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Alaska Cruises 2014

Plan Your Cruise to Alaska on a Large or Mid-Sized Ship

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Alaska is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world, and is very high on most cruise lovers' list. Some of the most spectacular parts of Alaska can best be seen from the sea.

Alaska cruises normally sell for a higher price than the Caribbean. The Alaska cruise season only runs from May through September, and demand is high. In addition, getting to the ship is often more costly than flying to Florida or other cruise embarkation ports. Some cruise ships are sailing from California ports, which might be a cheaper air fare, but a longer cruise. Summer is the big vacation season in the northwest, and many non-cruisers also choose to head to this beautiful part of the world. The shorter season and high demand add up to a more expensive cruise.

Even though Alaska cruises can be more expensive, the joy of seeing this exciting American wilderness is well worth the extra dollars. Many of the large and mid-sized cruise ships sailing to Alaska include cabins with private verandas. Cruisers go to Alaska to see the magnificent mountains, beautiful bays, and wonderful wildlife (like bears, whales, and sea lions) and to participate in some unforgettable shore excursions. In addition, visitors to Alaska get to experience fascinating small towns like Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway. How better to see all of this than from your own private balcony? In addition to the verandas, ships cruising Alaska often include huge observation lounges and heated indoor/outdoor pools. You don't have to "rough it" to see all that Alaska has to offer!

 

There are two great ways to cruise Alaska--on a large or mid-sized cruise ship of 500 to 3000 passengers or on a small ship of a dozen to less than 500 passengers. Both types of cruises have pros and cons. The larger ships have all the extra amenities you could ever wish for, but an Alaska cruise on a small ship provides a more personal look at Alaska and often a better chance to see wildlife from the ship. Either way, Alaska cruise lines offer something for everyone.

Many of the cruise lines offer "cruisetours", which include both a cruise and a land tour of either parts of the interior of Alaska or western Canada. Those with more time should inquire about these cruisetours, since they often represent a good add-on to your Alaska cruise.

Let's look at the large and mid-sized ships sailing to Alaska in 2014.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Mount Juneau overlooks Juneau, Alaska
Mount Juneau (c) Linda Garrison
The Carnival Miracle sails Alaska for Carnival Cruise Lines in 2014, featuring seven-day Inside Passage cruises. The ship will primarily sail roundtrip from Seattle, with calls at Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria. The Carnival Miracle will also include a day sailing in beautiful Tracy Arm.

Celebrity Cruises

Flying on a helicopter over an icefield in Alaska
Juneau Icefield (c) Linda Garrison
Celebrity Cruises passengers can choose from Alaska itineraries on three ships--the Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Century, or Celebrity Millennium.

The Celebrity Solstice sails weekly Alaska Inside Passage cruises roundtrip from Seattle, with ports of call in Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Victoria and a day cruising in Tracy Arm.

The Celebrity Century sails weekly to the Inside Passage roundtrip from Vancouver, with ports of call in Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, and a day cruising Hubbard Glacier.

The Celebrity Millennium sails one-way between Vancouver and Seward, with ports of call in Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, and a day cruising at Hubbard Glacier.

Celebrity Cruises also offers a cruise/tour land package for passengers who want to extend their time in Alaska.

Disney Cruise Line

Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm, Alaska
Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm, Alaska (c) Linda Garrison
Disney Cruise Line will visit Alaska again in 2014 when the Disney Wonder sails seven-day voyages roundtrip from Vancouver in May through September. Although Disney is best-known for its family cruises, adults will also appreciate the shore excursions and activities Disney has planned.

Holland America Line

Misty Fjords near Ketchikan
Misty Fjords near Ketchikan (c) Linda Garrison
Holland America Line has seven ships sailing Alaska waters in 2014.

The Amsterdam sails both 7- and 14-day cruises of Alaska in 2014, all roundtrip from Seattle. The 14-day cruises venture to ports like Homer and Kodiak that do not have as many cruise visitors as other towns.

The Volendam sails 7-day cruises roundtrip from Vancouver with ports of call in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan. The ship also features a day in Glacier Bay.

The Oosterdam sails 7-day one-way cruises between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage) with ports of call in Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau. The ship also spends a day in Glacier Bay.

The Statendam sails 7-day cruises between Seward (near Anchorage) and Vancouver, with ports of call at Juneau, Ketchikan, and Haines, and a day in Glacier Bay.

The Zaandam sails 7-night cruises between Seward and Vancouver, with ports of call at Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and a day in Tracy Arm.

The Westerdam sails 7-night cruises roundtrip from Seattle. She has ports of call in Victoria, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, and Glacier Bay.

The Zuiderdam sails 7-night cruises roundtrip from Vancouver, with ports of call in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway. The ship also spends a day in Glacier Bay and a day in Tracy Arm.

Holland America also has some fascinating cruise tours that combine a seven-day cruise with a tour of the interior of Alaska.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park (c) Linda Garrison
Norwegian Cruise Line sends three ships to Alaska in 2014. As in the prior year, the Norwegian Pearl sails seven-day Glacier Bay cruises roundtrip from Seattle, and the Norwegian Jewel sails seven-day Sawyer Glacier cruises roundtrip from Seattle.

The Norwegian Sun sails 7-day cruises between Vancouver and Whittier (near Anchorage.) The north and southbound itineraries are slightly different, but both include Inside Passage cruising, stopovers at popular ports of call, and the opportunity to do scenic cruising in Glacier Bay or Hubbard and Sawyer Glaciers.

Norwegian also offers land/cruise options for those who wish to extend their time in Alaska.

Oceania Cruises

Alaskan brown bear with her cubs
Alaskan brown bear with her cubs (c) Linda Garrison
The Regatta of Oceania Cruises returns to Alaska in 2014, sailing 7 to 10-day cruises. Most of the cruises sail between Vancouver and Seattle, while others sail roundtrip from Vancouver.

Princess Cruises

Humpback whales bubble-net feeding in Alaska
Alaska Humpback Whales (c) Linda Garrison
Princess Cruises will feature seven ships offering four itinerary options during the May to September season. The Princess lineup includes Crown Princess, Island Princess, and Coral Princess traveling 7-day cruises between Vancouver and Whittier through the scenic Gulf of Alaska; Pacific Princess sailing 7-day cruises roundtrip from Vancouver to the Inside Passage; Golden Princess and Grand Princess sailing 7-day cruises of the Inside Passage from Seattle, and the Star Princess cruising on 11-day journeys from San Francisco.

Many of the Gulf of Alaska 7-day cruises can be combined into a 14-day voyage since the north and southbound itineraries are different.

Princess also offers many land/cruise combination tours, so those wanting to see parts of the interior of Alaska (like Denali Park), might want to add-on a land extension.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Mountains surrounding Seward, Alaska
Mountains surrounding Seward, Alaska (c) Linda Garrison
The Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Navigator sails all-inclusive cruises to Alaska in 2014. The Navigator primarily sails 7-day cruises between Vancouver and Seward. I sailed this itinerary on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner in late August 2008 and loved the luxury mid-sized ship, the itinerary, and the excursions.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Summertime dogsledding in Alaska
Summertime Dogsledding in Alaska (c) Linda Garrison
Royal Caribbean will send two ships to Alaska in 2014, with departures from Seward, Vancouver, and Seattle. Radiance of the Seas will take guests on seven-night itineraries between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska. Rhapsody of the Seas returns to Seattle on seven-night roundtrip Inside Passage voyages. Royal Caribbean also has cruisetour options that combine well with the Radiance of the Seas' itineraries.

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