Alaska remains the premier cruise destination market in the United States.
Following a decade of incredible growth between 1997 and 2008, several cruise ships left the Alaska market following passage of an initiative that significantly increased the cost of operating in Alaska. Legislative assistance helped increase the attractiveness of the Alaska market and the industry brought its one millionth passenger in 2016. The last three years have been record setting years for the Alaska cruise industry with 2020 projected to bring 1.3 million passengers to Alaska’s shores. Cruise visitors comprise 57 percent of Alaska’s summer visitors.
Beginning in late April and continuing through the first week in October, Alaska itineraries consist primarily of two routes: round-trip through Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, primarily from Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.; and cross-the-Gulf-of-Alaska trips, beginning or ending in Anchorage, primarily via the Southcentral Alaska port cities of Seward and Whittier.
As more ships enter the market new itineraries are added, including the Northwest Passage, the Aleutians, Valdez, and smaller communities in Southeast Alaska.
2020 at a glance
|6% increase statewide|