May 27, 2024
The 13 Most Affordable Alaska Cruises for 2024 & Beyond

The 13 Most Affordable Alaska Cruises for 2024 & Beyond

There’s no better time than now to book your dream vacation to The Great Land. Cruise vacations are more popular than ever, and affordable cruises are getting harder to find – especially for beloved destinations like Alaska.

Cruisers can nab some of the lines’ best deals of the year during wave season. This period, which extends from January to March, refers to the “tidal wave” of lower pricing across the cruising industry during this time. Some cruise lines even kick off their sales in December, so it’s advisable to begin your search for discounted pricing early.

Below, we’ve included some of the best Alaska cruise deals available right now for sailings in 2024 and 2025. All quoted prices are per person for double occupancy and were accurate at the time of writing. Keep in mind: Each itinerary may be available on multiple dates; we’ve listed the date with the lowest starting price to get you the best value.

Read on to explore the top options for an affordable Alaska cruise.

Holland America Line

The Holland America Noordam in Yakutat Bay.

Courtesy of Holland America Line

Holland America’s “Time of Your Life” wave season deal features up to 40% off bookings for select sailings from summer 2024 through spring 2025; the sale ends at the end of February. You can also add the premium “Have It All” bundle. This added perk features a signature drink package, specialty dining, shore excursions and Wi-Fi access. The exact pricing and benefits of the package depend on the length of the cruise. The wave season pricing also features a complimentary stateroom upgrade, reduced deposits, and free or discounted fares for kids.

7-Day Glacier Discovery Southbound

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
May 19, 2024 Whittier, Alaska $349 per person

Holland America’s seven-day voyage aboard Noordam includes an afternoon cruising in Hubbard Glacier and a full day of sailing through picturesque Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve. The ship also calls on the ports of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, with one additional day of scenic cruising on the Inside Passage, before disembarking in Vancouver. Plan to stay an extra day in Vancouver to explore on your own, or opt for a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour with Holland America (complete with luggage service and an airport transfer) before taking a flight home later that evening.

This southbound itinerary is also available on May 25, 2025, aboard Nieuw Amsterdam, starting at $679 per person.

7-Day Alaska Inside Passage

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
May 22, 2024 Vancouver, British Columbia $379 per person

This round-trip sailing on Zaandam from Vancouver highlights the Inside Passage with a day of scenic cruising, plus a limited stop in Tracy Arm Inlet for excursions, before reaching the coastal towns of Juneau and Skagway. Then, you’ll enjoy another day of scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, followed by a stop in Ketchikan and cruising the Inside Passage before disembarking in Vancouver.

The Tracy Arm fjord features glacier-covered mountains and the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest in the country. It is also home to abundant wildlife, including whales, harbor seals, bald eagles, bears and mountain goats. Book the Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer excursion to see the majestic beauty of the Tracy Arm wilderness and the twin Sawyer Glaciers up close. You might even see and hear ice calving into the pristine waters. You’ll cruise through Stephens Passage on your way back to meet the ship in Juneau.

Zaandam sails this itinerary in 2025, as well. The lowest fare starts at $629 per person for the voyage on May 14, 2025.

Princess Cruises

The Majestic Princess in Skagway.

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises’ wave season deals feature up to 40% off cruise prices, complimentary room upgrades, $100 deposits, and free fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom or suite. The advertised fares on the Princess Cruises website are for the line’s MedallionClass experience, which includes dining at the complimentary onboard restaurants, entertainment on the ship, fitness facilities, and the youth and teen clubs. You can add optional upgrades, such as a beverage package, specialty dining, shore excursions and Wi-Fi access, either individually or with a Princess Plus or Princess Premier package.

7-Day Voyage of the Glaciers with Glacier Bay (Northbound)

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
May 8, 2024 Vancouver, British Columbia $398 per person

Princess’ seven-day itinerary aboard Grand Princess features the lowest available fare for the line’s 2024 Alaska season. The itinerary starts with a relaxing sea day, followed by stops in three ports of call in Alaska: Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. You’ll also have two days of scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and College Fjord before disembarking in Whittier, near Anchorage.

