luxury: Luxury in Alaska is defined in 2012 by Regent Seven Seas and Silversea. If you want a more casual kind of luxury , the Seven Seas Navigator offers just that on an all-suite vessel with excellent cuisine. Silversea, on the other hand, represents a slick, Italian-influenced, slightly more formal luxury experience with all the perks big suite cabins and excellent food, linens, service, and companions. Both Regent and Silversea include fine wine and booze in their cruise fares. For the ultimate Alaska experience in a small-ship setting, check out the intimate offerings of American Safari Cruises, where soft adventure comes with upscale accouterments.
- The Best of the Mainstream Ships: Every lines most recent ships are beautiful, but Celebritys Infinity is a true stunner, as is its sister ship, Millennium. These modern vessels, with their extensive art collections, cushy public rooms, and expanded spa areas, give Celebrity a formidable presence in Alaska. And the late-model Sapphire Princess and Diamond Princess have raised the art of building big ships to new heights. Both of these vessels will again be in Inside Passage service this year from Vancouver.
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Best 2 Week Alaska Itinerary: Plan A Trip To Alaska By Land & Sea
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I still remember how long it took to plan a trip to Alaska the first time. The options were overwhelming and I wasnt an experienced traveler. My first thought was to look into package cruisetours but I had no interest in joining a busload of tourists in exchange for thousands of dollars.
I wanted something more adventurous, more personalized, and a heck of a lot cheaper. Through sheer stubbornness and a whole lot of research, I decided to figure it out on my own.
It ended up being so easy and so rewarding that I went a total of three times!
And if I could do it, so can you.
Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer Cruise
The Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer Cruise is a great way to see some of Alaskas most beautiful scenery. The Misty Fjords is part of the Tongass National Forest and is accessible mostly by boat or plane.
The cruise takes you through the Inside Passage, allowing you to see firsthand the stunning waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and pristine waterways that make this state so unique. On the way back, youll also have the chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat, including whales, bald eagles, and sea otters.
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Get Our Best Value Fare With Drinks Wi
+ Premier Beverage Package with service charge: Enjoy everything from cocktails, beer and wine to specialty coffees, smoothies and bottled water.
+ Unlimited Wi-Fi: With our best internet package, you can video chat and text with family back home, stream your favorite shows and check email .
+ Full crew appreciation paid to our crew on your behalf: Dont worry we make sure the crew who takes care of you is taken care of too.
*Fares are per guest and apply to minimum lead-in categories on a space-available basis at time of booking. Fares are non-air, cruise- or cruisetour-only, based on double occupancy and apply to the first two guests in a stateroom. Fares and other values quoted in USD. A refundable deposit is required for all stateroom guests and amount varies according to the cruise length, stateroom type and number of stateroom guests.
Any advertised offer may be changed or revoked at any time.
Best New Ship: Princess Cruises
Princess has been sailing Alaska for over 50 years, and with six ships, five wilderness lodges, and its own domed rail car, this cruise line knows the region well.
Cook My Catch dining program for guests on select fishing excursions, puppies in the Piazza brings sled dog puppies onboard for guests to cuddle, adults-only wellness and relaxation deck
Ship just launched in March 2022
Princess ships feature Ocean Medallion wearable technology for a seamless, contact-free cruise experience
One of the most affordable Alaskan cruise options
Gratuities and specialty restaurants not included
The Discovery Princess had her naming ceremony in April of 2022, so shes a brand-new addition to the lines fleet. As such, technology is a big part of the experience. Cruise guests will receive a free Medallion device with a complimentary lanyard, which allows you to do things like open your cabin door, track onboard purchases, find family and friends, locate venues, and check daily activities.
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Best For Solo Travelers
The ships in Norwegian Cruise Lines Breakaway and Getaway classes all have tight studio cabins designed and priced for one person. Additionally, they’re located in a complex where a private lounge encourages mingling. Royal Caribbeans studio staterooms, on its Quantum-class ships in Alaska, give solo travelers the benefits of both decent space and balconies. Holland America Line has ocean-view accommodations-for-one on select ships in the Alaska market.
Among small-ship lines, Alaskan Dream and UnCruise occasionally offer discounts for solo travelers. Luxury lines Silversea and Seabourn, while not cheap, do a great job of taking care of single cruisers, hosting them at dinner and providing easy opportunities to meet and mingle with other travelers.
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Whats The Best Time To See Whales On An Alaska Cruise
Gray whales, humpback whales, orca, beluga whales Alaska has them all. Here are some quick tips to help you increase the odds of seeing whales during your cruise.
- Humpback whales: June and July are the best months for seeing these giants of the deep. Over 500 humpback whales spend summer within the Inside Passage, so select a cruise that passes through this route and visits the Barren Islands.
- Beluga whales: You can spot belugas in Turnagain Arm from mid-July through August, just south of Anchorage. September is also a good month for belugas, as long as your cruise passes Nome.
- Gray Whales: April and May are ideal for gray whales, as they feed around Kodiak, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Seward.
- Orca : The ideal time for orca spotting is between early May and early June when you can find these colorful behemoths feeding in Resurrection Bay and along cruise routes going between Seattle and Alaska.
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