Your Comprehensive Vancouver-Alaska Cruise Guide since 1999
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2016 Alaska Cruise Season: Essential Info
Following a successful cruise season in 2015, the 2016 Vancouver - Alaska season will be in full swing next May with ships sailing through September.
Cruise lines sailing a regular schedule of Alaska cruises from Vancouver are Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea and Crystal Cruises.
Crystal Cruises returns to Alaska in 2016 under new ownership, with Crystal Serenity sailing from Vancouver from May 22 to August 6. This ultra-luxury line sails a variety of itineraries throughout the season which will include rare calls at Nanaimo and Prince Rupert, BC next season. An extraordinary expedition sailing through the Northwest Passage begins August 16 when Serenity sails from Seward to New York City with some very exciting calls along the northern route.
Passengers have a wide choice of ships from budget to luxury in a variety of sizes. Silversea's Silver Shadow (382 passengers) and Oceania's Regatta (684 passengers) being amongst the smallest while Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas (2,500 passengers) and Celebrity Infinity (2,170 passengers) are amongst the biggest with a regular schedule of Alaska sailings from Vancouver.
Small ship adventure cruising is offered within Alaska by Lindblad Expeditions in association with National Geographic and native-owned Alaska Dream Cruises which will be adding a new ship next June, the Chchagof Dream, a four-deck, 207-foot vessel carrying 74 passengers. These small ships can get up close to shore and go where the big ships cannot. These small ships are based in Alaska throughout the season.
Records will be broken at the opposite end of the spectrum in 2016. The largest cruise ships sailing to Alaska in 2016 will be sailing from Seattle:
> Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, 138,000 grt,3,835 passengers, 1,185 crew
> Celebrity Solstice, 122,000 grt, 2,850 passengers, 1,250 crew
> Ruby Princess, 113,000 grt, 3,080 passengers, 1,142 crew
2016 is the first season for Explorer of the Seas in Alaska. This massive resort at sea will be breaking the record for largest cruise ship to ever sail an Alaska season.
Cruise Itineraries from Vancouver:
- Cruise from Vancouver on one week, round-trip sailings or one way to Whittier or Seward (for Anchorage).
- There are many longer sailings of nine, ten or fourteen nights which show you more of spectacular Alaska and British Columbia's Inside Passage.
- Shorter cruises in May give you a taste of Alaska or position the ship from Vancouver to Seattle via Alaska.
- The reverse positioning sailings are available in September when many ships sail from Seattle to Alaska, ending their cruise in Vancouver.
- Some Hawaii sailings, round-trip from Vancouver are available.
- Spring positioning sailings that bring the ships to Vancouver and Fall positioning cruises when they depart from Vancouver sail from/to California, through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific from/to Hawaii or Australia. These are certainly an exciting and enticing option as positioning sailings are well priced.
Reasons to cruise Alaska and sail from/to Vancouver:
- The port of Vancouver is one of the most scenic for arriving or departing.
- Vancouver gives you the best cruise experience as you have a better chance of sailing the British Columbia Inside Passage surrounded by scenic beauty.
- Both Port Metro Vancouver and Vancouver International Airport are award winning facilities offering one of the best travel experiences in the world.
- Vancouver is the only West Coast home port offering both one way or round-trip sailings.
- Since many Alaska towns can only be reached by boat or plane, cruising is the ideal way to reach these remote spots.
- Alaska is one of the few places in the world where you can cruise close to spectacular, tidewater glaciers.
- Ports of call provide the perfect jumping off point for adventures into the great Alaskan wilderness.
- The peace and silence of Alaska make it a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Ship Schedule - See the schedule of cruise ship departures at Port Metro Vancouver.
New Luggage Service - Need your bags stored while you explore Vancouver? Check out the new luggage pick up and delivery service at PorterGenie.com
Airport to Ship Sky Train - Light rail airport service
Photos of sailing from Vancouver.
Ruby Princess is welcomed to the port of Juneau by a dog sled team
led by Maliko Ubl from the TEMSCO Helicopters Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sledding Tours.
It was the ship's maiden voyage in Southeast Alaska, May 2015.
Photo Courtesy Princess Cruises
Content, photos and graphics are Copyright © Susan Milne, 1999-2016
except for photos credited to cruise lines and additional photos Copyright © Julian Egelstaff, 2001.