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Explore Alaska With Holland America Line Cruises

Like to hang out with the experts? Then you’ll love exploring Alaska with Holland America Line cruises. 

Holland’s Explorations Central offers local insights, activities and cultural encounters to deepen your understanding of the places you are visiting. 

Holland America Cruises

Did we mention there’s also pickleball, great entertainment, gourmet meals, well-run kids programs and a first-rate spa when you tour Alaska with Holland America Line? 

Why an Alaska Cruise and Why Now?

According to Travel Alaska, 1.65 million tourists will visit this summer. It is a top destination for first time cruisers with departures from San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver.

The key is to choose the right cruise line for your family — and your budget. If you don’t want to plan ahead, there still are appealing deals for this season. 

However, if you want to gather extended family (and friends) for a special cruise celebration, it certainly isn’t too early to plan for 2024. Working with a travel advisor who is a cruise expert will help you sort through the many options. In addition to getting your pick of cabins by planning ahead, you are likely to get you some extra perks on board, too.

It is no wonder Alaska is on many families’ must-see travel bucket list, especially for multigenerational families. Alaska is an easier and more affordable trip than a safari, sailing Antarctica, a round-the-world jet trip, or many other bucket-list destinations. It is doable for all ages, including those with mobility issues. 

And when you explore Alaska together, the trip is guaranteed to be one for the memory books.

What Makes a Holland America Line Cruise Special

Of course, you can’t see all that Alaska has to offer on one cruise. Exploring Alaska with Holland America Line is a great introduction to the vast state. Did you know that Alaska has more than 46,000 miles of tidal shoreline? Since 80% of it is inaccessible by road, a cruise is the best way to see Alaska’s shores and marine life. 

The Holland America Line cruise company has been in Alaska for 75 years. That’s why they are well known for being experts on both cruises and land tours. Take Denali National Park and Preserve, for example. It is home to North America’s tallest peak and comprises six million acres. While you can see the snow-capped peak – on a clear day – for miles around, there’s nothing like having your hiking boots on the ground. 

Holland America Line and Princess Cruise Line have trips that take cruisers beyond the ship and into Denali National Park. Enjoy all the special programming and activities while there. Plus, Holland America Line is the only cruise line that extends the land adventure all the way to the Yukon. 

Holland America Line also cruises Glacier Bay more than any other cruise line, so the variety of itineraries will accommodate everyone in your party. With Holland America Line, there are some cruises where kids sail free. Their learning programs guarantee that kids can earn a National Park Service Junior Ranger badge while on vacation!

Dining Well In Alaska With Holland America Ships   

Carnival Brands, including Holland America Line, Carnival, Princess, Seabourn and Cunard represent upwards of a third of the 60 large and small cruise ships plying Alaska waters. Expect 2023 to see tens of thousands of travelers arriving from the Lower 48. 

Since food is an increasingly important part of the vacation experience for all ages, each cruise line competes to offer something unique. Travel agents and online cruise review sites like provide recent travelers’ opinions of the best culinary options available. No matter your budget, cruises to Alaska don’t disappoint with their bountiful buffets, many restaurants, casual eateries and imaginative menus. How about reindeer sausage for breakfast? 

On Holland America Line, the first cruise line certified sustainable for Alaska Seafood by Responsible Fisheries Management, expect an ever-changing variety of fresh Alaska seafood. Encourage the kids to try King Crab legs, the many types of local salmon, halibut, fish chowder and other imaginatively prepared seafood items. 

It’s easy to encourage kids to expand their palates when there’s no charge if they don’t like something or want seconds. 

How Other Companies Interpret Alaska

Princess’s Wild for Alaska Seafood menu rotates fresh Alaska seafood dishes, along with destination-inspired cocktails. Pair your flights of Alaska spirits sourced from local distilleries with wild Alaska cod, Dungeness crabs, wild spot prawns and razor clams. Featured items are offered every night in all main dining rooms and highlight only the freshest seafood ingredients such as multiple varieties of Alaska salmon. Or, do it yourself! Princess’ Cook My Catch excursion gives you the chance to reel in a fish during a fishing excursion and have chefs cook it for dinner that night.

Thanks to a partnership between Princess Cruise Line and the Discovery Channel, there are special Discovery and Animal Planet shore excursions and on-board activities themed to Alaska.

Cunard, known for its British service, has partnered with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to feature experts onboard every cruise. Cunard’s Alaska Afternoon tea, a spin on its famous English Tea, includes butter poached snow crab, maple cured salmon on Alaskan beer soda bread and Halibut and cream cheese wontons, among the offerings.

On Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, there is programming for ages 2-17. Cunard’s Youth Team provides supervision and organizes events so that each action-packed day has something for everyone including sports, arts and crafts, friendly challenges and competitions. Kids will experience the time of their lives with the games and activities available in age-appropriate Zones. Meawhile, adults can spend some time at Explorations Central or going to the spa, among the activities. 

Kids Programming on Alaska With Holland America Line Cruise Vacations

Popular shore excursions on Alaska Holland America Line cruises include a Bering Sea Crab Fishing tour on the boat used on Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch.” Kids and adults get to learn about, touch and eat local crabs. 

Also extremely popular are excursions on the narrow gauge White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. While the Alaska Railroad celebrates its centennial as an essential mode of transportation across the state, this little train is honored for making it much less dangerous to trek to the gold fields in the Klondike. Today, of course, it enables cruisers to experience spectacular scenery and learn a little history at the same time. 

Holland America Line’s youth activities program on board is the Kids Club. They have an array of entertaining events for kids and teens ages 3-17, supervised by a full-time, professionally trained staff.

Carnival Cruises Explore Alaska Their Own Way 

For 2023, Carnival is introducing new excursions for Carnival Miracle cruises visiting Prince Rupert, B.C. On a Grizzly Bear Expedition, adventure aboard a 72-foot catamaran designed for wildlife viewing through towering cliffs, dense forests and a thriving estuary ecosystem. Spend a full day gliding through Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary, which is home to more than 50 grizzly bears, for an excellent chance at sightings. 

Local naturalists interact with kids at Camp Ocean to give an overview of Alaskan wildlife. In Club O2 and Circle C, teens learn how best to photograph beautiful Alaskan scenery. Everyone gets their questions about native wildlife answered by experts. Additionally, kids and teens can learn to square dance and express their creative side with crafts. Families can imagine life as ice fishermen with the Family Ice Fishing Challenge but instead of trout, each team fishes for points. There’s also a Family Lumberjack Challenge to play together. 

Perhaps your family will explore Alaska with Holland America Line on a mine visit with gold panning or join a Wildlife Quest in Juneau? 

Enjoy—and remember your rain gear and binoculars!

Eileen Ogintz is the nationally syndicated columnist of “Taking the Kids” and author of the “Kids’ Guides” series. A repeat visitor to Alaska, she contributed this post about Alaska adventures on sea and land for sponsor Carnival Corporation & PLC. 

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