Cruise Review: Seattle to Alaska on a 7-Day Inside Passage Cruise

If you’re interested in a Southeast Alaska cruise or want to know what to expect on a cruise from Seattle to Alaska, you’re in the right spot. Here I’m going to give a full Alaska cruise review of our 7-Day Inside Passage cruise from Seattle to Alaska.

Note: While we were aboard the Royal Princess, a lot of what I talk about here applies to so many cruise ships and cruise lines on the same itinerary!

That being said, we just returned from our cruise and had the most wonderful trip with epic views and lifelong memories! I can’t wait to show you photos from our trip and share what we did so you can get ideas of your own. It wasn’t without its interesting moments or learning experiences, though, and I’ll be sure to include those too!

This was not a sponsored trip- it was a bucket list trip that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and booked on my own dime. That means you truly can trust that everything I’m sharing here is my own opinion and I’m not being paid to write anyone a good review 🙂

I also did a ton of research on what cruise to pick and what activities to do at each Alaskan cruise port, so I’ll share those things here as well.

Now that that’s established, let me set the scene.

At the end of May, my husband, our one-year-old, my parents, and I embarked on an epic 7-day Inside Passage cruise from Seattle to Alaska on the Royal Princess.

I’m constantly chasing beautiful views, and there were so many on this trip! We were fortunate to have it rain on only one afternoon, which meant our land excursions went off without a hitch.

Overall, the trip was epic, and I can’t wait to share everything we did to experience Southeast Alaska with you on this Alaska cruise review!

Why I Chose a 7-Day Inside Passage Cruise from Seattle to Alaska

I’ve been in love with Alaska ever since my first visit when my husband and I flew into Anchorage and drove 33 hours exploring the surrounding areas. We hit up the Kenai Peninsula, stayed multiple days in Seward and Homer, headed east to Valdez, went up to Fairbanks, stopped in Denali, then finished in Anchorage. (You can see our itinerary here!)

I knew I wanted to explore more of this incredible state. So, next on my to-see list was Southeast Alaska. In the summer of 2021, I tried to plan a trip to Juneau with ferry stops and flights to and from various cities and towns in the area. But it just was too complicated (and stressful!) logistically.

It was then I knew that the best way to see Southeast Alaska was simply to join a cruise. They’d take me from port to port with no hassle or scheduling on my end! Easy!

Now, I had fully intended on going on a cruise in 2022. I hopped online and was knee-deep in Alaska cruise research when I learned that babies have to be at least 6 months old to cruise. Oof- mine would be almost five months old at the very end of Alaska cruise season.

So, at long last, in 2023 we were able to finally go on a Southeast Alaska cruise!

Alaska Cruise Review: Narrowing Down Our Cruise Options

Now to decide which cruise to take! When we booked our cruise on CruiseDirect, there were five major decisions to make when booking our cruise:

  • Cruise line
  • Start/end port
  • Length and itinerary
  • When to go
  • Type of room to book

If you’re searching for Alaska cruise reviews, you may be booking an Alaska cruise yourself! So it might be helpful to see my thought process for these things as you’re considering your own trip! So now I’ll get into how I made each of those decisions and ended up on a 7-Day Inside Passage Cruise from Seattle to Alaska on the Royal Princess.

If you’ve already chosen your cruise or know which one you want to go on, you can click here to skip to what we did at each cruise port.

Deciding Which Cruise Line: Why Princess Cruises

Reminder: As I stated earlier, we paid for our whole trip ourselves and didn’t work with anyone for this trip! That means that my decisions were my own and I can share completely honest opinions with you!

Also, if you’ve already booked a trip with a different cruise line, trust me when I say, you’re going to have a great time. I’ve cruised with a lot of different cruise lines in the past.

But here’s why I chose Princess:

I knew I wanted to cruise Princess since I’d heard great things about their Alaska cruises. They’ve been cruising there for over 50 years, and are something of a name brand in Alaska. When I was planning our original Alaska road trip, I noticed Princess Lodges pop up all over the state- before that, I didn’t know cruises had on-land lodging!

Princess is also one of the few cruise lines permitted to sail in Glacier Bay National Park. They actually bring park rangers on board on the day you’re in the national park! I’ll get more into Glacier Bay National Park in just a bit.

So all of those things brought me to the decision to cruise with Princess. 

There are three Princess cruises that sail the Inside Passage: Royal Princess, Discovery Princess, and Majestic Princess. We ended up on the Royal Princess because of the itinerary that it offered. (I’ll talk more about the Royal Princess down below and also do a separate in-depth Royal Princess Cruise review and link it here when it’s done!)

If you want to book a Princess cruise like I did, you can do so here!

