Blue Water Holidays
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
Experts in River and Small Ship Cruising Holidays since 2002
01756 706500 +44 1756 706500
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
01756 706500
+44 1756 706500

Alaska Cruises

Cruise Alaska and experience spectacular scenery, massive glaciers and amazing wildlife as you explore one of the world's last wilderness areas.

No other voyage can match an Alaska cruise for variety. Visit historic gold rush towns, catch humpback whales breaching into the ocean, watch soaring bald eagles, spot moose, bears and caribou on land, and see huge tidewater glaciers backed by snow-covered mountains.

The gateway for most cruises is Vancouver, an attraction in itself with a stunning bayside setting and a lively cosmopolitan ambience.

  • See glaciers and mountains from your ship
  • Sailing the Inside Passage - Customer Pic
  • Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay - Customer Pic
  • Bald eagles are an Alaska sight
  • Humpback whales diving - Customer Pic
  • Vancouver cruise terminal - Customer Pic
  • Float planes are a common sight

All of our Alaska cruises are shown below. Tick the boxes to filter by date, duration and type.

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  • 4 - 6 Nights
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    • Princess Ship - Coral Princess
      Choice of Ships
      • Cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver on a choice of ships. See the mighty Hubbard Glacier and the many glaciers in Glacier Bay. Visit interesting ports of call before sailing the Inside Passage to Vancouver. Wilderness landtour pre-cruise extensions available

      • Large Ship
      • 2016 - May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Princess Ship - Star Princess
      Choice of Ships
      • Superb value Alaska northbound voyage from Vancouver via the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay and College Fjord to Anchorage, with wilderness landtour extensions available

      • Large Ship
      • 2016 - May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Princess Ship - Crown Princess
      Choice of Ships
      • This 7-night roundtrip cruise from Seattle explores the magnificent Inside Passage, the Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer Glaciers or Glacier Bay, and visits the Alaskan towns of Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, and Victoria in British Columbia

      • Large Ship
      • 2016 - May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Princess Ship - Grand Princess
      Grand Princess
      • This 10-night roundtrip cruise from San Francisco explores the magnificent Inside Passage, the Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer Glaciers or Glacier Bay, and visits the Alaskan towns of Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, and Victoria in British Columbia

      • Large Ship
      • 2016 - May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Free Upgrade from Ocean View to Balcony Cabin!

    • Silversea Ship - Silver Shadow
      Silver Shadow
      • Discover the magnificent natural scenery in Alaska on this luxury voyage from Vancouver to Seward on board superb six star ship, Silver Shadow

      • Luxury
      • 2016 - May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Ponant Luxury and Expedition Ship - Le Soleal
      Le Soleal
      • Join luxury small ship Le Soleal on this superb voyage to Alaska, exploring smaller less-visited ports, gold-rush towns, and viewing the majestic twin Sawyer Glaciers

      • Luxury
      • 2016 - Jun
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Save up to 30% PLUS 500 Euro flight credit!

    • Titan Hitours Ship - Norwegian Jewel
      Norwegian Jewel
      • A guided Rocky Mountains coach tour from Calgary via Banff and Kamloops to Seattle is followed by a Seattle roundtrip NCL voyage visiting Alaskan ports and the twin Sawyer Glaciers, ending with a 3-night stay in Vancouver

      • Cruise and Land Tour
      • 2016 - May, Jun, Aug, Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Titan Hitours Ship - Norwegian Jewel
      Norwegian Jewel
      • Explore the Canadian Rocky Mountains aboard the famous Rocky Mountaineer train and enjoy a fantastic trip along the coastline of British Columbia and Alaska from Vancouver on Norwegian Jewel

      • Cruise and Land Tour
      • 2016 - May, Jun, Aug, Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Travelmarvel by APT Ship - Volendam
      • Combine a tour of Canada's dramatic Rocky Mountains with stunning coastline scenery and Alaska's amazing glaciers on this 19-day cruise and tour. Includes a 7-night cruise to the highlights of the Alaska coast, towns and glaciers.

      • Cruise and Land Tour
      • 2016 - Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Save £300 per couple PLUS free cabin upgrade!

    • Titan Hitours Ship - Nieuw Amsterdam
      Nieuw Amsterdam
      • A deluxe 17-night holiday including a Rocky Mountains tour from Calgary to Jasper, with the Rocky Mountaineer train to Vancouver, before joining Holland America ship Nieuw Amsterdam to visit the Alaska coast and the spectacular Glacier Bay National Park and Sawyer Glaciers

      • Cruise and Land Tour
      • 2016 - May, Jun, Jul, Aug
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Save up to £250pp on 25 June departure!

