A cruise to Alaska is a great way to see remote parts of the Pacific Northwest on an unforgettable adventure.
I’m sharing tips and what to expect for your first time on an Alaskan cruise with Celebrity Cruises.
*You can use the Table of Contents at the top of the article to go directly to a topic of interest.
This article is written in partnership with Celebrity Cruises. All opinions are my own. This article contains affiliate links.
Our boys are getting older and we wanted them to experience an adventure that they would remember for the rest of their lives
Our first cruise with Celebrity Cruises was to the Caribbean back in the early 2000s with my husband’s parents and it was great to share a new adventure on the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship with our boys.
How Many Passengers Does the Celebrity Eclipse Hold?
The Celebrity Eclipse has an occupancy of 2,852 cruise passengers.
When is the Cruise Season for an Alaskan Cruise with Celebrity Cruises?
The cruise season in Alaska is from May to October with the most popular cruises during the summer months.
What time is Sunset on an Alaskan Cruise?
The sunrise and sunset times can vary depending on the date of your cruise.
You can use this Alaska Daylight calculator to estimate the sunrise and sunset times during the dates of your Alaskan cruise.
During our cruise in June, the sunrises were around 4 AM, and the sunsets after 10 PM.
We also went through a few time changes during our cruise. Our bodies were on EST and continued to adjust during the course of the cruise.
*Make sure that use the blackout curtain if you have a room with a balcony to help you sleep in longer.
Our Alaska Cruise Itinerary on the Celebrity Eclipse
Our cruise to Alaska on the Celebrity Eclipse went to the following locations.
*Indicates cruise ports of call
- Day 1 – Vancouver, British Columbia *
- Day 2 – Inside Passage (cruising)
- Day 3 – Icy Strait Point, Alaska *
- Day 4 – Hubbard Glacier, Alaska ( cruising)
- Day 5 – Juneau, Alaska *
- Day 6 – Ketchikan, Alaska *
- Day 7 – Inside Passage (cruising)
- Day 8 – Vancouver, British Columbia *
Which Ships Go to Alaska From Celebrity Cruises?
The following cruise ships go to Alaska from Celebrity Cruises.
- Celebrity Millenium
- Celebrity Solstice
- Celebrity Eclipse
- Celebrity Edge *An edge class vessel / one of four of Celebrity’s outward-facing ships
- Celebrity Summit
Alaskan Cruise Itineraries to Choose From With Celebrity Cruises
The majority of Alaskan cruises with Celebrity Cruises are 6-7 nights.
We chose the Celebrity Eclipse as our cruise ship because the sail date worked with our vacation availability and the cruise ship had a round-trip itinerary out of Vancouver.
There are also Celebrity Cruises to Alaska that depart from Seattle, Washington.
*Celebrity currently doesn’t sail to Tracy Arm Fjord.
Alaska Cruisetours are available if you want to extend your trip to include Denali National Park.
Types of Staterooms on the Celebrity Eclipse
- The Retreat
- AquaClass Stateroom
- Concierge Class Stateroom
- Veranda Stateroom
- Ocean View Stateroom
- Inside Stateroom
- Accessible Staterooms
Tour of Our Veranda Stateroom on the Celebrity Eclipse
We stayed in the Veranda Stateroom during our cruise with our family of four.
The stateroom is 192 square feet and the veranda is 54 square feet.
The bathroom had a lot of storage with multiple drawers and shelves.
We packed a LOT of clothes because we visited San Juan Island in Washington State and explored Vancouver before our cruise.
Each of us had a carry-on, a large suitcase, and a backpack. It was good to keep one backpack out to use for excursions. We were able to condense the suitcases and store all of them underneath our bed.
Our clothes were stored in the closet, storage above the bed, and the drawers. My boys also had stacks of clothes next to their bed.
My boys slept on the bunk beds. They were in high school and college, each over 6 feet tall and both fit on the bed.
We decided that it was easier for the staff member to keep their bunkbed down all day instead of transforming it back into a couch each day.
We spent the majority of our time outside of our room. The only time things were a little trickier space-wise was with 4 adults getting dressed for dinner at the same time.
