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The Best Time To Visit Alaska

24 Mar 2023

When is the best time to visit Alaska? This is one of the first questions people ask when planning an Alaska cruise because they want ideal conditions for their trip.

Haines, Alaska

For such an exciting vacation, it’s understandable to want to pick the best time to visit Alaska. After all, Alaska cruises put a focus on exploring the outdoors like no other cruise itinerary, and passengers want to make the most of their time amongst the state’s glaciers, mountains, and wildlife.

Most Alaska cruises occur from early May to late September each year, although some cruise lines may offer sailings from April to October.

The beautiful, wild landscape of Alaska is an ideal destination for a summer vacation. From mid-June to mid-September, the average temperatures are perfect for outdoor activities, ranging from 60°F to 67°F - cool enough to be comfortable in the warmer months. During this time of year, the long days and bright sunshine make lovely conditions for being outdoors.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

The weather, activities, and cost of an Alaska cruise can vary greatly from month to month. Certain times of the year may see little rain and higher prices whereas others may have chillier temperatures and fewer crowds.

Here’s the best time to visit Alaska if you want to encounter the most favorable weather, cheapest cruise fares, fewest crowds, and best wildlife viewing opportunities.

The best time to visit Alaska for good weather

Beautiful day in Juneau

One of the main considerations people make when planning an Alaska cruise is the weather. Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, but with the right preparation (and packing), you can have an amazing cruise at any time of the season.

May is the driest month during the southeast Alaska cruise season, but spring temperatures can be a bit uncertain. You may encounter sunny days with relatively warm temperatures or you can experience cold, rainy days. Generally speaking, the later into May you cruise to Alaska, the better chance you have at nicer weather.

Related: What it’s like to go on an Alaska cruise in the early season

Mid June to late July tends to bring the most favorable weather for an Alaska cruise. During these months, temperatures are usually in the mid 60s and days are long, with between 14 and 18 hours of daylight. Like May, June and July tend to encounter less rain compared to late summer and fall.

August can still offer comfortable temperatures for exploring Alaska cruise ports, but rain is much more common. More than half the days of the month in August experience rain, so packing appropriate water-resistant clothing is recommended.

It’s important to note, though, that rain can occur during any month on an Alaska cruise, so you shouldn’t let the possibility of rain deter you from booking your sailing during August. Plus, August still offers plenty of daylight, especially during the first half of the month.

As fall approaches in September, weather is more volatile. You should expect temperatures with a high in the mid 50s and more rain than any other month of the cruise season. Despite the weather, this can be a fantastic time to book an Alaska cruise, as cheap cruise deals are common and the start of fall foliage and snow makes scenic cruising days particularly beautiful.

Related: What it’s like to go on an Alaska cruise at the end of the season

The best time to visit Alaska for wildlife

You can spot wildlife at any time of the year in Alaska. Truthfully, there’s no “best” time to see wildlife, and it varies greatly from month to month.

The best time to visit Alaska if you want to see bears is from July to September. During these months, bears are commonly spotted along Alaska’s streams.

Related: What is the best time of year to see wildlife in Alaska?

These months coincide with Alaska’s annual salmon run, so many bears are feasting on the abundance of salmon in the streams and creeks. This makes your chances of spotting a bear higher than other times of the year.

Pack creek

If you’re hoping to spot whales in Alaska, you’re in luck, as whales call Alaska home from late April to September each year. You have a great chance at spotting whales at any time on an Alaska cruise, but certain months have a higher chance at spotting one species of whale over another.

Related: Alaska cruise whale watching guide & tips

Gray whales are some of the earliest to arrive in Alaska each year, and they can be spotted in late spring. Orcas are more likely to be seen in May and June, whereas humpback whales are most common in June and July.

Other wildlife, including sea lions, otters, and eagles, can be spotted year-round in Alaska.

The best time to visit Alaska on a budget

If you’re looking for a cheap cruise deal to Alaska, you’re almost guaranteed to see the lowest prices during shoulder season. Alaska’s shoulder season runs from May to early June and from mid August to late September.

During these months, there is less demand for Alaska cruises due to more unpredictable weather, shorter hours of daylight, and the fact that these times of year coincide with the school calendar.

Related: How much does an Alaska cruise cost?

Because of less demand, you have a great chance at finding a cheap cruise deal to Alaska, especially if you’re flexible on the ship, embarkation port, and sail date. You can often find deals for under $600 per person, including taxes and fees. At less than $100 a day, visiting Alaska during the shoulder months offers an amazing value.

That’s not to say you can’t find cruise deals to Alaska during the busy season in June, July, and August. The further in advance you book your Alaska cruise, the better chance you have at scoring a lower price.

Plus, when you book an Alaska cruise far in advance, you have more opportunities to reprice your cruise before it begins. Royal Caribbean allows you to reprice your sailing up to final payment date. If you spot a lower price, you can readjust your cruise fare to the new, lower price. This can save you money on an Alaska cruise whether you sail in May, July, or September.

Related: Tips for taking an Alaska cruise on a budget

The best time to visit Alaska’s interior

When you book an Alaska cruise, you can choose between a round trip and one-way cruise itinerary. Round trip cruises depart and return to the same cruise port—either Seattle, Washington or Vancouver, British Columbia.

One-way itineraries, on the other hand, start in Vancouver and end in Seward, Alaska and vice versa. There are two main advantages with a one-way Alaska cruise:

  • The opportunity to visit more ports, including those more remote such as Hubbard Glacier
  • The ability to start or end your cruise in Alaska’s interior, making destinations like Denali National Park & Reserve just a short drive away

Most passengers who book one-way Alaska cruise itineraries tack on several days in interior Alaska before or after their cruise. You can book these cruises from May to September each year, and each month comes with its own set of advantages.

Related: Best Alaska cruises for every travel style

Traveling interior Alaska in May is fantastic for wildlife viewing. It’s also one of the driest months, and there will be fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season.

June and July are also great months to spot wildlife in interior Alaska. Visiting Denali National Park & Reserve during this time brings long days (up to 20 hours of daylight!) and temperatures in the mid 60s. The mountainsides and meadows spark a wonderful green color during these months.

As fall approaches, colors begin to change and temperatures lower. Days tend to be comfortable whereas nights are chilly; there’s even the possibility of snow in these months.

However, as the school year begins, there will be fewer crowds in Alaska, leading to more competitive pricing on travel and lodging. You may even see the aurora borealis (northern lights) during the fall as well.

The best time to visit Alaska for fewer crowds

Alaska cruises are extremely popular. It’s estimated that around 1.5 million passengers visited the state by cruise ship in 2022!  As cruises to the Last Frontier continue to increase in popularity, many people are wondering how to avoid crowds on an Alaska cruise.

The best time to visit Alaska with fewer crowds tends to be in either the very early or late cruise season. Sailing to Alaska in early May or mid to late September brings far fewer crowds compared to June, July, and August.

Related: Top ways to avoid crowds on an Alaska cruise

Most people want to cruise to Alaska during the warmest months of the year, whereas the shoulder season sees less demand. Not only will you encounter fewer passengers in the very beginning or end of the season, but you’ll see fewer ships in port.

Royal Caribbean, for example, sends four ships to Alaska each year. The first ship to arrive starts offering cruises in late April, but other ships don’t start offering cruises until the second week of May.

People watching glaciers on Alaska cruise

Therefore, with only one Royal Caribbean ship sailing in late April as opposed to four, there are over 10,000 fewer passengers cruising in Alaska each week.

Even if you sail to Alaska during the most busy time of year, there are a few ways to avoid the crowds. We recommend getting off the ship as early as possible on port days to begin exploring before the crowds arrive. Walking around Alaska’s cruise ports is much calmer at 8AM compared to later in the morning and afternoon.

Likewise, exploring ports on your own can give you more flexibility with avoiding crowds. Without a tour, you are free to explore anything of interest, whether it means doing a quiet day hike or renting a car with your travel party. Getting off the beaten path is a sure-fire way to enjoy Alaska without as many crowds.

Related: 7 ways to have a great time in port without a cruise ship shore excursion

Finally, booking a balcony cabin is an excellent way to enjoy extra privacy on an Alaska cruise. Instead of watching Alaska’s scenery on a busy pool deck, you can enjoy the views from the comfort of your own balcony.

When should I cruise to Alaska?

As you can see, there’s no correct answer as to the best time to visit Alaska. Your budget, interests, and travel preferences can all influence your decision on the best month to book an Alaska cruise.

For most travelers, however, we recommend cruising to Alaska in June or July. The warm temperatures (for Alaska standards), long hours of sunlight, and ample wildlife viewing opportunities make these months hard to beat.

Sure, cruising to Alaska in the peak summer months may be more expensive, but you can still find great cruise deals by booking far in advance and repricing your cruise often.

Related: 45 ways to save money on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Like any cruise vacation, cruising to Alaska is all about keeping an open mind and about keeping your expectations in check. If you expect to see whales every day, encounter little rain, and have every Alaska cruise port to yourself, you’ll likely end up disappointed.

No matter the month you sail, it’s important to be flexible when planning an Alaska cruise. Going with the flow allows you to make the most of your time in this beautiful destination whether it’s early May, late June, or mid September.

Why an Alaska cruise is worth it and you should go there

09 Mar 2023

Booking an Alaska cruise is a dream for many travelers, and Alaska cruises are always worth it. Visiting the 49th state means viewing incredible scenery, tasting delightfully fresh cuisine, and experiencing Alaska’s unique history firsthand.

Glacier Bay from Alaska Cruise

Fortunately, Alaska cruises fit many travel styles, from those in search of a relaxing getaway to adrenaline seekers and wildlife enthusiasts. There’s no shortage of activities to enjoy on an Alaska cruise, and visiting Alaska makes for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Some cruisers, however, are skeptical whether an Alaska cruise is worth it. Alaska is one of the most remote states in the United States, and it’s hardly the tropical vacation many vacationers daydream about. Plus, Alaska cruises may be priced higher than Caribbean cruise itineraries, especially when accounting for shore excursions like whale watching and glacier visits.

Nonetheless, here’s why an Alaska cruise is worth it and why you should plan your vacation to Alaska as soon as possible.

Southeast Alaska is best visited by cruise ship

Alaska cruises primarily visit the state’s southeastern region, which consists of towns and islands dotted along the state’s scenic Inside Passage. Alaska cruise ports in the Inside Passage include Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, and Haines.

Related: Alaska cruise ports guide

Many of these towns are not accessible by road—only by ship or plane—making them a perfect cruise destination. Your cruise ship will travel from destination to destination as you sleep, so you won’t have to worry about transportation logistics from place to place.

Plus, by taking an Alaska cruise, you can visit several destinations in a short amount of time. Most port days are between 8-10 hours, which is just enough time to see the highlights of each port.

Alaska cruises offer gorgeous scenery in every direction

Serenade of the Seas in Alaska

If you have cruised the Caribbean, you are probably used to seeing only the open ocean as your ship sails from port to port. While watching the endless blue ocean pass by is a favorite pastime of many cruisers, it hardly compares to the breathtaking views you’ll experience on an Alaska cruise.

While cruising Alaska, the majority of your time onboard will be spent sailing through narrow inlets in the Inside Passage. Sailing the Inside Passage means your cruise ship is surrounded by tall mountains on each side, which are dotted with long, narrow waterfalls and snowy peaks.

That’s not even mentioning the plethora of glaciers to view on an Alaska cruise. Most itineraries include a scenic cruising day to a glacier. On these days, your cruise ship sails within close proximity to one of Alaska’s most famous glaciers, such as Hubbard Glacier or Dawes Glacier.

Related: Hubbard Glacier vs. Glacier Bay: which glacier is better to see on a cruise?

An Alaska cruise provides spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities

Whale watching in Juneau

More bears live in Alaska than any other state, with black bears, brown bears, and even polar bears calling Alaska home! While you won’t spot polar bears on an Alaska cruise, you have a good chance of spotting black and brown bears.

Whales are another common animal to spot on an Alaska cruise. Humpback whales are most common during June and July, and you may spot orcas and gray whales in late spring.

In addition to whales and bears are sea lions, otters, salmon, and eagles, all of which you may see on an Alaska cruise.

Related: What is the best time of year to see wildlife in Alaska?

