Alaska Luxury Cruises That Elevate Your Journey In the Last Frontier

Embarking on Alaska luxury cruises through the untamed beauty of this exceptional state is an expedition like no other. A cruise is certainly the best way to see the area’s richness and wildlife without coordinating separate land and ocean travel. 

Wood-carved eagle sculpture with a cruise ship in the background on the left on a blue-sky day in Ketchikan.

While much of Alaska remains largely untouched by human influence, you’ll be wrapped in luxury aboard the ship of your choice from our cruise suggestions, making exploring the Last Frontier a dreamy — and quite comfortable — adventure. 

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Small Ship Cruises in Alaska Vs. Large Ships

With small ship options dominating the best luxury Alaska cruises, passengers enjoy all-inclusive itineraries encompassing staterooms, gourmet cuisine, gratuities, beer and wine, wifi, and inclusive excursions. The small ship advantage extends to the exclusivity of outside cabins with ocean views, granting access to destinations larger ships cannot reach.

Among Alaska’s top luxury cruise lines, Seabourn stands out, offering personalized services and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania, Windstar, and Viking each provide distinct experiences, catering to diverse preferences.

A small cruise ship on the left and a large Disney cruise ship on the right in a cruise port in Ketchikan, Alaska.

For those seeking a more intimate and authentic Alaskan adventure, small ship options like Alaskan Dream Cruises and UnCruise Adventures offer the charm of being one of few guests, a favorable guest-to-crew ratio, and access to remote areas unreachable by larger vessels, promising unforgettable Alaskan experiences.

On the other hand, large ships offer guests a lower price point, making sailing to Alaska a financial reality for many. Consider budgeting a considerable amount of additional money to your cruise fare booking for excursions, which are offered a la carte.

The big ships that cruise Alaska include all the expected players: Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard, and Royal Caribbean. These cruise lines offer more onboard amenities and venues to play and relax, with most offering extensive spas.

Remember that when you sail on a small ship luxury cruise in Alaska, all the staterooms are likely outside cabins with ocean views. Larger ships have inside stateroom options and often cannot go to all the Alaskan destinations that small ships can reach. 

Alaska Luxury Cruises: Top Cruise Lines

Below, we break down Alaska luxury cruises by the following categories:

Small to Mid-Size Luxury Cruise Lines that Sail to Alaska

Seabourn 

Seabourn prides itself on offering personalized service where everyone knows your name. Their cruises specialize in off-the-beaten-path destinations such as Rudyerd Bay and Wrangell while you learn about the local culture. 

For the adventurous, try Ventures by Seabourn®, a program with expeditions that take you deep into the wonders of Alaska. There is plenty to do on board, including a 9-hole mini-golf course, a pool, a spa, and a casino.

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 14 days

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Sail on the Seven Seas Mariner, which regularly travels between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska. This larger ship carries up to 700 guests and offers a wide choice of room categories, from deluxe suites to penthouses to the coveted Regent suite. Alaskan Itineraries even stop at Icy Strait Point! 

All Regent Seven Seas cruise fares include meals, room service, fine wine, and spirits. Concierge suites come with a personal butler. 

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 14 days

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Oceania

Providing a luxury experience starting at one of many ports along North America’s west coast, Oceania offers transpacific journeys that include a stop in Alaska aboard Oceania Regatta, with a capacity of 670 guests.

Cruise fare with Oceania includes all gourmet meals, beverages, and credits towards shore excursions. For those traveling with children, Oceania includes an educational Alaska Explorer Youth Program for kids ages 5 to 12.

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 65 days

Windstar

Windstar takes pride in being able to show you an Alaska that they claim no other cruise line offers. One way they can do this is by taking you further up the Alaskan coast than other ships. Windstar’s Star Breeze offers stops in Kenai Fjords National Park on the Kenai Peninsula and the wildlife-rich Inian Islands on some itineraries. 

If whale watching is on your bucket list, Windstar will do its best to find them, altering schedules to stay longer at places where whales are seen.

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 14 days

Viking

Viking is a brand name many know and trust, leading loyal cruisers to book an Alaskan adventure aboard one of Viking’s Ocean class ships, like Viking Orion, which has a 930-passenger capacity. 

Leave fluff like formal nights and extras behind, and rest assured there will be no children onboard the adults-only cruise line. Things like onboard wifi and self-service laundry are included in the cruise fare. 

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 11 days

Best Small Ships Alaska Cruises 

While not necessarily aesthetically luxurious, sailing on a small ship cruise in Alaska provides luxury in another regard: being one of just a few dozen guests and a more favorite guest-to-crew ratio, and accessing remote areas larger ships simply cannot get to. 

Consider booking an Alaska luxury cruise with Alaskan Dream Cruises or UnCruise. They offer various itineraries with unforgettable authentic Alaskan experiences.  

