Planning an Alaska Cruise with Kids

Alaska is high on the family bucket list and it’s easy to understand why. Alaska is home to rare wildlife, fascinating gold rush lore, and even the North Pole. The Great Land’s incredible coast and thundering glaciers are best experienced by boat, but many parents wonder if an Alaska cruise with kids is as convenient and enjoyable as it sounds.

The answer is yes! Like any with-the-kids vacation, an Alaska cruise with kids takes some extra planning and patience but creates great memories. Kid-friendly cruises are the most convenient way for the fam to experience the Last Frontier. Multi-generational cruises with grandparents are growing in popularity because they bring the whole family together and everything is set.

Here are five essential things to consider when planning an Alaska cruise with kids in tow.

Extra Space is a Good Idea

Put your claustrophobia concerns at ease—there are a variety of configurations to “suite” your needs, from connecting rooms to sofa beds and spacious verandas for when you need a few minutes to yourself. Koningsdam has dedicated family staterooms that accommodate up to five guests, the ideal option for parents plus three.

There’s plenty to see outside the room on an Alaska cruise with kids. Hit the pool or explore the wrap-around decks or even attend a cooking demonstration. You won’t get bored, even if it rains.

Entertainment for Kids On-board an Alaska Cruise

You won’t need to pack tons of entertainment. Supervised, age-appropriate kid’s programs keep everyone moving and happy. Kids make friends fast, especially on a cruise and most are ecstatic to attend these activities. Unlike other types of family vacations, parents get a much-deserved break.

Club HAL® Youth Program offers engaging, enriching activities and social opportunities for children ages 3 to 17. The program for little ones includes theme parties, painting activities and storytime. Tweens are treated to ice-cream eating contests and games; teens will enjoy mocktail parties and karaoke contests. If your child has special needs, speak to the Guest Accessibility Department prior to your cruise to determine the best way we can accommodate.

It’s Easy to Plan Family-Friendly Alaska Shore Excursions

Every parent has had the experience of bringing kids to an activity, only to find that the little ones plead to go back to the car five minutes in. Some parents are concerned that Alaska, land of the rugged outdoors, might be too rugged for their little tenderfoot.

There are many Alaska shore excursions to choose from in each port and many offer discounts for children. Check the minimum age for each activity (for example, Ketchikan’s Adventure Kart Expedition has a minimum age to drive of 16), and then consider the child’s interests and attention span. Can your five-year-old really handle a canoe trip through Alaska’s backcountry or would they rather visit sled dog kennels to get slurpy kisses from puppies? Every kid is different, and parents know best.

Book excursions when you book your cruise, and ask your children what they might like to see in Alaska. The more popular ship excursions, like dog sledding fill up fast. As always with parenting, if you bring enough snacks, bug spray, and are dressed for the weather, it tends to go more smoothly.

How to Satisfy Little Food Critics

The good thing about an Alaska cruise with kids or a multi-generational cruise is that there are dining options for everyone, from casual favorites like burgers and pool-side pizza to gelato to fine dining.

Every ship features fine dining restaurants with kids’ menus and half portions available. There’s plenty of variety to satisfy your junior food critic and 24-hour in-room dining if the kids need a night in. Many dishes can be altered to accommodate allergies and restrictions. Main ingredients are listed right on the menu and you can always ask your server about trace amounts of common allergens, such as nuts, milk or butter.

What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise with Kids

Think your toddler changes their mind a lot? Alaska’s weather can swing dramatically from bright and sunny to drizzly and chilly. Temperatures rarely reach 70 degrees most days, even in mid-summer. That said, there’s laundry service onboard, so you don’t need to pack their entire closet.

An Alaska cruise with children also means you pack and un-pack just once. Pack for play and pool, wind and waterproof gear for outdoor excursions, casual days around the ship, and a couple outfits for formal nights. Most kid-friendly cruises have excellent activities for little ones, but bring crayons, card games, and a few books to keep them occupied when you just want to wind down after a day of exploring.

Traveling with kids is an adventure whether you cruise or not. Savor these Alaska moments—the big ones, like when they see a whale for the first time or the small ones, like when they cuddle up to you as scenery scrolls past.

Learn more about Alaska cruises.