Pack creek

Not only is Alaska home to an abundance of wildlife, but the peak time to spot wildlife coincides with the Alaska cruise season. It’s no surprise, then, that wildlife excursions are extremely popular on an Alaska cruise.

Whale watching tours, dog sledding excursions, and visits to animal sanctuaries are all common excursions on an Alaska cruise. However, you don’t necessarily need an excursion to spot wildlife in Alaska.

It’s common to see eagles in the trees, whales in the Inside Passage, and otters playing in streams in Alaska cruise ports. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll see wildlife on an Alaska cruise, the chances are high that you will.

Alaska cruises have a more relaxed atmosphere onboard, which can be a nice change of pace from Caribbean cruises

Caribbean cruises, more often than not, have a higher energy atmosphere onboard compared to Alaska cruises. For many passengers, cruising the Caribbean entails sipping mojitos on the pool deck and spending port days visiting beach clubs.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the party atmosphere of a Caribbean cruise, but a more tranquil Alaska cruise can be a nice change of pace.

Alaska cruises tend to offer a quieter atmosphere onboard. While you’ll still find exciting activities and entertainment, it’s more common to see passengers simply taking it easy with a view.

Plus, with the weather much chillier compared to an Alaska cruise, there’s an absence of the upbeat pool parties Caribbean cruises are known for. That’s not to say you can’t find a party atmosphere onboard an Alaska cruise—night clubs and DJs are still on the activity schedule—but in general, the onboard atmosphere tends to be more chill.

Alaska cruise ports offer delicious cuisine

Alaska is famous for its variety of fresh seafood, from salmon to king crab and halibut. And although you should enjoy the complimentary food on your cruise ship, you’re missing out if you don’t try local food in port.

Related: Where to eat like a local on your Alaska cruise

Each Alaska cruise port is packed with restaurants and street food stalls offering the best of Alaskan cuisine. We recommend budgeting around $20 per person for lunch in port each day. With such tasty cuisine, you won’t regret it!

Here are our top recommendations for what to eat on an Alaska cruise:

  • Klondike Doughboy (Skagway)
  • Tracy’s King Crab Shack (Juneau)
  • The Alaska Fish House (Ketchikan)
  • The Fisherman’s Daughter (Hoonah/Icy Strait Point)
  • Ashmo’s (Sitka street food)

You can find cheap deals on Alaska cruises if you know where to look

Alaska cruises are in high demand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cruise to Alaska on a budget. By booking far in advance, sailing at non-peak times of year, and being flexible in itinerary choice, you can save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on an Alaska cruise.

Shoulder season cruises to Alaska

One way to save money on an Alaska cruise is to cruise during the shoulder season months of May and September. Cruises during these months are typically priced lower than the peak season months of June, July, and August, but still offer a wonderful cruise experience.

Cruising during Alaska’s shoulder season comes with pros and cons. You should expect colder temperatures, fewer crowds, fewer daylight hours, and different wildlife viewing opportunities compared to the summer months.

Related: When is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

In addition to May and September, you may find great deals in early June and late August. Fewer families may book these sailings due to the cruise dates coinciding with the school calendar.

One-way itineraries to Alaska

Some of the cheapest Alaska cruise deals are found on one-way itineraries, which start in one port and end in another. Royal Caribbean’s one-way itineraries travel between Vancouver, British Columbia and Seward, Alaska and vice-versa.

One-way cruises are often cheaper due to lower demand. Round trip itineraries are more convenient when booking flights or driving to the cruise port, so many cruisers prefer to book Alaska cruises that start and end in the same place.

Related: I tried the cheapest Alaska cruise I could find: here’s how it went

That being said, one-way Alaska cruises can provide more enticing itinerary options, as they typically include more port stops and glacier visits. Many one-way itineraries visit Hubbard Glacier, for example, which is not typically visited on round trip sailings due to its more distant location.

In addition, one-way cruises to Alaska give you the chance to combine a cruise with a land tour. Many passengers book a Cruise Tour before or after their Alaska cruise, during which you can visit popular destinations in interior Alaska such as Denali National Park and Reserve and Talkeetna.

Alaska cruises offer once in a lifetime shore excursions

Mendenhall Glacier

If you plan to book shore excursions during your Alaska cruise, you’re in luck. Alaska cruises offer some of the most unique, most sought-after shore excursions around the world.

From scenic helicopter rides, whale watching tours, and kayaking around glaciers, shore excursions on an Alaska cruise truly offer once in a lifetime experiences. Whether you’re a nature lover or history buff, you’re sure to find a shore excursion to match your interests.

The downside of shore excursions in Alaska, however, is that they are often more expensive than excursions in the Caribbean. It’s not uncommon to see excursions priced between $200-400. Some excursions, particularly those including sea planes and helicopter rides, can be even more expensive.

Family on Alaska tour

You can find excursions under $100 as well, though, and there are a few ways to save money on Alaska cruise excursions.

First, book excursions as far in advance as possible. The earlier you book an excursion, the more opportunities you have to reprice the excursion in Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner. If the price goes down, you can cancel and rebook your excursion to snag the lower price.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner site

Second, look for shore excursions through third party websites. It’s not necessary to book shore excursions directly through Royal Caribbean, and you can usually find better deals with independent tour operators.

Websites like Tripadvisor, Viator, and Shore Excursions Group have an extensive list of tours available to book. Alternatively, you can consult other cruisers in the Royal Caribbean Blog message boards; the community can share their advice and ideas about Alaska cruise excursions.

Lastly, you can choose to skip shore excursions altogether and plan a port day on your own. Alaska cruise ports are walkable and offer plenty to do and see without booking a tour. You may visit a museum, enjoy a relaxing lunch at a brewery, or do a day hike. There’s no shortage of things to experience on a cruise to Alaska whether you book an excursion or explore on your own.

More shore excursion planning advice and tips:

Alaska cruise ports guide

03 Feb 2023

Alaska cruises are all about the beautiful ports you’ll visit, from small, historic towns to massive glaciers. Most cruise itineraries to Alaska visit 4-5 ports, and there’s a lot to learn about these unique destinations before setting sail.

Radiance of the Seas in Alaska

Before cruising to Alaska, it's helpful to have an idea of what is offered in each cruise port. Some ports offer the best whale watching opportunities whereas others are best for visiting historical sites and learning about Native Alaskan culture.

You’ll want to research Alaska ports before you sail to ensure you have enough time to book shore excursions and plan your days in port. It’s always better to be prepared for a port day whether you book a tour or explore on your own.

Here’s our comprehensive Alaska cruise ports guide which will provide an overview of all the ports you can visit on an Alaska cruise.


Franklin Street

Juneau, although the capital of Alaska, is not the biggest city in the state–only 32,000 people call Juneau home. Don’t let the city’s small size deter you from visiting, though. The mountains, glaciers, and wildlife surrounding Juneau make this charming town anything but small, and it’s one of the main tourist hubs in all of Alaska.

Every Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise itinerary includes a stop in Juneau. With whale watching, hiking, history, and mouthwatering cuisine to discover, it’s a favorite port stop among many cruisers.

Mendenhall Glacier

Many visitors to Juneau head to Mendenhall Glacier. Only 20 minutes from downtown Juneau, this 13 mile long receding glacier is the most easily accessible glacier from an Alaska cruise port, and it offers hiking, kayaking, and sightseeing opportunities.

Outside of Mendenhall Glacier, many cruisers spend their day walking South Franklin Street downtown, riding the Mount Roberts Tramway, or taking day trips to nearby attractions like Admiralty Island (home to 1,600 brown bears) and Echo Cove.

Read more about Juneau:


Skagway ship at end of street

Located in the most northerly part of Alaska’s Inside Passage is Skagway. This small town is most known for the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98, during which the famous White Pass and Yukon Railway was constructed.

Despite being home to only 1,200 people, Skagway receives upwards of 1 million visitors each year!

Related: Local’s guide of what to do in Skagway, Alaska

If you’ve never been to Skagway before, consider a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Railroad, a scenic railway climbing 2,885 feet to the summit of the White Pass. Complete with stunning views of the mountains and the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls waterfall, it’s hard to beat booking an excursion on the train.

Skagway is also a popular destination for active travelers. The city boasts a variety of hiking trails, from the Dewey Lake Trail System to the Chilkoot Trail–used by gold prospectors in the late 1800s. Trekking through Alaska’s dense forests and picture-perfect lakes is sure to be a highlight for visitors to Skagway.

If you’d prefer to keep things simple, you can have a wonderful day walking around Skagway’s historic downtown. Packed with souvenir shops, saloons, restaurants, and unique architecture, strolling through downtown makes for a relaxing day in this Gold Rush town.

Read more about Skagway:


Sitka, the former capital of Russian Alaska, was originally founded by the Tlingit people over 10,000 years ago. Now part of the United States, Sitka is home to 10,000 year-round residents and is a popular port on any Alaska cruise itinerary.

If you’re looking for a blend of history, nature, and culture, Sitka has it all. Many visitors flock to downtown Sitka, where you'll find shops, restaurants, and the famous St. Michael Orthodox Cathedral–the first Orthodox cathedral in the United States.

Related: Local’s guide of what to do in Sitka, Alaska

You can also explore the Baranof Castle State Historic Site, where the former transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States took place.

Nature lovers will flock to the Sitka National Historic Park, a 113-acre park in a lush rainforest of Sitka Spruce Trees. At the park, you’ll find Tlingit and Haida totem poles, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Note: Cruise ships dock six miles from downtown Sitka, and free shuttle buses are provided to and from downtown.

Read more about Sitka:


At the southern end of Alaska’s Inside Passage is Ketchikan, a town of 8,000 people best known for its idyllic scenery, Native culture, and fishing.

The town has many nicknames, including the Salmon Capital of the World, for its abundance of salmon, and Alaska’s First City, as it was the first town reached by sailors cruising to Alaska from the south.

Related: Local guide of places to visit in Ketchikan, Alaska

Cruise ships dock in the center of downtown Ketchikan, making exploring the town’s attractions a breeze.

Creek Street is one of the most popular places to visit in Ketchikan. The town's former Red Light District, this boardwalk is lined with shops, homes, and the famous Dolly’s House Museum. It’s also a fantastic place to spot wildlife, as the boardwalk is built over a creek where salmon run each summer.

The town is also known for its totem poles, with over eighty of the tall, hand-carved sculptures found throughout the town and in the nearby Native village of Saxman. Due to the area’s rich Native culture, many visitors enjoy learning more about the history and traditions of the Tlingit people while in port.

Other recommended activities in Ketchikan include a visit to the Misty Fjords National Monument, exploring the town’s hiking trails, and tasting local, freshly caught seafood.

Read more about Ketchikan:

Icy Strait Point

Icy Strait Point is a private port that was opened by the Huna Tlingit Native Alaskans in 2004. Despite being a new cruise port, it still offers plenty of amenities and activities to keep passengers busy.

Icy Strait Point has a scenic boardwalk, walking paths, history museum, souvenir shop, cultural center, restaurants, and bars. Adrenaline seekers will love the ZipRider, which features six ziplines exceeding 60 mph over the rainforest. ATV and Jeep tours are also available to book.

Related: Best things to do on an Alaska cruise

Icy Strait Point is also one of the best ports in Alaska for whale watching. It’s located near Point Adolphus, home to Alaska’s largest population of humpback whales in the summer. Other than humpback whales, you may spot orcas, sea lions, otters, and seals.

Due to its small size, Icy Strait Point offers a more serene port experience than other Alaska cruise ports. It’s best for those looking to relax in the nature of Alaska while enjoying local cuisine and gaining insights into Native culture.

Related: How I spent the day at Icy Strait Point on my Royal Caribbean cruise

Many visitors opt to visit the nearby town of Hoonah while docked at Icy Strait Point. Only 1.5 miles from the port, Hoonah is home to less than 1,000 people and offers an authentic, small town Alaska experience.

In Hoonah you’ll find a totem pole carving workshop, a handful of restaurants, and a few shops. The size of Hoonah makes Juneau feel like a metropolis, but that’s part of what makes the town so charming.


Just 20 miles from Skagway is the small town of Haines, located in one of the deepest fjords of Alaska’s Inside Passage. It is one of the most quaint ports found on any Alaska cruise itinerary, and most ships only spend a few hours in the town.

In fact, it’s rare to find an itinerary with a full day in Haines. Royal Caribbean ships tend to visit Skagway in the morning, travel the short distance to Haines in late afternoon, and remain docked in Haines for the evening.