Our room had a safe and a stocked mini fridge next to the desk with a mirror.
It was nice to have access to a private balcony from our room throughout the day.
How to Create More Space in Your Stateroom
We had 4 adult-sized people in our room and there were a few things that we brought that helped give us a little more space.
We put the over-the-door shoe organizer facing outward on the bathroom door. This was a great place for us to keep extra toiletry items, phone accessories, gloves, glasses, and more.
The magnetic hooks on the wall were the perfect spot for our ball caps and light jackets, and for hanging up wet swimsuits and towels. The walls on cruise ships are made of metal so the magnetic hooks stick to the wall.
Our boys liked to sleep in the morning but we did still enjoy some mornings on the balcony with our coffee and pastries.
Explore the Cruise Ship at Your Leisure
The ship can be a bit overwhelming on your first day of the cruise but toward the end of your cruise, the ship will feel much smaller.
The Celebrity Cruises app is a great resource before and during your cruise. It can help you check in faster, you can chat with family within the app, check out the daily activities on the ship, book excursions, and more.
There are plenty of spaces throughout the ship that allow you to have more privacy. Half the fun is discovering your favorite spots.
Complimentary Dining Options on the Celebrity Eclipse
There are four options for complimentary dining on the Celebrity Eclipse.
- Oceanview Cafe – Global cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – buffet-style (casual attire)
- Mast Cafe – Poolside cafe with burgers and fries (casual attire)
- The Spa Cafe – Breakfast and lunch serving healthy cuisine and fresh fruits (casual attire)
- Moonlight Sonata Restaurant- Global cuisine served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (smart casual attire) Dining times are between 6 PM and 9:30 PM.
Memorable Meals at Moonlight Sonata
Guests can enjoy a variety of delicious cuisine during their cruise including Alaskan seafood.
Our family spent every evening but one in the main dining room. We liked having the early time slot as our set dining time.
In the Moonlight Sonata Restaurant, the dining times are between 6 PM and 9:30 PM. There were always options on the menu that everyone gravitated toward. I tried to go with the chef’s picks as often as possible.
As our week progressed we looked forward to the staff as much as our meal.
And we always tried to save a little room for dessert no matter how full we were.
Specialty Restaurants on the Celebrity Eclipse
There are several options to choose from for specialty restaurants for an additional fee.
- La Petite Chef (Dinner)
- Murano ( Dinner)
- Tuscan Grille (Lunch and Dinner)
- Sushi on Five (Lunch and Dinner)
Exclusive Restaurants on the Celebrity Eclipse
- Blu – exclusively for AquaClass guests
- Luminae – exclusively for guests of The Retreat
An Animated Meal at Le Petit Chef
Le Petit Chef is a one-of-a-kind animated fusion of entertainment and food. Le Petit Chef will take you on a culinary adventure around the world with storytelling that comes to life.
It’s a dining experience like I’ve never experienced before that definitely made for a memorable meal.
The 3D animation is projected on the individual plate of each table in the room creating both a personalized and shared experience.
You’ll watch the animation on your table and then each course is brought to life with the same dish presented to you in real life by your server.
The menu that is choreographed for the 3D table animation for Le Petite was created by Celebrity’s own Michelin Star Chef.
Foodies of all ages will enjoy this culinary adventure. This is a very popular restaurant so you’ll want to make reservations in advance.
During the meal, you’ll want to take lots of photos and videos because it’s one of the most unique dining experiences in the world.
There are plenty of bar and lounge options for enjoying your spirit of choice.
- Rendevous Lounge
- Martini Bar & Crush
- World Class Bar
- Cellar Masters
- Passport Bar
- Sky Observation Lounge
- Pool and Mast Bar
- Sunset Bar
- The Retreat Lounge * Exclusive to guests of The Retreat
Drink Packages on the Celebrity Eclipse
If you plan on enjoying drinks throughout your cruise you may want to consider the drink package.
The additional cost can be a good value if you like a morning latte, a drink poolside, wine at dinner, or a cocktail during the show or as a nightcap.