Deciding Which Departure Port: Why Cruise from Seattle to Alaska

Now, since we had a one-year-old in tow, cruising out of Seattle was a no-brainer for me. When traveling with babies, toddlers, or even kids, it’s ideal if air travel can be as short as possible. We also fly Southwest Airlines whenever we can and they fly into Seattle. So, with all of these factors, it just made sense to cruise to Alaska from Seattle. If you haven’t booked your cruise yet and want to depart from Seattle, you can see all of your cruise options here!

Deciding How Long and Which Itinerary to Take: Why an Inside Passage Cruise

I think that a week is ideal for a trip through Southeast Alaska. It gives you enough time to cruise to Alaska and then see several different places in the Inside Passage.

But wait, what is the Inside Passage?

The Inside Passage is a natural coastal channel that weaves through the islands, fjords, and inlets of southeastern Alaska. It also includes the coast of British Columbia as it extends down to Victoria and Vancouver. It’s a cruise lover’s dream, as this region is incredibly scenic with dramatic landscapes, incredible wildlife, and historic towns. 

As you might imagine, with so much to see here, there are quite a few cruise ship routes in the area. That brings me to the next point: which itinerary to choose.

Deciding Which Itinerary

When deciding which itinerary to choose, one thing I knew was that I wanted to see Glacier Bay National Park and certain towns in Southeast Alaska. Princess Cruises offers basically two different 7-Day Alaska Cruise itineraries with the biggest difference being Glacier Bay vs Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier. Some other Alaska cruises from Seattle offer the Hubbard Glacier or Tracy Arm. 

I’d done enough research to decide that sailing through Glacier Bay National Park beat out any other option… here’s how I’d rank these four options based on plenty of other reviews I read:

Ranking Glacier Viewing Options

  1. Glacier Bay– You’ll be able to spot the most glaciers on a scenic cruise through Glacier Bay. You’re also in a National Park that is typically full of wildlife. Cruises sailing here often stay in the park for the longest time, often about 10 hours. You’re most likely to see one or more glaciers even if the weather is bad for part of the day. Our ship did a 360-degree rotation at the Margerie Glacier.
  2. Hubbard Glacier– Hubbard Glacier is the largest and most impressive glacier. If you’re cruising here, you’re in for a treat! But when comparing to Glacier Bay, keep in mind that you’re only here for a short amount of time seeing one glacier and that weather can impact visibility.
  3. Tracy Arm– This is a narrow fjord which means you’ll stay pretty close to land, which makes for great photos. The goal of this scenic cruising is often to see the twin Sawyer glaciers. You’ll be able to spot waterfalls here.
  4. Endicott Arm/Dawes Glacier– This is a part of the Tracy Arm and many ships will stop here if they’re unable to sail to the Sawyer glaciers due to weather or icebergs. Larger ships will come here as well since the Endicott Arm is a wider, straighter passageway that larger ships are better suited for.

So, when choosing a 7-Day Inside Passage Cruise from Seattle to Alaska, Glacier Bay was my number one requirement! That meant there was just one itinerary for me: Seattle, a day at sea, Juneau, Skagway, scenic cruising through Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and a night stop in Victoria, BC before heading back to Seattle. I’ll cover our itinerary more in-depth here in a bit.

Deciding When to Go: Why Do an Alaska Cruise in May

We chose to cruise in May for two main reasons. For one, May is typically less rainy than other months in Alaska. And for the other: cruises are cheaper in shoulder season! 

I chose the very end of May so that we could get the cheaper prices while getting as close to peak travel dates as possible. 

You see, the most popular time to visit Alaska is from June to August because you’ll find warmer temperatures, the midnight sun phenomenon, and abundant wildlife. In May, you get a bit of those, but just not to the same extent.

On our May Alaska cruise, we only saw a handful of whales from a distance and didn’t see any bears. (While our morning in Glacier Bay National Park was clear and we got to see epic glaciers, the afternoon brought rain during what was supposed to be the best time for wildlife viewing, so we weren’t able to see anything.) 

Also worth noting: we didn’t do any excursions searching for wildlife at any ports. So don’t blame the month of May for our lack of wildlife! 

Funnily enough, we also didn’t see whales or bears in the wild on our road trip through Alaska in August, even though that’s a popular season for them. (We did see brown bears at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on our road trip, though!)

All that to say, I’m glad we went on an Alaska cruise in May! We may have traded warmer temperatures and more wildlife activity for fewer crowds and a smaller chance of rain. And my biggest regret about going in May is missing the wildflower season in Alaska. But, all in all, it felt like the perfect time for what we were looking for!

