How Much Should I Budget for an Alaskan Cruise?

Here’s a list of expenses when budgeting for an Alaskan cruise:

The first thing to consider when budgeting for an Alaskan cruise is Cruise Fare: The cost of the cruise itself can vary widely depending on factors such as cruise line, cabin category, itinerary, and time of booking. On average, expect to budget anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 per person for a 7-night Alaskan cruise.  However, at the time of writing this, some deals are starting around $500 per person.
Alaska scenery - Cruise Shop Save.

 Here are some further costs you need to budget for your Alaskan Cruise:

Taxes and Fees: Taxes, port fees, and gratuities typically add 10% to 20% to the base cruise fare. For a $1,500 cruise fare, you might budget an additional $150 to $300 per person for taxes and fees.
Transportation: The cost of transportation to and from the departure port will vary depending on your location and mode of transportation. On average, budget $300 to $700 per person for round-trip airfare within the United States. Train tickets or fuel costs for driving may vary.
Pre-Cruise Accommodations: Budget for one night of hotel accommodations and meals before your cruise. Depending on the location and hotel category, this could range from $100 to $300 per person.
Onboard Expenses: Plan to budget for additional expenses while onboard the cruise ship. On average, budget $50 to $100 per person per day for drinks, speciality dining, spa treatments, and souvenirs.
Shore Excursions: Budget for optional shore excursions and activities in port cities. Excursion prices vary widely depending on the activity and duration. On average, plan to budget $100 to $300 per person per excursion.

Mendenhall Glacier

Travel Insurance: The cost of travel insurance depends on factors such as your age, trip cost, and coverage options. On average, budget 4% to 8% of your total trip cost for travel insurance. For example, if your total trip cost is $3,000, budget $120 to $240 for travel insurance per person.
Miscellaneous Expenses: Budget for miscellaneous expenses such as transportation to and from the airport, parking fees, and incidentals. You may also need to grab some lunch while travelling to or from the cruise, also in port, there are a lot of goodies you have to try.  Such as Tracey’s Crab Shack in Juneau, or Skagway’s Popcorn Cart, and there are Ketchikandy sweets in Ketchikan.  On average, plan to budget $50 to $100 per person for miscellaneous expenses.
These are rough estimates, and actual costs may vary depending on individual preferences, travel dates, and specific cruise itineraries. Be sure to research prices and consider all potential expenses when creating your budget for an Alaskan cruise.

Here are more things to consider while planning the budget for your cruise:

Alaska is amazing and can be enjoyed on a budget.  The majestic glaciers, towering mountains, and abundant wildlife – all against the backdrop of the stunning Alaskan wilderness. An Alaskan cruise promises an unforgettable adventure, but before you set sail, there’s one crucial aspect to consider: your budget. In this guide, we’ll delve into the details of budgeting for an Alaskan cruise to ensure that your dream vacation remains within reach.

Yakutania Point Alaska.

Alaska Cruise 2024: Planning for Your Dream Vacation

Alaska Cruise 2024 budget holds the promise of an extraordinary adventure. Whether you’re planning to witness the midnight sun or the Northern Lights, 2024 presents a myriad of opportunities to explore the Last Frontier. Booking early for your Alaskan voyage not only secures your spot but also often comes with enticing deals and benefits.
Keep an eye out for early booking promotions and take advantage of savings that can contribute to your overall budget.  There is a new port in Alaska that Seabourn, Oceania and Regent Cruises will be visiting called Klawock.  NCL is extending their Alaska season starting in April and offering some cruises in  October.  Both provide the opportunity to book a budget cruise.

Alaska Cruise Princess: Exploring the Royal Treatment

For those seeking the ultimate luxury experience, Princess Cruises offers an unparalleled journey through the Alaskan wilderness. With world-class amenities, gourmet dining options, and meticulously curated excursions, Princess Cruises ensures that every moment of your Alaskan adventure is nothing short of extraordinary. When budgeting for a Princess cruise, consider allocating funds for indulgent experiences and upgrades that will elevate your voyage to new heights.  
Always go for an older ship in the fleet to get those bargains, the newer ships can command a higher price and the cruise line will provide some great offers to match your budget.  Princess Alaska’s fleet is Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Golden Princess, and Ruby Princess.