    • Ponant Luxury and Expedition Ship - L'Austral
      • This amazing luxury expedition voyage on mega-yacht L'Austral follows in the footsteps of famous Arctic explorers through the legendary North West Passage from Greenland above northern Canada and Alaska to the Bering Strait

      • Luxury Expedition
      • 2016 - Aug
        Included with this holiday ...

Alaska Cruise Information

Cruises to Alaska start either from Vancouver in Canada or from Seattle, superbly located in Puget Sound. Since Alaska is in the USA, overseas cruise visitors need an ESTA visa for entry to the USA. The normal cruise length is 8 days – either ‘out and back’ or one-way to or from the cruise ports of Whittier or Seward near Anchorage. Cruise and land tours are usually longer, and will include sections in the Alaska national parks or the Rockies as well as hotel stays and coach or train journeys - click the Alaska Land Tours button above for more details.

Inside Passage

All cruises follow the Inside Passage, the coastal waterway extending 1000 miles from Canada. Cruise through a maze of bays, fjords and islands on your way to Alaska’s highlights.

Major Alaska ports - Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway

Ketchikan (‘where eagles meet’ – many Bald Eagles are found around here) is noted for its historic Creek Street and large collection of totem poles. From Ketchikan take a floatplane trip to Misty Fjords national monument, perhaps landing on a lake to better experience this wilderness. From Ketchikan your cruise follows the Lynn Canal to Alaska’s state capital Juneau. This scenic old gold rush town still boasts its historic and famous saloon bar. From Juneau there are whale watching excursions around the offshore islands, the feeding location of humpback whales, orcas and porpoise. Nearby Mendenhall Glacier gives a first taste of splendours to come. Further along the Lynn Canal is Skagway, with its wooden boardwalks and painted fronted buildings reflecting its gold rush heritage. You can follow the route of the gold rush prospectors into the Yukon on the White Horse and Yukon railway.

The less-visited ports of Sitka, Petersburg and Haines are more suited to the smaller ships and feature on fewer cruise itineraries.

Glacier Cruising

Many cruises visit the spectacular twin Sawyer Glaciers at the head of the 30-mile long Tracy Arm between Juneau and Ketchikan. The fjord is surrounded by mountains very reminiscent of Norway.

From Skagway a restricted number of cruises are permitted to visit the long and narrow Glacier Bay, home to 16 tidewater glaciers. Usually with commentary by a Park Ranger, the cruise into Glacier Bay culminates in the Margerie Glacier, over two miles wide and continuously moving – with regular huge cracking and splashing sounds as the glacier ‘calves’ into the sea.

Leaving the Inside Passage for the Gulf of Alaska some cruises visit the Hubbard Glacier on the coast at Yakutat Bay. The longest glacier in Alaska – flowing 76 miles from the Yukon – it is 6 miles wide, and one of the few Alaska glaciers which is expanding.

Some cruises continue across the sea to Prince William Sound and cruise past the many glaciers of College Fjord. Look out for bald eagles or sea lions relaxing on ice floes broken from the glaciers. These cruises then terminate in either Whittier or Seward, both with connections to Anchorage, Alaska’s largest town.

Wilderness Adventures

From Anchorage the Alaska Railroad makes a scenic journey to Denali National Park and on to Fairbanks in Northern Alaska. Special dome cars gives superb views, and excursions from the lodges at Denali can take you deep into the Park where you may spot grizzly bears, moose, caribou and maybe see Mt McKinley, the USA’s highest peak. Denali can also be reached by road. Click the Alaska Land Tours button above for more details.

Travel Options

Leaving Anchorage or Fairbanks it is usually more convenient to fly to Seattle and then by surface transport to Vancouver. More direct options to the UK are becoming available. Perhaps have a break in Seattle – see Pike Place Market or enjoy its famed coffee, or maybe take the catamaran ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island. Victoria is ‘more British than Britain’ with English style pubs, a famous Hotel where afternoon tea is served to music, and the renowned Buschart Gardens. From Victoria a bus/ferry journey links to Vancouver, or take a float plane taxi.

Alaska Cruise Ships

Small ships are informal in style and more flexible in their exact itinerary. These ships can visit smaller ports and offer a more intimate style with fewer passengers.

