9 answers

Alaskan Cruises

I'm in the process of planning a family cruise. We want to do an Alaskan Cruise. Any recomondations on cruise lines? NOT disney cruises, we go to Disney a lot and I'm Disney'ed out! And anyone who's been on an Alaskan Cruise anything that's a must do/see? My kids will be 8 and 2 at the time of the cruise. TIA
Added: we live on a beach so beaches have no appeal. My son LOVES nature and loves looking at books about Alaska and whales, and all that which is why we decided on Alaska

What can I do next?

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I did an REI trip to Alaska. It wasn't a cruise but it was absolutely amazing. REI also has cruise trips, but they may have an age requirement.

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We did the Norwegian cruise to Alaska a few years ago. Left from Seattle and stopped in Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway (as well as Victoria Island in Canada, very briefly).

In Ketchikan, do NOT miss the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour. It was the highlight of our cruise. If you've seen Deadliest Catch, then it's even more of a must-see. They take you out on the water and show you how a crab fishing boat works. The crew is very entertaining. They throw out fish to attract eagles to the boat. It was amazing! We had a ton of eagles swooping down in front of us. Really incredible. The kids will also have the chance to get their picture taken with a huge crab.

You can check out more reviews online for some additional details or look for their official site.

We did do a whale watching tour but, by law, they have to stay far away from the whales (unless you're lucky and one just happens to pop up nearby; we weren't lucky). Bring binoculars because you'll need them. We honestly saw better views of whales closer to our ship as it was traveling. We also saw bears on shore from the cruise deck.

Glacier Bay is another highlight. You can watch the glaciers melting/breaking off right in front of you. On Norwegian, they had park rangers board the ship and lead a discussion about Glacier Bay. It was really informative. I'm guessing they do this on other cruise lines, too.

We love Norwegian because it's very casual. There's no assigned seating for dinner, no set dinner times (you can just show up when you want but do need reservations for the specialty restaurants) and a casual dress code. We have done a couple of Norwegian cruises now and had great experiences both times.

Have fun!

3 moms found this helpful

Ignore the people below who said that Alaska is boring for kids. We went on a Carnival cruise to Alaska with our then nearly 2 year old and we and she all LOVED it. In Juneau we took an excursion on a whale watching boat tour. Wonderful. In Sitka we didn't plan anything and ended up taking a very long walk through the National Forest there and then taking a tour through the Raptor Center there that rehabilitates injured Eagles and other birds. That was our favorite day and our two year old spent the day picking up "treasures" in the Forest. There are many opportunities to just walk and look at nature. We went on Carnival (8 years ago) and loved it. My In-laws just returned from a cruise last week on Princess and they really enjoyed that as well. In Skagway there is a train that takes you up into the Yukon. If your kids enjoy train rides they might enjoy that as well. Our daughter was too young for the on board entertainment for kids, so that didnt' really apply to us on the cruises, but with your kids ages you might want to really pay attention to the programs for kids on the different cruise lines (Alaska does tend to be a destination for older people so there is less kid entertainment than on most of the Carribean cruises). But we didn't take advantage of that and didn't really have a problem in entertaining our daughter. We did splurge on a cabin with a balcony which gave us a little more square footage for playing. Plus, even when we were just in our room we could step out and watch for whales and other wildlife. I think that you and your family will love an Alaskan cruise.

3 moms found this helpful

We cruised on Norwegian a few years ago. My kids were older, 11 and 13. They were too old for the kids activities on board, at least they didn't want to go. But there were plenty of things for younger kids to do on board... swim in the pool, bowling, games in the kids center, and lots of eating which was a big deal for my 2 boys.

We did the 1 week cruise that started and ended in Seattle. You can check out cruisecritic.com to see what's to do in each port. We walked, saw museums, a glacier. We saw wildlife from the boat. A huge pod of dolphins swimming in the wake of our ship, whales from our balcony. The ship stopped to watch the glaciers calve. If I had to do it over, I'd go on the whale watching tour.

Your 2 year old won't understand the nature part but it sounds like your 8 year old would love it.