Deciding What Type of Room to Book:

The last big decision we made when booking our cruise was picking out room size.

Sharing a room with a baby can make for some interesting sleep! James has slept through the night since he was three months old (praise the Lord!!) but when we travel, he usually has one or two rough nights.

While that doesn’t affect which room we choose (no avoiding those rough nights!) the ability to have him in his own space away from ours was a huge factor. I knew I wanted to have a separate area for him to sleep in, so that we could work in the other section with a light on.

So we chose a mini-suite, which has a thick curtain partition between the sitting area and bed area. It was great for our needs!

I will say, though, that we met a couple who was sharing a standard room with their daughter. They had family staying in a room across the hall, so went in there while their daughter fell asleep in their room (their radio baby monitor reached the room across the hall).

Is a balcony room worth it on an Alaska cruise?

If you aren’t traveling with littles, then I’d recommend choosing whatever room you can afford that has a balcony. The balcony is completely worth it, in my book! When there are crowds of people above deck wanting the same shot of the Margerie Glacier, rather than waiting your turn for a photo, you can escape to your room and capture a photo from your balcony! On the Royal Princess, the ship made a 360-degree rotation at the glacier so that everyone could have a chance to see it.

So, there you have it! These were the major decisions we made and our end result was a mini-suite on a 7-Day Inside Passage Cruise from Seattle to Alaska aboard the Royal Princess in May.

Now, let’s get into the review of how our cruise actually went!

What We Did at Each Port on Our Alaska Inside Passage Cruise 

As I mentioned earlier, our 7-Day Inside Passage Cruise from Seattle to Alaska stopped at the following cruise ports:

  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Ketchikan
  • Victoria, BC

Here’s what we did at each place and my thoughts on how each went!

Juneau, 12PM-9PM

As the capital of Alaska, almost every Southeast Alaska cruise itinerary includes Juneau. This gorgeous city is located in a mountain valley, and stunning views abound here. Popular activities here include visiting the Mendenhall Glacier, whale watching, and taking the Goldbelt Tram to the top of Mt. Roberts.

Here’s what we did in Juneau:

Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure- Rating: 2/5

The first thing we did was pick up our rental car. We rented it on Turo and the owner left it right by the cruise port for us to pick up.

From there, we chose to drive to Glacier Gardens before heading to the Mendenhall Glacier, since we figured everyone would go to Mendenhall right away.

For $35 per adult, you hop onboard a big golf cart-type vehicle that can seat 18. (The tour doesn’t require walking.) You wind your way up the mountain while your tour guide shares information about the garden, the plants, the history of the area, and more.

You’ll be in the Tongass National Forest, a temperate rainforest that is also the largest national forest in the United States.

The tour peaks at an observation deck that offers views of parts of Juneau and the Chilkat Mountains. You get out of the vehicle and get about ten minutes to snap photos (it felt more like five minutes).

Then, you head back down. I think the coolest part of the tour is the upside-down trees you’ll see. They’re sporadically placed along the tour, but the majority (and the only ones you can actually get a photo with) are at the visitor’s center. 

The visitor center itself has another pretty photo op- a giant plant heart with hanging plant baskets framing it.

All in all, Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure is a great way to learn a bit about the rainforest as you go through a variety of habitats. 

Why Glacier Gardens Wasn’t Worth It

Was it worth it? Definitely not to me. Unfortunately, the front desk lady was incredibly rude to my deaf parents, which is a huge no-no in my book. So our experience started off on a sour note.

Then, the drive through the rainforest is cool but you don’t get any time to get out of the cart and photograph anything in the forest. (The cart just makes short stops for photos every so often, but you must stay in the cart.)

Once you get to the top, you barely have enough time to get photos since everyone wants the same photo. And, honestly, the view at the top is pretty mediocre compared to the views you can see elsewhere in Juneau. 

TLDR: As a photographer and travel blogger, I just wasn’t impressed.

Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls- Rating: 5/5

There’s a reason why everyone does this when they go to Juneau! It’s just an incredible sight to see, regardless of the hoards of people around you. Mendenhall Glacier is a tidewater glacier with a beautiful blue face and excellent hikes around it.

There’s a pretty easy hike to Nugget Falls (we did it while wearing James) that’s definitely worth it. This 2-mile long (round trip) trail (3.2 km) starts at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center and takes about 45 minutes to complete.

While the trail is mostly paved, there are some sections that are gravel or dirt. There are several viewpoints along the trail, but the highlight is definitely the waterfall at the end. You get to see it right up close, which makes for some pretty cool photos!

We also stopped at Photo Point along the Nugget Falls trail. It gives you a nice view of the glacier.

This trail is much shorter and just takes a few minutes to complete.