The southbound voyage (which is the reverse itinerary) on Grand Princess departs May 15, 2024, from Anchorage and also starts at $398 per person. Or, you can sail that southbound itinerary on Sapphire Princess on May 18, 2024, for the same price.

In 2025, you can book this itinerary on Caribbean Princess for as low as $467 per person, embarking on May 10, 2025.

7-Day Inside Passage (Roundtrip Vancouver)

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
Sept. 11, 2024 Vancouver, British Columbia $488 per person

This shoulder season sailing in September is available on Grand Princess. The round-trip voyage from Vancouver features two days at sea; one day of scenic cruising in Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier; and stops in the coastal towns of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. While on the ship, spend warmer days outdoors relaxing at The Sanctuary, an adults-only venue. You can also experience one of the line’s Discovery at SEA enrichment programs on board, or book one of the affiliated excursions ashore.

This Grand Princess itinerary is also available on May 27, 2025, for as low as $547 per person.

Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian Jewel in Alaska.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian’s current “Free At Sea” promotion includes a free unlimited open bar package, free specialty dining, free shore excursions and complimentary Wi-Fi access. You’ll also find additional deals like 50% off deposits, free third and fourth guests (or $99 per additional person, depending on the sailing), and free airfare for a second guest. Be sure to check the terms and conditions before booking a Norwegian sailing.

7-Day Alaska: Hubbard Glacier & Skagway

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
April 22, 2024 Seward, Alaska $249 per person

Norwegian’s sailing from Seward to Vancouver on Norwegian Jewel features two days cruising through Hubbard Glacier, where you’ll be able to book the Hubbard Glacier & Wilderness Explorer excursion for an up-close look at North America’s largest tidewater glacier. Afterward, the ship calls on Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan (Ward Cove).

In Ketchikan, reserve a spot for the Alaskan Cultural & Lumberjack Show Experience, which includes an entertaining show, a chance to learn about Alaska Native culture, and a tasting of local food and wines. Alaska also offers some of the best fishing conditions in North America, so anglers may want to consider booking a private excursion to go fishing for halibut or salmon. After several days in port, enjoy one more day of scenic cruising through the Inside Passage before disembarking in Vancouver.

In 2025, the seven-day Hubbard Glacier & Skagway itinerary will sail from Vancouver to Whittier. The lowest fare for this cruise starts at $529 per person aboard the Norwegian Jade on May 5, 2025.

7-Day Alaska: Glacier Bay, Skagway & Juneau

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
April 29, 2024 Vancouver, British Columbia $249 per person

This sailing on Norwegian Jewel departs from Vancouver and includes three sea days cruising the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve and Hubbard Glacier. The itinerary also calls on the ports of Ketchikan (Ward Cove), Juneau and Skagway.

The 13-mile-long Mendenhall Glacier is one of the top attractions in Juneau, and the line offers a variety of excursions to view the impressive ice sheet. For a bucket list adventure, splurge on the helicopter and dog-sledding excursion to Mendenhall Glacier from Skagway. You can also opt for another once-in-a-lifetime trip: a flightseeing tour by floatplane. You’ll fly into the wilderness, kayak across a stream and then hike the surface of the Norris Glacier, a remote glacier in the Coast Mountains that’s only accessible by plane or on foot.

If you’re looking forward to 2025, you can book a similar itinerary from Whittier to Vancouver on April 28, 2025, starting at $499 per person on Norwegian Jade.

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Celebrity Cruises

Balcony of the Celebrity Suite on the Celebrity Summit.

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity’s 2024 wave season includes flash sales with offers like 75% off the second guest on nonrefundable deposit rates and a 50% discount with refundable deposit fares. Other deals may include free upgrades, depending on the sailing. Refer to the Celebrity Cruises website for the current promotions, or consult with a cruise specialist for the best deals and pricing.