Related: Ultimate Alaska cruise guide

Active adventurers will love sea kayaking, rafting, cycling, and riding ATVs through Haines’ pristine wilderness. Those looking to explore without a tour can try local restaurants and shop for handmade artwork and souvenirs.

Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria is found on every Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise departing from Seattle, but this port is not even in Alaska... it's in British Columbia, Canada!

Due to the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA), all foreign-flagged ships must visit at least one foreign country on a roundtrip cruise from the United States. Because of this, Alaska cruises from Seattle include a port stop in Victoria, British Columbia, the most easily accessible foreign port en route to Alaska.

Victoria is significantly larger than other ports on an Alaska cruise, with a population of over 90,000 people. The city’s endearing downtown transports visitors to a small English village, with streets of colorful Victorian buildings and a plethora of pubs.

Two of the most popular attractions in Victoria are the Butchart Gardens, an internationally-renowned, 55 acre garden display, and Craigdarroch Castle, providing a look into the life of Victoria’s wealthy in the 1890s.

Related: Visiting Butchart Gardens and Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria

Outside of these sites, many visitors enjoy walking Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf, a picturesque harbor with restaurants, shops, and bars.

In Victoria on a rainy day? Consider booking Tea at The Empress, a sophisticated high tea experience at the luxury Fairmont Empress hotel. Or perhaps walk through the Royal British Columbia Museum, a natural and human history museum with a collection of over 7 million objects.

Most visitors to Victoria on an Alaska cruise explore the city’s highlights, but there is still plenty of nature to explore near the port as well. Whale watching tours are popular in the city, so if you didn’t book a whale watching tour in an Alaska port, you’ll have another chance to spot these majestic animals while in Victoria.


Seward, Alaska is a port found only on one-way Alaska cruise itineraries. One-way cruises to Alaska start in Seward and end in Vancouver (and vice versa).

Unlike the other Alaska cruise ports on this list, Seward is not located in Alaska’s Inside Passage. The small city of 2,600 people is located in southern Alaska just 125 miles from Anchorage.

Seward is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, where nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield. The town also has hiking trails, a waterfront park, aquarium, and downtown center with shops, bars, and restaurants.

Related: When is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

The main attraction by starting or ending a cruise in Seward, however, isn’t the town itself, but the proximity to some of Alaska’s most popular destinations. Those cruising from Seward will usually spend several days in Alaska’s interior before (or after) their one-way cruise, visiting places like Denali National Park and Reserve and Talkeetna.

Although roundtrip sailings to Alaska are more common than the one-way itineraries visiting Seward, southern Alaska is certainly worth a visit if you’re interested in exploring more of what makes the state so special.

Visiting glaciers on an Alaska cruise

Glacier seen from cruise ship

In addition to visiting Alaska’s small, scenic towns, most Alaska cruise itineraries also include visits to the state’s colossal glaciers. On glacier viewing days, Royal Caribbean ships sail slowly near a glacier, completing a 360 degree turn to ensure everyone onboard can view the glacier.

Passengers do not disembark the ship on glacier viewing days, but there may be excursions to book in which you can disembark your cruise ship for a smaller expedition vessel to view the glacier more up close.

Before viewing glaciers on your Alaska cruise, make sure to find the best viewing spot on your cruise ship. Many passengers flock to the helicopter pad or pool deck whereas others prefer watching the scenery from the comfort of their balcony.

Here are the three main glaciers you’ll find on Alaska cruise itineraries:

Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America; it’s over 400 feet tall and 6 miles wide, and it’s rapidly advancing at around 80 feet per year. Its enormous size makes the glacier a highlight on any Alaska cruise itinerary.

Visiting Hubbard Glacier is a half-day experience. Ships first sail into Yakutat Bay and continue to Disenchantment Bay en route to the glacier.

Related: Hubbard Glacier vs. Glacier Bay: which glacier is better to see on a cruise?

Hubbard Glacier is located further north than the other glaciers on this list. Due to its more remote location, you’ll usually only find Hubbard Glacier itineraries on one-way sailings to or from Alaska.

Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier

Glacier in Alaska

Located just 50 miles from Juneau, the narrow fjord of Endicott Arm is commonly traveled through on Alaska cruise itineraries. As you pass through the fjord with snowy mountains, waterfalls, and drifting icebergs in all directions, you’ll reach the end of the fjord: Dawes Glacier.

At 300 feet tall above the waterline and a half mile wide, Dawes Glacier is another of Alaska’s most spectacular glaciers. If you’re lucky, you may witness the glacier calving as your ship approaches.

In addition to the glacier, Endicott Arm is home to a variety of wildlife, including harbor seals, brown bears, bald eagles, moose, and wolves. Be sure to pack your binoculars!

Related: Alaska cruise packing list: What to pack for your sailing

Tracy Arm Fjord (Sawyer Glaciers)

Also located near Juneau is Tracy Arm Fjord, a narrow, deep water fjord surrounded by tall, snow-capped mountains on both sides. At the end of the fjord are the twin Sawyer Glaciers.

The South Sawyer Glacier is difficult to access as it is at the very end of Tracy Arm Fjord, so the North Sawyer Glacier is much more commonly visited. Its face is a half mile wide, giving excellent viewing opportunities from your ship.

Cruises to Tracy Arm Fjord are commonly found on 7-night Alaska itineraries departing from both Seattle and Vancouver.

Can you get an all-inclusive Alaska cruise?

25 Jan 2023

Cruises to Alaska on Royal Caribbean include dining, entertainment, activities, and transportation to some of the world’s most stunning ports, but are they all-inclusive?

The idea of an all-inclusive Alaska cruise is enticing, but Royal Caribbean cruises are not all-inclusive. There are extra costs you may incur which are not included in your base cruise fare.

Royal Caribbean’s approach is to offer a lower entry price to a cruise, allowing guests to pay for add-ons as they wish.

Because of this, it’s possible to cruise to Alaska with Royal Caribbean and spend nothing extra once onboard. There’s more than enough complimentary food options, beverages, activities, and entertainment to keep passengers busy throughout the entire sailing.

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise experience, though, there are a few purchases you can make before your sailing to have almost everything included once onboard your Royal Caribbean ship.

Let’s dive in to look at all-inclusive Alaska cruise options and how you can create an all-inclusive experience on Royal Caribbean.

Which cruise lines offer all-inclusive Alaska cruises?

None of the mass-market cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, etc.) offer an all-inclusive Alaska cruise experience in their base fare. Some, however, allow you to purchase extra packages that aim to provide a more all-inclusive experience.

Holland America, for example, offers the “Have It All” package, which includes a $100 shore excursion credit, signature beverage package, one night specialty dining, and a wifi package for $50 per person, per day.

However, this is still not entirely all-inclusive, as it only includes one night at a specialty restaurant and a limited dollar amount for shore excursions.

Truly all-inclusive Alaska cruises are hard to come by, only to be found on luxury or expedition cruise lines like Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas. And even then, you’ll still have to pay extra for things like spa services and shore excursions.

The good news is that, while a Royal Caribbean cruise is not entirely all-inclusive, you can turn a standard cruise experience into a more all-inclusive sailing by purchasing only a few add-ons.

What is included on a Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise?

Like any Royal Caribbean cruise, it’s important to realize what’s included in your cruise fare when planning an Alaska vacation.

The following is included in your base cruise fare with Royal Caribbean:

  • Accommodations (your cruise cabin)
  • Gratuities (pre-paid in advance at $16 per person, per day)
  • Meals and snacks (excluding specialty restaurants)
  • Drinks (water, tea, coffee, lemonade, iced tea, milk, juices, and hot chocolate)
  • Adventure Ocean child programming
  • Activities and entertainment
  • Fitness center
  • Pool and sun decks

Related: What’s included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare?

Although there's a lot included, there are several add-ons not included in the cruise fare. Specialty restaurants, internet, alcoholic drinks, specialty coffees, and shore excursions are just some of the extra costs you may incur on an Alaska cruise.

Related: Top 30 extra cruise costs that are not included

A step-by-step guide to creating an all-inclusive Alaska cruise with Royal Caribbean

There are a few key add-ons to purchase before your Alaska cruise that can provide an all-inclusive experience once onboard.

By purchasing these ahead of time on Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner website, you will encounter minimal (if any) additional costs onboard your ship.

Step One: Purchase a drink package

To keep cruise fares lower for all guests, Royal Caribbean does not include alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees, soda, and mocktails in its base cruise fare. Therefore, in order to create your all-inclusive Alaska cruise, you’ll want to purchase a drink package.

There are three main drink packages available on Royal Caribbean:

  • Deluxe Beverage Package (alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages)
    • $67 to $79 per person, per night
  • Royal Refreshment Package (nonalcoholic beverages)
    • $28 to 38 per person, per night
  • Classic Soda Package (Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages)
    • $9 to $14 per person, per night

Drink package prices can change from day to day. As with any pre-cruise purchase on Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner, you can cancel and rebook any add-on if you see a price drop. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner site

Therefore, we recommend booking drink packages as soon as possible. If the price goes down, you can cancel and rebook the package with no penalty. If you wait to book, on the other hand, and the price increases, you’ll be stuck paying the higher price.

Step Two: Purchase a specialty dining package

Although there’s more than enough complimentary food included on an Alaska cruise, if you truly want an all-inclusive experience with Royal Caribbean, you’ll want to book a dining package.

The Unlimited Dining Package is the best choice for those planning an all-inclusive Alaska cruise. This package allows guests to dine at specialty restaurants an unlimited number of times throughout the sailing at one set price.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Unlimited Dining Package

Specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean offer cooking styles and cuisines not found elsewhere onboard, and they provide a more intimate atmosphere than the Main Dining Room or Windjammer buffet.

You can expect to pay around $225 per guest (plus 18% gratuity) for an Unlimited Dining Package on a 7-night Alaska cruise.

Step Three: Pre-book an internet package

Internet is not included on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and if you’re looking to create an all-inclusive vacation while staying connected to friends and family back home, you’ll want to purchase an internet package.

The best option for a Royal Caribbean internet package is the VOOM Surf & Stream package. This package covers both web browsing and streaming, allowing you to surf the web, watch YouTube videos, and Facetime loved ones back home.

For a 7-night Alaska cruise, a VOOM Surf & Stream internet package will cost around $17 per device, per day.

The total cost of an "all-inclusive" cruise to Alaska on Royal Caribbean

If you purchase a Deluxe Beverage Package, Unlimited Dining Package, and internet package before your Alaska cruise, you can expect to spend around $920 per person on a 7-night sailing.

What about shore excursions on an Alaska cruise?

Whale watching in Sitka, Alaska

Shore excursions are not included in the price of a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, but they are highly sought-after. From whale watching tours to kayaking, you’ll certainly want to consider booking an excursion for your Alaska cruise.

Related: Alaska cruise excursions

Royal Caribbean’s Alaska cruise excursions must be booked individually; there is no “Unlimited Shore Excursion” package available. Alaska shore excursion prices range from $30 for basic walking tours to $500 for helicopter landings on glaciers.

There’s no requirement to book shore excursions on an Alaska cruise. In fact, many of Alaska’s cruise ports offer plenty to do without spending extra. However, shore excursions are an important additional cost to budget for on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska.

Another alternative: book a Star Class suite for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise

Star Class is the top-tier of Royal Caribbean’s Royal Suite Class. It’s the closest you’ll get to an all-inclusive Alaska cruise with the cruise line, and it’s only available on Quantum Class ships sailing to Alaska.

Star Class on Royal Caribbean includes priority boarding, Coastal Kitchen restaurant access, luxury stateroom amenities, complimentary VOOM wifi for each guest, concierge service, access to the Suite Sun Deck, laundry, a Royal Genie, gratuities, specialty dining, and a Deluxe Beverage Package.

Related: A beginner’s guide to sailing in Star Class

Essentially, Star Class provides the most all-inclusive experience you can find on a Royal Caribbean cruise. A few of the only add-ons not included with Star Class are retail and spa services.

The caveat? Star Class isn’t cheap, and the price of these cabins on an Alaska cruise is usually in the five figures. If you’re looking to splurge, though–and have the budget to do so–by all means, book a Star Class room for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise.

