How do one-way Alaska cruises work?



This might be a dumb question- but how do people work out the logistics of the one-way cruises from Vancouver to Seward/Anchorage? We'd like to go on the Summit this summer since we live just south of Vancouver, but is there a cheap/easy way to get back from Anchorage to Vancouver? I checked flights and one way was really expensive, even though it's just a 2 hour flight. I'm just confused why they plan the itinerary that way- any insight or tips?

Frank Black

Here are 3 tips. One... see how much a cheap round trip ticket is and throw away the unused portion of the ticket. Or two... let the cruise line provide the air fare. Or three... just book a round trip from Vancouver and save the money. I have been on three Alaska cruises ( one was one way from Seward.) and I see no great reason to do a cruise one way.


Hi LBcruiser,

The one way cruise offers an opportunity to spend some extra time in Alaska, and to see the Anchorage/Seward area. The round trip from Vancouver is probably the best bet for some one who is not familiar with the region. It sounds like you are more interested in the one way passage. Airline pricing is biased against one way tickets by all the major carriers, along with open jaw flights (different dept and arr locations). When you are looking at one way flights it is almost always better to use the cruise line air fares and transfers. The cruise line air fare will include transfer from Seward to Anchorage so their price for the package should be much better than you can do with one way fares.

The area around Anchorage is really interesting, and the trip to Seward is a beautiful ride. We are planning on taking the one way cruise on our next trip to Alaska.



And I could never see much logic in the round trips!!

The purpose of the one-ways is clearly to allow folks to do a "cruise tour"...otherwise, how would one get to see the interior of Alaska--Denali, Fairbanks, Talkeetna, et al...?

The cruise lines market these cruises for people who want to spend more time in Alaska...and see more...than just the 7 nights on the ship in the panhandle...

And, yes, it is expensive...but, for some of us, the cost is not the determining factor...
If I just wanted cheap cruises, I'd be sailing the 3 and 4 nighter to Ensenada ad infinitum...

But, my intent is to travel to exotic and distant places, to spend as much time there as I can and to see as much as I can work into the equation...

So, for my first Alaska cruise (I've cruised the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, the Baltic, the it's time for Alaska), I'm doing 15 nights total...We're doing a 13 night cruisetour, flying into Fairbanks with 2 nights there before continuing on to Denali, Talkeetna, Anchorage and Alyeska before meeting the Summit in Seward...Post cruise we're tacking on 2 nights in Vancouver...I figure as long as I'm going to Alaska, I might as well see as much of it as I can...I've got the airfare booked through Celebrity...and, as far as I'm concerned, whatever it costs is what it costs...The trip is more important than the cost of the trip...I'm not sure when I'll get back to Alaska again...Next year, my wife wants to do a Norwegian Fjords cruise...

BTW, you might also check into whether the airlines will "split" a round trip fare...They used to do this (I don't know if they do anymore though)...One time we flew to Tel Aviv and out of Frankfurt three weeks later and the airline billed us for one round trip to Tela Aviv and one round trip to Frankfurt...


Having done both - RT on Galaxy in 2000 and one way to Seward in 2002, I would say the one-way trip is actually more beautiful (we didn't do a land tour.) Before I went to Alaska, I had no desire to see it. Now, I would go back every year if I could.

We did decide, though, that we would prefer to start in the sleepy town of Ankorage and end in the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver. We also felt the glaciers were more spectacular on the one-way trip. However, there was at least one throwaway port - Valdez. Not much to see, but the smell of oil in the air was interesting.

We used frequent flyer miles to get there - Atlanta to Seattle (drove SEA to YVR), then Ankorage to Atlanta through Salt Lake - and they counted it as one round trip. Ankorage to Seattle just came up cheaper than Vancouver on Travelocity, and breaking a roundtrip was even cheaper.