Alaskan Dream Cruises

We can attest to how special Alaskan Dream Cruises is, having sailed through Alaska’s Inside Passage aboard their ship Baranof Dream. Offering the most intimate cruise experience, Alaskan Dream Cruises has guest capacities between 12 to 80 passengers, depending on the vessel. The cruise line aims to offer you a taste of “true Alaska,” including a sense of pride that you’re supporting a company owned by a native Alaskan family.  

Small cruise ship in the water in Alaska with a mountain behind it and small glacial ice in the water.

This is the only native Alaskan-owned and operated cruise company of its kind in Alaska. There is also a wonderful focus on educating guests about native cultures with Alaskan Dream Cruises.

Every cruise includes a stop at Orca Point Lodge or Fin Island Lodge for a fun dining experience, unlike anything other cruise lines offer. Here, you’ll have the chance to see stunning shoreline views of Admiralty Island National Monument or picturesque Stephens Passage. You can see Sitka Sound and a chain of stunning rainforest islands from Fin Island Lodge. 

During the trip, Alaskan Dream Cruises goes the extra mile to ensure that tours are run by native Alaskans as much as possible, and the dollars their guests pay directly support the communities they visit. 

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 8 to 9 days

UnCruise Adventures

UnCruise offers family travel, solo travel, and adventure luxury packages. This brand is known for providing access to places that most travelers never experience by taking you on culturally intensive excursions. It is the only tour operator with a permit for hiking and biking adventures on Chichagof Island. Boasting smaller capacities of 36 to 86 passengers, you’ll experience casual luxury.

“UnCruise Adventures is about creating moments of awe and wonder in the wild. It’s not just about traveling to beautiful places; it’s about connecting with the beauty of the natural world and the people who share the journey with us. In 2024, we’re excited to continue with more adult-only adventures, kid and family-only adventures, and our newest itinerary in Prince William Sound. As an Alaska boy through and through, I love sharing these wild places,” shares Captain Dan Blanchard, Owner and CEO of UnCruise Adventures. 

If being a friend to the environment is important to you, like it’s important to us, you’ll be happy to learn that UnCruise ships will undergo a 20-year life extension and upgrade in the near future. This means the ships will have quieter engines, a cleaner footprint, and be upgraded for guests.

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 14 days

Alaska Cruises on Popular Large Ships 

Holland America Line

Regarded as one of the Alaska cruise experts, Holland America Line cruises offer plenty of opportunities to explore the frontier on numerous itineraries. Holland Line America (HAL) was the successor to West Tours, the first pioneer of vacations in Alaska. HAL carries on that legacy.

Front of a Holland America Line cruise ship with a bow that reads We Love Alaska.

HAL’s Alaska Cruisetours make it possible to combine a cruise with a land tour so you maximize your exploration of this beautiful state. Choose from overnight lodge stays to railway or motorcoach trips. Holland America Line cruises have permission to sail in Glacier Bay National Park and take guests to the incredible Hubbard Glacier. 

Book a closed-loop cruise from Los Angeles on a 16-day voyage exploring the Inside Passage. If you wish to sail beyond Alaska’s Inside Passage on a longer cruise, opt for one of HAL’s 22-day voyages beginning in 2025 from San Francisco and Seattle. 

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 28 days

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises is considered to be an Alaska cruise expert and a leader in Alaska cruises. Embark on your cruise from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Vancouver, and head west to the Last Frontier. We know a thing or two about sailing from the Port of Los Angeles with Princess Cruises, as we did a few years ago for a West Coast cruise, which was fabulous! 

Princess Cruises has a kids’ club for those traveling with children, helping keep everyone entertained. 

The entire journey will immerse you in Alaskan culture from the food, educational lectures, and activities in small and large cities. 

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 22 days

Disney Cruise Line

Luxury cruise travel and kids don’t often go hand in hand, but when you’re onboard a Disney Cruise Line ship you’ll feel like you’re in the lap of luxury. Cruise to Alaska aboard Disney Wonder, with your favorite characters, who make a special appearance as you view the Stikine Icecap’s breathtaking glaciers.

Disney Cruise Line in the distance with a street in front of the ship and buildings on either side in Alaska.

You’ll get to venture into the backwoods of Alaska in Ketchikan, where you can meander through a totem pole park. As a bonus, cabins are designed for families, so they have split bathrooms; one area has a shower, and the other has a toilet and sink.

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 5 to 8 days

Celebrity Cruises

Extra luxury with Celebrity Cruises comes with booking a suite class. Our favorite way to sail with Celebrity Cruises is by being in The Retreat

Celebrity Cruises ship in the distance with evergreen trees and Tongass National Forest behind it during an Alaska luxury cruise.

With Suite Class cabins, you’ll have superior experiences, including unlimited specialty dining at The Retreat Lounge and Luminae, a dedicated restaurant just for guests of The Retreat. You’ll also have free internet, unlimited beverages, and personal concierge services. 