There are several drink package options to choose from for an additional fee.
What do the Drink Packages Include?
Classic Drink Package – This package includes an assortment of liquors, wines for any palate, beers from light and crisp to dark and robust, plus alcoholic drinks up to $10. Wines by the bottle are discounted by 15%.
Premium Drink Package – Includes premium coffee, frozen cocktails by the pool, and wine by the glass at dinner. You can enjoy all of the spirits listed in their Classic Package, plus drinks up to $17. Wines by the bottle are discounted by 20%.
Non-Alcoholic Drink Package – Includes a wide selection of non-alcoholic refreshments and water.
Fun Things to Do on the Celebrity Eclipse
There is no shortage of things to do during your cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse.
You can swim, play basketball, shop, attend an art auction, listen to live music, watch a live show or a glassblowing demo, and more.
Kids have plenty of things to do with the Camp at Sea programs.
If you like to gamble, the Fortunes Casino is for ages 21 and up on Alaskan cruises. The casino is open when the ship is in international waters and closes when the ship is in port.
There are two pools on the ship, one outside pool with four hot tubs and an inside pool with two hot tubs.
We used the indoor pool area more when the temperatures outside were too windy or cold.
The adults-only large pool on Deck 12 in the solarium was a great option for guests who preferred to be out of the elements. (*During Alaskan Cruises the solarium and pool are open to guests of all ages.)
Walk on Real Grass
You can practice your putting or play bocce ball on The Lawn Club on the top deck.
Celebrity Cruises is the first and only cruise line to offer a 1/2 acre of real grass lawn at sea.
Evening Entertainment on the Celebrity Eclipse
We were really impressed with the variety of the shows each evening during our cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse.
My favorite evening entertainment incorporated aerial artists doing incredible feats to live music.
Select Your Top Shore Excursions in Advance
Shore Excursions can be a bit overwhelming because there are a lot of great options to choose from at each port. The excursions can add up quickly, especially for shore excursions for multiple people.
My personal opinion is that some excursions are once in a lifetime and worth the splurge. That was how I justified paying for my boys and me to go dog sledding on a Glacier via a helicopter ride.
I couldn’t replicate this experience at home and I also couldn’t replicate the time with my kids at their ages and seasons of life.
I knew that we wouldn’t realistically be back in Alaska as a family in the near future.
It’s much easier to add an excursion during your current cruise than to coordinate everyone’s schedules again to book another cruise to come back and do another excursion.
The more unique the experience, the more likely it will fill up quickly on your cruise ship.
Excursions can have less availability if there are other ships in port on the same day and time in the cruise industry. You can check if other cruise lines will be in port on the same day of your arrival here.
Also, keep in mind that many of the excursions are more expensive because many of the logistics are more extreme.
For example, the glacier that we went dog sledding on was only accessible by helicopter, and the sled dogs and their mushers stayed on the glacier during the entirety of the summer months.
Shore Excursions Can Get Cancelled Due to Weather
One of the risks of booking a more extreme shore excursion is that it can be weather permitting, and the weather can be unpredictable in Alaska.
I selected morning times for dog sledding because I thought that we could try again in the afternoon if the morning time was canceled due to weather.
The weather personally affected us for our shore excursion in Ketchikan. We were supposed to go on a hovercraft animal sightseeing excursion but it was cancelled that day due to rough seas that were unsafe.
If you book your excursion through the Celebrity Eclipse and it gets canceled, you can check with staff about availability for a new booking for another excursion.
We decided to pivot last minute and go to The Great American Lumberjack Show as a family instead.
Pro tip: If all of the lumberjack shows are booked up online, walk a few blocks to the ticket booth and check for openings. That’s how we got our tickets.
Booking Shore Excursions With Celebrity Cruises VS. Independently
One of the perks of booking a shore excursion with the cruise line is that you won’t be left behind if your excursion is delayed on your return to the ship.
If you’re late from an excursion that wasn’t booked through the cruise the expenses to catch up to the ship are on you. Celebrity Cruises can also keep track of your excursions in the app and your tickets are delivered to your room.