Eagle posing in front of the Diamond Princess Cruise ship sails by.

Alaska Cruise from San Francisco

Embarking on an Alaskan cruise from San Francisco opens up a world of possibilities. As you sail northward from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll witness the dramatic transformation of landscapes from urban metropolis to untamed wilderness. When budgeting for your journey from San Francisco to Alaska, factor in expenses such as airfare, pre-cruise accommodations, and transportation to the port. Additionally, consider setting aside funds for excursions and activities in port cities along the way.
If you want to cruise from this iconic city of San Francisco to Alaska then take a look at Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines who seem to be the most prominent cruise line offering this cruise itinerary.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Alaska Cruise from San Diego: Sailing from the Sunny Shores to Glacial Grandeur

Departing from the sunny shores of San Diego, an Alaskan cruise promises a juxtaposition of sun-drenched beaches and icy fjords. As you sail northward, prepare to be mesmerized by the stunning scenery that unfolds before you. When budgeting for your Alaskan cruise from San Diego, account for expenses such as transportation to the port, onboard gratuities, and optional shore excursions. Be sure to also allocate funds for souvenirs and mementos to commemorate your unforgettable journey.
The cruise lines offering cruises from San Diego are mostly:
  • Holland America Line.
  • Disney Cruise Line.
  • Princess Cruises.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line.
  • Celebrity Cruise Line.

Alaska Cruise Best: Finding the Ideal Balance Between Cost and Experience

Choosing the best Alaskan cruise for your needs involves striking a balance between cost and experience. While budget considerations are important, don’t overlook the value of the experience itself. Look for cruises that offer the amenities and itineraries that align with your preferences and interests. Additionally, consider factors such as cabin category, dining options, and onboard activities when evaluating the overall value of a cruise.

Dog Sledging Alaska

Below I have listed the main experience not to miss out on followed by free or low-budget experiences

Embarking on an Alaskan cruise promises a wealth of unforgettable experiences that showcase the stunning beauty and rich diversity of the Last Frontier. Here are some of the incredible experiences you can look forward to on an Alaskan cruise:
Scenic Cruising: As your cruise ship navigates through the pristine waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of towering glaciers, rugged coastlines, and lush fjords. Keep your camera ready to capture sightings of whales, seals, and bald eagles from the comfort of your ship’s deck.  

Scenic Cruising can be witness from your balcony, up on deck if you have an inside cabin.  This is what is so awesome about cruising to Alaska you can witness all this beauty from the cruise ship.

Glacier Viewing: Witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of calving glaciers as you cruise past massive ice formations such as the Hubbard Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, or Glacier Bay National Park. Marvel at the vivid blue hues of ancient ice and listen to the thunderous roar as ice chunks plunge into the sea.

This is also part of your cruise, most cruises will include a Glacier viewing, weather permitting.  Head up on deck and get there early.  Often they serve hot chocolate and an expert will give a running comentary of the Glacier.  All included in your Cruise.

Wildlife Encounters: Alaska is home to a diverse array of wildlife, and a cruise offers ample opportunities for animal sightings. Keep an eye out for humpback whales breaching, playful sea otters floating on their backs, and grizzly bears foraging along the shoreline. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting bald eagles, puffins, and other seabirds soaring overhead.

Humpback Whales Feeding

Occassionally you can see Humpback Whales Breaching from the deck of the ship and if the officer on watch sees this action near the ship then they will annouce it over the tannoy.  However, there is mass dash to either starboard or port side.  So usually they just leave it up to you to spot a pod of Whales.  I have seen a bear and cubs once from the ship but we were told that was rare.

Port Excursions: Each port of call along your Alaskan cruise itinerary offers its unique attractions and activities. Explore charming coastal towns such as Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway, where you can immerse yourself in local culture, embark on outdoor adventures like hiking or kayaking, or discover historical landmarks and indigenous heritage sites.

This is where you can spend some money on the tours, do check out the tours provided by the ship or there are other reliable tour providors such as viator here click below for 20% off any tours.  Book early because the most popular Whale tours sell out early.  

