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  • Alaska Cruises
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One of the best ways to see Alaska is by cruise ship. Cruise ships bring you wonderfully close to glaciers, whales and rocky coasts. Larger boats offering more amenities, while small ships and yachts carrying 12-100 passengers go where the big ships can't, getting you up close to Alaska's nature and wildlife. Many vessels include naturalist guided hikes and sea kayaking right from the ship, perfect for active, casual travelers.

Cruise ships have 2 main itineraries: The Inside Passage Route going roundtrip from either Seattle, Washington or Vancouver, Canada and the Gulf Route running Northbound and Southbound cruises between Vancouver and Seward/Whittier.

Companies offering cruises in Alaska include:

Holland America. The Glacier Discovery Cruise offered by Holland America Line, runs between Seward and Vancouver, BC.Princess Cruises, offers both Inside Passage and Glacier Bay routes as well as roundtrips from San Francisco.Adventure Life, offer small-ship cruising exclusively, working with vessels in Alaska ranging from 32 to 138 passengers.Norwegian Cruise Line, offers only roundtrips in Seattle and Vancouver.Carnival Cruises, has only one ship deployed in Alaska annually doing mainly Northbound and Southbound cruises.AdventureSmith Explorations specializes in small ship and yacht cruising in Alaska with over 25 years experience that.Regent Seven Seas Cruises, luxury cruise line with all inclusive cruises to Alaska. Cruise 118, Cruise 118 Holiday Cruises from Southampton to the Mediterranean, Alaska and the Caribbean.

Disney Cruise Lines Inside passage trip to Tracy Arm, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau leaving from Vancouver~This is a great way to see the glaciers in Tracy Arm, as it is smaller than Princess or Carnival, so it can get closer, farther, and do a 360° turn

Alaska cruise, Cruises to the Inside Passage or Gulf of Alaska sailing from Seattle, San Francisco or Los Angles - Information on cruise tours, discounts, cruise reviews, sightseeing, attractions, weather, things to do in Alaska cruise ports, map of Alaska. Alaska has been a favorite of cruise enthusiasts for many years. There are three basic Alaska cruise itineraries. A cruise ship provides passengers with a view of many natural wonders that cannot be seen from land. 

Approximately half of all visitors coming to Alaska arrive by cruise ship.  The cruise industry, much like resource development industries, is a global market.  Alaska accounts for only 4.8 percent of cruise itinerary destinations worldwide.

2014 is expected to result in continued growth in tourism visitors, including nearly one million arriving by cruise ship.

In 2013, 1.96 million people visited Alaska. The number of visitors is slowly increasing after seeing a decline from 2009 - 2010.  A peak year in tourism was 2008, but years following were down, with the decline attributed mostly to a 2006 ballot initiative.  The initiative posed excessive taxes and inequitable environmental laws on the cruise industry. As a result, cruise lines began deploying their ships elsewhere around the globe, causing a decline in the amount of cruise passengers coming to Alaska.

Of the 1.96 million visitors in 2013: 51% (999,600) came by cruise, 45% (871,000) came by air, and 4% (86,300) came by highway or ferry.

Direct visitor spending is more than $1.8 billion annually, excluding fares paid to travel (air, cruises, etc.). This spending figure increases to $2.42 billion when labor income from visitor industry jobs is factored in.

Tourism is the second-largest private sector employer, and accounts for one in eight Alaskan jobs. The most recent available data indicates that the tourism industry generates over 39,000 direct and indirect jobs, 9% of Alaska employment, and $1.32 billion in combined labor income. The industry boasts a 78% resident hire rate.

One in three Alaska visitors are repeat travelers to the state. Many of those who return are independent travelers who first came to Alaska on a cruise ship passengers will sail the Alaskan waters during the 5 month cruise season. People choose Alaska to take in the scenery, and view exotic creatures both in the sea and on the shore. Alaska is very lard, and much of it can only be seen from the water. Therefore, a cruise is an ideal way to see the bays, glaciers, and wildlife. Due to its size, you will miss much of the state if you only briefly visit the ports.

There are also many cultural and historical experiences to be had in Alaska. Live life as it was during gold rush days, or even when the Russians inhabited the area. Breathtaking scenery, gleaming glaciers, abundant wildlife, and Native American culture are only a few of the spectacular attractions that draw cruise vacationers to Alaska. Experience the sights of Alaska, the totem pole town of Ketchikan, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park of Skagway, the famous Mendenhall Glacier & Red Dog Saloon of Juneau, or flightseeing over Misty Fjords. Alaska is a breathtaking adventure that will take your breath away! Appropriately the state's official flower is the alpine forget-me-not! Alaska cruises normally sell for a higher price than the Caribbean or other popular cruise destinations.