Relax During the Sea Days on the Celebrity Eclipse
You can curl up with a good book at the library, take naps, eat… and then eat some more.
The “sea days” were great because we could do as much or as little as we wanted.
There are plenty of activities on the Celebrity Eclipse offered daily if you prefer to keep a full schedule.
Our evening meal time and the entertainment were the only two things we decided to plan our day around.
We preferred dining in the Moonlight Sonata restaurant in the evening and became quite attached to the staff. They provided excellent customer service and we enjoyed asking them questions about their home countries.
Days at sea are also the perfect day to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at the spa or work off some calories at the fitness center. I can vouch that a massage at the spa is a great way to spend your afternoon.
What Types of Animals Could You See on an Alaskan Cruise?
- Bald eagles
- Humpback whales
- Sea lions
- Black bears
- Sea otters
- and many more
We saw several animals listed above from our cruise ship. My husband and I enjoyed learning from the naturalist on the ship who would point out whales and bald eagles along the way.
You’ll definitely want to bring binoculars and a nice camera lens with you.
Alaskan Cruise Port of Call Highlights on the Celebrity Eclipse
It’s important to pay close attention to arrival and departure times at each individual port. You may have time to check out additional stops on your list if they are within close proximity of the port.
Here are some of our cruise port highlights during our Alaskan cruise.
Highlights of Vancouver, British Columbia
We visited these locations in Vancouver before and after our Alaskan cruise.
- Stanley Park
- Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (there are free shuttles from the Port of Vancouver)
- Scenic drive to Whistler (we had a rental car)
- Gastown Steam Clock ( the clock shoots steam and whistles every quarter hour)
- Lynn Canyon Park/ Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge (free suspension bridge)
Highlights of Icy Strait Point, Alaska
- Whale watching tour
- Free Icy Strait gondola
Highlights of Hubbard Glacier
We lucked out and had perfect conditions that allowed our skilled captain to navigate a half mile up to Hubbard Glacier, the closest ships are allowed to go.
While we were gazing at the glaciers we were able to witness “calving” which is when giant chunks of the iceberg break off into the sea.
It sounds like a loud shotgun first, and then you see the ice break away and crumble into the sea. It was truly magnificent to witness and an experience that I will treasure for a long time.
This picture is for other parents reading this. The two kids in the hot tub and the only people on the pool deck during the glacier viewing time were mine.
Yes, they did spend time looking at the glacier but they didn’t share their parent’s enthusiasm to look at it for hours in awe. Once they had enough of the glacier they had the pool all to themselves
Highlights of Juneau, Alaska
- Helicopter Ride /Dog Sledding on a Glacier – There were two glacier options for dog sledding, Mendenhall Glacier or Herbert Glacier. We opted for Herbert Glacier for our adventure on the Juneau icefields.
- Self-guided tour of the Capital building – Did you know you can only get to Juneau by plane or by boat?
- Tracy’s King Crab Shack – for King Crab and King Crab bisque
Highlights of Ketchikan, Alaska aka “The Salmon Capital of the World”
Our original excursion was cancelled due to unsafe waters at sea so we pivoted last minute on shore. Instead, it was the perfect opportunity to check out The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.
- The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show
- Totem Heritage Center
- Shopping and Scenic Views on Creek Street, The Old Redlight District
Highlights of Inside Passage (Cruising)
- Scenic views of Vancouver Island and British Columbia and a day of rest
The process for disembarking the Celebrity Eclipse went quickly without a long line because of our later departure time.
The end of the cruise is always the saddest time. But you can follow Captain Leo Palaiokrassas on Instagram if you want to keep up with the Celebrity Eclipse’s adventures.
What’s the Dress Code on the Celebrity Eclipse for An Alaskan Cruise?
Celebrity Cruises describes the dress attire onboard as “relaxed luxury.”
It can feel counterintuitive to pack winter clothes during the summer season, especially if you’re from an area that gets hot in the summer.
Normally I’m all about enjoying the summer weather in the summer, but an Alaskan cruise is truly a bucket list experience worth layering up for.
