When couples plan their honeymoon, they often think about beach resorts and tropical locations. This makes sense. After months of wedding planning, you are ready for a relaxing, stress-free, and romantic destination.
But if you are looking for a unique and adventurous honeymoon alternative, consider booking an Alaskan cruise.
Alaska glacier cruises perfectly combine adventure and relaxation. Cruise ships offer the amenities you want from a tropical destination including spas, pools, all-you-can-eat buffets, and live entertainment. And shore excursions provide adventurous elements, like city-exploring, whale watching, and dog sledding.
You might be thinking, “Why would I choose Alaska over a tropical destination? Won’t it be too cold?” Yes, it will be chilly, but that’s just a perfect reason to cuddle up with your new hubby or wife. And your ship will include hot tubs and heated pools, so you can still order that new bikini you’ve been eying.
My husband and I loved our Alaska cruise honeymoon. We didn’t want to spend a week just laying on a beach. We still needed a relaxing trip, but we also wanted to try new things and explore together.
Why are Alaska Glacier Cruises a great honeymoon idea?
Alright, let’s dive into the top 3 reasons why an Alaska cruise is the perfect alternative to a tropical honeymoon:
1. The Cruise Ship Amenities
You just got married, you deserve to be pampered! Cruise ships are filled with amenities and experiences to make your trip special.
Consider booking a couple’s massage at the ship’s spa. Or soak in one of the many hot tubs. Most ships even offer adult-only areas, so spend your time here.
And don’t forget the food! Most cruises are all-expenses-paid. Meaning your meals are included in the cost of your trip. So once you are on the boat, don’t worry about paying for food. Enjoy a romantic meal at a table-service restaurant or unlimited poolside snacks from the buffet. The best part? Room service is included. Order breakfast in bed or enjoy coffee on your balcony.
2. Enjoy the Best of Both Worlds
With an Alaskan cruise, you get to relax and explore.
Take advantage of the adult-only pools. Read a book while sipping beachy cocktails. Get on “island time” and forget about schedules and itineraries.
But there are also plenty of activities for the adventure-hungry traveler. Most Alaskan cruises stop in multiple port cities. During these stops, you have the option to explore the city at your own pace or schedule an excursion.
Excursion options vary depending on the city but can include adrenaline-inducing experiences or tours. A honeymoon is a perfect opportunity to try something new. So consider dog sledding or snorkeling (yes, in Alaska). Go whale watching or take a glacier-trekking tour. There are so many options for the adventurous traveler.
3. You Can Still Buy that New Bathing Suit
You don’t have to go to the beach for some water time. Cruise ships offer pools and hot tubs. And even though it is chilly in Alaska, it is still warm enough on deck to relax poolside.
Most pools are heated so you can swim as you cruise through Alaska’s natural wonders. And remember, beaches and palm trees don’t have a monopoly on romance. There is something magical about soaking in a hot tub while you glide past glaciers.
The Ideal Alaska Cruise Itinerary
Alaskan cruises typically depart from Seattle, Vancouver, Seward, or Whittier. Occasionally, ships will leave from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Juneau. Cruise lines offer roundtrip or one-way itineraries.
For my honeymoon, I booked a 7-night Northbound Inside-Passage cruise. The ship departed from Vancouver and traveled one-way to Whittier, Alaska. This is the perfect itinerary. (Ok, I might be slightly biased, but hear me out).
If you want to explore, spend a few nights in Vancouver before your ship departs. This charming city offers a rich history, stunning architecture, and a thriving food scene. Make sure you stop by Gastown and Granville Island.
Regardless of the Alaska cruise itinerary you choose, the most popular Alaskan port cities are:
Ketchikan: A former Tlingit fishing camp, Ketchikan is known as the “Salmon Capital of the World.” Spend your day exploring the Creek Street shops, marveling at Totem Poles in the Saxman Native Village, or kayaking through the Misty Fjords.
Juneau: Alaska’s capital is an exceptional launching point for adventure tours. Visit the Mendenhall Glacier, go salmon fishing, take a whale-watching cruise, or fly past glaciers in a helicopter.
