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Ocean Waters and Snow Mountains Part of the Alaska Experience

ADVENTURE ON THE WILD SIDE

Alaska cruises.

Adventure comes first on the last frontier.

No vacation in the world delivers once-in-a-lifetime adventure like Alaska. Mark this as your year to cross this bucket-busting destination off your list once and for all. Take off by dogsled across thousand-year-old ice as you soak in otherworldly sights. Trek across the majestic Mendenhall Glacier for breathtaking views of the wildest country. Get to know wildlife, big and small, that call this wilderness home, like otters, eagles, bears, and whales. And do it all from onboard one of four thrill-filled ships. This is Last Frontier pioneering with the cruise line voted Best Overall by Travel Weekly readers for 20 years running.

Colorful Homes Architecture, Nassau, Bahamas

Save Big With These Alaska Cruise Deals

Want more time to plan the adventure of a lifetime? Our 2024 Alaska sailings are now open.

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Family watching out for whales on an Alaskan Cruise

OF ICE AND MOUNTAINS

Adventuring in Alaska is all about getting to know this state's stunning landscape. It might seem cold and unforgiving at first glance, but the best Alaska cruises allow you to explore the quiet lakes,  imposing glaciers  and breathtaking mountain views, you'll have only warm impressions of this wilderness. 

Seals in Alaska Inside Passage

JOURNEY INWARD

Exploring the interior of Alaska will give you an entirely different perspective on this vast and rugged state. Take an Inside Passage cruise and gaze upward at the sky that is as blue as the lakes below. Hop on the Alaskan Railroad near Anchorage and see the spruce-lined, mountainous landscape whir by from a new perspective.

Majestic Glacier in Alaska

GLACIERS WILL MOVE YOU

In Alaska, ancient rivers of ice wind between mountains and grind out of valleys. Towering walls of ice like the Hubbard Glacier, Endicott Arm Dawes and the twin Sawyer Glaciers thunder as they calve  massive icebergs . Some shore excursions allow up close interaction with these natural wonders.

Magnificent Denali National Park Alaska

JOURNEY TO "THE GREAT ONE"

In the center of the state,  Denali National Park  is blanketed in wildflowers punctuated with mountains, raging rivers and serene lakes. Denali, "The Great One," formerly known as Mt. McKinley, rises to the tallest peak in North America and can be seen from as far away as Anchorage on a clear day. An up-close view is more than worth the expedition during your vacation.

Beautiful Mountain View in the National Park, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

FEEL THE RUSH

Alaska is tailor-made for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Whether you sail its icy bays trying to spot huge cold-water whales or fly high above this rough-and-tumble landscape from the vantage of a helicopter, you're sure to come away with memories you couldn't have made anywhere else during your cruise to Alaska. 

Alaska Dog Sledding Excursion

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?

In some parts of the state, dog sledding is still the primary mode of transportation through the winter months. Visit Alaska and get the experience for yourself at the  Skagway Yukon Discovery and Dog Sled Tour . The Siberian Huskies are sweet and energetic, and the ride is a thrill.

Whale Watching Activity in Alaska

WHERE ARE THE WHALES AT?

Head to Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward for a  whale watching tour . There's nothing like seeing these behemoths hurl themselves out of the water, to splash back into the sea. Don't pass up an opportunity to watch these giants feed and play in the water.

Alaska Charter Helicopter Tour

Planes are plentiful in Alaska, where they're a common form of transportation across the state. Charter a helicopter or fixed-wing flightseeing tour at Juneau and get an unforgettable perspective of the mountains and glaciers of this vast landscape.

Juneau, Alaska Blue Glacier Ice Cave

RELEASE YOUR WILD SIDE ON THE BEST ALASKA CRUISE

Embark on an unforgettable Alaska adventure cruise and experience the ultimate vacation. Immerse yourself in the thrilling destinations that Alaska has to offer, each brimming with its own unique style and vibe. Discover the wonders of Alaska with the Best Cruise Line for 20 years running.

iFly and Flowrider Sunset in Alaska

QUANTUM OF THE SEAS

Quantum of the Seas® heads to the Last Frontier from Seattle . This adventure packed ship offers glacier gazing from the tallest viewing deck on a cruise ship and activities you can enjoy in any weather. Edge of your seat entertainment, all weather activities like the fan-favorite Flowrider®* and unparalleled views from every room.

EXPLORE MORE

Ovation of the Seas North Star Bar in Alaska

OVATION OF THE SEAS

Pioneer America’s Last Frontier onboard Ovation of the Seas®, one of the world's most groundbreaking ships and among the boldest ships to ever sail Alaska. Gaze at giant glaciers from the pool deck while you sail through Endicott Arm . Scan the surrounding waters on your way to Juneau for glimpses of wildlife from the North Star®, the tallest viewing deck on a cruise ship. 

Brilliance of the Seas Hero

BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS

Brilliance of the Seas® gets you up close to the glacial giants of The Last Frontier — from the expansive Hubbard to the calving Dawes. You can add once-in-a-lifetime to the itinerary for your wildest week ever. Go wildlife spotting in Juneau, peak-seeking in Sitka , and take-on rugged adventure in Haines. Getting to your coolest getaway yet is easy for the whole family with sails roundtrip from Vancouver

Radiance at Hubbard Glacier - Alaska

RADIANCE OF THE SEAS

Sail into the Last Frontier from Seward or Vancouver onboard Radiance of the Seas®. With over three acres of windows and glass exterior viewing elevators, you can watch for whales along Alaska’s Inside Passage when you aren’t wandering wilderness paths from Ketchikan to Juneau. And for the ultimate outdoor adventure, take a CruiseTour into Alaska’s interior where you can hang with huskies in Denali, and scale glaciers in Alyeska.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Alaska Cruises Insider

The sheer size of Alaska lends itself to a wide variety of terrain and travel experiences. This diversity means you need to be prepared for a lot of change while traveling.

The best time to travel to Alaska depends on your priorities. If you're interested in the Midnight Sun, the longest day of the year is June 21, when you can experience close to 20 or more hours of sunlight in some parts of the state. If you're more interested in the Alaska Northern Lights, the earlier sunset in later summer will allow more contrast and better views of this natural wonder.

No two days will be the same, and you'll need to pack your clothing to prepare for temperature changes throughout the day. Think layers: zip-up sweaters, boots, rain jackets.

Alaska Hubbard Glacier Mountain Blue Ocean

Fun Activities for kids in Alaska | Royal Caribbean Cruises

January 12, 2024

Fun activities for kids abound on an Alaska cruise. Embark on a thrilling journey with young explorers through breathtaking landscapes.

Alaska Yukon Skaqway White Pass

The Best Alaska Cruises

January 9, 2024

Your Guide to the Best Cruises From Alaska. Learn more about the most stunning destinations you can visit on an Alaska cruise from Seattle or Vancouver.

Mount Roberts Tramway above the forest, Juneau, Alaska

What to Pack for a Cruise to Alaska | Royal Caribbean Cruises

January 3, 2024

Take the guess work out of what to pack for a cruise to Alaska with this guide that tells you what to bring and why you'll be glad you did!

Vegan pancakes with Birch syrup and raisins

Alaska Food: Where to Find the Best Food in Alaska | Royal Caribbean Cruises

The best Alaska food to try on a cruise includes king crab, salmon, fry bread, birch syrup, wild berries and more.

Cozy Cabins and Scenic Restaurants in the Alaskan Wilderness

Visiting Scenic Restaurants in Alaska

Plan your romantic Alaskan cruise with our adventurer’s guide to discovering the coziest vacation spots and most scenic restaurants for couples traveling in Alaska.

Woman looking at Exit Glacier, Harding Ice Field, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

The Most Instagrammable Places in Alaska

December 11, 2023

Find the most Instagrammable places for your next vacation cruise to Alaska. Come discover the prettiest spots to take pictures with our travel photo guide.

Best Helicopter Tours to Take when Flying over Alaska

Alaska Helicopter Tours

There's nothing quite as exhilarating as a helicopter tour over Alaska's sprawling landscapes. Take your breath away as you travel above its amazing glaciers.

Mukluks, high fur boots white, black and brown color.

Alaska Souvenirs to Take Home With You So You Never Forget Your Trip | Royal Caribbean Cruises

October 20, 2023

After traveling somewhere new, you want to bring something back with you to remember all of your fun adventures. Don't miss these Alaska souvenirs.

Haines Alaska Coastal Homes

Dive Into Alaska Traditions on Your Next Cruise | Royal Caribbean Cruises

October 19, 2023

Whether you're curious about Alaska native culture or other Alaska traditions, here's how to make these an integral part of your trip up north.

Alaska, Juneau Mendenhall Glacier

Hiking on Alaska Glacier Tours

October 2, 2023

Ever wanted to go on an Alaska glacier tour to experience hiking in its open nature? Here is your travel guide for planning the best adventure vacation.

Champagne Balcony Benefits

Honeymoon Cruise in Alaska

Planning a honeymoon cruise to Alaska? We’ve curated the ultimate guide to visiting some of the most romantic destinations to vacation for couples.

Radiance Hubbard Glacier Alaska

What Is the Best Way to See Alaska? | Royal Caribbean Cruises

September 22, 2023

As you plan your Alaska vacation, you might be torn between traveling by cruise ship, plane or even car. Here's how to decide the best way to see Alaska.

Singapore City Landscape at Sunset

Top 10 Most Beautiful Port Cities | Royal Caribbean Cruises

September 20, 2023

Cruising is a wonderful thing. It can bring you to some of the most beautiful port cities in the world.

Denali, Alaska Highest Mountain Peak

Why You Should Take an Alaska Summer Vacation Cruise

August 16, 2023

Most people tend to focus on the Caribbean for summer cruises, but an Alaska summer vacation can be a great option, too.

Denali, Alaska National Park Mountains

Best Vacation Spots in Alaska in the Summer

Alaska in the summer is a must for adventure travelers looking for wilderness hiking, epic glaciers, dog sledding, and sea kayaking

Sled Dog Racing Alaskan Malamute, Alaska

Dog Sledding Tours

July 14, 2023

There's nothing like an amazing adventure during an Alaskan vacation, and if you're looking for things to do then dog sledding is a bucket-list experience.

Craft Beer Tap Bartender

The Best Craft Breweries in Alaska

July 5, 2023

For all the beer lovers planning an Alaskan cruise vacation, we’ve curated the ultimate zythophile guide to visiting 5 of the best craft breweries in Alaska.

Alaska, Bull Moose Wildlife

Top Tips for Planning a Cruise to Alaska

Discover the top tips for planning a cruise to Alaska and uncover the best times of the year to spot Alaskas wildlife, locate must-see attractions, find Alaskan cruise deals and more.

Zip Lining in the Summer, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Conquer the World's Longest Zip Line in Alaska

December 15, 2022

Don’t wait any longer, riding the world's longest zip line in Alaska will be an experience you'll never forget while on your next Alaskan mountain adventure.

Couple Enjoying Glacier Tour, Juneau, Alaska

Must-Sees for Your Once in a Lifetime Alaska Cruise Vacation

December 14, 2022

Whether you're a history buff or a nature nut, there are numerous bucket list destinations to experience while traveling on your Alaska cruise vacation.

Alaska is not a formal place; people even wear jeans to the opera. Focus more on comfort when deciding what clothing to pack.

Cameras, binoculars, rain ponchos and jackets are useful, but add these to the souvenirs you'll be picking up and soon your bag will be too heavy to tote around. Bring along a quality day pack to make it easier to hold your necessities.

Learn a few words in Alaska's local lingo: The "Alcan" is the Alaska-Canada Highway, for example, and "fish stories" are the local version of tall tales — unreliable yarns of mythological proportions, often told by fisherman.

ALASKAN CUISINE WILD IS THE WAY 

Alaskan food focuses on locally sourced ingredients that reflect the state's rugged terrain and the vast oceans surrounding it. These nutrient-rich waters serve up some gorgeous fish and shellfish, from super-fresh salmon to huge Alaskan King Crabs that can feed a crowd, while game meats and berries from the wilderness form a perfect marriage of flavor.

Best Alaska Smoked Salmon

SALMON IS CENTRAL

Fresh-caught wild salmon is served up at backyard BBQs and the finest restaurants. For something different, try the sweet and savory treat Indian Candy, salmon that is sweetened and smoked till hard.

Typical Alaskan Sourdough Bread

SOURDOUGH WON'T LET YOU GO

Sourdough is such an important part of Alaskan culture that long-time Alaskans are actually called sourdoughs in local parlance. Try a sourdough bread bowl filled with salmon chowder for a hearty lunch.

Alaskan Wild Berries Pie Dessert

GO WILD FOR BERRIES

Alaskan wild berries are sweet and pack a powerful punch of flavor. Whether served up in jams, candies, pies or cobblers, Alaskan blueberries, high-bush cranberries and other local wild berries are a staple when it comes to Alaskan summer eats.

RELATED PORTS

Whether you're interested in hiking through a forest, trekking to glaciers or a shopping spree downtown, the towns along Alaska's inside passage provide a variety of adventurous activities. Alaska cruise ports such as Juneau and Ketchikan are small cities with their own personalities. Anchorage is the state's largest city and a gateway to the rest of the state. Denali National Park takes you out of the city altogether, into a wilderness full of spruce forests and snow-capped mountain peaks.

 National Park Mountains Snow, Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Flowers Nature Mountains , Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

Misty Fjords National Monument, Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska

Coastal Town Seascape Views, Sitka, Alaska

Sitka, Alaska

National Park Forest, Inside Passage, Alaska

Alaska Inside Passage, Alaska

Iceberg Snow Glacier, Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Vancouver Island Mountains, Inside Passage, British Columbia

Inside Passage, Canada

Seascape Mountain Side Ocean, Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

Glacier Icy Snow, Endicott Arm & Glacier Dawes

Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, Alaska

Chilkat Peninsula, Skagway, Alaska

Skagway, Alaska

Alaska Glacier Bay Mountains

Glacier Bay (Cruising), Alaska

Chilkoot Lake Haines Alaska

Haines, Alaska

Downtown Lodge Houses Stilts, Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan (Ward Cove), Alaska

Resurrection Bay Mountain Side Ocean Kayaking Nature, Seward, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

Related Destinations

Canadian Rockies Park in the West Coast

My Personas

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Backpacking America. Outdoor travel destinations in the US. USA. United States. US outdoor vacation ideas.

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Alaska cruise in May can be perfect! (pics!) + things to do 🏔 early May and mid-May weather and wildlife?!

Is May too early for an Alaska cruise?!

Well, surely it depends on what you’re looking for.

For example, it seems like May is still early for whale watching.

I still did see whales in May in several cruise ports, but it seems summer is more prime whale watching in Alaska.

And that goes for basically all wildlife.

Prime wildlife watching in Alaska seems to be in the summer.

So if wildlife watching is priority number 1 for you during an Alaska cruise, then May might be too early for you.

But otherwise…

If you are after Alaska landscape, then May can be a perfect time for an Alaska cruise!!

alaska cruise in may. alaska weather in may

Before I left for my early season Alaska cruise, I had gotten the impression from reading things online that you actually have a better chance of better weather in May.

And, that is basically what happened.

The vast majority of my time in Alaska in May, there was good weather.

I was not really surprised, since I expected good weather by going to Alaska in May. 😂

So I was a bit confused when there were locals in several of the cruise ports who made it sound like good weather was unusual, even in May. 🤔

I asked a Glacier Bay National Park ranger about this, and she indicated that May in Glacier Bay tends to be one of the months that is more dry and sees more sun, so maybe I was just reading about Glacier Bay. 🤔

In any case, when I went to Alaska in May, the weather on the vast majority of Alaska days was pretty good.

Even Ketchikan, which the internet will tell you is always rainy, was sunny the 2 times I went in May.

And the one pretty terrible weather day I had in May, it was actually pretty funny because it was the first Alaska day I had, and it was super rainy, super windy, and super cold!

And so… it was like a perfect “welcome to Alaska!!!” 🤣

So I guess it’s true.

Anything goes in Alaska!

And that includes Alaska in May!

As “they” say, weather can change quickly in Alaska!

Pictures of Alaska in May

Of course, every year is different since it’s all weather dependent.

But here is what an Alaska cruise in May looked like in 2023!

May 2: Hubbard Glacier scenic cruising sea day

  • May 3: Icy Strait Point
  • May 4: Juneau
  • May 5: Skagway

May 6: Glacier Bay National Park scenic cruising sea day

  • May 7: Sitka
  • May 8: Ketchikan
  • May 15: Ketchikan
  • May 16: Juneau
  • May 17: Skagway

May 18: Glacier Bay National Park scenic cruising sea day

  • May 19: College Fjord scenic cruising sea evening
  • May 20: Whittier

I did 2 Alaska cruises in May:

  • Alaska cruise from Vancouver round trip
  • Vancouver to Anchorage cruise one-way

alaska cruise from vancouver in may. hubbard glacier in may

Another thing to consider for an Alaska cruise in May is that it might still be too early in the season to reach some spot because of ice.

It seemed like it was questionable if we were going to make it to Hubbard Glacier.

I think the captain had announced that our cruise ship was the first of the Alaska cruise season to go to Hubbard Glacier, so there were no ice reports.

But, we ended up being able to make it to Hubbard Glacier!

There was ice, but it wasn’t enough to keep the cruise ship from reaching Hubbard Glacier!

And, the ice on the way to Hubbard Glacier made it look really pretty!

Cruising to Hubbard Glacier means cruising through Yakutat Bay and Disenchantment Bay to get to Hubbard Glacier.

alaska cruise from vancouver in may. hubbard glacier in may

May 3: Icy Strait Point cruise port

My plan for Icy Strait Point cruise port:

  • morning: Icy Strait Point whale watching tour ( Icy Strait Point Whale Adventures ) 8:45am to 11:45am
  • afternoon: Walk around Icy Strait Point on my own 

Early May seems to still be early for whale season, so I wasn’t even sure if I’d have a chance to see whales.

The day before, it seems like they saw quite a few whales, but on the day I went it seems like there weren’t as many.

That’s okay, because I had managed my expectations since May wasn’t prime whale watching season in Alaska.