After that, we headed back toward downtown Juneau to return our rental car.

By the way, If you’re renting your own car, there’s also a really beautiful view of the Mendenhall Glacier as you’re driving towards the visitor’s center! 

Also, before we returned our rental car, we made one additional stop at a scenic pull out area. On Google Maps, you can find it titled “Brotherhood Bridge And Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei-Clear Water Creek Trail Head Parking.“

It offers a gorgeous view of the Mendenhall Valley! It’s especially worth stopping at for a photo later in the summer when fireweed blooms here. I used Photoshop’s Generative AI feature to simulate what it looks like with wildflowers in bloom!

The Goldbelt Tram- Rating: 3.5/5

The Goldbelt Tram is one of the most convenient things to do in Juneau if you’re arriving via cruise, simply because it is right next to the cruise port. For $50 per adult, you get to ride the 6-minute tram up Mount Roberts.

There are definitely cool views from the ride but know that it’s hard to capture photos while inside the tram due to glare and how scuffed up the windows are. But my favorite view to capture is right when you get off the tram. Here you can photograph the tram itself with Juneau in the background.

The tram brings you to an observation deck 1,800 feet above sea level and here’s the kind of view you’ll see:

I also love the view that comes from the tram as you’re looking down toward downtown Juneau.

There are hikes that you can do from the top, too, connecting trails leading up and down the mountain. Unfortunately, when we visited in late May, they were still covered with snow, so we didn’t plan on exploring any of the trails.

We also visited at the end of the day when the on-site restaurant and retail shop were closed, so basically paid $50 to see the view at the top. Also, as the day goes on, expect a wait at the top as more and more people want to come back down closer to the cruise all-aboard time.

We had no problem buying our tickets in the late afternoon, but earlier in the day there are usually lines. When we went, online tickets weren’t available, but I also wouldn’t recommend buying ahead of time in case the weather is bad when you get to Juneau… there’s not really a point if you can’t see anything from the top, in my opinion! Especially with ticket prices as high as they are.

My Juneau Conclusion

Mendenhall Glacier is truly beautiful and is a must on any Juneau itinerary. Also, if I could do it again, I’d cut out Glacier Gardens and spend more time exploring downtown Juneau!

Skagway, 6AM-8:30PM

Skagway is a gorgeous historic town that completely charmed me! It has an incredibly charming and walkable downtown. Founded during the Klondike Gold Rush, some of the most popular activities here are gold panning, exploring the historic downtown, accessing Canada’s Yukon territory, and taking the White Pass and Yukon Railway.

In fact, taking the train is one of the most popular things to do in Skagway, and the train leaves right from the cruise docks. However, since you can only enjoy the views from inside your train car, we opted to rent a car and drive to the Yukon ourselves.

Here’s what we did in Skagway:

Emerald Lake in the Yukon- Rating: 5/5

The main thing we did in Skagway was rent a car and drive through a portion of the Canadian Yukon (yup, passport required!). 

We used Drive About Car Rentals, a locally owned business with a few cars in its fleet. I highly recommend them- they made pick up and drop off super easy; the car was waiting for us just a short walk away from our cruise ship! The only downside was that our car had to be returned by 5pm. But you can still see so much from 8am-5pm!

Our goal was to reach Emerald Lake in the Yukon. It’s an hour and a half away from Skagway and has gorgeous shades of blue and green in it! The green comes from sunlight reflecting off of white calcium carbonate on the lake floor (known as marl).

As I was planning the day with my dad, we figured that trip would take about 5 hours, and wondered what to do with the extra time we had with the car. Boy did that end up being a joke! We barely made the 5pm drop-off because there was SO much to see along the way!

We pulled over for several highway scenic spots, spent about 30 minutes in line at the Canadian border, drove to Emerald Lake, visited a desert in the middle of the Yukon, stopped in Carcross for lunch, then made our way back. But those scenic stop-offs really added up, and nine hours flew by so quickly!

Carcross- Rating: 4/5

Other than Emerald Lake, the most notable thing we did was visit the town of Carcross. The White Pass and Yukon Route Railway runs through the town, so we saw some fellow cruise ship passengers getting on or off the train here.

Some notable things to do here include visiting the Carcross Museum, learning about the rich history and culture here at the Carcross/Tagish First Nation Cultural Centre, taking the scenic train, going mountain biking, and visiting the “world’s smallest desert!” Yes, you read that right! You’ll find a 1 square mile (2.6 km2) patch of sand dunes left by a glacial lake thousands of years ago!

I’d give it a 5 out of 5 if there were more shops here; for being the only town for miles, I just expected better dining options. But at least they had good ice cream! (Ha, just realized you can see my tram stamp in this pic of me holding ice cream!)

