I have been to Alaska 3 times in the past 5 years and each time has been a totally different type of trip. Alaska is one of those places that you could even do the same exact trip 3 times and each time will be totally different.
I used to think of cruising as something I only wanted to do somewhere with warm weather so I always balked at an Alaska cruise. I finally decided to cruise Alaska in 2016 and then I wished I hadn't put it off so long. Alaska is a gorgeous place with so much to see and do. It is always chaging too so even if you have been before there is still reasaon to go back again!
7 night Round Trip Seattle or Vancouver
This was what my first Alaska cruise was - technically mine started in Fort Lauderdale and went through the Panama Canal before heading up to Seattle and I added the 7 night Alaska cruise onto that.
This is is the typical cruise that most people will take and it is a great way to try Alaska and see if you like it. This cruise will take you to the main tourist areas in Southeast Alaska but it is sort of just a taste of Alaska. Alaska is so huge that just visiting that small area is just the tip of the iceberg literally. These cruises will generally visit Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway. They will also include some sort of glacier. The best cruises will go to Glacier Bay but those permits are very limited so that isn't possible on every cruise. Other popular options are Hubbard Glacier or Tracy Arm. Either way it is just breathtaking to get to see a glacier up close.
1 Way Cruise - Northbound or Southbound
These can be a 7 night cruise but the best thing to do is a Cruisetour. They will either start in Seattle or Vancouver or end there. The other end is usually Anchorage. This way you get to see the same areas at the 7 night round trip cruises but then you also get further North in Alaska. Adding a Cruisetour onto the cruise gives you the opportunity to really explore Alaska on land. This is the option that will give you the scenic train rides and a chance to get into Denali National Park. My second visit to Alaska was a Cruisetour followed by a 7 night cruise southbound to Vancouver. We started up in Fairbanks and worked our way back down to Anchorage to get our cruise going South. Getting to see more of the land portion of Alaska really gives you a better perspective of how huge Alaska is and how much the weather can vary.
Small Ship Cruise in Alaska
This was my most recent way to see Alaska and this is way to go if you are looking for more of an adventure and less touristy stuff. Our cruise didn't stop at any other towns during our 7 nights. We were in Glacier Bay for 2 days whereas my previous cruise on the big ship only had a few hours to explore it. Small ships can get into smaller areas and closer to wildlife so it is a different experience. These cruises can either go round trip out of an Alaskan port or sometimes they also go one way. Ours was round trip out of Juneau but some will do one way like Juneau to Ketchikan. Those towns you begin or end in will be your option for shopping.
No matter which way you choose to see Alaska you won't be disappointed.
After the year the cruise lines have had it is nice to know that we will still get to see 12 new ships start sailing in 2021! Below I have listed them in order of when they should be starting to sail but that is subject to change. Feel free to sign along!
On the 1st ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - a Ship With No Kids!
1. Viking Venus - scheduled to sail January 2021 she will be the 7th Ocean Ship for Viking with 2 more on the way in 2022. All of the Viking ships are identical and offer only verandah rooms and are adult only. Viking has one of the youngest Ocean fleet with the 1st ship debuting in 2015. Venus will sail the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. All of the Viking Ocean ships do carry less than 1000 passengers putting them in the Small Ship category.
On the 2nd ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - a 2 Story Red Frog Tiki bar and a Roller Coaster!
2. Carnival Mardi Gras - scheduled to sail April 2021 she will bring us the first roller coaster at sea. Yes that is Santa taking a spin on it in the photo at the top. Mardi Gras will be doing Caribbean sailings out of Port Canaveral and she is a mega ship carrying over 5,000 guests.
On the 3rd ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - a 300 Hundred foot North Star, a 2 Story Lime and Coconut bar, and a Glow in the Dark Laser Tag!
3. Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas - scheduled to sail April 2021 she will be the first in the Quantum Ultra Class to sail in the US and Europe. Odyssey of the Seas will sail out of Rome and Fort Lauderdale offering Mediterranean and Caribbean sailings. Holding up to 4,200 passengers she is another mega ship.
On the 4th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - 16 Indoor bars, 5 Unique pools, 2 Cirque shows, and the Longest LED Dome at Sea!
4. MSC Virtuosa - scheduled to sail April 2021 she will be the second Meraviglia Plus class ship for MSC. This will stay in Europe offering cruises in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the Middle East. Another mega class ship that can carry 4,800 passengers.