At the very least, it was boat ride in Alaska in May!

alaska cruise from vancouver in may. icy strait point whale watching boat tour

Still, I did get to see a whale tail pretty close from the boat, and it was my first time seeing a whale tail like that, so that was the highlight of the whale watching tour in Icy Strait Point!

alaska cruise from vancouver in may. icy strait point whale watching tour

May 4: Juneau cruise port

My plan for Juneau cruise port:

  • morning + lunch: Taku Lodge Feast & 5-Glacier Seaplane Discovery with Taku Lodge Wings Airways (Princess shore excursion) 9:30am to 1pm
  • afternoon + evening: Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls on my own

alaska cruise from vancouver in may. juneau cruise excursion to taku lodge with seaplane tour

May 5: Skagway cruise port

My plan for Skagway cruise port:

  • morning: White Pass Rail & Klondike Highway (Princess shore excursion) 8:15am to 12pm
  • afternoon: Glacier Discovery by Helicopter with Temsco Helicopters (Princess shore excursion) 2:15pm to 4:15pm

alaska cruise from vancouver in may. skagway cruise excursion, klondike highway

May 7: Sitka cruise port

My plan for Sitka cruise port:

  • morning: Sitka marine wildlife tour with Sitka Sound Tours
  • afternoon: Sitka National Historical Park on my own
  • see more: Things to do in Sitka

alaska cruise from vancouver in may. sitka boat tour

May 8: Ketchikan cruise port

My plan for Ketchikan cruise port:

  • morning: Totem Bight State Historical Park on my own
  • afternoon: Misty Fjords National Monument seaplane tour with Island Wings
  • late afternoon: Creek Street on my own

alaska cruise from vancouver in may. ketchikan cruise port on your own. totem bight state historical park

/end Alaska cruise #1 in May! Read about it: Alaska cruise from Vancouver

Next, Alaska cruise #2 in May!

May 15: Ketchikan cruise port

  • morning: Ketchikan snorkeling tour with Snorkel Alaska
  • after tour: Saxman Park totem poles on my own
  • see more: Ketchikan excursions

vancouver to anchorage cruise with ketchikan. alaska cruise things to do: ketchikan snorkeling

May 16: Juneau cruise port

  • morning: Juneau whale watching tour (Princess excursion)
  • afternoon: Mendenhall Glacier Lake canoe + hike with Liquid Alaska

vancouver to anchorage cruise with juneau. alaska cruise things to do: juneau driving tour

May 17: Skagway cruise port

  • Yakutania point hike on my own
  • Skagway dog sledding on a glacier + helicopter tour with Temsco Helicopters (Princess excursion)
  • see more: Things to do in Skagway

vancouver to anchorage cruise with skagway. alaska cruise things to do on your own: skagway hikes

May 19: Sea day with evening of College Fjord scenic cruising

Another gloomy day in Alaska in May!

But it was the first real bad weather day I had since that very first Alaska day!

vancouver to anchorage cruise with college fjord

May 20: Whittier disembarkation day

My plan for Whittier disembarkation day:

  • get off the cruise ship as late as possible (9:30am)
  • 26 glacier boat tour during the day
  • evening train from whittier to anchorage

vancouver to anchorage cruise to whittier. alaska cruise things to do: glacier tour

/end Alaska cruise #2 in May! Read about it: Vancouver to Anchorage cruise

And that’s a bit of what you might see if you go to alaska in may.

Read about my May Alaska cruises:

  • Alaska cruise from Vancouver
  • Vancouver to Anchorage cruise

HAPPY CRUISING ALASKA IN MAY!

  • Best whale watching in Alaska
  • Best dog sledding in Alaska (on a glacier, on snow, in summer!)
  • Snorkeling in Alaska 😂
  • Deadliest Catch tour (as seen on TV!)
  • Juneau icefield seaplane + Taku Glacier Lodge salmon bake
  • Nugget Falls in Tongass National Forest (Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area)
  • Helicopter + glacier walk to see blue ice
  • Klondike Highway to Fraser BC + White Pass summit train
  • What I did on another Skagway cruise ship arrival: Dog sledding and Yakutania Point
  • Totem Bight State Historical Park
  • Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness seaplane + wilderness landing
  • Creek Street
  • Icy Strait Point to Hoonah
  • Sitka National Historical Park totem poles
  • Things to do in Sitka
  • What is it like: Glacier Bay National Park from a cruise ship
  • This was not available on my early season cruise: Hubbard Glacier excursion (yes, you can get off the ship on a sea day! available until early September... if it's not already sold out!)
  • Tips for first Princess cruise (getting familiar with Princess food + more!)
  • Ideas for your first Alaska cruise
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Find the Best Alaska Cruise for You

Explore the dynamic glaciers, soaring peaks and captivating history of the 49th state on our award-winning itineraries. Sail Alaska’s serene seas to Glacier Bay National Park or Hubbard Glacier for a chance to witness ice calving, known as “white thunder.” Extend your Alaska vacation with a cruisetour, a combination of ocean cruise and land tour deep into Alaska’s rugged interior.

View of an Alaska glacier

Cross Alaska’s massive ice shelves, crystal fjords, and fascinating marine wildlife off your bucket list with itineraries that conveniently depart from Seattle and Vancouver. Enjoy perks such as privileged access to Glacier Bay National Park and prime docking locations that give you a head start on sightseeing.

View of Alaska mountain range

Our cruisetours combine an ocean cruise with a land tour into Alaska’s interior. Watch northern wilderness views unfold from aboard our glass-domed train, the McKinley Explorer®. Stay up to 3 nights at the McKinley Chalet Resort near Denali National Park. Go into the Yukon with a guide.

Find Your Perfect Cruisetour

Find Your Perfect Cruisetour

On this page, why cruise alaska with holland america.

With us, Alaska travel is personal. We’ve been sharing the wonders of Alaska longer than any other cruise line. See the best of the Great Land’s glaciers, coastal towns and wildlife on board perfectly sized ships offering superior service and exclusive programming.

Alaska Wildlife

Few places can compete with Alaska’s wildlife diversity. With more than 20 animal sanctuaries and sightseeing excursions, we bring you closer to creatures great and small. Learn about the Big Five and other amazing animals you might spot.

White Pass & Yukon Railroad

Hop a train back in time to the Klondike Gold Rush. Built during peak gold fever, this 120-year-old iron trail traverses tunnels, trestles and misty valleys to the White Pass Summit at 2,865 feet.

Alaska National Parks

Like everything else in Alaska, the Great Land’s national parks far exceed expectations. Read about Glacier Bay’s seven tidewater glaciers, Denali’s 6-million acres of undisturbed wilderness, Kenai Fjords' astonishing Exit Glacier and other national parks.

Alaska's Glaciers

Glaciers are more than breathtaking rivers of ice. They are living laboratories that show what the Earth was like thousands of years ago and how it is changing today. Get ready for the ultimate glacier experience.

Northern Lights

Many flock to Alaska every year for a chance to witness the aurora borealis. Did you know they are more likely to display during high solar activity cycles? Find out how to pick the best time to see the northern lights in Alaska.

Alaska Cruise Sneak Preview

Video about cruising Alaska on Holland America Line

Meet Alaska's Giants, Face-To-Face

With 75 years in Alaska, we know every nook, cranny and crevasse. We have more Alaska cruise port departures featuring Glacier Bay National Park than any other cruise line. All Alaska cruises include one or more glacier-viewing days, and you’ll get closer to ‘the giants’ on ships perfectly sized for the Great Land.

View of Glacier Bay across the inlet.  Logo of the national Park Service identifies Holland America Line as an authorized concessioner

Glacier Bay National Park

Hubbard Glacier seen on an Alaska Cruise

Cruise To Hubbard Glacier

Seals resting on and ice flow near College Fjord, Alaska, seen on a Holland America Line cruise

Read More About College Fjord

Tracy Arm inlet seen on an Alaska Cruise

Cruises To Tracy Arm, Alaska

alaskan cruise may

Glacier Bay Experts

Alaska cruise itineraries, weekly alaska cruises may to september.

Stretch out your Alaska cruise vacation with convenient weekend departures. Enjoy a roundtrip Alaska cruise from Seattle on Alaskan Explorer itineraries or from Vancouver on Alaskan Inside Passage itineraries.

Alaskan Explorer

Alaskan inside passage, featured alaska cruise itineraries.

Roundtrip Alaska Cruise from Seattle

A 7-day roundtrip Alaska cruise from Seattle.

Roundtrip Alaska Cruise from Vancouver

A 7-day roundtrip Alaska cruise from Vancouver.

Alaska Cruisetours

Cruise to Alaska, explore Denali or Denali and the Yukon.

We Bring Alaska On Board

Experts on board your cruise to alaska, an unrivaled culinary journey, alaska immersion with explorations central™.

Mother and Daughter looking at an Alaska glacier from the deck of a Holland America ship

Alaska Up Close

Certified Sustainable Alaska RFM logo and catching fish

Our Alaska Seafood Is Certified Sustainable

Why cruise our mid-sized ships.

Choose from seven refreshingly uncrowded ships for a front-row seat to Alaska's splendor.

Fluid lines, light-filled spaces and a blend of modern elegance and nautical tradition make Koningsdam a sublime ship for Alaska cruises.

Eurodam was named “Best for Great Dining & Diverse Destinations” and features a vast selection of entertainment venues and restaurants.

Nieuw Amsterdam

Cruise to Alaska in high style. Nieuw Amsterdam's exceptional onboard experience earned "Best Cruise Ship Overall" at the Travvy Awards.

Named for the Northern compass point, Noordam is fitting for a cruise to Alaska. Museum-quality art outfits this ship, from oils to photographs of music legends. 

An elegant and spacious Alaska cruise ship with fresh floral arrangements and garden-inspired décor. Master frontier flavor with regional cooking demonstrations on board.

Sink into refreshed suites and a new lounge, plus dining and entertainment venues. Take in Alaska’s evergreen fjords and thunderous glaciers on this Vista-class Alaska cruise ship.

Classic nautical finishes and a spectacular art collection make the Zuiderdam the ideal sanctuary for your cruise to Alaska.

Best Shore Excursions On An Alaska Cruise

Top 10 alaska shore excursions, great for families, ideal for adventurers, iconic alaska cruise ports & destinations.

Totem art in Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska is one of the best spots along Alaska's Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. Amble historic Creek Street, a boardwalk over a wide creek that fills with salmon during certain times of year.

Skagway, Alaska

Go back in time to the Klondike Gold Rush on cruises to Skagway, Alaska , once the primary gateway to the goldfields. Take a trip on the scenic railroad and still have time to dine and shop.

Convenient Alaska Cruise Departure Ports

Our Alaska cruise departure ports have big personalities and loads of attractions.

Best Alaska Cruises from Seattle

Set out on your Alaska cruise from Seattle’s serene waterfront. Visit its most popular attractions, such as the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Do as locals do and fuel up at one of the numerous cafes.

Alaska Cruises from Vancouver

Sightsee in this bustling metropolis before gliding the Inside Passage en route to Alaska. Historic neighborhoods and a thriving food scene await.

Alaska Cruises from Whittier

Conveniently located an hour and a half from Anchorage, Whittier is a small town on the shore of the glacier-filled Prince William Sound.

Cruise To Alaska Travel Tips & Articles

  • What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise
  • Planning an Alaska Cruise Itinerary with Kids

Alaska wilderness seen on a Holland America Line Land and Sea cruisetour

  • How to Pick the Best Month For Your Alaska Cruise
  • The Complete Guide to Alaska Glacier Viewing
  • Top Things to Do in Alaska
  • Best Places to Visit in Alaska
  • Whale Watching on Alaska Cruises

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Best cruise in alaska, recommended for you.

Forever Karen

8 Great Reasons To Cruise To Alaska In May

Close up of Hubbard Glacier in May, during an Alaska cruise

Alaska has a shortened cruise season from late April to early October. These are the only months’ cruise ships can access fjords without ice blocking their passage. While late June to mid-August attracts the most visitors for the warmer weather, consider an Alaska cruise in May.

When looking for the best time to cruise to Alaska, many passengers avoid the shoulder season. They think it’s too cold or imagine there’s still snow on the ground in Alaska. If you’re traveling from a warm climate like Florida or Texas, you have good reason to believe it’s cold.

However, if you can avoid peak season and travel in May, you’ll experience the awakening of the region. With the snow melting, the rainforests come alive, the wildlife welcomes new offspring, and the great migration begins.

Is May Too Early For Alaska Cruise?

There’s a misconception that the best time to cruise Alaska is summer. The Caribbean and Hawaii bring travelers for beach time, snorkeling, and lazy days in the sun.

A cruise ship in an Alaskan port and cruising Glacier Bay in May

Alaska, however, brings globetrotters to experience its vast undeveloped landscapes with stunning tidewater glaciers. If you travel to Alaska in the month of May, you won’t experience high daytime temperatures, but the chance of rain along the coastal areas is minimal.

Northern Alaska experiences the coldest temperatures. Since most people visit by road or cruise ship, you won’t hit the coldest spot much further south.

Princess Cruises and Holland America have the longest relationships with Alaska. If you book a one-way cruise with a land itinerary, you’ll enjoy the changing of the season in Denali. It’s a good time for wildlife viewing, and a chance to see the towering Denali.

At the beginning of May, there’s a chance to see the Northern Lights in Alaska’s interior. While the Aurora borealis isn’t guaranteed, hotels will often provide wake up calls should they appear.

Northern lights in Alaska

Not all cruise ships have repositioned for the Alaska season in the early weeks. So, these weeks offer fewer crowds in ports, vessels sailing at lower capacity, and less chance of shore excursions selling out. With fewer cruise passengers boarding ships, the process of embarkation can be much quicker.

And with fewer ships cruising Alaskan waters , guests could find a better itinerary that could include Glacier Bay National Park. In fact, I prefer to cruise in May for this and other reasons.

What Clothes Do I Take To Alaska In May?

Since temperatures can fall to the 30s at night, your cruise wardrobe should include warm and cozy items instead of fashionable and trendy. Although May and June are the driest months, I still recommend waterproof shoes and jackets.

If you’re  itinerary includes Glacier Bay ,  Hubbard Glacier, or one of the fjords, dress warmly in layers and winter accessories. The outside temperature can feel a lot colder than what the thermometer reads.

Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park

Ships are air-conditioned, and while that’s refreshing in the Caribbean, you’ll want to pass on those shorts in favor of long pants. Alaska itineraries are less formal than warmer destinations. So, pack sweats, fleece, wool socks, and base layers, especially if you’re from a warmer area. 

For formal nights, dark jeans and a sweater or nice blouse is acceptable by some cruise lines. Others, like Cunard, have a strict dress code. If you prefer to go all out on “chic nights,” men can wear suits and women long dresses. 

Cruises to the Last Frontier offers some unique Alaska tours. So, those booked to go  helicopter dog sledding  and trekking tours need a thick winter coat.

Coupled with a cozy hat, gloves, and a neck warmer, you’re guaranteed to leave Alaska with some incredible memories. The Alaska weather is unpredictable, so expect the unexpected.

So, here are some great reasons to cruise to Alaska in May.

Looking to book a May Alaska cruise?

Find it on Cruise Critic . It features more than 650,000 cruise reviews, advice, information and money-saving tips.

1. May Offers The Cheapest Prices

July and  August Alaska cruises command the highest prices due to warmer weather and kids being out of school.

However, travelers can score great deals on May itineraries if they’re trying to cruise to Alaska on the cheap.

North American cruises always offer the lowest prices in shoulder season. Alaskan cruises are generally the cheapest in May, followed by September sailings.

However,  travelers couldn’t book an Alaskan cruise for almost two years during the pandemic . When the  Vancouver cruise port , it welcomed the HAL Koningsdam as the first cruise ship post-pandemic. 

As 2022 welcomed an entire Alaska season, cruise lines are lowering prices to encourage bookings. I saw 7-day cruises in May for under USD 100, all roundtrip sailings from Seattle, Washington.

While these deals are lost leaders, cruise companies want to sail with fewer empty cabins. In 2023, prices jumped due to supply and demand and we can only expect 2024 to be a booming Alaska season.

Reid Falls, Skagway

Recent price drops allow me to cruise for less than I paid ten years ago. Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean offer the best deals. Although, don’t expect to get bargain pricing with top lines line Disney and Celebrity Cruises.

Cruising before the children are out of school means you can score better pricing on airfare too. It’s no secret that summer holidays command the highest prices when flying.

2. You May Get Upgraded

Should your vessel sail with a lower capacity of passengers, guests could receive a complimentary upgrade. Since Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, and Norwegian have “bid for an upgrade” programs, you’re more likely to receive an upgrade with Carnival or Holland America.

If you’re invited to bid for an upgrade, you could score a great deal on a better category stateroom. I’ve heard of passengers paying USD 50 more for a balcony from their booked interior cabin.

Since shoulder-season sailings don’t fill up fast, guests booking in early spring, have a wider choice of cabins.

3. May Itineraries Are Drier

A May Alaska itinerary sees the least rain. While the temperatures are cooler, guests can enjoy Glacier Bay in the driest month without a high risk of a downpour. Spring cruises enjoy 16 hours of daylight in the coastal ports at the start of the cruise season.

Further north, Anchorage and Denali enjoy one hour more. While not as many hours as the summer solstice, 16 hours is still plenty of time to immerse yourself in Alaska’s beauty.

With average daytime temperatures in the mid-50s, you’ll need to pack those sweaters and fleece layers to stay warm.

As Alaska experiences its winter thaw, those planning to hike don’t need to worry about mosquitoes. Although, expect muddy trails as the melt progresses. On higher elevations, you’ll encounter snow.

With long daylight hours and drier weather, you’ll enjoy mountains still frosted with snow. If the weather’s too brisk outside, watch the glaciers from the bow’s observation lounge.

Select a vessel with an indoor pool and hot tubs for those who like to swim. Most modern vessels have thermal spas, ideal for cold days in a fjord.

4. Wildlife Welcome New Offspring

May signals the beginning of spring in southeast Alaska. The bears are immerging from hibernation, and wildlife is welcoming new offspring. It’s also the best month to witness the migration, as herring, humpbacks whales, and birds move to Alaska for the warmer months.

Harbor seals spotted on an iceberg in Alaska in May

One reason to  cruise to Tracy Arm Fjord  in May is guests could witness the miracle of life as harbor seals give birth on giant icebergs. Harbor seals give birth on giant icebergs at the terminus of South Sawyer Glacier. With new life come the bald eagles who swoop down to feed on the afterbirth.

Near the mouth of the fords, the hungry orcas wait in anticipation of an easy meal. It’s a brutal beginning for a newborn harbor seal in the north.

The salmon run begins during the last weeks, although not the heavy runs like those later in the summer months. In late May, the chances of seeing moms with their young increase as they forage for food.

