If you're thinking about booking an Alaska cruise in 2017 and want a decent price and a good choice of ships and cabins, you ought to start planning now. The market was red hot this year, and it's showing no signs of stopping.
A celebration was recently held in Juneau in honor of the one-millionth cruise passenger of the year. The last time that number was achieved was 2009. There are many reasons for the increase, including the fact that some cruisers got squeamish about Europe this summer due to terrorism concerns, following the incidents in Brussels and Nice. As people sought alternative vacation destinations, seeing the glaciers in Alaska was apparently high on the bucket list.
With the increased demand, Holland America Line is sending seven ships to the market for next year's May to September season, while the other market leader, Princess Cruises, will have six ships in Alaska for the season. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line are among other lines with big ships in Alaska, and there are also a number of players with smaller ships.
Norwegian Cruise Line, with three ships in the market in 2017, just announced its Norwegian Bliss would debut in 2018 as the first-ever Alaska-themed ship. With a hull designed by marine artist Wyland (Robert Wyland), the ship will sail round-trip from Seattle, bringing 4,000 people into the Alaska wilderness and to popular ports, such as Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
Meanwhile, as Viking Ocean Cruises celebrated its entrance into the North America market with the Viking Star in the Caribbean, chairman Torstein Hagen announced that his line, too, would soon cruise to Alaska. Viking's fifth new build, the Viking Spirit, will set sail to Alaska in 2019, after a debut year in the Far East and Australia.