An Alaskan cruise cost can range between $500 – $10,000 per person depending on the length of the sailing, cabin category, shore excursions, and shopping.
You may also need to budget for airfare, hotel stays, and other transportation costs.
When going on a cruise, it’s a good idea to budget more than you think you will need. In the excitement of exploring America’s Last Frontier, you may want to take part in additional cruise tours or purchase a souvenir or two.
We like to budget an additional 20% on top of what we think we will spend during the cruise vacation.
Our guide covers the major factors you need to budget for and approximate an Alaskan cruise cost.
Let’s dive in.
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How Much Does an Alaskan Cruise Cost?
Alaskan cruises cost between $500 – $10,000 per person. The cost of Alaska cruises varies considerably based on several factors.
We’ll cover each of the factors below to help you understand the cost of cruising to Alaska.
The cruise fare is the base cost of a cruise vacation. It includes your accommodation, basic meals, and entertainment on the ship.
Cruise fares vary significantly between cruise lines. And the cruise line you sail with can play a significant role in the total cruise fare.
Mainstream cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Princess Cruises start at around $100 to $150 per person per day.
Luxury cruise lines like Seabourn Cruises and Silversea cruises start at $300 to $500 per person per day.
Disney Cruise Line is in the middle, starting at $150 to $250 per person per day.
The age of the cruise ship also plays a role in how much your Alaska cruise fares cost. Generally, cruise fares are higher for newer cruise ships than older vessels.
And unlike Caribbean cruises, small cruise ships aren’t necessarily cheaper. That’s because smaller vessels can navigate to more isolated regions in Alaska and visit more cruise ports.
In other words, you might save money sailing on a larger ship, but you’ll have fewer options for selecting itineraries and ports to visit.
The Alaska cruise season runs from May to October, with mid-summer being the most popular time for an Alaska cruise.
Cruises with a departure date in May, June, September, or October, as known as sailing in the “shoulder season.” The shoulder season is less popular than itineraries departing in July and August, meaning you can find great deals on cruise fares.
Speaking of deals, we recommend booking far in advance if you’re looking to save money on your Alaska cruise.
Despite what most people believe, cruise fares are the cheapest when they first go on sale. As more passengers book their cabins and the ship sells out, cruise lines raise the price of the cruise fare.
Cruise fares are constantly fluctuating. The same itinerary and ship may sell at very different prices, with departure dates only one week apart.
If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s price differences between stateroom categories.
On a cruise ship, suites are the most expensive cabin option, followed by balcony cabins, oceanview cabins, and interior cabins.
Below is an approximate price you can expect to pay for each cabin category on a mainstream cruise line:
- Suite: $250+ per person per day or $3,500+ for a couple on a 7-day cruise.
- Balcony Cabin: $175 – $300 per person per day or $2,450+ for a couple on a 7-day cruise.
- Ocean View Cabin: $125 – $200 per person per day or $1,750+ for a couple on a 7-day cruise.
- Interior Cabin: $75 – $150 per person per day or $1,050+ for a couple on a 7-day cruise.
An Alaska cruise is one of the destinations we highly recommend upgrading to an ocean view or balcony stateroom.
Alaska is one of the most scenic destinations in the world, and there’s nothing we love more than waking up and sipping coffee on the balcony overlooking the picturesque mountainscape.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a balcony cabin, pay close attention to the cruise ship you choose to sail with.
A new ship like Ovation of the Seas has more balcony staterooms than smaller ships like Serenade of the Seas. New cruise ships are generally more costly, but you can often find more affordable balcony cabins on newer and larger cruise ships.
Don’t mistake overlooking your airfare costs to and from the departure port city. If you live near the Seattle cruise port or Vancouver, Canada, you can bypass airfare by paying for parking at the cruise port or taking a taxi or Uber.
On the other hand, flights from the east coast to the west coast are costly.
You may pay $500 – $1,000 for a round-trip flight to Seattle or Vancouver.
But that’s if you take a round-trip cruise.