Alaska whale watching  tours are popular, and they never disappoint. The stronger humpback males arrive in Alaskan waters from Hawaii and Mexico in the early weeks. The females with their young follow later.

Humpback whale tales spotted on a whale watching tour in Juneau

Guests should bring  a pair of binoculars  as they can see whales from their stateroom balconies. Should you take a whale watching excursion, sea lions and bald eagles are often sighted too.

If you want to see bald eagles, I highly recommend the  Deadliest Catch Tour. Rated as Ketchikan’s number one  shore excursion , You’ll see a frenzy of eagle feasting on herring.

It’s also a great shore excursion for those in wheelchairs or who can’t walk far because the Aleutian Ballad docks at the  Ketchikan port.

5. May Is A Transitional Month

May, like September, brings transition. As the snow packs melt, the picturesque landscapes change from wintery scenes to a rebirth of life. While flowers aren’t in full bloom until June, the rainforests radiate in luscious hues of green.

Denali National Park opens in the third week of May, and its landscapes can greatly differ from those much further south.

A Misty Fjords waterfall

Waterfalls are impressive in May, as melting snow creates gushing torrents. Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm Fjords are magnificent in May. The Misty Fjords boat excursion also allows you to view beautiful cascades in May.

Another must-see waterfall is Nugget Falls in Juneau. A short hike accesses it in the Mendenhall Glacier recreational area.

Should you see any wildlife, they’ll still be donning their winter coats. As the weeks’ progress, bears, sheep, moose, and lynx will be shredding their coats to welcome the warmer weather.

6. You’ll See Snow Without Winter Weather

If you’re cruising to Hubbard Glacier, the surrounding mountains will still be white with thick snow. The white landscape blends with the glacial ice to provide picture-perfect photos.

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska in May

Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm fjords will also glisten with snow. However, if you cruise in early May, ice often prevents cruise ships from accessing the glaciers. So, choose a late May itinerary instead.

In Skagway, journeys by train or vehicle into the Yukon in British Columbia will still have plenty of snow cover. If you take a road trip to Emerald Lake, dress accordingly for the temperature change.

If you visit Alaska in spring, trails at the top of gondolas will also have snow. So, if you plan to hike at the top of Mt. Roberts Tram in Juneau or Icy Strait Point, have the correct footwear.

7. Discounted Tours

After the Alaska cruise season has been closed for seven months, tour operators are eager to sell shore excursions again. If vessels are cruising with fewer passengers, guests can often negotiate discounts on port tours.

With humpback whales arriving to feed for the summer, whale watching tours never disappoint. While humpbacks are seen on almost every tour, travelers can view sea lions, bald eagles, orcas, and gray whales too. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness the incredible activity of bubble-net feeding.

Humpback whales bubble net feeding in Juneau

The  Tracy Arm Tour and Glacier Explorer   get guests closer to the ice than a cruise ship for an unforgettable glacier tour. The small vessels can navigate through the ice-filled waters allowing passengers to feel the mist of nearby waterfalls.

8. There Are Fewer Children

If you prefer to cruise on ships with fewer children, choose an itinerary in May. Families tend to cruise in July or August when the kids are out of school.

While you can encounter children on all lines and at any time, sailing in spring increases your chance of having mostly adults. Stay clear of lines like Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean’s mega-ships which cater to families.

Final Thoughts

Since Alaska cruises command the highest prices, you’ll benefit from shoulder season prices by sailing in May. Guests will also enjoy the driest time, see fewer crowds, and sail on ships with empty staterooms.

Alaska itineraries in September also benefit from fewer crowds, lower prices, and a chance to see the northern lights. However, September brings lots of rain so you’ll need to pack for wet weather.

Dress to spend hours outdoors, and you’ll see humpback whales swimming along the shorelines making their way north for their summer feast. While it’s colder in May, Alaska radiates with beauty as the landscape reawakens from its hibernation state.

Happy travels ~ Karen

Cruising in Alaska in May and a ship docked in port

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

How is the weather for early June? Is a heavy coat essential?

Forever Karen

Sunday 9th of April 2023

Alaska's weather is unpredictable. It can be cold one day and hot the next. While you won't need a heavy jacket on port days, you'll need some warm layers on glacier viewing days.

Tuesday 28th of February 2023

Is a poncho useful for alaska. I don't have a waterproof jacket and have no need for one. Seems a poncho would fit over anything or multiple layers and allow freedom of movement. Doing alaska cruise in may.

A poncho can work if you're used to cold weather and not cruising in the early weeks of May. May is a drier month, and the weather warms up significantly in the later weeks.

Friday 3rd of February 2023

Great article! I have a cruise booked in May and now I'm even more happy we chose that time to go. Question - we will be in Skagway from 7am-8pm. Is it realistic to rent a car, drive to Whitehorse and spend a few hours at the Eclipse Nordic Spa? https://eclipsenordichotsprings.ca Will we have enough time?

Technically, it takes under 2-1/2 hours to drive to Whitehorse one way without stopping. However, most who make the drive stop in lots of places. So, plan to make the drive without stopping and add stops at places of interest on the return drive while keeping an eye on the time. Enjoy your cruise!

Lisa | Waves and Cobblestones

Monday 21st of November 2022

Seeing the Northern Lights is definitely a bucket-list experience for me. Are the chances of Northern Lights better in May than in the busier Alaska cruise months?

There are better chances to see the Nothern Lights in the shoulder season. However, the Aurora Borealis is unpredictable, and you never know when you'll witness its beauty. I've been to Alaska several times in May and haven't seen them yet.

Wow! I didn't know there were so many things you could do in Alaska! Definitely going on my bucket list.

Alaska is an unknown destination for many; maybe that's why I love it there so much. Its vast wilderness of undeveloped landscapes provides great appeal.

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Discover The Wild Beauty Of The Last Frontier

From 6-night getaways to immersive, 13-night Cruisetours that combine the wild, forested beauty of Alaska’s coast with the majesty of Denali National Park, there’s an Alaskan cruise style and length to suit you. Sail one-way between Vancouver and Seward or Vancouver and Seattle, round-trip from Vancouver or Seattle, or on a Cruisetour between Vancouver and Anchorage or Fairbanks.

Featured Alaska Cruises

Dawes glacier cruises.

Prepare for a thrill as you approach the head of the 30-mile Endicott Arm fjord to face Dawes Glacier, a 600-foot-tall wall of ice. Other Alaska cruise highlights include Juneau; remote Ketchikan, and historic Skagway.

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Hubbard Glacier Cruises

Sail from Vancouver to North America’s biggest glacier, seven miles wide and the height of a 30-story building. Ports along this Alaska cruise include Ketchikan; Juneau, the perfect spot for whale-watching; and Icy Strait Point, where you can search for bears and eagles.

One-Way Alaska Cruises

Sail one-way between Vancouver and Seward or Vancouver and Seattle, and you’ll see a stretch of Alaska’s forested coastline against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and lichen-draped forests.

Option for Land & Cruise Package: Extend your sailing with a Cruisetour, which will take you to Denali National Park, Anchorage, and Talkeetna, among other destinations.

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Why Cruise to Alaska with Celebrity Cruises

Live life to the fullest on a luxury Alaska cruise with Celebrity. We have three ships in Alaska, sailing itineraries ranging from 6 or 7 nights to immersive 9- to 13-night Cruisetours that combine the excitement of sailing Alaska’s rugged coast with the awe-inspiring wilderness of Denali National Park and the towns and cities of the vast interior. Explore the best Alaska cruises available with a range of departure ports including Vancouver, Seward, and Seattle, and a choice of thrilling round-trip or one-way itineraries. 

Immerse yourself in the wildlife, scenery, and culture ashore and return to aboard our contemporary, design-led ships. After enjoying the untamed beauty, return to your Alaska cruise and rejuvenate your spirit in The Spa. Watch for whales and dolphins from the privacy of your Infinite Veranda stateroom, where the touch of a button brings the outside in. 

Elevate your Alaska cruise to the next level at The Retreat®, with sumptuous suite accommodation, access to a tranquil lounge, and dining at the exclusive Luminae at The Retreat. 

Let Celebrity take you to some of Alaska’s most exciting ports, whether your dream is to get close to breaching humpbacks on a whale-watching adventure or follow the treacherous trail of early gold prospectors over the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Sail the Inside Passage, watching for bears foraging on stony beaches, or gaze in wonder at the towering, blue-white wall of the mighty Hubbard Glacier.  

Personal service will be the hallmark of your Alaska cruise adventure, on board as well as ashore, where our range of carefully curated excursions includes everything from zip-lining over the forest canopy to floatplane adventures and driving a team of sled dogs across the icy expanse of a glacier. Choose the style to suit your personal taste, from Destination Highlights to Small Group Discoveries, or even custom-designed Private Journeys.

Endless Options for Exploration

You’ll be immersed in nature at every point of your Alaska cruise. Vast, creaking blue-white glaciers inch their way to the sea as jagged, snow-capped mountain peaks pierce the sky. Bears prowl rock-strewn beaches, while salmon-laden rivers rush through pristine, old-growth forest, bald eagles perched watchfully in the treetops. 

Learn about the heady days of the Gold Rush. Kayak silent fjords on your journey along the coast of the Last Frontier. Let Celebrity’s award-winning ships take you to the most dazzling locations in the 49th state, from bustling Juneau to pretty Ketchikan. Or extend your stay with one of our Alaska Cruisetours to explore Alaska’s interiors. Head deep into the wilderness of Denali, immerse yourself in the exciting contemporary culture of Anchorage, and spend time in quirky, arty Talkeetna.

On an Alaska cruise, you’ll experience everything from raw, untamed natural wonders on an extravagant scale to rich history, buzzing cities, vibrant and delicious cuisine, and a warm welcome.

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Cruising in Alaska

Is an Alaska cruise good for families?

Absolutely. With spectacular wildlife and dozens of thrilling, kid-friendly activities, Alaska is perfect for families. Kids will love spotting bears and whales, and the whole family can try sea kayaking, go zip lining, join guided hikes through the forest, and learn to drive a team of husky dogs. Here’s all you need to know about cruising in Alaska as a family.

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Can I add a land tour before or after my Alaska cruise?

With one of our 9- to 13-night Alaska Cruisetours, you can combine your seven-night Alaska cruise with an exciting land tour where you’ll visit destinations like cultured Anchorage, folksy Talkeetna, and wild Denali, giving you a more diverse experience of the magnificent 49th state and more opportunities to spot the Big Five: Moose, caribou, wolf, Dall sheep, and grizzly bear. 

Will I see a glacier on my Alaska cruise?

Many of our itineraries spend a day cruising the beautiful Endicott Arm Fjord, the end of which is dominated by the mighty Dawes Glacier. Others take you to Hubbard Glacier, a vast wall of ice. 

From Juneau, you can take an excursion to Mendenhall Glacier, where you can see fantastic views of the ice on a hike or join a kayak tour. From Seward, you could join a challenging hike to Exit Glacier, which flows slowly from the enormous Harding Icefield. Wherever you go in Alaska, you’ll see glaciers in the distance, high in the mountains, sometimes hanging dramatically over a wall of rock.

What should I pack for an Alaska cruise?

When you’re packing for an Alaska cruise, you’ll want to plan for any kind of weather, from hot sun to ethereal mist and rain showers—often in the same day. Layers, light waterproof jackets, good walking shoes, and a hat and gloves are the essentials; Alaska can be cold as well as warm and sunny.

Pack binoculars for spotting all that incredible wildlife, and camera lens or smartphone. You will also need sunblock and insect repellant. Remember swimwear for the ship; even if it’s cool outside, the Solarium on board is climate controlled and covered, so you can relax on a lounger in the warmth, and swim in the pool. Pack Evening Chic outfits for our dressier nights. 

If you join activities like kayaking, all safety gear will be provided.

What are the best things to do in Alaska?

Alaska is all about exploring the Great Outdoors with family and friends, learning about US History and enjoying wildlife. There are hikes, kayaking, mountain biking, ziplining, and dog sledding for more energetic travelers. 

For a less testing but equally thrilling experience, you could join a whale-watching tour, or take a helicopter or floatplane flightseeing trip, soaring over forests and glaciers. Alaska is brimming with history and culture, too. Explore the cultures of the Native Alaskans, and learn about the Klondike Gold Rush.

Make a point of trying the local cuisine in Alaska, which is famous for its seafood. You’ll find Alaskan salmon on every menu. King crab is delicious in a chowder, or with melted butter. Black cod and halibut are delicious and often served with fries; fish and chips is a popular dish in Alaska. You’ll also find seasonal berries on every menu, locally roasted coffee, and a wide assortment of craft beers.

What kind of animals can I see in Alaska?

You’ll likely see a wide variety of animals in Alaska. If you’re lucky, you can spot brown and black bears; the Spasski River Valley near Icy Strait Point is a great place for bear-spotting, as are the rivers around Ketchikan in July, peak salmon spawning season, when bears come to feast on the fish. For guaranteed bear viewing, head to the Fortress of the Bear near Sitka, which raises orphaned bears in a natural setting. 

You’ll also see whales; the Inside Passage is a great place to spot humpbacks and orcas. Look out for bald eagles perched in the trees, steller sea lions spread out on rocks, and cute sea otters bobbing in the water. To search for the Big Five—grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, Dall sheep, and moose—extend your vacation with a Cruisetour and a visit to Denali National Park. 

When's the best time to cruise to Alaska?

Alaska’s summer season begins in early May and extends until late September. There are compelling reasons to cruise to Alaska in any month of the summer, depending on whether you’re interested in maximizing your chances of spotting whales, seeing the Northern Lights, getting closer to glaciers, or traveling when there are fewer people around. See our blog post to learn more about the best time to cruise to Alaska. 

What Celebrity ships sail to Alaska?

Celebrity Cruises has three ships operating different itineraries in Alaska. These include Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Solstice, and Celebrity Summit.

Where do Alaska cruises embark from?

Most of Celebrity’s Alaska cruises sail round-trip from either Vancouver or Seattle. You could also opt for a one-way cruise between Vancouver and Seward or Vancouver and Seattle. If you choose a Cruisetour, you could sail from Vancouver to Seward and then fly out of Anchorage after the tour. Other itineraries begin in Fairbanks and, after the land journey, sail south from Seward to Vancouver.

How long are Alaskan cruises?

Celebrity’s Alaskan cruises range from six to seven nights, but if you extend your voyage into a Cruisetour, the duration is nine to 13 nights. You could also consider extending your vacation with a night or two in either Vancouver or Seattle, depending on which itinerary you have chosen.

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If you’re looking for a cruise vacation that’s a little bit out of the way and a little bit out of the ordinary, make an Alaska cruise your first choice. If your first thought is “Alaska… cool!” you’re on the right track — even in the mild summer season, you should still pack your sweater. Grab it and get up here because Alaska is a natural wonder through and through, and the coastal panhandle region Carnival sails to is perhaps the most stunning. How’s Alaska planning on stunning you? Alaska cruises will do it with quaint seaside towns like Ketchikan and Skagway, and with stunning harbor vistas like Juneau’s. Cruising Alaska will also give you a first-row ticket to the best of nature — including fjords, wildlife and mountains galore. “Oh, mother nature… now you’re just showing off.”

  • Get up and go glacier-gazing, big time.
  • Follow hiking trails to catch some grand scenery.
  • Grab binoculars and whale-watch some big ones.

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The best Alaska cruises for every type of traveler

Fran Golden

Even with a season that only runs from April through October, there are some 40 big ships and dozens of small ships cruising Alaska , making it one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world after the Caribbean and Europe. The best Alaska cruises range from off-the-beaten-path voyages on vessels carrying fewer than 100 passengers to weeklong jaunts through the Inside Passage aboard megaships that hold thousands.

The itinerary choices are numerous in Alaska. Some ships stick to tried-and-true ports, sailing through Southeast Alaska and into western Canada. Others wander deeper along the Alaska coastline to places such as the Kenai Peninsula, north to Nome and Barrow and even deep into the Bering Sea.

Some trips hit multiple national parks; others dive into Alaska culture, allowing guests to learn the stories told by totem poles or hear about "the big one" from a fisherman at a dive bar.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

It can be hard to figure out which ship will deliver your idea of a "bucket list" experience in The Last Frontier. A lot comes down to your travel style, preferences and budget. Some travelers demand luxury, while others don't mind going less fancy if it means close encounters with bears and other creatures in the wilderness. Some look for romance, while others want to introduce the kids or grandkids to glaciers and eagles, gold panning and sled dogs.

The good news is there's a ship in Alaska for you no matter your taste or style. Here's a beginner's guide to the best Alaska cruises to help you narrow down your choices.

Best for megaresort fans

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Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean both sail some of their largest ships in Alaska. They are floating megaresorts, carrying thousands, and are big on amenities, glitz and a certain amount of glamor — think flashy casinos, Broadway shows, lavish spas. Dining and drinking venues number in the dozens, while amusement park features thrill the kids and adrenaline-seekers.

Norwegian Encore

On Norwegian Encore, you can race along a go-kart racetrack, compete in outdoor laser tag and zoom down slides at the water park while you traverse Alaska's Inside Passage. The ship sails seven-night cruises from Seattle, visiting Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia, and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve .

Related: A beginner's guide to picking a cruise line

Ovation of the Seas

On Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class ships, you can order a drink from a robotic bartender, try simulated skydiving or surfing experiences and take a ride in a glass capsule that travels high above your ship on a mechanical arm — a weird and wonderful way to see the Alaska scenery.

Ovation of the Seas sails round-trip from Seattle on seven-night cruises, but the exact itinerary varies by week. The ship cruises Endicott Arm for scenic views of Dawes Glacier and typically visits three Alaska ports and Victoria.

Best for land and sea adventures

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You've traveled far to get to Alaska, and it would be a shame to miss inland sights such as Denali National Park and Preserve and the sight of Denali, North America's largest peak — so big it's often shrouded in clouds caused by its own weather system.

Market leaders Holland America Line and Princess Cruises both send a half-dozen ships to Alaska each year, and they have 75 and 55 years in the market, respectively.

They top the list in terms of cruises, as well as cruise tours, which combine time sailing with overnight stays on land. The companies operate their own lodges, rail cars and motorcoaches for exploration of Alaska's interior and beyond. Many of the ships have permission to sail in Glacier Bay.

Related: The coolest things to do on an Alaska cruise

Choose from 10- to 17-night land tours that combine a standard weeklong cruise (sometimes half a cruise) with time spent exploring Alaska's interior by bus, train or even plane.

