Help a Reader Travel: Alaskan Cruise

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel!

This weekly post is to help readers get a slew of travel advice from thousand of Deals We Like blog readers. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to a slew of domestic and international destinations. Check out recent destinations and comment on suggestions here.

So this weeks travel destination includes an Alaskan cruise. Here is an email from reader Sara:

“My sister and I are planning to surprise my father for his 60th birthday next year by taking him and each of our significant others on a cruise to Alaska.  Any advice on cruise ships, ports to stop at, adventures not to miss, and/or which city is best to start/end would be appreciated.  A little about my father: he is a nature lover and bird watcher.  A quintessential adventurer.  We need a trip that will be focused on him, but won’t put us New York City girls in too much mud and won’t push us too far into the adrenaline-style “adventure travel” category.”

If you’ve ever been on an Alaskan cruise and have any recommendations, let’s help out reader Sara by commenting below.

Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special. Thanks!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. My wife and I are interested in doing an Alaskan cruise for our 10th anniversary. So far, the last 2 years, I noticed that the prices for early May and July/August are averaging about $350-$450 per person (inside cabin) if you do a roundtrip from Seattle. But I usually see the cheaper prices starting to drop around March or April prior to the cruise. For those with kids, I see some cruiselines offer “kids sail for free” (up to 2 kids per cabin reservation).

    I have heard though, that it’s much more enjoyable to fly to Alaska and spend 2-3 days exploring (or taking a train ride) then take a week-long one-way cruise down to Vancouver or Seattle.

    I’m eager to see other people’s suggestions on this topic.

  2. Hi Sara, I’m an Alaskan resident and there are lots of cruise tionsavailable.The only one that I’m interested in taking is athe inside passage cruise from Whittier Alaska (about an hour south of Anchorage) and ending in Vancouver BC. It is a seven day Princess Cruise and stops in many ports with day activities. My grandfather who is over 80 loved it for all the scenic views and history involved. There are several similar options on the princess website from $450-$500

  3. I would definitely include a land option and do several days on land. Probably double the cost however I would not get anything for the land tour that we took through the cruise line. We did the land portion prior to our cruise from Fairbanks down to anchorage.
    For us, it was like two separate vacations.

    • I should have added we did Anchorage to Vancouver which is a one-way trip. you see a lot more of Alaska on the longer trip then you do out of Seattle and back.

  4. I have cruised Alaska many times. Definitely go one-way (southbound or northbound). The inside passage, especially cruising through the Seymour Narrows in British Columbia, should not be missed. And make sure your cruise includes Glacier Bay. Well worth any extra $$ you may need to spend vs. round-trip Seattle.

  5. My husband and I have done this cruise. He, unlike me, is a nature lover, birdwatcher, etc. My best advice is to do the land portion first so you can get a little rest on the cruise. We went north to south and ended in Vancouver.

    I felt that it was too much money to do the land portion through the cruise line and I wanted a little flexibility. We did it ourselves and it was quite easy but did take a little more work. We flew to Anchorage and rented a car. We had made arrangements months in advance in booking a hotel up in Denali – there aren’t that many. The road up to Denali paralleled the train tracks that the cruise lines use. There are not that many hotels/cabins or restaurants so make sure you book yours. We stayed at Creekside Cabins – nothing special but more than adequate for us. We had also booked our tour in Denali in advanced. The park service buses use the same roads as the cruise line buses. Bring your own food/lunch/snack as there is no place once out in the park to get food. You might also want to bring something to sit on as they are like old school buses. There is a dinner theatre in town and that is fun to see so make a reservation. Back down to Anchorage where we got rid of our car rental and found a ride service that would get us to Seward where our cruise would be in a few days. We got the name of a ride service through the Chamber of Commerce. It was a mini-bus pulling a small U-haul for our luggage. The woman driving was great and gave us a narrative as well as an ice cream stop along the way. We had reservations at a military resort since my hubby was retired military. There are other places. The day of the cruise we took a half day cruise out of the small harbor. That was really the BEST part of the entire trip. Being on a small boat (about 50 people) we got within a 1/4 mile of a glacier – the pilot turned the engines off and we could listen to the sounds that the glaciers made. We got up close and personal to some small islands in the harbor and saw puffins, seals etc. For a non-birdwatcher, it was really neat. I think you’ll amaze yourself at how much you’ll enjoy this trip.

    We added on to this trip by taking a cab from the terminal in Vancouver to a bus station where we had tickets to go to Vancouver Island. We went on the bus on the ferry. We saw orca whales while on the ferry. We spent a couple of days in Victoria and then tok another ferry to Port Angeles, WA where we rented a car and drove to the Olympia National Park to the Hoh Rain Forest. Amazing is all I can say. Once again we got a ride from Port Angeles to Seattle for the night before our flight home. Hope this helps

  6. We cruised AK three times, my late husband and I. (We enjoyed it, can you tell?) Is it okay to just write go here and see what we did and saw?

    I’m not a ‘get in the mud’ type either {shudder} – and, still, we saw amazing wildlife (including a bear! a bit closer than I intended!). The glaciers, the eagles, the whales, and every direction, amazing scenery!

    For best prices (and cabin choice), I’d recommend trying to reserve as early as possible (we tried to get reservations as soon as they open: a year ahead!) If you’re doing the Inside Passage (which I really really recommend!) think about which side of the ship you want to be on (assuming you’re getting a balcony or window cabin).

    (Oh — and sign up early, on-line, for excursions you want to take. We were on one with only ten other couple s– where we got to actually do glassblowing! (And then sent our … balls? ornaments? pretty round things? … home to us after they’d cooled.)

    Also, spend a LOT of time on — where you can ‘meet’ your fellow travelers on the ‘roll-call’ threads — one thread per cruise (by line, date, and itinerary). You’ll read the details on all the excursions by folks who’ve done them. We often ended up arranged many of our excursions through/with fellow travelers.

    (And, if you go to Icy Strait Pass (a special cruise port developed by the local native tribe with Royal Caribbean (my fav cruise line) — make SURE you have lunch in the Cookhouse. It was SO amazing we actually ate lunch twice!)

  7. On September 7, 2013, I returned from Alaska. I love the outdoors. This was the trip of a lifetime – raw, wild, wonderful beauty from the comfort of a small ship, the Wilderness Discoverer (176 feet, 76 passengers max), owned and operated by a very unique and aptly named cruise company called Un-cruise. Unlike most cruises, the ship does not stop port to port. Instead, it anchors nightly in small bays and fjords surrounded by forest and meadows, towering cliffs, and near the bases of massive glaciers. Then it offers everyone the opportunity to kayak, stand up paddleboard or hike or take small skiff tours of the area.

    You can read my full writeup of the cruise (and learn how to get a small discount for it) on the travel experience of my website here: Click on Alaska in the left menu.

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