Can You Get to Denali on a Cruise Ship?

By Alice Nichols

Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Located in Alaska, Denali is an area of rugged beauty, featuring six million acres of glaciers, rivers, and alpine tundra. It is home to some of the highest peaks in North America and is one of the few places on earth where visitors can view wildlife in their natural habitat.

A cruise ship can be a great way to see Denali National Park and its environs. There are options for both short cruises (three to five days) and long cruises (seven to fourteen days).

On a short cruise, travelers will have time to explore some of the park’s highlights, such as Mount McKinley or Wonder Lake. On a longer cruise, passengers will have more time to take in the stunning views from along the coast or even venture inland for some guided tours or hikes.

When considering a cruise to Denali National Park, there are several factors to consider. First, you’ll need to decide if you want a traditional cruise or an expedition-style cruise.

Traditional cruises tend to focus on sightseeing and relaxation while expedition-style cruises offer more active activities such as hiking and kayaking in addition to sightseeing. You should also determine which ports of call will be included on your itinerary so that you can plan out what sights you want to visit while in port.

Cruise ships typically depart from Anchorage, which is located about two hours away from Denali National Park by car or train. From Anchorage, you’ll need to take a bus or train into Denali National Park itself before embarking on your tour of the park. The bus ride is particularly scenic as it takes passengers through some of Alaska’s breathtaking scenery before arriving at the entrance station for Denali National Park.


With careful planning and research, it is possible for travelers to get an up-close look at Denali National Park via a cruise ship vacation. Whether you choose a traditional cruise with plenty of sightseeing opportunities or an expedition-style trip full of active activities, there are plenty of ways that travelers can experience all that this magnificent park has to offer.