Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service

Princess Cruises exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness service allows you to step off your cruise ship in Whittier onto your unique Princess rail service and arrive at your Princess wilderness lodge that same afternoon. Or, on southbound itineraries, leave the Denali area and enjoy a direct link to your awaiting cruise ship in Whittier. Because fewer transfers and less time waiting makes for a more relaxing and hassle-free trip.

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Princess Cruisetours


Denali Explorer & On Your Own Cruisetours

Denali Explorer cruisetours include up to four nights at Princess wilderness lodges at Denali.


Most tours include exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service and all include the Natural History Tour into Denali National Park. ( Optional Tundra Wilderness Tour Upgrade )


On Your Own options have no scheduled activities so you can customize how you want to spend your free time.  3 days on land from just $299 more than a 7-day cruise!* With no sightseeing activities included, you’ll have the flexibility to create your own adventure with optional land excursions.

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Off The Beaten Path Cruisetours

These cruisetours include key benefits of the Denali Explorer itineraries, plus visits to less-frequented regions like Copper River and Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, and the Kenai Peninsula.

Find Out More About Off The Beaten Path Cruisetours


Connoisseur Escorted Cruisetours

These deluxe escorted cruisetours represent the highest level of service with a tour director on land and most meals included. They include up to four nights at a combination of both Mt. McKinley and Denali Princess wilderness lodges, with enhanced sightseeing experiences, such as the longer Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park. Plus, there are options to visit the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell–St. Elias National Park. 


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Princess Cruises® Alaska  

Alaska Cruises Direct





What You Must Know When Planning Your Alaska Cruise    

Raye & Marty Trencher

Editors and Publishers

Cruise Traveler Magazine


Alaska Cruises

What You Must Know When Planning Your Alaska Cruise

What's It Cost?

Large Cruise Lines sailing Alaska

Small Ship Cruise Lines sailing Alaska

Alaska Shore and Land Excursions

Why you should extend your stay from a cruise only to a land and sea cruisetour.

Fun Facts

Cruise tours offer the best of both worlds, combining a seven-day cruise with a three- to eight-night stay on land. All you have to do is decide where you'd like to go. Here  is information about Alaska's favorite places. From it's historical towns and cities to its National parks, Alaska has something to offer everyone. Questions? Call us at 800.365.1445.   

 What's It Cost?

Although almost nobody pays the brochure price anymore, Alaska cruises will sell for a much higher price than the Caribbean or other popular destinations.  Most seven-day Caribbean cruises can start as low as $599, but the brochure price for an Alaska cruise on the same ship, same cabin during the peak summer months will cost about $999. The Alaska cruise season only runs from May to September, so demand is high. The shorter season and high demand add up to a more expensive cruise. Getting to Fairbanks, Anchorage or Vancouver to board your ship cost more than flying to Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or New York. You can sail to Alaska from San Francisco or Seattle,  get a cheaper air fare, even a longer cruise. 

While Alaska cruises can be expensive, the once-in-a-lifetime experience of visiting America's pristine wilderness is worth it.

Many cruise ships sailing to Alaska include staterooms with private balconies also know as verandahs. What a way to see magnificent mountain ranges, beautiful glacier bays, whales and sea lions from your own private balcony? You can also view the scenery from huge observation lounges and decks.

You can choose two ways to cruise Alaska--on a large cruise ship of 1500 to 3000 guests or on a small ship of less than 200 guests.  The larger ships offer the extra amenities, but the small ships provide a more personal up front look at Alaska.

Did You Know?
The Willow Ptarmigan is the Alaska State Bird. About the size of a large dove, it turns white in the winter and brown in the summer to blend with its surroundings.

