Alaskan Cruise Cost: A Detailed Guide

Alaskan cruise cost

Planning your Alaskan cruise adventure is great fun. However, when it comes to budgeting, people often forget the small things that really add up. To solve this, we have written this detailed Alaskan cruise cost page to help you avoid any unwanted surprises. 

Whilst the cost of the cruise itself is the main budget consideration, there are plenty of other costs that need to be considered when planning your Alaska cruise trip. Examples include flights, hotels, and cruise insurance. Don't worry though, we cover all these aspects and more below.

Because there are so many types of Alaska cruises available, including main line operators and expedition operators, this budget is only a rough guide. Only you can know how much your actual cruise cost is. Use the quicklinks below if you know what you're looking for, or simply read on.

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Alaskan Cruise Cost

Alaskan cruise cost 1

The main budget consideration is the cruise itself. Deciding on the best Alaska cruise to suit you shouldn't be completely budget oriented however. Often, when people spend a little extra it really makes the difference! 

Ask yourself 'what do I want to see and do on this cruise?'. Once you answer this, you should begin to find itineraries that match. If you're on a tight budget then you may have to do some research on the best deals and operators for your chosen itinerary. 

Although cruises to Alaska can seem expensive, it's important to remember that accommodation (and often food) is included in the cruise price. In the end, it often works out very similar to the price of a land-based holiday. 

Depending on your budget, you'll also need to decide on the level of your cabin and type of ship. Luxury suites are far more expensive than standard cabins, and expedition-style cruises tend to be a little more expansive than main line operators. Both options and costs are discussed below. 

Main Line Cruises

Main line operators such as Disney, Celebrity, Norwegian, Holland America etc. all operate within Alaska's Inside Passage. Because of this, there are tons of options when it comes to ships, cabins, and prices. 

The cost of the cruise is also heavily affected by itinerary length and what time of year you travel. Generally speaking, the longer the itinerary, the more expensive the cruise. Likewise, if you travel in the high season period, there is more competition for cabins and prices rise. 

You will also notice a difference in price depending on how many people are travelling with you. If you can fill a 3/4 bed cabin then you'll pay less per person than you would in a single or twin. 

For short 4 day 'taster' itineraries, prices start from around $400 per person for a 3/4 bed cabin. For a twin cabin you should expect to pay $200 more per person. This is the absolute cheapest option you will find and will need to be booked well in advance. For a suite room on a 4 day itinerary you should budget at least double. 

For standard 7-day cruise to Alaska from Vancouver or Seattle, prices start around $700 in the shoulder months and go upwards of $1,500 depending on itinerary and sailing month. For a top suite you should triple the price. 

longer cruises that take 10-12 days start at around $900 for a shared room and go upwards from thee depending on cabin and sailing month. Generally, you should expect to pay around $1,500 minimum for a longer cruise in a double cabin. 

Expedition Cruises

Expedition cruises offer a completely different experience. Geared more towards wildlife and photography, expedition cruises offer daily zodiac trips, expert lectures and plenty of shore hikes. 

Because these cruises offer a more intimate experience that gets you closer to nature, the price is slightly higher than standard main line cruises. The ships are also much smaller, generally carrying between 50 - 200 people. 

Whilst the small size means that wildlife can be found more easily, it also means there are limited facilities on board. Forget cinemas and pools basically. 

Prices for expedition Alaska cruises start around $3,000 per person for a shared room on an 8-day itinerary. These prices are offered in the shoulder months with itineraries that only explore part of the Inside Passage. 

For expedition cruise that explore more regions such as Glacier Bay, you should expect to pay at least $4,000 per person. If you want a double cabin then prices go upwards. 

For epic Alaska cruises that also visit the Russian Arctic, or the Northwest Passage, prices start at around $13,000. 

Last Minute Deals

There is a serious misconception when it comes to the cruise industry snd last minute deals. Whilst it's true that you can get book late and get some good deals, this is not actually the cheapest option. 

The cheapest prices are almost always offered for people that book very early. When we say early, we mean at least a year in advance. Early-bird deals always come out cheapest as it allows you to plan ahead, book cheaper flights, hotels etc.

It's also cheaper to book in the shoulder months of the season around May or September. This is also gives you a slight chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

​Flight Costs

Alaskan cruise cost - flights

Flights are one of the most commonly overlooked budget considerations when planning for an Alaskan cruise. 

The good news is that most main line operators depart from major cities such as Vancouver or Seattle. Occasionally, longer cruises will depart from San Diego or Los Angeles. 