Our luxury ships have fewer passengers on board than larger ships but have the facilities and service of a top quality hotel, with dining arrangements to match. Typical of luxury lines visiting Alaska are Silversea, Regent Seven Seas, and Ponant.

Larger ships can only visit the major ports, and get as close as possible to the glaciers and natural attractions. These ships offer more amenities, a choice of restaurants, and provide a wide range of entertainment. Optional excursions at ports cover Alaska's many sightseeing opportunities.

Click on the Cruise Collection button for details of the cruises offered and their ships.

Creek Street, Ketchikan - Customer Pic Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau - Customer Pic Skagway - Customer Pic Hubbard Glacier Alaska scenery Princess ship amongst the glaciers


Seward is the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad. The picturesque harbour with its colorful wood-frame houses and background of soaring cliffs looks out on Resurrection Bay. From downtown Anchorage you can view two active volcanoes, the highest point on the continent of North America (Mount McKinley), and six major mountain ranges.

Anchorage (Seward, Alaska)


The busy city and port of Anchorage is the most northerly city in the United States and the largest in Alaska. Moose are frequently seen within the city boundaries, with frequent wildlife-viewing tours from Anchorage to Kodiak Island and Brooks River to see bears, and Beluga Whales around Cook Inlet. The Wells Fargo Museum exhibits native artefacts and the work of local artists.

Anchorage (Whittier, Alaska)

College Fjord

At the northern end of the Inside Passage, College Fjord has some of the best glacial scenery on the Alaskan coast. There are five tidewater glaciers which calve large chunks of ice into the sea, and dozens of smaller ones named after Ivy League colleges by the Harriman Expedition which discovered College Fjord in 1899. In the summer, humpback whales feed in the waters.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park and Preserve is a sub-arctic wilderness area of 6 million acres dominated by 20,000-foot Mt McKinley, North America's highest peak. Crossed by broad rivers and lakes and with hardy plant life, the scenery is spectacular. The variety of wildlife which can be spotted includes grizzly and black bears, moose, wolves, golden eagles, snowshoe hares and dall sheep.

Denali National Park (Alaska)

Glacier Bay

A Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Glacier Bay National Park protects a unique ecosystem of plants and animals within a changing glacial landscape of deep-water fjords, freshwater lakes, all backed by the snow-capped mountains of Mount St Elias. When ice blocks tumble from the glacier into the sea the sound is like thunder and the impact shoots water hundreds of feet into the air. Glacier Bay has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than anywhere else in the world.

Glacier Bay (Alaska)

Hubbard Glacier

The 76-mile long Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier on the American continent, and is one of Alaska's few advancing glaciers. 'White Thunder' is the Tlingit name for its creaks and groans as it calves huge ice blocks into the sea and moves forward. Its sheer edges rise up to 400ft above the sea and 300ft below, and ice floes carry along resting seals and sea otters.

Hubbard Glacier (Alaska)


Juneau is the capital of Alaska, and has the Alaska State Museum, rustic shops and excellent restaurants, but it is the scenery which is the main attraction. Located at the foot of grand mountain peaks on the Gastineau Channel, the massive, 12-mile long Mendenhall Glacier and the immense Juneau Icefields are at Juneau's back door. Inland is the lush Tongass National Forest, and the Mt. Roberts Tramway which takes passengers up to mountain hiking trails.

Juneau (Alaska)


Ketchikan is situated inside Tongass National Forest, and its charming wooden boardwalk, Creek Street, is one of America's finest, housing restaurants and galleries exhibiting work from local artists. The town is known for its totems, and Totem Bight State Park and Saxman Village give interesting insights into traditional native culture. Misty Fjords National Monument is a pristine stretch of saltwater surrounded by towering cliffs and waterfalls where the wildlife includes black bear, mountain goats, killer whales and porpoises.

Ketchikan (Alaska)


Sitka began as a Tlingit Indian village. It has a distinctive Onion-domed church, St Michael's Orthodox cathedral, a reminder of the days when Sitka was a Russian fur-trading port. Totems line the trail through Sitka National Historic Park. Its gift shops sell native arts and crafts and Russian giftware and restaurants serve up a varied cuisine, including Russian, Mexican, Italian and Chinese. The coast is the habitat of hump-back whales, sea otters and puffins, and brown bears are a common sight on land.


Skagway is a busy port at the northern end of the Inside Passage, well-known for the historic Klondike Gold Rush National Park, the Arctic Brotherhood Hall, decorated with driftwood and founded by gold prospectors, and the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. The route climbs 3000 feet in 26 miles and was carved out of the mountains to serve the Gold Rush during 1898 in a remarkable feat of engineering. The Klondike National Park has restored buildings housing lively saloons and dance halls harking back to the Gold Rush era.

