10 Reasons You Should Plan an Alaskan Cruise

what to do alaskan cruise

As promised, I’m back with another post from our incredible Alaskan Cruise we did back in mid-September with Princess Cruises. I’ve planned to do a full blog post on each of the three Alaskan ports we visited during our 7-day Alaskan cruise, but before I do that, I wanted to put together a little post on why an Alaskan cruise should absolutely top your bucket list (if it doesn’t already). I mentioned this in my last post about the cruise, but while I was so incredibly excited to explore Alaska, it wasn’t something that was previously on my list of places I absolutely must go. I mostly blamed that reservation on my husband’s obsession with the various Alaskan reality shows on Discovery Channel (I’m talking multiple-day, 12 hour marathons of Alaskan Bush People, y’all), which made Alaska seem a little more outdoorsy than this city girl was up for. I think it’s very clear that I was absolutely wrong because Alaska is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been (with plenty for everyone to see and do!), but I was shocked to hear from so many of you all via comments and emails that you shared that reservation until reading my posts and seeing my photos (which makes me SO happy!!)  For those of you who are still on the fence, here is a list of top 10 reasons you should absolutely book an Alaskan cruise ASAP!

Click on the read more button below to read all 10 of my reasons, find out what there is t and see more photos of what’s waiting for you to see in do in gorgeous Alaska.

PS – if you haven’t seen my travel vlog featuring me and Cole’s adventures on board the Ruby Princess ship, watch it here!

Before I start, I wanted to share my first-ever travel vlog once more from on board the Ruby Princess ship. I’ll be following up with even more exciting videos from each of our stops in Alaska so stay tuned!!


yellow maxi dress

1- You’ll Take in The Most Gorgeous View Right From Your Balcony

So as I’ve stated before, our 7-Day Alaskan Cruise with Princess was my first-ever cruise, but I had heard stories from my friends and family’s experiences onboard other cruises. One thing that makes an Alaskan cruise unique is that you’ll see the most breath-taking views from your balcony or off any part of the ship.  From the moment we left Seattle, we got to see stunning views of the Canadian and Alaskan shoreline all the way along to our first stop. What’s even better is that one of the days of the cruise, you get to journey through Glacier Bay National Park and see up-close views of glaciers and mountain ranges that will truly take your breath away, right from the ship. Our day on the ship seeing Glacier Bay was one of our favorites as Cole and I took in the beauty of multiple glaciers such as the Margerie Glacier as we enjoyed breakfast on our balcony. As beautiful as the open ocean is, getting to see majestic mountain peeks and wonders of the world like giant glaciers is truly a breath-taking experience that you can only get onboard an Alaskan cruise. Which leads me to my next reason you should book an Alaskan cruise…


2 – You’ll Feel Like Winter Is Actually Here

I couldn’t help but think of The Wall in Game of Thrones as we approached the Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park (any of my fellow GOT fans will understand – also the fact that the glacier had a GOT name…). There are simply no words to explain how incredible it is to see this marvel up-close. And what’s even more breath-taking is when the glacier calves (AKA when a giant chunk of ice falls into the ocean!), which you are guaranteed to see during your day at Glacier Bay. As it falls into the ocean, it almost looks like slow-motion, followed by a loud and thunderous sound. It’s truly an incredible sight to see, and getting to see it in my pajamas (only put the clothes on for the photo y’all, let’s be real), made the whole experience even more amazing.


what to do alaskan cruise

3 – You’ll Escape The Heat of Summer

I’ve had a lot of you all ask if I was really cold or what the weather was like during our Alaskan cruise. Glaciers and snow-covered mountains may make it seem cold, but the weather was actually refreshingly average, and such an incredible escape from the heat and humidity of Texas. Each day was like a crisp, breezy sunny day that felt like the 60’s (though the actual temperature may have been warmer or cooler). We did get lucky with the sun coming out each day, but it felt warm enough to takeoff your jacket and bare your arms when the sun was out. The great thing about Alaskan cruises is that they’re only scheduled during the warmest times of the year for Alaska. Season runs from around late April through September, so our mid-September cruise was the second to last that our ship made.


alaskan cruise humpback whale watching

4 – You’ll Have a Whale of a Time

It’s no secret that I’m an animal lover, and if you are too, you’ll be in for some incredible animal encounters on your Alaskan cruise. There are so many incredible shore excursion options that included animal sightings to chose from, from bear sightings to dog sledding, and this girl wanted to do them all. One that we did get to experience was seeing humpback whales up close during our evening whale watching excursion in Juneau (more details on that in my upcoming Juneau post!).  It was truly breath-taking to see these gentle ocean giants just feet away from our boat, but even if you don’t go on a whale watching excursion, the captain aboard the Princess Ruby ship would notify everyone anytime he sighted a humpback whale, so we also got to see them right from our ship!


