There was a time in conventional thinking that an Alaska cruise was something you do when you are older, perhaps retired, and after you have cruised a few times. A cruise for more experienced cruisers. Well no more. This is a vacation myth.

Alaska cruises are attracting lots of families. Especially families with preteens to young adults. One of the reasons is the ships themselves that cruise to Alaska. Norwegian Cruise Line has two ships named the Bliss and the Joy that are changing Alaska cruising.

Alaska is an iconic destination and when you are there, you will find it exactly as you see it in photos, movies, or on TV. Small towns with wooden sidewalks, hugging the waterfront filed with boats on one side and shear mountains with tops that disappear into the clouds on the other side, isolating the town and preserving its way of life with only water access by boat or sea plane.

There is an awesome feeling of seeing the coastline from cruise ships like the Bliss or the Joy from the expansive, yet surprisingly intimate Observation Lounges. These rooms have incredible 180 degree panoramic views with floor to ceiling glass windows. As the ships glide through the placid waters of the Inside Passage, you will likely see whales and other marine mammals. You will definitely be in awe at the raw beauty of the pristine landscape that is so breathtaking, you won’t be able to take your eyes off it.

The whole family will gather to witness this experience and have fond memories forever. And in the ports the ships will visit, places you have heard of such as Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway, families go kayaking, hiking, walking on glaciers, visit Native American historic sites, pan for gold or spend time with a dog-sled team.

When not on a shore adventure, or being mesmerized by the views, families will have fun on-board discovering the adventures on the ship. Take on the thrills of racing around a go-kart track on the top deck of the ship. Or play laser tag outdoors. Or play virtual reality games in the Galaxy Pavilion. Jump on an ATV simulator ride in Jurassic Park or fly a drone on another simulator ride.

The food experiences on the Norwegian Bliss or Norwegian Joy offer much variety. Everyone in the family will have their own personal food story. You will find common crowd-pleasers such as mac and cheese and pub-style burgers to sushi and Asian fusion in Food Republic. There is Texas-style BBQ in the Roadhouse to a French Bistro. There is Cagney’s a classic steakhouse, a seafood restaurant and of course, a Tuscan-style Italian dining venue. There is complimentary dining to specialty restaurants where an up-charge is added to your shipboard account. Families enjoy these venues for their intimate atmospheres and upscale menus to celebrate a birthday or special occasion.

So there is no need to wait until some year off into the future to take an Alaska cruise. Do it now. And do it with the entire family. It will be the highlight of your travels and give you lasting memories you will cherish as a family.

John Werner

As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry and the President of MAST Travel Network since 2002, John’s career has included 14 years as a travel agency owner. He has served in various capacities on the Board of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA including Treasurer and Vice President. John has also held several positions on the Board of Directors for MAST including Vice Chairman and Board Chairman during the years he owned Travel Group International, a MAST member during the 1990s.