Moose live throughout Alaska and can be spotted almost anywhere. Anchorage, a city of 270,000, has hundreds of moose in the city limits, so don't be surprised to see a moose browsing in a park. Did you know ...
... that Alaska's moose are the largest of their species as well as the largest member of the deer family? Moose weigh between 1,000 and 1,600 pounds and are a celebrated symbol of the Alaskan wilderness. Where all this charisma comes from is anyone's guess. Moose can be irritable and fiercely protective of their young—they've been known to charge people, horses, cars, and even locomotives.

Moose protect themselves from mosquitoes and other biting insects by submerging themselves in shallow ponds. Alaska's human inhabitants have not adopted this technique for escaping bugs, though a few have probably tried it.

While bulls grow majestic antlers up to 70 inches wide, cows have a face only their mothers could love. Moose calves are adorable ... at least for a while.

Grizzly bears are brown bears that live inland. They share the round face and shoulder hump of their coastal cousins, the brown bear, but they're smaller because of their diet, which features less salmon and more plants. The bus tours of Denali National Park usually come across the park's blond grizzlies browsing or sleeping.

Both male and female caribou grow antlers, which the caribou use for protection and to shove snow aside so the animals can reach the moss and lichen. The best places to see caribou are in Denali National Park and along the Denali Highway, the Richardson Highway near Paxson, and the Glenn Highway near Eureka.

Dall sheep have curled horns and sleek legs, distinguishing them from the spiky horns and thick-haired legs of mountain goats. Look for them at Denali National Park; along the Seward Highway at Windy Corner, Mile 106; and along the Glenn Highway at Sheep Mountain, Mile 107.

Aurora Borealis Lodge- Fairbanks
Fairbanks can provide one of the best spots on earth to see the aurora borealis. Beautiful and mysterious curtains, the colors range from green to red to purple Fairbanks sits under what is called the auroral oval, a ring-shaped region around the North Pole, which offers a great balance of occurrence, frequency and activity. Intensity varies from night to night, with the best viewing from late evening through the wee hours of the morning, late August to April.

There are approximately 100,000 glaciers in Alaska, 60 of which are within 50 miles of Anchorage. Portage Glacier, just 45 miles (72 km) south of downtown, is one of the most visited attractions in all of Alaska.

 More Fun Fact:

Alaska is land worthy of many superlatives. Here we provide you with an interesting collection of some of Alaska's vital statistics that may help satisfy your curiosity and whet your appetite.

Name Origin: The name of Alaska comes from the Aleut work Alyeska, meaning The Great Land.

Nick Names: The last frontier, Land of the Midnight Sun

Motto: North to the Future

Flower: Forget-me-not

Capital: Juneau is the only capital in the United States accessible only by boat or plane.

Statehood: The US purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7,200,00 (about 2 cents an acre) and made it the union's 49th state on January 3, 1959.

Land Area Size: Alaska is the largest state in the union, covering 570,373 square miles, approximately one fifth of the entire United States. Alaska is so large that the state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times.

Population: The population of Alaska is only 626,932 and compared to the population of bears in Alaska, there is 1 bear for every 21 people.

Tallest Mt. in North America: Mt. McKinley stands at 20,320 feet. Alaska is also home to 16 of the 20 highest mountains in the U.S.

Greatest concentration of glaciers in North America: There are more active glaciers and ice fields in Alaska than in the rest of the inhabited world. The largest glacier is Malaspina at 805 square miles.

State Symbols and emblems:

  • State Bird: Alaska Willow Ptarmigan
  • State Tree: Sitka Spruce
  • State Marine Mammal: Bowhead Whale
  • State Fish: King Salmon, also known as the Chinook Salmon
  • State Sport: Dog Mushing
  • State Gem: Jade
  • State Mineral: Gold
  • State Insect: Four spot skimmer dragonfly

Light vs. Dark: The Arctic Circle is an imaginary circle around the globe where on December 21 the sun never rises for twenty-four hours and on June 21 for twenty-four hours it never sets.

Gardening: Giant vegetables are common in Alaska due to the extremely long days in summer which account for a record cabbage weighing in at 94 pounds.