5 – You’ll Eat The Best Seafood You’ve Ever Had

Prepare for seafood in the lower 48 (as Alaskan locals call it) to forever be ruined after your Alaskan cruise. Cole and I both indulged on the best seafood we’ve ever had in our life, ever. From Alaskan King crab (easily one of the best things I’ve ever eaten!), to fresh caught salmon, every meal we had was absolutely incredible and we took every chance we got to indulge in the local Alaskan fare. Princess Cruises serves up the Alaskan seafood right on board their ship so you can enjoy it for as many meals as you can fit during your voyage. If you’re a seafood lover (and if you’re not, prepare to be converted), an Alaskan cruise is an absolute must for this reason alone.


alaskan cruise glacier walking

 6 – You’ll Do Things You’ve Never Done Before

An Alaskan cruise promises to offer experiences that are truly unique to Alaska. From dog sledding, to glacier walking, when it comes to adventures, Alaska has endless options. While in Skagway, Cole and I got to take a helicopter (my first-ever helicopter experience) over some of the most breath-taking Alaskan scenery, and if that alone wasn’t enough, our helicopter stopped on a glacier that we trekked along, even tasting the fresh glacier water.


what to do alaskan cruise

7 – And Find Something For Everyone to Do

I wa sso impressed with the vast amount of options that Princess Cruises offered up in their collection of Alaskan excursions. While Cole and I loved our Alaskan cruise for a romantic getaway, it’s also a trip that the entire family could enjoy. I was so surprised to see that many of the excursion options offered a wheelchair accessible version, so every member of the family could get in on the experience. There are also numerous Discover Kids options that the little ones will enjoy. One of me and Cole’s favorite excursions was our seaplane over Misty Fjords, which was followed by a crab feast in Ketchikan.


princess cruises ruby stateroom balcony

 8 – …And Even Find Time To Relax

I’ve heard that some cruises are pretty much go-go-go with a new stop each day, but what’s so nice about an Alaskan Cruise is that you have time to relax and enjoy the ship. On our 7-day roundtrip Alaskan cruise from Seattle, we set sial on a Saturday afternoon, spent the entire Sunday at sea, had a full day at sea through Glacier Bay on Wednesday of the trip, and had most of the Friday at sea to relax before our evening stop in Victoria, Canada. It gave us plenty of time to enjoy the ship’s onboard experiences, such as the giant televisions which played the football games on Saturday and Sunday (much to Cole’s enjoyment), the amazing Lotus spa and the incredible specialty dining experiences like SHARE by Curtis Stone.


what to do alaskan cruise

9 – The Sky Will Put on a Show

Disclaimer…one of my biggest regrets is not getting up during our wakeup call to see the Northern Lights. The call came after midnight after I had fallen asleep and I was absolutely zonked, so I had Cole go outside to check it out and he said he couldn’t really see it. Well turns out, all we’d have had to do is stay up for an hour or so because some of the other influencers onboard shared some of the most magical photos the following day. My takeaway and lesson from this:   request a wakeup call from the ship if there is any visibility of the Northern Lights whatsoever. It’s one of those rare, once in a lifetime kind of things to see and it is absolutely worth pulling yourself out of bed for, no matter what the time is. But regardless of whether the Northern Lights are visible during your Alaskan cruise, the sky will still put on a show with the incredible sunrises and sunsets you’ll see onboard.


things to do in victoria canadawhat to do alaskan cruise

10 – Your Adventure Will Continue in Canada And/Or Seattle

The adventure doesn’t just stop with Alaska. Cole and I had also never been to Seattle or to anywhere in Canada, so we were so excited to find that our final stop would be in beautiful Victoria, Canada, where we treated ourselves to a fine dinner at the Q Empress located inside famous Fairmont Empress. Since we’d always wanted to visit Seattle, we ended up departing for our cruise  a day early so we could explore the amazing city.


As you can see, an Alaskan cruise will promise a wealth of incredible, must-have experiences that can be enjoyed by everyone from a wilderness explorer like my husband to a city girl like me. Stay tuned for details from each of our Alaskan shore excursions, coming up soon on the blog!


Fair-well xx,

**Thanks so much to Princess Cruiseline for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

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8 Comment

  1. Reply
    Haleigh Draper
    November 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

    After seeing all of your amazing pics on instagram, I’d already decided to book an Alaskan cruise next year, but this post has me even more excited! Thanks so much for putting this together!! -Haleigh D.

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      November 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      SO excited for you, Haleigh!! Thanks so much for the love!!


  2. Reply
    November 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Omg, these pictures look unreal! How gorgeous!!!!

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      November 6, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Thanks so much Mary!! Alaska certainly made our job of taking photos a breeze – everything was just beautiful!

      Thanks for the love!

  3. Reply
    November 7, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Lauren, your yellow dress in that picture by the palace looks wonderful!

    The Northern Lights must be an awesome thing to see. Conversely, when my brother cruised Alaska “a lot of many years ago,” he said that the sun came down halfway on the horizon and went back up again. That was in June and must have been an awesome sight. Of course, this is not the time of year to go up there, as on November 18th, the sun will go down in Barrow for over two months. And the clouds and snow will not help with the light show.

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      January 25, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Thank you so much love!! The Northern Lights are crazy magical and really everything is such a sight to see!! But yes the Northern Lights can only be seen in May and September I believe so it’s a really rare/amazing thing to see!! Thanks so much for the love!!


  4. Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Hi! New reader here. Came across your Alaska cruise pictures on Instagram. I cant believe that we were on the same ship! I was on Ruby Princess too! Yes Alaska is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. In fact it was my 5th cruise to alaska (with Princess Cruise) and I’m planning to go back again. Your pictures are amazing!! 😊😊😍

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      January 25, 2018 at 11:46 am

      Hooray!! I’m so happy you found my site through my Alaska posts and I just love that we were on the same ship – SO cool!! WOW!! Your 5th?! That’s incredible and just shows how truly amazing Alaska is!! We definitely will be going back!! Thanks so much for the love!!


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