Cruise lines are changing the way you can see the great Alaskan wilderness—here are the ones to sail this year.
In Alaska, the landscapes seem infinite, the attractions larger than life. And the best way to experience many of them is from the water. Thanks to an influx of small-ship newcomers and returning lines, you have a wide range of options for an Alaskan cruise. Find the trip that fits your taste.
The cruise line (one of AFAR readers’ favorites) enters Alaskan waters for the first time in the company’s 22-year history. In May 2019, the 930-passenger Viking Orion, sets sail. Ten-night summertime itineraries between Vancouver and Seward highlight Viking’s entertaining excursion options such as dogsled rides with Iditarod huskies in Seward and gold panning in Juneau. Back on board, passengers enjoy sleek Scandinavian design, ample alfresco dining, and a snow grotto in the spa. From $5,299/person.
Distinguished by its Old World elegance and white-glove service, Cunard sails to Alaska for the first time in 20 years in 2019, with a series of 10-night round-trip Vancouver voyages in May and June aboard the revamped 2,081-passenger Queen Elizabeth. More than 140 shore excursions are offered on its Inside Passage circuit. Travelers will be joined onboard by a naturalist, members of the Huna Tlingit people, and an Alaskan fisherman or fisherwoman. From $1,899/person.
Windstar Cruises returned to Alaska in 2018, following a 27-year hiatus. In 2019, 11- and 12-night sailings (round-trip from Vancouver or between Vancouver and Seward) aboard the intimate, all-suite 212-passenger Star Legend pair signature onboard cushiness (the James Beard Foundation designed the culinary program) with elements of expedition-style cruising, including kayak and Zodiac tours and a team of knowledgeable naturalists, glaciologists, and historians. From $3,499/person.
Lindblad’s newest expedition ship—the upscale, 100-guest National Geographic Venture—plies Alaskan waterways come May. Family-friendly seven-night voyages between Juneau and Sitka offer active wildlife- and nature-focused excursions via kayaks, paddleboards, and Zodiacs. Lindblad received special permits to sail Glacier Bay and allow passengers to hike and kayak in the Tongass National Forest. Native Tlingit cultural interpreters and certified photo instructors add context and depth. From $6,890/person.
The 90-passenger SS Legacy from UnCruise Adventures returned to Alaska in 2018. Seven-night round-trip voyages from Juneau include a day in Glacier Bay, but other than that have no predetermined port calls: In true expedition style, stops are instead driven by weather, wildlife, and whims. A floating platform off the back of the ship allows for the quick launch of skiffs, kayaks, and paddleboards for further exploration. From $4,095.