The Insider’s Guide to

Cruising Alaska

Peak Season
Best Rates
Best Value
April, September

Cruising Alaska

If there is one cruise that everyone should experience in their lifetime, it is, without a doubt, Alaska.  Its pristine beauty is jaw-dropping and so is the variety of wildlife. And just when you think there is nothing more beautiful than the scene in front of you, your ship rounds the bend and there it is—a view even more spectacular.

As you cruise the Inside Passage, you'll sail past waterfalls, sheer cliffs and even calving glaciers. As you do, keep an eye out for wildlife like whales, orcas, eagles and bears. You'll also stop at several coastal towns, giving you the chance to experience a taste of Alaskan life. Tack on a cruise tour to Denali National Park, and you'll add a whole new level of incredible.

Our Alaska Cruise Tips

You probably don’t need much convincing that a cruise is the best way to experience Alaska. So which cruise line is best for you?


Norwegian sails some of its newest, largest ships in Alaska, including Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Encore. Each boasts a 180-degree indoor observation lounge at the front of the ship, providing floor-to-ceiling, panoramic views. Search this Cruise Line

Holland America

Did you know National Park Service park rangers board ships that sail through Glacier Bay National Park? The park rangers provide live commentary about the history, scenery and wildlife. While Glacier Bay is included on many itineraries, Holland America has the largest selection of cruises that visit there. Search this Cruise Line


Adding an overnight stay on land adds a different perspective to your Alaskan adventure. Princess is especially popular with its exclusive trains and wilderness lodges that let you combine your cruise with additional nights on land to explore Denali National Park, site of North America’s tallest peak. Search this Cruise Line

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Planning Your Alaska Cruise

When to Go

Prime Time

Most cruises to Alaska take place between May and August when the weather is warmer and wildlife viewing is at its peak. Beginning in June, you'll find more families on board since this is when the kids get out of school (It's also a popular month for generational travel.). September is not quite off-season, or peak season, so it's a good option for value-conscious cruisers.

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The Off-Season

Alaska is a very seasonal cruise destination, so off-peak dates are much more limited. That being said, if you can cruise in April or October when the weather is a fair bit cooler, and the choice of cruise lines sailing here is more limited, you can take advantage of lower fares. Plus, traveling during either of these months will allow you to skip the crowds. You'll just need to wear a jacket, most likely.

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Factor This In

While you can spot wildlife throughout the year, the best time to see migratory birds and bears is June, and the salmon run takes place later in the summer. Whale watching is most popular from May to July. And yes, the sun does set in Alaska, just later; prime cruising months get between 14 and 19 hours of daylight. Be prepared to bring a warm, waterproof jacket if your departure is early or late in the season.

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