The 11 Best Cruise Ships For Alaska (According to Real Reviews)

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While the most popular cruise regions in the world will likely always remain the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, there are some amazing destinations beyond those regions, including Alaska.

A white cruise ship docked near a wooden pier with a backdrop of towering mountains under a partly cloudy sky. The serene waters reflect the grandeur of the Alaskan landscape, emphasizing the calmness of the cruise experience.

Alaska is another very popular destination thanks to its incredible sights – the magnificent glaciers, the historic towns, and the varied wildlife, including whales and dolphins.

But an Alaska cruise can be expensive, especially if you’re flying in from further afield. So, to make sure you get the cruise you want, I decided to work out which are the best Alaska cruise ships.

So, let’s take a look.

How I Picked the Best-Rated Cruise Ships to Alaska

A quick note on how I pulled this list together, because there are a couple of important things to clarify.

Firstly, this is not a ranking of every cruise ship that sails to Alaska. If I tried to do that, this guide would be way too long for anyone to read. I stopped counting when I got to 50 ships – it’s a popular region!

So instead, I had to narrow it down, and I decided to focus on the biggest cruise lines, and then choose the one ship from each that visits Alaska most often.

There may be other ships for these cruise lines that visit Alaska and have a better average review score – but that score might be based on cruises to other destinations. The fairest method was to stick to the ships sailing to Alaska most frequently.

There’s one exception – Silverseas’ ship Silver Nova has the most Alaska itineraries, but she’s too new to have accumulated enough review scores, so I’ve gone with Silver Moon instead.

As for those review scores, they’re an average of the customer reviews from, Cruise Critic, and TripAdvisor. This gives the widest range of opinions and means that none of these rankings are based on the biased viewpoint of just one person.

1. Viking Orion

Viking Orion in Alaska
  • Cruise line: Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Average review score: 4.32 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 930
  • Departs from: Vancouver
  • Average cruise price: £460 / $580 per person, per night

According to customer reviews, the best cruise ship for Alaska is Viking Orion, one of the ultra-luxury ships belonging to Viking Ocean Cruises.

Viking’s ships are all quite new and so offer guests beautiful accommodation options and public areas to unwind. The service is outstanding too, but what really stands out is the quality of the excursions. Viking is fantastic for planning unique tours and bringing experts onto the ships to bring each destination to life, which for Alaska is perfect.

Viking’s luxury sailings are expensive enough to price out a lot of cruise passengers, but cruises are all-inclusive with a free excursion in every port too, so you have to weigh up the value against cruises where you’ll pay for a lot of extras. 

2. Seabourn Quest

An aerial shot captures the Seabourn Quest cruise ship navigating through the icy waters of Neko Harbor, Antarctica. Surrounded by scattered ice floes and embraced by snow-covered mountains, the ship's journey highlights the pristine and remote beauty of the Antarctic landscape.
  • Cruise line: Seabourn
  • Average review score: 4.31 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 450 
  • Departs from: Juneau, Vancouver
  • Average cruise price: £520 / $650 per person, per night

Another of the best cruise ships to Alaska from Vancouver, Seabourn Quest also offers departures from Juneau heading in the opposite direction. Consider this carefully when choosing which side of the ship to book for your Alaska cruise.

This is also an ultra-luxury cruise ship, renowned for the outstanding service offered onboard – and the fact it scores so highly with customers shows that this isn’t just an empty promise. Choose Seabourn Quest if you want fine dining, opulent accommodations, and an all-inclusive fare as you explore.

Also, if you want the best small cruise ships to Alaska, Seabourn Quest is the smallest on this list. It is ideal if you hate crowds or enjoy a more intimate atmosphere where guests mingle and share tales of their shore excursions each day. 

3. Celebrity Summit

Celebrity Summit
  • Cruise line: Celebrity Cruises
  • Average review score: 4.08 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 2,158
  • Departs from: Vancouver, Seward
  • Average cruise price: £100 / $125 per person, per night

You won’t find many large or super-size cruise ships in Alaska. They can’t manage the smaller ports and shallow waters. Of the best midsize cruise ships to Alaska, Celebrity Summit comes out on top (no pun intended).

Significantly larger than the ultra-luxury cruise ships in the region, this can also have its benefits. You’ll get better views of the glaciers and scenery from higher decks, and more space onboard to unwind. You’ll also get to enjoy a wide range of premium dining options too.

The average prices for Celebrity Cruises in Alaska are actually some of the lowest for the cruise line, and well below ultra-luxury cruise prices for the region, but remember that you don’t get drinks, tips, WiFi or excursions included, so those will all cost extra.