This means that internal flights will not cost an arm and a leg. Saying that, if you are flying from outside the United States, then you will have to budget more. 

For people travelling internally, we record budgeting at least $250, but this will largely depend on where you flying from and how long in advance you book. For international travellers, we suggest budgeting at least $600 for return flights to Seattle or Vancouver. Once agin, this largely depends on where you are travelling from. 

Expedition cruise are slightly different to main line operators as they generally embark and disembark within Alaska. This means you have to factor in flights to Alaska (usually Juneau).

Sadly, these are more expensive, even for American travellers, and we recommend budgeting at least $500 per person return. For international travellers, we suggest budgeting at least $1,000 return.   

​Gear and Clothing

Having the right clothing in Alaska is paramount for enjoyment. Although you'll be sailing in summer, the temperature is still not high and the wind can be ferocious. 

The key to success is layers. Wearing a good waterproof jacket with a fleece and shirt below is the way to go. If you feel the cold a lot, then you might consider wearing some wool base layers. 

For expedition cruises, you'll require a pair of calf-high waterproof boots for wet landings and some good hiking boots. We also suggest, no matter what cruise you're on, to bring a good pair of binoculars and a good camera! 

Although you may already own everything you need, we suggest budgeting $100-200 for gear and clothing to be safe. Just buying one good jacket will break that budget! 

For a full Alaska packing list, please click here

Extra Activities

All Alaska cruises offer some great extra activities. Whether you like fishing for salmon, sea kayaking, photographing bears, taking a mountain train, or just shopping, there is something for everyone! 

The bad news is they cost extra money and this is something you need to factor into your Alaskan cruise cost budget. The cruise prices you see companies offering do not include any additional activities and most people don't want to miss out. 

Optional activities range in price. Kayaking is offered on most expedition cruises and costs around $600, whilst salmon fishing or photography tours cost around $100-200. Helicopter tours start at around $400 per person, and dog sledding starts from about $125. If you want to dog sled on a glacier though, expect to pay around $500. Gold panning tours are around$60, and cooking classes are around $100.  

As you can see, the price varies. We suggest putting aside $250 per person for extra activities. If you know you want to do something more expensive, then budget accordingly.

If you want to do loads of land excursions, it might be worth cosidering a cruise tour package.  

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Expedition Cruise do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.


Alaskan cruise cost - insurance

Travel insurance should be overlooked when budgeting for your Alaskan adventure. If you think your covered on your standard family policy or the free policy you got from your bank, then think again. 

Almost all standard insurance policies will not cover you for cruises. In fact, all expedition cruises will not allow you on aboard the ship without proof of adequate insurance. 

Emergency evacuation costs are high at sea which means you need the proper cover. Always read the fine print, especially as some cruise insurance policies don't actually cover you when ashore - sounds crazy, but it's true! 

Regardless of fine print, your safety should be your first concern. Having the right travel insurance is therefore paramount. How much your policy costs really depends on what activities you choose to do and how long your itinerary is. We suggest budgeting at least $100 per person

Please see our detailed page on cruise travel insurance for detailed advise. 

​Miscellaneous costs

Like all travel and holidays, there are a bunch of miscellaneous costs that, although small, add up over time. Below are the most common costs associated with an Alaskan cruise. 

Passport and visa expenses: International travellers will need a visa to enter the United States. How much this costs will depend on your country of residence. 

Drinks: Most cruises include food and drink as standard. However, that will not cover alcoholic beverages. Assuming you drink, we suggest budgeting $50-100 per person for a week cruise. 

Transportation: transportation to and from your hotel will cost around $25

Hotel costs: Many people arrive early or stay a night or two longer after their cruise to explore the region more. We suggest budgeting $100 for this.

Tips: It is customary to tip the staff after the cruise. The general rule is $20 per person, per day.  

Laundry: Laundry costs are minimal, but rarely free. We would budget $10 for a longer cruise. 

​​Total Budget

The below budgets are an average only and include 1 extra activity.

This is a very rough estimate only. Your final Alaskan cruise cost budget will depend on what ship, cabin, itinerary, activities etc you choose. 

Main Line Budget


Expedition Cruise Budget


Get a Cruise Quote!

Expedition Cruise do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.


If you have any queries or questions regarding Alaskan cruise costs, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. For more Alaska cruise tips, please click here

Thank you and happy travels!

Expedition Cruise Team

About the Author Expedition Cruise is the web’s most authoritative information portal on adventure and expedition cruising. Our mission is to provide up to date and comprehensive information on traveling to the Arctic, Antarctica and further afield, so that your experience is as fulfilling and safe as possible.

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