If you can’t shell out $15,000 for one vacation, you’re better off booking the Deluxe Beverage Package, Unlimited Dining Package, and internet package on top of your cruise fare in a regular cabin. This provides an “all-inclusive” experience at a more reasonable price for any cruise to Alaska.

Planning an Alaska cruise? Here’s our best advice:

Best Alaska cruises for every travel style

11 Jan 2023

Cruising to Alaska is a bucket-list worthy vacation, but it’s important to consider your travel style before booking a cruise. Are you a budget-traveler or do you prefer to travel in luxury? Are you traveling with kids? Do you have any itinerary preferences?

These are all important questions to consider before booking an Alaska cruise. Although you’ll experience Alaska’s scenic landscapes, world-class cuisine, and historic towns on any cruise itinerary, certain cruises may work better for one traveler over another.

Here are the best Alaska cruises for every travel style to ensure you book the best cruise for your vacation.

The glacier enthusiast

Best Alaska cruise: Multi Glacier Experience

Most Alaska cruise itineraries include a scenic viewing day at one of the state’s impressive glaciers. This is a major highlight for most passengers on an Alaska cruise; seeing these massive ice fields up close is a spectacular experience.

Related: 50 Alaska cruise tips you should use

Some itineraries, however, include multiple glaciers in one cruise. To find these itineraries, look for cruises titled “Multi Glacier Experience”.

A 7-night Multi Glacier Experience cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, for example, includes visits to both Tracy Arm Fjord and Hubbard Glacier.

The budget traveler

Best Alaska cruise: Anything in the shoulder season

Royal Caribbean sails to Alaska from late April to late September each year, with the peak season in June, July, and August.

Sailing in the shoulder seasons (April, May, and September) can lead to lower cruise fares, so booking a cruise in these months is perfect for those on a budget.

Related: What it’s like to go on an Alaska cruise in the early season

Cruising during shoulder season comes with its own set of pros and cons, though. You may encounter more unpredictable weather in the spring and fall, with chilly temperatures much more likely.

Woman wearing jacket in Alaska

Wildlife viewing opportunities, on the other hand, can be a plus of sailing in shoulder season. Orcas, for example, are most likely to be spotted from early May to early June in southeast Alaska.

For more information on the best time to cruise to Alaska, check out these helpful tips:

The luxury cruisers

Best Alaska cruise: Royal Suite Class on a Quantum Class ship

If budget is no question and you’re looking for the most luxurious cruise experience possible, consider booking a suite on Quantum of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas.

All Royal Caribbean ships sailing to Alaska have suites, but these two ships offer the Royal Suite Class, available only on Quantum and Oasis Class ships.

Depending on the suite you book, Royal Suite Class benefits include private dining at a suites-only restaurant, complimentary internet, personalized Royal Genie service, complimentary dining and drink packages, and much more.

Related: Royal Caribbean suites guide & review

Of course, one of the major benefits of staying in a suite is enjoying more space in your cabin. Because Alaska cruises usually encounter chilly weather, you might find yourself spending more time in your cozy cruise ship cabin than normal, making the value of a suite go even further.

The active adventurer

Best Alaska cruise: Itineraries with longer times in port

Most 7-night Alaska cruises will visit three or four different ports, but the time spent in each port can differ. Some itineraries may include a short, 5 hour stop in one port whereas others may stay docked for 8-10 hours.

If your idea of a fun port day involves hiking or kayaking through Alaska’s stunning scenery, you’ll want to look for itineraries that maximize time in port. This will maximize the time you have to explore the outdoors, whether you’re planning to reach the summit of Deer Mountain in Ketchikan or mountain bike in Skagway.

Related: Local guide of places to visit in Ketchikan, Alaska

The land-based traveler

Best Alaska cruise: One-way Alaska cruise with a Cruise Tour

Trying to decide between an Alaska cruise and a land-based vacation? Why not both?

Royal Caribbean offers one-way sailings to and from Alaska, allowing passengers to combine a 7-night cruise with a land-based vacation. These sailings travel between Vancouver and Seward (and vice versa).

Many passengers start or end a one-way cruise with a Cruise Tour booked through Royal Caribbean. These 2-5 night trips visit Denali, Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Talkeetna.

Radiance of the Seas in Alaska

Related: Ultimate Alaska cruise guide

Alternatively, you can choose to travel without an organized tour. Some passengers opt for a self-guided road trip or stay in a remote mountain lodge.

Regardless of how you travel once in Alaska's interior, a one-way cruise itinerary means you can experience Alaska’s wilderness and beauty more in-depth than on a roundtrip sailing.

The family vacationers

Best Alaska cruise: Any Quantum Class ship

Traveling with kids? Look no further than Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class ships, which sail roundtrip from Seattle to offer 7-night Alaska cruises each summer.

Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas are both in the Quantum Class, which is known for its abundance of thrill-seeking activities like indoor skydiving, bumper cars, and a surfing simulator.

Related: Comparing the Royal Caribbean ships sailing to Alaska in 2023

Adults will find plenty of ways to keep busy, too, whether enjoying a date night at Jamie’s Italian or dancing to a live rock band at Music Hall.

These ships have it all while still visiting Alaska’s top destinations.

More Alaska tips & tricks:

50 Best Alaska cruise tips

10 Jan 2023

An Alaska cruise is different from cruises to the Caribbean or Europe, and there's a whole bunch of easy tips and tricks to make your cruise fantastic.

Alaska requires its own strategy for planning, given the variety of tours and things you can do while on an Alaska cruise.

We wanted to the share absolute best Alaska cruise tips to help you kickstart your planning and ensure a great trip to the last—and vast—great frontier.

Booking tips

Figure out the best time to visit Alaska for your preferences

The Alaska cruise season generally runs from May to September. While many offerings and experiences on an Alaska cruise will be similar no matter the month you sail, there are a few differences to consider.

May and September are shoulder seasons for Alaska cruises. During these months, you may find fewer families and passengers onboard and lower prices. In addition, you may have a greater chance of seeing the northern lights as fall begins in September.

The most popular months to cruise to Alaska are in June, July, and August. These months are when daylight hours are longest, wildlife viewing opportunities are greatest, and weather is warmest.

Read more: The best time to take an Alaska cruise

Research the best ship for you

Royal Caribbean deploys both large and small cruise ships to Alaska, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Larger ships will offer more onboard activities and venues, whereas smaller ships are able to fit into more destinations along Alaska’s inside passage. Taking a look at what you hope to see and experience while on an Alaska cruise is an important first step before booking a particular ship.

Are you traveling with kids and looking for the most onboard activities? If so, selecting a larger ship like Quantum of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas may be the best option. These Quantum Class ships feature the Seaplex, an indoor sports court that offers activities like bumper cars, soccer, pickleball, and more. They also have an indoor pool as well as more bars, dining options, and entertainment venues onboard.

Ships like Serenade of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas may be smaller, but don’t let that deter you from choosing one of these ships. Many passengers find that cruising to Alaska on a smaller ship comes with its own set of benefits. Smaller ships are able to fit into more ports, meaning that they can visit destinations like Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord. And like Royal Caribbean’s larger ships, these smaller ships also offer fantastic viewing opportunities with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of outdoor deck space.

Consider a balcony cabin

If a balcony stateroom is in your budget, then definitely book one and enjoy the opportunity to have a private area to enjoy the natural beauty of Alaska anytime you see fit.  There is no denying that having easy access and private space, especially when near a glacier, is a lovely perk.

Balcony staterooms may come at a higher cost than interior or ocean view cabins, but for many cruisers it is well worth the cost.

Or… consider an interior or ocean view cabin

One of the lessons we learned from our first Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska was that while a balcony cabin is nice to have, it is not nearly as essential as others led us to believe.

You can still have an amazing Alaska cruise by depending on public areas to enjoy the view.  Royal Caribbean's ships feature ample deck space to enjoy the view any time of the day.  Even when near a glacier, you ought to find great viewing opportunities.  Moreover, the price of a balcony room may be much more expensive than an interior room. You may decide that it is a better investment to book the cheaper room and use the money saved to invest in an amazing shore excursion.

The bottom line is consider all room categories, but do not assume you have to get a balcony room.

Book with a travel agent

One of the top tips we share at Royal Caribbean Blog is to book your cruise with a travel agent. A travel agent will cost you nothing extra, but they can provide extremely valuable help and support during the booking process.

Being able to ask your travel agent questions–and get them resolved–without having to take time out of your day to contact Royal Caribbean yourself will save you valuable time. Additionally, good travel agents have an abundance of knowledge about Royal Caribbean and the cruise industry, so they are available to answer any questions you may have about your upcoming cruise.

Read more: Top 5 things to look for in a good travel agent for your cruise vacation

Book dining and drink packages in advance

Just like any Royal Caribbean cruise, it’s important to pre-book any dining or drink packages for your cruise via Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner website. Booking early allows you to lock in the price. If the drink package you purchased for $63/day raises to $75/day, for example, you will have paid a much lower price than some passengers onboard.

Likewise, you’re also able to cancel and rebook if the price drops. If you initially paid $220 for an Unlimited Dining Package and it lowers to $179, you can cancel and rebook the package to obtain the lower price.

You can also cancel any packages booked up to two days before your cruise, so there is no harm in booking addons early to lock in the best price.

Book excursions in advance

The same rules that apply to dining and beverage packages also apply to shore excursions; it’s important to book shore excursions in advance. In fact, because popular shore excursions often risk selling out, it’s even more important to book shore excursions ahead of time compared to dining and beverage packages.

Whether you are booking through Royal Caribbean directly or through an outside provider, be sure to research what activities and excursions are recommended in each cruise port. While some ports may be best for whale watching, others may offer the best historic or cultural opportunities.

For more information on what to do in the most common cruise ports in Alaska, check out our guides:

Find the best itinerary for you

While there is no “best itinerary” for an Alaska cruise, it’s important to have an understanding of what options are available. Some cruise ships leave from Seattle whereas others leave from Vancouver, some are one-way sailings to Alaska while others are roundtrip, and some itineraries visit more cruise ports than others.

Read more: How to choose the right Alaska cruise itinerary

Browsing through all of Royal Caribbean’s Alaska cruise offerings on the website is a good starting point for researching the different options available. Alternatively, you can talk to your travel agent to discuss which option will work best for you.

Fly into your departure port a day early

No matter where in the world your cruise departs from, it is important to arrive to your departure city at least one day prior to the cruise. Flight delays and cancellations, missed connections, traffic, unexpected car issues, and weather can negatively affect your chance of getting to the cruise port on time. Arriving one day ahead of time and staying in a hotel the night before your cruise will give you buffer time in the chance you encounter unexpected delays.

Luckily, Alaska cruises depart from Vancouver, Seattle, or Seward, each of which offers plenty to do, eat, and experience before your cruise begins.

Know the difference between Alaska and Caribbean cruises

If you are used to cruising in the Caribbean, going to Alaska is going to surprise you in some ways with the different approach and experience it offers.

Cruising to Alaska is a port-intensive itinerary with shore excursions that cost significantly more money and far fewer party events.  Unlike the Caribbean where the places you visit can sometimes be secondary, an Alaska cruise is all about where you visit and the onboard experience can almost become an afterthought.

Extend your Alaska cruise with a Cruise Tour

In addition to the cruises, Royal Caribbean offers expanded journeys into Alaska with its Cruise Tour program.

A Royal Caribbean Cruise Tour will take you to incredible destinations that no cruise ship can visit. From the coastline to the heart of the frontier, a Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise Tour land and sea package delivers all the must-see sights on land.

Either before or after your Royal Caribbean cruise, you can book a Cruise Tour that combines a cruise and a land tour, which usually runs three to seven nights. Popular destinations include Denali National Park (for wildlife viewing), Talkeetna (best place for Denali views) and Fairbanks (Alaska pipeline). 

Every Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise Tour includes knowledgeable Adventure Specialists who act as guides, historians and concierges. They are by your side for the entirety of the land tour, providing insider tips and local perspective.

Expect abnormal hours in port

Most cruises tend to have port stops sometime between 7AM and 8PM at the latest. Alaska cruises, however, often have more abnormal hours. Some port stops, for example, may be between 4PM and midnight, or you might have two stops in one day!

Most ports will stick to more “normal” hours, but if you’re looking at your itinerary and are shocked to see such bizarre hours for port stops, don’t be too alarmed. Cruises to Alaska run primarily during the summer months when daylight hours are much longer, so it’s possible to be walking around the port at 9 or 10PM in the peak of summer while still enjoying the daylight.

