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6 Best Alaska Cruise Tips for Travelers

One of the most unique, exciting, and memorable cruise vacations you could embark on with your family or significant other is a cruise to Alaska. Traveling along the Inside Passage in luxury and comfort, you’ll get the chance to visit many magnificent ports of call, as well as view the true splendor of Alaska. From immense glaciers to beautiful fjords, diverse wildlife and natural wonders, an Alaskan cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Of course, a cruise to Alaska is a bit different than a typical Caribbean cruise. It helps to know how to best prepare, so that you can enjoy every moment. Consider these Alaska cruise tips:

carnival splendor cruising past snowcapped mountains to alaska

Pick the Best Time to Cruise to Alaska

The Alaska cruise season typically runs from April through September. During April and May, the daytime temperatures average in the high 40s to mid-50s Fahrenheit, with overnight lows in the 30s-to-40s range.

The summer months are a peak season, with longer daylight hours and average temperatures in the 60s. June is actually the best month to plan a cruise to Alaska, because it offers the longest days, as well as dryer weather.

man wearing a black sweater looking at the natural beauty of alaska through binoculars on a cruise balcony

Book the Right Room

Prior to cruising to Alaska, you want to make sure you book the right room. Booking an interior stateroom will save you money, but an Alaska cruise is one cruise vacation where you’ll be glad you booked a balcony stateroom. With a balcony stateroom, you’ll be able to relax and take it all in from your own front row seat to some of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever see.

woman wearing a red jacket, hiking near a river in the alaskan forest

Reserve Your Excursions

There are a number of excursions you can enjoy at each port of call. However, there are a few that you’ll definitely want to reserve early before they fill up!

Some of the most popular excursions include the nature and wildlife viewing excursions. These offer the chance to see a wide range of wildlife in their natural habitat, including whales, bald eagles, grizzly bears, sea lions, sea otters, and more. Additionally, many also offer a bit of adventure as well, such as zip lining, cruising along Alaska’s coast on your own boat, and hiking alongside glaciers in the wilderness.

woman wearing blue jacket, taking a picture of glaciers through her pink smart phone

Pack Properly

It might be summer when you’re heading off on an Alaska cruise, but don’t pack like it! You’ll be better prepared with clothes suited for fall, and perhaps a little winter gear too. A few areas will be windy and chilly, and it’s a good idea to also bring rain gear, a hat, and gloves.

Because fall and winter clothes can be bulky, consider using the laundry facilities on board your ship. This way you can pack fewer clothes and simply wash them when you have a sea day. And, of course, don’t forget to pack a camera to take pictures of the beautiful sights!

aerial view of ketchikan alaska during a clear sunny day

Where Should You Go in Alaska?

There are many ports of call that you might want to visit on an Alaska cruise. An ideal cruise vacation is to cruise Tracy Arm Fjord and Glacier Bay. Full of natural wonder and quaint seaside towns like Ketchikan and Skagway, you’ll get a firsthand experience of Alaska’s nature, wildlife, beautiful fjords, and impressive glaciers. Other areas to visit include popular destinations such as Victoria, Juneau, and Icy Strait Point.

alaskan king crab legs served on ice bucket with lemon

Try the Local Food

One of the best ways to fully enjoy your Alaska cruise is to partake in the local food and national dishes. From fresh fish caught daily, to unique meat offerings like caribou or moose stew, you’ll find plenty of diverse offerings. If you really want to get a good taste of the local fare, consider a food-themed shore excursion, such as the Taste of Juneau walking tour or the Alaska Fishing and Wilderness Dining experience.


Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.