How to Choose the Best Alaska Cruise Itinerary
With thousands of miles of lush wilderness, glacier-filled fjords and passages, raffish outposts and towns, choosing the best Alaska cruise itinerary is tough. Luckily, you’ll have loads of options with our award-winning Alaska itineraries and our ships sized just right to navigate narrow inlets and to experience Alaska grandeur comfortably.
It all depends what’s most important to you—convenience, adventure, or specific scenery. Whatever you decide to see and do, you’ll have an incredible time.
Here are some factors to consider when picking the best cruise to Alaska.
Best Alaska Cruise Itinerary for Convenience
7-Day Round-Trip Cruises to Alaska
If you want to view Alaska’s natural splendors, but don’t have more than a week or so consider seven-day cruises that depart Seattle or Vancouver and return to the same spot. Watch silvery skyscrapers fade into the distance and say hello to fjords, rugged coastlines and blankets of lush temperate rain forests.
A departure from Seattle offers a convenient (and cheaper) city to fly into for U.S. travelers, while Vancouver offers more opportunities to cruise the scenic Inside Passage.
One-Way Alaska Cruises
One-way Alaska itineraries cruise for seven days one-way, northbound or southbound. These offer the flexibility of flying into Alaska and exploring on your own time before or after the cruise. You’ll still spend seven glorious days at sea and will experience more of Alaska’s coast and inlets.
All cruise itineraries stop into fascinating Alaska ports. Our itineraries include stops in iconic Alaska cities such as Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan and some off-the-beaten-path ones, such as stunning Haines and Sitka.
Best Alaska Cruise Itinerary for Adventure
Got time? You can see Alaska’s glacier-filled waters, the majestic Denali, and vast Yukon territory all in one trip. These unique 9- to-14-day Alaska cruises are optimized for adventure but also quite convenient with land transportation via motorcoaches and domed railcars and resort stays as part of the itinerary.
You can take to the seas first or travel by land. All Alaska Land+Sea Journey cruise tours include up to a three-night stay in Denali National Park (single- double- or triple-Denali). One example would be flying to Fairbanks from Seattle, busing to Denali, staying the night at the resort and then cruising from Whittier down to Vancouver, through the Inside Passage and back to Seattle via motorcoach.
Holland America Line is the only cruise line with a Yukon experience. If you dream of following the fascinating route of gold rush stampeders, downing a sourtour cocktail in Dawson City or rafting whitecapped rapids, consider a Land+Sea Denali & Yukon adventure.
Best for Scenic Cruising
Scenic cruising is a day spent gliding through amazing natural or historic waterways. Here are some ideas for choosing the best Alaska cruise itinerary based on what you would most like to see:
Glacier Bay: Our Alaska cruise itineraries have more options for scenic cruising through Glacier Bay, an ever-changing biosphere. It is only accessible by water or plane, so if you choose an itinerary with Glacier Bay, you’ll experience a remote, serene U.S. National Park that few get to see. Wildlife sightings are frequent and local experts come aboard to offer natural insights and cultural context. Truly unforgettable.
Tracy Arm Fjord: A fjord of placid, emerald-green water flanked by steep cliffs and old-growth forest. Twin Sawyer glaciers at its terminus frequently dump ice into the water and you may see chubby seals and otters chilling out on floes. You may also spot some Alaska land animals, such as mountain goats, bears, and even wolves.
The Inside Passage: Protected waters teeming with exciting wildlife that’s just north of Vancouver and winds to southern Alaska.
College Fjord: Expect to see a lot of fascinating glaciers while scenic cruising College Fjord. The glaciers on the left are named for women’s colleges and those on the right are named for men’s, the result of the 1899 Harriman Expedition with John Muir and other scientists.
Ready to find the best cruise to Alaska for you? Check out Alaska cruises.