Holland America will base six ships in Alaska in 2024, with tour offerings to Denali, Fairbanks and Anchorage.

However, it also offers nine- to 14-night cruise tours on Koningsdam that head into the Canadian Yukon, following the route of the Klondike Gold Rush from Alaska to northwestern Canada. Disembark your cruise ship in Skagway, then travel to Whitehorse and Dawson City in the Yukon before continuing on to Fairbanks (the gateway to Arctic Alaska), Denali National Park and Anchorage.

Sapphire Princess

Princess Cruises offers a cruise tour where you visit four national parks: Glacier Bay, Denali, the Kenai Fjords and America's largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias. The 15- and 17-night trips combine a seven-night cruise on Sapphire Princess from Vancouver to Whittier, Alaska, with another week or more on land, ending in Fairbanks or Anchorage.

Best for travelers on a budget

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Older ships in Norwegian and Royal Caribbean's fleets tend to offer more reduced prices than you'll find on the lines' larger and newer ships, based on the fact the older ships don't have as many bells and whistles.

Since they have so many ships in the market, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises also tend to offer frequent sales — especially on their older tonnage. These ships have a loyal following and tend to have fewer families on board, which some couples find particularly appealing.

Related: Best time to cruise Alaska

If you're looking for other surefire ways to save, consider sailings in the area's shoulder season. You'll find better deals from April to early June and in September than you will in the height of summer.

Also, in Alaska, balcony cabins are highly desirable, with everyone seeking views of the wilderness, snow-capped peaks and glaciers. As those reserves get low, the prices tend to get higher. Bargain seekers should either book early for these accommodations or choose inside, outside or guarantee cabins (where you don't pick your room location) to save more.

Radiance of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's 20-year-old ship Radiance of the Seas mainly sails weeklong, one-way cruises between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska, with prices below $100 per person, per night, for inside and outside cabins on many departures.

However, its early-season May 2024 sailing from Seward to Vancouver is the cheapest Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise of the season. It starts at $368 per person for an inside cabin.

Grand Princess and Sapphire Princess

Princess Cruises has so many ships based in Alaska that you're bound to find deals, especially on shoulder-season cruises. Both Grand and Sapphire Princess offer weeklong Alaska cruises in May 2024 starting from $548 per person for inside cabins. The itinerary starts in Vancouver and ends in Whittier, Alaska, with calls in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway and scenic cruising in Glacier Bay and College Fjord.

Best for off-the-beaten-path travel

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Want to see and deeply experience coastal Alaska, and don't mind a mellower environment where lectures and impromptu guitar singalongs replace casinos and show productions? Consider lines such as UnCruise Adventures , Lindblad Expeditions and Alaskan Dream Cruises, all with ships that carry fewer than 100 passengers (and in the case of Alaskan Dream, even under 20 passengers).

On these small ships, captains have the flexibility to alter itineraries and linger if the naturalist onboard spots a pod of whales or bears digging for clams on a beach.

Small ships can go places bigger ships can't, so itineraries stretch far beyond the traditional ports. You'll visit more remote places such as Petersburg, a fishing town with strong Norwegian roots, and Wrangell, one of Alaska's oldest communities. Some itineraries are conducted entirely in the wild, with no port calls at all.

UnCruise Adventures

UnCruise Adventures explores Southeast Alaska on seven-, 12- and 14-night itineraries. A day might start with a morning birding expedition, continue with a kayaking adventure and end with an evening campfire ashore. You might visit LeConte and Baird Glaciers (where the big ships don't go), plus UnCruise has the only permits for hiking and biking adventures on Chichagof Island.

Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions frequents off-the-beaten-path destinations in both Alaska and British Columbia, with itineraries ranging from six to 15 nights.

Guests might explore the small fishing town of Petersburg or discover native petroglyphs on the beaches of Wrangell Island in Alaska, or search for grizzly bears in Canada's Great Bear Rainforest. Lindblad has special permits to bring passengers into the wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and the Tongass National Forest, beyond what the big ships can offer.

Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan-owned Alaskan Dream Cruises' ships carry 12 to 76 passengers to remote Native villages that rarely see visitors, with plenty of time for wildlife viewing far from the cruise ship crowds. Itineraries range from five to nine nights, from departure ports such as Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau.

Best for families

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If you're traveling with your kids or grandkids in Alaska and want an activity- and entertainment-packed experience, target the newest and biggest ships of Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival and especially Disney Cruise Line. All have excellent camp-like activity programs for kids, plus eye-popping amusement attractions.

Disney Wonder

On Disney ships, Goofy might make an appearance as you admire soaring eagles, blue icebergs and glaciers. The extensive children's program, entertainment and such activities as water slides and play areas deliver what you would expect from the purveyor of dreams. Bonus: Cabins are designed with families in mind and include split bathrooms (one with a toilet and sink, the other with a shower/tub combo and sink).

Related: 5 best cruise lines for families

Discovery Princess

While lacking in whiz-bang attractions, Princess Cruises is another good choice, both for its children's and teens program, complete with spacious facilities, and for such programming as bringing sled dogs on board, which is a hit with young passengers. The line's newest ship, Discovery Princess, sails round trip from Seattle, a convenient U.S. home port for families to fly or drive to.

Carnival Spirit

Water slides, a partnership with Dr. Seuss and three hangouts for kids and teens make Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Spirit a great bet for families in Alaska.

The ship's huge array of included quick eats — pizza, tacos, Guy Fieri's burgers and unlimited soft serve ice cream — and casual atmosphere take the stress out of dining with the family. The ship sails round trip from Seattle on seven-night itineraries that call in Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Victoria, with scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord.

Best for luxury lovers

alaskan cruise may

If you envision sipping Champagne as you watch a glacier thunderously calve into the sea, consider booking one of the all-inclusive luxury cruise lines in Alaska: Seabourn , Regent Seven Seas Cruises or Silversea .

All these lines include ships that are experts at delivering gourmet cuisine and the other finer things in life in intimate, cushy floating environments. Additionally, all the lines are big on featuring lectures by experts, which provides passengers with a deeper insight into Alaska.

Itineraries tend to include the popular ports and beyond. You might, for instance, visit Wrangell and Prince Rupert, a port city in Canada, and linger in places such as the Misty Fjords and Prince William Sound. Seven- to 14-night sailings embark from ports such as Vancouver, Seward and Juneau.

Seven Seas Explorer

Regent's 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer is an all-suite ship offering guests in Alaska multiple gourmet onboard restaurants, all-inclusive beverages, free airfare and included gratuities. Many shore excursions are complimentary. Enjoy little luxuries, like an afternoon in the thermal suite of the two-story spa-and-fitness center, or really splurge out by booking the Regent Suite, the most lavish suite you'll find at sea.

Seabourn Odyssey

The 450-passenger Seabourn Odyssey boasts an onboard expedition team and does a posh version of expedition cruising in Alaska, using inflatable Zodiac craft and kayaks.

Seabourn calls its program Ventures by Seabourn. Experts onboard these sailings include naturalists, biologists and other scientists who are members of the expedition team. Once guests finish communing with nature, they can indulge in complimentary Champagne and caviar on board or relish a meal created by famed chef, Thomas Keller.

Related: The 4 best luxury cruise lines for elegance and exclusivity

Best for solo travelers

alaskan cruise may

Solo travelers don't always have to pay double to cruise Alaska on their own. Several ships feature cabins designed and priced for one. Single cruisers should also note that luxury lines Silversea and Seabourn, while not cheap, do a great job of taking care of single cruisers, hosting them at dinner and providing easy opportunities to meet and mingle with other travelers.

Norwegian Bliss

The ships in Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway and Getaway classes all have cozy studio cabins designed and priced for one person. Additionally, they're located in a complex where a private lounge encourages mingling. Norwegian Bliss offers 82 solo rooms on its round-trip Seattle cruises that visit Dawes Glacier, Sitka and Icy Strait Point.

Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's studio staterooms, on its Quantum-class ships in Alaska, give solo travelers the benefits of both decent space and balconies.

On Quantum of the Seas, choose a 101-square-foot inside cabin or a 119-square-foot ocean-view room with a 55-square-foot balcony. Either way, you get a full-size bed and plenty of space for one person. The ship sails a similar weeklong itinerary to sister ship Ovation of the Seas, round-trip from Seattle with scenic sailing along Endicott Arm.

Holland America offers ocean-view accommodations for one in Alaska only on Koningsdam. Measuring 127 to 172 square feet, these rooms come with a full-size bed and a picture window.

Koningsdam sails round trip from Vancouver to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, with scenic cruising in Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. Its cruises can be combined into nine- to 14-night cruise tours to the Yukon and Denali.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

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  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
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  • 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise

Additional reporting by Erica Silverstein.

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Alaska cruise in early May - Good idea?

Geoffa30

By Geoffa30 , June 6, 2021 in Princess Cruises

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Cool Cruiser

We have never sailed to Alaska but are thinking of booking an Alaskan cruise in the next couple of years. We’re flying in from the U.K. so ideally would prefer a cruise of longer than seven days. I’ve spotted the one below in May 22 on the Sapphire Princess. Hoping any Alaska cruise connoisseurs might be able to comment on whether cruising in Alaska right at the beginning of May is a good idea. Also, what do people think of this itinerary? It’s also offered in mid-September 22 but on the Grand Princess. I understand that May and September are the shoulder months so less busy and cheaper but are they best avoided for weather etc.? All opinions welcome. Thank you.

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d9704011

In my view, early May is too early.  I would lean towards the late summer cruise in September when the weather is more likely to be welcoming.  I understand that’s all a matter of opinion and it’s easy enough to put on sweaters and jackets.  I suppose if you’re interested in views of mountains still covered in snow and that sort of thing... go early.  Coming from Ottawa, seeing a lot of snow and ice in early May is not something that particularly excites me.

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I've been to Alaska twice, once the 1st week of May, and once the 2nd. The first cruise the weather was warm enough not to wear ajacket, the second one was cold and rainy. You can't figure Alasa weather. It changes rapidly.

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I agree with previous poster, no way to judge.   I took a positioning cruise from California to Alaska, late April, early May, weather was awesome, luck of the draw.  We were 1st ship of the season, no other ships, it was great.  I bought short sleeved tees as I wasn't prepared for warmer than normal. 

I haven't been to Alaska in awhile, but I would do first cruises or last, never what is considered ideal time to cruise.   

Our first cruise to Alaska left about May 15.  Weather was warm and perfect.  No bugs.  We have been twice in Sept. and had some rain and cold weather.  However, we saw more wildlife in Sept including bears.  All three trips were great.  Your itinerary looks very nice to me.  You will love the trip

Coral

1 hour ago, d9704011 said: In my view, early May is too early.  I would lean towards the late summer cruise in September when the weather is more likely to be welcoming.  I understand that’s all a matter of opinion and it’s easy enough to put on sweaters and jackets.  I suppose if you’re interested in views of mountains still covered in snow and that sort of thing... go early.  Coming from Ottawa, seeing a lot of snow and ice in early May is not something that particularly excites me.

September has (historically) the most rain and potential bad storms of any of the cruising months to Alaska.

I have gone Mid-May many times and they have all been wonderful. I have never gone early May but would be willing to do so. I would pick early May over mid-September in a heart beat.

As far as cruising months, May has the least amount of rain and every month after has more potential for rain (historically).

Have gone to Alaska  twice in early May and loved it . My college  roommate's daughter  was a Park Ranger  in Denali  and recommend  going  then. There was snow cover in some areas, spectacular  waterfalls  due to melting snow, foliage  was just blooming and crowds of tourists  minimal . IMO a great time to go.

Lady Arwen

We did the first Alaska cruise of the season, early May, in 2015 and it was wonderful.  There was still ice and snow in many areas and it was breathtaking to see!  The weather was mild, but a couple of days were quite warm.....no jacket required.  We did an August sailing the following year and it was a bit disappointing.  Scenery was not as spectacular and lots of mosquitoes!  However, most people prefer the later sailings, so something for everyone.

We’ve been mid to late May twice, and it was nice. Still snow on the ground and lots of bear cubs with their mommas.

pompeii

This isn't exactly your question, but this itinerary is nice because it includes Sitka, which the rest of Princess' itineraries don't include.  I've been to Alaska the last weekend in May and the weather was perfect with few crowds.  

westcoaster

May is a great time for Alaska cruises.  Days are longer (for example, sunset in Juneau is around 9 pm in early May vs. 8 pm in late August).  There is more snow in the mountains in May, so the scenery is even more spectacular.  There are fewer bugs in May than there are later in the summer.

May is a bit cooler than later in the summer, but the difference is not huge.  On the other hand, there tends to be much less rain in May.   Rather than relying on anecdotal reports on the weather, if you look at the long-term averages based on National Weather Service data, you will see that in places like Juneau, Skagway, and Glacier Bay, there is half as much rain in May compared with August. 

koolforkatz

koolforkatz

I worked on cruise ships many years ago, and did two full seasons in Alaska. I would pick May over September. Alaska’s weather is unpredictable but generally May is drier than September. Plus you will see more snow and ice whereas September is greener. We’ve cruised in May and didn’t even need jackets when we were at Columbia Glacier. 

Amazing itinerary, by the way. You’ve got me thinking now, lol. 

Thanks everyone for the responses so far. Certainly looks like May could be a good time to visit. We’re more swayed towards May because we’re familiar with Sapphire Princess.

Princess has started releasing 2023 itineraries recently. Any opinions on when Alaska 2023 might be released?

Wishing on a star

Wishing on a star

Okay...  I haven't read the other opinion and responses.

But, we cruised in late May, so here are my thoughts.

FIRST:  I just did some quick searches, and I don't think it is pulling up all of the sailings right?

I had looked at the Majestic sailings, and this time I didn't see them showing up.

So, make sure you search different ways to see all sailings.

When I put in just the month of May only... that seemed to be working.

When I selected several consecutive summer months, I don't think it was working.

May CAN be dryer, based on the weather averages.

But, on the coast, on a cruise ship, it can be rainy and cloudy and cool almost every day.

The coastline is a Maritime Rainforest climate.

The very beginning of May might be early, and I wonder about excursions...

Back when we cruised, a lot of things didn't begin until mid to late May???

So, you might want to double check.

We really enjoyed the pre-cruise smaller boat tour of Prince William Sound before boarding!

Once you go inland, like on excursions, that can be different.

The only sun we saw on our late May 7-day cruise was when we drove inland over the mountains to Canada to Carcross and Emerald Lake.  (it really was emerald)

Secondly, if this matters to you...  I would consider two consecutive 7 days, or the addition of the Land Tour, on a newer ship.  You would get most of the same ports.  On the NorthBound and Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers. (on Majestic?  with its nice covered solarium are which would be welcomed in Alaska in May!) ) you would get both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay, two stops at some other ports....  At Juneau for example, you could go Whale Watching on one port day, and do something different on the second port day.

Look at each ship.

I was excited to see the Majestic move to Alaska. (if it remains there????) As it has the really nice covered Solarium.  Not sure if Sapphire has that or not?

Hope this helps!

We have done 8 Alaskan cruises and ALL were in May, never had any issues, horrid weather can hit Alaska ANY month of the year but the BEST thing about May is the snow melt is in full force so waterfalls and rivers run high and fast, the mosquito's are not out yet AND its less expensive to cruise in May, especially the 1st 1 or 2 cruises

2 hours ago, Wishing on a star said:     Look at each ship. I was excited to see the Majestic move to Alaska. (if it remains there????) As it has the really nice covered Solarium.  Not sure if Sapphire has that or not?   Hope this helps!

The Sapphire has the solarium. It is a great ship.

I have been to Alaska more than a dozen times in May and have received sunburns.  There can be sun in May in the ports and at the glaciers.

If there are cruise ships coming, there will be excursions.

You can also departure from San Francisco. Same basic stops but due to distance it is 10 days  (more sea days).  Check airfare.   Also, I consider May better because of few children as school is still in session.

Finally, Glacier Bay National Park is truly IMHO the main event. If you change cruise try to keep it on the itinerary.   

We are booked on the May 10 and May 20 cruises in the Ruby. 

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Cruise Raider

We've cruised up to Alaska a dozen times (yes, it's our favorite itinerary).  So far, we've gone once in early May, once in mid-May, once in mid to late August, once in mid to late Sept and the rest in the first week of Sept.  

Our worst weather sailings (we still had a blast) were the ones in mid-May and the one in mid to late September.  

Our best weather ones have been in late August and early September.  The early May one we went on was actually surprisingly nice.  But one thing to keep in mind is that the very early season sailings are oftentimes precluded from getting up close to the glaciers due to ice in the water.  

Early Sept is my favorite time to go and we've always had great luck in terms of weather and if you are a shopper, there are so many deals to be had.  Don't forget to take your sunscreen and layers with one waterproof layer in the event of rain. 

13 minutes ago, tcdcruiser said: You can also departure from San Francisco. Same basic stops but due to distance it is 10 days  (more sea days).  Check airfare.   Also, I consider May better because of few children as school is still in session.   Finally, Glacier Bay National Park is truly IMHO the main event. If you change cruise try to keep it on the itinerary.    We are booked on the May 10 and May 20 cruises in the Ruby. 

They will see far more Alaska with their itinerary. Less sea days but Alaska. If they are coming from UK - they probably want to see Alaska.

9 hours ago, Geoffa30 said: . I understand that May and September are the shoulder months so less busy and cheaper  

This. Go in September and you can see salmon run which is a bonus.

disneyochem

disneyochem

We love to cruise to Alaska in May for all of the reasons people have mentioned (weather, price, crowds, etc).  You will miss some things (such as salmon runs) but IMO it is worth it.

I think this itinerary is great!  We cruise (except for 2020...) two or three times a year to Alaska and I would pick this trip!  In fact, I sent it to my hubby to consider.

Your visits to these ports are long enough to do some truly wonderful excursions depending on your interests.  A great mixture of ports and glacier visits!  You get to visit ports that are usually not included in a 7-day cruise—Sitka, Prince Rupert.  I think this cruise will give you a great taste of southeastern Alaska.  

An Alaska cruise is not about the ship but the ports!  Enjoy your planning!

Agree with the May, yea sayers!  There is the possibility the ship may be unable to get up as close to the glaciers as the ice burgs that have already formed are not melting as fast, but it will still be wonderful. seals will be having babies on the ice flows that float by as well.  SOOOOOO glad you are doing the Vancouver departure. The trip on the east side of Vanvouver island is so much nicer than leaving from the USA and going up the west side of the island where you don’t even see the shore.  you are in for a wonderful treat of a trip. 

