Guide to Alaska Cruise Ports (With Map)

Alaska offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, along with fascinating cultural and historical landmarks.

This makes it the ideal location for a cruise – provided you aren’t looking to sunbathe too much, anyway!

NCL ship in Ketchikan, Alaska

If you like the idea of seeing the beauty of Alaska from the water, or you want to explore multiple towns in one journey, then an Alaskan cruise is the ideal option.

In terms of itineraries and ports of call, there are some locations that all the major cruise lines go to, as well as hidden gems reserved for smaller ships and luxury cruise lines only. And in this guide, I’ll take you through them all!

How Many Cruise Ports Are in Alaska?

As of 2024, there are 26 ports in Alaska that have cruise ships making a port visit planned for the next year or two. There are a couple of additional ports that have been used previously too, but they no longer have any visits scheduled.

The active cruise ports for Alaska are (in order of popularity/number of visits):

  1. Ketchikan
  2. Sitka
  3. Juneau
  4. Icy Strait Point
  5. Skagway
  6. Haines
  7. Seward
  8. Kodiak Island
  9. Dutch Harbor
  10. Wrangell
  11. Petersburg
  12. Aleutian Islands
  13. Nome
  14. Valdez
  15. Chichagof Island
  16. Baranof Island
  17. Cordova
  18. Kupreanof Island
  19. Anchorage
  20. Whittier
  21. Metlakatla
  22. Homer
  23. Admiralty Island
  24. Kuiu Island
  25. Klawock
  26. King Island

Where Do Alaska Cruises Depart?

Most Alaskan cruises depart from one of four ports on the western coast of North America – either Seward or Juneau within Alaska itself, or from Vancouver in Canada or Seattle in the US. Some cruises depart from further afield, including ports in Hawaii or Australia.

Typically, you’ll be looking at flying into one of those four major ports though, unless you’re booking an Alaskan cruise as part of a longer itinerary, incorporating other destinations too.

Map of Alaska Cruise Ports

Here’s an Alaska cruise ports map, so you can see where each destination is (including some that are a little more remote).

Map of Alaska Cruise Ports

Now, let’s look at some information about each of the cruise ports in Alaska, as well as a list of which cruise lines call at each one…

1. Ketchikan

Port of Ketchikan, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • Holland America Line
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • Princess
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • UnCruise Adventures
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Windstar

Ketchikan is the busiest of the Alaska ports for cruise ships, and with good reason. It has a wealth of activities to enjoy, including a famous collection of authentic totem poles at various sites.

Visitors can enjoy seaplane tours of the region including seeing the Misty Fjords and spotting wild bears, while there are some excellent restaurants along the pier serving fresh seafood caught locally.

2. Sitka

Port of Sitka, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • Holland America Line
  • Hurtigruten
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • Princess
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • UnCruise Adventures
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Windstar

A port city on the west of Baranof Island, Sitka is a quieter location than the bigger ports of Ketchikan and Juneau, but still one of the more popular Alaskan cruise ports.

It offers plenty to explore, including the National Historic Park with traditional Native American artworks, and the Raptor Centre where injured birds of prey are treated before being released back into the wild.

3. Juneau

Port of Juneau, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • Holland America Line
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • Princess
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • UnCruise Adventures
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Windstar

The capital of the state, Juneau is a major cruise and fishing port and this is reflected in the fantastic excursions and the great seafood restaurants that visitors can enjoy. Popular trips include exploring the Mendenhall Glacier area on foot or via various water sports activities.

There is also the option to tour the gold panning sights of the region or take on a wildlife excursion via helicopter to see brown bears in their natural habitat. Dog sledding, scenic tram journeys, museums and more continue the incredible selection of excursion options.

If you prefer to explore on your own, Juneau is very walkable, so you can just step off the ship and wander around quite easily.

4. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah)

Port Icy Strait Point Hoonah, Alaska
Photo Credit: Icy Strait Point Hoonah, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • Holland America Line
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • Princess
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • UnCruise Adventures
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Windstar

Icy Strait Point is the main area to explore from the Hoonah port. There are a number of things to explore here, including a museum and stores related to the local fishing trade. But the main attraction is the zip line.

It offers stunning views across the forest and the port area, landing right back at the cruise terminal, where you can enjoy a post-ride snack or visit the Adventure Center for even more thrilling activities.

