With the continued popularity of cruises to Alaska, Carnival Cruise Line is offering a number of sailings to this northern destination in 2023, even adding an extra ship to the lineup.
Guests can choose from a variety of scenic itineraries that voyage to top Alaskan ports as well as spectacular glacial landscapes. There are sailings every week between May and September, on the cruise line’s refurbished Spirit-class ships, including Carnival Miracle and Carnival Spirit, and the new addition to the fleet, Carnival Luminosa.
No matter which Carnival ship you pick, expect the cruise line’s signature attractions and venues, with a focus on fun.
Since there are a few different options for a Carnival cruise to the Land of the Midnight Sun, here is a breakdown of what to expect from the cruise line and its ships sailing to Alaska.
Overview of Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival celebrates its fleet as “The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line” carrying over a million passengers each year. Their focus is on fun and offering customers great value. They have some of the most competitive prices in the market and lots of choices for cruisers at every budget.
Their “fun” ships possess plenty of amenities and activities for adults sailing on their own or for families and multigenerational trips. Here’s what to expect on a Carnival ship:
- A diverse selection of inclusive and specialty dining options
- A variety of bars, lounges, and nightclubs
- Extensive entertainment options such as live musical productions, comedy shows and theme parties
- Dedicated adult areas
- Sports activities
- Pools and hot tubs
- Variety of cabin categories
Kids will not be bored on sea days as Carnival caters to families with a number of complimentary programs and activities:
- Camp Ocean for 2-11 year olds
- Circle “C” for young teens ages 12-14
- Club O2 for teens ages 15-17
- Seuss at Sea™ activities – Dr. Seuss-themed events such as a character parade, interactive story time, arts and crafts, activities, character breakfast and more
- Kids activity zones with sports courts for basketball, volleyball, and mini-golf
Both Carnival Miracle and Carnival Spirit are part of the Spirit class. Designed for all-weather cruising, with lots of balcony cabins, they definitely have a smaller ship feel with just over 2,000 passengers. Carnival Luminosa is similar in design to Spirit class ships, and has been updated since switching to Carnival.
Carnival visits top-rated ports offering a wide range of excursions. Guests can visit seaside towns like Ketchikan and Skagway and partake in plenty of outdoor adventure. At the state capital, Juneau, cruisers can catch a glimpse of the region’s gold mining past, or visit pastoral Sitka, where the mountains, forests, and ocean meet.
For 2023, a new addition to Carnival's list of ports of call is Prince Rupert, a northern Canadian town known for its natural wildlife, fishing and rainforest. This is in addition to the popular southern Canadian port of Victoria, British Columbia, famous for its English gardens and high tea.
Carnival Miracle will once again sail to Alaska this year, homeporting in San Francisco, but has also added a couple 14 day sailing from Los Angeles (Long Beach). It will return to favorite ports such as Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Icy Strait Point in Alaska. The ship will also visit Victoria, British Columbia, in addition to scenic cruising of the Tracy Arm Fjord and Endicott Arm Fjord.
For 2023, Carnival Miracle has added Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
Carnival Miracle will offer 10 and 14 day cruises on 4 different itineraries, starting as low as $874 per person, with the cheapest prices in May 2023, the beginning of the Alaska cruise season.
Carnival Miracle has a gross tonnage of 85,500 and is 12 decks high - not massive by today’s standards. The ship was built in 2004 and updated in 2020. It has a guest capacity of 2,124 and a crew of 934, a good ratio for service.
What to expect on the Carnival Miracle:
- Plenty of inclusive options, such as Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, Seaday Brunch and Pizza Pirate, along with the standard buffet and main dining room fare.
- 4 specialty dining venues – sushi, steakhouse and Chef’s Table
- Family activities such as Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, a waterpark, Twister water slide, kids' programs, an arcade, Build-A-Bear Workshop, parades, mini-golf and basketball, and 4 pools with one having a retractable roof.
- 12 lounges and bars, spa, adult-only retreat live entertainment, karaoke, and Lip Sync Battle, Comedy Club, Comedy Club Deck/ theme parties and casino A range of cabin options, including inside cabins starting at 170 square feet, all the way up to spacious, 300- square foot Grand Suites.
Why pick Carnival Miracle?
This ship provides great value for those looking for longer Alaska itineraries. With port stops and scenic viewing, this itinerary gives cruisers a great sampling of Alaskan ports with spectacular glacial views.
Although it was launched in 2004, the ship was renovated in 2020, and has fresh appeal with something for everyone in the family. This mid-sized cruise ship provides a good balance of activities to suit both kids and adults, although some are at an additional cost, such as the Seuss themed brunch, and Deal or No Deal game show.