The Alaska cruise season runs from May through September. Due to this itinerary being seasonal, demand is high. For climate and sunlight purposes, cruises to Alaska sail only during the summer months. June, July and August are considered peak season when average daily high temperatures can reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can find the most affordable rates for Alaska cruise tours in May and September, the off-peak periods, when the temperatures are approximately 50 degrees. Alaska experiences long hours of daylight during summer, lasting up to 23 hours a day in June. Cruise Wear for Alaska should be comfortable. For outdoor excursions it is best to dress in layers and bring a backpack. There are two great ways to cruise Alaska--on a mainstream cruise ship of 700 to 3000 passengers or on a small ship of a dozen to less than 200 passengers. Both types of cruises have pros and cons.

A variety of cruise ships sail to Alaska, including luxury vessels and midsize ships - most of which offer expanded kids programs for family vacationers. While the majority of ships sail from Vancouver, BC, Seattle is increasingly becoming a popular summer homeport for many lines. Both embarkation/disembarkation points allow ships to visit the most popular ports on an Alaska cruise, including Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.

There are a large variety of cruise ships sailing to Alaska, including such luxury vessels as Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Most of the mainstream cruise ships sailing to Alaska include staterooms with private verandahs. Mainstream cruise lines include Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Holland America, Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises. While the majority of ships sail from Vancouver, BC, Seattle increases to become a popular home port for many lines. Both embarkation/disembarkation points allow ships to visit the most popular ports on an Alaska cruise, including Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway. There are also cruise ships sailing from San Francisco or Los Angeles. Even though Alaska cruises can be expensive, the joy of seeing the beauty is well worth the extra dollars. An appealing alternative to conventional land tours and larger cruise ships is small ship cruising. This offers a richer travel experience.

Small ship cruising appeals to travelers who prefer a relaxed, comfortable travel style with the emphasis on the destination. Small ships take you beyond conventional tourism for meaningful experiences with people and places. America Safari Cruises has three very small ships in Alaska Safari Quest, Safari Spirit, and Safari Escape. Clipper Cruise Line, host to the Yorktown Clipper is led by a professional naturalist and the Clipper Odyssey sails an uncommon itinerary that reaches the Bering Sea and Alaska's outer islands. Cruise West offers several small ships to choose from with varied itineraries and ships. Cruises from 3 to 12 or more days. Lindblad Expeditions uses the Sea Bird and Sea Lion for 8 and 12 day Alaskan cruises. On board naturalists are aboard to answer your questions and lead Zodiac operated shore expeditions. In addition to 7 day cruises there are also a variety of pre and post cruise-tour packages available that take passengers deeper into Alaska via train, including land stays in Denali National Park.


These sailing's operate northbound from Vancouver to Seward and southbound from Seward to Vancouver. Ports of call could include Valdez, Seward, cruising College Fjord and Hubbard Glacier. There are also pre and post hotel packages offered in embarkation and debarkation ports such as Vancouver, Seattle and Anchorage. In Vancouver most cruise ships dock right downtown at Canada Place. The docking facilities are among the most modern and beautiful in the world. Canada Place has undergone an expansion to accommodate a third mega-ship and the viewing area has been increased by 800 feet. In the renovated cruise check-in area, Vancouver Tourism has opened an information center and several souvenir kiosks are operating. Other places of interest located at Canada Place include the IMAX theater, the Pan Pacific Hotel and Vancouver Trade and Convention Center.

Find the best of Alaska cruise ports.  Read or contribute on Alaska cruises on our large travel discussion Community Message Board.  Learn from other members as you read Cruise Reviews on Alaska cruises or help other members by submitting a Cruise Review on your Alaska Cruise. Share your favorite photos from your Alasaka cruise experience with other members at our Photo Gallery.