5. Skagway

Holland America Line MS Noordam in Skagway, Alaska
Holland America Line MS Noordam in Skagway, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Disney
  • Holland America Line
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • Princess
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Silversea
  • Viking Ocean Cruises

Situated at the northern tip of the Inside Passage, guests will have enjoyed a stunningly scenic approach to Skagway before disembarking to explore for the day.

The most popular attraction in the region is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, while the town itself still consists of authentic buildings from the gold rush times.

6. Haines

Haines, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Cunard
  • Hurtigruten
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • Princess
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • UnCruise Adventures
  • Windstar

Haines is the quintessential Alaskan port. With a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, a range of outdoor activities available as excursions, and visiting wildlife, including orcas, sea lions, and seals, there are many things to enjoy. 

In terms of man-made sights, Fort William/Port Chilkoot has barracks and officer housing that now operate as restaurants or stores, and the Alaska Indian Arts Centre features live demos from local craftsmen.

7. Seward

Silver Shadow docked in Seward, Alaska
Silver Shadow docked in Seward, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Hurtigruten
  • NCL
  • Oceania
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Silversea
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Windstar

A busy port, Seward serves as the homeport for a large number of cruises in Alaska. It’s also home to the Alaska SeaLife Center – one of the biggest and best aquariums in the world.

Nearby, you can also explore the Exit Glacier and the Kenai Fjords National Park, while around the city, visitors can also book onto a small-boat cruise to spot wildlife such as puffins, whales, and otters.

8. Kodiak Island

Port of Kodiak Island, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Holland America Line
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Hurtigruten
  • Oceania
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Silversea
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Windstar

The town of Kodiak on Kodiak Island is far from a major port, yet it’s popular with cruise lines due to its beautiful scenery. It is surrounded by glaciers, and it is home to a huge wildlife refuge covering most of the island and home to the brown bear.

If you’d rather stay near the shore, you can enjoy a small boat or kayak trip around the harbour area.

9. Dutch Harbor

The MS Roald Amundsen on the quay in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Hurtigruten
  • Oceania
  • Ponant Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Silversea
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Windstar

Dutch Harbor is a small but important port, known primarily as one of the most important fishing ports in the whole of the US. Indeed, it is the location where the popular TV series Deadliest Catch was always filmed.

It isn’t the most touristy place, so visits tend to focus on the local heritage, including military ruins and hikes along trails first used thousands of years ago by native Unangans.

10. Wrangell

Reliance Dock, Wrangell, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Hurtigruten
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • Oceania
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Windstar

Wrangell is the name of the island and the main port town where cruise ships dock. 

While much of the town’s heritage was burned down in a fire in the 1950s, there is still plenty to explore, including a preserved tribal house on the nearby Chief Snakes Island, and a museum that documents the gold rush history of the region.

11. Petersburg

Petersburg, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • American Cruise Lines
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Hurtigruten
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • Windstar

Petersburg is only accessible to smaller ships, which helps to create an off-the-beaten-track vibe – bigger ships focus more on nearby Sitka or Juneau, giving Petersburg a less ‘touristy’ feel.

Wander the dock to see the local fisherman at work, or book a guided tour of the nearby scenery in the hope of spotting the resident wildlife.

12. Aleutian Islands

Aleutian Islands

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Hurtigruten
  • Ponant
  • Silversea

Consisting of five archipelagos, this collection of islands offers some rugged natural beauty and is great for anyone with an interest in bird-watching. Hikes around the islands showcase the crashed planes and other debris from World War II battles.

13. Nome

Nome, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Hurtigruten
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • Ponant
  • Silversea

Nome is a picturesque town with many of its gold rush buildings still standing intact, making for a very scenic walk as you explore.

The town was actually named in error – a British officer marked a map with “? Name” next to the location, and this was later misread as “C Nome” and became “Cape Nome”.

14. Valdez

Port of Valdez

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Holland America Line
  • NCL
  • Silversea
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Windstar

Valdez is the home of the Keystone Canyon and is nestled amongst the Prince William Sound.

The town has plenty of gold rush history to explore, but most people tend to opt for an excursion focussing on the natural wonders of the area – including kayak trips to see the glaciers, whale watching boat trips, and more.

15. Chichagof Island

Chichagof Island views

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Hurtigruten
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • UnCruise Adventures

Chichagof is one of the largest islands in the whole of the US, with some incredible mountain and forest scenery.

Ships will either anchor or Point Adolphus, particularly when the waters are rife with feeding whales, or they will dock at Hoonah where guided tours are available on foot or by seaplane.

