Top 7 of the Best Alaskan Cruises for Families

Looking for the best Alaskan cruise for families? Finding one suitable for your needs isn’t a difficult task. Plus, an Alaska cruise can be the opportunity of a lifetime.

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Alaska – from Glacier Bay National Park to the Icy Strait Point to the Hubbard Glacier – radiates the serenity of nature thanks to its beautifully breathtaking scenery.

An Alaskan cruise is one the entire family will love, and there is something for everyone. If you are considering a leisurely Alaskan cruise, here are the best ones to consider for your family.

Top 7 Best Alaskan Cruises for Families

When booking an Alaska cruise, you will need to consider the ages and tastes of everyone involved. Depending on how many people are traveling with you, this may be a monumental task.

Teenagers may or may not appreciate a Disney cruise. They may love Disney to some extent, but they may feel they are too old for this type of cruise. Furthermore, if you are taking the extended family, seniors may experience mobility issues when boarding the ship.

Just like all children are different, everyone’s tastes will have a wide range. We provide ample options for everyone to equip you with the cruise the entire family will enjoy.

Blending Tradition With Modernism: Celebrity Cruises

If you want to take the extended family on an Alaskan cruise, then Celebrity Cruises will provide a wonderful experience that you will remember for decades to come. They have three ships dedicated to Alaskan cruises and offer a multitude of choices.

Celebrity Cruises creates a blended version when it comes to attractions. Their belief is that there is more to Alaska than just myths and legends. Therefore, they have decided to blend the old traditional elements of this area.

Additionally, they have combined wilderness attractions with urban life to create a well-rounded appreciation for all that Alaska has to offer.

Celebrity Eclipse in Alaska
Photo Courtesy: Celebrity Cruises

Voyages depart from Seattle, Washington; Seward, Alaska; and Vancouver, British Columbia. They range from 7-11 days in duration departing from various ports. 

If you enjoy nature or the great outdoors, you will appreciate Dawes Glacier, Hubbard Glacier, Inside Passage, and Tracy Arm Fjord. Guests will enjoy watching majestic icebergs jutting out from the sea and the splendor of snow-capped mountains. 

If you enjoy history, you may want to go to Icy Strait Point which features a completely restored salmon cannery originally built in 1912 that was converted to a museum. For the adventure seeker, this same area contains a 5,330-foot-long ascent with a 1,300-foot ride on the ZipRider. 

With the various ports, families will find excursions to hiking trails, historic town life, adventures, and experiencing once in a lifetime opportunity by observing various forms of wildlife or by going dog sledding. Whatever you choose, you will receive a well-rounded trip blending the traditional with the modern. 

For Nature Lovers: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line tailors more to nature when it comes to their Alaskan cruises. Most cruises are 5-14 days in duration. The longer cruises may be more advantageous to families as they permit a longer duration at various ports. 

Ports of departure for this cruise are in Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Seward, Alaska.

Norwegian Cruise Line will take guests through many Alaskan natural wonders such as through various glaciers and rainforests. You can explore Alaska in its natural beauty through the eyes of local guides which will allow you to completely view all the variations in animal life that Alaska has to offer.

Norwegian Encore in Alaska
Photo Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line

There are also cruises that combine both Hawaii and Alaska, providing some fun in the sun combined with exploring all the splendor of Alaskan beauty. 

An added benefit of this cruise being so nature-based is the that allows guests to see expansive sea views. Accompanied by a full-service bar, adults can relax and enjoy the scenery.

The entire family will experience fascinating shore excursions allowing them to further their knowledge about Alaska’s wildlife, nature, and people.

Most Family Friendly: Disney Cruise Lines

Disney is often associated with amusement parks. Yet, Disney Cruise Line is renowned for entertaining cruises that offer fun for the entire family. Since launching in 1998, this cruise line has changed the way families do cruises. 

Each cruise in its fleet delivers an ultimate family experience. Cruise ships set sail from Vancouver and involve a 5-9 night stay on board.

Disney Wonder in Alaska
Disney Wonder in Alaska (Photo Credit: been.there.recently / Shutterstock)

Disney Cruise Lines packs outdoor adventure with picturesque scenery to provide an enchanting experience. This cruise line caters more towards the diversity of family over most others.

Guests can choose between rough and rugged outdoor adventures like zip lining, adventure kart expeditions, rappelling adventures, Hummer excursions, or ATV expeditions.

There are various food excursions as well, ranging from fishing/wilderness dining, salmon bakes, and other fun activities. There are several science adventures, steam train adventures, horseback adventures and more. Their excursions encompass more family-friendly aspects than most others and offer a better diversity in activities. 

Also, even while on board the entire atmosphere is completely kid-friendly. 

Best for Adventure: Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises are perfect for big families as their staterooms are larger and include kids’ clubs, spas, a variety of dining options, pools, and themed events. A Princess Cruise guides families through the untamed beauty that is Alaska.

Princess Cruises in Alaska
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

Their Alaskan cruises provide guests with an adventure-packed voyage through various glaciers, national parks, and wildlife. Guests can enjoy Cruisetours which involve the cruise itself, a scenic train travel direct to your lodging, and spending three nights in a Princess Wilderness Lodge located near many famous national parks. 

Ports of call include College Fjord, Endicott Arm, Glacier Bay National Park, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia. Activities tend to be on the traditional side with historical tours, fishing/wildlife expeditions, and the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. 

Their cruises offer a ticket to adventure in the middle of wildlife, national parks, and glaciers.

