Next year is set to be the year of the Alaskan cruise. New piers, restaurants, zip lines, bear-viewing platforms and gondolas are all on offer.
The number of Alaska cruise ship passengers will break new records in 2020 for the fifth consecutive year, with Cruise Lines International Association Alaska suggesting at least 1.44 million cruise ship passengers are expected next year, up 6 per cent.
Ten new ships and 29 additional port calls are on the cards, meaning keen pricing and lots of choice.
From budget to blow-your-mind, here are the latest incentives cruise lines are offering to lure you to Alaska’s coolest ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan in 2020.
Princess offers a range of enriching Alaska cruise vacation options to see the Great Land’s glaciers, wildlife and national parks from the perspective of contemporary ships, exclusive rail service and Princess Wilderness Lodges. With both roundtrip and one-way Alaska cruises you can experience stunning views of glaciers, explore beautiful port cities and trek through Alaska’s untamed beauty.
Princess’ Discovery at SEA partnership between Discovery and Animal Planet offers “Recommended” excursions or an “Exclusive” tour that you can only experience with Princess.
A seven night Inside Passage cruise departing Seattle includes Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.
Outdoor Adventures: Enjoy what is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise, with activities you won’t find anywhere else. Go for a ride in an off-road vehicle, kayaking, hiking, nature watching, flightseeing, ziplining and more.
Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show: This celebration of a bygone era is a rip-roaring good time. World champion athletes compete in springboard chopping, buck sawing, axe throwing, log rolling and the thrilling 50-foot tree climb.
Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary: This 40-acre rainforest reserve is home to bald eagles, black bear, seals and a variety of birds, a live eagle display and a master Native totem pole carver at work.
Creek Street: This historic boardwalk was a Red Light District during the Gold Rush. Now, it’s a quaint place to tour Dolly’s House museum, view totem poles, and shop at locally owned stores and galleries.
Interior room, from $1179 per person, based on double occupancy, including taxes, fees and port expenses.
Carnival Cruise Lines
A seven day cruise departing Seattle includes Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Carnival offers an abundance of onshore excursions and as an extra incentive for impulse buyers, has partnered with “Financing Powered By Uplift” allowing passengers to book with zero deposit and up to 24 monthly repayments.
Skagway – Six shore excursions including 4×4 zipline, helicopter, railroad and glacier exploration with the White Pass Scenic Railway with a touch of class.
Juneau – Seven shore excursions including rainforest trails, dogsledding. Experience three of Alaska’s top attractions on this ultimate combination tour – a “whales guaranteed” wildlife cruise, a wilderness island salmon bake, and the mighty Mendenhall Glacier.
Ketchikan – Six shore excursions including sea plane, skywalks, fishing tours and adventure carts – sit back, strap yourself in, and hit the accelerator for the off-road adventure of a lifetime. Mountain trails through a timber harvested area offer the perfect venue for an off-road challenge.
Seven day cruise From $699 per person departing Seattle, based on double occupancy in an interior room. Taxes, Fees and Port expenses are $261.64 and additional to the prices displayed.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
NCL have announced the construction of a new double ship pier in Ward Cove, Ketchikan, Alaska. The pier will be built to simultaneously accommodate two of Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,000 passenger Breakaway Plus class ships and is expected to be ready for the 2020 Alaskan summer season.
In addition, the company recently won a competitive bid for the last waterfront parcel in greater Juneau, Alaska.
With five ships now cruising Alaska, guests have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the onboard experiences on offer including a two-level race track and laser tag; available on board Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy. For a more intimate ship experience, the newly revitalised Norwegian Sun has renovated spaces and staterooms. Guests can sip a cocktail with fantastic views from the cosy new Spinnaker Lounge or take a dip in one of the five hot tubs.
A second cruise pier in Icy Strait Point, Huna Totem’s world-class cruise ship destination in Hoonah, Alaska, providing better access to upgraded retail, restaurant and shore excursion amenities, including the world’s longest ZipRider zip line, the most accessible coastal brown bear viewing platforms in Southeast Alaska, whale watching and fishing excursions.
A new VIP lounge with expansive views of Elliott Bay and the addition of two new elevated passenger boarding bridges to provide easy and comfortable passenger boarding.
Guests can choose from Beverage Package, Speciality Dining, Shore Excursions Credit, a WiFi Package and a special package where they can lock in a reduced price for friends and family. Book a Suite, a Concierge stateroom or The Haven, and you get all 5 packages for free, saving you up to $3,400 in overall value.
Seven day Inside Passage cruise From $1,440 per person departing Seattle, based on double occupancy in an interior room.