4. Seven Seas Explorer

Regent Seven Seas Explorer
  • Cruise line: Regent Seven Seas
  • Average review score: 3.96 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 750
  • Departs from: Vancouver, Seward
  • Average cruise price: £740 / $920 per person, per night

Regent Seven Seas’ ships are another option for the most luxurious in the world, and an excellent choice if you want to explore Alaska in style.

With Regent, all of your shore excursions are included (along with tips, all drinks, all speciality dining and more), so once you’ve paid your fare you can just relax and explore the incredible towns and surrounding Alaskan scenery at your leisure. True, it’s a high price you pay, but this is a ship aimed at people who want to feel truly special.

Seven Seas Explorer is also one of the ‘larger’ small ships to Alaska, so it feels even more spacious – perfect if you want to sip a cocktail, soak up the view and feel like you’re on your own private yacht – albeit a big one.

5. Carnival Miracle

The Carnival Miracle cruise ship sails through icy waters, with a striking backdrop of sheer cliff faces. Small chunks of ice float nearby, adding to the sense of adventure in this secluded waterway.
  • Cruise line: Carnival
  • Average review score: 3.93 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 2,124
  • Departs from: San Francisco
  • Average cruise price: £64 / $80 per person, per night

If budget is a major factor when picking your ship for an Alaskan cruise, then consider the Carnival Miracle. She offers a range of cruises from San Francisco, though there are other Carnival ships sailing from Seattle too, if you prefer.

A Carnival Miracle cruise to Alaska is perfect for families or for those who want to balance the amazing experience of the destination with a fun-packed sailing. You’ll be able to enjoy a host of live music and comedy, kids will love the Camp Ocean clubs, and adults can escape to the Serenity Retreat when they need a little bit of peace.

The excursions offered on Carnival Miracle aren’t going to be as unique as those on a more luxurious ship, but you’ll still have plenty of exciting options for exploring the towns and seeing the glaciers up-close.

6. Nieuw Amsterdam

MS Nieuw Amsterdam
  • Cruise line: Holland America Line
  • Average review score: 3.91 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 2,106
  • Departs from: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seattle, Vancouver, Whittier
  • Average cruise price: £185 / $230 per person, per night

One of the best Holland America ships for Alaska is also one of the newest – Nieuw Amsterdam has a fantastic selection of cruise options, including many with additional land tours either before or after you sail, giving you the chance to delve deeper into the region.

Another great advantage of the ship is the choice of destination ports. Along with Vancouver, she offers some of the best cruises to Alaska from Seattle, Anchorage and even smaller ports like Fairbanks – flexibility is always a good thing when planning when and where you’re cruising.

Expect a premium experience onboard – not quite ultra-luxury cruising, but a step above mainstream cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Nieuw Amsterdam is best suited to solo travellers and couples, with more of a focus on relaxation and exploration than ‘fun’ during the cruise itself.

7. Radiance of the Seas

Radiance of the Seas cruising the ocean
  • Cruise line: Royal Caribbean
  • Average review score: 3.85 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 2,466
  • Departs from: Vancouver, Seward
  • Average cruise price: £85 / $106 per person, per night

Radiance of the Seas is one of the best Royal Caribbean cruise ships for Alaska, despite being older than her Quantum-class sisters which also cruise in the region. Radiance offers more itineraries and is smaller too, though it’s worth checking out Ovation of the Seas if you want to experience some of Royal’s more innovative features, including the excellent North Star – perfect for aerial views of the Alaskan scenery.

On Radiance of the Seas, you can enjoy the typical Royal Caribbean experience – one packed with fun activities, great live entertainment, loads of dining options and more. Choose this ship if you want the cruise itself to be just as exciting as the destination.

One of the best features of Radiance of the Seas for a cruise to Alaska is the adults-only indoor pool in the Solarium. Most ships on this list only have outdoor pools, hardly suited to the colder temperatures of Alaska – so if you want to relax poolside, Radiance of the Seas could be the ideal choice.

8. Grand Princess

Grand Princess
  • Cruise line: Princess Cruises 
  • Average review score: 3.82 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 2,590
  • Departs from: Anchorage, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver
  • Average cruise price: £70 / $87 per person, per night

With Princess Cruises, there are several ships offering sailings to Alaska. Grand Princess has the most but not by much – so you have plenty of other options available too, if you’d prefer.

Grand Princess is a good choice for all passengers – solo, couples and families. There’s plenty to do onboard, and the service is very good, but it’s not a party ship and has quite a relaxed vibe onboard. Young kids might get bored, but the Camp Discovery club is popular.