Purchase travel insurance

Travel insurance is always a good idea whether you are cruising to international ports or within the United States. Even though the insurance plans of most US citizens should work while in Alaska, it’s still a good idea to purchase travel insurance prior to your cruise.

Travel insurance can cover travel delays and cancellations, lost luggage or valuables, medical coverage, emergency transportation, and more. It’s always better to purchase travel insurance and not need it than to not have travel insurance when an unfortunate situation arises.

Tips for onboard the ship

Be flexible on ports

Your cruise will stop at a variety of ports in Alaska (with some stopping in Canada as well). Common ports include Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Haines, and Hubbard Glacier, among others. 

Where you visit depends on your ship’s size, itinerary, and embarkation port. However, it is important to remain flexible and understand that your itinerary can change.

Alaska’s weather conditions may lead to high seas, storms, and heavy winds, especially if you are traveling during the shoulder season in early May or late September. The day you planned in Sitka, as an example, could be replaced by a stop in Ketchikan. Or perhaps the ship is unable to sail further into a passage for a glacier sighting.

The majority of sailings do go as planned, but staying flexible is important. Plus, you may end up having a fantastic day in a port you did not plan to go to in the first place!

Find a great spot to watch glaciers and scenery

A unique aspect to an Alaska cruise is that you can see land for the majority of the sailing. They mainly sail through Alaska’s inside passage, where fjords, waterfalls, and mountains dot the landscape on both sides of the ship.

On the first day or two of your cruise, we recommend exploring the ship to make note of areas from which you can view the scenery once you get to Alaska. The pool deck is a popular option, but you may find some hidden gems throughout the ship.

If you’re sailing on a Quantum Class ship to Alaska, head to the back of the Windjammer or the Solarium bridge wings for some fantastic views of the scenery with fewer crowds. On Radiance Class ships, check out the helicopter pad, the front of deck 12 above the bridge, or the Viking Crown Lounge.

Wake up early and stay up late

Traveling to Alaska will have different daylight hours than what you are used to on a Caribbean cruise, especially if you’re traveling in the middle of summer. With as many as 19 hours of daylight in the summer months, don’t forget to wake up early and stay up late to be amazed by the scenery around you on an Alaska cruise.

Try not to worry about the weather

News flash: it will rain while you are in Alaska, but it is also not the end of the world.

Weather forecasts do not always match what you will experience. Be prepared for changing weather daily. Be prepared with varying clothing options (i.e. wear layers).  And when it does rain, just give it a few minutes, as it generally does not last long. Take it all in. And remember, many excursions go rain or shine!

No matter what time of the year you pick for your cruise, the weather can be iffy, so plan for it all.

Bring motion sickness remedies

Depending on the weather conditions outside and time of year you sail to Alaska, you may encounter some choppy seas. While most days should be smooth sailing, it’s always good to plan in advance if you are prone to motion sickness. This is especially true if you plan to book a whale watching tour while in port, as most guests will feel more movement on a smaller vessel.

There are many remedies available for motion sickness, from dramamine to sea-bands or even natural remedies like green apples and ginger.

Take advantage of port lectures

Royal Caribbean offers complimentary lectures presented by higher education staff on the history and culture of the ports your cruise will visit.

It is easy to overlook these types of offerings with so many other activities and things to do onboard your Royal Caribbean cruise, but do yourself a favor and check these out. The lectures provided onboard offer important context for the adventures you will take on shore later in your visit.

These lectures may not offer money saving tips or pitfalls to avoid, but they do offer an insider look at these ports that I think helps improve your appreciation of each city when you go to visit them later.

Relax and enjoy the scenery

Even with all the fun activities you’ll find onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, it’s always a great idea to spend time sitting back and relaxing on an Alaska cruise. Sailing through the Alaska Inside Passage comes with stunning views in every direction, whether you spot whales, eagles, glaciers, or waterfalls.

While it can be tempting to book a full day of fun activities onboard, don’t forget to spend some time relaxing in a comfy chair or on the pool deck to watch the scenery pass by.

Book shows and dining on the first day

Just like any Royal Caribbean cruise, be sure to book any specialty dining and entertainment reservations on the first day of your cruise to ensure you can reserve the days and times that work best for you.

As soon as you get onboard, connect to the ship’s wifi and open the Royal Caribbean app (you do not need to purchase a wifi package to access the Royal Caribbean app). Then scroll through the calendar to reserve any entertainment you are interested in.

If you have a dining package, head to any of the restaurants onboard to reserve all specialty dining days and times for the week.

Bring cards or board games

You may encounter more downtime on an Alaska cruise compared to what you would experience on a bigger cruise ship in warmer weather. While there are certainly enough activities and entertainment options to keep you occupied, some passengers like to spend time playing cards or games with fellow passengers.

While you may be able to find cards onboard, either in the library or Royal Caribbean gift shop, packing a deck of cards in your luggage isn’t a bad idea either.

Confirm Main Dining Room dining times and options

Another thing you should do on the first day of your Alaska cruise is double check your Main Dining Room preferences. When you booked your cruise, you should have selected a dining time and either Traditional or My Time Dining. Additionally, if you would prefer a private table as opposed to dining with others, it’s a good idea to speak with the staff in the Main Dining Room on embarkation day to ensure this is the case.

Shore excursion tips

Book a whale watching tour

Whale watching tours are arguably the most popular shore excursion to book on an Alaska cruise. The chance to view the largest mammals on earth in their natural habitat is simply a remarkable experience, and Alaska has some of the best whale watching in the world.

Whale watching tours are not cheap, but they won’t necessarily break the bank either. Some ports are better than others for whale watching, and some months bring a higher chance to spot whales than others. While you may be able to spot whales from your cruise ship at some point on an Alaska cruise, if you really want to see whales up close, be sure to book a whale watching excursion.

Read more: Alaska cruise whale watching guide & tips

View other wildlife

While whale watching may be popular, don’t miss the opportunity to spot more of Alaska’s amazing wildlife while in port. Bears, eagles, salmon, sea lions, sea otters, and other wildlife are often able to be spotted on an Alaska cruise.

In Sitka, consider visiting the Fortress of the Bear, a bear rescue center located near the city center. In Ketchikan, walk around Creek Street for the chance to spot sea otters playing in the creek. When you’re on a bus tour or walking through town, be sure to look up in the trees to see if you can spot any eagles.

Learn about Alaska’s Native history

While Alaska cruises are famous for providing stunning views, don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about Alaska’s history and culture while visiting the state.

Royal Caribbean offers shore excursions with a focus on history and culture in its Alaskan ports. As an example, one of these tours is the Native Cultural and Historical Tour in Sitka, where guests will experience first-hand the melting pot of native Tlingit culture as well as Russian and American influences. 

If you’re hoping to explore Native history and culture on your own, research museums and walking paths in your port of call.

Visit glaciers

While most cruises to Alaska will include a scenic cruising day to destinations like Hubbard Glacier and Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, you may also wish to explore glaciers up close while in port.

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau is one of the most visited glaciers on an Alaska cruise, as it is easily accessible via bus or taxi from the cruise port. While at the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, visitors can enjoy walking trails, the spectacular Nugget Waterfall, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

If you’re looking for a truly once in a lifetime experience, you can even book a helicopter tour that lands on top of a glacier in Alaska!

Go on a day hike

Alaska is a dream for active cruisers, offering some of the country’s most magnificent nature and mountains to explore. All Alaska cruise ports offer fantastic day hike opportunities, from the easiest of trails to the most challenging.

Whether hiking to the pointy peak of Deer Mountain in Ketchikan, riding the Goldbelt tram to mellow trails in Juneau, or opting for a low-impact nature walk in Sitka, hiking through Alaska’s forests is a nice way to connect with nature and explore the port.

Kayak near glaciers

Kayaking is another popular active shore excursion in Alaska, bringing visitors to picturesque destinations along the coastline. Some kayaking excursions allow guests to get close to glaciers and you may even spot wildlife while on the tour.

Kayaking is a relatively low-impact activity, making it a great choice for those looking for an active excursion that also allows them to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Go biking or rent a scooter

If you’re looking to explore Alaska in a unique way, consider traveling on two wheels. Bicycle tours or rentals are available in most Alaska cruise ports, allowing guests to see much more of a port than they would on foot. The “Bike and Brew Glacier View” tour in Juneau combines a bike ride with a beer tasting!

If riding a bike sounds too active for your liking, consider renting an electric scooter in Skagway through Skagway Scooters to explore all of Skagway and the surrounding area.

Try local food

One big mistake we made on our Alaska cruise was not taking the time to research where to eat in the various ports we visited. Alaska has some amazing local cuisine, but there are a lot of pretenders alongside the great stuff.

Each port you visit will take you to some terrific spots to eat, so don't rely purely on your Yelp app once in town.  Figure out the restaurants and bars you want to go to before you leave home, especially if you are interested in enjoying the best crab, salmon and beers of Alaska.

Here are a few food and drink recommendations for your Alaska cruise:

  • Ketchikan: The Alaska Fish House is a popular seafood spot located just a few blocks from the port. In our experience, a long line formed around lunchtime, but the extremely fresh fish is said to be worth the wait.
  • Skagway: On a chilly Alaskan day, not much fills the spot more than a doughy, sugary, and warm piece of Alaskan fry bread. Similar to an elephant ear, Alaskan fry bread is a popular snack in the state, and the place to try it in Skagway is at Klondike Doughboy. Each piece of fry bread is fried to order, and it is guaranteed to warm you up no matter what the weather is like outside. If you’re looking for something more savory, check out the Skagway Fish Company.
  • Juneau and Sitka: Due to Alaska’s historical and geographical connection to Russia, you can find Russian influences in Alaskan cuisine. A restaurant to taste Russian flavors is Pel’Meni, which is located in both Juneau and Sitka. Pel’Meni offers steamed Russian dumplings in two flavors: beef or potato. The dumplings are then topped with butter, curry, hot sauce, and cilantro, creating an explosion of flavor with each bite.

Visit a saloon

Just like eating, drinking can be a way to learn more about the culture of Alaska. Our recommendation is to plan shore excursions for the morning and spend the afternoon walking around the port to try local food and drinks.

Dotted along most Alaska cruise ports are small, historic saloons filled with local history, and drinking at a saloon is a quintessential part of visiting any small town in Alaska.

One of the most famous places to grab a drink when cruising to Alaska is The Red Dog Saloon in Juneau. With western-themed architecture and eclectic decor, The Red Dog Saloon is certainly unique. It’s not uncommon for the saloon to be filled with cruisers enjoying live music, drinks, and food before getting back onboard the ship.

Three of the most popular drinks at the saloon are the Duck Fart shot, Glacier Margarita, and Miners Scratch Hard Lemonade.

Taste local beer

If you’re a beer lover, you’re in luck while on an Alaska cruise. A variety of local craft breweries are located in most Alaska cruise ports, offering the perfect place to wind down after a busy day exploring the state.

Here are a few of our recommended breweries to check out while in Alaska:

  • Ketchikan: Bawden Street Brewing Company
  • Juneau: Barnaby Brewing Company
  • Skagway: Skagway Brewing Company or Klondike Brewing Company

Visit the Yukon Territory

If your cruise visits Skagway, you may want to take the chance to visit Canada’s Yukon Territory, located just 15 miles from the center of town. The Yukon Territory, like much of Alaska, offers rugged terrain, fascinating culture, and breathtaking scenery.

You can opt to visit the Yukon Territory by renting a car or motorcycle, booking an excursion, or traveling on the White Pass & Yukon Railway.

Get a taste of Alaska’s Russian history

In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for a price of $7.2 million. Before this purchase, though, Russia had significant influence on the state, bringing architecture, food, and religion to the region. Visiting Alaska today offers visitors the chance to learn more about Russia’s impact on the state.

The best port to experience Alaska’s Russian history is in Sitka, the former capital of Russian Alaska. From visiting Orthodox cathedrals to Baranof Castle State Historic Site, where the formal transfer of Russia to the United States occurred, you’re sure to get a glimpse of the state’s dynamic history while in Sitka.

Pack snacks for shore excursions

It’s a good idea to pack a snack with you while on a shore excursion in Alaska, which may be further out into nature and more active than what you normally book on a Caribbean cruise. Packing granola bars, trail mix, or even the small boxes of cereal you can get with room service is recommended to ensure you don’t get too hungry while on tour.

