Explore up close and in style aboard our selection of the best luxury small ship Alaska cruises. Alaska is one of the world’s most popular cruising destinations with glaciers, whales, bears, eagles and rugged scenic landscapes. But when you choose to cruise aboard a luxury small ship or luxury yacht you are not only choosing to experience true Alaska up close, but you are also choosing the benefits of elevated service, added amenities and extra inclusions.

Below our experts tell you all you need to know about small luxury Alaska cruises, including which ships offer them and what sets luxury apart from more mainstream expedition cruises. Our list of the best small luxury alaska cruises is hand picked and personally inspected by our experts to bring you only the finest vessels and experiences available in Alaska.

The Alaska Luxury Small Ship Cruise Experience

Fact: All of our Alaska small ship cruises provide a comfortable vessel with a focus on exploring wilderness landscapes and incredible wildlife through daily guided shore excursions and off-vessel explorations. It is at the very core of our business model. So then the question becomes, how is a small luxury Alaska cruise different from a typical cruise? It’s still an adventure, but it’s with elevated service and top of the line accommodations in their small ship class.

Traditional expedition style Alaska vessels are your base line boat with all the basic amenities. These could include a RV style bathroom, sinks on the outside in cabin and buffet breakfast and lunch.

When you choose a luxury Alaska cruise expect generous inclusions, beautiful cabins and the finest amenities. Find a wider array of cabin options with two room suites and even in room jacuzzi tubs and heated tile floors. Cabins aboard upscale luxury yachts and small ships come with exceptional view windows and may offer bathrobes, larger mattress dimensions and added turn down service.

Elsewhere on board, expect gourmet cuisine, plated meal service, larger lounges and public spaces, spas with a complimentary massage, superior service and top-rated naturalist guides with a high crew-to-guide ratio. Many luxury Alaska cruises are also all inclusive with activities, excursions and even alcohol included in the price.

Why Choose a Luxury Small Ship Alaska Cruise?

To put it plainly, why not have your Alaskan crab leg and eat it too? Why not partake in the Alaska polar plunge and return to a luxury on board jacuzzi to warm up afterwards. Sign up for every single daily activity offered and have the best night’s sleep on top of a memory foam mattress inside your spacious cabin after eating 5-star cuisine.

When you choose a massive cruise line with 3000 other guests you are choosing to sacrifice up-close and active off-vessel adventure exploration for extreme on board luxury. But you don’t have to. You can have both adventure and upscale comfort on a luxury small ship Alaska cruise.

Sure, we still aren’t talking about on board hair salons, 24-hour room service, bowling alleys or laser tag rooms. That’s not our Alaska style. But we are talking about Alaska’s most elegant small ships, with generous upgrades from the no-frills expedition ships that we know and love. Why not treat yourself to a luxury Alaska cruise?

Which Vessels Offer The Best Small Luxury Alaska Cruises

Your luxury Alaska cruise experience will be profoundly impacted by the vessel you choose. Each small ship and yacht on our luxury list has features and amenities that makes it unique. Read the short ship highlights below then allow us to help you narrow down the options to focus on the best luxury Alaska small ships to suit your needs and interests.

Alaska Luxury Small Ships

  • The 100-guest National Geographic Venture and National Geographic Quest are state-of-the-art, purpose-built luxury expedition ships with all the usual upscale amenities. In addition, the National Geographic ships feature thoughtful design considerations such as open decks with a tiered system for optimal wildlife viewing and specialty tools for exploration like an underwater rover, hydrophone, video microscope and splash-cam.
  • The 84-guest Safari Endeavour offers unique amenities usually found aboard a yacht such as hot tubs, an intimate wine bar and memory foam mattress bedding.
  • The 36-guest Safari Explorer is sometimes referred to as a Goldilocks of small ships: not too big, not too small, but just the right size. 

Alaska Luxury Yachts

  • The 22-guest Safari Quest is a top choice with a casual elegance and upscale amenities including memory foam mattresses, heated tile floors and private balconies in Captain category cabins.
  • The 12-guest Kruzof Explorer is a dedicated luxury Alaska cruise ship, a former crab fishing boat meticulously converted with modern renovations and elegant furnishings resulting in unparalleled seaworthiness and performance that stands alone in Alaska.
  • The 8-guest Westward is a classic yacht that makes it on to our luxury list because of her history and charm. Arguably Seattle’s most historic yacht, she launched in 1924 and hosted distinguished guests such as Bing Crosby, Walt Disney and John Wayne.

Alaska Luxury Charters

All our Alaska luxury small ships and yachts are available for a full boat charter. There are a number of benefits to booking an Alaska yacht charter. Full boat charter rates will cost less per person than booking individual cabins.

A charter offers added exclusivity, intimacy and safety of your own private group. Finally, a charter allows you to custom craft the experience and itinerary to fit the interests and abilities of your group.

For more tips, see our posts on How to Charter a Yacht in 7 Steps and How Much Does it Cost to Charter a Yacht. Charters are a great option for families. View our best Alaska cruises for families.

Planning the Best Small Luxury Alaska Cruise

As a baseline introduction to cruising in Alaska our How to Choose Your Alaska Cruise and the Best Time to Visit Alaska guides are great resources. Our list of Alaska small ship cruise deals will you find the best small luxury alaska cruise at the best price. But the best route to your luxury Alaska cruise is contacting one of our specialists, who are here to help compare, contrast and provide you with personalized recommendations for the best luxury small ship Alaska cruise based on your interests and timeline.

We are award-winning Alaska experts who helped pioneer small ship cruising in Alaska. Work with a dedicated Adventure Specialist with expertise to help you research, book and prepare for your luxury Alaska cruise. Our crew will handle all the arrangements including permits, park fees, transfers, flights, pre or post hotel arrangements and custom Alaska land tour extensions. Consider adding one of our Alaska luxury land tours to Glacier BayDenali National ParkKenai Fjords or Alaska’s Arctic.