By AAA Travel Editor Frank Swanson
September 25, 2019
Well over a million people are on track to book an Alaska cruise this year, and that number is expected to keep rising annually as more and more travelers choose to discover the Last Frontier for themselves. And it’s easy to see why Alaska cruises have proven to be so popular—they combine incredible wilderness scenery with the ease and comfort of shipboard travel. It’s like staying in a nice hotel that brings the majestic landscapes of Alaska to you.
And what landscapes! At just about every turn there’s a camera-ready vista that’s difficult to describe: dense forests of dark green fir trees, sparkling waters flecked with sea ice, snowcapped peaks and breathtaking steep-sided fjords. If there were a star of this fantastic show, it would be the blue-tinted glaciers that seem close enough to touch from the deck of your ship.
Wildlife sightings are another highlight of an Alaska cruise, and you’re likely to hear the excited cries from fellow passengers pointing out whales spouting nearby or bears on the rocky shoreline or bald eagles gliding overhead. Another big part of the Alaska experience are the ports you’ll visit along the way—Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway—quaint towns in picturesque settings where you’ll get a feel for area history, local Native American culture and the lives and livelihoods of everyday Alaskans.
Cruise lines have developed Alaska itineraries catering to a wide range of clientele, which means you’ll have plenty of options to choose from (size of ship, ports, shore excursions, etc.). Having so many choices can be a little overwhelming, but don’t worry. Here are AAA’s tips for choosing the right cruise for you and answers to common questions.