cruise planning alaska: routing

Mum wants to go on another cruise, this time to Alaska. It’s one of the most popular bucket list items—it’s on my travel list. I had always thought it was way too expensive. Mum did all the initial research, talking to the travel agent and getting all the information about cruise companies and destinations. Many of the cruises are one-way north or southbound, starting or ending at Anchorage in the north and Seattle or Vancouver in the south.

The cost of the cruise itself isn’t too bad, it’s the cost of the flights that turned out to be prohibitive. Open jaw including a leg to or from Anchorage pushed the base total to over 30k (almost USD4,000, before tips and excursions). Mum wasn’t deterred, she kept looking and looking. She wanted Princess, and she found round trip cruises.

The choice between starting at Seattle or Vancouver was supposedd to be a no-brainer. Vancouver is a direct flight away whereas Seattle required a layover at LAX or SFO, pushing the cost back to 30k. I looked quickly on google maps, and it’s only 2.5 hours’ drive between the two cities.


We decided on the cheaper Vancouver flight and roundtrip cruise starting at Seattle. This means we can stay over at both places, which neither of us had visited before (layover at YVR doesn’t count). The ports on the cruise will be the usual: Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan with VIctoria thrown in. We get to go into Glacier Bay too, Princess being one of the companies with the required licence.

Total cost is less than 25k, or just over USD3k. Still expensive, will need to be disciplined with excursions.