Alaska the Hot Place to Cruise Right Now
When describing a possible cruise in Alaska, the usual response is, "Wow, the Inside Passage!”, and for good reason. This picturesque waterway is considered one of the most scenic in the world, where deep-draft vessels can sail close to steep mountain walls, and gigantic glaciers and ice-carved fjords, are just the usual in this precious part of the world. We have highlighted the big ticket items that are not to be missed, along with some great onshore excursions, must-haves on an Alaskan cruise, and if you have always wanted to try expedition cruising, this is the perfect opportunity...read on...
Glacier Bay National Park and Hubbard Glacier are key highlights if cruising the Inside Passage. When the famous naturalist John Muir explored Glacier Bay, much of the bay we have today did not yet exist. Glacier Bay has been preserved as a national park because it is a living laboratory; as the ice recedes, scientists study the advancement of plants and animals; as the ice melts, different flora and fauna remnants provide insights into historic periods. Glacier Bay National Park is a key Alaskan coastal attraction and most visited national park.
The main ports of call are Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, but some ships stop in Icy Strait, Haines or Petersburg; sailings from Seattle usually stop at a Victoria or Vancouver
Gulf of Alaska
The gulf itinerary is a seven-night one-way cruise between Seattle/Vancouver and Seward/Whittier, the gateway ports for Anchorage. A Gulf of Alaska itinerary also offers passengers the opportunity to visit the Inside Passage ports. It does. To get between Anchorage ports just north of Glacier Bay and the south side of the Kenai Peninsula,and either the big ports of Seattle or Vancouver, it is necessary to pass along the Inside Passage coastal strip. A typical Gulf of Alaska cruise will probably include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, as well as Sitka.
If you are looking for a longer cruises, there are 10-night to 14-night Alaska cruises that are either a roundtrip or a one-way from San Francisco.
Alaskan Onshore Excursions
Not only from your ship is there plenty to see? Alaska is one of those places where there is plenty of opportunity to get off the beaten path and see the authentic Alaska. From being wowed by the incredible scenery on a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad to tackling a glacier with crampons, there are lots of ways to see a lot more of Alaska whilst enjoying fantastic onshore activities. Just outside Skagway you can also get active and bike down a mountain past spectacular cliffs. Or in Juneau you can do some adventuresome zip lining, or fish for salmon that you can freeze-pack and ship home!
For a different kind of cruise, why not try an expedition cruise on one of the smaller expedition vessels of companies like Un-Cruise Adventures and Lindblad Expeditions. These itineraries tend to focus on nature and wildlife, rather than the major attractions of the bigger ports. Smaller ships are better suited for this type of cruise, as they carry fewer passengers than their ocean-going colleagues, and offer more up-close glacier viewing, plus they have the ability to make unplanned stops whenever wildlife appears. Itineraries call on less-visited ports, and guests have more of an opportunity to explore secluded parts where they can go ashore for nature hikes, special excursions and close-up wildlife viewing. Ships carry 50-150 passengers as opposed to 1000s.
Top 10 things you can't leave home without for an Alaskan Cruise
To get the most out of your Alsakan cruise, take a cue from the Scouts and Be Prepared. Here are the top 10 items that you will be truly thankful that you packed!
- Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots
- Clothing that can be layered
- Rain gear
- Insect repellent
- Digital storage for your camera ie memory cards
- Motion sickness medication
- Small backpack
- Alarm clock