Skagway: This gold-rush town offers a unique look into 19th century Alaska. Follow in the prospector’s footsteps as you pan for gold or ride the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway. Or, spend your day hiking, biking, or kayaking.
At-sea days are the perfect time to relax and refresh. Spend your time in a spa or lounge by the pool. Most cruises offer daily activities, so you will have the chance to test your trivia knowledge or dance skills. Evening activities include comedy shows, magicians, and theatrical performances.
Make sure your cruise includes time in Glacier Bay National Park. This is the highlight of most Alaskan itineraries. Your ship will spend the day slowing sailing through the park. Enjoy glacier views and wildlife sightings from your balcony or the ship’s deck.
One-way itineraries also give you the opportunity to explore a new city at the end of your cruise. If you leave from Vancouver or Seattle, your cruise will likely finish in Whittier or Seward, Alaska. From here, you can quickly travel to Anchorage (home to an international airport) or continue on to Denali National Park. Some Alaska glacier cruises offer tours after the ship docks. If you have extra time, consider adding one of these tours to stretch out your honeymoon.
Budget-Friendly Options and Cheap Alaska Cruises
Alaskan cruises are a great option for budget travelers.
Prices vary, but you can find deals for 7-night Alaskan cruises for $500-$700 per person. At this price, you would likely stay in a stateroom without a balcony. You can upgrade to a balcony room or suite for an additional charge.
One of the best features about a cruise is that you pay for most of the costs up front. So before you even board your ship, your food and entertainment costs are covered. You can enjoy buffets, room service, and fine dining without opening your wallet.
Drinks are not included with you “free food” but you usually have the option to pay an up-front daily fee for a drink package.
And most ships offer a variety of free entertainment options. Enjoy organized games, trivia, Broadway-style shows, and comedians at no additional charge.
Keep in mind that most cruise lines expect you to pay an additional service charge. This is a tip that is distributed among the staff. But, you usually have the option to pay this up front.
Not worrying about money is the perfect way to escape on your honeymoon. Since you don’t have to pay for most things on the ship, you can focus on relaxing and completely enjoying your honeymoon.
When to Go – Best time to cruise Alaska
Plan your honeymoon for the summer. Alaskan cruises only sail from April-September.
June-August are the warmest months in Alaska. However, July and August are fairly rainy, so be prepared for choppy water and (sometimes) canceled shore excursions. May is one of Alaska’s driest months, but snow is often still found on hiking trails during this month.
If you wait until September, you might catch the Northern Lights. However, snow often starts falling in September, especially in Denali. So, if you were planning on extending your trip to include Denali National Park, be prepared for road closures.
The weather was perfect during my late June honeymoon. I didn’t experience any rain and the temperatures were much warmer than I initially anticipated.
I got this question a lot as I planned my honeymoon. Most people couldn’t understand why my husband and I choose Alaska over a tropical destination. But I hope this post shows that Alaska is the PERFECT option for a honeymoon. You don’t have to go to the beach for a romantic getaway.
If you are considering an Alaskan cruise for your honeymoon, remember that:
- Alaskan Cruises offer amenities. You can enjoy spa visits, adult-only pools, and free room service.
- You get to relax and explore. Spend time lounging poolside before you head to your dog sledding excursion.
- It is warm enough to swim. Yes, you can still buy a new bathing suit. Your cruise will have heated pools and hot tubs.
- The setting is extremely romantic. Just think about it. You are in the middle of the ocean surrounded by calving glaciers and whales. This is one of the most beautiful and romantic settings in the world.
Alaska is an escape from the ordinary. When you are sailing through Glacier Bay National Park you will feel like you are on another planet. And there is something so romantic about being on a cruise ship with your new spouse with nowhere to go. Enjoy the scenery, all-you-can-eat buffets, and hot tubs.
Would you consider an Alaskan cruise for your honeymoon? Let us know in the comments!
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2021 update: Please note this is an old post that does not necessarily reflect our views regarding sustainable tourism anymore. Thanks for your understanding.