Always get off the ship

Regardless of how bad the weather outside may be or if you have already visited a port before, always get off the ship when you can. Even if you don’t have anything planned, just walking around the historic port towns can be a nice way to spend a few hours.

If it’s cold and rainy, take shelter in a local seafood restaurant, saloon, coffee shop, or brewery and immerse yourself in the town’s culture while tasting delicious food and drinks.

Packing tips

Bring an all-weather jacket

Even though your Royal Caribbean cruise will take you to Alaska during the warmer months of the year, it can get downright cold (and wet) during your Alaska cruise.

Given its northerly position and varied geography—from mountains and oceans to glaciers and tundra—you can experience several microclimates in a short amount of time, which can mean extreme temperatures in one place, and mild conditions in the next.

There are plenty of great packing choices to consider, but an all-weather jacket is essential to ensure you remain warm and dry in the coldest of temperatures. Here are our top recommendations for the best jacket for an Alaska cruise:

Wear the right shoes

While you may walk around in flip flops in the Caribbean, you probably will not want to do this on an Alaska cruise! Packing the right shoes to fit Alaska’s terrain and shore excursion opportunities is essential to ensure you remain comfortable during your vacation.

The proper footwear to bring ultimately depends on what you plan to do while in port. Sneakers or other closed toed shoes are the most recommended footwear, especially those that are water-resistant. Rain is extremely common in Alaska, so having footwear that will not make your feet cold and wet is important.

Rugged hiking boots are not totally necessary unless you plan to do a lot of hiking while in Alaska. For walking around Alaska’s towns and visiting popular spots like Mendenhall Glacier, sneakers should suffice

Bring binoculars

Alaska is all about what you see around you, and often the very best of Alaska's natural beauty and wildlife is best seen through a pair of binoculars.

You do not need to go crazy with the fanciest binoculars on the market, but being able to zoom in on a bald eagle resting, or sea lions swimming is worth every penny you spend on binoculars.

On our recent Alaska cruise onboard Ovation of the Seas, we purchased these binoculars and found them to be a great budget option. 

Wear layers

Layers are key when it comes to packing for an Alaska cruise. Weather can change rapidly and several times throughout the day, so it’s important to be prepared with layers of clothing you can take on and off while in port or onboard.

In general, there are three layers to pack:

  • Base layer: t-shirt and jeans
  • Warm layer: Fleece or down jacket/sweater
  • Waterproof layer: Thin waterproof jacket suitable for when it rains

It can actually get fairly warm in Alaska during the day in the summer, so having a few t-shirts and even a pair of shorts can be a good idea.

Pack accessories

Outside of layers, remember to pack accessories for your Alaska cruise. Hats, gloves, and sunglasses are all important items to bring with you to ensure you stay warm in the chilliest temperatures you may encounter.

While you may picture rainy, cloudy days in Alaska, you’ll be surprised at how helpful sunglasses can be on sunny days. Not only is the sun shining down on you, but light will be reflected from glaciers and snow, making sunglasses really nice to have access to.

Buy lightly used clothing

If buying an all-new wardrobe sounds expensive, consider buying clothes on a website like eBay.  A quality jacket is an especially costly item, but buying a gently used one from eBay can save lots, especially for kids.

Additionally, check if there are any used outdoor gear stores in your area. These consignment stores can be an excellent place to find quality outdoor clothing at a lower price.

Don’t pack too many clothes

Packing for an Alaska cruise can feel overwhelming. From puffy jackets to rain gear, boots, dress clothes, and swimsuits, it can be easy to fill up a large suitcase with apparel fit for Alaska’s unpredictable weather.

A big lesson we learned from cruising to Alaska is to pack much less than you think (while still packing the essentials, of course). As the weather in Alaska is colder than on a Caribbean cruise, for example, you may find that your clothes stay cleaner much longer. You may also find yourself wearing nearly the same exact outfit each day in port, as well. 

Remember that you can do laundry

If you’re concerned over not packing enough or what you’ll do if clothes get dirty on a shore excursion, remember that all Royal Caribbean ships offer laundry service onboard. While self-service laundry is not available, you can choose to have a full bag of laundry washed and folded for $35.99 per bag.

While it isn’t the cheapest laundry service in the world, the convenience of washing clothes midway through the cruise and packing lighter can be worth the cost.

Bring a waterproof or water-resistant daypack

While it’s always a good idea to take a daypack ashore, it is especially important to do so when visiting Alaska. You’re going to need somewhere to put your sweatshirt when it gets too warm or your phone when it starts to rain.

Bringing a waterproof or water-resistant daypack with you to Alaska will ensure that your belongings are protected while exploring, rain or shine.

Don’t pack an umbrella

Despite the rain, do not pack an umbrella. Instead, make sure there’s a hood on your all-weather jacket. A hood takes up far less space than an umbrella, leaving more room for your gear and adventure essentials.

Don’t forget a swimsuit

Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit in your suitcase. Even though you’ll encounter colder weather than you are used to on a tropical cruise, the ships Royal Caribbean sends to Alaska tend to have an indoor pool or adults-only Solarium along with jacuzzis.

While you might not spend as much time in the pool as you would in the Caribbean, relaxing in the hot tub on a chilly morning or evening in Alaska can be extremely relaxing.

Quantum Class ships cruising to Alaska offer an indoor pool for all ages in addition to an indoor adults-only Solarium. Radiance Class ships have an indoor pool, but it’s only for ages 16+ as it is located in the Solarium. Jacuzzis are available on both ships.

Remember to pack clothes for onboard the ship

In between packing your down jacket, sweaters, raincoats, and gloves, remember to pack clothes to wear onboard the cruise ship as well. Dinner outfits, formal wear, loungewear, and pajamas are all important to pack for an Alaska cruise.

An expensive camera is not necessary

While some travel guides recommend bringing a fancy camera on an Alaska cruise to capture the state’s scenery, this is not totally necessary. If you have a phone with a great camera, don’t worry about purchasing an expensive camera to use on the cruise. A relatively new iPhone or Android will have fantastic picture quality that you can use to capture your cruise memories.

If you enjoy taking photos and are planning to invest in a new camera, though, Alaska is certainly a great spot to bring a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Remember to pack wide angle and telephoto lenses!

Bonus tips!

Book the North Star and RipCord by iFLY

If you’re sailing on a Quantum Class ship to Alaska, such as Quantum of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas, you’ll likely want to experience two of the ships’ most exciting onboard activities: the North Star (observation pod) and RipCord by iFLY (indoor skydiving).

It’s important to reserve these activities in advance to not only ensure you can try the activity onboard, but to reserve the best time, day, and price that works for you.

Both the North Star and RipCord by iFLY have complimentary and extra-cost options. Complimentary spots for the North Star are available when the ship is in port, but cost extra on sea days ($29.99) or when the ship is visiting a glacier ($49.99). RipCord by iFLY has a 1-minute complimentary flight option or a longer, 2-minute flight available for $49.99.

Just like entertainment, open the Royal Caribbean app as soon as you get onboard to reserve a time slot for these two activities.

Buy forgotten items in port

If you forget a piece of clothing like a waterproof coat or sweatshirt, don’t fret! There are plenty of souvenir shops available at each Alaskan port which offer a variety of clothing to fit any weather condition you encounter.

Plus, most of the clothing you will find in souvenir shops will be branded with “Alaska” or the port’s name, making it a great souvenir to take home with you.

When is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

05 Jan 2023

Alaska is an incredible destination that has just a few months in which you can take a cruise there during the short summer season.

Glacier seen from cruise ship

The Alaska cruise season runs between May and September, which happen to be the most temperate times of the year in the 49th state. 

The spring and summer months are when nearly all cruise ships visit each year. You'll find many hours of daylight in the summer with long days.

It is hard to top the majestic beauty of rugged glaciers, plethora of unique animal sightings, or huge mountains. Going on a cruise to Alaska is an extremely popular kind of cruise, because it offers an easy way to see so much in a compact amount of time.

Royal Caribbean also sails to Alaska in early May and into late September or even October, where you can find some great deals.

While it is impossible to see and do it all over the course of a one week cruise, Alaska has the power to enchant even brief visitors.  So while you are stuck at home, this may be the perfect time to start planning a cruise to The Last Frontier.

There are advantages of cruising in each of the summer months, including when prices will be higher or lower.

Here is your guide for figuring out the best times to visit for your first (or 50th) Alaska cruise.

The best time to cruise to Alaska if you want to avoid crowds

There are definite ebbs and flows to demand and crowds in the ports you will visit depending on which month you sail.

If you are looking for the months with the lowest crowds in Alaska, try for May or September.  These are the "shoulder season" months, which is when the season begins and ends, and is when you will find less people vying for a cruise. 

Moreover, going during May or September is also when most kids are still in school, which means families are unable to cruise during this period.

Skagway ship at end of street

The downside to these months is the weather tends to be the most unpredictable, and that can be an issue with possibly impacting your shore excursions.  Most notably helicopter and boat excursions are the most at risk for cancellation.

Since Alaska cruises are so dependent on outdoor activities, your best chance for sunny days can be opposite of when the best time for crowds are each season.

Read more: What is the best month to cruise to Alaska?

The best time to cruise to Alaska for good weather

The weather in Alaska can, and will, change multiple times per day, but you will find the warmest months to be June, July and August.

The median months will see higher temperatures and longer days for touring, and it represents the limited summer that Alaska enjoys. However, July and August tend to also have higher levels of precipitation.

Here's a look at the average temperatures in Southeast Alaska:

  • May: average high 54 degrees and average low is 39 degrees
  • June: average high 62 degrees and average low is 47degrees
  • July: average high 65 degrees and average low is 51 degrees
  • August: average high 63 degrees and average low is 48 degrees
  • September: average high 55 degrees and average low is 41 degrees
Franklin Street

If you do book a cruise during summer, be sure to plan your shore excursions well in advance to avoid tours selling out.

If you are willing to trade warmth for less precipitation, then go for May. In fact, the end of May and early June offers some of the best weather in the region throughout the year.

Sitka, Alaska

If you want to see snow on the ground, April or early May is the best month for that.

Most cruise passengers tend to avoid the early season because of the school calendar and cooler weather.  By going in the summer months, many people get to enjoy Alaska when things are in full swing and of course the warmer weather.

Read moreComparing the Royal Caribbean ships sailing in Alaska 2022

The best time to cruise to Alaska for low prices

Alaska is not a cheap cruise, but if you want to save money on your cruise fare, then your best bet is May or September.

For the same reasons May and September feature lower crowds, these months see most often the lowest prices for a cruise because of the combination of colder temperatures and the school calendar.

Read moreWhat is the cheapest month to go on a cruise?

The best time to see the Northern Lights on an Alaska cruise

Few places allow for viewing of the aurora borealis, and the best time see the Northern Lights is in September.

September is the time of year when the sun sets earlier during the cruise season, which means the sky gets darker and makes for the most ideal viewing conditions.

Woman wearing jacket in Alaska

Of course, temperatures during September will be lower than other times of the year, but the opportunity to see the Northern Lights is a real treat.

As mentioned in this article, not only does September provide the opportunity to see the Northern Lights, but you will also enjoy less crowds and likely lower prices on a cruise.

Read moreTop 10 tips for planning your Alaska cruise

The best time to cruise to Alaska to see wildlife

You will see plenty of wildlife during your Alaska cruise throughout the cruise season, including whale watching, sea lions, bears, & birds.

The best months to catch a glimpse of the amazing fauna that call Alaska home are the months of June and July. 

  • Moose: Moose give birth around June.
  • Caribou: June is the best month to see herds of caribou
  • Humpback Whales:  June and July is when the humpback whales migrate through Alaska's Inside Passage.
  • Black bears: Spring is ideal because the new vegetation lures back in sheep, mountain goats and black bears. July is also good because that is when salmon runs start to get busy.
  • Brown bears: July and August are when you will have a better chance to see brown bears since they are near rivers and streams.
  • King Salmon: King salmon runs start in late May.
  • Bird watching: June is when you have a good chance to see unusual birds migrating.
  • Bald eagles: You'll find eagles throughout the season, but August is a great time since they are found near the sockeye salmon spawning locations.
  • Killer Whales:  Your best chance at seeing Orcas is from May to the beginning of June.