Skagway (Alaska)

Tracy Arm

The long fjord of Tracy Arm is one of Alaska's major sights, dominated by the twin, blue-tinged Sawyer Glaciers which calve large chunks of ice into the fjord with dramatic effect. Seals bask on large icebergs, and kittiwakes, Arctic terns, seals and sometimes humpback whales can be spotted, along with bears and mountain goats which live around the granite canyons, waterfalls and forest where the ice has retreated.

Tracy Arm (Sawyer Glacier, Alaska)

Alaska Landtours - pre- or post-cruise additions to your cruise

A number of our cruise tours incorporate a land tour in conjunction with the cruise. These are normally accompanied by a tour manager and are integrated with the cruise. Check out the Cruise Tours listed from the Cruise Collection button above.

There are two main options for cruise tours. One option is to go further north from Anchorage in Alaska into the National Parks. Most common is a tour into Denali National Park, perhaps including a tour into the wilderness to see mooose, caribou and perhaps a brown bear. The other main option is to include a Rocky Mountain tour across the Rockies calling at scenic highlights en route.

Wilderness Landtours

These tours are ofen integrated into the itinerary, but Princess Cruises and Holland America specialise in cruise-tour add ons to their one-way cruises between an Anchorage port and Vancouver.

Step off the Princess Voyage of the Glaciers northbound cruise at Whittier, south of Anchorage and onto a Direct to the Wilderness train. On these Wilderness Land Tours stay in Princess’s custom built lodges with waterside locations, superb views, and a range of dining venues. A wide range of excursions is available – wilderness tours in search of bears, moose and caribou or perhaps white-water rafting.

On some itineraries the Direct to the Wilderness rail service with its glass domed observation cars travels through superb scenery all the way between Anchorage and Fairbanks – you may see beaver dams and salmon in the rivers. Often stay at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge overlooking the Nenana River. A two night option here give a full day to explore the wilderness on an optional excursion.

Many tours travel across the Park to Mount McKinley Princess Lodge with views of North America’s highest mountain – ‘Denali’ in the local language. Tour options include a continuation to Fairbanks in central Alaska for a stay on the banks of the Chena River.

Overlooking the Kenai River, the Kenai Princess Lodge is a wilderness retreat deep in an emerald forest whose guest bungalows feature wood burning stoves. Alternative tours can travel to Copper River Princess Lodge set amongst the spectacular mountain scenery of Wrangell-St Elias, the US largest National Park.

Anchorage visits may include a hotel night and time to explore Alaska's largest town. These tours are normally also available pre-crusie for southbound Whittier to Vancouver itineraries.

You can download a pdf of Princess Cruise land tours from the Alaska Cruising Holidays website

Rocky Mountains Landtours - explore pre- or post-cruise by rail or coach

For cruises from Vancouver or Seattle a popular choice is a pre-cruise Canadian Rockies land tour. Some include the luxury of the Rocky Mountaineer Train and domed observation cars. There is a choice of accommodation – 3-4 star hotels, or renowned word-class mountain resorts such as the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Many tours travel the Rockies between Calgary and Vancouver.

A typical itinerary starts from Calgary and its authentic western feel, travelling to Banff National Park with sights such as Bow Falls, Surprise Corner and the Hoodoos. Enjoy the blue waters of Moraine Lake and travel into Yoho National Park, perhaps for stay at Chateau Lake Louise. Tour stunning scenery then into Jasper National Park along the Colombia Icefields Parkway to the Athabasca Glacier.

At Jasper some tours board the Rocky Mountaineer Train to Kamloops. View the natural wonders of Pyramid Falls and Little Hell’s Gate. Continue on the Rocky Mountaineer through Thompson and Fraser River Canyons to reach Vancouver for a city tour and overnight before joining the cruise.

Alternative routes may travel to Sun Peaks or the famous mountain resort of Whistler. Some tours may cross to Vancouver Island to visit Victoria and its renowned Bushart Gardens.

Tours for cruises starting in Seattle are similar, perhaps with a stay in the fascinating city of Seattle. Check out the Cruise Tours listed from the Cruise Collection button above.

Direct to the Wilderness train Denali National Park Wilderness Tour Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise, Rockies Rocky Mountaineer train through the Rockies Bears salmon fishing in an Alaska river A shy moose in Denali National Park