With its jaw-dropping landscapes (larger-than-life glaciers) and abundant sea and wildlife (humpback whales, sea lions and polar bears), Alaska is a must-see bucket-list destination for all ages. Opting for a cruise is a no-brainer: The mix of family-friendly onboard activities will keep all generations entertained, and water- and land-based tours make exploring the Final Frontier a cinch.
Alaska Dream Cruises
Children are always welcome on these smaller ships, but even more so on the Become a True Alaskan Family Cruise sailings (July and August). For ages 7 and up, the eight-day Alaska’s Glacier Bay and Island Adventure trips feature an onboard youth expedition leader who guides photo scavenger hunts, teaches navigation basics and heads hiking and kayaking excursions. You’ll sail on the 74-passenger Chichagof Dream, which offers convertible family cabins. From $3,379 per person, kids under 15 save 30 percent; alaskadreamcruises.comChichagof Dream Cruise Ship – Alaska
Whale-watching, snorkeling with sea lions and a polar bear plunge (a dip in the Icy Strait waters) — fun activities for any age, but Un-Cruise specializes in programs for 8- to 13-yearolds.Whale-watching at Icy Strait – Alaska
Adventures include touching anemones in tide pools and looking at plankton they’ve collected under the microscope. Movie nights and dance parties keep the group camaraderie going on board. Book the Inner Reaches Eastern Coves itinerary for access to harbor seals in Endicott Arm, humpbacks in Stephens Passage and lessons in Tlingit and Haida culture. An eight-day trip starts at $2,295 per person, with $500 of kids’ fares; un-cruise.com
Twelve-time winner of “best cruise line in Alaska” from Travel Weekly’s Readers Choice Awards, Princess recognizes that different ages have different needs. Kids clubs are divided into two age groups: 3-7 and 8-12, while teens 13-17 have their own space at Remix, with DJ workshops and hip-hop dance classes.
The whole family can come together for the Klondike Festival (with sled-dog presentations) and the Midnight Sun Party (an all-ages gathering on the top deck under the Midnight Sun).
Excursions include visiting a gold mine and watching a lumberjack competition. And Princess has teamed up with the Discovery Channel to present adventures tied to the popular Deadliest Catch franchise.
From $699 per person for an interior room on a seven-night sailing, third and fourth guests in same room, $249 each; princess.com