Tourism in Alaska continued to grow this year, building off of an all-time high in visitors from 2016. In the new year, CLIA Alaska has forecasted that Alaska will see a total of 1,165,474 cruise passengers in its ports. Similar to 2017, cruise lines in 2018 will be sending more and bigger ships to the Last Frontier.
Princess Cruises will increase their capacity by 15 percent to Alaska, and a 12-day itinerary roundtrip from Los Angeles will be introduced on Emerald and Golden Princess. Also next year, Norwegian Cruise Line will be launching their newest vessel, Norwegian Bliss. It will be the first cruise ship purpose-built for the ultimate Alaska experience.
Lindblad Expeditions is expanding their family-friendly cruise program, National Geographic Global Explorers, to Alaska in the 2018 season. Geared towards families with kids, the program features both onboard and ashore activities designed with National Geographic to help kids develop the skills, attitudes, and knowledge of an explorer. UnCruise Adventures has added the S.S. Legacy to their Alaska cruise schedule, in addition to seven new itineraries and a new port of call in Haines. The operator will also offer two land-based tours next year, which include activities like hiking, river rafting, mountain biking, train rides, and dog sledding.
Windstar Cruises will be returning to Alaska with the new all-suite motor yacht Star Legend, launching several new itineraries in 2018 with options to cruise between Seward and Vancouver. Each Windstar Alaska cruise offers destination immersion program Signature Expeditions with onboard marine biology, photography, and wildlife experts who will lead excursions and give classes. All cruises sail through Tracy Arm Fjord and have lots of opportunities for spotting wildlife in the water and on the shore.
Alaskan Dream Cruises, an Alaska Native-owned, small-ship cruise line is launching three new itineraries in 2018. Alaska’s Spring Wilderness & Wildlife Safari will let guests explore Sitka Sound in search of marine mammals on a five-night cruise aboard the 10-passenger Misty Fjord. Alaskan Dream Cruises will also offer two new sailings of the seven-night Alaska’s Glacier Bay & Island Adventure itinerary, which sails round-trip from Juneau on June 22 and August 24. The new 10-night Alaska’s Frontiers & Wilderness Quest gives travelers two days in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, as well as a full day in Skagway to learn about its gold rush history.