Alaska Native Culture: Learn about Alaska’s rich indigenous heritage through cultural experiences such as traditional dance performances, totem pole carvings, and visits to native villages. Gain insight into the customs, traditions, and artistry of Alaska Native peoples, whose deep connection to the land is an integral part of the region’s identity.

This you can do for free or a minimal entry fee in every main port in Alaska.  Juneau – Visit Sealaska Heritage Institute – 105 Heritage Wy, Juneau, AK 99801, United States.  Ketchikan visit the Totem Heritage Center 601 Deermount St, Ketchikan and Skagway you got the Skagway Museum and Archives.  Download the maps for all locations – Alaska Cruise Port Information and Maps.

Ketchikan Heritage Center

Outdoor Adventures: Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a nature enthusiast, Alaska offers a plethora of outdoor activities to suit every interest. Go whale watching, zip-lining through the treetops, salmon fishing in pristine rivers, or take a helicopter tour to explore remote glaciers and icefields.

Outdoor adventures on a budget Whale watching which you can get luck and see them from your cruise ships.  Here is a list of outdoor adventures that cost a small amout or are free.  Starting with Hiking, one of the best hikes which I have done several times is Lower Dewey you can do in a couple of hours or Upper Dewey if you start early.  The views are spectacular here is your Hiking Map.

National Park Exploration: Many Alaskan cruise itineraries include visits to spectacular national parks such as Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Glacier Bay National Park. Explore towering mountain ranges, ancient forests, and stunning alpine landscapes while keeping an eye out for native wildlife.

There are often pre and post cruise excursions to the National Parks however this can get pricey there is national part in Juneau called Mendenhall Glacier National Park which is one of many major glaciers that connect to the vast Juneau Ice Field, a 1,500 square mile remnant of the last ice age.  You can get a shuttle bus when your dock in Juneau to Mendenhall Glacier here is a link for more info.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska.

Culinary Delights: Sample the flavours of Alaska with onboard dining experiences featuring fresh seafood, locally sourced ingredients, and regional specialities. Indulge in Alaskan king crab legs, wild salmon, and hearty stews inspired by the bounty of the land and sea.

The food in Alaska is some of the best I have ever tasted ashore during a cruise, the best way to samply all of it is to visit Deckhand Dave’s, an oyster champagne bar, pucker Wilson’s, the crepe escape, a full liquor bar, an ice cream truck, and Alaska glacier smoothie- handmade Alaskan soap using glacier silt. Click here to download the Juneau map with the location downtown.

Relaxation and Entertainment: After a day of exploration, unwind onboard your cruise ship with a variety of entertainment options, including live music performances, Broadway-style shows, educational lectures, and enrichment programs. Pamper yourself with spa treatments, lounge by the pool, or simply soak in the tranquillity of Alaska’s breathtaking scenery.

Most of the entertainment onboard the ship is included in the fare, make sure you read the cruise news and book where necessary.  The lounges and bars are a great place to put your feet up after a full day of exploring ashore.  There are usually jacuzzi’s available for all or treat yourself to a spa treatment if that’s your thing.

An Alaskan cruise offers a truly immersive and unforgettable journey through one of the world’s most awe-inspiring destinations. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural enrichment, there’s something for everyone to experience and enjoy on an Alaskan cruise.
If you are thinking about an Alaskan cruise or you just booked one join this Private Facebook Group and get all your Cruise Port Information, Shopping Coupons and talk to other cruisers.  We have a wonderful community of Cruise experts, regular cruisers and first-time cruisers.  We have a lot of fun in this group click this link to join.
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Embarking on an Alaskan cruise is a dream come true for many travellers. By carefully budgeting for your journey, you can ensure that your experience is not only unforgettable but also financially feasible. Whether you’re planning to sail in 2024, embark on a luxury voyage with Princess Cruises, or depart from San Francisco or San Diego, thoughtful budgeting will help you make the most of your Alaskan adventure. So, set sail with confidence, knowing that your dream vacation is well within reach.
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  3. Affordable Alaska Cruise Excursions: Budget-Friendly & Free.