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 14 days

Cunard

This cruise line provides luxury for those who enjoy dressing to impress. It’s one of the only cruise lines that still has a formal night. While tuxedos are a thing of the past on other lines, you will be surrounded by like-minded, fashion-forward individuals for a glorious evening on Cunard. 

Cunard cruise ship in the distance in the waters of Alaska.

To truly experience luxury on Cunard, reserve their ship-within-a-ship class, the Princess Grill and Queen’s Grill suites. It has separate dining areas, lounges, and deck areas. 

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 10 to 12 days

Royal Caribbean

Known as floating megaresorts offering a plethora of amenities and flash, Royal Caribbean Alaskan cruises will keep your adrenaline pumping. There are many venues to enjoy onboard, including a spa, and comfy staterooms. Royal Caribbean also has a fun kids club, so everyone on board experiences their own fun.

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 14 days

Norwegian Cruise Line

Enjoy NCL’s penthouse suites or two-bedroom family villas that offer luxury in Alaska. Better yet, stay in The Haven, their ship-within-a-ship experience. These suites feature a private sundeck and a 24-hour butler. There are also incredible kids’ experiences on board, including indoor amusement activities.

Average duration of a typical Alaska cruise with the cruise line: 7 to 18 days

Best Time to Cruise in Alaska

The season to cruise in Alaska is from May to October. Very few cruise lines sail beyond October because it gets very cold, the wildlife is harder to spot for various reasons, and the largely tourism-based cities start to shut down for the winter. 

Parts of Alaska These Luxury Cruises Sail To and Expected Sightseeing

Each luxury vessel that sails in Alaska promises a once-in-a-lifetime adventure amongst Alaska’s iconic landscapes, wildlife, and natural wonders. 

The Inside Passage in southeast Alaska is the most popular destination for where colossal glaciers meet the deep blue waters, and majestic wildlife roams freely in their natural habitat. Read on to discover the itinerary options available with the best Alaska cruises below. 

Alaska Luxury Cruises Bucket List Sites and Scenery

Misty Fjords National Monument

This is one of the most stunning places we’ve seen worldwide. Going into the fjords on an Alaskan Dream Cruises ship was truly mesmerizing. Larger ships cannot fit in the fjords, which is certainly an advantage to going on a cruise in Alaska on a small ship. 

Colorful sunset above the mountains at Misty Fjords National Monument in Alaska.

Gaze at rock formations and beautiful waterfalls as your cruise ship slowly travels through Misty Fjords National Monument’s beautiful landscape (which some people call Misty Fjords National Park). We were lucky to be there during sunset when Mother Nature painted the sky pink and purple as the orange sun sunk beneath the horizon.  

Denali National Park

Embark on an unforgettable sightseeing tour at Denali National Park. Marvel at the breathtaking landscapes of the colossal peaks of North America’s tallest mountain range. Wildlife viewing is at its peak from mid-May to early September.

A popular activity here is to go on a Denali Wilderness Safari. Venture into the wild heart of the Alaska Range as you seek out grizzlies, moose, and caribou against a backdrop of expansive tundra and towering peaks in Alaska’s untamed beauty.

Prince William Sound

Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing beauty of Prince William Sound, where tidewater glaciers meet the ocean in a breathtaking display of icy grandeur. You’ll cruise through pristine waters and witness an icy world teaming with marine life. 

Whittier, Cordova, and Valdez are three Alaskan cities on this sound. Kayaking and fishing are popular activities here.

Hubbard Glacier

Located in Disenchantment Bay – not in Glacier Bay National Park – lies Hubbard Glacier. This impressive glacier is one of very few in the world that is still growing. Experience one of the rarest views on earth and the natural habitat it’s creating.

Kenai Fjords National Park

The Kenai Fjords National Park contains awe-inspiring glaciers and one of the most diverse ecosystems of all the National Parks. You’ll surely have a chance to see whales here during your trip to Alaska. The rugged coastal scenery will leave an indelible mark on you as you explore a portion of the Kenai Peninsula, where the park is located. 

Fairbanks

This popular city is fairly inland, so you will unlikely visit Fairbanks during your Alaska cruise. However, if you extend your vacation before or after your cruise, it’s a great city to visit. 

From August to April, the Arctic night sky comes alive with the mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights. If you can time it correctly and spend a night or two here, it’s a must-see bucket list adventure. You’ll have a chance to see them in late August if you go on a cruise in Alaska later in the summer, prior to the close of the cruise season. 

Wildlife You’ll See in Alaska 

We visited in August and saw humpback whales, bald eagles, sea otters, black bears, sea lions, seals, and a lot of salmon spawning! 

Mama brown bear with two cubs on the waterfront in Alaska.

Depending on the month and week you visit, you’ll have the opportunity to see all that and more, like brown bears or orca whales.

Don’t Forget Sea Sickness Remedies

Cruising in Alaska is beautiful, but if you’re on a smaller expedition ship, especially, you want to pack motion sickness medication in case you get seasick. It’s a good idea for large ships, too, if you’re prone to sea sickness. 

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