We have cruised Alaska 5 times, all in May or last week of August (we try to avoid the kids) While I have heard May can be variable we have always had good weather, even hot in Skagway once.  Ketchikan may be rainy (twice for us).  Bring layers, it is obviously cold viewing the glaciers.  Late August was wonderful for grizzly sitings on sunset tours.

Also glad you are doing the inside passage out of Vancouver, our favourite part of the cruise...we even forgo the dinner so we can enjoy the sailaway and most of the incredible scenery along the inside passage. Exceptional!

We will be back when this hideous disease is done.

Enjoy youselves.

cr8tiv1

I have traveled to Alaska in May, middle of summer, and late September.  Your itinerary is outstanding.  Especially if you are flying from the UK to Vancouver roundtrip.  I would spend a few days in Vancouver before getting on the Sapphire.  Good choice of ship.  

The only down side is that some of your Glacier days may be hampered by too much ice.  You may not be able to get too close to the glacier.  

The weather is lovely in May.  

43 minutes ago, cr8tiv1 said:     The only down side is that some of your Glacier days may be hampered by too much ice.  You may not be able to get too close to the glacier.     The weather is lovely in May.  

Glacier Bay usually doesn't have ice problems. Hubbard glacier and Tracy Arm can. Though I missed Hubbard in July - so one never knows. Going later doesn't guarantee glacier access.

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Alaska Cruises from Vancouver

Take in the scenic inside passage on a roundtrip alaska cruise from vancouver.

Uncover treasures in the Great Land on an Alaska cruise from Vancouver. Relive Gold Rush history, experience Native Alaskan culture and come face-to-face with some of Mother Nature’s greatest masterpieces. On a roundtrip Inside Passage cruise, enjoy quicker access to Alaska while also exploring the friendly ports of British Columbia.

Itinerary Ports

When you cruise to Alaska from Vancouver, encounter unique ports of call that are rich in history, culture and natural beauty.

  • Endicott Arm
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Hubbard Glacier
  • Icy Strait Point

Endicott Arm is a jewel in Alaska’s crown. This 30-mile waterway is surrounded by cliffs, valleys and dozens of waterfalls. Icebergs and harbor seals decorate the water below while Dawes Glacier soars into the sky above. Revel in the beauty of Mother Nature’s masterpiece and listen closely as the scenery whispers secrets of times long ago during your cruise to Alaska.

When you cruise to Alaska with Princess, sail through one of the most iconic locations in the Great Land — Glacier Bay National Park. Listen to Margerie Glacier’s signature crack and boom rumble across the waves. Bring binoculars and scan both the shore and the waves for wildlife like brown bears and migrating whales while Park Rangers teach you the history and geology of the park.

The largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier has been moving its mass towards the ocean at a rate faster than most of its kind. Towering above the water over 30 stories, the glacier often calves 100-foot chunks of ice into the ocean. What lies beneath the waves is almost as impressive, where ice plunges 1,200 feet beneath the surface. See it for yourself on an Alaska cruise with Princess.

Icy Strait Point is home to the remote Tlingit village of Hoonah, home to fewer than 800 people and a deep Native history. The nearby Spasski River Valley holds one of the world’s largest populations of brown bears, who are often found hunting for salmon in the rivers. Zipline over the wilderness, watch a tribal dance or kayak in coastal waters to see the wildlife up close during your Alaska cruise vacation.

Juneau is unlike any other city in the United States. With no roads connecting it to the rest of Alaska or North America, it is truly a protected destination. Founded as a gold mining town and now the state’s capital, Juneau has one foot in history and one in the future. Embark on a whale watching tour, or sail past Mendenhall Glacier on an Alaska cruise.

Known for its timber, Ketchikan hosts the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, where athletes throw, race and chop their way to victory. Explore one of the world’s oldest collection of totem poles at the Totem Pole Heritage Center, or stroll along Creek Street. As the salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan’s waters make for incredible fishing. Cast your rod into a sea of opportunity on a cruise to Alaska.

On an Alaska cruise, take your pick of attractions in the port of Sitka. See how bald eagles and local bird populations receive first-class treatment at the Alaska Raptor Center. Encounter wildlife in their natural habitat at the Fortress of the Bear. Or experience the culture of Russian Alaska on a visit to St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church, and relive Native history at the Sheldon Jackson Museum.

Once the gateway to Alaska's Gold Rush, Skagway strikes a dramatic image nestled between the water's edge and mountains. Follow in the footsteps of miners with a ride on a scenic train along the famous White Pass route through coastal mountains. During your Alaska cruise, explore the Yukon's pristine wilderness, pan for gold with professionals or meet sled dog puppies in training.

Canada's third largest city feels like a North American metropolis mixed with a small European town. Explore the rainforest within Vancouver, B.C. — Stanley Park — and visit the continent's second largest Chinatown during your Alaska cruise vacation. Soar above the city's lush natural environment in a sky gondola for panoramic views, or get up close to the local sea life at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Why Choose This Itinerary?

Discover the top reasons to cruise to Alaska from Vancouver.

  • Glacier Viewing  — Alaska’s glaciers were meant to be admired. That’s why every Alaska cruise from Vancouver includes at least one glacier viewing experience to either Glacier Bay National Park or Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier.
  • Three Historic Ports of Call  — Fish for salmon in Ketchikan, pan for gold in Skagway or fly over snow-capped mountains in Juneau. Relive Alaska’s greatest tales in these spirited ports of call on an Inside Passage cruise.
  • Convenient Roundtrip Air Travel  — On a roundtrip cruise to Alaska from Vancouver, enjoy easier travels to and from your cruise vacation with the opportunity for even more adventure before you set sail or after your trip ends.
  • A Visit to Vancouver  — From Chinatown to Stanley Park, uncover old-world history amidst new-age living in Vancouver before or after your Alaska cruise.

Ships on this Itinerary

Our Princess fleet includes ships that range from our smaller vessels to large ships. From a balcony stateroom, marvel at the glaciers passing by before enjoying local seafood in one of our many eateries during your Alaska cruise.

Caribbean Princess®

Coral Princess®

Grand Princess®

Ruby Princess®

Sapphire Princess®

Alaska Cruise Experience

We have a 50-year legacy of sharing the best places and experiences with our guests. On an Alaska cruise, unpack once and explore glaciers, wildlife and national parks.

Alaska Glaciers

One of the biggest reasons people visit

Glaciers feel alive. They groan, creak and shudder on their march to the sea, punctuated by the booms and crashes of "white thunder" — a sound that echoes across the water when ice calves into the ocean below. On an Alaska cruise, let us show you Glacier Bay National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, College Fjord or Hubbard Glacier.

Alaska Wildlife

Untamed, just like Alaska

Alaska is home to a rich array of wildlife, from the famous Big Five animals that live in Denali National Park — grizzly bears, wolves, moose, Dall sheep and caribou — to bald eagles and humpback whales that migrate through the Inside Passage. On a cruise to Alaska, live a nature lover's dream in the land where guests can catch postcard-worthy sights.

Alaska Mountains & National Parks

National treasures

With national parks and four of North America’s tallest mountains, Alaska’s wilderness has been preserved for generations. Denali National Park is larger than Vermont and home to the highest peak on the continent. Meanwhile, Glacier Bay National Park has over 2,000 square miles of glacial coverage. Along with Wrangell-St. Elias and Kenai Fjords, a world of natural wonders awaits on an Alaska cruise or cruisetour.

Alaska excursions

Don't just visit this famous land, live it on Alaska excursions. Rush across the snow on a dog sled with a professional musher, fly fish for salmon in fresh rivers and soar over miles of glacial tundra in a helicopter. Watch migrating humpback whales from the deck of a catamaran or Native craftsman carve a traditional totem pole, and expand your Alaska cruise experience.

Alaska Cruise Onboard Experience

Our award-winning North to Alaska program brings local personalities, culture and cuisine on board and ashore to immerse you in all things Alaska during your cruise to the Great Land.

Alaska Seafood

Fresh and bountiful, like Alaska itself

Alaska's seafood is famous, and we bring the best to you with locally inspired dishes from the state’s best eateries. With Cook My Catch excursions, catch your own salmon or halibut with the help of a local expert, and in the evening our talented chefs will prepare your haul for your dinner — a Princess exclusive. From ship to shore, the best is at your fingertips on our Alaska cruises.

Meet Local Alaskans

Real Alaska from local Alaskans

Alaskans are inviting people who love to share what makes their state unique. Watch lumberjacks in action, learn from Glacier Bay National Park rangers and craft with a Native totem pole carver. Or listen to harrowing Tales from the Deadliest Catch fishermen and climbers who have summited Denali during your Alaska cruise.

Unique Alaska Cruise Experiences

Great experiences from the great land

Travel back in time and pan for gold like a prospector during the Gold Rush. Snuggle sled dog puppies in the ship's Piazza, or see the Northern Lights in the planetarium. At the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, explore our treehouse and enjoy unmatched views of Denali. Or savor tree-inspired bites at our very own Sappy Hour. Dive deeper into what makes the Great Land special on your cruise to Alaska.

Alaska Cruise Articles and Videos

Read about Alaska’s must-see attractions, signature cuisine, and how to prepare for a wild adventure into the heart of The Great Land.

Discover Alaska with Princess in 2024-2025

The best cruise line in Alaska just keeps getting better! From top-rated cruises that visit Glacier Bay National Park to scenic rail travel and exclusive Princess lodges, you will find a seamless Alaska experience with Princess.

Best Dishes to Try on Your Alaska Cruise

No one does seafood quite like Alaska—which is why we brought the best of the Great Land on board, so you can experience it all with Princess.

Top Alaska Cruise Destinations

From exploring Denali National Park to fishing for salmon in Anchorage, discover the top Alaska destinations on a Princess cruise.

Inside Passage Alaska Cruise

From exploring historic gold mines to venturing in the footsteps of early explorers, learn about Alaska’s Inside Passage and discover the wonders awaiting you.

Alaska Ports of Call

From the sweeping mountains of Juneau to the fish-bearing seas of Ketchikan, discover our Alaska cruise ports and set sail into the adventures that await you.

What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise

Check out our helpful checklist so that you know exactly what to pack for an Alaska cruise with Princess.

Travel, Airfare, & Hotels: Let Princess Get You There

Princess EZair® Flights

Stress-free airfare

Remove the hassle from air travel and give yourself the gift of flexibility, time and a thicker wallet with Princess EZair flights. We negotiate lower rates with the airlines, allow you to modify your flight up to 45 days prior with no penalty and protect you if your flight is late or canceled.

EZair flight quotes are available on our cruise search result details pages.

Airplane to Ship Transfer

We get you where you need to go

Let Princess pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your ship or hotel when you arrive, even if you didn't book your airfare through us. A uniformed Princess representative meets you at the airport after you've retrieved your luggage and transports you directly to your ship or hotel without you having to worry about the logistics of navigating a new city.

Cruise Plus Hotel Packages

Stay longer and relax

Extend your cruise vacation, and simplify your travel plans with a hotel stay at the beginning or end of your cruise. With a Cruise Plus Hotel Package, a Princess representative meets you at the airport and pier, transporting you to and from your hotel. The package includes the cost of your hotel stay, transportation, luggage handling and the services of the representative.

Need help planning?

Princess Cruise Vacation Planners are a dedicated resource to help you every step of the way through the planning process of your cruise vacation. And the best part is, they are absolutely FREE!

Cruise deals & promotions

Find our top sales, deals, partnerships and promotions for our destinations all in one place. We run promotions throughout the year and sometimes run sweepstakes where you could win prizes!

#PrincessCruises Alaska Connection

See Alaska through our guests' eyes.

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  • Plan Your Trip

What To Pack For Alaska Cruise In May

Published: December 11, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Mandy Melgoza

  • Travel Destinations
  • Travel Guide
  • Travel Tips
  • United States

what-to-pack-for-alaska-cruise-in-may

Introduction

Embarking on an Alaska cruise in May promises an unparalleled adventure amidst breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife. As you prepare for this exciting journey, it is essential to pack wisely to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip. The weather in Alaska during May can be unpredictable, with cool temperatures and a mix of sun, rain, and even snow in certain regions. Therefore, it is important to pack a variety of clothing options and be prepared for changing conditions.

Alaska cruises offer a unique experience, with opportunities to explore magnificent glaciers, encounter majestic whales, and witness the untouched beauty of the Last Frontier. Whether you’re sailing through the Inside Passage, visiting iconic ports like Juneau and Skagway, or venturing further into remote areas like Glacier Bay National Park, your packing list should cater to the activities and weather you may encounter.

In this guide, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of items to pack for an Alaska cruise in May, ensuring that you are well-prepared for whatever adventures await you. From clothing and footwear to accessories and toiletries, we will cover all the essentials to make your cruise experience comfortable and convenient.

Keep in mind that the specific items you should pack may vary depending on the length of your cruise, your planned activities, and personal preferences. However, the general guidelines and recommendations outlined in this article will serve as a useful starting point for packing for your Alaska cruise.

Now, let’s delve into the details of what to pack to ensure you have everything you need for a memorable Alaska cruise in May.

When it comes to clothing for an Alaska cruise in May, layering is key. The weather can vary greatly throughout the day, so having layers allows you to adjust your clothing accordingly and stay comfortable. Here are some essential items to consider:

  • Base Layers: Pack lightweight, moisture-wicking base layers like thermal shirts and leggings to keep you warm and dry. These are great for wearing under other clothing items.
  • T-Shirts and Tops: Bring a mix of long-sleeved and short-sleeved tops for versatility. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton or synthetic blends.
  • Sweaters and Fleece Jackets: Pack a few warm sweaters or fleece jackets for layering on cooler days or when out on deck. These will provide extra insulation.
  • Pants and Shorts: Include a combination of jeans, lightweight pants, and shorts to accommodate different weather conditions and activities.
  • Dresses or Skirts: If you prefer a dressier option for onboard dinners or special events, pack a couple of dresses or skirts that can be paired with cardigans or sweaters.
  • Sleepwear: Don’t forget to pack comfortable sleepwear for cozy nights in your cabin.
  • Swimwear: Although the water may be chilly, some cruise ships offer heated pools or hot tubs. Bring your swimwear if you plan on taking a dip.

Having a variety of clothing options allows you to adapt to the changing weather conditions and different activities onboard and onshore. Remember to pack clothing that can be easily mixed and matched, reducing the need for excessive items.

In the next section, we will discuss the footwear you should bring for an Alaska cruise in May.

Choosing the right footwear for an Alaska cruise in May is crucial to ensure comfort and safety throughout your journey. The terrain can vary, from rugged shores and gravel pathways to slippery decks and wet environments. Here are some essential footwear items to consider:

  • Hiking Shoes or Boots: If you plan on embarking on hiking excursions or exploring nature trails, a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots is a must. Look for waterproof options with good traction to protect your feet and provide stability on uneven terrain.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: For everyday activities and walking tours, pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes with good arch support. Opt for waterproof or water-resistant shoes to keep your feet dry in case of rain or wet conditions.
  • Sandals or Flip-Flops: Include a pair of sandals or flip-flops for lounging by the pool or walking around the ship. These are also handy for quick trips ashore or visiting the ship’s spa.
  • Waterproof Shoes: With the possibility of rain or wet environments, having a pair of waterproof shoes like rubber boots or water-resistant sneakers is advisable. These will keep your feet dry and protected.
  • Dress Shoes: If you plan on attending formal events or dining in upscale restaurants onboard, pack a pair of dress shoes for those occasions. Comfortable heels or dressy flats are suitable options.

Having a variety of footwear allows you to be prepared for different activities and environments. Make sure to break in any new shoes before your trip to avoid discomfort or blisters. Additionally, consider bringing extra pairs of socks to keep your feet comfortable and dry.

Next, we will discuss the importance of outerwear for an Alaska cruise in May.

When packing for an Alaska cruise in May, it is essential to have the right outerwear to protect yourself from the elements. The weather can be unpredictable, so having versatile and functional outerwear is key. Here are some essential outerwear items to consider:

  • Jacket or Coat: A waterproof and windproof jacket or coat is a must-have for an Alaska cruise in May. Look for options with a removable liner or layers for adaptability to different temperatures. This will keep you warm and dry during outdoor activities and excursions.
  • Windbreaker: In addition to a jacket or coat, it’s a good idea to pack a lightweight windbreaker. This can be easily folded and carried in your daypack for additional protection against gusty winds.
  • Hat or Beanie: Bring a warm hat or beanie to protect your head and ears from the cold. Opt for options that cover your ears for added insulation.
  • Gloves: Pack a pair of gloves to keep your hands warm during chilly days and for outdoor activities like glacier viewing. Look for waterproof or insulated options for better protection.
  • Scarf or Neck Gaiter: A scarf or neck gaiter can provide warmth and protect your neck against the cold. It can also be used as a face covering when needed.
  • Umbrella: While it may be tempting to leave the umbrella behind, having a compact, lightweight umbrella can come in handy during unexpected rain showers.

Having the right outerwear will ensure that you stay comfortable and protected during your Alaska cruise. Layering your clothing and combining various outerwear options will allow you to adjust according to the weather conditions and activities.

Next, we will discuss the essential accessories you should pack for your Alaska cruise in May.

Accessories

When it comes to accessories for an Alaska cruise in May, there are several items that can enhance your comfort and enjoyment during the trip. These accessories can range from functional necessities to personal items that add convenience and style. Here are some essential accessories to consider packing:

  • Sun Protection: Alaska may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of sun protection, but the sun can be intense, especially when reflecting off glaciers and water. Pack a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Daypack or Backpack: A small daypack or backpack is useful for carrying essentials during shore excursions or outdoor activities. Look for one that is comfortable to wear and has enough storage space for your belongings.
  • Binoculars: Having a pair of binoculars will allow you to observe wildlife, glaciers, and other scenic sights from a distance. Look for compact and lightweight binoculars that are easy to carry and provide clear magnification.
  • Camera or Smartphone: Capture the breathtaking moments of your Alaska cruise with a camera or smartphone. Make sure to bring extra batteries or a power bank to ensure you don’t miss any memorable shots.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is essential, so bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day. Some cruise ships even have water stations where you can fill up your bottle as needed.
  • Travel Adapters: If you plan on charging electronic devices, such as cameras or smartphones, in your cabin, be sure to pack the necessary travel adapters to accommodate the electrical outlets onboard.
  • Snacks: Pack some snacks to keep you energized during excursions or while exploring ports of call. Granola bars, trail mix, or dried fruits are convenient and easy to carry.