Alaska has 6,640 miles of coastline, more than the rest of the U.S. combined.

Mainstream Cruises to Alaska

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas will return to Alaska and join two other ships, the Serenade of the Seas and the Vision of the Seas.

Celebrity Cruises  will have three ships to Alaska . The Celebrity Infinity along with the Mercury and the Summit. They will sail the Inside Passage or the Gulf of Alaska from Vancouver, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.

The Regent Seven Seas Mariner will visit Alaska on 7-day cruises between Vancouver and Seward. All of the suites on the Seven Seas Mariner have balconies.  The Carnival Spirit will sail the Gulf of Alaska on seven-day trips from Vancouver to Seward.

Princess Cruises will have eight ships sailing the Voyage of the Glaciers or the Inside Passage. The Golden Princess, Pacific Princess, Sun Princess, Island Princess, Coral Princess, Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, and Regal Princess will be sailing Alaska this summer. Princess ships will be sailing the Gulf of Alaska between Vancouver and Whittier, and Inside Passage cruises from San Francisco. The Sapphire Princess will also feature a Bering Sea cruise for those wishing to venture further into Alaska.

Holland America's Noordam, will sail 7-day roundtrip cruises from Seattle. Two other Holland America ships will sail from Seattle--the Amsterdam and Oosterdam. The Zaandam and Zuiderdam will sail roundtrip from Vancouver; and the Ryndam, Statendam, and Volendam will cruise between Vancouver and Seward. Holland America's ships will primarily sail the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay, but the Amsterdam and Statendam will venture into the Bering Sea.

Norwegian Cruise Line has three ships in Alaska. The Norwegian Pearl and the Norwegian Star will sail roundtrip cruises from Seattle. The Norwegian Sun will sail 7-day roundtrip cruises from Vancouver.

Small Ship Alaska Cruises

Several cruise lines with ships that carry about 200 (or even less) passengers give you a closer look at the beautiful scenery and exotic wildlife. The smaller ships visit places that the larger ones cannot. If you are looking for a more exotic, out-of-the-way itinerary, a small ship Alaska cruise might be your choice.

Clipper Cruise Line's 128-passenger Clipper Odyssey will sail three itineraries--the Inside Passage, Bering Sea, and Russian Far East. Lindblad Expeditions offers the 70-passenger Sea Bird and Sea Lion on 8 or 12-day Inside Passage cruises.

Majestic America Line, offers a paddle-wheeler, the 223-passenger Empress of the North, on a series of 7-night cruises roundtrip from Juneau. The Empress of the North will be the first ship to enter the mouth of the Stikine River near Wrangell.

Alaska Shore And Land Excursions

Why you should extend your stay from a cruise only to a land and sea cruisetour.


A cruise is an ideal way to see the bays, glaciers, and wildlife. Alaska is a huge place, and only a fraction of it can be seen from the water. People visit Alaska to take in the scenery, and look for exotic creatures in the sea and on the land.  You will miss much of what Alaska has to offer if you only view Alaska from it's ports -of-call. After the wildlife and great mountain views,  there are also cultural and historical experiences you don't want to miss.

One way is to extend your cruise and explore parts of the state by dome-view railcars, car or motorcoach. After all, while you're here, you have got to see Denali National Park and the breathtaking views of Mt. McKinley. Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have hundred's of organized and escorted cruisetours to choose from.

The tours feature dome-view railroad cars that travel through the wilderness by the Alaska Railroad between Anchorage and Fairbanks or Fairbanks to Anchorage. The rail trip between Anchorage and Fairbanks includes a stopover at Denali National Park. No less than 2 days is necessary to properly see all that the park has to offer.

