Some of the more than one million passengers expected in Alaska in 2018 have already made their way to the state after the first large cruise ship arrived on April 30. This season, CLIA Alaska forecasts Alaska will see a total of 34 ships bringing 1,165,500 cruise passengers on 519 voyages.
The projections are even greater for 2019: CLIA Alaska is forecasting that 37 ships will bring 1,310,000 passengers on 567 voyages.
Below is a roundup of what’s new for visitors cruising in the Last Frontier:
- In 2018, Princess Cruises will have increased its capacity by 15 percent in Alaska. A 12-day, round-trip itinerary from Los Angeles, California, is also being introduced on the Emerald Princess and Golden Princess. The line will offer 130 departures on seven ships departing from Seattle, Washington, San Francisco, California, Los Angeles, California, Whittier, Alaska, and Vancouver, British Columbia. (princess.com/learn/cruise-destinations/alaska-cruises/)
- Norwegian Cruise Line brings its newest vessel, the Norwegian Bliss, to Alaska. It is the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience. The cruise ship will depart on its first Alaska voyage on June 3. (bliss.ncl.com/)
- Lindblad Expeditions has expanded its family-friendly cruise program, National Geographic Global Explorers, to Alaska this season. Geared towards families with children under 18, the program features infield and onboard activities designed in partnership with National Geographic Education to help kids develop the skills, attitudes and knowledge of an explorer. (expeditions.com/destinations/north-america/alaska/the-experience/)
- Windstar Cruises returns to Alaska for the first time in 20 years with the all-suite motor yacht Star Legend, and several new itineraries with options to cruise between Seward, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia. Each Windstar Alaska cruise offers a new destination-immersive Signature Expeditions program with onboard marine biology, photography and wildlife experts who will give classes and also lead guests on kayak and zodiac excursions direct from the small ship. All cruises sail through Tracy Arm Fjord and have ample opportunities for wildlife viewing and offer food-lovers’ dinner menu selections from celebrated chefs as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation. (windstarcruises.com/cruise/alaska/wonders-of-alaska-and-canada/)
- UnCruise Adventures added the S.S. Legacy to its Alaska cruise schedule, as well as seven new itineraries and a new port of call in Haines. The operator is also offering two land-based tours in 2018: the Kenai Alpine Adventure and Alaska Rail, Denali & Knik River Wilderness. Each of the tours varies in length of time spent in Alaska as well as activities that include hiking, river rafting, mountain biking, train rides and dog sledding. (uncruise.com/destinations/alaska-cruises)
- Alaskan Dream Cruises, an Alaska Native-owned, small-ship cruise line, launched three new itineraries in 2018. Alaskan Dream Cruises will also offer two new sailings of the seven-night Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure itinerary, which sails round-trip from Juneau on June 22 and Aug. 24. The new 10-night Alaska’s Frontiers & Wilderness Quest offers guests two days in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, as well as a full day in Skagway to learn about its gold rush history. (alaskandreamcruises.com/)