We picked up a cone, got a little husky stuffed animal for James that he was obsessed with (named him Togo, IYKYK), and grabbed pizza at a coffee shop (yes, you read that right). Then we made our way back to Skagway.

Tutshi Sled Dog Tours

On our way back to Skagway, we made a few more stops. We passed this dog kennel that had a sign saying “come see our puppies” and couldn’t resist!

Their tours were closed for the day so I can’t give it a proper rating, but it was fun seeing these little guys! Normally they offer summer sled dog tours and you can check out rates and more details here.

Yukon Suspension Bridge

We stopped at the Yukon Suspension Bridge on our way back to Skagway not realizing that it closes at 5pm… Yukon time. Which is actually 4pm Alaska time! And their last ticket is sold 30 minutes before closing. We’ll have to make this happen next time! 

Skagway’s Historic Downtown- Rating: 5/5

After returning our rental car, we walked to historic Downtown Skagway and were totally overwhelmed by how dang cute it is! It’s one of the most charming small towns I’ve visited! There are so many shops, restaurants, museums, and historic sites here that I could’ve spent hours and hours here! It’s a National Historic Landmark District due to its association with the Klondike Gold Rush.

There are about 100 buildings that are still standing from the Gold Rush era. You can learn more about the history here at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center (whew that’s a mouthful).

My Skagway Conclusion

I wouldn’t change much about what we chose to do in Skagway! I’d add in a visit to the Yukon Suspension Bridge on our way out to Emerald Lake because it was closed by the time we were driving back.

And the only other thing I’d adjust is allotting more time for the return journey from Carcross to Skagway. We were in a rush to return the car by 5pm (that was the hard and fast return time for our car) and felt like we missed out on some gorgeous sights coming back to Skagway. (Yes, we were on the same route that we took going out, but the views are more epic returning!) 

Glacier Bay National Park, 6AM-3PM

Glacier Bay National Park is a United States National Park located in the panhandle of southeastern Alaska. It’s home to 3.3 million acres (13,000 km2) of temperate rainforest, fjords, and glaciers. 

The movement of glaciers carved Glacier Bay over thousands of years into what it is today: a landscape of fjords, ice fields, and tidewater glaciers. Glacier Bay is still constantly changing as glaciers advance and retreat.

As you’re cruising through the park, you might see its resident wildlife, including bears, whales, and seabirds.

Here’s what we did in Glacier Bay National Park:

Scenic Cruising through Glacier Bay- Rating: 5/5

Our ship did a scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park, so we didn’t get off the ship. Park Rangers, however, did come on. They’d come over the loudspeakers with fascinating facts, stories, and other tidbits about the national park. Kids had the opportunity to become junior rangers (James was obviously too young for this, though!).

(Note: If you’re on a different cruise than we were and you see that your ship offers boat excursions, then it means your ship might not get very close to the glaciers! If that’s the case, then you should book one of these small boat excursions if you want a closer view of the glaciers.)

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I was grateful we got a room with a balcony! It enabled us to get stress-free shots of the glacier without worrying about other people.

Once we got the photos we wanted from our room, we headed up to the top decks of the cruise to take more. I noticed that there were fewer people around the longer we stayed at the Margerie Glacier, so if you want photos at the top of the ship, this is the best time to take them!

The afternoon portion of our trip was supposed to be the best time for whale watching, but heavy rain prevented us from doing that. That’s okay, though, I’d much rather see glaciers! (We’ve gone whale watching several places around the world, so it wasn’t a bucket list item for me.)

We spent some time on the SeaWalk on the ship which juts out past the ship, so you’re walking over the ocean itself!

James had such a fun time crawling over the ocean, he was fascinated by it!

My Glacier Bay National Park Conclusion

There’s not much I could change about our experience in Glacier Bay, since it’s just a day of scenic cruising! I will say, after you leave Margerie Glacier, the other ones are less obvious, so you really need to be paying attention to what the rangers are saying on the loudspeakers so that you don’t miss them.

Ketchikan, 7AM-1:15PM

Ketchikan is usually the first or last stop in Alaska on an Inside Passage cruise, due to its location. It is known for its salmon fishing (it’s the Salmon Capital of the World!), totem poles, and Misty Fjords National Monument. It’s also known for being the rainiest town in Alaska, so be prepared! Fortunately, we had a cloudy but rain-free day here!

Here’s what we did in Ketchikan:

Creek Street- Rating: 5/5

We walked to Creek Street from our ship. It’s literally a street that crosses over and follows a creek with shops, houses, and restaurants along the way. On this historic boardwalk, you’ll notice colorfully-painted houses, totem poles, flags, and more.

