The 49th State, the largest in the U.S., is perfect for cruisers, with numerous opportunities to appreciate its vast natural beauty. Sail along the Inside Passage to visit the immense ice formations of Glacier Bay and Icy Strait, as well popular ports such as Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, the only U.S. state capital that's not accessible by car. Or travel further north to the Kenai Peninsula and nearby Anchorage, a perfect jumping-off point for cruise tours to Denali, Fairbanks and Canada's Yukon. Maybe you'll see a bear!
Cruises to Alaska
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Alaska price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
250,000+ people have entered their email
Top Alaska Cruise Itineraries
Radiance of the Seas7 Nt Southbound Alaska & Hubbard GlacierSeward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, VancouverNow
Radiance of the Seas7 Nt Northbound Alaska & Hubbard GlacierVancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, SewardNow
Carnival LegendGlacier Bay 7 Day Alaska CruisSeattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Victoria, SeattleNow
Carnival Legend7 Day Alaska CruiseSeattle, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria, SeattleNow
Coral Princess7 Night Alaska CruiseVancouver, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, VancouverNow
Popular Alaska Content
The anticipation leading up to my second cruise -- to Alaska -- nearly killed me. The day my travel documents arrived from Princess Cruises I raced home, plopped down on my living room couch and read through them page by page. I booked my shore excursions, memorized Sapphire Princess' deck plan, read member reviews here on Cruise Critic (we have the best readers in the world!), and researched our beautiful 49th state online and in travel books.
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 (if overtrafficked) 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. (For those who'd prefer to cruise with no more than 100 passengers, see our rundown of small-ship cruise lines in Alaska.) Each of the 13 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 Legend, while couples looking to splurge can pamper themselves with Crystal Symphony'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. Note: Click on a ship name to get more info and read hundreds of cruise reviews.
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific? The answer depends on many variables. For example, fall foliage enthusiasts will find September and October the best time to cruise Canada/New England, whereas families prefer to sail in summer when temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights. For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays). However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise. As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.
You never know when you'll get a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of a black bear standing in a dense forest or a 30-ton humpback whale breaching in the distance at dawn. It makes a lot of sense to invest in a first-rate pair of binoculars to bring on your Alaska cruise if you don't want to miss a thing.
Alaska is one of those places where you want to get off the beaten path and experience the landscape -- the "real" Alaska. Luckily, the cruise lines make it easy with shore excursions that range from the sublime to the extreme -- from a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad to see the beautiful scenery to a hike in crampons atop a pristine glacier. Recognizing that the Alaska demographic is fairly broad, cruise and excursion companies offer active itineraries -- hiking, biking and kayaking -- in addition to tours for history-lovers, those interested in native culture and those looking for pure entertainment -- like the Lumberjack Show or Duck Tours in Ketchikan. There is truly something for every taste. Here are our favorite Alaska shore excursions among the copious offerings.
While many cruisers have their first glimpse of Alaska only through bigger ports such as Ketchikan and Skagway, there have always been those who want to take the route less traveled through the Inside Passage. Enter small ships. Able to dock in isolated bays and tiny cities like Petersburg and Wrangell, small ships provide more intensive -- and usually more expensive -- ways to explore Alaska's coast. Life onboard an Alaska small ship, which typically carries fewer than 100 passengers, is a far more relaxed experience than you find on a standard cruise. You wake up to the sound of birds instead of noise from the balcony next door. Your days consist of kayaking or hiking, rather than shopping and taking helicopter tours. Evenings are spent reading in your room or listening to a naturalist talk. And there's no need to buy a new cocktail dress, although you might spend just as much on outdoor gear. Fortunately for adventurous travelers eager to embark on Alaska expeditions, several cruise companies offer these intimate, nature-focused experiences. Even better, the lines are expanding their fleets, as well as their itinerary and excursion offerings. Here's a look at Alaska's small ship cruises and where they're going.
Imagine a cruise to , and many things probably spring to mind: massive blue glaciers, colorful Native American totem poles, snow-capped mountains shrouded with mist. But for many cruisers, there's one Alaskan sight that rules them all: wildlife. From eagles and seabirds soaring overhead, to