Is It Better To Cruise Alaska From Seattle Or Vancouver

When it comes to embarking on an unforgettable Alaskan adventure, the choice between starting your cruise from Seattle or Vancouver can be a tough one. Both cities offer their own unique charms and spectacular scenery, making it a difficult decision to make. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and highlights of cruising from each port, helping you to decide which option is better suited for you. Whether you prefer the bustling metropolitan vibe of Seattle or the laid-back coastal beauty of Vancouver, prepare to set sail on an extraordinary journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska.



Seattle is a vibrant city nestled in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is known for its thriving tech industry, iconic landmarks like the Space Needle, and its proximity to the stunning natural beauty of Alaska. When it comes to accessibility for cruising to Alaska, Seattle offers some distinct advantages. The city is home to a major international airport, making it easy to reach from anywhere in the world. Additionally, Seattle’s cruise terminal is conveniently located near downtown, making it easily accessible for travelers staying in the city before or after their cruise. This accessibility factor can greatly enhance the overall travel experience, allowing you to seamlessly transition from land to sea.


Located on the western coast of Canada, Vancouver is a bustling metropolis surrounded by majestic mountains and the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean. It is renowned for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, diverse culture, and stunning natural landscapes. When considering the accessibility of cruising to Alaska from Vancouver, there are several aspects to consider. Vancouver has its own international airport, providing easy access for travelers. The city’s cruise terminal, Canada Place, is conveniently located right in the heart of downtown Vancouver, allowing for a seamless transition from land to sea. Additionally, Vancouver offers a variety of transportation options, including efficient public transit systems, making it easy to explore the city before or after your cruise.

Cruise Options

Seattle Departures

If you choose to cruise to Alaska from Seattle, you’ll have access to a wide range of cruise options. Seattle serves as a major departure point for many popular cruise lines, offering a variety of itineraries to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a short, week-long adventure or a more extensive multi-week voyage, Seattle departures can provide you with the flexibility you need. From luxury cruise lines to more budget-friendly options, there is something for everyone. Additionally, Seattle’s cruise terminal offers modern amenities and convenient services to ensure a smooth embarkation process.

Vancouver Departures

Vancouver also serves as a popular departure point for cruises to Alaska. Similar to Seattle, Vancouver offers a diverse selection of cruise options that cater to different preferences and budgets. From large, luxurious ships to smaller, more intimate vessels, there are cruise lines to suit every traveler’s preferences. Cruising from Vancouver allows you to embark on a remarkable journey through the stunning landscapes of Alaska, enjoying the comfort and convenience of a well-appointed cruise ship. Vancouver’s cruise terminal, Canada Place, provides a seamless embarkation process and a variety of services to enhance the overall experience.

Scenic Routes

Inside Passage

One of the most popular scenic routes for cruises to Alaska is the Inside Passage. This picturesque waterway stretches along the coast from Washington state in the United States to British Columbia in Canada, offering breathtaking views of lush forests, towering mountains, and pristine glaciers. Cruising through the Inside Passage allows you to witness the untouched natural beauty of the region from the comfort of your cruise ship. As you navigate these pristine waters, keep your camera ready to capture sightings of wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes that will leave you in awe.

Gulf of Alaska

Another scenic route to consider when cruising to Alaska is the Gulf of Alaska. This route takes you through the open waters of the Gulf, offering a different perspective on Alaska’s striking landscapes. While the Gulf of Alaska may not have the same level of sheltered beauty as the Inside Passage, it compensates with its expansive views and opportunities to spot marine wildlife. From towering glaciers to rugged coastlines, the Gulf of Alaska provides a captivating backdrop for your cruise adventure.

Wildlife Sightings


One of the main highlights of an Alaska cruise is the opportunity to see majestic whales in their natural habitat. Both Seattle and Vancouver cruises offer the chance to witness these magnificent creatures up close. Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales breaching the surface, orcas swimming gracefully, and even the occasional sighting of elusive blue whales. Experienced naturalists onboard your cruise ship will provide valuable insights and knowledge about these incredible marine mammals, making your wildlife sightings even more memorable.


Alaska is also home to a thriving population of bears, including the iconic grizzly bear. When cruising from either Seattle or Vancouver, you may have the chance to witness bears fishing for salmon along the scenic rivers and streams of the region. Be sure to take advantage of organized shore excursions or guided tours to maximize your chances of spotting these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Remember to always view bears from a safe distance and follow the instructions of your guides to ensure both your safety and the well-being of the animals.

Seals and Sea Lions

As you sail through the pristine waters of Alaska, keep an eye out for seals and sea lions basking on rocky shores or swimming alongside your cruise ship. These playful and curious marine mammals often make appearances, adding to the excitement and wonder of your cruise experience. Learn about their behaviors, habitats, and the conservation efforts in place to protect them, thanks to expert naturalists and educational programs offered onboard your ship. Observing these charismatic creatures in their natural environment is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Land Excursions


If you choose Seattle as your departure point, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the vibrant city before or after your cruise. Seattle offers a multitude of attractions, including the iconic Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and the bustling waterfront. Explore the city’s rich history and culture through its numerous museums and art galleries, indulge in world-class dining experiences, or take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque parks and gardens. Whether you’re a foodie, history buff, nature lover, or art enthusiast, Seattle has something for everyone.


Similarly, Vancouver offers a plethora of exciting land excursions for cruisers before or after their voyage. Known for its stunning natural beauty, Vancouver boasts an abundance of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and whale watching tours. Immerse yourself in the city’s diverse culture by exploring vibrant neighborhoods like Gastown and Chinatown, or visit renowned attractions such as Stanley Park and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Don’t forget to sample the city’s renowned culinary scene, which offers dishes from around the world to satisfy any palate.