Of the Carnival fleet, Carnival Miracle offers a higher percentage of cabins with ocean views, with 64 percent of the cabins having a balcony (fleet average of 50%). A balcony view is a great asset for such a scenic tour. Ideal for sailing north into cooler weather, one of the pools has a retractable roof, keeping guests cozy. The Carnival Miracle also has two promenade decks creating good flow and less congestion for guests.
For 2023, Carnival Spirit is replacing Carnival Freedom homeporting in Seattle, a convenient option for many on the West Coast.
Sailing on 7 day voyages, the ship will visit a number of ports, including Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska. The ship will also stop in Victoria, British Columbia, as well as cruising Tracy Arm Fjord.
The ship sails every week, from spring to fall, May rates are as low as $679 per person, with the price increasing significantly throughout the summer months.
The Carnival Spirit was originally built in 2001 but was refurbished in 2019. It has a capacity for 2,124 guests with 930 crew. It was the first in the Spirit class of ships, the same class as Carnival Miracle.
As with Carnival Miracle, there are a number of activities onboard. In terms of dining and beverage, Carnival Spirit has Pizzeria Del Capitano instead of Pizza Pirate. It does not have Bonsai Sushi Express or JavaBlue Café.
Amenities, sports and activities are nearly the same.
- Lots of inclusive options such as famous chef Guy Fieri Guy’s Burger Joint, Seaday Brunch, Pizza and BlueIguana Cantina and Lido Marketplace
- 4 Specialty dining venues – seafood, sushi, steakhouse, Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast
- 9 nightclubs, bars and nightclubs
- 4 pools including 1 adult only
- Adult-only retreat and spa
- Live entertainment, karaoke, Lip Sync Battle, Comedy Club and casino
- Deck and theme parties Kids and youth programs
- WaterWorks waterpark with a 203-foot-long slide
- Activity zones, including mini golf and arcade
- Movies and Build -A-Bear
Why pick Carnival Spirit?
For those wanting a 7 day itinerary, there are many more options on Carnival Spirit versus Carnival Miracle. Value seekers will love the low prices during shoulder season. With sailings each week from May to September, there are a lot of travel options.
Visiting four ports along with a scenic cruising day of the Tracy Arm Fjord, gives passengers lots of opportunities to see the true Alaska. Coupled with numerous onboard activities and venues, there is a lot for every type of cruise.
Carnival Miracle and Carnival Spirit are very similar, but there are a few small differences in dining venues and activities as well as sailing out of San Francisco versus Seattle, and the length of the itineraries.
For its inaugural Alaskan season, Carnival Luminosa will be based in Seattle, sailing to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Straight Point, Haines and Sitka, Alaska. In addition, it will visit Victoria, British Columbia and cruise the Tracy Arm Fjord.
The ship will mainly be doing week-long cruises from May to September, with up to 4 ports of call. There are, however, a couple 6 and 8 day cruises,
The best deal is in early May, with a week-long cruise starting at $619. After that, cruise fares increase in price throughout the summer months.
Built in 2009, Carnival Luminosa moved over from other Costa Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruises, that sails out of Italy. It joined Carnival in 2022, at which time it was refurbished. It is similar in design to the other Spirit class ships, although it is about 5% bigger in gross tonnage, welcoming 2,260 guests onboard with 926 crew.
Slightly larger than Carnival Miracle and Carnival Spirit, this ship has some different amenities and venues:
- Guests can enjoy complimentary buffets, pizza and main dining venues; however, the ship does not have Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Burger Joint or BlueIguana Cantina
- There are 4 specialty dining venues – sushi, steakhouse, the whimsical Green Eggs and Ham, and Chef’s Table
- Adults can enjoy 6 lounges and bars, a casino, live entertainment, karaoke, comedy, a piano bar, and themed parties
- Cloud 9 spa and an adult-only retreat For families with kids, the ship has plenty of fun - kids programs, arcades, Build-A-Bear Workshop, parades, mini-golf and 3 pools, one of which is used for all seasons, having a retractable roof
- A range of cabin options, including Cloud 9 interior and balcony staterooms and suites. Cloud 9 has several perks, such as unlimited use of Thermal Suites and a Hydrotherapy Pool.
- Inside cabins start at 180 square feet, all the way up to 455-foot Grand Suites.
Why pick Carnival Luminosa?
For those wanting to sail out of Seattle, there are tons of options for week-long cruises with some great prices - starting as low as $619 for a 7 day cruise. An affordable option for cruisers wanting to sail to the Land of Midnight Sun.
Visiting four ports along with a scenic cruising day of the Tracy Arm Fjord, a stunning view of two glaciers gives passengers lots of opportunities to see the true Alaska.
New to Carnival, the ship was refurbished in 2022, which will appeal to many cruisers who appreciate new updates. It does have a spacious 10 story atrium and features lots of glass, a great benefit when visiting such as scenic place. The ship has not been fully “Carnivalized” but does have a good selection of dining and beverage venues, entertainment and activities that the fun cruise line is known for.