Read moreWhat Is an Alaska Inside Passage Cruise?

Which month should I book my Alaska cruise?

Ultimately, there is no perfect time to sail to Alaska, as each month offers its own advantages and disadvantages, and choosing when to cruise to Alaska comes down to your preferences.

If you prefer fewer crowds and lower pricing…

Empty Skagway street

If a cruise with fewer crowds is important to you, it might be a good idea to avoid Alaska cruises in June, July, and August. Not only will there likely be more guests onboard during the summer, but in the ports you are visiting as well. If you are looking for a more quiet experience onboard and on shore, consider cruising to Alaska in May or September.

Plus, as prices are cheaper in the shoulder season, it can be an excellent opportunity to upgrade your stateroom category or splurge on add-ons like excursions, dining packages, or beverage packages.

A suite that costs $2000 per person in May may cost upwards of $3300 per person in mid-July. Such a large price difference allows you to enhance your Alaska cruise experience in other ways, whether booking a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour or kayaking through fjords.

However, it’s not necessarily a good idea to pick a cruise based solely on price. While price should definitely be a consideration, it’s important to consider other factors before choosing an Alaska cruise.

If you want the best weather…

If having the highest chance of warm temperatures and sunny days is important to you, cruising to Alaska in the peak summer months is your best bet.

Weather can get fairly warm in June, July, and August, which can make port days more comfortable. It’s not uncommon for the weather to be nice enough for t-shirts in the summer as opposed to the raincoats and down jackets you may have to wear in early spring or fall.

That being said, while the shoulder season in Alaska may lead to cooler temperatures and more rain, packing appropriately will keep you dry and warm when exploring Alaska’s ports.

White Pass train in Skagway

Additionally, June, July, and August may come with more crowds, but offer several more hours of daylight compared to in the fall. This can be a huge advantage for Alaska cruises in the summer.

More hours of daylight on an Alaska cruise means more time to sightsee, whether in port or when sailing through the Inside Passage. Juneau, for example, sees around 18 hours of daylight in June compared to just 12 in September.

If you’re hoping to spot wildlife…

If spotting wildlife is a priority for you on an Alaska cruise, pick your sailing date carefully. June, July, and August are fantastic times to cruise Alaska to view wildlife, as these months bring the highest chances of spotting whales, bears, and salmon.

If you plan to book a whale watching excursion or want to see bears, you may be left disappointed if you cruise to Alaska at the very end of the season.

Nothing is guaranteed

No matter how much planning you do before selecting your cruise dates, it’s very important to remember that nothing is guaranteed on an Alaska cruise. Sure, it may be more common to view Alaska’s wildlife in the peak of summer, but it’s also possible you’ll see little to no wildlife at all on your cruise, or that you will see a plethora of wildlife in the shoulder season!

Likewise, while weather should be colder during the shoulder seasons of May and September, Alaska’s weather is quite unpredictable. You might be surprised with warm days in September or chilly, rainy days in July! Packing for all seasons is a must when cruising to Alaska.

In addition, sailing in the shoulder season does not necessarily mean there won’t be crowds onboard. While it’s possible the ship will not be sailing at 100% capacity, it’s unlikely you will encounter an empty ship. Plus, Royal Caribbean will adjust prices according to demand, so if a shoulder season cruise is not selling well, prices may drop until more people book the cruise.

Whatever month you choose for your Alaska cruise, though, is sure to bring the opportunity to visit charming towns, explore phenomenal nature, and make memories with family and friends. There’s no right or wrong time to cruise to Alaska, but having an idea of the pros and cons of each season should help decide which time of year works best for you.

Read more on when to cruise to Alaska:

What it's like to go on an Alaska cruise in the early season

What it's like to go on an Alaska cruise at the end of the season

What is the best time to cruise to Alaska? (month by month)

Alaska cruises from Seattle Guide & Review

04 Jan 2023

Alaska cruises from Seattle visit many of the 49th state’s most beautiful destinations while offering all the comforts found in a cruise vacation. The city makes a convenient start point for embarking on a much-anticipated adventure.

Serenade of the Seas in Seattle

From spending the day exploring historic ports to enjoying wonderful dining and entertainment each evening onboard, it’s easy to see why Alaska cruises are so popular.

If you’re considering booking an Alaska cruise from Seattle, here’s everything you need to know.

Where do Alaska cruises go from Seattle?

Seattle is a gateway to Alaska cruises, and you’ll have the opportunity to visit remarkable, stunning ports on a weeklong cruise. You’ll typically find between 3-4 ports and a scenic glacier viewing day on a 7-night Alaska cruise from Seattle.

Ports may include Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, and Tracy Arm Fjord. Most port stops are between 7-10 hours.

All Alaska cruises from Seattle must also include a port stop in a country outside of the United States. Because of this, you’ll find a port stop in Victoria, British Columbia on each Alaska cruise itinerary from Seattle.

How long are Alaska cruises from Seattle?

Side of Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Alaska cruises from Seattle are 7-night roundtrip sailings. This provides enough time to travel to the Inside Passage, visit 3-4 ports in Alaska, and travel back to Seattle.

Some cruise lines may offer longer sailings from Seattle, such as 10-14 day cruises visiting more ports and glaciers, but this is not offered on Royal Caribbean.

Where is the Seattle cruise port located?

Seattle aerial view

Royal Caribbean ships depart from Pier 91 in Seattle, which is located three miles from downtown and sixteen miles from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

The address of Pier 91 is Smith Cove Cruise Terminal 91, 2001 West Garfield St, Seattle, WA 98199.

Related: Guide to Seattle cruise port for Alaska cruises

Alaska cruises on other cruise lines may leave from other ports in the Seattle area. Therefore, it’s important to check which Seattle cruise port your ship departs from if you’re sailing on a line other than Royal Caribbean.

Which cruise ships sail from Seattle to Alaska?

Ovation of the Seas on a sunny day

Two Royal Caribbean ships sail from Seattle to Alaska each summer, with Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas offering Alaska cruises each season. These large, modern Quantum Class cruise ships are perfect for any passenger due to the variety of dining options, activities, and cabin categories you’ll find onboard.

Related: All about Quantum Class ships

Outside of Royal Caribbean, you’ll find Alaska cruises from Seattle on many popular cruise lines including Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Celebrity, and Norwegian.

Is it better to book an Alaska cruise from Seattle or Vancouver?

Most Alaska cruises depart from either Seattle, Washington or Vancouver, British Columbia. Deciding which port to leave from is one of the first decisions you’ll make when planning an Alaska cruise.

Seattle is convenient for most passengers from the United States, with direct flights offered to Seattle from around the country. While Vancouver still offers many direct flights to and from the United States, most cruisers find it easier to travel to Seattle.

Radiance of the Seas docked in Vancouver

Cruising from Vancouver, though, allows for more port stops in Alaska. Because of the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA), roundtrip cruises from Seattle to Alaska must include a foreign port stop, so visiting Canada is required on these sailings.

If you’re cruising from Vancouver, you won’t need to stop in Victoria, British Columbia, and this allows for another port day in Alaska instead.

One benefit of cruising to Alaska from Seattle is that Royal Caribbean sends its newer, bigger cruise ships to the city each summer season. Activities like bumper cars, indoor skydiving, surfing simulators, and the latest and greatest of entertainment, bars, and dining are available on these newer ships.

How to prepare for an Alaska cruise from Seattle

Serenade of the Seas in Seattle

Arrive in Seattle the day before your cruise begins

If you’re flying to Seattle before your cruise, be sure to arrive the day before embarkation day. Flying can be unpredictable, and allotting wiggle room in the case of any airline delays or cancellations is recommended.

Plus, by arriving in Seattle a day early, you’ll have more time to enjoy the city’s attractions. Whether admiring skyline views from the Space Needle or eating your way through Pike Place Market, there are plenty of ways to keep busy in Seattle before your cruise begins.

Know what to pack for an Alaska cruise

Alaska beach

Packing for an Alaska cruise is totally different than packing for a tropical vacation in the Bahamas. Knowing what to pack can keep you from freezing in port, getting soaked in the rain, or even feeling too warm in the peak of Alaska’s summer.

Our best advice is to pack layers for an Alaska cruise. Having a base layer, warm layer, and waterproof layer ensures you are covered for a wide range of weather conditions.

Related: Alaska cruise packing list: What to pack for your sailing

In addition to clothing, you’ll also want to pack accessories such as a waterproof daypack, binoculars, sunglasses, and bug spray. 

Book shore excursions far in advance

Mendenhall Glacier

It’s common to book shore excursions on an Alaska cruise, and with high demand there’s always a chance that an excursion will sell out. Therefore, if there’s an excursion you really want to experience on a cruise to Alaska, be sure to book the tour far in advance.

You can choose to book an Alaska shore excursion directly through the cruise line or through an independent tour company. Both come with their own pros and cons; a tour booked through Royal Caribbean may offer added protection, although it usually comes at a higher price.

Related: 5 quick and easy tips for finding a great shore excursion on your own

It’s also important to note that booking an excursion on an Alaska cruise is not a requirement. Alaska cruise ports offer many options for free and low-cost sightseeing, from walking around historic towns to tasting local cuisine and hiking in the mountains.

Related: 7 ways to have a great time in port without a cruise ship shore excursion

Research the best time of year to visit Alaska before booking your cruise

If you cruise to Alaska in late September and expect sunny skies, warm temperatures, and 18 hours of daylight, you’re going to end up disappointed. Likewise, if you’re hoping to find a cheap cruise deal to Alaska in the peak of summer, your chances are slim.

Depending on the month you sail, Alaska cruises can vary greatly in terms of weather, crowds, wildlife viewing opportunities, daylight hours, and cost.

Related: When is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

The cheapest months to cruise Alaska are in the shoulder season of April, May, and September, although these months don’t always bring the best weather. The busiest times to cruise Alaska are in June, July, and August, so you should expect more crowds during this time of year.

Planning an Alaska cruise from Seattle? Check out more of our top tips & tricks:

Best way to see Alaska: Land or cruise?

21 Dec 2022

Visiting Alaska is an aspiration for many travelers, and you’ll want to plan the Alaska vacation that suits your travel style best. Most visitors to Alaska travel via cruise ship or through a land-based vacation, but what is the best way to see the state?

Regardless of how you travel Alaska, you’re sure to be impressed by the state’s wildlife, history, food, and terrain. However, each travel style comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Although you can enjoy an all-inclusive vacation on a cruise to Alaska, you’ll miss out on some of the state’s most popular attractions. And while you can visit Alaska without a cruise on a land tour, you may find the logistics of navigating on your own too complicated.

Let’s dive in and discover why you should cruise to Alaska and why you might want to consider a land-based trip to the Last Frontier.

Why cruise to Alaska

Alaska cruises are popular for a reason: they travel through some of the most gorgeous landscapes in North America and allow passengers to experience several diverse areas of the state in one week.

Whether discovering Gold Rush history in Skagway, whale watching in Icy Strait Point, or glacier-hopping near Juneau, an Alaska cruise is certainly an experience you’ll never forget.

Royal Caribbean cruises to Alaska visit the Inside Passage, a 500 mile stretch of fjords, islands, and small towns in the southeast region of the state. Many towns along the Inside Passage are only accessible by sea or plane, making a cruise the perfect way to travel from place to place.

An Alaska cruise is a fantastic way for families to travel around the state. Cruises are designed to cater to a wide range of age demographics and interests. You’ll find both kid-friendly activities like surfing simulators and kids clubs and adult-focused programming like theater shows and live music on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska.

Plus, a cruise offers a more all-inclusive experience compared to traveling independently to Alaska. While onboard, you won’t have to worry about the cost of food, entertainment, transportation, or hotels. Everything you need is included in your cruise fare, so you won’t be surprised with unexpected costs along the way.

Related: What’s included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare

One con of traveling to Alaska on a cruise is the limited time you’ll have in each cruise port. However, since many ports are quite small, you may find that you have more than enough time to explore the destination’s main attractions. If you’re looking for the most in-depth way to explore Alaska, though, you may want to consider a land tour.

Why book a land tour to Alaska

If you look at a map of Alaska and find the Inside Passage, you’ll realize that you’ve barely scratched the surface of the state on a cruise itinerary. Alaska is a whopping 665,400 square miles, and the Inside Passage is only a tiny portion of the state.

