Cruising to Alaska… with Kiddies in Tow

Alaska has always been one of those faraway, magical places to me. 

A land that was full of whales, bald eagles, and spectacular snow-covered mountain peaks. A land that promised adventure mixed between rustic countryside, close-knit communities, and wide-opened spaces. A land that lured you to get away from the rigors of city life, and trade in your view of traffic jams for its view of calving glaciers.

So, it was no surprise to friends and family that I finally decided to visit the state nicknamed “the last frontier”. But what seemed to surprise almost everyone I’d spoke to after booking the trip was the fact that hubby and I were taking our kids.

My family cruised to Alaska aboard the Diamond Princess- 2 adults, and 2 kids, aged 8 and 2. Yes, 2. We took a toddler on a cruise.


Was it a terrific trip?  Of course. 

We did the 7 night ‘Voyage of the Glaciers,’ which sailed one-way, northern bound, from Vancouver, BC to Whittier, Alaska. We had wonderful ports of call in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway; and did two days of scenic cruising through Glacier Bay and College Fjord.

My family of 4 was joined onboard by extended family members, and we all had a wonderful reunion. Everyone had together time, while still enabling time to ‘do your own thing.’ 

As wonderful as my children are, a 2 year old is still a 2 year old. She wasn’t going to enjoy the casino, and even sitting through a musical stage show proved to be a challenge. But I’m a firm believer in making the most of the life stage  you’re in. There’ll be lots of chances to enjoy casinos and dinner shows on future cruises, so my family enjoyed doing things that little kids enjoyed. We explored the ship, spent a fair bit of time in the ship’s pools, and, of course, took in the sights at port.

 The extended family group had a terrific time travelling together too. We would break off into smaller factions, coming together in different combinations and permutations to share meals.

We all enjoyed the food onboard, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed trying various new dishes.

And, on formal nights, my family of 4 dined early, so we could enjoy the festivities. (While Ceili charmed nearby diners, enjoying the freedom of not being locked in chair; as her mom, I was often stressed about her disturbing others. Perhaps working to get her out of the highchair in the months leading up to the cruise might’ve not been the best idea?!)

My two kids absolutely loved their first cruise experience! At 2, Ceili was too young for us to leave her at a kids’ club onboard, but mom accompanied Ceili to the younger children’s group to get in some colouring and do some crafts with other young kids, while dad brought Ciara to mix with the older kids.  

We were thrilled by the majestic mountain views and glimpses of wildlife. We saw whales breach, walked past a sea lion sunning itself close to our ship, viewed a bald eagle up close, and waved to a brown bear just outside our train window.

At port, my children shopped for charm bracelets and Inuit dolls in Ketchikan, rode the tram and collected Big Dipper hats in Juneau, and took a train ride on the White Pass railroad in Skagway. The ports of call were very welcoming and cozy, and the way the land cut into the sea was very reminiscent of my hometown on the west coast of Newfoundland. But the ice wasn’t like home.

The absolute best part of the cruise was the scenic cruising through Glacier Bay and College Fjord. The glaciers were breathtaking. (And having a balcony cabin for our wee ones to run in and out meant we didn’t have to fight for elbow room, while keeping an eye on them, during the cruising part.)

Why not take a cruise with kiddies in tow?

I can promise you it will be a wonderful family vacation.