These accessories will add convenience, comfort, and practicality to your Alaska cruise experience. Remember to pack any personal items that you consider essential, such as reading materials, travel journals, or even a travel pillow for added comfort.

Next, we will discuss the toiletries you should consider packing for your Alaska cruise in May.

When it comes to toiletries for an Alaska cruise in May, it is important to pack the essentials while keeping in mind any specific preferences or personal care needs. Although most cruise ships provide basic toiletries, having your own preferred items can make you feel more comfortable. Here is a list of essential toiletries to consider packing:

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Pack a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste for maintaining oral hygiene during your cruise.
  • Shampoo and Conditioner: While cruise ships usually provide shampoo and conditioner, you may prefer using your own brands or have specific hair care needs. Consider packing travel-sized bottles of your preferred products.
  • Body Wash or Soap: Bring a small container of body wash or soap to ensure you have your preferred option for showering.
  • Deodorant: Don’t forget to pack your preferred deodorant or antiperspirant to stay fresh throughout your journey.
  • Face Cleanser and Moisturizer: Maintain your skincare routine by packing your preferred face cleanser and moisturizer. Consider travel-sized options to save space.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun’s rays by packing sunscreen with a high SPF. Choose a water-resistant option if you plan on participating in water activities.
  • Razors and Shaving Cream: If you prefer to shave, bring your own razor and shaving cream. Disposable razors are a convenient option for travel.
  • Hair Styling Products: If you use hair styling products, bring travel-sized portions of your favorites to keep your hairstyle intact during your cruise.
  • Personal Hygiene Items: Pack essential personal hygiene items such as feminine hygiene products, contact lens solution, and any medications you may require.

Remember to pack these essentials in a toiletry bag that can be easily stored in your bathroom onboard the cruise ship. Additionally, consider bringing a small first aid kit with basic medical supplies like band-aids, pain relievers, and motion sickness medication.

Next, we will discuss the importance of packing medications for your Alaska cruise in May.

Medications

Bringing necessary medications is essential when preparing for an Alaska cruise in May. It is important to have a sufficient supply of your regular medications, as well as any additional medications you may need during your trip. Here are some important considerations regarding medications:

  • Prescription Medications: Make sure to bring an ample supply of any prescription medications you take regularly. It’s advisable to pack enough to last the entire duration of your cruise, plus a few extra days in case of unexpected delays.
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Include over-the-counter medications like pain relievers, motion sickness pills, antihistamines, and any other medications you typically rely on. These can come in handy for minor ailments or discomforts that may arise during your journey.
  • Medication Containers: Keep your medications organized and easily accessible by using pill organizers or travel containers labeled with the days of the week. This will help ensure you take the correct dosage at the right time.
  • Documentation: Carry a list of all the medications you are taking, including their names, dosages, and directions. It is also recommended to have a copy of your prescriptions or a letter from your healthcare provider, especially if you are carrying controlled substances.
  • Sea sickness Medication: If you are prone to motion sickness, consider bringing sea sickness medication to relieve any discomfort you may experience during rough sea conditions or when partaking in activities like whale watching.

It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before departure to ensure you have all the necessary medications and information needed for a safe and healthy trip. They can provide additional guidance specific to your needs and offer advice on managing medications while traveling.

Next, we will discuss the electronics you should consider packing for your Alaska cruise in May.

Electronics

In today’s digitized world, electronics have become an integral part of our lives, even during vacation. When packing for an Alaska cruise in May, consider bringing the following electronics to enhance your experience and capture memories:

  • Camera: Whether it’s a professional DSLR camera or a compact digital camera, be sure to bring a device to capture the stunning landscapes and unique wildlife encounters. Don’t forget to bring spare batteries, memory cards, and a camera bag for protection.
  • Smartphone: Your smartphone can serve multiple purposes during your Alaska cruise. Aside from being a camera, it can be used for navigation, communication, and accessing useful travel apps. Make sure to pack your charger or a portable power bank to keep your device charged.
  • E-book Reader or Tablet: If you enjoy reading, consider bringing an e-book reader or tablet to have a selection of books at your fingertips. It can also be used for entertainment, browsing the internet, and staying connected with loved ones back home.
  • Portable Speaker: If you enjoy listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks, a portable speaker can enhance your onboard experience or provide entertainment during downtime on shore.
  • Adapters and Chargers: It is essential to pack the necessary adapters and chargers for all your electronic devices. Cruise ships typically have outlets that accommodate both US and European plug types, but it’s always a good idea to check and bring the appropriate adapters.
  • Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot: Depending on your onboard internet plan or Wi-Fi availability in ports, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot can ensure you stay connected wherever you go. This can be useful for accessing maps, researching local attractions, and staying connected with family and friends.

While it’s important to bring electronic devices that enhance your experience, remember not to rely solely on them and take the time to appreciate the stunning landscapes and immersive experiences Alaska has to offer.

Next, we will discuss some miscellaneous items that you should consider packing for your Alaska cruise in May.

Miscellaneous Items

When packing for an Alaska cruise in May, there are several miscellaneous items that can come in handy and enhance your overall experience. While these items may not fit into specific categories, they can be essential for your comfort and convenience. Here are some miscellaneous items to consider packing:

  • Travel Insurance: It is highly recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, trip cancellation, and lost or delayed baggage. This will provide you with peace of mind during your journey.
  • Travel Documents: Ensure you have all the necessary travel documents, including your passport, visas, cruise tickets, and any other identification required. Keep these documents in a safe and easily accessible place.
  • Travel Locks: Bring travel locks to secure your luggage and valuables in your cabin or when you’re out exploring. This will provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind.
  • Motion Sickness Remedies: If you are prone to motion sickness, consider bringing remedies such as wristbands, patches, or medication to alleviate any discomfort during your cruise.
  • Travel-Sized Laundry Detergent: Some cruise ships offer guest laundries where you can do your own laundry. Packing a travel-sized laundry detergent can be useful if you prefer to wash some of your clothes during the trip.
  • Power Strip: As there are limited outlets in most cabins, bringing a power strip can be convenient for charging multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Cash and Credit Cards: While credit cards are widely accepted onboard and in most ports, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases or in case you encounter establishments that don’t accept cards.
  • Reusable Tote Bag: A foldable, reusable tote bag can be useful for carrying souvenirs, snacks, or any items you may acquire during your excursions or trips ashore.

These miscellaneous items can add convenience, security, and practicality to your Alaska cruise experience. Consider your personal needs and preferences when packing these items to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

As we conclude this guide, remember to refer to the specific guidelines provided by your cruise line regarding baggage restrictions and any prohibited items.

We hope this comprehensive packing guide helps you prepare for an extraordinary Alaska cruise in May. Bon voyage!

Preparing for an Alaska cruise in May requires careful consideration and packing to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. The key is to pack versatile clothing that can be easily layered, as the weather can be unpredictable. Outerwear, including waterproof jackets and warm accessories, will provide protection against the elements. Footwear should be chosen for both comfort and functionality, with options for hiking, walking, and formal occasions.

Along with clothing, packing the right accessories can enhance your experience. Sun protection, a daypack, binoculars, and a camera or smartphone are essential items to capture the beauty of Alaska. Essential toiletries and medications should also be included, and electronics like e-readers or tablets and portable speakers can provide entertainment and convenience during your cruise.

Remember to pack miscellaneous items such as travel insurance, locks, motion sickness remedies, and a power strip for added comfort and security. Having the necessary travel documents and some cash on hand is also important.

By following this comprehensive packing guide, you will be well-prepared for your Alaska cruise in May. Remember to also refer to any specific guidelines provided by your cruise line regarding baggage restrictions and prohibited items.

Now, get ready to embark on a remarkable adventure through Alaska’s stunning landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and unforgettable experiences. Bon voyage and enjoy every moment of your extraordinary cruise!

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Late May Alaskan Cruise. Good time to go? - Alaska Forum

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Late May Alaskan Cruise. Good time to go?

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' class=

Our original cruise was for last week of June 2020, but it got cancelled due to covid.

We will be visiting:

-Dawes Glacier

After the cruise , we will be doing a 3 week road trip from Seattle to San Francisco.

' class=

It’s a shame with a month off that you didn’t choose to spend another week doing a land portion in AK.

Enjoy your vacation, and if you can, my only suggestion would be making more time for HUGE Alaska, and see some of this beautiful place, NOT just on a cruise ship. Deb.

P.S. May can be chilly and miserable or it can be record breaking heat or just a mixture of both. Never know until it is here. Bring layers, plan for cold, so you’re prepared! 🙄

alaskan cruise may

Hopefully you’re considering a coastal trip south from Seattle. Actually, heading a bit north and traveling around the Olympic Peninsula before heading south along the coast works well as long as you can spend a couple days on the peninsula.

alaskan cruise may

No, I have to disagree: 3 weeks between Seattle to SFO is not too much time.

We are driving the coast from Astoria all the way down to San Francisco for a part of the trip.

This will be our first time visiting the West Coast.

Dawes Glacier might be inaccessible that early in the season. You have potential for rougher seas with your departure from Seattle.

There are definitely better itineraries from Vancouver but that is your choice.

“We are driving the coast from Astoria all the way down to San Francisco for a part of the trip.”

If you get a chance head over to Ilwaco and Cape Disappointment, about 20 miles from Astoria. Beautiful place with lighthouses.

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alaskan cruise may

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Alaska cruise from Seattle in May 2024

Embark on an unforgettable Alaskan cruise adventure departing from Seattle in May 2024. Seattle is a vibrant city nestled in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by stunning natural beauty and a bustling cultural scene. As a major port city, Seattle is a popular starting point for cruises to Alaska and beyond. May is a wonderful time to embark on an Alaskan cruise, as the snow and ice begin to melt away and the landscape transforms into a lush, green paradise. With an average temperature ranging from 40-55°F (4-13°C), visitors can expect pleasant weather conditions with longer daylight hours, making it an ideal time to explore the breathtaking natural wonders of the region. Choose from a range of popular cruise lines, such as American Cruise Lines , Carnival Cruise Line , Celebrity Cruises , Holland America Line , Norwegian Cruise Line , Princess Cruises , Royal Caribbean , and Un-Cruise Adventures , and explore the breathtaking natural beauty of Alaska on a cruise from Seattle in May 2024.

Explore Alaska's Wilderness on a May 2024 Cruise from Seattle

Seattle

During May, passengers can expect to witness a plethora of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, and caribou, as they emerge from hibernation and migrate towards the coast. The coastal waters are also teeming with life as whales, seals, and sea otters bask in the warmer waters. One of the highlights of an Alaskan cruise in May is the chance to witness the spectacular sight of glaciers calving, where huge chunks of ice break off and crash into the water. Visitors can take part in various activities, including kayaking, hiking, and exploring the surrounding rainforest, providing an up-close and personal experience with the region's flora and fauna.

May also marks the start of the fishing season, with an abundance of salmon and halibut in the waters surrounding Alaska. Visitors can try their hand at fishing and even cook up their catch on board. Finally, May also offers an opportunity to experience the cultural heritage of the indigenous people of Alaska, with various tours and activities available to learn about their traditions, language, and way of life.

Seattle port Alaska Cruise Schedule May 2024

Embark on a breathtaking adventure with an Alaskan cruise departing from Seattle in May 2024. Journey through pristine wilderness filled with glimmering glaciers, towering mountains, lush forests, rare wildlife, and charming waterfront communities. Discover a range of available cruises departing from Seattle in May 2024, and easily compare options to find your perfect itinerary.

Carnival Cruise Line Alaska 8-day route

8-day Alaska cruise from Seattle

Carnival luminosa, carnival cruise line.

Date: May 1, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska 9-day route

9-day Alaska cruise from Seattle

Norwegian sun, norwegian cruise line.

Ports of Call: Seattle, Sitka, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Un-Cruise Adventures Alaska 7-day route

7-day Alaska cruise from Seattle

Safari quest, un-cruise adventures.

Date: May 3, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Salish Sea, San Juan Islands, Stuart Island Park, Orcas Island, Sucia Island, Olympic National Park, Seattle; View Itinerary

American Cruise Lines Puget Sound 7-day route

American Spirit, American Cruise Lines

Date: May 4, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Anacortes, Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, Victoria, Port Townsend, Poulsbo, Seattle; View Itinerary

Holland America Line Alaska 7-day route

Eurodam, Holland America Line

Ports of Call: Seattle, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska 7-day route

Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Cruise Line

Ports of Call: Seattle, Sitka, Juneau, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska 7-day route

Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Cruise Line

Date: May 5, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Royal Caribbean Alaska 7-day route

Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Date: May 6, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Icy Strait, Skagway, Juneau, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Carnival Cruise Line Alaska 7-day route

Carnival Spirit, Carnival Cruise Line

Date: May 7, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Carnival Cruise Line Alaska 7-day route

Date: May 9, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska 10-day route

10-day Alaska cruise from Seattle

Date: May 10, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Sitka, Haines, Skagway, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Date: May 11, 2024

Princess Cruises Alaska 7-day route

Discovery Princess, Princess Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line Alaska 7-day route

Ports of Call: Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Date: May 12, 2024

Princess Cruises Alaska 7-day route

Majestic Princess, Princess Cruises

Ports of Call: Seattle, Ketchikan, Dawes Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

American Cruise Lines Alaska 14-day route

14-day Alaska cruise from Seattle

American constellation, american cruise lines.

Date: May 13, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Anacortes, Friday Harbor, Strait of Georgia, Queen Charlotte Strait, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Tracy Arm, Glacier Bay, Haines, Skagway, Juneau, Juneau; View Itinerary

Ports of Call: Seattle, Sitka, Skagway, Juneau, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Date: May 14, 2024

Date: May 16, 2024

Celebrity Cruises Alaska 7-day route

Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises

Date: May 17, 2024

Ports of Call: Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria, Seattle; View Itinerary

Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Date: May 18, 2024

Date: May 19, 2024

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Is an Alaskan Cruise Worth It? Pros and Cons for 2024

Are you wondering if an Alaskan Cruise is worth it? You’ve come to the right place!

Are you considering taking an Alaskan Cruise but unsure if it is worth it? As a travel advisor who has booked numerous clients on Alaskan Cruises, and with my own experience of having been on several myself I can give you all the pros and cons of an Alaskan Cruise.

As a cruise specialist, you can trust that I will provide honest advice to help you decide whether or not an Alaskan Cruise is the right choice for you.

Let’s dive in and explore what makes this trip so special, and by the end of this post, you’ll know exactly if booking an Alaskan cruise is worth it!

Free Cruise Planning

A vacation is supposed to be fun! Let me handle all of the planning and work, so you can just sit back and enjoy your vacation!

Is an Alaskan Cruise Worth it?

If you’re looking for a vacation that offers stunning views, exciting excursions, and a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life, an Alaska cruise might just be the perfect choice for you.

Let’s start with the Benefits of taking an Alaskan Cruise:

1. Captivating Scenery

One of the key reasons travelers choose Alaskan cruises is the breathtaking landscape that surrounds you throughout the journey.

You’ll be met with soaring mountains, crystal-clear glacial waterways, and lush forests, all unfolding right before your eyes.

Alaska’s waters, bordered by natural beauty and history, flaunt stunning vistas that will leave you in awe.

Get ready to have your breath taken away by the magnificence of glacier-carved fjords, walls of ice in Glacier Bay National Park , or the grandeur of the Hubbard Glacier.

And let’s not forget the mesmerizing sights of massive glaciers calving into the ocean – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2. Alaska’s Unique Wildlife

The array of wildlife that thrives in Alaska’s diverse ecosystems will make your heart skip a beat. Marvel at soaring bald eagles, black and brown bears, humpback whales, sea otters, harbor seals, and mountain goats.

Cruise lines often arrange wildlife excursions , such as whale-watching tours or bear-spotting treks, ensuring that you’re up close and personal with these fabled creatures.

From humpback whales gracing the icy waters to bald eagles soaring in the skies, the opportunities to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat are truly unparalleled.

3. Diverse Cultures and Rich History

If you have a passion for history or wish to explore Alaska’s vibrant heritage, then an Alaskan cruise is a perfect choice! Enjoy incredible sights and sounds as your journey takes you through this historical land.

You’ll have the chance to explore charming coastal towns, like Ketchikan and Juneau, where you can wander through quaint streets replete with timber-clad houses and storied totem poles.

Or, visit the historic towns of Skagway or Sitka , and witness the Gold Rush era’s remnants.

You might also get the opportunity to visit indigenous communities, where you can engage with the local Tlingit and Haida tribes to learn about their unique artistry and cultural practices.

4. Relaxation

Not only do Alaskan cruises offer a myriad of experiences that immerse you in the spectacular wilds of the Last Frontier, but they also give you a chance to unwind and indulge in some pampering.

You can choose from a range of luxurious cruise ships offering outstanding amenities like elegant cabins, spa services , fine dining, and even onboard entertainment.

In Alaska, there are many places without cell phone service or the internet. This can be a fun time to relax and spend time with your friends who are traveling with you.

Alaska Cruise Packing List

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5. Meet like-minded travelers

Embarking on an Alaskan cruise also provides you with the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who share your passion for wildlife, nature, and adventure.

During your journey, you’ll develop heartfelt, lifelong connections that can transcend geographical boundaries or even inspire future trips together.

After all, it is often the people we meet during our travels that transform a wonderful vacation into an unforgettable human experience.

6.Unique Shore Excursions

From thrilling adventures to peaceful escapes, Alaskan cruises offer a myriad of activities that are sure to excite and delight everyone.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, culture connoisseur, or outdoor enthusiast, there’s something for everyone.

For those who crave exhilarating adventures, consider kayaking through ice-filled bays, zip-lining above vast forests, dog sledding atop epic glaciers, or helicoptering to remote mountain peaks.

For the culturally inclined, visit museums, theatres, and galleries, join a local fishing expedition, or savor the flavors of regional delicacies.

7. Ease and Convenience of Cruising:

Alaska is HUGE!

“Alaska is about one-fifth the size of the entire Lower 48. If you combined the area of Texas, California, and Montana, it would still be less than the size of Alaska. East to west, Alaska measures 2,500 miles, which is just about the distance from Savannah, Georgia, to Santa Barbara, California” – Royal Alaskan Movers

Planning for, paying for, and executing a trip of this magnitude can be overwhelming. Cruising makes it easy!

