Destination: Alaska

Map of cruise routes in AlaskaAlaska is the premier cruise destination market in the United States, according to Travel Leaders Group’s 2018 Travel Trends Survey.

Following a decade of incredible growth between 1997 and 2008, several cruise ships left the Alaska market following passage of an initiative that significantly increased the cost of operating in Alaska. Legislative assistance helped increase the attractiveness of the Alaska market and the industry brought its one millionth passenger in 2016. 2017 and 2018 continued to be record setting years for the Alaska cruise industry with 2019 projected to bring 1.36 million passengers to Alaska’s shores. Cruise visitors comprise 57 percent of Alaska’s summer visitors.

Beginning each May and continuing through September, CLIA Alaska member lines operate 34 large ships in Alaska waters.

Alaska itineraries consist primarily of two routes: round-trip through Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, primarily from Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.; and cross-the-Gulf-of-Alaska trips, beginning or ending in Anchorage, primarily via the Southcentral Alaska port cities of Seward and Whittier. The average length of a cruise is seven days.