Luxury cruise line Silversea Cruises is offering guests included business class air on 13 awe-inspiring voyages in the Arctic and Russian Far East in 2020. In addition, guests will also enjoy complimentary transfers between airport, hotel and ship; one-night pre cruise accommodation; and included shore experiences with guided Zodiacs.
On a seven day Alaskan cruise from Vancouver to Seward and return more than 100 shore excursion options are offered.
Silversea’s Alaskan cruise offer “open jaw” itineraries, allowing you to spend more time in each port. Or explore a more remote, untouched Alaska on an expedition that takes you further inside the Inside Passage.
Silver Explorer departs Nome (Alaska) on a twelve day roundtrip sailing through the wilds of Russia on 10 August 2020. Guests can enjoy tundra walks in almost infinite daylight, cultural demonstrations, and birding.
Each Silversea expedition ship features specialist experts who lead immersive experiences ashore for guests, in addition to guided Zodiac excursions, hikes, and nature walks ashore – all of which are included in the fare.
All-inclusive fly/cruise fares start from AU$13,410 per person, based on double occupancy in an Adventurer Suite, including an Early Booking Bonus saving of 10%.
Aboard Silver Cloud and Silver Explorer, guests enjoy ocean-view suites, gourmet cuisine, the personalised service of butlers, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, champagne, wines and spirits served throughout the ship; a stocked in-suite beverage cabinet; and complimentary Wi-Fi.
The offer is applicable to bookings made by 30 November 2019 for a selection of voyages aboard Silver Explorer and Silver Cloud.
Premium line Holland America’s Land+Sea Journeys let guests extend their Alaska adventure into the wild interior of Alaska and the Yukon. The 9- to 14-day Denali Land + Sea Journeys are some of the most authentic, immersive ways to explore the wonders of Denali National Park and include stays in the exclusive McKinley Chalet Resort at the Park’s entrance. And they’re the only cruise line that takes guests into the Yukon Territory, with 9- to 18-day Yukon and Denali Land+Sea Journeys.
Every ship in Alaska features an onboard naturalist to engage with guests throughout their cruise and lead informative talks, giving a different perspective and adding to guests’ understanding of Alaska.
Holland America have also partnered with BBC Earth to bring new ways to experience the world’s natural wonders. Through the innovative programming, guests will be taken closer to the ocean and the natural world through groundbreaking concerts and films.
A nine day Denali land and sea package including Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in an inside cabin, departing Vancouver, starts from $1759 per person based on double occupancy, including taxes and fees.
Known as ‘The Thinking Person’s Cruise’, Viking’s cruise itineraries are destination focused, culturally enriching and carefully curated; developed with curious, experienced travellers in mind.
One complimentary shore excursion is included in every port of call as well as free Wi-Fi (connection speed may vary), alternative restaurant dining at no extra charge, 24-hour room service, beer, wine & soft drinks with onboard lunch & dinner, 24-hour specialty coffees, teas & bottled water, access to top-rated spa & state-of-the-art fitness centre, self-service launderettes, port taxes & fees, ground transfers with Viking Air purchase.
As guests cruise this pristine wilderness of misty fjords, lush forest and gleaming walls of ice, pan for gold like prospectors of old, meet local Tlingit who have fished these waters for centuries, and hear tales both tall and true of a region where a Wild West spirit still feels very much alive.
Viking guests can discover Alaska’s “first city,” as it is known to travellers coming by ship from the south. Ketchikan was home to the Tlingit long before the arrival of white settlers, as guests can see in the many old and new totem poles that grace the town. Learn about Alaska’s native legacy and discover the legends behind their designs during the included tour. If guests would like to venture beyond the town, perhaps visit the Misty Fjords National Monument or Tongass National Forest, where seaplanes and 4×4 vehicles go beyond the beaten path.
Visit one of the oldest fishing resorts in Alaska, embark on a thrilling jet boat ride and savour a seafood feast. Head to Clover Pass Resort, where guests will meet their captain and board their vessel. Then, set off on an adrenaline-fuelled wildlife adventure, witnessing soaring eagles, porpoises and seals as well as other marine life. The captain will steer the boat to the Silverking Lodge, where they can enjoy an array of waterside activities. Peek through the underwater dock camera and observe anglers bringing back their catch. Or, stroll along the elevated boardwalk through Tongass National Forest, where guests can find the largest red cedar tree known to these parts. Venture back to the lodge for a hearty seafood feast.
Eleven days Alaska and the Inside Passage from $6995 per person, including Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway including seven guided tours.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.