An Alaskan cruise offers convenience and comfort in one package. Your ship serves as transportation, accommodation, and a dining hub, making travel arrangements relatively seamless.

Most cruises provide gourmet meals, plush accommodations, and excellent guest services catering to your every need. This extensive range of onboard amenities makes cruising a popular choice, particularly for those who value hassle-free vacations.

Furthermore, the cruise route is preplanned, giving you ample time to research and plan your shore excursions. Travel is often arranged by the cruise line, minimizing preparations and ensuring that disembarking and returning to the ship is a breeze.

If you want to get deeper into Alaska, consider a cruise tour, where the cruise is one way, leaving you time to explore further in areas such as Denali National Park.

The Downside of an Alaskan Cruise

Of course, every rose has its thorn right? (Did I just show my age?)

There is a downside to everything in this life.

Fortunately, in the case of an Alaskan Cruise the plus sides greatly outweigh the negatives, but lets discuss them anyway.

Environmental Impact Considerations:

While the advantages of an Alaskan cruise are plenty, it’s essential also to consider the environmental footprint of such travel options.

Improper waste disposal and air pollution from large cruise ships have been detrimental to Alaska’s fragile ecosystem.

In response, some cruise lines have implemented stringent environmental policies and advocate responsible tourism.

Be mindful of your choices and opt for a cruise that adheres to eco-friendly practices and actively supports environmental conservation efforts.

Only a select few cruise lines are given permits to explore protected areas such as Glacier Bay National Park. This limits access to these areas and helps keep them pristine.

I also believe that exploring these areas and seeing them firsthand, helps travelers to understand why conservation is so important and makes them feel inspired to do their part.

Alaskan Cruises arent available year round

Due to the extreme winter weather Alaska experiences, cruising is not possible year round.

Whereas in warmer destinations, you have hundreds of sailings to choose from, on Alaska cruises, you have a very short sailing window.

Alaska Cruise season is May – September with July and August being the most popular times.

Alaskan Cruises can be expensive

This is the biggest downside to Alaskan Cruises. Due to the remote nature of the cruises, the short window for travel, and the popularity of the itineraries, Alaskan cruises are much more expensive than the Caribbean, or even European cruises.

Additionally, I always highly recommend my clients get a balcony stateroom when cruising to Alaska, which cost a bit more than interior rooms. The wildlife viewing opportunities and spectacular scenery make having a balcony room 100% worth it!

Nothing compares to the excitement I felt each morning, on my balcony sipping coffee and watching whales or cute little sea otters drifting past!

You can keep costs down slightly by booking at less popular times. Sailing in early May or into September are cheaper options than mid-summer. You may have to deal with not-so-ideal weather, but it can still be fun!

So, is an Alaskan Cruise Worth it?

Ultimately, an Alaskan cruise is as memorable as you make it. If the idea of sailing amidst glacier-carved fjords, witnessing the wonders of wildlife, and embarking on shore excursions that challenge your senses and inspire your soul resonates with you, then an Alaskan cruise is a journey unquestionably worth exploring.

Personally, my Alaskan cruise vacations are some of my best memories, and I will never tire of the beauty and magic I experience in the last frontier.

So, is an Alaska cruise worth it?

Absolutely.

With its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and onboard amenities, an Alaska cruise offers a one-of-a-kind vacation experience that is sure to leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-time traveler, an Alaska cruise is an adventure that should not be missed.

Skipped to the end? No Worries, here’s the summary!

Alaska Cruise Pros

  • Breathtaking Scenery
  • Amazing Wildlife
  • Wake up somewhere new each day!
  • Food and entertainment
  • Exciting shore excursions

Alaska Cruise Cons

  • Short Season
  • Environmental concerns

Cruise Resources

These are my tried and true, favorite cruise-planning helpers:

➡️ Cruise Critic – for reviews, deck plans, and cabin choices

➡️ Parking – for saving on your long-term parking

➡️ Travel Insurance Master – Because, yes, you do need insurance

➡️ Trip Advisor –

For Reviewing Tours and Excursions

➡️ Viator – For Shore Excursions

➡️ Shore Excursions Group – More choices for small group excursions

➡️ Resort for a day Passes in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas

➡️ Atlantis Day Pass

➡️Cruise Packing List for Caribbean , Mediterranean or Alaska

➡️ Cruise Tips

➡️Also, if you don’t want the hassle and stress of booking your own cruise, I can do it for you at no additional cost! You can read more about

These products are services I have used myself and trust. Purchasing through the links above, helps me continue my blog at no additional cost to you, and I appreciate it so much!

Are you wondering if an Alaskan Cruise is worth it? You’ve come to the right place! Are you considering taking an Alaskan Cruise but unsure if it is worth it? As a travel advisor who has booked numerous clients on Alaskan Cruises, and with my own experience of having been on several myself I can...

  • Main content

I booked a 7-day Alaska cruise for $799 but actually spent $2,800 with extras. Take a closer look at what made it so pricey.

  • I thought I got a great deal this summer when I booked a seven-day Alaska cruise for $799 a person.
  • I spent $2,800 on excursions, WiFi, a drinks package, port fees, and specialty dining.
  • Even though I paid $2,000 more than the base price, it was worth it.

Insider Today

I'm an experienced cruiser who has sailed around the globe, so I was excited to take my husband on his first cruise last summer to celebrate his birthday.

We chose a seven-day Princess Cruise to Alaska in and out of Seattle on the Royal Princess . The ship would visit the Inside Passage with a day cruising in Glacier Bay National Park , two full days at sea, stops at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan in Alaska, and a stop at Victoria in Canada.

I had cruised with Princess before and liked how it offers a sweet spot between casual and luxurious. It was also the first time we had visited Alaska, and since seven Princess ships sail there, I felt confident that they were experts in cruising America's last frontier.

The base price for the cruise was $799 a person, which included an interior stateroom, all meals not served in specialty restaurants, and entertainment.

I thought that was cheap, but as an experienced cruiser, I knew there would be extras, such as WiFi, beverages, excursions, and upscale dining.

In the end, I spent just over $2,800 a person — $2,000 more than the base price. While it wasn't the cheap deal I originally booked, considering our fabulous trip, I thought the price was well worth it.

Here's a closer look at how we spent our money.

The base price included many things on board the Royal Princess.

alaskan cruise may

The Royal Princess is a large ship with 1,780 cabins for 3,560 guests. There are 19 passenger decks, eight with guest accommodations.

Our stateroom was 170 square feet, which felt compact but was just right for two people. We had a queen-size bed and a bathroom with a shower.

The ship felt like a gigantic floating hotel and most amenities and activities were included in the fare. That included access to two swimming pools, eight hot tubs, a spa, a fitness center, and a variety of dining venues, from buffets to a pizzeria. Specialty and upscale dining cost extra, but more on that later.

My first purchase was the Princess Premier Package, which cost $80 a person a day.

alaskan cruise may

Along with my base fare, I purchased the Princess Premier Package for myself for $80 a person a day.

The package includes WiFi for up to four devices, alcoholic beverages and wine by the glass worth up to $20, unlimited drinks from the juice bar, specialty coffee, and premium desserts such as gelato.

Crew gratuity, room service, fitness classes, and two meals at specialty restaurants are also part of the package.

You have to purchase the package for the duration of the cruise, which totaled $560 for me for seven days.

My biggest additional expenses came from shore excursions.

alaskan cruise may

The cruise had stops in Alaska in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, as well as in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

As much as I enjoy shipboard life, to really experience Alaska, I knew I wanted to disembark and explore each port.

While it's free to simply leave the boat and walk around each port, with only a day in most locations, I thought I'd get a better sense of the destination by booking official shore excursions hosted by the cruise line. These excursions are soup-to-nuts packages that take care of all the details and make the most of the time in each port.

You can still book excursions with local tour operators unaffiliated with the cruise line, but I preferred booking all of mine through Princess because I knew the day would be tailored around when I needed to be back on the boat.

I booked each excursion in advance — I know from experience that popular shore excursions tend to sell out — and spent $930 total a person on all three of them.

I spent $480 a person for a luxury whale-watching tour in Juneau.

alaskan cruise may

Our first port of call was Juneau, Alaska.

There, I booked an all-inclusive, four-hour luxury whale-watching group tour on a yacht with room for eight passengers. It cost my husband and I $480 each.

Once off the ship, a representative greeted us and drove the group to Auke Bay to board our yacht, which felt swanky with its leather seats and polished chrome.

Our crew included the captain and Emma, a naturalist, who helped us spot wildlife. Emma encouraged questions and was a wealth of information on all things Alaska.

The yacht brought us incredibly close to orcas, humpback whales, harbor seals, and sea lions. Champagne, Alaskan beer, and a big charcuterie platter were included in the price, too.

It was a once-in-a lifetime experience, and well worth the $480-a-person cost.

I paid $210 to kayak in Skagway, Alaska.

alaskan cruise may

I love kayaking and didn't want to miss the chance to paddle in Alaska, so I booked Princess' Chilkoot Lake Kayak Experience for $210 a person.

We joined 20 other passengers on a high-speed, 45-minute ferry ride to Haines. As our ferry journeyed through a deep fjord, we saw whales breaching, eagles soaring, and bears along the shoreline.

When we arrived in Haines, a bus drove us to the lake, where a guide gave us a brief lesson on paddling technique before we hopped into double and triple kayaks on blue water surrounded by tall peaks.

We paddled for about 90 minutes before the coach brought us back to the ferry. A simple picnic lunch of sandwiches, chips, and hot coffee awaited us as part of our rate.

A tour of totem poles, a salmon cannery, and a rainforest walk cost $240 each.

alaskan cruise may

Ketchikan was our last stop in Alaska. It's an excellent destination to explore Native Alaskan culture, particularly to learn about totem poles.

I booked the Best of Ketchikan: Totems, Wildlife Cruise & Alaska Appetizers excursion, a four-hour tour for $240 a person.

Our group of 16 began the trip with a narrated wildlife cruise to a former salmon cannery where a guided tour and interactive exhibits helped us understand the importance of salmon canning to the state's growth.

Next, we snacked on locally made reindeer sausage and wild-berry cookies.

Well-fortified, we took a short walk through the rainforest before getting on a bus to Saxman Native Village to watch totem poles being hand-carved and to view a collection of them.

Back on board the ship, I paid $60 for access to an adults-only space.

alaskan cruise may

The Sanctuary is an adults-only, outdoor area at the ship's bow where you can reserve a chaise lounge for a half or full day for $20 or $40, respectively.

It's the only section of the ship where you can have a tranquil, adult-only outdoor experience, with room for approximately 30 people.

We went once, on our scenic-cruise day — the day the ship traversed Glacier Bay National Park.

I knew the ship would be hectic on this day because every passenger was on board and wanted a good view of the passing scenery.

As such, a half day in the Sanctuary cost $60 — more than any other day.

But our access provided us with a front-row seat as we sailed by breathtakingly beautiful glaciers.

Plus, there were only a few dozen other passengers there, and the helpful staff kept bringing us extra blankets to offset the chilly air. A breakfast buffet with fresh fruit, smoked salmon, croissants, and more took the experience up a notch.

I happily forked over $22 for sushi in a specialty restaurant.

alaskan cruise may

Many restaurants, including the three main dining rooms with waiter service, buffets, and a pizzeria are included in the base cruise price, but several upscale-dining spots incur an extra charge.

But because I'm a sushi fanatic, I knew I'd pay extra to eat at Ocean Terrace, the ship's sushi bar.

We ordered an assortment of sushi, sashimi, and edamame for lunch. It was extremely fresh, and I thought it was well worth the $22 a person we paid. Unlike some other upscale dining options, my meal was not a flat fee, but based on what I ordered.

Considering other sushi meals I've had, I thought it was inexpensive and had I discovered it sooner, I would have eaten at Ocean Terrace several more times.

For my husband's birthday, I booked the chef's table for $130 a person with wine pairings.

alaskan cruise may

On my husband's actual birthday, I wanted him to have a VIP culinary experience.

I booked the upscale chef's table for $130 per person with wine pairings. The chef personally greeted us to discuss the menu and how he chose and sourced ingredients, making it an interesting experience for foodies like us.

The intimate dinner took place in a private section of the dining room at a table set with fine china and crisp linens.

Two other couples we didn't know joined us, but by the end of the meal, we'd forged a casual shipboard friendship. There's no dress code, but it was a great opportunity to wear our fanciest outfits.

We started with Champagne and hors d'oeuvres before a feast of ceviche, creamy risotto, tender filet mignon, and an individual strawberry cake. The food was luscious, though it was the presentation and service that made it truly memorable.

I paid $35 for a repeat meal at Sabatini's Italian restaurant.

alaskan cruise may

While most specialty dining incurs an extra fee, two meals at premium restaurants were included as a perk my Princess Premier Package.

One was at the ship's steakhouse, Crown Grill, and another was at the Italian restaurant, Sabatini's.

My husband is Italian, and I lived in Italy for many years, so we are tough critics when it comes to Italian cuisine. But we liked our meal so much that we returned a second time and paid $35 a person to do so.

We enjoyed paper-thin slices of tender veal topped with a rich tuna-and-caper sauce that gave my favorite trattoria in Milan a run for its money. Other standouts included spaghetti in a briny sauce of scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels, and baked striped bass with polenta.

Finally, port fees and taxes cost an extra $272 a person.

alaskan cruise may

New cruisers might not realize they'll always have to pay for three things, even if they skip all specialty experiences and excursions: gratuities, taxes, and port fees.

My gratuities were included in the Princess Premier Package, but port fees and taxes cost us an extra $272 a person. These are for the charges your ship pays to dock at various ports of call. Passengers pay these fees, which are not included in the base price of the cruise.

My total cost for the cruise was $2,808 a person, and I have no regrets.

alaskan cruise may

All of my cruise extras came to $2,009. With the $799 I paid when I initially booked the cruise, the grand total for just me came to $2,808. For both me and my husband, it was $5,616 in total.

While it was a lot more than initially advertised, it was an unforgettable experience that was worth every penny. I would spend it again in a heartbeat.

alaskan cruise may

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How to see the northern lights in alaska in 2024.

If seeing the northern lights in Alaska is on your bucket list, this is the year to do it.

How to See the Northern Lights in Alaska

Northern lights over Alaska.

Chris McLennan | Courtesy of State of Alaska

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says solar activity is intensifying and will peak (at a higher level than previously thought) in 2024. This means travelers will have more opportunities to see the northern lights around the world .

If you're considering a trip to Alaska to witness this atmospheric phenomenon, read on to discover the best months to visit as well as a variety of viewing options.

The best time to see the northern lights in Alaska

Where to see the northern lights in alaska, northern lights alaska cruises.

  • Alaska northern lights tours

Northern lights over group of trees in water in Alaska.

Courtesy of Travel Alaska

According to the Alaska Travel Industry Association, the best time to see the northern lights is typically from Aug. 21 to April 21 , also known as the Aurora Season. While the aurora can appear at any time of night, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. are the prime viewing hours.

The winter solstice – which is the shortest day of the year, typically falling between Dec. 20 and 23 – is a particularly good time to be in Alaska for the northern lights. This day affords less daylight and more time to spot the aurora. In parts of Alaska, the amount of daylight during the winter solstice can range from around six hours in Anchorage to less than four further north in Fairbanks. Up in remote Utqiagvik (formerly called Barrow), about 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, there are roughly 67 days of darkness from Nov. 18 to Jan. 23, resulting in even more opportunities to spot the northern lights.

Of course, 2024 is expected to be a little different. Scientists say solar activity will reach its peak from January to October, expanding the typical time frame for spotting the aurora. Ahead of and during your visit, experts recommend utilizing these forecasting resources:

  • Aurora Tracker: Whether you're a beginner or an experienced aurora chaser, you'll appreciate Explore Fairbanks' real-time Aurora Tracker . This online reference shows up-to-the-minute information on the temperature, weather and likelihood of catching the northern lights in Fairbanks. Much of the data comes from one of the world's foremost aurora research centers, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks . To further assist in your search, you can also download the My Aurora Forecast & Alerts app on your smartphone.
  • Aurora Forecast: For other parts of the state, the Geophysical Institute website's Aurora Forecast has daily forecasts of geomagnetic activity up to three days in advance and taken at three-hour intervals. There's also a summation on the webpage of whether the aurora will be active – or not – and where you'll find the best visibility in Alaska.

Northern lights above Aurora Villa in Alaska.

Courtesy of Aurora Villa

Below are the top destinations to consider when deciding where to see the northern lights in Alaska.

Fairbanks, known as the Golden Heart of Alaska, sits at 65 degrees north latitude, making it an excellent choice for aurora hunters, especially first-timers. It's easily accessible and offers plenty of accommodations , restaurants and other unique attractions . You can also be outside of Fairbanks within minutes to find excellent northern lights viewing locales.

Your chances of seeing the aurora display are excellent as the city sits where the activity of the polar lights is concentrated – under the ring-shaped zone known as the auroral oval. Local experts say that on clear evenings when the sky is very dark, you should be able to witness the skies light up on an average of four out of five nights in Fairbanks.

Where to stay:

  • Aurora Villa : Located on the outskirts of Fairbanks, Aurora Villa offers luxurious guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows for viewing the northern lights in a cozy private space. The modern wooden cabin sits on 10 acres surrounded by forested hills, yet it's close enough to the city (less than 15 miles northeast) to explore all that Fairbanks has to offer.
  • Pike's Waterfront Lodge : Located along the Chena River in Fairbanks, just minutes from Fairbanks International Airport, this property offers 180 rooms and 28 cabins for aurora-hunting adventurers. As a guest of the lodge, you can request that the front desk alert you when the northern lights appear – no matter the time of day or night. Pike's Waterfront Lodge also offers amenities to keep guests warm while viewing the light show outdoors.

Talkeetna sits about 115 miles north of Anchorage in south-central Alaska, at the base of Denali, the tallest mountain peak in North America. With its old clapboard buildings, log cabins and roadhouse dating back to 1917, this historic town offers a lot of outdoor fun beyond chasing the aurora. Main Street is filled with galleries, shops, restaurants and a brewery. The quirky village, once a former mining town, was the inspiration for the imaginary borough of Cicely in the TV show "Northern Exposure."

If you visit in December, check out the festivities at the monthlong Winterfest. This event features a parade of lights, a tree lighting ceremony and the Taste of Talkeetna food festival, plus entertaining events like the Bachelor Auction and the Wilderness Woman Competition.