7-Night Alaska Southbound Glacier

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
May 17, 2024 Seward, Alaska $299 per person

This mid-May itinerary on Celebrity Summit is currently the line’s lowest-priced Alaska cruise for the 2024 season. The one-way sailing from Seward includes a day of scenic cruising around Hubbard Glacier: one of Alaska’s most beautiful natural treasures at 7 miles wide, 76 miles long and an impressive 30 stories high. The ship also calls on ports in Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan, with an additional full day cruising the Inside Passage, before disembarking in Vancouver.

For 2025, this same itinerary currently starts at $649 per person for the May 16 sailing on Celebrity Summit.

7-Night Alaska Northbound Glacier

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
May 10, 2024 Vancouver, British Columbia $299 per person

The reverse itinerary of the southbound voyage above, this cruise offers similar ports of call and sea days, except you’ll stop in Sitka rather than Skagway. This sailing is also on Celebrity Summit. During your time in Icy Strait Point, consider a whale watching excursion; you are guaranteed to see whales (or receive your money back) on one of the tours departing from their shores. In Sitka, take a guided hike to explore the beautiful Tongass National Forest or a tour to learn about the Tlingit culture. This outing includes a visit to local totem artists and a beer meister, as well as a sampling of regional foods at a popular restaurant.

Or, consider a comparable cruise aboard Celebrity Summit on May 9 or May 23, 2025. Fares start at $649 per person.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas on the open ocean.

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean’s current deal features up to $600 in onboard credit, 60% off the second guest and kids sail free fares. The line offers sales throughout the year, so you can check back to see what promotions are available at a later date, or contact a cruise specialist for additional specials. Below, you’ll find the lowest fares currently available for Royal Caribbean sailings in Alaska.

7-Night Northbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
May 3, 2024 Vancouver, British Columbia $339 per person

Royal Caribbean’s one-way sailing aboard Radiance of the Seas features scenic cruising along the Inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier, as well as stops in the ports of Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Skagway. Consider booking a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route while in Skagway: The historic narrow-gauge railway offers a picturesque ride through Alaska’s wilderness, with views of White Pass.

The reverse itinerary, the Southbound Alaska & Hubbard Glacier voyage, is also available on Radiance of the Seas; prices start at $339 per person for the May 10, 2024, sailing. In 2025, the May 30 northbound itinerary aboard Radiance of the Seas currently begins at $680 per person.

7-Night Alaska Experience Cruise

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
Sept. 16, 2024 Seattle, Washington $623 per person

This round-trip voyage from Seattle on Quantum of the Seas calls on Sitka, Skagway and Juneau in Alaska. It also makes a late afternoon stop in Victoria, British Columbia, where you can plan to have dinner that evening. You’ll have two days at sea for relaxing or enjoying all the activities and attractions on the ship, including the RipCord by iFLY skydiving simulator, robotic bartenders and live performances with aerial entertainers. You can also take a ride on the FlowRider surf simulator, surrounded by snowcapped mountain views and calving glaciers.

In 2025, this round-trip voyage from Seattle on Quantum of the Seas starts at $840 per person for the Sept. 8 voyage.

Carnival Cruise Line

The Carnival Miracle in Alaska.

Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

This cruise line advertises limited-time promotional rates and deals throughout the year. You can join Carnival‘s VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) Club to unlock even more deals and additional perks. Current specials include reduced deposits, up to 35% off fares, free room upgrades, onboard credit and discounts for families traveling in the same stateroom.

7-Day Alaska from Seattle

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
May 7, 2024 Seattle, Washington $629 per person

This seven-day voyage on Carnival Spirit sails round-trip from Seattle and features one day to explore the ship while at sea, plus a scenic cruising day in Tracy Arm Fjord. Ports of call include Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, as well as a late evening stop in Victoria before you disembark the next day in Seattle. For your day in Ketchikan, consider booking the award-winning Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour on the famed Aleutian Ballad from the Discovery Channel show, “Deadliest Catch.”

