Five Reasons to Cruise Alaska with Small Children

The first in a series of posts about my recent Alaskan family cruise, I’m sharing five reasons to cruise Alaska with small children.

Waters in the Glaciers

Last month my family and I went on the trip of a lifetime: an Alaskan Cruise onboard the Ruby Princess! My second time partnering with Princess Cruises, this trip was particularly special because I got to bring along my husband and our two boys ages 3 and 5.

seattle map new e1497622545958

My husband has wanted to go to Alaska for as long as I can remember so when the occasion arose, I immediately said yes. Our eight-day Alaskan cruise began and ended in Seattle, Washington with stops in Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Victoria, B.C. We also enjoyed two days at-sea including one very special sail through Glacier Bay National Park.

Asher Overlooking Balcony

In the weeks to come, I’ll be sharing all about our Alaskan cruise including our favorite excursions, the best eats and of course plenty of beautiful photography from this oh-so-scenic adventure.

Margerie Glacier from Ship

To be honest, Alaska is so beautiful you really don’t need more than the photographs to tell the story but I did receive quite a few questions about traveling with small kids, staying healthy on a cruise and specifics about the cities we visited that I hope to answer in the coming months.

Asher in Robe

The first topic I want to dive into headfirst is the matter of cruising Alaska with small kids. Our boys are still pretty young, ages 3 and 5, so from the minute our friends and family started to hear about our cruise, the questions started pouring in about what exactly it’s like to cruise with little ones.

Let me tell you: IT WAS INCREDIBLE! For the first time in almost six years, this was the first family vacation that actually felt like a vacation.

Ruby Princess Deck and Water


Which brings me to the number one reason I encourage everyone to cruise with small kids: containment. Unlike our usual trips to Boston or New York City, there were no streets for our kids to run into or crowds of people for them to get lost in. The safety and security onboard Princess Cruises was a huge relief and, in fact, from the moment they stepped on board, a photograph was taken to act as their photo identification on board. If you’ve ever tried exploring a busy city with little kids, you can imagine how much more relaxing a cruise vacation was in comparison.

Kids Club on Board Ship


The second reason I encourage everyone to cruise with small kids is the endless array of kids, teens and family activities. Our boys are both between the ages of 3-7 so they spent time inside Pelicans (soon to be renamed The Treehouse) every single day of our cruise. Open from 9 am – 10 pm with breaks at lunch and dinner, the kids club is a perfect chance for mom and dad to sneak away for a workout, spa treatments or a relaxed date night dinner.

Ruby Princess North to Alaska King Crab on Ship

In fact, most nights we would feed the kids in one of the casual eateries around 5 pm, drop them off at 6 pm then head out to a fancy dinner around 7 pm picking them back up before 10 pm. Each day was themed with various activities and often times they would even combine the club with the next age group up for more variety and games. They had so much fun they would often be bummed out when we’d pick them up at the end of the night!

Ketchikan Tongass Forest Jacob Laughing

When it comes to family-friendly cruising, I can’t imagine a better destination than Alaska. Filled with endless wildlife, impressive landscape and bodies of water in every direction, the learning opportunities are endless. In partnership with Discovery Communications™, Princess has developed engaging new youth programming and wonder-filled center designs for cruisers ages 3 to 17.

Junior Ranger Badge e1497642876390

In fact, one day a local Park Ranger even came on board and our boys became Junior Park Rangers of Glacier Bay National Park! We will forever treasure their certificate and official park ranger patch they received to commemorate the occasion.

Asher at Breakfast Reading Menu

Food Options:

The fourth reason I recommend bringing your kids on an Alaskan cruise is the endless array of food options onboard Ruby Princess. Offering a wide variety of casual and specialty dining options, there is something for even the pickiest of eaters. Our boys loved the poolside pizzeria, gigantic salad bars with all the fixings as well as the daily array of freshly baked breads and pastries every morning.

Jacob Picking Pastries

What’s so wonderful about a cruise ship is that you can eat dinner early and head to bed early if you’re still on Eastern time or you can wake up early and find a bite to eat 24 hours a day (even if your body hasn’t quite adjusted to the new time yet.) If you have early risers like we do, you understand why this was so comforting. (Side Note: We quickly discovered that jet lag wasn’t a huge issue for us and we believe it’s because the sun stays out so late during Alaska in the summer. More on that later.)

ATV Kids on Back

Family Friendly Excursions:

Lastly, I highly encourage you to cruise Alaska with small children so that you can take advantage of the endless number of family-friendly excursions available. When we were planning our cruise we were not anticipating so many kid-friendly activities. Our favorites were the Rain Forest ATV adventure in Ketchikan and the Historic White Pass & Yukon Route Train Ride in Skagway. (Unfortunately, our helicopter glacier tour in Juneau was canceled due to weather but this is also a kid-friendly excursion!)

Sailing Away from Glacier

We will be sharing more to come on our Alaskan cruise soon but in the meantime, I hope I’ve convinced you to consider an Alaskan cruise for your next family vacation. Believe me, you will forever treasure the memories created and you will be blown away by how relaxed, refreshed and recharged your family comes back feeling.

Your passport is waiting.

Disclosure: Princess Cruise Line hosted me and my family during our recent Alaskan cruise. I have not been compensated to write this post. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible. All thoughts are my own.

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25 responses to “Five Reasons to Cruise Alaska with Small Children”

  1. Evelyn Avatar

    We are doing this Alaska Cruise with our 3-year-old in August. Do we need to pack a car seat for on-shore excursions?

  2. Amanda Avatar

    Hello. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have 2 boys that are age 3 and 5. My 3 year old will just be turning 3 before we go to the cruise. He may not be potty trained at the time. Will he be able to enjoy the kids activities onboard? Also does that ship have like a splash area for the kids? I have traveled to Alaska several times and have cruised on Princess several times. These were just my husband and I without kids. I was so concerned that they would have a good time. They are used to vacations involving theme parks and children’s museums. Any extra advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Hi Amanda – How exciting! You’re going to have a GREAT trip!! Here is a great place to head to learn more:

      Have fun!