I'm trying to decide on a cruise to Alaska. Is it better to do do a round trip out of Seattle or Vancouver? It seems like your on the ocean more going from Seattle. I have 2 boys and would like to have a bunch of ports to visit - although it seems like the cruise lines are limited out of Vancouver that is kid friendly.
An astute observation - being on the open seas more when sailing from Seattle. That is likely to be true in many cases since it takes a little longer to get to Alaska from Seattle so they have to make up that time by being in the open sea. It is much more pleasurable to sail to Alaska through the inside passage than along the open sea.
Bottom line though is that is not a solid rule, if you find an itinerary you like leaving from Seattle I am guessing that is the easier and cheaper way to go. Airfare is likely lower as well as other costs (transfers, hotels, etc).
That being said - if you have never seen Vancouver it is really a beautiful city and is worth visiting. But so is Seattle.
The most important thing is getting the itinerary in Alaska you want and balancing that against the convenience of Seattle vs the advantages of Vancouver.
The inside passage is a great way to pass days at sea - you sail close enough to many islands that you feel like you can touch them. The better ships have naturalists onboard who will tell you if they spot a bald eagle or bear.
However - if I saw a port-intensive itinerary in Alaska that included some of the better ports of call I would opt to get up to those ports rather than going slowly up the inside passage.
7-Night Alaska Golden Princess $599
Roundtrip Seattle to Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm, Ketchikan and Victoria
CM Note: One of the better Alaska itineraries we've seen at a great price!
From Seattle you go to Tracy Arm (considered Alaskas biggest and most active glaciers) plus the other three standard Alaska ports - and you visit beautiful Victoria on the way back which brings up a important point - all Seattle cruises to Alaska include a call in Canada - so you see it anyway.
Definitely take the trip to or from Vancouver. Seattle trips are round trip so you see less of Alaska. Also, doing a land pre or post in Alaska is fantastic! Bite the bullet with the air and do a one way trip with a trip to McKinley thrown in.
If you don't have the budget or time to do a land tour to Denali I would suggest the round trip from Vancouver. More inside cruising. The ports you visit will be the same for the most part regardless of the cruise line. They go to Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway or Sitka.
I suggest cruising to Glacier Bay as well.