Alaska Cruises offer you a chance to discover a land untainted by the modern world. Imagine the otherworldly experience of viewing the humpback whales breaching in the icy water against a backdrop of breath-taking blue and white glaciers and awe-inspiring mountain ranges, all of which enjoyed from the comfort of your cruise ship. Visualise being surrounded by the lush greenery of the rainforest, thrilled by the sheer size and magnificent strength of the bears lumbering around; one of the many shore excursion trips available during your cruise of Alaska.
You will encounter rarely seen wildlife
An Alaska cruise allows you the chance to be a true explorer and view the mysterious creatures of the deep, a variety of migrating whales in icy water: humpback, gray whales, killer whales, blue whales and beluga whales. View endangered species such as bald-headed eagles spreading their wings and circling above you, and observe the amusing characteristics of otters and seals as they tumble in the water or play on the shore. Go on shore excursions where you can watch species up close, including grizzly or brown bears as they feed on the salmon streams or lumber around in the rainforest.
You can capture epic photos of America’s final frontier
Alaska's stunning vistas present endless opportunities for stunning landscape photography, but be careful not to become overwhelmed by its natural beauty. As your cruise ship passes the Hubbard Glacier, composed of an incredible 1,350 square miles of ice, you may find yourself so awestruck that you forget to take a picture!
Make sure you have a good camera to capture the dazzling spectrum of blues, pinks, and yellow reflections dancing across the surface of glaciers and the soaring heights of the snowy mountains. You’ll find so many photo opportunities when you cruise through Alaska's Inside Passage with its beautiful islands and fjords. For a change of scenery, trek through misty trails in the fertile green rain forest, with trees coated in moss and lichen, surrounded by colorful fauna.
You can immerse yourself in a rich and cultural history
Retrace the last steps of the gold rush at Skagway. Be part of the unique melting pot of Sitka – made up of Alaskan Natives and Russian. Learn about First Nations culture at Ketchikan.
Main departure and arrival points for Alaska cruises
Alaska cruises differ to most cruise holidays as they tend to be round trips, which is good news for you as it means flight tickets will be cheaper and booking can be less hassle. The majority of Alaskan cruises start in the US or Canada which means you will have a fantastic opportunity to start or end your trip with an exploration of iconic landmarks, regional cuisine, and the culture of exciting cities. There is a delightful choice of Vancouver, Chicago, Seattle, or San Francisco. Or for something truly extraordinary you could book the only cruise which starts in Reykjavik, Iceland and ends up in Vancouver with Royal Caribbean.
Alaska Cruise Add-Ons
The great advantage of going on an Alaska cruise which starts or ends in Seattle of Vancouver is that you can add on a train trip to the Canadian Rockies, considered one of the greatest journeys in the world. You pass through parks which have been given the UNESCO World Heritage classification for the area’s “exceptional natural beauty”. Trips usually from 4-7 days.
The best time to cruise Alaska
Alaska cruises start from late April to September and it will be a remarkable trip no matter the month you choose. However, there are best times to go, depending on your priorities.
On a budget or want to avoid the crowds?
Due to the unpredictable weather, late April, May, and September are the least popular months to visit Alaska and therefore tend to be cheaper. May, in particular, is considered offseason and prices tend to be the lowest. Due to the changeable weather, there is a chance that shore excursions could be canceled unfortunately offering a little less opportunity to see the wildlife.
Alaska’s warmest months
June to August is Alaska’s warmest period with temperatures ranging from 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is worth noting that the temperature in Alaska is changeable; the day may start out cold, even freezing and by the afternoon you could be treated to glorious sunshine. The sun sets very late in Alaska, at around 8 pm - 10 pm, so you can enjoy many hours of beautiful views.
Passionate about wildlife
In Alaska, you can catch a glimpse of some amazing wildlife all year round, but if it is bears you are looking for, you are most likely to see them during the salmon runs during July and August. This is also the time seals and sea lions give birth, which is an amazing sight to behold.
Due to the variety of whales inhabiting the waters surrounding Alaska, you should be able to spot them anytime, especially if you go on a specific whale excursion. To book any of our fantastic shore excursion please fill in the form on this page.
See the Northern Lights
It's not guaranteed, but there is a chance you could glimpse the elusive 'Aurora borealis in September.
A few things to note...
Expect the weather to change rapidly during your Alaska cruise, it could be scorching and then suddenly become extremely windy and cold. We recommend wearing layers that can quickly be shed or put on, and make sure to also pack waterproof clothes. It is also worth noting that you will also be in freezing conditions when viewing the glaciers and will, therefore, need thermal wear.
You may be disappointed if you forget to bring binoculars as they will allow you to really zoom in on the spectacular wildlife. We would also recommend investing in a high-quality pair of polarized sunglasses to cut the glare on the ice and see all the colors vividly.
Premium Alaskan Voyage & Vancouver Stay
Holland America Line