How Much Does an Alaskan Cruise Cost? – What to Budget

Looking to go on an Alaska cruise? For those that are unfamiliar with an Alaskan cruise cost, we outline what you can expect and any incidentals you may not be aware of.

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An Alaskan cruise cost can range between $600 – $10,000 per person. This is dependent on the type of cruise, the length of stay, and the room choice.

When going on a cruise, it is a wise idea to budget a little extra for onshore excursions, shopping, and any additional activities. We will provide an overall indication of what an Alaskan cruise will cost, plus give you an idea of the incidentals.

Planning out the budget isn’t as simple as accommodations, food, and excursions. There are many incidentals you may encounter both on and off the ship. Obviously, you want to be prepared because no one wants to run out of money or go over their budget.

Cruise Fares (All Prices in USD)

Cruise line tours tend to cost more per night than a cruise. This is due to lodging costs. Plus, transportation costs in Alaska are high, and there are some activities included. Cruise tours run between 9 – 14 nights, which feature a seven-night cruise with bus- or train-based tours through the interior and south-central Alaska.

Cruise tour costs for Royal Caribbean will range from $371-$413 per person for a five-to-eight-night cruise. Meanwhile, AlaskaCruises ranges from $899-$1,799 per person. The stays range from 9-13 nights.

The Alaska cruise season runs from May to September. The most popular time to go to Alaska is during the months of June to August. Since there is a higher demand during this time of the year, you can expect to pay more for cruise fares.

It should be noted that sailing on older or smaller ships may not necessarily mean a cheaper fare. Since small ships are easily able to fit into more Alaska ports due to size, the demand for smaller ships is greater than for larger ones.

Cruises should be booked as soon as it is decided that you want to go to Alaska. Waiting for prices to drop doesn’t usually pay off. Fares tend to increase as the departure date approaches.

Cabin Prices

Cruise prices to Alaska are continually changing. This holds true even for the same itinerary and ship. When ships sell out, fares will increase. Additionally, if one itinerary isn’t selling enough, prices will drop.

Prices are also dependent on the time of year. If you go during colder months, prices are lower than for mid-summer excursions. Furthermore, inside cabins are cheaper than ones containing a balcony. Your choice in suites ranges from mini-suites–a roomy cabin with a balcony–to lavish multi-room/deck accommodations. The fares will reflect your cabin choice.

Balcony Cabin on Alaskan Cruise
Photo Credit: Maridav / Shutterstock

On a large cruise ship, fares will range according to the following:

  • Suites: $250/person per day. For a couple, prices range from $3500+/week.
  • Balcony Cabin: $100 – $300/person per day. Couples will spend $1,400 – $4,200/week.
  • Outside Cabins: $75-$200/person per day. Couples can expect to spend $1,050 – $2800/week.
  • Inside Cabin: $50 – $150/person per day. Each couple will pay $700 – $2,100/week.

Furthermore, if you are traveling with your family aboard a Disney cruise, the price will be higher than cruise lines like Norwegian and Caribbean.

Various ships have different availabilities when it comes to booking a stateroom. For example, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas contain more balcony staterooms than smaller ships like Radiance of the Seas or Enchantment. Balcony staterooms may be more affordable on larger ships.

Flight/Airfare

Airfare is often overlooked when booking a cruise. Cruisers need to consider not only booking their cruise but how they will get there as well. This all depends on your location.

If you are close to the Seattle cruise port, you can bypass airfare by either renting a car, taking a taxi, or calling an Uber. On the other hand, if you live on the eastern seaboard, you may pay $500 – $1,000 for each person on one-way flights to Anchorage or Vancouver.

Alaskan Flight
Alaskan Flight (Photo Credit: Catharine Pierce / Shutterstock)

Cruise lines that sail roundtrips from Vancouver or Seattle tend to cost less when it comes to airfare than cruises that are only one way going from Canada to Alaska. If saving money is your goal, consider how the itinerary may impact your airfare.

Another benefit is that you can use your credit card rewards or frequent flyer miles to book flights. This is a great way to save money on your overall cost.

Hotel Stays

This is another cost if you are flying to your destination a day or two early or staying in Alaska once the cruise ends. Rates vary based on the type of hotel you decide to stay in. Kayak reports the average daily price in Anchorage is from $150 USD (May) to $249 (August).

Adventures and Shore Excursions

Experts recommend budgeting an extra $1,000 – $1,500 per person for excursions. This will allow you to experience an unforgettable vacation and exceptional itinerary from the time you board to the time you depart.

This is ideal for a seven-day cruise. It will allow you to experience whale watching in Juneau or Icy Strait, dog sled rides in Skagway, helicopter rides, train tours, or flightseeing tours in Ketchikan. There are always different excursions available at various ports. Don’t forget to plan for these.

Shore Excursion in Alaska
Shore Excursion in Alaska (Photo Credit: shorex.koss / Shutterstock)

When trying to plan for excursions, remember there is flexibility in costs. Budgets range depending on the type of excursion. For example, city tours in most ports may cost approximately $75. In contrast, you can spend $600 to participate in an extended helicopter ride or dog sledding tour.

