Cruising Alaska is a journey that offers spectacular scenery, unforgettable wildlife experiences, and a unique glimpse into the state's history and culture. The 49th state of the United States is known for its rugged terrain, abundant wildlife, and natural beauty, and a cruise to Alaska is one of the best ways to experience all of these wonders.
There are many options when it comes to cruising to Alaska, with most cruises departing from Seattle, Vancouver, or Seward. Some of the top cruise lines that offer trips to Alaska include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Royal Caribbean. These cruise lines offer a range of itineraries that vary in length, ports of call, and activities.
One of the most popular ports of call on an Alaskan cruise is Juneau, the state capital. This charming city offers visitors plenty of activities, including whale watching, visiting the Mendenhall Glacier, exploring the Alaska State Museum, or taking a hike in the Tongass National Forest. Visitors can also take a tour of the Alaskan Brewing Company, where they can taste some of the state's best craft beers.
Another popular stop on an Alaskan cruise is Skagway, a town known for its gold rush history. Skagway was a major port during the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s, and visitors can still see many of the historic buildings and sites from that era. A must-do activity in Skagway is taking a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
One of the highlights of any Alaskan cruise is a visit to Glacier Bay National Park. This park is home to some of the most stunning glaciers in the world, and visitors can watch as the ship navigates through the park, providing them with views of glaciers and wildlife like whales, sea otters, and sea lions. The park is also a great place for hiking and kayaking.
Ketchikan is another popular stop on an Alaskan cruise, known for its totem poles and vibrant arts scene. Visitors can take a tour of the Totem Bight State Historical Park, which features over a dozen totem poles and a recreated Tlingit Clan House. Other popular activities in Ketchikan include walking through the Tongass National Forest and watching the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.
In addition to these popular ports of call, an Alaskan cruise typically includes time spent cruising the Inside Passage. The Inside Passage is a scenic waterway that runs along the coast of British Columbia and Alaska, providing views of fjords, glaciers, and wildlife like whales and sea lions.
Another option for those looking for a more immersive Alaskan experience is a small-ship cruise. These cruises typically offer more personalized service and access to smaller, more remote ports of call. They also offer a range of activities like kayaking, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
One of the unique experiences that passengers on an Alaskan cruise can enjoy is learning about the state's native cultures. Alaska is home to many different indigenous groups, including the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people. Visitors can learn about these cultures through visits to museums and cultural centers, as well as through interactions with local residents.
Aside from the port visits, Alaskan cruises offer plenty of onboard entertainment and amenities. Most ships offer a range of dining options, from casual buffets to fine dining restaurants. They also typically offer spa services, fitness centers, pools, and other amenities to keep passengers entertained during their days at sea.
One of the benefits of cruising to Alaska is the ability to see so much of the state's natural beauty without having to worry about transportation or accommodations. Everything is taken care of by the cruise line, so passengers can simply relax and enjoy the journey.
In terms of the best time to take an Alaskan cruise, the season typically runs from May to September, with the peak season being July and August. During these months, the weather is usually mild and there are longer daylight hours for viewing the scenery. However, those looking for a more affordable or less crowded option may want to consider taking a cruise in May or September.