2 moms found this helpful

Princess is well known for having excellent Alaskan cruises. They generally have really good itineraries and it's one of the line's most popular destinations. I hear more about Princess in Alaska than any other line.

We cruised Alaska on Celebrity and liked that too. It tends to have an older crowd, but there will definitely be kids on board in the summer. They have a kids club (not nearly as big as Disney, but still pretty nice). For the toddler, they have a treasure box of toys that you can check out from the kids club and keep in your room for the entire duration of the trip. These boxes are limited, so go ASAP once you're on board to get one.

Our cruise took us to Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau. We also had a glacier viewing day (blanking on the name of the glacier). I had heard a lot of good things about Skagway and kind of regret missing it. I'd probably choose that port over Sitka if I was going again.

We did a float plane in one port and that was an amazing experience!! My son was one week shy of his first birthday when we did it, so bringing your two year old shouldn't be a problem.

We didn't do whale watching but heard from others on board that they had good days with lots of sightings.

www.cruisecritic.com has a HUGE amount of info on their message boards. Find the one specifically for Alaska and you will get answers to all your questions and so much more.

2 moms found this helpful

We took a trip to Alaska on Princess Cruise lines. My kids loved the kids' programs on Princess. The could hardly wait t be done with breakfast so they could go in and the didn't want to leave when it was time for dinner.

A must see for our family was the train up to the Yukon gold fields. The views were spectacular, the history was fascinating. The other was the eagle rescue operation. I think it was in Juneau. My kids loved it and so do we (adults). The one thing we missed was the dog sled ride on the glacier.

We loved the Alaska cruise and had a wonderful time. Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful

We've been looking at cruises too. I decided an Alaskan Cruise is more for the adults than kids and discounted it. We are not going to do one. There is really really really really nothing there for kids at all. They "might" get to see a few whales but other than standing on the deck in winter gear they don't have anything else to do. There's nothing in the villages except a few totem pole activities and perhaps hiking to see a glacier, really, kids could not care less about seeing a piece of ice.

So we are looking at the Caribbean or gulf area. To swim with the dolphins, swim with other critters, doing the beach thing on the lines own island, the kids clubs on the cruise lines, there are so many things during a cruise that is in a warmer climate.

We are not interested in going to Nassau. It's not much more than a straw market as far as I can tell so we are looking more to other islands.

we just got back from our Alaskan cruise 2 weeks ago and it was awesome! We went with Disney. I guess it doesnt really matter what cruiseline you are on if you only want to know what to do IN Alaska. MOST cruise lines stop in Skagway, ketichikan, and Juneau. to preplan excursions, most companies you must go through your cruiseline. If you dont preplan you can get off the boat and purchase excursions. the risk there is usually if you book through the cruiseline they make sure you get back on the ship. if you go on your own they wont. we also did tracy arm. in Tracy arm it gets REALLY cold. it rained a little in there and I swear I saw snow flurries. We did not make it quite to the glacier due to huge icebergs blocking the entrance and a dozen or so seal pups. In skagway we walked around the city for a bit. we also did a takshamuk 4x4 adventure. It was so much fun. we took a boat to another city. on the boat we saw whales (it wasnt specifically for whales, they just know where the whales hang out). when we got to Haines we took a bus to the base of this Mountain and drove Kawasaki 4x4 mules. they seat up to 5. In Juneau we did a sled dog summer camp thing. You "sled" on dirt (or in our case mud do to rain) trails pulled by the dogs on a wheeled sled. And we got to play with 2 week old puppies. After that we went to the mendenhall glacier. it was pretty neat. you can get pretty close on the trails. too bad we missed the claving by a few hours. In kethchikan we did the ketichikan duck tour. In was entertaining and funny. we also did the great alaskan lumber jack show. It was cheesy but fun and entertaining. in Ketichikan, it rains something like 315 days out of the year so be ready for that. My girls are 8 and 5 and they had a lot of fun with everything we did. Have fun planning your trip.

I did an REI trip to Alaska. It wasn't a cruise but it was absolutely amazing. REI also has cruise trips, but they may have an age requirement.

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