This itinerary is also offered on Carnival Luminosa. If you are sailing in 2025, you can book the same seven-day cruise starting at $609 per person for the April 14 voyage on Carnival Spirit.

Shorter cruises

A shorter cruise may be an attractive option if you don’t have extensive vacation time or you prefer to spend a few days ashore before or after your sailing. If kids are in tow for the adventure – and it’s your first time cruising with them – you might also want fewer days at sea to test the waters (literally). See our pick of competitively priced four- and five-night Alaska cruises, below.

Princess Cruises: 4-Day Alaska Sampler

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
April 30, 2025 Vancouver, British Columbia $297 per person

This 2025 cruise aboard Discovery Princess includes one port of call, Ketchikan, and two days at sea between Vancouver and Seattle. This 4-Day Alaska Sampler itinerary is also offered on May 13, 2025, on Royal Princess, with a starting price of $327 per person. The reverse itinerary (Seattle to Vancouver) is offered on May 23, 2025, on Grand Princess; pricing starts at $347 per person.

Princess Cruises: 5-Day Alaska Sampler

Departure date Embarks from Starting price
May 5, 2025 Vancouver, British Columbia $377 per person

If you want to sail with Princess for one extra day, consider booking the five-day sampler cruise sailing round-trip from Vancouver. This early season itinerary aboard Caribbean Princess calls on Sitka and Ketchikan, offering more time ashore to explore these two popular coastal towns along Alaska’s Inside Passage. Guests will also have two sea days to enjoy activities and dining experiences on the ship.

How to find the best Alaska cruise deals

Book during wave season

As previously mentioned, you can take advantage of some of the best deals of the year during wave season. Promotions offered during wave season include lower cruise fares, reduced deposits and onboard credits. You can also find special rates (or free fares) for the third and fourth guests in the same room, making this the perfect time to book a family cruise.

In addition, look for discounts on higher-level staterooms and suites, or even accommodations in exclusive areas of the ship, such as The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line or The Retreat on Celebrity Cruises. These private spaces offer swanky extras like luxurious accommodations, all-inclusive pricing, butler service, a team of attendants and concierge service, as well as private restaurants, lounges and pools. With lower pricing, wave season may be the best time to splurge on a cruise vacation in one of these upscale enclaves.

Promotional pricing beyond wave season

If you miss booking your cruise during wave season, don’t panic. Many lines offer special pricing and flash sales throughout the year and advertise lower fares for voyages during Alaska’s shoulder seasons, which fall in May and September.

“You will always find the more affordable Alaska cruises toward the beginning and end of the season. This year, the Alaska cruise season begins in April and continues through October,” says Chris Gray Faust, executive editor of Cruise Critic. She adds, “The challenge with shoulder season Alaska cruises is that the weather might not be the best – it can snow in Alaska in April and early May – and in the fall, the nights will be longer (although, there is a chance you might see northern lights).”

In addition to giving up the warmer summer weather (and possibly having snow), you may also miss some optimal wildlife viewing opportunities if you cruise early or late in the season. For example, the peak time for bear-watching excursions extends from mid-June to mid-August, which falls during the height of the Alaska cruise season in July and August.

If you’re looking for other ways to save money on your cruise, Gray Faust advises that older ships also provide more value when you’re looking for deals.

It’s important to note that a few of this year’s wave deals extend just until the end of February 2024, so you’ll need to refer to the individual cruise line websites to see the exact dates for the special offers. You may also be able to find lower prices on some discount and aggregator sites, like Cruise Critic, Cruises.com and Priceline.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed on nearly every type of cruise ship, including the newest megaships, traditional masted sailing ships, river ships in Europe and a small luxury expedition vessel in Antarctica. She has cruised to Alaska and visited The Great Land in the summer, fall and winter, and journeyed to remote areas by bush plane above the Arctic Circle. She used her knowledge of Alaska cruises and extensive research to write this article. Pratesi covers the travel and culinary industries for major publications, including U.S. News & World Report.

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