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While prime season for cruising Alaska doesn’t start until late spring, now is the time to start planning a high seas excursion to this stunning, adventure-filled “last frontier” state. And there’s no shortage of new options to consider, from well-known cruise lines repositioning ships to the destination with itineraries that hit all the popular ports-of-call to luxury liners adding immersive experiences that bring on all the bells and whistles. Here’s a top line look at what’s new for Alaskan voyages in 2019.

RELATED: 6 signs you should cruise to Alaska

Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Joy

Beginning in April 2019, the Norwegian Joy will join her sister ship, the Norwegian Bliss, to cruise from the West Coast up to Alaska. Built in 2017 with a guest capacity of 3,802, the Joy will offer a variety of 7-day itineraries departing from Seattle with stops in popular ports including Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, the Joy will undergo upgrades to the tune of $50 million that include a Starbucks, enhanced restaurant and bar venues, and new entertainment such as thrilling simulator rides and interactive video walls. Not to mention, the Joy was the first cruise ship to offer a race track at sea! Guests will find no shortage of adventure both off and on this vessel in Alaska this summer.
Find it here: Norwegian Joy, Alaska cruises

Royal Caribbean International, Ovation of the Seas

The biggest ship ever to sail Alaska, boasting a capacity of more than 4,100 passengers, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas heads to Seattle in May for sailings through September. Both six and seven-night cruises explore the glaciers of Alaska’s Inside Passage, with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier, as well as British Columbia favorites Victoria and Vancouver. Onboard, guests will find new experiences such as North Star®, a unique jewel-shaped capsule with breathtaking 365-degree views at 300 feet above sea level, FlowRider®, the ship’s 40-foot long surf simulator, and iFLY®, a gravity-defying skydiving simulator.
Find it here: Royal Caribbean International, Alaska cruises

Campers on island in Tracy Arm fjord near Juneau Alaska

Princess Cruises, Royal Princess

For those looking for some royal treatment on an Alaskan adventure, the new upgrades to Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess might just make this vessel the perfect fit. In December 2018, this vessel will undergo a multi-million dollar program of upgrades, including the Princess Luxury Bed, new equipment at its spa and fitness center and fresh offerings at its Camp Discovery Youth Centers and Teen Lounge. With 7-day sailing options from Vancouver and Anchorage, the Royal Princess makes stops in all of the major Alaskan cruise ports as well as scenic cruising in areas such as Glacier National Park, Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord, known for its spectacular views of wildlife and natural landscapes.
Find it here: Princess Cruises, Alaska cruises

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Celebrity Cruises, Eclipse

In 2019, Celebrity Cruises will debut its Eclipse cruise liner in Alaska, embarking on roundtrip sailings from Vancouver through the Inside Passage, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and more. The popular luxury brand has also added more visits of over 12 hours to its ports of call, giving guests more time to explore these destinations to their fullest. Named a Gold Star winner by Travel Weekly for “Best Overall Premium Ship”, Celebrity’s adults-only policy and amenities like it’s Canyon Ranch SpaClub® showcase the tranquility that this ship boasts. And with a maximum occupancy of just over 2,800 guests, it’s Alaska itineraries aim to offer an intimate setting with a focus on on-shore cultural immersion.
Find it here: Celebrity Cruises, Alaska cruises

Cunard Cruises, Queen Elizabeth

Making its return to Alaska for the first time in twenty years, British-American cruise line Cunard will sail the youngest Queen in its fleet—the Queen Elizabeth—on four 10-night Alaska voyages round-trip from Vancouver, departing in May and June 2019 with port calls in Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Icy Strait Point and Victoria. And it’s all about the on-shore experiences as Cunard Cruises offers more than 140 excursions, including dogsledding, helicopter and seaplane tours, sea kayaking and a Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s tour. On board, it’s all in the details that exude the timeless elegance and old Hollywood glamour and luxury for which Cunard is best known, from a classic afternoon tea, planning new adventures in its two-deck library, or sipping rare vintages from the ship’s extensive wine cellar.
Find it here: Cunard Cruises, Alaska cruises

Azamara Club Cruises, Quest

Renowned for being a premium-luxury cruise line that offers longer overnight stays in ports that larger ships can’t reach, 2019 marks its debut season for Alaskan voyages as the Quest offer embarkations in both Vancouver and Seward, Alaska. In addition to stops in major ports like Juneau and Skagway, the Quest drops anchor in smaller harbors and ports-of-call including Haines, Sitka, Kodiak and Homer, among others. This lux liner boasts immersive land-sea packages that pack lots of local culture into its itineraries. The mid-size ship itself if more of a boutique hotel at sea that aims to feel intimate, yet never crowded. And its immersive, destination-focused programming offers a unique perspective with specially curated lecturers on board who share with guests how to connect with the natural world during their time on shore.
Find it here: Azamara Club, Alaska cruises

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Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne specializes in savvy budget travel tips, destination experiences, industry trends and the latest products to make any trip go smoothly. A mother of three, she's seasoned in all things family-travel, from the most kid-friendly beach resorts to navigating Disney Parks. Jeanenne is an avid outdoor adventure seeker, as well as a regular TV and radio content contributor. You'll find her @JMTornatore on Twitter and Instagram.

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