16. Baranof Island

Baranof Island sunset

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • UnCruise Adventures

While most cruises to Baranof Island dock at Sitka, there are also some itineraries that explore lesser-visited parts of the island too.

These small ship excursions give you the chance to see some of the quieter communities, which mostly revolve around the seafood trade – with chances to sample the local cuisine.

17. Cordova

Cordova, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Hurtigruten
  • Lindblad Expeditions
  • UnCruise Adventures

Traditionally visited only by the Alaskan-based cruise line UnCruise Adventures, Cordova is now opening up to other small cruise lines to offer scenic tours of the nearby glaciers, along with land excursions focussing on the Spanish heritage of the settlement.

18. Kupreanof Island

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
  • Ponant

A scenic, forest-dense island, Kupreanof has two port towns, with most ships opting to anchor at the town of Kake.

Visitors may enjoy tours to spot black bears and bald eagles, while there is a 60-foot totem pole worth seeing too.

19. Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Holland America Line
  • Hurtigruten
  • Lindblad Expeditions

Anchorage was previously one of Alaska’s busiest cruise ports, but few ships have returned after the events of 2020. Ships instead prioritise calls in nearby Seward or Whittier.

The best excursions focus on the abundance of beautiful parks in the area, including Resolution Park, Eklutna Historical Park, and Earthquake Park. Expect stunning scenery with guided tours filling in the fascinating heritage of the region.

20. Whittier

Whittier, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Holland America Line
  • Princess

Whittier is a unique port of call as it is only available for guests who are willing to disembark and travel to Anchorage for their flight home, or for guests on back-to-back cruises sailing return to Vancouver.

A small port with just 290 residents, there are tours available to explore the Prince William Sound, the Portage Glacier and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

21. Metlakatla

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Silversea

Metlakatla is the port town for Annette Island, home of the sole remaining Alaskan Indian reservation. Silversea is the primary cruise line visiting, offering float plane excursions to the Misty Fjords and guided tours showcasing the local Tsimshian culture.

22. Homer

Aerial view of Homer, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Windstar

Homer is a busy town on the Kenai Peninsula, and its most prominent feature is the Homer Spit – a gravel bar where ships will dock.

The main attraction of the town is the visitor centre run by the coalition of the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve and the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

23. Admiralty Island

Admiralty Island, Alaska

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • UnCruise Adventures

Ships visiting Admiralty Island dock at the small port town of Angoon. Visitors can learn about the varied wildlife calling the island home (including the highest density of brown bears in the US), and the mines that hold gold, silver and other metals.

24. Kuiu Island

Pier/Tender: Tender

Cruise lines visiting:

  • UnCruise Adventures

Kuiu Island is a small island situated between Kupreanof and Baranof, with a population of just 10 people!

It has scenic walks to enjoy, along with an active lighthouse to spot on your visit. 

25. Klawock

Prince of Wales Island

Pier/Tender: Pier

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Oceania

Klawock hosts a new cruise port, and while it has only attracted one cruise line so far, there is promise for the future. The town will serve as the main port for Prince of Wales Island, with excursions primarily focussing on small-boat tours of the surrounding islands and inlets.

26. King Island

King Island coastline

Pier/Tender: Non-landing

Cruise lines visiting:

  • Ponant

This tiny island is uninhabited and offers dramatic scenery along with many exciting bird species. The one Ponant cruise visiting the island can’t land, but instead, the ship will sail around it and offer plenty of bird-spotting opportunities. 

What Are the Best Ports To Visit on an Alaska Cruise?

Any Alaskan cruise will be special, but the ports of Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau and Icy Strait Point offer a fantastic balance of natural beauty and rich heritage. Kodiak Island is a little smaller but is great for spotting wildlife, while the smaller ports visited by luxury ships offer a calmer side of Alaskan life.

No matter which ports your ship visits, you will enjoy a cross-section of everything Alaska has to offer – beautiful glaciers, the history of the gold rush, and the chance to see whales and other breathtaking creatures.

Just be sure to book your excursions in advance, as many of the more unique experiences will sell out quickly in the bigger ports.

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To Conclude

There are so many things you can see or do in Alaska that you’d need a couple of cruises just to tick most of them off.

There are a core set of ports that most of the major cruise lines always visit, but if you want to get off the beaten track then smaller ships and luxury cruise lines are the way to go.

If you need some help with choosing a ship for your Alaska cruise, then check out this guide next: The 11 Best Cruise Ships For Alaska (According to Real Reviews).

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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