Interestingly enough, it was built as a red-light district in the 1900s, home to brothels and saloons. Nowadays, it has been transformed completely, though you can still learn about its history at Dolly’s House Museum, which used to be one of Creek Street’s most famous brothels.

While you’re walking here, you’ll get great views of Ketchikan Creek while appreciating Native Alaskan art in the form of totem poles, which tell stories about Alaskan history and culture. And, of course, there are souvenir shops where you can buy Alaskan gifts and keepsakes, restaurants that serve fresh Alaskan cuisine, and more.

Downtown Ketchikan- Rating: 5/5

Downtown Ketchikan encompasses Creek Street and offers quite a bit more to do. You can visit the Totem Heritage Center or other museums, or simply walk around exploring the shops and restaurants.

If you’re interested in Native Alaskan history and heritage, you can also take a free downtown shuttle or city bus to Saxman Totem Park. It’s actually home to the most standing totems in one place. Here you can take either a self-guided or organized tour and learn about Native Alaskan culture.

Misty Fjords National Monument Flightseeing- Rating: 5/5

When I originally got off the ship and walked past companies selling tours, I overheard one man selling a one-hour Misty Fjords Flightseeing tour for $325. That’s basically what I paid for this two-hour tour that also included a landing in the park! So you definitely want to book a flightseeing tour ahead of time to make sure they’re not sold out and to make sure you’re not overcharged at the port!

Anyway, I did this tour with Island Wings. I didn’t want to book through the cruise excursions because I always feel like those are overpriced. Instead, I chose Island Wings because they are a small business and one of the only companies in Ketchikan that include a landing with their two-hour tour!

I went solo because it’s quite a pricy activity and I can’t imagine Harrison and me bringing a one-year-old on it! So I strapped my tripod and camera to my body (you can’t have bags with you) and joined a tour with five other passengers and the pilot.

I was seated on the left side but really felt like the views on the right side were cooler, so if you’re seated on the right, you’re in for a treat! (You take a different return path, so the views are different going there and back.)

Regardless, there were epic views as we flew close to mountains, lakes, forests, islands, and more.

While the view at the landing wasn’t jaw-droppingly beautiful, the fact that we got to put our feet down in Misty Fjords National Monument was pretty dang cool!

All in all, it’s a pricey excursion but a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Book it here if it’s in your budget!

My Ketchikan Conclusion

I wouldn’t change anything about what I did in Ketchikan. However, next time I visit, I think I’d like to do a boat tour of Misty Fjords to see it from a new perspective!

Victoria, 7PM-11:59PM

Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is a beautiful city known for its British charm, gardens, and Parliament Buildings.

Victoria was my biggest disappointment- not because I didn’t like Victoria. Rather, I loved Victoria so much that I wish I had better prepared for our nighttime excursion! Though we landed at 7, because of Jamesy’s bedtime, I got off the ship at 8 (Harrison stayed on board while James slept). That meant that my parents and I only had an hour to explore before the sun went down. (Cruises that visit in June or July will have even more daylight, so if you’re on a later cruise, then that’s a huge perk!)

Here’s what we did in Victoria:

The Breakwater Lighthouse- Rating: 4/5

First, we got off the ship and walked to the lighthouse. The walk was longer than I thought it would be and ended up taking about half an hour.

It was a beautiful walk on the water but very windy and very cold. Bring a warm jacket!

Beacon Hill Park- Rating: 5/5

From the lighthouse, we hailed a cab (they’re everywhere in this area!) and paid $15 USD (cash only!) to go to Beacon Hill Park.

This is one of the most beautiful parks I’ve been to. So many flowers were already in bloom in May! There are a ton of lakes and ponds and bridges.

Peacocks roam around here so don’t be surprised when you hear really weird screams- they’re just peacock noises.

And don’t miss the giant sleeping lady covered in moss! 

You can also see the world’s tallest totem pole here.

The park is free to enter and is 100% worth visiting if you’re in Victoria!

British Columbia Parliament Buildings- Rating: 5/5

These buildings are gorgeous! Fortunately, even though we visited at nighttime, they are all lit up and still beautiful to see.

The whole downtown area lights up too! And if you’re looking for a bit of romance, you can take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the area. 

From there, we walked back to the cruise ship because I was freezing and very, very tired. 

My Victoria Conclusion

If I could do it over again, I’d skip the lighthouse and spend much more time in the park. It’s one of the prettiest parks I’ve seen, and it was free to enter! I’d also wear pants and a warmer jacket if I were visiting the lighthouse again because it was so windy! (The forecast was 70 degrees… it felt more like 40 on the water!)