When it's time to look up in the sky for the lights, local aurora hunters recommend heading out of town to Christiansen Lake or past the airport on Beaver Road. If you prefer to stay close by, look north into the sky toward Denali from Talkeetna Riverfront Park.

  • Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge : Book a Mountain View room for views of Denali and the Alaskan Range. The cozy lodge offers multiple dining venues, including the award-winning Foraker Restaurant.
  • Talkeetna Lakeside Cabins : These cabins provide peace and quiet on a private lake just 12 miles from Talkeetna.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is another spectacular place to view the northern lights in Alaska – not to mention one of the top tourist attractions in the U.S. The National Park Service says almost everywhere within the park is free from city light pollution, so if the conditions are right (meaning that's it's clear and dark enough), you should be able to see the aurora borealis, especially when looking toward the northern horizon.

However, when wintertime rolls around – from September or October through April – it's more difficult to access parts of the park, even though it's open year-round. Keep in mind, too, that the lodges closest to the park are typically closed from mid-September to mid-May.

Where to stay: Located less than 15 miles from the Denali National Park entrance, the Aurora Denali Lodge offers year-round accommodations equipped with queen-sized beds, smart TVs and private bathrooms. Rates at the lodge include a continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi, free parking and complimentary hot drinks. What's more, the property says visitors can expect plenty of wildlife sightings, such as bears, moose, lynxes, owls and snowshoe hares, just outside your door.

Coldfoot Camp

Coldfoot Camp is situated above the Arctic Circle in the Brooks Mountain Range, near the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The remote wilderness destination is ideal for aurora viewing since it sits directly under the auroral oval. It's also the perfect locale for backcountry snowshoeing, wildlife viewing and dog mushing.

Where to stay: The Inn at Coldfoot Camp offers rustic accommodations located in trailers that once housed Alaskan pipeline workers. The rooms include two twin beds and a private bathroom and shower. Guests can dine at the on-site Trucker's Cafe, which offers breakfast and dinner buffets in the summer months and all-day a la carte dining in the winter. When you're ready for a cold one at the end of the day, check out the Frozen Foot Saloon and order an Alaska-brewed beer.

If you prefer camping and have your own gear , you can camp free of charge on the property during the summer months. Coldfoot Camp also hosts a selection of year-round Arctic adventures and excursions, including a trip to the nearby village of Wiseman for aurora viewing.

This remote wilderness retreat has just 13 full-time residents. Wiseman is located in Alaska's Brooks Range, about 15 miles north of Coldfoot Camp, 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 270 miles from Fairbanks. The community sits directly under the auroral oval, making it one of the best places in Alaska to view the northern lights. You can expect to see the spectacle in the sky in Wiseman about 250 nights a year, especially between late August and mid-April.

  • Arctic Hive : Arctic Hive has the distinction of being the northernmost yoga studio in the U.S. A common fiberglass lodge allows guests to gather for cooking and meals, and meditation, educational gatherings and other activities are hosted in a geodesic dome. Arctic Hive also offers retreats that include northern lights viewing opportunities in February and March.
  • Arctic Getaway : This bed-and-breakfast sits between the middle fork of the Koyukuk River and Wiseman Creek, offering three cabins. While here, you can learn what it's like to homestead in Alaska above the Arctic Circle and enjoy outdoor activities like dog sled rides across the vast wilderness, cross-country skiing , pack rafting and flightseeing by bush plane.
  • Boreal Lodging : Reachable by vehicle, Boreal Lodging has several rental options, ranging from lodge rooms to larger cabins with living areas and kitchens.

Located in western Alaska overlooking the Norton Sound of the Bering Sea, Nome is the ending point for the more than 1,000-mile, 51-year-old Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race in March. Once the most populated city in Alaska, Nome had almost 20,000 residents and an average of 1,000 new people arriving daily during the height of the gold rush in 1899. Nome is a little quieter now, with a population of less than 4,000 residents.

Where to stay: Some of the best spots for viewing the aurora are at the end of town, where the 52-room Aurora Inn & Suites is located. The hotel conveniently offers car rentals on-site.

alaskan cruise may

Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Situated on the banks of the Arctic Ocean, Utqiagvik is the northernmost city in the U.S. The town, formerly known as Barrow, changed its name in 2016 back to Utqiagvik, its traditional Inupiaq name. Utqiagvik is only accessible by plane: Alaska Airlines and other regional carriers offer service from both Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Where to stay: For accommodations, make reservations at a hotel named for its location – the Top of the World Hotel . The property's comfortable rooms offer views of the Arctic Ocean, and the on-site restaurant, Niggivikput (meaning "our place to eat"), serves traditional local dishes like reindeer soup. While you may be there for aurora hunting, don't miss the excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities: You may see polar bears, caribou, foxes, bearded seals, whales, walruses, migratory birds and the great snowy owl on the tundra.

Borealis Basecamp

One of the best glamping destinations in the U.S. , Borealis Basecamp is a remote 100-acre property that sits within a boreal forest 25 miles north of Fairbanks. The property features 20 individual igloos, resembling those you'd find at Arctic research stations and on polar expeditions, as well as five glass cubes. All accommodations allow guests to gaze up at the aurora and the starry night sky while snuggled up in bed. You'll also enjoy many amenities you'd find in a hotel, including full bathrooms with toiletries and a selection of coffee, hot cocoa and tea.

Choose from a variety of packages that include accommodations and activities like dog-sledding, UTV tours, helicopter sightseeing experiences and more.

Woman on an Alaska cruise ship uses binoculars as she look out over the ocean.

Getty Images

One of the best times to cruise to Alaska is during the aurora season. Aurora season sailings to Alaska are available with the following cruise lines this year.

If you're interested in excursions for aurora viewing, look for a line that offers cruisetours, such as Holland America. These tours offer the best of both worlds, giving you time on land and at sea to view the dancing night sky. Holland America's cruisetours range from overnight stays just 2 miles from Denali National Park at the McKinley Chalet Resort to a domed luxury train ride through Alaska's backcountry on the McKinley Explorer. On a Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali, look for Alaska's "Big Five": grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep and wolves. Just keep in mind that none of the above cruise lines can guarantee you'll see the northern lights during your journey.

The best northern lights tours in Alaska

Northern light over statue in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Jody Overstreet | Courtesy of State of Alaska

If you want to experience the aurora borealis by joining a tour group, you'll find a variety of options led by expert guides and granting you easier access to many of the state's remote destinations, often with other activities included. (Just be aware that, on any tour or excursion, there's no way to guarantee that the aurora will be visible.) These are some of the best northern lights tours in Alaska:

Arctic Dog Adventure Co.: Aurora Overnight Tour

Dog-sledding is one of the top winter activities in Alaska, and you can choose to do it by day or night. If you want to experience an Alaska dog-sledding adventure while chasing the aurora, book a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Arctic Dog's Aurora Overnight Tour. Highlights of this two-day, one-night excursion – which starts in Fairbanks – are dog mushing your own sled team and glamping in a heated tent under an aurora-filled sky. Other features of the tour include cold weather gear, a photography lesson and Alaska-inspired meals.

Alaska Wildlife Guide: Northern Lights & Murphy Dome Tour

Located around 20 miles northwest of the city, Murphy Dome is regarded as one of the best places to watch the northern lights in Fairbanks at nearly 3,000 feet above sea level. This location, once home to Murphy Dome Air Force Station with as many as 250 personnel stationed at the base, now houses a long-range radar station that detects military air threats from overseas.

Alaska Wildlife Guide leads 5.5-hour northern lights tours to Murphy Dome, typically from late August to early April – you can check with the company for day-to-day tour availability. Excursion prices include round-trip transportation from Fairbanks, 360-degree views of the north-facing sky, hot beverages and bottled water – in addition to (hopefully) hours of memorable aurora viewing.

Alaska Wildlife Guide: Northern Lights & Arctic Circle Tour

This full-day (14-hour) excursion, also offered by Alaska Wildlife Guide, begins in Fairbanks and crosses the Arctic Circle into Alaska's vast and remote wilderness. The tour includes a drive along the more than 800-mile Trans-Alaskan Pipeline and a half-mile walk along the loop at Finger Mountain with views overlooking the Kanuti Flats (depending on the season). Your guide will also stop along the riverbank after crossing the Yukon River Bridge.

During the tour, you'll learn about the history of the pipeline and hear narratives around the other included stops. A snack and warm beverage are included; then, if conditions are just right, you'll have the chance to see the brilliant light show dance across the dark, clear skies before you arrive back in Fairbanks at dawn.

Alaska Journey Tours: Northern Lights (Aurora) Chasing Tour

Get picked up at your Fairbanks hotel (or meet at the Hyatt Place Fairbanks) for this three-hour northern lights tour in a heated SUV. Guides take photos of tourgoers as well as their own photos of the night sky, which are later shared with the group. Recent travelers praise this tour, and appreciate that the guides are always determined to give them the best northern lights viewing experience.

Alaska Tours: Bettles Lodge Winter Adventure

Hosted by Alaska Tours, the Bettles Lodge Winter Adventure is available January to March and August to December. This excursion includes two, three or four nights at this wilderness lodge about 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle. During the winter days, enjoy outdoor Arctic sports such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing or stay warm indoors chatting with other guests at the Aurora Lodge. In the evenings, you can bundle up and head outside at one of the best places in Alaska to see the spectacle in the sky.

Prices include round-trip airfare between Fairbanks and Bettles, accommodations at the lodge, meals, a village tour and complimentary use of the Arctic gear (in season).

Alaska Photo Treks: Anchorage Aurora Quest

Alaska Photo Treks offers one of the best ways to see the northern lights in Anchorage – and you'll even learn how best to photograph the aurora, which can be a challenge to capture digitally or on film. This experience, the Anchorage Aurora Quest, is available nightly (when conditions are right), typically from mid-August to mid-April. The approximately six-hour guided tour with a professional photographer explains the science behind the northern lights and provides photo tips for budding aurora photographers in a small-group format. Tourgoers are picked up from their hotel by the guide at about 10 p.m. and return around 4 a.m., though that time can vary based on the aurora forecast.

On the Alaska Photo Treks website, you'll find a list of recommended camera equipment to bring. If you're using a smartphone, the tour group suggests downloading an aurora app and bringing a tripod. The company also advises that you'll be outdoors for about two hours, so you need to dress appropriately for the weather. For the best aurora viewing, the guides usually travel between one to three locations within a 70-mile radius of Anchorage. If you're in town for an extended stay, Alaska Photo Treks also offers a four-day pass for even more nocturnal viewing of the auroral activity.

Alaska Tours: Chena Hot Springs and Northern Lights

Chena Hot Springs Resort is known for its therapeutic waters and aurora-viewing opportunities. If you prefer to head out with a guide rather than on your own, book the Chena Hot Springs and Northern Lights tour with Alaska Tours. This package includes a four- to five-hour Aurora Expedition tour, four nights of accommodations, and access to resort amenities including cross-country skiing and snow machine tours.

Alaska Wildlife Guide: Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs

Day trips are also an option for those who'd like to enjoy the resort amenities and a chance at seeing the northern lights from Chena Hot Springs. This tour offered by Alaska Wildlife Guide includes admission to the hot springs and Aurora Ice Museum as well as pickup from local hotels. Recent travelers say the tour guides are top-notch.

John Hall's Alaska: Alaska's Winter Wonders

For an extended land tour to chase the aurora – and experience Alaska's magical winter wonderland – book this bucket list eight-day adventure with John Hall's Alaska. The company's Alaska's Winter Wonders tour is offered in February and March; it features up to seven nights of northern lights viewing, as well as adventure-filled days with skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. You'll also take an awe-inspiring flightseeing bush plane ride over Denali National Park, which includes a fly-by of the Foraker, Silverthorne, Hunter and Moose's Tooth peaks before landing on the Great Gorge of Ruth Glacier – the deepest in the world.

If that's not enough adventure, test your skills at dog mushing and curling or take an aerial tram ride. Travelers can also check out the local breweries or just sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular views. Additional highlights include spending two evenings under the dancing night sky in one of the domed igloos at Borealis Basecamp, as well as aurora borealis photography lessons.

All-inclusive pricing covers accommodations, meals, luxury land and small plane transportation, fully guided service, gratuities, and baggage handling – plus a black subzero jacket to keep you warm during your Alaska adventure.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi is an avid travel adventurer who fell in love with Alaska on her first visit to the state many years ago. She's returned several times on land trips and by ship for year-round outdoor adventure and to chase the northern lights in one of the best places on the planet to view them. She writes about the travel and culinary industries for a variety of major publications.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Packable Jackets
  • The Top Things to Do in Alaska
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Tags: Travel , Alaska Vacations , Vacation Ideas

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  • # 4 Bora Bora

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Alaska Public Media

Sitkans take to mic to share thoughts on cruise traffic

a meeting

A Sitka meeting was standing-room-only on Tuesday night, as the city’s tourism task force held its third town hall to ask Sitkans for feedback on how to “right size” tourism in the community.

The room was packed with close to 100 people, but over two hours just under 30 shared their thoughts on what number of cruise visitors is right for Sitka. Zadie Allen of Allen Marine said she likes Sitka’s current cruise numbers.

“I’ve seen many young families that I grew up with be able to start new businesses these last two years because of tourism. Without the overflow created by more cruise ship passengers, many of these young families wouldn’t be able to start their businesses,” Allen said. “Every recent study of our town has told us that our population is declining, aging, and young families are leaving. Why are we trying to put a low number on something that is keeping our born-and-raised Sitkan families in town?” 

Sitka is expecting close to 600,000 cruise passengers next summer, about the same as 2023’s record-breaking year. The Sitka Tourism Task Force has been gathering data over the past several months to determine what level of tourism most Sitkans prefer. But this town hall was the first time they had set up a microphone and a podium and invited the public to step forward.

Diana Fulton agreed that Sitka should keep the level of cruise traffic as-is for now. She said two years into rapid growth is too soon to make a big decision about limits.

“I do think that this is a management issue. The growth is happening. It has happened. So how do we manage it? We have a lot of smart people that live here,” Fulton said. “We live on an island. We are self-sustaining. We can figure this out together, but it’s going to take a lot of work.” 

Those who wanted to cut back on cruise traffic brought up concerns raised during earlier task force meetings – with safety, congestion and air quality topping the list.

Jeff Feldpausch called for capping cruise tourists at 300,000 annually. Feldpausch directs the Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s resource protection department. Speaking as an individual, he said he’s concerned that plans to build infrastructure to help spread visitors out would put the city’s rural status and the subsistence rights of its residents at risk. In 2010, Sitka had to go to battle and defend its rural status. 

“At that time, Sitka exceeded the 2500 person threshold for the community, so we had to go to secondary criteria to defend our rural status. That criteria was use of subsistence resources, your isolation from the road system, your economy base, and your infrastructure within the community,” Feldpausch said. “In 2017, the Secretary of Interior and Agriculture signed into regulation a new set of criteria for rural determination status. Basically the way it says right now is, a petitioner has to show what has changed within a community for it to lose its rural status.” “What has happened in Sitka since 2010?” Feldpausch asked. “We have blown the doors off of infrastructure.” 

At one point the testimony got a touch heated. Ronald Dick was expressing his concerns about emissions from buses shuttling tourists down Halibut Point Road when his three minute timer ran out. Task force member and cruise dock owner Chris McGraw asked him to take the conversation offline. 

“Chris McGraw has made it plain that he intends to accept as many cruise tourists as he can,” Dick said as the the timer beeped. “He doesn’t give a hoot about my children. And neither his foreign corporate partners or the Chamber of Commerce. “‘You’re addressing the tourism task force, not me directly,” McGraw said. “If you wish to talk with me, I’m happy to talk with you afterwards.” “You don’t have any right to deny my free speech. If you don’t want your name called, tough,” Dick said. Both McGraw and fellow task force member Jim Michener said that Dick’s time was up. Dick then addressed the audience.

“You’ve all heard the expression that I’d step in front of a bus for my children. I promise you I will step in front of these buses for my children and grandchildren,” Dick said.

Most public testimony was more subdued by far with a fairly even split between those calling for a reduction to pre-pandemic levels or lower, and others in favor of keeping cruise traffic at or above its current level.  

Task force member Michener said they’d take the information and work as a group to come up with the best melding of all of it, and make a recommendation to the Assembly.

“My goal is to have one person in town be ecstatic because we hit it on the nose, and then have people on the left or right of that have increasing anxiety as they go further from the center. I think that’s a success. I don’t think we can all be happy,” Michener said. “It’s not a perfect process. But we are giving our heart and soul to make it as perfect as possible.” 

The task force has been asked to give a recommendation to the Sitka Assembly by the end of April.

Katherine Rose, KCAW - Sitka

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  17. Alaska cruise in early May

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    Looking for May 2024 cruises to Alaska? Find and plan a May 2024 cruise to Alaska on Cruise Critic with cabin comparison, variety of departure ports and popular cruise lines to choose from.

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    Find Cruises. Uncover treasures in the Great Land on an Alaska cruise from Vancouver. Relive Gold Rush history, experience Native Alaskan culture and come face-to-face with some of Mother Nature's greatest masterpieces. On a roundtrip Inside Passage cruise, enjoy quicker access to Alaska while also exploring the friendly ports of British ...

  20. What To Pack For Alaska Cruise In May

    1+ Introduction Embarking on an Alaska cruise in May promises an unparalleled adventure amidst breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife. As you prepare for this exciting journey, it is essential to pack wisely to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

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    Alaska is one of the most stunning places to visit on Earth. The vast pristine wilderness, ever-changing landscapes and opportunity to view wildlife - including bear, moose, Dall sheep, caribou ...

  22. Late May Alaskan Cruise. Good time to go?

    1 review Late May Alaskan Cruise. Good time to go? 2 years ago Save Hi everyone. We just booked a cruise for the last week of May for 2022. Is that a good time to go? How is the weather? Our original cruise was for last week of June 2020, but it got cancelled due to covid. Report inappropriate content 1-10 of 20 replies Sorted by « 1 2 3 » J13

  23. Seattle, Alaska cruise May 2024

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  24. 5 Reasons to Book an Alaska Cruisetour in 2023 & Beyond

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  27. The Northern Lights in Alaska: How to See Them in 2024

    Silversea Cruises: May to September: ... The Top Alaska Cruise Lines. Discover the best lines and itineraries for your type of travel style. Gwen Pratesi Jan. 17, 2024. The Best Vegas Shows.

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