|Sun sets on ws Westerdam in Victoria, a favorite port for cruises to Alaska|
We’ve found the most obvious contenders for those of you planning a cruise to Alaska. This ancient landscape is the natural habitat of adventurous cruisers, who seek not just relaxing on-board entertainment and a fully-stocked bar, but also the alien, extreme terrain and the unspoilt beauty of a wildlife-filled, breathtakingly empty natural wilderness.
American Safari began operation in 1997 with just one 12-guest yacht. Now they run a handful of small vessels which take guests on exclusive tours of Alaska. They travel only during the day and moor in small harbours at night, ensuring you don’t miss any of the scenery.
Carnival has a much larger fleet than American Safari, both in terms of vessel size and number of ships. But they still provide intimate hospitality on all their routes while cultivating a louder, more family-friendly atmosphere.
This company specializes in absolute pampering. The slogan for their Alaskan routes is “being supremely spoiled in an unspoiled land”. You’ll be invited to watch spectacular wildlife from your private veranda while enjoying the ship’s hospitality.
Inner Sea Discoveries
This is another cruise company specializing in smaller vessels which give a more intimate feel to the beautiful Alaskan coast. They call themselves the “un-cruise”, offering you the chance to “smell a whale’s breath”. They also offer kayak adventures.
The Alaskan routes offered by Holland America (pictured above) date back to before Alaska was even a state of the USA. They offer enough time for you to properly explore areas like the Denali National Park and have a unique heritage in the Alaskan waters.
Norwegian Cruise Lines operates three spectacular vessels on their Norwegian routes – Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, and Norwegian Star. Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl offer sixteen dining options, while Norwegian Star has thirteen and eleven bars.
Seven Princess ships tour the Alaskan routes, each with their own quirks, dining options and on-board entertainment. The Star Princess has a British pub on board, for example, while the Diamond Princess has an adults-only Sanctuary.
Regent Seven Seas
“Once you’ve been to Alaska, you never really come back.” Regent’s routes around the Alaskan coast bring you close to the scenery and wildlife that makes Alaska so special. They also offer connections with trains and light aircraft.
These cruises don’t just take you around Alaska. P&O’s routes take in the great North American cities on the way – New York, Boston, Vancouver and LA. You might even go via the Caribbean. P&O’s ocean-going heritage is enormous but this is their first foray into Alaska for forty years.
The Disney cruise line might not appear to have all the airs and graces of some of the more majestic operators, but the ships are packed with activities and the routes are as breathtaking as any other. The cruises tend to be very child-friendly.
Operator of the legendary Queen Mary 2, Cunard has an almost unrivaled heritage in the cruise industry. These heavyweights of the ocean-going world will take you on a literally unforgettable adventure to Alaska alone, or including Alaska as part of an epic round-the-world trip.
It might sound surprising, but Royal Caribbean runs some astonishing Alaskan cruises for a some equally astonishing prices. Look out for “repositioning” deals – vessels need to be moved around the globe for logistical purposes, so the cruise line will take fare-paying passengers for a very low price.
The slightly smaller vessels in Silversea’s fleet will take you up Alaska’s Inside Passage and past the crystalline landscape. If you book far enough in advance, Silversea will give you up to $1,500 on-board spending money.
These aren’t the only cruise lines operating off the Alaskan coast, but they’re the ones we’re most familiar with and they’re the ones we’d trust the most. Each cruise line – each individual vessel – caters for a slightly different traveller on a slightly different journey. Whether you’re on a tiny, twelve-person American Safari yacht, or the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Sea, a cruise gives you the opportunity to see the world in luxury, style and grandeur.
For more information go to iglucruise.com