Seattle to Alaska Cruise Review Sailing Aboard The Royal Princess

Now that I’ve covered everything we did (that’s the important part of the trip to me), it’s time to cover the ship itself.

After all, you’re on it quite a bit!

Overall, the Royal Princess is an excellent cruise ship! My one complaint is that the elevators usually took a long time and were constantly stuffed full. I’m usually a stairs girl, but with a stroller in tow, stairs just aren’t logical.

It’s also one of the largest cruise ships I’ve ever been on. It’s designed beautifully with traditional elements and feels new even though it is over 10 years old. My favorite features were the Sky Walk, where you’re walking over the ocean, and the “Movie Under the Stars” set up, where people could grab blankets and watch a movie on the big screen while cozying up on pool lounge chairs. The gelato shop was another highlight- yum!

Anyway, here’s an overview of some of the stats for the Royal Princess:

Royal Princess Cruise Specs

  • Built in 2013
  • Weighs 141,000 tons
  • Is 1,083 feet long (330 meters) and 118 feet wide (36 meters)
  • Can accommodate 3,560 people
  • Has 19 dining options (including 3 main dining rooms and a huge buffet area)
  • 9 bars and lounges
  • Has key features like a Spa, Beauty Salon, Casino, Fitness Center, Basketball/Pickleball Court, Jogging Track, Mini Driving Range, Library, Internet Cafe, Gift Shop, and a whole lot more.
  • 19 decks
  • 1,780 passenger cabins (only 342 inside cabins, so most have a balcony!)
  • 4 pools and 8 hot tubs
  • There are three separate kid zones for ages 3-17. Since James was too young on this cruise, we didn’t utilize these, but are excited to have that option in the future! (We learned that for littles under age 3, one parent can go into the Treehouse with their little one, but only one since space is reserved for scheduled activities.)

Cruise Review: Pros and Cons

The Food- Rating: 5/5

I’m generally opposed to buffets because they seem low-quality to me. But at Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro on the Royal Princess, the food was actually very good. They even brought in Alaskan food in partnership with local restaurants at our ports of call! I enjoyed the Asian and Indian food at the buffet each day- they were excellent! 

And the wood-fired pizza at Alfredo’s Pizzeria on the pool deck has won “best pizza at sea” for good reason. If you see them serving “Glacier Pizza,” a white pizza, order it! It’s ridiculously delicious. 

Their soft-serve by the pool was the only food that seemed mediocre to me. It’s worth it to pay for gelato instead of the free soft serve… it’s just so much better and is surprisingly cheap!

At the complimentary fine dining restaurant, we thoroughly enjoyed their wild-caught Alaskan salmon and other fresh fish. 

We didn’t try any of the specialty restaurants that you pay extra for.

Room service is included in your cruise price, and the california roll I ordered to my cabin was absolutely delicious.

The Service- Rating: 5/5

All of the workers we interacted with on board were very kind and helpful. They’ve clearly been taught customer service. Our cabin steward, Ivan, was very thoughtful.

The Cabin- Rating: 4/5

Our mini-suite was exactly what we needed. I can have trouble sleeping at night but I slept like a baby each night in our comfy bed! It was plenty spacious for us and had a ton of storage. (We brought a 49lb checked bag stuffed full, a carry-on suitcase stuffed full, a giant backpack stuffed full, a diaper bag, a travel tote, our Doona, a compact travel stroller, our baby carrier, and a pack-n-play. And there was still room to spare!) And it had a full bathtub instead of a tiny shower, which made baby bathtime a breeze.

However, there were two issues that I had with our room. 

For one, the curtains, while they are blackout, don’t completely black out the room as light shines in from above and underneath. With the midnight sun phenomenon, that still leaves your room somewhat lit up. I especially noticed this since our baby took naps in our room. We ended up putting extra blankets down at the foot of the curtains to block out the light from underneath. 

On a similar note, the curtain dividing the sitting area from the bed area also wasn’t as blackout as the balcony curtains, so we had to minimize how many lamps were on our side when we put James down to sleep.

The next, bigger issue that I had with the mini-suite was the sheer lack of outlets! There were two outlets by the desk and one in the bathroom. That’s it. Two. 

My parents were in a balcony room without a suite and they had four outlets, two by their bed, and two by the desk. It’s pretty crazy that the mini-suite would have fewer outlets! 

Our room steward, Ivan, brought over an extension cord so that we could keep some stuff plugged in, but it wasn’t long enough to let us charge a phone on our nightstands at night. My parents gave us a multi-plug outlet to use in tandem with the extension cord so that we could plug more than two things in. 

I highly recommend bringing one like this if you’re staying in a mini-suite or really any type of cabin.