Therefore, it’s understandable that many people are torn between cruising to Alaska versus visiting the state on a land-based vacation. And while we love cruising here at Royal Caribbean Blog, there’s no doubt that a land tour to Alaska comes with its own set of benefits.

Related: How to choose the right Alaska cruise itinerary

Visiting Alaska on a land tour brings you closer to the state’s nature, as you can travel further into Alaska’s interior. Denali National Park and Reserve, for example, is one of the most popular places to visit in the state.

The national park is the second largest in the United States and is one of the best places to see Alaska’s Big Five: bears, wolves, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and wolves. You’ll also have the opportunity to spot the peak of Denali, the tallest mountain in North America.

Related: What is the best time of year to see wildlife in Alaska?

Traveling Alaska on a land-based vacation means you can travel at your own pace. You won’t have to worry about limited time in port or sticking to a rigid schedule. It also gives you more flexibility with how you’d like to travel, whether you prefer touring with an organized group or renting an RV to drive around the state yourself.

One con of traveling to Alaska on a land-based trip are the logistics required to travel through the Inside Passage. For those with limited time, being constrained to the Alaska Marine Highway's ferry schedules can be frustrating, and the onboard accommodations won’t be as comfortable as on a cruise ship.

The solution: do both!

Radiance of the Seas in Alaska

Truthfully, there’s no “better” way to see Alaska. Both cruises and land-based vacations each come with their own pros and cons, and it can be difficult to choose the best option for your Alaska trip.

Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other. Why not do both?

You can combine a cruise with a land trip to Alaska by booking one of Royal Caribbean’s one-way cruise itineraries. A Royal Caribbean ship sails one-way Alaska cruise itineraries each summer season. These cruises begin in Vancouver, British Columbia and end in Seward, Alaska and vice versa.

Related: Comparing the Royal Caribbean ships sailing to Alaska

One-way Alaska cruises are 7-nights and visit 4-5 destinations in Alaska’s Inside Passage before (or following) a crossing through the Gulf of Alaska to Seward. A one-way cruise means you can visit Alaska’s top inland destinations and Inside Passage cruise ports.

There are a few ways to combine a cruise with a land tour of Alaska. Many passengers opt to book the land portion of their Alaska trip through Royal Caribbean as part of their overall cruise fare. 2-6 night tours are offered through Alaska’s interior, visiting destinations such as Talkeetna, Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, and Seward.

Alternatively, you can choose to sightsee on your own in Alaska before or after your cruise. Renting a car, campervan, or RV is common for many travelers, or you can travel via the Alaska Railroad. Several tours are offered to Denali National Park and Reserve from Anchorage as well if you’d prefer an organized option without booking through Royal Caribbean.

More Alaska tips & tricks:

Best cabins to book for an Alaska cruise

06 Dec 2022

One of the first decisions you’ll make when planning an Alaska cruise is selecting a cruise ship cabin. Everything from tiny studio rooms to two-story suites are available to book, but it can be challenging to find the best cabin for your Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska.

Let’s take a look at the best cruise cabins for an Alaska cruise to fit any budget, travel party, and vacation style. Knowing which cabins are available–and at what price–will help you determine which cabin will suit your vacation best.

Best cabin for a budget traveler: Interior

Cruising to Alaska on a budget? An interior cabin may be your best bet. While some cruisers may swear by a balcony cabin on an Alaska cruise, an interior cabin will give you the most bang for your buck.

Interior cabins have no window or balcony, and they’re often smaller than most other cruise ship cabins. These cabins are usually several hundred dollars cheaper than balcony rooms, making them an excellent value on a cruise to Alaska.

Pros of an interior cabin on an Alaska cruise

Many passengers who book inside cabins do so because they don’t plan on spending much time in their cabin. With so many activities and entertainment options around the ship, it’s possible that you’ll only visit your cabin to sleep, shower, and change.

Therefore, saving money on cruise fare allows for more wiggle room in your budget to spend on extras like shore excursions, dining packages, and other pre-cruise add-ons.

Related: I tried the best inside cruise ship cabin hacks to see how well they worked

Many of Alaska’s excursions are truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences, whether a helicopter ride to a glacier or traveling on the famous White Pass & Yukon Railway in Skagway. These excursions can cost hundreds of dollars, so you may want to put your vacation budget toward these experiences instead of an upgraded cabin.

Alaska glacier scenery

One other plus of cruising in an interior cabin is that you’ll find it easier to fall asleep. You may experience 18 or more hours of daylight in Alaska during the summer months. Trying to keep to a normal sleep schedule when it’s still light outside at 10 PM can be difficult, but you won’t have to worry about this in a pitch-black interior cabin!

Cons of an interior cabin on an Alaska cruise

The biggest drawback of cruising to Alaska in an inside cabin is that you won’t have views of Alaska’s scenery out the window or balcony.

It’s worth noting, though, that even though interior cabins don’t provide private views of Alaska’s scenery, you’ll often find better views from other areas of the ship than you would from a balcony.

Related: Ultimate Alaska cruise guide

People watching glaciers on Alaska cruise

Most balconies only face one side, meaning you’re often seeing only half of the scenery as you sail through the Inside Passage. When you cruise to Alaska in an interior cabin, you tend to spend more time watching scenery from the pool deck and other more panoramic venues onboard.

Another con is that interior cabins can be much smaller than balcony rooms. Some interior cabins, for example, only have a small chair instead of a couch, and there is little walking room.

Spacious ocean view, balcony cabins, and suites can provide much more living space, which is especially helpful when traveling with kids or a larger group.

Virtual Balcony cabins

If you’re cruising on either Quantum of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas to Alaska, all interior cabins feature a “virtual balcony”. These virtual balcony cabins have a floor-to-ceiling television screen projecting a real-time view from outside the ship.

Virtual balconies are a nice benefit for those who want to save money by sailing in an interior cabin but still want to know what the scenery looks like outside. 

Best cabin for families: 2 connecting rooms

If you’re traveling with kids on an Alaska cruise, we recommend booking two connecting rooms instead of one room. Connecting rooms are two cruise cabins with a door in between, which can be opened to connect the rooms together. Connecting rooms are available for interior, ocean view, and balcony cabins.

One of the biggest perks of connecting rooms is extra living space. Cramming into one room with a sofa bed or pullman bunk beds is not necessary with connecting rooms. Plus, you’ll also have an extra bathroom which is helpful when traveling with kids and teenagers.

Related: Here are the absolute best cruises for families

More often than not, the price difference between two connecting rooms versus staying in one room is quite reasonable. Sometimes, in fact, the price for two connecting rooms is actually cheaper than booking four guests in one cabin.

Let’s take a look at a Quantum of the Seas sailing to Alaska in September 2024. I priced out the cost for one room versus two connecting rooms for two adults and two kids in an interior cabin:

  • 1 room: $2,632
  • 2 connecting rooms: $2,146

In this example, the cost of two connecting rooms is around $500 cheaper than staying in one room! While this type of deal does not always occur, there’s no doubt that booking two connecting rooms in this example offers a much better value.

Best cabin overall: Balcony cabin

The best option for most passengers cruising to Alaska is a balcony cabin, as it gives you the chance to enjoy Alaska’s nature from the comfort of your own private outdoor space.

Balcony cabins are usually around 180 square feet (not including the balcony), which is a comfortable size for most passengers. The balcony has a set of chairs along with a small table, making it the perfect place to relax with a view.

Related: Guide to balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean

Some cruisers are adamant that a balcony cabin is a necessity on an Alaska cruise, but others are unsure of whether they should pay extra to upgrade from an interior or ocean view cabin to a balcony. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros of a balcony cabin on an Alaska cruise

Alaska’s scenery is breathtaking, and you’ll find gorgeous mountain views outside nearly the entire sailing. Having a private balcony to enjoy the views is, undoubtedly, a marvelous addition to your Alaska cruise vacation.

Imagine sipping warm hot chocolate while watching glaciers pass by from the privacy of your balcony. Or perhaps enjoying a cocktail in the evening as the sun sets behind Alaska’s mountains. You can experience all of this–and more–in a balcony cabin to Alaska.

Another plus is the extra space a balcony provides. Whether you’re traveling with your spouse or with kids, it’s beneficial to have extra room to spread out, even if it is a bit chilly!

Cons of a balcony cabin on an Alaska cruise

Alaska balcony

Balcony cabins are more expensive than interior or ocean view cabins, and you’ll often find the price difference between these categories more pronounced on an Alaska cruise due to high demand for balcony cabins.

To put this into perspective, I priced out the cost for two adults to sail in either an interior, ocean view, or balcony cabin on a July 2024 Alaska cruise on Ovation of the Seas. Here were the results:

  • Interior: $2,647
  • Ocean View: $2,809
  • Balcony: $3,699

As you can see, a balcony is around $1000 more than an interior and $900 more than an ocean view cabin in this case. And while prices can change from day to day, you can usually expect to pay significantly more for the comforts of a balcony cabin.

Related: How to plan a Royal Caribbean cruise on any budget

Another con of a balcony cabin on an Alaska cruise is that the weather will usually be quite chilly outside, even in the summer months. You may find it too cold to relax on the balcony and stick to watching scenery from indoor spaces instead, thus lessening the value of the balcony.

Best cabin for luxury: Loft Suite

If you’re sailing to Alaska on a Quantum Class cruise ship, look no further than a loft suite. These spacious suites feature two stories with massive floor-to-ceiling windows providing unbeatable views of Alaska.

Related: Royal Caribbean suites guide & review

While these suites are always in high demand, cruising in a Loft Suite can be extra enjoyable on an Alaska cruise, where you’ll have the best views of the state’s mountains, glaciers, and fjords out the window.

There are four loft suites available: the Sky Loft Suite, Grand Loft Suite, Owner’s Loft Suite, and Royal Loft Suite. Each suite is part of the Royal Suite Class, with the Sky Loft Suite in Sky Class and the others in Star Class.

Pros of a loft suite on an Alaska cruise

It’s hard to find things not to love about a loft suite on Royal Caribbean. Not only will you stay in the most spacious, luxurious cabins, but you’ll have access to the elusive benefits that come with the Royal Suite Class.

If staying in a Star Class suite, for example, you’ll have access to a Royal Genie, a crew member that acts as your personal concierge and magic maker during your time onboard. You’ll also receive a Deluxe Beverage Package, Unlimited Dining Package, VOOM internet, and other perks to enjoy throughout the cruise.

Related: My advice for someone using a Royal Genie on a Royal Caribbean cruise

When cruising to colder climates, it’s common to spend more time relaxing and less time rushing from activity to activity onboard. Loft suites can truly be your home away from home on an Alaska cruise, and you’ll likely find yourself spending more time than ever in your cruise cabin.

Cons of a loft suite on an Alaska cruise

The most obvious con of staying in a loft suite on an Alaska cruise is the price. Loft suites are, unsurprisingly, quite expensive, with cruise fares as high as $20,000 common for the largest loft suites.

Considering you can book an interior cruise cabin to Alaska for as little as $1,500 (or even less), booking a loft suite is certainly way more expensive.

Other cabins to book for an Alaska cruise

Outside of the cabins listed above, there are a variety of other stateroom categories to book for an Alaska cruise.

Before booking an interior cabin, check the price for an ocean view. The price for an ocean view cabin versus an interior is often only $100-300 extra, and the benefits of natural light and scenery out the window can be well worth the cost for some cruisers.

Traveling solo? Consider booking a studio room, as these cruise cabins are built for just one passenger. While small, booking a studio cabin means you can avoid paying a single supplement fee on your cruise fare, which leads to fantastic savings.

Studio on Anthem

Related: Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Single and Studio staterooms

In addition, don’t assume you have to stay in the biggest and most luxurious suites on an Alaska cruise. Outside of the impressive loft suites are many other suite categories, including Junior Suites, Grand Suites, and Owner’s Suites.

These suites can still provide a lavish cruise experience without forking away $20,000!

Lastly, consider an aft facing balcony cabin if sailing on a Radiance Class ship to Alaska. These cabins face backward and provide some of the best views from the ship from your private balcony.

Truthfully, there’s no right or wrong cabin to pick for a cruise to Alaska, so weigh the pros and cons of each type of cabin before booking. Regardless of whether you sail in the cheapest interior cabin or most opulent of suites, any Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska is sure to be a memorable vacation for all onboard.

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