Alaska Cruises, Vancouver, British Columbia, Cruise Lines Alaska

Alaska Cruises: All Aboard for 49th State

If you yearn to see Alaska’s natural beauty from the floating deck of a cruise ship, you are not alone. More than three quarters of a million people board Alaska cruises annually. It’s an ideal and relatively simple way to visit Alaska’s southeast coast and the Inside Passage, where road access is rare.

Numerous cruise lines sail the Alaskan coast, and offer two main itineraries. "Inside Passage" cruises generally make a round trip from Vancouver, British Columbia, through a few Alaskan port towns (Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Sitka) IE up the "Inside Passage". The bulk of Alaska trips sail north and southbound between Vancouver and either Seward or Anchorage. They have time to navigate further up the "Passage" and see more since they are not on a round trip schedule.

Direct links to the major cruise linersDirect links to the major cruise liners

What most cruises will offer

Cruises remain such a popular way of seeing the state as they combine transport, food, entertainment and accommodation in one complete package. It’s important to check what your cruise does not include and plan for these things accordingly – flights, alcoholic beverages and tips are generally not included in your ticket price.

Large cruise ships are almost like floating hotels in size, with some able to take a capacity of over 2,500 people. These boats boast numerous restaurants, large cabins with balconies and hot tubs, and every activity you could wish for to pass the time. Swimming pools, gyms, cinemas, casinos, shops, computer rooms and children’s entertainment are some of the amenities you’ll find on these luxury cruise ships. Due to their size these ships can’t always navigate narrow passages or ports, and slowing or stopping is not always easy.

Smaller cruise ships can get up close and personal with the wilderness tourists have come to see. Although smaller ships are more basic and don’t provide all the facilities of a larger boat, they can sail almost anywhere. As they have less space to fill these ships don’t offer as many reduced fares as the larger ones, and are best suited to those who prefer casual, less crowded tours.

There’s a good opportunity to save money on your cruise fare if you’re willing to sail the months of May and September, before Alaska’s tourist season really kicks in. The weather may not be so reliable, but you’ll miss the heavy crowds which descend on coastal towns from June through August.

If investigating your options for Alaska cruises, both online guides and travel agents can assist you finding out what you want to know. Look for members of the Cruise Lines International Association, which works in affiliation with thousands of North American travel agencies.