On-Board Activities- Rating: 5/5

No complaints here! There are so many activities aboard the Royal Princess!

The one activity I regret missing is Puppies in the Piazza, but we were just so busy that we couldn’t make it. It’s exactly what it sounds like, though! Literal puppies in the ship’s Piazza. You get to meet some puppies from Skagway and their handlers who will train them up as sled dogs!

There always seemed to be fun events happening in the Piazza that a lot of people got really into, like music games and dance tutorials. 

The live show I saw was excellent, though I didn’t get to see many with how tired I was at the end of each day!

Ports of Call- Rating: 5/5

I loved every single Alaskan port that we visited. And I loved Victoria, but wish we didn’t dock so late (7pm). If you’re on an Inside Passage cruise this summer that has a similar itinerary, at least the sun will set later and you’ll be able to see more. But my word of advice: get off the ship as soon as you can to take advantage of as much daylight as possible! 

Would I Recommend This 7-Day Inside Passage Cruise from Seattle to Alaska?

My personal opinion of the cruise is that it was exactly what I was looking for. I give the experience 5/5 stars and I wholeheartedly recommend it to others! Sure, there were things I wish I could’ve changed about what we did at each port of call, as I mentioned earlier. But hopefully, you can use my conclusions to give yourself an epic experience at each Inside Passage destination!

For First-Time Cruisers: What My Husband Thought of His First Cruise Ever

Growing up, I went on cruises with my family when I was in middle school, high school, and college. So cruising isn’t new to me. But my husband, Harrison, had never been on a cruise before, and I was so excited to introduce him to the fun of cruises!

Now that we’ve returned from the trip, Harrison is totally all for cruising. He has said that he’d love to go on a cruise every year! (That’s really saying something from someone prone to motion sickness! He got a prescription for a seasickness patch, though, so had no issues on our Alaska cruise.)

My Seattle to Alaska Cruise Review Conclusion

I hope my Alaska cruise review has helped you! Whether you’re aboard the Royal Princess, another Princess ship, or another cruise line entirely, you are going to have an incredible time in Southeast Alaska!

If you’re still deliberating whether or not you should go on an Inside Passage cruise from Seattle to Alaska, GO! It’s an experience you’ll never forget! You literally unpack your suitcase once and then get to see several incredible places along the Inside Passage.

And if you’re US-based, you don’t need to book a long flight to Alaska. Flying out of Seattle lets you see this beautiful part of the US, and it’ll be much shorter than a flight to Alaska. If you haven’t booked yet, you can book your Princess cruise here!

Lastly, don’t forget your passport and a multi-outlet plug!

If you have any questions or comments, drop them below!

And here are a few more articles you might find helpful:

Happy cruising!

Jasmine

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Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Picture of Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.

9 Responses

  1. I loved reading your Alaska Princess cruise review. I did the exact same cruise, probably a week or two before you! So it was fun to read and compare my experiences to yours. I am from Dallas as well. Keep up the good work. Happy travels! -Michelle

  2. We are cruising Alaska at the end of August with a baby. First time cruisers. Would love to hear more about babies on cruises. And any tips about flying and car rentals with babies.

    1. Hi Sheila! In a nutshell, I highly recommend cruising with babies/kids! It’s so convenient! I’m in the process of writing a blog post about cruising with babies right now. I’ll link it here when it’s done! In the meantime, I have a list of baby travel essentials here!

  3. I took my mom for Mother’s Day (and her birthday) we both loved it! Saw so many incredible things & had some wonderful experiences:-) Love following you on Instagram and seeing your trip pics and getting ideas for future travels!

  4. Hi Jasmine, I loved reading your blog and found it so descriptive and helpful.
    I am travelling with my wife to Hawai and then Alaska from Melbourne, Australia in August and September this year. We plan to do 5 days in Hawai and then around 10 in Alaska . The first 3 days in Alaska would be Fairbanks, Denali National Park and then Whittier from where we will catch the Royal Princess southbound to Vancouver. This is the tenative plan but will appreciate siome inputs from you as not everything is booked in.

    Therefore would love some pro-tips from you so that I can refine my plan.

    1. Hi Sayan! Thank you, I’m so glad to hear it! Wow that will be such an epic trip, you’re visiting my two favorite states! I think that sounds like a perfect itinerary! Let me know what specific questions you have or what exactly you’d want advice on 🙂

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Hi, I’m Jasmine! I’m a nature-obsessed, beauty-finding, Jesus-loving dreamer with a serious case of wanderlust. I love to create photo-worthy travel content and hope to fill your travel plans with incredible beauty and breathtaking views! Thanks for following along on my adventures!

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