To give you an idea of the cost of excursions, we checked Holland America Line’s top choices as the cruise line is popular in the region. Its excursion costs are listed as follows:

  • Wilderness Sea Kayaking Adventure (Sitka) – Starts at $179.95, appx 3 hours long, meals included
  • Best Of Sitka: Otters, Raptors & Bears (Sitka) – Starts at $189.95, appx 5 hours long, meals included
  • White Pass Summit Scenic Railroad (Skagway) – Starts at $139.95, appx 2:45 hours long, no meals
  • Mendenhall Glacier & Juneau Tram (Juneau) – Starts at $89.95, aprx 4 hours long, no meals
  • Dog Sledding & Glacier Adventure By Helicopter (Juneau) – Starts at 659.95, 3:15 hours long, no meals

These are just a few of the costs you might incur on an excursion in Alaska. It’s best to be prepared for these added costs if they are not already included in your itinerary. There are also higher-end excursions that offer a unique chance to see Alaskan scenery from a different vantage point.

Cruise Ships Docked At Skagway Alaska
Photo Credit: Nenad Basic / Shutterstock

Mendenhall Glacier by Helicopter and Guided Walk takes guests up in the air in a helicopter. It explores the Tongass National Forest prior to landing on Mendenhall Glacier. After it lands, visitors put on glacier boots for a guided tour. The cost for this is $339 per person.

Read Also: IDEAL Things to Do in Juneau, Alaska

There are some cruises that offer a choice of what activity you want to participate in. You can select what you want to do and pay for it beforehand.

Touring by Yourself

If you want to save money, you can choose to go exploring by yourself. Many Alaskan ports are a brief walk from the main areas in town. There you can find saloons, restaurants, historical areas, nature, and museums to view.

There is also the opportunity to book excursions at a cheaper price. Instead of taking a helicopter to a location, you can take the bus for a reduced fare.

Port Taxes and Fees

While these are sometimes included in the cruise price, they may be an added expense. If they aren’t included, budget an extra $100 – $200 for this expense.

On-Board Entertainment

Some entertainment may be included in the ticket price. However, there are certain lines that may charge extra. Cruise lines typically offer spas, casinos, and other forms of entertainment onboard. Some of these may cost extra.

Beverages

Check your package to see if alcoholic beverages are included in your cruise. Some itineraries contain all-inclusive alcoholic packages, while others do not. Pay attention when ordering drinks so that you know how many you’ve had. Be aware of how many drinks your plan covers to ensure there are no surprises.

Meals

Budgets for cruising can vary by activity level and dining while onboard. There are cruises that include meals. However, you may want to consider putting aside extra cash in case you want to experience local cuisine. Juneau is one such place.

Recently, Juneau has been under massive growth and has received an explosion in new restaurants ranging from eclectic food carts to fine dining.

Restaurant in Alaska
Restaurant in Alaska (Photo Credit: Debbie Ann Powell / Shutterstock)

Furthermore, if you are planning on doing physically active excursions or multiple activities, you will want to see as much of the area as you possibly can. You may not have time to return to the ship just to eat a meal. If you have a busy itinerary, it will be best to eat out so that you don’t miss a moment of whatever port you are in.

While this may not be possible at all ports, it will be at the vast majority. If you are budgeting for local restaurants, the price will range from $12 – $30/meal, depending on the cuisine.

Make sure when you are booking your cruise that meals are included. This may not be available for all cruises. Some ships have dining on board but the cost is not included in the ticket fare. These cruises tend to have a lot of restaurants available onboard, but again, you will need to have money to cover the costs.

Shopping

If you travel to Southeast Alaska, you will encounter many gift shops. Items range from erasers to clothing to jewelry. In terms of jewelry, there are many options with streets completely lined with stores. This is the one product that allows guests to negotiate on price. Prices begin quite high, so ensure that you have brushed up on your bartering skills.

Things to do in Ketchikan, Alaska
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

Also, consider that when shopping in Alaska, prices will be higher. This is to compensate for shipping the items to the remote location of Alaska.

Gratuities

This is something that everyone engages in but often forgets to budget for. Every line places daily tips on your bill for housekeeping and dining staff. While you won’t encounter everyone who is involved in making your cruise memorable, it is advised to pay at least the suggested amount.

Gratuities run $14 – $19 for each person, each day. Cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises currently include tips in cruise fares along with other luxury liners.

Final Words

When trying to figure out your Alaskan cruise cost, there are many things to factor in that you may not have initially realized. There may be airfare and hotel costs in addition to the cruise fare, depending on where you live. You may have to stay in a hotel either before or after the trip. Be sure that you plan well as sometimes there are delays on cruise ships.

Be sure that when booking airfare and hotels you don’t leave it to the last minute. You want the trip to go as smoothly as possible so leave nothing up to chance. You want to have a smooth, well-planned cruise, not be stressed out the entire time.

Worth Reading: IDEAL Things To Do in Anchorage, Alaska

While cruise fare and cabins are obvious factors in booking a cruise, there are always extras. Pay special attention to what is included in your itinerary and what you would like to do so that you don’t get caught short-handed on cash. While travelers frequently go over budget, you want to make sure that you have enough money to really enjoy the trip.

Part of this cost includes some unexpected costs like onshore dining, gratuities, entertainment and activities, and excursions. These are things people tend to forget about but that can quickly add up.

Going to Alaska can be a fun and memorable experience, especially in the summer months. Start planning soon and carefully estimate your costs. Once you have the funds, book your cruise promptly as they tend to fill up quickly. Then, sit back and enjoy your trip.

How Much Does an Alaskan Cruise Cost

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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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