A Holland America Line cruise ship arrived at an Alaskan port carrying a dead whale on its bow.

Work is currently being carried out to determine what killed the juvenile fin whale, which is an endangered species.

The whale was spotted just after 5am local time on Sunday on the bulbous bow of the ms Zaandam as it prepared to dock in Seward.

Julie Speegle, a spokeswoman for the fisheries section of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the Associated Press the whale was towed to a beach near the port.

She also said the death may not have been a result of the of a ship strike and it could have been already dead in the water.

A spokeswoman for the cruise line said the company was saddened by the incident, adding that Holland America Line has a comprehensive programme to avoid striking whales and was not aware of whales in the area.

“Our ships have clear guidelines on how to operate if whales are sighted nearby, which include altering course and reducing speed as required,” she said.