Is an Alaskan Cruise Suitable for Children?

Is an Alaskan Cruise Suitable for Children?

We recently took a family cruise to Alaska. And by family – I mean that we included our little one. We are veteran cruisers, and so is our daughter. I think she’s up to 4 cruises in 4 years. But Alaska? Is an Alaskan cruise suitable for children?

As we started planning the cruise, we kept hearing that it was nuts to take a kid on an Alaskan cruise. The general consensus is the answer to the question “is an Alaskan cruise suitable for children” is an emphatic NO.

She was going to be so bored.

We were going to be miserable.

It was going to be a rough trip.

This seems to be the common views regarding cruising with kids to Alaska. And I’m here to tell you that I’m so happy that I didn’t listen. I’d like to offer you an alternate opinion.

Is an Alaskan cruise suitable for children? Maybe. 

We went ahead and took our little one to Alaska. On a cruise! We’re such rebels. And you know what? We had an amazing time!


Learning about bears in Alaska
We learned about the ecosystem, geography, and animals! In the words of our 4 year old – “it was like watching Diego, but BETTER!”



We went on hikes and enjoyed the fresh air, the beautiful wildlife, and spending time with Grandma!


Sitting on the balcony with grandparents, enjoying the scenery!


Besides the cruise ship, we also got to ride on busses, ferries and even old fashioned TRAINS!



Exploring Alaska
What kid doesn’t love shopping in the ports!?


We stopped for every beautiful waterfall!


We even found time for some mischief. Don’t let this innocent face fool you, 5 minutes later she was laughing maniacally while she pelted daddy and grandpa with snowballs!

If you are in the same boat (hah! get it?!) and wondering if you should or shouldn’t bring your little one, here are the reasons I think our trip was a success. Without some of these things, I’m not sure we would have had as much fun. So, are Alaskan cruises suitable for children? Maybe, depending on the child and the situation.

Here’s why I think it worked so well for us:

  1. Adults outnumbered the kids. Besides my husband and I, we also had 3 grandparents who joined us. A 5-to-1 ratio is pretty awesome. While Carnival Cruise Line has a fantastic child’s program, our little one preferred to spend time with us. Sometimes, she wanted to hang out with mom and dad. And other times, she wanted to spend alone time with each of the grandparents. This was great because no one felt like they were continuously on “child duty.” My husband and I were able to enjoy the late night comedy shows, for example, while the little one slept in grandma’s room. Or we could take her to play putt-putt in the late afternoon while grandparents enjoyed quiet time on the balcony or reading a book.
  2. Flexibility. Our little one is pretty flexible. At home, she’s strictly a bath-in-the-tub kid, but on the cruise, she thought it was fun to take showers. We had her stand in the shower, and then we took the shower nozzle in our hand and sprayed her off. She thought it was hilarious.
  3. People generally love children. We found this to be true everywhere we went. Not once did we feel like our little one was unwelcome – and even at the more formal evening dinners, instead of the side-eye, we actually had other cruise guests tell us that they missed their kids (or grandkids) and they enjoyed seeing her eat adventurous food items. The crew especially went out of their way to make sure she had fun. And confided in us that they missed their own kids back at home and really loved making her smile.
  4. We could stay as busy as we wanted. There was always something to do – a show to see, kids activities to participate in, a movie to watch, not to mention the fun of getting on and off the ship. Exploring ports, taking train and bus rides, learning from the naturalists and park rangers – meanwhile, we were never very far from our room in case nap time struck.

I’m not sure how much fun it would have been had we had different circumstances, or if we were dealing with a different little personality.  There WERE other kids on board, so we know we aren’t the only ones willing to take the little one along.

If you’re looking for more of my reflections of traveling with kids, be sure to check out my thoughts about taking a three year old to Italy!

Do you like traveling with your kids or do you prefer to leave them while you go?

Pin me!


15 thoughts on “Is an Alaskan Cruise Suitable for Children?”

  • Hi Mal,

    Great post!
    Our girls are now in their teens and sometimes they prefer doing their own thing. But when they were younger, we took them everywhere 🙂 Even now, we have family holidays, only that they get more involved with the planning!
    I like the way you explained how it worked well for your family. I think getting 3 grandparents on the cruise was an awesome idea, as your little princess could ‘visit’ with any of them . And as you said, they were also able to take turns to ‘baby sit’ which freed you and your husband to go out for late night events without dragging her along.
    Fantastic photos too!

    Best regards,


  • We have always wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise but never seemed to find the right timing before having kids. And now we have 3, so this was great information to consider. Since we would likely be outnumbered by the kids, maybe we’ll try leaving them at home if we ever get the chance to go on the Alaskan cruise. Lol!

  • Great post, children learn so much about the world through real-life experiences. Much more fun than sitting in front of the telly!! Good on you for not listening and taking your little one with you x

  • Hello! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through
    your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!

  • Your daughter is beautiful! And I couldn’t agree more with importance of ratio children to adults. Our toddler is also very easy to manage, when it’s at least 1:2, 1:5 would work perfectly. 🙂 I put this on my travel bucket list then!

  • This is so helpful! We’re looking into an Alaskan cruise for our family for next year, and I’ve struggled to find any useful information. My kids are great travelers and really flexible, but I obviously want them to have fun too! It seems like finding a cruise ship with lots to do is important, and we’ll definitely look into bringing the grandparents to help out!

  • I was one of the children who went on an Alaskan cruise, although I was 12 not 4. From my own experience, sure there were times I was bored, but I would never tell anyone NOT to bring their kids.Any trip has some boring parts for kids. For the most part it was a great experience, and it inspired me to go again as an adult.

  • Thanks for this! I was wondering about a cruise with our 1 & 3 year old and really appreciate the notes about adult to kids ratio! I can’t agree more in general. Gotta convince the grandparents now! She’s so adorable by the way!!

Leave a Reply

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

%d bloggers like this: