How much does an Alaska cruise cost?
Going on a cruise to Alaska is a vacation list-worthy destination, but how much does it cost?
The price of an Alaskan cruise can vary greatly depending on the month of sailing, the cabin you choose and the excursions you book.=
Cruise fares are dynamic. The price of an Alaska cruise today could be slightly or significantly different from the price of an Alaska cruise tomorrow. There are two main considerations when determining the price of a cruise: the month you sail and the type of cabin you book.
The price of an Alaskan cruise can vary greatly depending on the month of sailing.
The Alaskan cruise season generally runs from May to September. The most popular times for an Alaskan cruise are the summer months of June, July and August. Due to higher demand at this time of year, cruise fares can be more expensive.
The shoulder seasons of May and September, on the other hand, can see less demand and therefore lower prices.
The choice of cabins can also have a huge impact on the price of an Alaska cruise. Interior, Ocean View, Balcony Staterooms, and Suites are all offered at varying prices.
Different ships also offer different cabin availabilities. Some ships, like Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, have more balcony staterooms available than smaller ships like Enchantment or Radiance of the Seas. Therefore, you may find balcony cabins more affordable on a Quantum class ship than on smaller ships.
As an example, I’ve priced the various cruise fares available for two sailings: a 7-night cruise to Southern Alaska and the Hubbard Glacier on Radiance of the Seas and a 7-night cruise in Alaska on the Dawes Glacier on Ovation of the Seas.
The cruises I priced were for 5 and 7 months in advance as of the time of this writing. Price reflects total cruise fare for two passengers plus taxes and fees:
Radiance of the Seas: 7-Night Cruise to Southern Alaska and the Hubbard Glacier
Ocean view: $2216.52
Ocean view: $1626.70
Ovation of the Seas: 7-Night Dawes Glacier Alaska Cruise
Ocean view: $2445.14
Ocean view: $1935.50
Unlike destinations like the Caribbean and Europe, sailing on an older, smaller ship doesn’t necessarily mean the cruise fare will be cheaper than a new ship. Because smaller ships can enter more ports in Alaska, demand for these ships is often higher than for larger ships.
We recommend booking a cruise as soon as you decide to go to Alaska. Waiting for a lower price is usually not profitable, as cruise fares tend to increase as the sale date approaches.
Plus, with Royal Caribbean’s Cruise with Confidence policy, you can change the price of your cruise as many times as you like up to 48 hours before your departure date. If you notice the fare is lower, you will receive the fare difference as onboard credit.
An Alaskan cruise is itinerary-driven, which means you’ll want to plan your days in port to get the most out of your visit. Budgeting for excursions is important to ensure that you will be able to do what interests you most.
Royal Caribbean offers both economical and more exclusive shore excursions. Here are some examples of excursions and their prices on the day of writing this article:
- Exclusive discovery of Alaskan whales in Juneau: $169/adult, $99.75/child
- White Pass Scenic Railroad to Skagway: $95.99/person
- Ketchikan pub crawl: $93.99/person
- Wildlife safari and bear watching in Haines: $89/adult, $69/child
- Haines Scenic Byway & Summit: $69/adult, $49/child
- Hiking and rafting the Chilkoot Trail in Skagway: $129/adult, $79/child
- Bike and Brew Glacier View in Juneau: $109/adult, $79.75/child
- Exclusive Coastal Drive, Wildlife Cruise and Oyster Farm in Ketchikan: $188.99/person
- The Last Frontier Food Tour in Tracy Arm Fjord: $121.99/person
- Wildlife Quest Cruise and Fin Island Lodge in Sitka: $214.99/adult, $158.99/child
- Best of Sitka: $99/adult, $79/child
There are also premium tours that can offer a truly unique opportunity to see Alaska’s landscapes from a different perspective.
The “Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter and Guided Walk” tour takes guests on a helicopter ride over the Tongass National Forest before landing on the Mendenhall Glacier. After landing, guests will put on glacier boots for a guided walk around the ice. The cost of this excursion is $339/person.
Those looking for a more comfortable whale watching experience may be interested in the ‘Luxury Whale Watching’ excursion at Icy Point Straight. On this tour, guests will board a yacht while tasting sparkling wine and looking for humpback whales and orcas. The cost of this excursion is $399/person.