Alaska Cruises ports
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Anchorage
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Anchorage is a big city in a secluded state; it remains true to its heritage while forging ahead with revolutionary new sites and museums. Some of the facilities are top-notch establishments technologically, while others continue to prov...
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Columbia Glacier
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It's still creeping across the Alaskan landscape, but the massive Columbia Glacier, located near Valdez in Prince William Sound, doesn't creep quite as far as it did in its heyday. Between 1977 and 1999 its length decreased by eight mile...
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Cordova Alaska
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Located in the Valdez area near the mouth of the Copper River, Cordova Alaska is a beautiful destination for both tourists and locals alike. Situated in the Orca Inlet at Prince William Sound, it is surrounded by panoramic views on every...
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Denali National Park
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If you go to Denali It is about 125 highway miles from Fairbanks and 240 miles from Anchorage. Most of the road is two-lane highway, except for a four-lane stretch between Anchorage and Wasilla.Denali National park is anchored by North A...
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Dutch Harbor
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  Situated between the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Bering Sea to the north, the Aleutian Island community of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor is rich in history, and for the last 20 years has been the top commercial fishing port in the coun...
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Endicott Arm
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Endicott Arm is a 20-mile-long fjord, chiseled from Yosemite-style granite rocks. It is encompassed by countless waterfalls, gigantic icebergs, and mountain peaks that reach more than 5,000 feet high. This steep-sided fjord, lies 50 mile...
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Fairbanks
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Fairbanks was originally founded in the early 1900’s. Originally a trading post serving stern-wheeler riverboats and early gold prospectors. Prospectors found gold here in the early 1900s and miners are still pulling riches from the gr...
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Glacier Bay
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Glacier Bay, a 3.3 million-acre expanse that was originally buried under a mile wide wall of ice just 200 years ago. The Glacier Bay proper opens to the north off Icy Strait. The bay stretches out for more than 60 miles. Glacier Bay was ...
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Haines, Alaska
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The town of Haines, located at the base of the Chilkat Peninsula, is the ancestral home to the Tlingit people. Tlingits were the first settlers to the area and called Haines "Dei-shu" meaning "The End of the Trail". The area is still ric...
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Hubbard Glacier
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  Nicknamed the "Galloping Glacier," this east Alaskan glacier is rapidly advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska into a pristine area known as Disenchantment Bay. In fact, its movement temporarily formed a natural dam that twice closed off...
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Icy Strait
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The creation of Alaska's newest cruise port, Icy Strait, represents a win-win collaboration between local communities and the giant cruise corporations that make big profits from visitors eager to experience America's "last wilderness." ...
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Juneau
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Juneau is Alaska’s State Capital and a very cosmopolitan city. With a population of over 30,000 residents, Juneau offers a wealth of shopping opportunities and wonderful sightseeing choices, which makes it a very popular cruise port wi...
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Kantishna
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Denali National Park and Preserve covers six million acres that includes Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, towering 20,320 feet over the rest of the Alaska range and the surrounding landscape.Kantishna: Just past Wonder...
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Ketchikan
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Port of Ketchikan, Alaska's first city along the Inside cruise passage is located on Revillagigedo Island, is part of the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska, at the southern border with Canada. Originally a fishing village and a...
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Kodiak Island
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  It’s not called the Emerald Isle for nothing. Kodiak Island, located in the Gulf of Alaska, is the 49th state at its most scenic. Russian explorer Stephan Glotov discovered the island in 1763, calling it Kad’yak. When James Cook, t...
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Kotzebue
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Kotzebue, a city approximately 26 miles above the Arctic Circle and approximately three miles long and 1,100 to 3,600 feet wide. Kotzebue is located high above the Arctic Circle in northwestern Alaska. Kotzebue is actually closer to Russia ...
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Lynn Canal Alaska
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Lynn Canal is an inlet (not an artificial canal) into the mainland of southeast Alaska.The magnificent Lynn Canal North America’s longest glacial fjord, a natural inlet It's really a deep fjord, the longest glacial fjord in North Ameri...
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Nome
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The City of Nome is Alaska's oldest continuous first class city and is located on the south coast of the Seward Peninsula facing Norton Sound, part of the Bering Sea. Incorporated on April 9, 1901, Nome has a population of approximately ...
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Petersburg Alaska
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Take a snapshot of Petersburg, Alaska, and show it to your friends. They'll probably think it's a picture of a Norwegian coastal village. That's because the fishing town's Norwegian roots are readily apparent. They show through in the to...
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Prince Rupert
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The port city of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, is actually on an island at the mouth of the Skeena River, just 40 miles south of the Alaska border and 65 miles south of Ketchikan. Its name was decided in a nationwide contest at t...
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Prince William Sound
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it's a gateway to the glacier- and wildlife-filled Prince William Sound, most people have had no reason to go there. Except -- and this is a big except -- Whittier has experienced a Gold Rush of sorts as an alternative embarkation and disem...
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Puget Sound
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Seward
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  Scenic Seward, flanked by rugged mountains to one side and sparkling Resurrection Bay on the other, has a way of luring visitors. There is fantastic hiking nearby, a quaint downtown, the amazing Alaska SeaLife Center and excellent in-...
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Sitka
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Sitka is the Number One ranked port in Southeast Alaska. Sitka is a boutique Alaskan destination for the seasonal Alaskan cruise ship trade, which extends from May through September.Sitka is a charming island community surrounded with st...
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Skagway
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Skagway is a place of many names, alot of history and little rain. This very walkable town set in the narrow plain of the Skagway River at the head of the Lynn Canal and, has been called Skaguay, Shkagway, and Gateway to the Golden Inter...
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Stephens Passage
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Stephens Passage
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Tracy Arm Fjord
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Tracy Arm Fjord located about 45 miles south of the port city and state capital of Juneau, Tracy Arm Fjord has become a very popular stop along the Alaskan cruise route. Tracy Arm is a fjord in Alaska near Juneau It is named after the Se...
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Valdez
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Called the Switzerland of Alaska, Valdez is one of the most beautiful places in Alaska. Situated at the head of a deep, still Port Valdez fjord, the city is surrounded by the breathtaking Chugach Mountains, the most glaciated mountains i...
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Whittier Alaska
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Whittier is one of the oddest cruise ports in the world. Whittier is located at the head of Passage Canal, which is part of the Prince William Sound. It sits 62 road miles from Anchorage and was originally established as a military suppl...
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Wrangell
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Wrangell is located on the northwest tip of Wrangell Island. It is 155 miles south of Juneau and 89 miles northwest of Ketchikan. Wrangell is near the mouth of the Stikine River. Wrangle is a very walkable city. Old storefronts are built on...
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