From its stunning glaciers to its lush green scenery, Alaska has always been a favourite in the cruising world. For nature lovers, it’s especially welcoming, with impressive ice landscapes and a vast wilderness to explore, as well as some of the worlds most majestic creatures including the American bald eagle and killer whales. To make the most of your Alaskan cruise, it’s important to choose your ideal port. Have a look through our destination port guide, be inspired and find the best Alaska cruise for you.
Glacier Bay national park is one of the most impressive displays of nature you’ll ever experience. Located on Alaska’s Inside Passage, this port encompasses the ever-changing famous Margerie Glacier, sheltered fjords, rainforests and an incredible display of wildlife. You don’t actually dock at this port as the national park is protected, but your cruise ship will navigate its way through the glaciers, giving you an up close look at the staggering ice formations. Keep your camera ready as it’s likely you’ll spot one of the impressive local animals, including grizzly bears and sea otters. Glacier Bay is also a popular hangout spot for humpback whales.
Princess Cruises is one of the few cruise lines permitted to travel through Glacier Bay. The looming glaciers here, including Margerie, often drop massive chunks of ice into the ocean, meaning there can never be too many ships in the bay at one time. Glacier Bay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and all ships need to follow strict guidelines when cruising through. Princess Cruises’ Island Princess does a grand tour of Alaska’s Inside Passage, with its highlight being the scenic cruise through Glacier Bay.
One of the most well-known ports in Alaska, Juneau is a cruising hot spot. Not only is it the capital city of Alaska, but it’s also just a short drive to Mendenhall Glacier, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. This moving river of craggy blue ice is a sight to behold, along with its glacier gardens located under Thunder Mountain.
The city of Juneau has a historic downtown area, with quaint shops and local cafes and restaurants, great for popping into after a chilly day exploring the glaciers. You can also spend a day learning about Alaska’s rich native heritage at one of Juneau’s multiple museums and art centres.
Princess Cruises has a monopoly on the Alaskan scene and almost all of their northern Canadian and American cruises port in Juneau. Princess Cruises’ Island Princess, departs Vancouver for a week long trip through Alaska, spending a full day in Juneau for you to take in all the sights.
Ketchikan has a rich Alaskan history, and is thought to be the states ‘first city’, as was the first major community people come across on their way through Alaska. Its name comes from a native phrase meaning, eagle with spread out wings. This is a reference to the city’s many waterfalls that you can hike to on your visit. Ketchikan retains its native history, with totem poles displayed throughout the town centre.
Ketchikan is located within the Tongass National Forest, a massive rainforest home to black bears, wolves, mountain goats, black-tailed deer, and over 100 species of migrating birds. Ketchikan is also home to the Misty Fjords National Monument, a landscape full of icy blue lakes, waterfalls, snow capped peaks and glacier valleys.
Skagway is one of the smaller cities in Alaska, but in the late 19th century it was incredibly popular due to the American gold-rush. Today you can venture through the gold-rush era buildings, which have been preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. If learning about the gold-rush isn’t really your thing, Skagway has a lot more to offer, including its large outdoor sport following. You can do everything from rock climbing, mountain biking, dog sledding and river rafting in this city.
For train enthusiasts Skagway is home to The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, where vintage locomotives pass through, and you can take a ride up to the Yukon Border and through Skagway city. The views are exceptional as you travel over mountains, valleys and pass by rivers and water falls.
Princess Cruises and Royal Caribean both venture to this scenic city on their Alaskan Inside Passage cruises. Cunard has also announced they are now returning to the Alaskan scene and you’ll be able to visit Skagway, along with these three other ports, starting in 2019.
Whether you’re eager to experience the beauty of majestic glaciers, the fantastic wildlife or the state’s rich native history, Alaska cruises have something for every traveller.
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