Whatever your budget, you can probably find a shore excursion to suit you. You can also seek out excursions from outside providers or explore on your own.
Explore on your own
If you don’t plan to book excursions, you can choose to explore Alaska’s ports on your own. Most of Alaska’s cruise ports are within walking distance of the main city district, where you’ll find restaurants, saloons, historic areas, museums, and nature to enjoy.
You can also visit popular destinations in ports on your own instead of booking an excursion. For example, instead of buying an $80 Mendenhall Glacier tour in Juneau, opt for the express bus. Located just outside the Juneau Pier, a booth sells round-trip tickets to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. The total cost of the return bus ticket was $45 in 2021 and included the park entrance fee.
Royal Caribbean also offers land cruises before or after an Alaska cruise. These are 3 to 6 day land tours in Alaska or Canada that take guests to destinations not accessible by cruise ship.
The prices of a cruise vary depending on the number of days of the visit and the location of the visit.
Those wishing to visit Denali can book the “Destination Denali” cruise which includes a 7-night Radiance of the Seas sail followed by a 3-night shore excursion exploring Seward, Anchorage, and Denali National Park and Preserve. The total cost of the cruise and land tour starts at $1410 per person for an inside cabin.
A more in-depth cruise tour is the “National Fjords and Tundra Parks Explorer”. This tour combines a 7-night sail on Radiance of the Seas followed by a 4-night shore excursion that visits Seward, Anchorage, Denali National Park and Preserve, and Fairbanks. Pricing for this cruise starts at $2300 per person for an inside cabin.
The Mountain Resort Experience Cruisetour is the most expensive option available, with prices for a 7-night cruise and 6-night shore excursion starting at $4,200 per person for an inside cabin. This tour begins with a visit to popular Alaskan destinations such as Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Haines, and Tracy Arm Fjord before beginning the cruise, which visits Jasper, Banff, and Calgary, Canada.
The total cost of my cruise to Alaska
How do all of these pricing options play out when pricing your Alaska cruise? To put these samples into perspective, I’ve broken down the expenses I encountered on my recent 7-night cruise to Alaska on Ovation of the Seas.
Cruise fare and gratuities: $727.88
To compensate for lost revenue due to the Covid pandemic, Royal Caribbean’s Alaska cruise season ended in October 2021. When I sailed to Alaska on the last cruise of the season, I was able to find a fantastic offer. My 7 night cruise fare with added complimentary on Ovation of the Seas was only $727.88 total for 1 person in a room with an indoor virtual balcony.
Although this price could be seen on another sailing, the extremely low cruise fare combined with the fact that there was no one-time surcharge made this a deal you don’t come across very often.
On my Alaska cruise, I was able to find shore excursion opportunities that fit my budget while providing wonderful insight into Alaskan culture, history, and nature.
In Ketchikan, I split my time between a Royal Caribbean excursion and exploring the city on my own. I booked the Saxman Native Totem Village tour for $59.99, which took me by bus to Saxman Village for a few hours of cultural discovery of the native Tlingit people. The rest of the day was spent walking around Ketchikan at no cost other than lunch and souvenirs.
In Juneau, we chose to take the $45 Mendenhall Glacier shuttle that departs from the cruise port to Mendenhall Glacier and returns throughout the day.
Skagway was the most expensive excursion of the three ports with a ticket on the White Pass & Yukon Railway for $95.99. In my opinion, the ride was well worth it as it takes passengers through the majestic mountainous landscape of Skagway.
Additional expenses on board and in port: approximately $200
As with all cruise vacations, I incurred additional expenses on board Ovation of the Seas and walking around ports. I estimate I spent about $200 more on drinks, food and souvenirs.
Approximate total cost of my cruise in Alaska: $1128.86
My Alaska cruise was significantly cheaper than most passengers due to the fact that it was at the very end of the season and I was traveling solo. However, even if my cruise fare had been a more “normal” price, like around $1500, my cruise would still have been relatively economical.
I’ve found it easy to choose excursions for my budget, and since most meals and expenses are complimentary on board, a cruise can be a great way to see Alaska without incurring as much expense as a land-based vacation.
The total cost of an Alaskan cruise varies greatly depending on the month of sailing, the cabin you book, and the shore excursions you book, but there are options to suit every vacation budget.
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