Glacier Viewing

Glacier Bay (Seattle Departures)

Cruising from Seattle provides the opportunity to visit Glacier Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its awe-inspiring glaciers and unique ecosystem. Get up close and personal with massive tidewater glaciers, where chunks of ice calve off into the water with a thunderous crash. As you sail through Glacier Bay, keep an eye out for seals basking on ice floes, eagles soaring overhead, and possibly even a rare sighting of a coastal wolf. This breathtaking experience allows you to witness the raw power and beauty of nature, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Tracy Arm Fjord (Vancouver Departures)

If you opt for a cruise departing from Vancouver, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Tracy Arm Fjord, a stunning natural wonder. This narrow fjord is flanked by towering granite walls and filled with floating ice, making it a haven for wildlife and a visual feast for the eyes. As your cruise ship navigates through Tracy Arm Fjord, marvel at the spectacular sights, including cascading waterfalls, lush greenery, and massive glaciers. Keep your camera ready to capture the incredible beauty of this untouched wilderness and keep an eye out for wildlife such as seals, porpoises, and bald eagles.

Length of Cruises

Seattle Departures

Seattle departures offer a variety of cruise lengths, allowing you to choose the duration that best fits your schedule and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or a more leisurely exploration of Alaska, there are options available to suit your needs. From week-long cruises to longer voyages spanning several weeks, you can tailor your cruise experience to the amount of time you have available. Consider your desired level of relaxation, the number of ports you wish to explore, and the activities you’d like to participate in when selecting the ideal length for your Seattle departure cruise.

Vancouver Departures

Similar to Seattle, Vancouver departures offer a range of cruise lengths, providing flexibility for travelers with different schedules and preferences. Whether you’re seeking a shorter adventure or a more extensive exploration of Alaska, Vancouver cruises have something to offer. From week-long itineraries to longer journeys that allow for a more comprehensive exploration of the region, there are options to suit every type of traveler. Consider the number of ports you’d like to visit, the activities you want to participate in, and the overall pace you prefer when selecting the perfect length for your Vancouver departure cruise.

Weather Considerations


When it comes to weather considerations for cruising to Alaska from Seattle, it’s important to take into account the region’s climate. Seattle experiences a temperate oceanic climate, characterized by mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. If you’re planning a summer cruise, you can expect pleasant weather with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (around 18-24 degrees Celsius). However, it’s always wise to come prepared with layers and rain gear, as the unpredictable nature of the Pacific Northwest weather means conditions can change quickly.


Vancouver, too, experiences a temperate oceanic climate, closely resembling Seattle’s weather patterns. Summers in Vancouver tend to be warm and relatively dry, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (around 18-24 degrees Celsius). If you’re embarking on a summer cruise from Vancouver, you can generally expect comfortable weather throughout your voyage. However, as with any outdoor activity, it’s advisable to come prepared with layers and rain gear to ensure you’re ready for any changes in weather conditions.

Price Comparison

Cruise Fares

When it comes to pricing, the cost of cruising to Alaska from either Seattle or Vancouver can vary depending on a range of factors such as the cruise line, the duration of the voyage, the cabin category, and any additional amenities or perks included in the package. It’s important to compare different cruise lines and itineraries to find the best offer that aligns with your budget and preferences. Keep in mind that pricing may fluctuate depending on the time of year, with peak summer months typically commanding higher fares. By doing thorough research and considering various options, you can find a cruise that offers a great balance between value and experience.

Flights and Accommodations

In addition to cruise fares, it’s essential to consider other associated costs such as flights and accommodations. Depending on your location and the seasonal availability of flights, the cost of flying to Seattle or Vancouver may vary. It’s often worth exploring different flight options, comparing prices, and considering any available discounts or deals to get the best value for your money. Similarly, when it comes to accommodations, there are various options to consider, ranging from hotels near the cruise terminals to rental properties or Airbnb rentals in the respective cities. By comparing prices and availability, you can find suitable accommodations that fit your budget and preferences.

Embarkation Process


The embarkation process for cruises departing from Seattle is typically smooth and well-organized. Seattle’s cruise terminal offers modern facilities and efficient procedures to ensure a seamless boarding experience for travelers. Once you arrive at the terminal, you’ll go through the necessary security and check-in procedures before boarding your cruise ship. It’s advisable to arrive at the terminal with ample time to spare, allowing for a stress-free embarkation process and minimizing any potential delays. Remember to have all the required travel documents, including your passport, identification, and boarding passes, readily accessible to expedite the check-in process.


Similarly, Vancouver’s cruise terminal, Canada Place, offers a streamlined embarkation process for cruisers departing from the city. Upon arrival at the terminal, you’ll go through security and check-in procedures before boarding your cruise ship. It’s recommended to arrive at the terminal with sufficient time before your scheduled departure to ensure a smooth and hassle-free embarkation experience. Having all the necessary travel documents, such as your passport, identification, and boarding passes, readily available will help expedite the check-in process and ensure a seamless start to your cruise adventure.

In conclusion, whether you choose to cruise to Alaska from Seattle or Vancouver, you’re in for an unforgettable journey through one of the world’s most awe-inspiring destinations. Both cities offer convenient accessibility, a wide range of cruise options, stunning scenic routes, abundant wildlife sightings, exciting land excursions, mesmerizing glacier views, various cruise lengths, favorable weather conditions, and competitive pricing options. Consider your personal preferences, budget, and desired experiences when selecting your departure point, and prepare for an incredible adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *