An Alaska cruise offers an incredible and unique vacation experience. America’s 49th state and its “last frontier” – Alaska – is one of the world’s most beautiful and unique destinations with breathtaking sights at every turn. Marvel at majestic Mt. McKinley, icy blue glaciers as they calve and thunder into the sea, rainforests, fjords, dramatic landscapes and a host of wildlife in their natural habitats.
Popular Alaska itineraries include the scenic Inside Passage and the incredible Northbound/Southbound cruises, sometimes referred to as Gulf of Alaska sailings. The North and southbound itineraries offer a convenient jumping off point for Alaska CruiseTours to such places as Denali, Fairbanks and the Yukon.
INSIDE PASSAGE CRUISES
The scenic Inside Passage is a sheltered waterway between Pacific Coast islands. Cruises here are typically a roundtrip seven-day itinerary that includes Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan and may also feature the towns of Seward, Icy Strait Point, College Fjord, Seward, Victoria, B.C., Haines and Tracy Arm Fjord. Spectacular scenes can be enjoyed as you sail through Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage. Some 14-day sailings are also offered, and are usually from San Francisco.
Inside Passage cruises provide a classic and relaxing experience. Enjoy a variety of excursions or just sit back and watch the stunning coastal scenery pass you by from the comfort of the open decks or from your balcony stateroom.
NORTHBOUND & SOUTHBOUND CRUISES
Another popular cruise itinerary is the Northbound and Southbound Alaska cruise routes. These seven night cruises are generally one-way itineraries sailing between Seattle/Vancouver and Seward/Whittier (the gateway for Anchorage), sailing either north or south. Some two-week roundtrip voyages are also available.
The northbound/southbound cruises allow for more time in Alaska ports or National Glacier Parks at Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay than the Inside Passage route. Highlights include College Fjord in Prince William Sound, lined with 16 glaciers, beautiful Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, a seaside town with a Russian influence. Some include also include the ports of Hubbard Glacier and Valdez.
The northbound southbound itineraries sail further north and therefore offer more coastal and glacier scenery. The most important difference between the Inside Passage cruises and the northbound/southbound cruises is that the northbound/southbound cruises provide access to land tours that include sights such as Denali National Park. The land portion of the cruise tour itineraries last from four to seven days.
See the state’s magnificent interior when you take Alaska CruiseTours which combines a land tour before or after your Alaska cruise. Journey in luxury domed railcars across the immense Alaska wilderness.
Highlighting any Alaska CruiseTour is Denali National Park, home to Mount McKinley, the highest peak mountain in North America. View an abundance of wildlife including bears, caribou, moose, sheep and more. As you journey along through the incredible landscape, marvel at the ice bridges, pristine glacier streams and massive ice fields.
Experience a multi-night fully-escorted land journey to the spectacular Alaskan interior. Immerse yourself in its amazing culture, history, flavors and sounds. Some favorite Alaska cruise tour packages combine a seven night cruise with a 3- to 5-night Anchorage/Denali/Fairbanks tour, a 4- to 7-night Yukon tour, which takes you to Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks or you can take a 5- to 7-night fascinating tour of the Canadian Rockies.
Alaska cruises are ideal for families and all age groups with a variety of activities that will enhance your vacation experience. Cultural tours may include panning for gold, where you can feel the excitement of the Gold Rush. Feel the excitement of traditional gold rush towns as families have an unforgettable time competing to see who finds the most. Salmon bakes are also a popular choice and offer a delicious traditional meal. Visit museums and wildlife conservation centers, including those for raptors and other birds.
More adventurous travelers may take a thrilling helicopter ride or flightsee over ice blue glaciers. You can also experience Alaska’s nature first hand as you go dog sledding, salmon fishing, kayaking, hiking, zip-lining, whitewater rafting and glacier trekking.
Highlights of an Alaska cruise for many is whale watching, where you may get to see Humpback and Minke whales, Orcas and more. June and July are the best times to see bubble-netting Humpbacks. Another unique excursion includes taking a tram ride to see incredible and unique views such as hanging glaciers and wildlife.
Animal-lovers will be thrilled by the diverse wildlife in their natural environment. Grizzly bears, Bald Eagles, caribou, Sitka Blacktail deer, moose and Dall Sheep call this home. Lynx, marmots, fox, puffin, wolves and snowshoe hare also live here.
The Alaska Sealife Center in Seward and the Anchorage Museum is perfect for families. Here children and adults alike will enjoy all of the exhibits and the kids will love the Imaginarium Discovery Center.
Fascinating Ketchikan is the ancestral home of the Tlingit people, who hand-carved the world’s largest collection of totem poles. Learn about their history and culture through their Native American Totem Poles that were created to tell stories and commemorate life events at the Totem Bight Historical Park.
Most of the major cruise lines offer Alaska cruises. They include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn and Silversea Cruises.
Whichever cruise ship you select and wherever you go in Alaska you are sure to see and experience something unique, special and beautiful. Discover this pristine natural masterpiece from the comfort of a luxurious cruise ship and you will never forget the beauty and grandeur of this great land.