Dubbed America's Last Great Frontier, Alaska offers the discerned traveler an endless gift of breathtaking landscapes and attractions. So vast are its natural beauties, it would take a well-traveled nomad months or even years to traverse it's endless wonders. Needless to say, Alaska has much to give travelers, so how should one start experiencing it?
Taking a cruise to Alaska is an easy and great way to get started. Cruising is a sure way for travelers, especially beginners, to experience otherwise difficult-to-access regions in South East Alaska while not being subject to demanding physical activity.
At Cruises & Beyond, we've sent many of our clients on Alaska cruises and as far as we know, all of them have loved their sailings. While there is a lot to consider when booking a cruise to Alaska, we wanted to give our personal Top 5 cruise lines to choose from based on our clients' experiences and ours.
What are your preferred cruise lines for trips to Alaska? Let us know in the comments section below!
1. Crystal Cruises
There's a simple reason why Crystal makes it number 1 on our top 5 list. That's because it's clearly different from other cruise lines.
Crystal Cruises is one of our favorite cruise lines and their cruises to Alaska are no less impressive if not for the sheer value and service you receive on board their ships. Crystal is a luxury cruise line that offers all-inclusive amenities (including gratuities all paid for) and stops at nothing to make you feel like you are the only guest on the ship. And we have evidence too. Our clients consistently rave about the service they receive on Crystal Cruises.
Crystal offers a bevy of itineraries to Alaska, typically out of Vancouver, and while it is classified in the large ship variety, it does not skimp on giving you an upclose experience with the great state's stunning environments. The key to Crystal being at the top of our list is the added luxury you would get when traveling to Alaska. It is unmatched, and will be for a very long time.
Check out our featured Crystal Cruise Alaska journey, Accents on Alaska, a 7-day round-trip Vancouver sailing in 2019 that starts at a low $2,140.
2. Holland America Line
The wiley veteran of Alaskan journeys, Holland America has been providing cruisers with access to Alaska's great landscapes since the 1960s. It joins Princess Cruises as the oldest cruise liner to sail the west's last great frontier. But the reason why Holland America makes our list at number two while offering similar features as other mid-market cruise lines is because of its dedication to the classics of cruising.
Holland America ships are mid-sized vessels and give off an ambiance of a classical nautical aura. Space and elegance come immediately to mind when thinking about one of her ships, as well as beautiful appointments, and warm, hospitable service. While similar in value to Princess and Celebrity, we vote Holland America for its onboard experience and ode to how cruising should be experienced. Moreover, we've noticed that Holland America puts together some pretty unique itineraries, ones that include ports other mass-market cruise lines don't oft visit. Just like this itinerary featured below.
Check out our featured 21-day sailing, a round-trip San Francisco Alaska adventure sure to be the highlight of any of your cruising experiences.
3. UnCruise Adventures
It's implied in the name of the company itself - you will find yourself "uncruising" with UnCruise Adventures. UnCruise prides itself from breaking away from the masses, exemplifying a go-with-the-flow attitude. There are set itineraries, but in-the-moment decisions with Mother Nature leading the way will happen! No two UnCruise departures are ever the same, and that's why you'll find these adventures to be more personal.
UnCruise offers an exciting range of activities aboard boutique yachts and expedition vessels. Kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, snorkeling, skiff excursions, and cultural encounters top the agenda of activies you could participate in should you flex your adventure muscles.
The cruise line's small ship size and shallow draft - their expedition yachts range in size from 22 to 86 guests - allow for nimble exploration and gives access to the places bigger ships cannot go. So if you want to get closer to the Alaskan wilderness and be at the center of awe-inspiring perspectives, than UnCruise is the perfect line for you. Plus, UnCruise offers all-inclusive amenties, which propels it to number 3 on our list.
In the luxury space, Seabourn commands its own unique experience. It goes beyond it's luxury accomodations and all-inclusive services. This line is for the sophisticated traveler, the one who wants as much a knowledgeable experience as much as he/she wants immersive and exciting adventures.
Seabourn combines ultra-luxury with expedition-style flair to bring you a more in-depth experience of the Alaska's nature, history, forestry and wildlife. On board it's exlusive Alaska ship, the Seabourn Sojourn, you will travel to places less traveled by other ships, providing a more intimate connection with this wondrous land.
On sailings featuring Ventures by Seabourn™ excursions, share your voyage with a knowledgeable, experienced expedition team of scientists, scholars, naturalists and more. These fascinating, accomplished experts will be part of our complimentary Seabourn Conversations program, providing you an in-depth understanding of the history, ecology and culture of the places you visit.
We rank Seabourn at number 4, as it provides some of the most immersive programs at sea. You'll pay a premium, but it is all worth it.
5. Princess Cruises
For any of you who have cruised with Princess, you'll know that it's a cruise line that's hard to disappoint. Equally fun and luxurious, guests will be happy with the value they get when cruising to Alaska with Princess. The entertainment is dazzling and up to par with broadway productions, the ambiance relaxing and enriching. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Princess Cruises was voted "Best Cruise Line for Romance" by Cruise Critic either.
The veteran cruise line makes our top 5 list because of these things mentioned above, but even moreso because of the convenience it offers owing to the sheer number of sailings offered from the Califronia coast, including the San Franciso/Bay Area and Los Angeles. No flying needed for a getaway? Count that as a huge plus.