Choosing the Best Alaska Inside Passage Cruise

We recently wrote about what you might expect to see and the best cruise destinations for an Alaskan cruise, but we’ve had a number people ask, what are the best Alaska inside passage cruises to take?

You know that you want to enjoy the breathtaking coastal and mountain scenery, glaciers and abundance of wildlife, like humpback whales and orcas, but choosing the right cruise to take can make all the difference.

Map Alaska Inside Passage islands

The islands of the Alaska Inside Passage

UnCruise Adventures

One of our very favorite options is UnCruise Adventures, a company we profiled in our “Faces of the Northwest” feature. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t relish hopping aboard a huge cruise ship filled with thousands of other passengers, this may be your top pick too. Ideal for the more adventurous, it offers smaller cruise ships rather than those huge floating hotels. They’re more intimate, cozy and feature large windows with unobstructed views of the world going by outside.

Cruising on a small ship means you’ll be able to gain access to spots those big liners can’t, including hidden coves, fjord arms and glaciers. It also means that the staff will get to know you personally, greeting you by name, and helping you learn more about those jaw-dropping surroundings. The food is top-notch too – forget about the buffet, your meals will include three different options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with most dishes incorporating local ingredients, including items like delectable Dungeness crab and salmon.

And, to cap it all off? There are no interior cabins, so every room has a view.

The Alaskan Dream Inside Passage Soujorn

The Alaskan Dream offers another fantastic small cruise ship experience, with its 104-foot streamlined catamaran design that allows the vessel to easily navigate those narrow channels and passages. Each cabin features extra-large viewing windows, while the Vista View lounge faces forward with the same view as the captain, providing stunning views of the scenery, ports, and wildlife.

The Inside Passage Soujorn is a 9-day adventure that sails from Sitka to Glacier Bay National Park with the opportunity to view humpbacks, sea lions, bears and wolves as well as to the capital city of Juneau, the only U.S. state capital that’s not accessible by car. You’ll cruise through Tracy Arm fjord, and visit the communities of Wrangell and Thorne Bay before ending the adventure in Ketchikan, the “Salmon Capital of the World.”

Dining on the Alaskan Dream is an experience too, with menu options including seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes, with a focus on fresh Alaska fare, including fresh-caught, locally-harvested specialties like crab, halibut, king salmon, shrimp and rockfish.

The Best of Luxury on the Silversea

If it’s a luxurious cruise experience you’re looking for, the Silversea defines luxury in Alaska with its Italian-influenced somewhat formal experience that includes all the perks, like large suite cabins, exceptional service and outstanding food options that include fine wine and alcoholic beverages. The Silversea Silver Shadow is ideal for honeymooners as an intimate all-inclusive luxury ship that caters to just 382 guests, with a dedicated butler tending to every suite. It cruises between Vancouver and Seward, featuring stops at some of the region’s top spots like Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Sawyer Glacier, Juneau, and Sitka.

Holland America For Retirees

Holland America has been named among the best for Alaskan voyages geared for retirees. It offers round trip cruises from Seattle to Southeast Alaska, with stops in Tracy Arm, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, British Columbia. The focus is on fine dining, a Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, shore excursions that are easily accessible, onboard activities geared toward more mature adults and exceptional service.

American Queen Voyages Where Science Meets Luxury

Aboard the Ocean Victory, a 200 passenger expedition ship can feel luxurious. Guests can enjoy being as adventurous as they want, or stay on board and take advantage of the lovely dining room with white tablecloths and sparkling wine glasses, spacious rooms that feel like a boutique hotel room, and a variety of decks and rooms with binoculars and telescopes to enjoy the views. On an American Queen Voyages trip, all beverages are included, so you can sip your G&T before dinner without worrying about adding to your bill. Daily entertainment highlights local musicians and storytellers. Take advantage of the presentations by scientists who can help you understand the  delicate balance of Alaska’s eco system, the annual whale migrations, and the shrinking glaciers. The ship’s zodiac boats will zip you closer to the waterfalls and wildlife with expert guides.  At the beginning of the journey, every guest has a reserved locker in the mud room where you can store your rubber boots and coat provided for your use throughout the voyage. After returning from a zodiac ride, you are greeted with a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up. You might be surprised at the warm sun you can find on a summer trip to Alaska. The weather in the Inside Passage is fairly similar to what you’ll find in Seattle.

American Cruise Line 175 Passenger Constellation Class

American Cruise Lines offers their small 175 passenger Constellation class ships that are fully stabilized to offer a smooth and comfortable ride. They offer a 7 night, 10 night, or 14 night cruise. All cabins above A level offer private balconies and comfortable rooms.  A standard cabin for two range in size from 290-445 sq ft.  With a large lounge, dining room to seat all passengers at once, and a large, expansive top deck where you can view the spectacular scenery, this ship is hard to beat for overall comfort. See the American Constitution for details.

With a variety options available for just about every type of traveler, it makes it easy to find the Alaskan Inside Passage cruise adventure that’s just right for you.