An Alaska cruise vacation is truly impressive. You can arrive or depart on a different unique route – through Alaska’s glacier-lined, wildlife-filled, and smooth-sailing waterways of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Alaska’s Inside Passage is a water route between the Gulf of Alaska and Puget Sound. This popular Alaska cruise ship route usually features stops at a handful of Alaska and British Columbia ports and is known for its calm waters, boundless history, and spectacular scenery.
Along the Inside Passage, cruise passengers can see countless wildlife in the water (whales, orcas, sea lions, and seals), on the ground (bears), and in the air (eagles, raptors, and many water birds). There are over a thousand islands, millions of trees, dozens of glaciers, and a handful of Alaska’s quieter or hard-to-reach communities – Ketchikan, Wrangell, Prince of Wales Island, Sitka, Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Glacier Bay, among others.
A cruise through the Inside Passage also provides access to more than a dozen state and national parks and preserves, including the renowned Tongass National Forest, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Misty Fjords National Monument, and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. If you look closely, you will also be treated to traces of Alaska history along the Inside Passage in totem poles, Russian-influenced architecture, and gold rush remnants.
The average cruise through the Inside Passage takes around seven days, but you can go beyond the cruise with shore excursions featuring an array of outdoor adventures (kayaking, fishing, and bear viewing, to name a few). Sightseeing trips via seaplanes or boats take you up close to wildlife and glaciers, lodging options, and nearby communities.
Most Alaska cruise ships that travel the Inside Passage make their voyages from May through September, so plan and book accordingly.