There are so many exciting, adventurous things to do in Alaska we can't list them all. Adventurous options include dog sledding, sea kayaking, mountain biking, and heli-hiking. Some places in the state cannot be reached by cruise ship, car, bus or railroad. How do you get there? By float plane! If you are a fishing aficionado or want to see some of the back country, a small float plane will take you to a lodge. Or you can "hook up" with a guide for a fishing trip to the back country. A glacier flight-seeing or helicopter trip in Juneau, home of the Mendenhall glacier, are very popular shore tours. 

As you cruise the Inside Passage you may stop at Sitka. Sitka is proud of its Russian heritage and offers tours focusing on its Russian roots. It also has an interesting Eagle Rehabilitation Center. If your cruise stops at Skagway, you might want to take the White Pass & Yukon Route narrow gauge railway. This railroad has been in operation since the 1898 Yukon gold rush. Juneau has the Mendenhall glacier and is the state capital. It also features the Mount Roberts Aerial Tramway, which lifts you 1800 feet above the city. Seward is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and home of the Annual Silver Salmon Derby, the biggest fishing event in Alaska. Ketchikan has a great waterfront, and cruise passengers visit Creek Street.

Each cruise line offers dozens of shore excursions.. Do a lot, and it can can get very expensive. So come prepared.


Alaska Cruise & Cruise Tours

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See Why Princess Cruises was voted  Best Cruise Line in Alaska

Alaska Cruises: Princess Wilderness Lodges

Strategically located at Alaska’s legendary national parks, our wilderness lodges offer excellent accommodations, authentic Alaskan dining experiences, and the same warm, welcoming service that you’ve come to expect on every Princess Cruises vacation.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Alaska Cruises: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Nestled in a prime location near the entrance to Denali National Park, this gorgeous lodge is the perfect starting point for your wilderness adventure.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge »

Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

Alaska Cruises: Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

On a bluff overlooking the largest national park, this lodge has a wall of windows featuring dramatic views of Wrangell-St. Elias.

Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge »

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

Alaska Cruises: Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

North America's tallest mountain provides a stunning backdrop to the picture-perfect setting for this wilderness retreat just south of Denali National Park.

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge »

Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge

Alaska Cruises: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge

Top-notch salmon fishing is only steps away from this well-appointed lodge set in the mountains overlooking the beautiful Kenai River.

Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge »

Princess Alaska Lodges
& Direct to the Wilderness Rail Service Brochure

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Did You Know: Grizzly bears have been a threatened species since 1975 in the Lower 48 states? Alaska however has over 32,000 grizzlies. Considering Alaska's population is only 670,000, that's 1 bear for every 21 people. Alaska is home to magnificent glaciers, giant halibut, hardy outdoorsmen.... and lots of moose. Alaska has 39 mountain ranges. Did you know? The larger ranges include: Alaska Range, which includes 20,320 foot Mt. McKinley, the continent's tallest peak , Aleutian Range, a volcano-ridden range on the Alaska Peninsula, Brooks Range, which is above the Arctic Circle; the Continental Divide runs through it and Boundary Ranges, along the Canadian border of the Inside Passage.

" Our trip was excellent. The room, with the upgrades, was amazing! We saw many eagles (bald and golden), one bear, many whales, including one breach, seals, one bear, one wolf, moose and carribou, and many smaller animals.. If we travelled during salmon run, we probably would have seen more bear and eagles. The scenery is to die for, the vistas spectacular. The ship was great; service, food, etc were all great. Thanks for everything. "

Larry Seidler - Island Princess

Ask an Alaska visitor about his or her trip and you'll likely hear tales about the state's exotic and awe inspiring wildlife. Chances are, you'll be regaled with stories and photos of the encounters with Alaska's wildlife. And who can blame them? Pictures of Alaska's moose, bears, caribou, bald eagles, whales and dozens of other wild species can be a trip's best (and most memorable) souvenirs. For those who cruise Alaska by sea, there's the opportunity to spot the breathtaking breach of a humpback whale or soaring seabirds such as puffins, terns, gulls, eiders and many others. Learn more about wildlife viewing in Alaska