Where Natural Beauty Marries Metropolis: Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International offers Alaskan cruises that every family enjoys. Royal Caribbean offers a plethora of family-friendly excursions and activities. Guests can enjoy dog sled tours, whale watching, or flightseeing. Cruises range from 5-12 nights. They depart from Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Seward, Alaska.

Serenade of the Seas in Alaska
Photo Credit: Bjoern Wylezich / Shutterstock.com

Royal Caribbean marries metropolitan pursuits, wildlife discovery, outdoor living, and history all into one with their tours. Tours to Anchorage involve guests exploring diverse offerings in cuisine ranging from burger places, craft brews, cosmopolitan and classic steakhouse cuisine. 

You can explore the Alaska range by visiting Denali. This area not only boasts North America’s tallest peak but is central to the history of native people who have occupied the land for centuries. This is a great place to explore a rich heritage and observe naturally roaming wildlife. 

However, Alaska isn’t just known for its natural beauty. It is also well-known for its gold rush as well. Fairbanks is an area where adventure seekers visit. 

Best Educational Experience: Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions partnered with National Geographic to provide an excursion of a lifetime. 2009-2012 Travel + Leisure award winner for Small Ship Cruise Line, they are known for nature-focused Alaskan cruises and culture. But cruising Alaska isn’t just educational on this cruise line – it’s also memorable. 

Families can explore Alaska together and create memories to last a lifetime. Whether you are encountering incredible wildlife, going hiking, kayaking, or any other experience, there is something everyone will enjoy. 

Lindblad Expeditions
Photo Credit: Arild Lilleboe / Shutterstock

However, this isn’t just a regular trip to Alaska. Lindblad Expeditions provides unique excursions for children as well, enhancing their overall knowledge, appreciation, social savvy, and skills. On this cruise, it isn’t just the individual experiencing Alaska; it incorporates the entire family sharing a bonding experience that will be remembered forever. 

Expeditions involve watching polar bears come so close you can almost touch them, using tandem kayaks, experiencing hands-on science, nature lessons provided by naturalists, and more. Guests can explore wildlife above and under the sea. They can be immersed in heritage and culture along with various types of folklore.

The best part about this cruise is that it combines nature, science, and education in a live, real manner that makes it pertinent to those on board. Children will learn not only by reading or being taught but will experience all the wonders that Alaska holds first-hand. It gives them an appreciation like no other. 

Best for Diversity of Activities: Carnival Cruise Line

As one of the largest cruise lines in the world, Carnival Cruise Line has the best cruises to Alaska suitable for the entire family. Carnival offers an exceptional experience both on board and at various ports of call, creating the most memorable family trip imaginable. 

There are many activities that families can engage in and at various physical activity levels. Guests can view the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show and then feast on crab and drinks to round out the evening. Discover breathtaking glaciers by helicopter, go dog sledding, or ride in a mountaintop gondola.

Carnival Miracle in Alaska
Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

For adventure, go on a rafting/hiking adventure on the Chilkoot Trail, rappel and rock climb up a mountain, or go on a self-guided Jeep adventure. If physical activity isn’t your thing, there are various cultural events you can attend, go sport fishing, do a Bike and Brew with a glacier view, or enjoy a salmon bake in Skagway.

On this cruise line, there is no shortage of things to do in terms of activity. Guests can choose whether to relax and take in the wildlife and scenery, go on various tours, or experience life at full throttle by taking an adventure tour.

Every destination has something to see and learn. The best part is that guests can choose from a variety of experiences to suit their family’s needs.

Alaska is so vast and contains many natural wonders. It has glaciers, volcanoes, wildlife, and shorelines. Cruises to this destination are incomplete unless you explore the various ports.

Skagway

This area contains fewer than 1,000 residents, yet it is an important port of call for the cruise lines. Despite a small-town charm, it has a large city culture.

This area is known for violet spotted fields, Victorian architecture, winding wooden railways, steep hiking trails, and snow-capped mountains. Guests can experience dense rainforests and relive the Klondike Gold Rush.

Juneau

Rolling mountains tower over quaint waters. This is a popular port of call because it is close to Mendenhall Glacier. The orcas are a beautiful site, making this a must-see stop on your Alaskan cruise. Juneau contains inland adventures with panoramic views and large gold mines.

Icy Strait Point

Culture and history enthusiasts will appreciate this area as it is a charming town full of Alaskan culture. Guests can witness a tribal dance, view wildlife at parks, and go on a ZipRider.

Ketchikan

This town contains white, small boats dotting the shoreline. It is a place where grizzly bears battle fishermen for salmon as it is the Salmon Capital of the World.

This is a popular port for those who love seafood. Guests will enjoy Misty Fjords National Monument and Tongass National Forest.

Sitka

Sitka is packed with history. Guests can join New Archangel Dancers or simply go fishing. The Sitka National Historical Park allows people to view seasoned artisans as they bead, carve, and do metal work. View St. Michael Russian Orthodox Cathedral to see hand-painted biblical scenes, captivating interiors, and stained-glass windows.

Final Thoughts

These are a few of the more popular destinations that Alaska cruises have to offer. There are many places that are being explored, and there is a greater diversity in the level of activities that each cruise ship offers.

Guests should select the cruise line that best reflects the desires and interests of their entire family. Whatever you choose is sure to be memorable.

When looking for the best Alaskan cruises for families, these cruise lines are all impressive yet also diverse. Whether your family is adventurous, enjoys nature, or simply wants to relax, Alaska has something for everyone to enjoy.

Haiyan Ma
Haiyan Ma
I absolutely love cruising with my favorite ports of call being in the Caribbean. As a former crew member for Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Line I can continue my passion by sharing my experiences with readers. Find out more about us here.

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