Daytime Attire on the Celebrity Eclipse
Shipboard attire during the day is casual. I would recommend packing a lot of clothing items that can be layered because the temperatures can vary quite a bit.
When we left the port of Vancouver it was in the 70s and we were in short sleeves and later changed into our swimsuits to lay out by the pool.
As we continued north the temperatures decreased by quite a bit as expected.
Long-sleeved shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, and leggings are comfortable for the day. I’d also recommend gym shoes and a light jacket or vest if you want to get some steps in on the deck.
The only time my boys wore shorts on the cruise was when they were going to the pool or the gym.
Poolside Attire on the Celebrity Eclipse
*Pool attire isn’t permitted in the theater, main dining, and specialty dining areas.
Smart Casual Attire on the Celebrity Eclipse
In the evening “Smart Casual” attire is required to dine in the main dining area, specialty dining, and the Celebrity Theatre.
“Smart Casual” attire is defined by Celebrity Cruises as “comfortable yet tasteful in a dress, skirt, long pants, or jeans, and stylish top or button-down.”
FYI – Shorts and flip-flops are NOT considered Smart Casual.
My boys and husband wore a lot of golf style and collared shirts with khakis and I found myself wearing pants with nice tops rather than dresses for the majority of our cruise.
We packed our travel steamer because the rooms don’t have irons or ironing boards. There are laundry services, dry-cleaning, and pressing services available by staff for an additional fee.
Evening Chic Attire on the Celebrity Eclipse
Formal nights can be as formal as you want them to be but you’ll find that most guests don’t wear full suits or formal cocktail gowns.
There are 1-2 “formal nights” on each itinerary with an Evening Chic dress code.
What is Evening Chic Attire on the Celebrity Eclipse?
Celebrity Cruises defines “Evening Chic” as “dress to impress,” glamorous and sophisticated in your own way, with a cocktail dress, skirt, slacks, or designer jeans, an elegant dress top or blazer.
*The Daily program delivered to your stateroom will give you a heads-up for the correct attire each evening.
If you don’t want to participate in “Evening Chic” attire, Smart Casual attire is still acceptable for dining and the theater.
Shoreside Attire for an Alaskan Cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse
For shoreside adventures, you’ll definitely want to dress in layers and have comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.
For example, Ketchikan, Alaska is located in the Tongass National Forest, a temperate rainforest so you’ll want to be prepared with rain jackets, heavier coats, umbrellas, and ball caps.
It rained a good portion of our time in Ketchikan and Juneau. We also packed hiking boots and gym shoes for their versatility for shore excursions.
During our day to view the Hubbard Glacier my husband and I watched the ship approach the glacier from the helipad at the front of the ship for a few hours.
It was COLD but the views as we approached the glacier were definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We didn’t pack snow pants and we were fine without them. When we went dog sledding on a glacier we were given shoe covers to put over our hiking boots.
If you struggle with motion sickness you may want to try this blisslets motion sickness band that doubles as an accessory. You can use the code “adventuremom” for 10% off.
Save on Your Airfare With Flights By Celebrity
We booked our flights through Celebrity Cruises and arrived a few days early to explore Vancouver and San Juan Island.
I compared airfare prices using Google Flights and found the lower prices with Flights by Celebrity.
I also liked that Flights by Celebrity had the lowest airfare guarantee for the price without booking fees and had protection to get us to the ship.
That meant if our flight was changed or canceled, they would help us find a seat on a new flight or even meet the ship at the next available port if needed.
We could also book our airfare in advance, with no money down, and earn airfare points.
Save on Your Hotel Room Before or After Your Cruise With Celebrity Cruises
Vancouver is the largest Canadian port, and hotels closest to the cruise port can fill up quickly. If you have a specific hotel in mind, make a reservation as far in advance as possible.
If your hotel preference of choice is booked closest to Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal, public transportation is easy to navigate in Vancouver.
Ready to Book an Upcoming Cruise With Celebrity Cruises?
You can learn more about new bookings for the upcoming Alaska season with Celebrity Cruises here. Celebrity Cruises is owned by the Royal Caribbean group.