On the 5th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - A LUXURY YACHT EXPERIENCE, 4 Dining rooms, Aft marina, Infinity pool, and All Rooms Are Suites.
5. Ritz Carlton Evrima - scheduled to sail April 2021 she will be the first the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection.
She will offer sailings in Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Canada/New England, and the Caribbean. That does also mean there are opportunities to do Atlantic crossings on this amazing ship! Evrima is an all suite, all balcony, all inclusive ship. With only about 300 passengers onboard it is a luxurious small ship.
On the 6th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - 6 fine dining restaurants, 100 Suites, 2 Story solarium, Fold out marina, 2 Helicopters, and a Submarine!
6. Crystal Endeavor - scheduled to sail May 2021 she will be the first Expedition ship for Crystal. Endeavor is a purpose built Polar Class yacht, all suite, with attentive butlers and an expedition team. She will sail all over the world but she was built for Antarctica. Just 200 guests onboard means it is a luxurious expedition on this small ship.
On the 7th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - 8 Dining options, Rolling Stone Rock Room, Lincoln Stage Center, BB King's Blues Club, BBC Earth Concert, World Stage theater, and Club Orange!
7. Holland America's Rotterdam - scheduled to sail August 2021 she will be the 7th ship to bear the name Rotterdam. Holland America recently sold the previous Rotterdam as part of the downsizing many lines did during this shutdown. Rotterdam will be the new flagship of Holland America sailing the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mediterranean, and Northern Europe. Carrying just under 2,700 guests I consider her a Mid Size ship.
On the 8th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - 20 bars and lounges, 5D Cinema, Largest interactive water park at sea, a LEGO themed kids club, Full size bowling alley, World's first digital cruise assistant, MSC Yacht Club, and F1 Simulators.
8. MSC Seashore - scheduled to sail August 2021 she is the largest ship to be built in Italy and the 1st of MSC's EVO class ship. This is one of the MSC ships that will sail in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. With over 4,500 guests Seashore is a mega ship.
On the 9th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - 8 Dining options, S.A.L.T. Lab, Cigar Lounge and Bar, Arts Cafe, Live jazz and blues, Zagara beauty spa, Observation library, Fitness center, and a Casino.
9. Silver Dawn - scheduled to sail September 2021 she is the 10th ultra luxury ship to join the Silversea fleet. She will be sailing the Mediterranean and South America. Did you know that Silversea was part of the Royal Caribbean family? With just less than 600 guests onboard she is a small ship.
On the 10th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - The Largest balconies at sea, Only jazz theater at sea, Princess's largest ever thermal suite, The Voice of the Ocean singing competition, Salty Dog Gastropub, Ultimate Balcony Dining, The Princess Luxury Bed, the Sanctuary, Sleep by Princess, and Chocolate Journeys!
10. Discovery Princess - scheduled to sail November 2021 she is the 3rd vessel designed from the ground up with Princess Medallion Class and also the final Royal-class ship. Discovery Princess will sail the Caribbean, Mediterranean, California Coast, Mexican Riviera, and South America. Carrying over 3,600 guests she is a Mega ship.
On the 11th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - More than 20 Specialty eateries all included, At Sea Tattoo Parlor, Private karaoke rooms, Onboard record shop, Immersive entertainment experiences, All fitness classes included, Gentleman's Barber shop, Boxing Ring, Rockstar Suites, No Buffets and No Kids!
11. Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady - recently rescheduled to sail starting November 2021 she will be the second ship for Virgin Voyages, neither of which have had paying guests sail onboard yet. Valiant Lady will sail the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Even though she does have 17 decks only up to 2,770 passengers makes her more of a mid-size ship.
On the 12th ship of 2021 the cruise world brings to us - 24 Zodiacs, 2 Submarines, Double sea kayaks, Mountain bikes, E-bikes, Landing Zone, Expedition Lounge, Constellation Lounge, Near water level Bow Lounge, Guest Experts onboard, All Verandah Suites, and a Discovery Center!
12. Seabourn Venture - scheduled to sail December 2021 she will be the first Ultra-Luxury purpose built expedition ship for Seabourn. Did you know Seabourn is part of the Carnival Corporation? She will stick to mainly polar areas in South American and Northern Europe. With only 132 suites that means just a max of 264 guests onboard this ultra luxury small ship.
Need a quote for traveling anywhere? Click here to start.