The 8 Best Alaska Cruises of 2019

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

01 of 08

Best Overall: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line

Courtesy of  Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Sails from: Seattle
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Ship Name: Norwegian Bliss
  • Itinerary: Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria

Norwegian boasts that it has the “youngest fleet cruising to Alaska," and the Norwegian Bliss is NCL’s newest ship (debuted in April 2018). Bliss has buzzworthy features like laser tag, a race track on the top deck, and thrilling waterslides that overhang the sides of the ship. The ship has accommodations for every type of cruiser, including solo staterooms and elegant suites in the Haven, a luxurious enclave. Another perk of this cruise is that is sails round-trip from Seattle, so guests can drive or fly into the same port for departure and arrival (many other Alaskan cruises are one-way). Bliss also has a beautiful observation lounge – ideal when sailing the Inside Passage. 

02 of 08

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Holland America

Holland America

Courtesy of Holland America

  • Sails from: Vancouver
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Ship Name: Ms Noordam
  • Itinerary: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, (Glacier Bay) Seward

Holland America is a seasoned pro when it comes to cruising in Alaska. The company has a headquarters in Seattle, more than 30 years of experience in the region, and a whopping eight ships sailing to the Final Frontier – that’s more than half the fleet. Holland also has a network of tour and hotel partners in Alaska to expand its offerings to land and sea packages. Onboard the elegant, MS Noordam there is a focus on educational and cultural learning experiences through partnerships with BBC Earth. Evening entertainment includes the BB King Blues Club and the Lincoln Center performance stage. The cruise ends in Seward a small, lesser-visited stop that’s a jumping off point for Kenai Fjords National Park. 

For more activities, take a look at our selection of the best Alaska tours.

03 of 08

Best Traditional Cruise: Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

  • Sails from: Vancouver
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Ship Name: Royal Princess
  • Itinerary: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier

Royal Princess is a gorgeous ship that – like all Princess cruises – focuses on a more traditional experience (rather than Carnival-style attractions). As passengers sail through Glacier Bay or the College Fjord they can stroll around the stunning skywalk – a glass walkway that overhangs the vessel or relax next to a lovely water fountain in the pool area. In the evenings, passengers catch movies under the stars. The cruise concludes in Whittier, Alaska, where most cruise lines do not visit. Although Whittier is industrial, it’s ideal for those extending their stay in Alaska on land. The Alaska railroad connects Whittier to Anchorage – so travelers can also enjoy a scenic ride to Anchorage and hop on a connecting flight. 

04 of 08

Best Modern Cruise: Celebrity

Celebrity

Courtesy of Celebrity

  • Sails from: Seattle
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Ship Name: Celebrity Solstice
  • Itinerary: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria

For an upscale Alaska cruise without the luxury price tag, Celebrity is a fantastic option. The award-winning, Celebrity Solstice is a dignified ship that focuses on modern well-being. Activities include culinary classes, silent discos, and educational lectures. There’s also a half-acre of fresh grass with hot glass demonstrations, private cabanas, and outdoor movies. The ship also has a fabulous fitness center and programs, and the Canyon Ranch Spa situated right next to the Aqua Class cabins. These cabins include access to a health-conscious restaurant as well as the relaxation room and other spa perks. This voyage includes a full day cruising Endicott Arm for fabulous views before concluding in Victoria.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best Large Cruise: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean

Courtesy of  Royal Caribbean

  • Sails from: Seattle
  • Ship: Ovation of the Seas
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Itinerary: Juneau, Skagway, Victoria

If you’re looking for a cruise to Alaska with all the theme-park-like attractions, then the Ovation of the Seas will not disappoint. Built in 2016, Ovation is currently ranked as one of the 10 largest cruise ships in the world with onboard features like a skydiving simulator, a cocktail bar tended by robots, aerial performances in the theater, and the North Star, a moving observation “pod” with surreal views. The first two days of the voyage are spent at sea – so there’s plenty of time to explore the ship and try different activities. Or, dine at specialty restaurants like Chops Grille, Royal Caribbean’s iconic steakhouse; Wonderland, an eclectic array of dishes, or Giovanni’s table, a favorite Italian restaurant. 

Read more on some of the best things to do on an Alaska cruise.

06 of 08

Best Luxury: Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas

Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas

  • Sails from: Seward
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Ship Name: Seven Seas Mariner
  • Itinerary: Sitka, Juneau Skagway, Ketchikan, Vancouver

For a luxury cruise experience though the Inside Passage, Regent Seven Seas has a few sailing dates on the Seven Seas Mariner, an all-suite ship. On Mariner, all staterooms have a private balcony – perfect for watching the glaciers and fjords float past – and a minimum of 300 feet of space. Onboard, guests can unwind in the award-winning Canyon Ranch spa, take in an evening show, and dine on gourmet cuisine. Being a smaller ship (700 passengers), its size allows the staff to anticipate guests’ needs and personalize the experience. On the Alaska voyage, the ship calls on many popular ports and also treats passengers to Sitka, a unique port steeped in Tlingit culture and Russian history, before concluding in Vancouver. 

07 of 08

Best All-Inclusive: Uncruise

Uncruise

Courtesy of Uncruise

  • Sails from: Juneau
  • Ship Name: Safari Endeavour 
  • Duration: 14 Nights
  • Itinerary: Thomas Bay / Baird Glacier; LeConte Glacier; Kake; Baranof; Sergius Narrows / Neva Strait; Sitka; Krestof Sound / Nakwasina Sound; Icy Strait; Glacier National Park; Chichagof Island; Haines

For those who prefer smaller ships that can navigate into the hidden coves, glaciers, and towns in Alaska, then UnCruise is an excellent choice. As the name suggests, UnCruise is not like a traditional mainstream voyage but an all-inclusive expedition adventure. Airport transfers, shore excursions, meals, wine and spirits, and park admission is bundled into the price. Each day is another exciting exploration deeper into Alaska with activities like biking in Haines, a private village tour of Kake, hiking glaciers or the Tongass National Forest, and kayaking through fjords – plus a full day in Glacier National Park. With just 88 passengers, guests will get to know each other – and their staff – on the round-trip journey to/from Juneau.

Check out similar options with our guide to the best small cruises in the USA.

08 of 08

Best for Adventure: Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan Dream Cruises

Courtesy of Alaskan Dream Cruises 

  • Sails from: Sitka
  • Ship: Admiralty Dream
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Itinerary: Kake, Petersburg, Colt Island, Juneau

For a shorter, small-ship expedition, Alaskan Dream Cruises is an ideal choice for adventure travelers. Its cruise industry “roots” date back to 1970 (under Allen Marine) and the company is still run by native Alaskans. The 58-passenger ship is the perfect atmosphere for comradery – and there are no formal dress nights. The cruise includes all the little details: heavy duty Alaskan gear for excursions, turndown service, binoculars in staterooms, and a glass of wine at dinner. The voyage includes a stop at an exclusive lodge on Colt island for kayaking and a meal of fresh salmon or prime rib. Excursions focus on local culture such as totem carvings, folk dances, and other Tlingit cultural presentations. 

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