Alaska is set for a record season – driving prices down and making this a great time to try the Great Land, travel agents have told Cruise Passenger.

CLIA Alaska is predicting a massive 1.65 million cruisers across 50 different ships and 700 sailings to the Alaskan wilderness over the upcoming season.

This is a significant increase from even pre-pandemic levels, with 2019 recording 1.3 million visitors across 37 ships. 

Leading cruise agent and owner of Deluxe Travel & Cruise says numbers are so strong from Aussie travellers that they’re already booking in some for next year. 

“I have about the same amount of passengers booked as pre-pandemic years, which is fantastic, and even more for next year already.

The pandemic has shifted our travel focus to get those absolute bucket list destinations ticked off ASAP.  We realise that we may not have the opportunity later.  Who doesn’t have Alaska at or near the top of their list?”

As far as particular cruise lines, Ms Summerhayes suggests Holland America Line are the experts in the region.

“Personally, I can recommend Holland America as I sailed with them last year to Alaska.  They have been cruising Alaska longer than any other cruise line and are privileged to have Glacier Bay National Park Rangers onboard while cruising through there.  

“This adds such a wonderful aspect to your Alaska cruise, as they explain areas in detail over the loudspeaker, and also walk the decks answering questions in person.   Having the rangers onboard made this special day, even more amazing!”

As far as particular deals to look at, Ms Summerhayes has a package deal, that also wraps in a Norwegian Fjords sailing with Cunard, as well as a host of recommendations on where else to look.

I have a HUGE package deal which includes a 10-night Alaskan cruise aboard Queen Elizabeth, seven night Trans-Atlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 and a 7 night Norwegian Fjords cruise aboard Queen Victoria with five nights in Vancouver, 3 nights in Las Vegas, 3 nights in New York City, 2 nights in Southampton, 2 nights in London plus transfers from $9598 per person Interior and from only $12,195 for Balcony

“Other than that, there is some really great cruise-only deals with Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Holland America.  Silversea’s Door to Door fares, they’re even greater value than ever and we have fares under $1000 a night including flights, transfers and shore excursions.”

Princess in AlaskaCruise lines have been rapidly expanding their offerings across the remote region, such as NCL thats sails for a longer season and more frequently, with a range of itineraries from seven to 11 days.

Chad Berkshire, NCL’s senior vice president of revenue management said guests have been request more chances to visit The Great Land, and it was time for the cruise line to listen,

The feedback from our guests in recent years has been that they simply want more opportunities to see Alaska, and so we listened to them.

“We wanted to offer a product that allows for not only more time in port to experience the local culture but also visit ports that guests may not otherwise get to see.”

The Norwegian Bliss will be cruising from April 15, with the final cruise ending on October 22, marking a seven-month season. 

The other good news is that increases capacity seems to leading to lower prices. Truist Securities reported that prices this year have dropped 7.5% and travel advisors such as Adam Wolf from Adventure Horizons are noticing the same.

“My bookings for Alaska are definitely way up for this year, as the demand with my clientele is there.

“”But I do think there are too many ships sailing around Alaska, so the supply of available staterooms is plentiful. Not sure if the cruise lines will be able to fill every room on each sailing, unless they reduce rates for available cabins closer to the sailing date.”

Mr Wolf also says he’s seeing more last minute dashes to Alaska, as booking patterns change.

“We’ve been pacing ahead of 2019 even with a steady increase in inventory.

“We have noticed some changes in booking patterns since pre pandemic, notably that travelers are booking closer to the date of departure, and we are seeing online traffic and travel advisor-sourced bookings increase notably.”

Best deals for 2023

Holland America – 18-Day Yukon+Denali – Noordam – departs May 24 – from $6229pp

Having sailed in Alaska for more than 75 years, Holland America know the region inside and a cruise/tour combination like this one take you right into the Alaskan wilderness.

You’ll combine a cruise with a three-day stay in Denali and adventure into Yukon, getting a more in-depth look into Alaska’s history, wildlife and natural beauty than the average cruise passenger.

Norwegian Cruise Line – eight-night Alaska: Hubbard Glacier, Skagway & Juneau – Norwegian Sun – multiple departures 2023 – from $2123

This eight-night sailing comes in at a magnificent price, with a beverage package, shore excursion credit, specialty dining and wi-fi also included.

You’ll see the famous Hubbard Glacier, explore Alaska’s gold-mining history at Skagway, visit the worlds longest zipline and much more.

Seabourn – nine-night Alaska Fjords Odyssey – Seabourn Odyssey  – departs June 9 – from $8699

If you’re looking more a luxurious way to soak in Alaska, Seabourn has you covered with all-inclusive luxury.

This voyage will have a particular emphasis on Fjords, meaning you can expect to be surrounded by the towering, snow-capped beauty of Alaskan Fjords for much of your sailing. The smaller ship size will get you into some exciting ports and after adventurous shore excursions you’ll always be back in opulence.

Celebrity Cruises – seven-night Southbound Glacier – Celebrity Millennium – multiple departures 2023 – from $782 

While not as luxurious as Seabourn, Celebrity is still a premium line yet is offering extremely cheap deals on Alaskan sailings this season.

You’ll set off Southbound in pursuit of glaciers, with all sorts of classic Alaskan wildlife and tours along the way. You’ll only have one sea-day without porting and even then you’ll be soaking up the beauty of the inside passage.

Hurtigruten Expeditions – 14- night Alaska and British Columbia, Wilderness, Glaciers and Culture (Southbound) – MS Roald Amundsen – departs June 19 – from $7034

If you’re rather looking for the expedition experience, you can sail with Hurtigruten and enjoy not just the amazing surrounds, but also throw yourself into them with a range of amazing expedition acticities.

The science labs and expedition team on board will also offer you insight into the environment around and whats being put in place to protect it.