The drawback of Grand Princess is her age – she’s over 25 years old now and despite careful renovation, it does show a little. She’s far from past her best, though, and if you don’t mind the slightly dated decor then she offers a comfortable experience, great as a base for exploring the Alaskan ports.

9. Norwegian Jewel

The Norwegian Jewel cruise ship cuts through the deep blue sea, its hull adorned with colorful, vibrant artwork. The ship, captured in bright sunlight, showcases the leisurely luxury of ocean travel against the vast expanse of the ocean.
  • Cruise line: Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)
  • Average review score: 3.80 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 2,376
  • Departs from: Seattle, Seward, Tokyo, Vancouver
  • Average cruise price: £85 / $106 per person, per night

Norwegian Jewel is another mid-sized mainstream cruise ship offering cruises to Alaska. Similar to Princess, there are actually a number of ships you can choose from for an Alaskan NCL cruise, but Jewel is one of the highest-ranked NCL ships overall too.

While the NCL fleet is generally good for families, Norwegian Jewel is a better choice for adults – when refurbished in 2018 she had her waterslide removed, and new bars were added instead. Still, there isn’t much call for water slides in Alaska.

Choose this ship if you’re a younger traveller or couple who wants plenty of bars and evening entertainment while on your cruise to Alaska.

10. Silver Moon

Silver Moon
  • Cruise line: Silversea
  • Average review score: 3.78 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 596
  • Departs from: Vancouver, Seward
  • Average cruise price: £570 / $710 per person, per night (excl. flights)

The last of the truly ultra-luxury cruise ships on this list, Silver Moon is a stunning ship in her own right, though the new Silver Nova has replaced her as the main ship in the Silversea fleet for cruises to Alaska.

If you want that small-ship, luxury cruise experience for your Alaska trip, this is absolutely one of the better ships to choose. While she may have scored lower than her competitor cruise lines’ ships, this is still a high average score.

The six-star service is exceptional and the excursions are well put together, giving guests incredible insights into Alaska. Silver Moon falls down a little on things to do while sailing, and the food quality isn’t rated as highly as other luxury ships – but guests on the ship have high expectations, so the food is still very good.

Choose this ship if your priority is to relax, and you don’t need an extensive daily schedule while cruising between ports.

11. Regatta

The Regatta cruise ship basking in the golden glow of the setting sun. The calm sea around the ship mirrors the sky, while the distant shores promise an array of natural wonders to explore.
  • Cruise line: Oceania Cruises
  • Average review score: 3.77 / 5
  • Guest Capacity: 684
  • Departs from: Los Angeles, Seattle, Seward, Vancouver
  • Average cruise price: £330 / $415 per person, per night

Oceania’s cruise ships offer a five-star experience – not quite as decadent as some of the ultra-luxury ships sailing in the Alaska region, but a clear step above mainstream cruise lines in terms of service, decor, dining options and more.

Oceania is another cruise line to offer a range of flexible tour options, so if you want to extend your trip with a hotel stay or a land program before or after you sail, it’s easy to find some fantastic options.

Oceania is also one of the best Alaska cruise options for families. Kids won’t enjoy Regatta as much as they might one of the mainstream ships, but the Alaska Explorer Youth Program is enriching and fun – so you can still enjoy a grander ship when travelling with your children.


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What to Look For When Finding the Best Cruise Ships to Alaska

While this guide ranks the best ships for Alaska cruise holidays by real reviews, you can’t just accept that the number one ship is the one you should book.

Cruise lines are very different from each other, and there is no single “cruise passenger” type, so there is no single “Alaska cruise ship” type either.

You need to weigh up the typical cruise experience of each ship alongside the reviews. It’s no good paying for an ultra-luxury ship when you can’t afford it and you hate dressing up formally, just because it’s placed higher on the list.

Other things to consider are the type of staterooms offered – after all, a cruise to Alaska is one where you’re going to want to soak up the views. Do you want a ship with more balcony cabins, or even a suite with an expansive verandah space?

So, I’ve tried to cover the typical dining, entertainment and accommodation options for each ship to help you make up your mind.

Alaska scenery

Final Word

Whether you want to try a luxury small ship cruise to Alaska, or you want the fun and features of a mid-size ship from the likes of Carnival, Royal Caribbean or NCL, there are some fantastic options available.

Don’t rush your decision – there’s an Alaska cruise ship that’s perfect for you, so take your time, read my guides on each cruise line, and you’ll find the one that’s right for your cruise getaway.

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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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