What is the best cruise line for Alaskan sailings?

What is the best cruise line for Alaskan sailings?

For many travelers, Alaska is a bucket list destination. The beautiful glaciers, snow-capped mountains and exciting adventures, such as dog sledding in Skagway or a helicopter ride above the Mendenhall Glacier, offer vacationers a truly unique and once-in-a-lifetime trip!

Alaska cruises are a popular choice for those looking to explore the northernmost state in the US. In addition to visiting various ports along the coast, most itineraries will include sea days sailing through fjords, allowing guests to marvel at the natural beauty of Alaska from the comfort of a “floating city.”

If you’re considering taking a cruise in Alaska, you’re probably wondering what the best cruise line is for this region. There is no simple or right answer; it varies depending on the interests, personalities, budgets and even the ages of you and your traveling party.

Want to sail on the newest, most innovative ship? Looking for a vacation that’s kid-friendly? Want to explore more of Alaska through a pre- or post-cruise tour?

The answers to these questions, among others, will help determine which cruise is best for your Alaska vacation!

Best for cruisers on a budget: Norwegian Cruise Line

If you’re looking to cruise to Alaska on a budget, we recommend Norwegian Cruise Line for a few different reasons.

First, Norwegian’s “Free at Sea” program means you’ll automatically get more included than you would with just the base fare, if you choose to pay for the fees. That means enjoying an unlimited open bar, specialty dining and Wi-Fi while on board!

However, the biggest benefit is the shore excursion credit. While you can have a great day in port while wandering around the city, you’ll want to take advantage of excursions to get the most out of your time in Alaska. These excursions are often expensive, so a credit of $50 per excursion, per cabin will help reduce the overall cost.

Second, they have cruises that depart from major cities, such as Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada. Departing from a larger city usually means that transport costs will be significantly less.

For the 2023 season, a 7-day cruise on the Norwegian Spirit from Vancouver, Canada is as low as $756.82/per person, including all taxes, port fees and gratuities! While this price does not include special dining or an unlimited open bar, it does include Wi-Fi and the shore excursion credits.

Runner-up: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival is known for being one of the cheaper mainstream cruises. Even if the base fare seems higher, onboard extras are often cheaper than other cruises. For that reason, it’s a good runner-up if you’re interested in splurging on alcoholic beverages, special meals, and Wi-Fi.

A 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Luminosa from Seattle, Washington is as low as $896.45/per person, including all taxes, port fees and gratuities, during the 2023 Alaskan cruise season.

Best for active cruisers: Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean is known for their innovative, exciting ships. Sure, you can lounge on the pool deck and soak up Alaska’s scenery, but wouldn’t it be neater to do it from a capsule floating 300 feet above sea level? We think so too.

In 2023, the Ovation of the Seas will make round-trip sailings from Seattle, Washington. Recharge from your adventurous day in port by relaxing in the heated whirlpools before a packed day at sea.

You won’t get bored with the iFly skydiving simulator, North Star observation capsule, Flowrider surfing simulator, rock climbing wall, bumper cars, roller skating, archery and original theater productions that include aerial acrobats and musical acts.

Runner-up: Norwegian Cruise Line

Sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line means taking advantage of the only go-kart racing tracks at sea, virtual reality games, bowling, laser tag and Broadway-style shows: SIX and Kinky Boots aboard the Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore, respectively.

Best for Itinerary-Focused Cruisers: Holland America Line

Holland America Line has been sailing to Alaska for 75 years, longer than any other cruise line.

If cruising through Alaska isn’t enough for you, they offer award-winning Yukon and Denali cruises that extend your vacation with a scenic train ride and up to 3 nights at the McKinley Chalet Resort at the gates of Denali National Park . Plus, they offer more cruises to Glacier Bay than any other cruise line!

Unique to Holland America Line, Alaska Up Closeâ„¢ enriches the cruisers’ experience through exclusive onboard programming, cruise activities and award-winning shore excursions, including privileged access to Glacier Bay National Park.

Runner-up: Princess Cruises

Like Holland America Line, Princess Cruises offers cruise tours that allow guests to extend their time in Alaska, and they have their own enrichment program called North to Alaska.

You are more likely to find families on a Princess cruise versus a Holland America cruise. On board, children will enjoy the Alaska Explorers youth program, where they can participate in activities such as the Jr. Ranger program and totem pole decoration. In addition, they bring Skagway’s newest sled dogs (eg. puppies) while you were in Skagway!

Best for Families: Disney Cruise Line

There is truly something for everyone aboard a Disney Cruise, making it a great choice for families sailing to Alaska. The youth clubs will entertain children as young as six months old to as old as seventeen while parents sneak away for an adults-only night, complete with dinner at Palo and drinks at the French Quarter Lounge.

There are also some Disney exclusives that you can only find aboard cruises to Alaska, like the Pixar Pals Party. Kids will love hanging out with characters from Toy Story, Up, Monsters, Inc., and more!

Oh, and expect to see Mickey and his pals decked out in rain gear, lumberjack outfits and even fancy coats with matching boots!

Runner-up: Princess Cruises

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line are good choices if you have active teenagers who need stimulation, but Princess Cruises is another alternative if you’re looking for a more low-key, enriching experience because of their Alaska Explorers Youth Program and North to Alaska Program.

Best for solo cruisers: a tie between Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean

If you’re driving alone, you’re probably looking for a very specific experience. Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International all offer solo cabins on select ships.

Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, is best if you’re looking to mingle with other cruisers because of its dedicated lounge for solo travelers.

What is the best cruise line for an Alaskan cruise?

You can absolutely take your colleagues’ perspective into account, but the experience they had on a multigenerational family reunion cruise might be different from what you’re looking for on a budget-friendly couples getaway.

The best cruise line is the one that meets the needs of you and your travel party!

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