Cruise lines offer round-trip and one-way cruises in Alaska. On a round-trip cruise, you’ll depart and ends at the same port of call, usually Seattle or Vancouver.
If you book a one-way cruise, your cruise departs and ends in different ports. One-way cruises often sail to or from Anchorage, Alaska.
The cost of airfare and flights increases if you sail on a one-way trip to Anchorage. Round-trip airfare is almost always cheaper, which is why round-trip cruises are the most popular.
The only downside with round-trip cruises is that you won’t be sailing as far north as you would on a one-way cruise.
If you’re flying to the port city, we highly recommend flying in one or two days before, which means you’ll need to consider the cost of a hotel.
A hotel stay is around $100 per night to $350 per night.
The best way to experience Alaska is through shore excursions. Excursions provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences to explore Glacier Bay, visit Tracy Arm Fjord, try dog sledding, take a helicopter tour, ride the historic White Pass railroad, spot Alaskan wildlife, or search for humpback whales.
Shore excursions in Alaska are more expensive than those in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. But in our opinion, they are worth the cost.
Passengers can spend $750 to $1,500 on shore excursions during a seven-night cruise.
Of course, the amount you need to budget depends on the activities you plan to book. City tours and bus tours are around $85 per person, while helicopter rides and glacier walks can be over $500 per person.
You should plan your shore excursion well in advance of your cruise. The most popular tours can sell out before the cruise begins.
You can view the shore excursions offered through the cruise line on their website or by asking your travel agent.
Booking your cruise tours in advance makes budgeting easier and guarantees you a spot on your must-see adventure.
If you’re not convinced, cruise lines will often raise the prices of shore excursions once you’re on the cruise ship. It’s always best to plan and book your favorite activities before you board.
Cruise vacations are not all-inclusive, so you’ll have to pay extra for alcoholic beverages. If you plan on drinking, you should budget for drink purchases or a drink package.
The drink package isn’t worth it for most passengers, but it helps budget when you know your costs in advance.
It’s important to remember that most cruise lines charge an automatic gratuity on beverage packages and drink purchases, usually 15-20%.
Food and Restaurants
Your regular cruise fare includes basic meals and dining options. But you may want to explore the local restaurants when you visit Alaska cruise ports.
Juneau has become popular in recent years for its explosion of restaurants popping up around the cruise dock. And there’s a restaurant in Sitka that makes an excellent seafood chowder.
If you plan on eating in port, you can expect to spend $12 to $50 per meal.
And while your cruise fare includes dining in the standard restaurants, you may want to try one of the specialty restaurants on the cruise ship. Specialty dining, or for-a-fee dining, is optional but usually provides an upscale dining experience.
An Alaska cruise is one you won’t forget. But you may want to take home a keepsake to remember your incredible journey.
The cruise ports in Southeast Alaska are full of gift shops and souvenir stands.
The prices are a bit higher than the keepsakes in the Caribbean, so it’s good to budget for more than you might expect.
Most of the entertainment on cruise ships is included in the cruise fare. However, some shows, activities, spa treatments, and the cruise ship casino have an added fee.
It’s a good idea to budget some money for entertainment.
A common mistake first-time cruisers make is not realizing that there are gratuities on top of the cruise fare.
Nearly every cruise line adds a daily automatic gratuity to your onboard spending account, split among the housekeeping and dining staff. The gratuity charge varies among cruise lines but is typically between $11-$20 per person per day.
Some cruise lines provide an upgraded cruise fare that includes gratuities with the base cost of the cruise. Princess Cruises Princess Plus and Celebrity Cruises Always Included Fare are two examples.
Many factors influence the total cost of an Alaska cruise. Depending on your preferences, you can expect to pay between $500 – $10,000 per person for a cruise to Alaska.
While an Alaska cruise costs more than a traditional Caribbean or Bahamas sailing, Alaska provides a unique experience you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
From the quaint towns to the incredible people, an Alaska cruise is well worth the cost.