Alaska cruises, cruise packages that include land tours, and cruise shore excursions are a popular way to visit America’s “last frontier.” Whether you want to enjoy the diverse amenities available on larger cruise ships or customize a more intimate small ship cruise for a few dozen of your closest friends and family, the experts at Alaska Tours can help you create the perfect Alaska cruise vacation.
Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage is one of the most popular cruises in the world due to the dramatic scenery, abundant wildlife, and calm, protected waters in this region of Alaska. Quirky and colorful coastal communities add to the charm of an Inside Passage cruise. The entire southeast region in Alaska is part of the largest national forest in the country (the Tongass National Forest), which means outdoor recreation opportunities are near limitless.
With a dizzying array of amenities and itinerary options, large-ship cruises in Alaska are the most popular way to experience the Inside Passage. Cruises depart from Seattle, Washington or Vancouver, British Columbia en route to Alaska with stops in popular ports like Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Itineraries are either round trip or one way.
One-way cruises can be combined with land tours to Anchorage, Denali National Park, Fairbanks and beyond. The wide range of room types on larger ships fit most any budget, and an extensive menu of tours in each port highlight the region’s best.
Whether your focus is cultural heritage, outdoor activities, or quiet luxury, Alaska Tours’ small-ship cruise offerings aim to please. Itineraries start and end in Alaska and range from 7 to 14 nights. These itineraries include sights and experiences you won’t find on the larger ships, including up-close wildlife viewing, smaller coves and bays, and off-the-beaten track communities. How small is small? These ships accommodate between 26 and 86 guests, and while they may not have an on board casino or multiple restaurants, they do feature top-notch dining, spa facilities, naturalists and plenty of guided activities like kayaking and hiking.
This is the crème-de-la-crème of the Alaska cruising experience. Eight-day Inside Passage cruise itineraries start and end in Juneau. Along the way, itinerary highlights are more about experiences than locations. At Icy Strait, humpback whales are plentiful and an on board hydrophone will allow you to listen to them as well as see them. Enjoy mountain biking through the temperate rainforest when you go ashore on one of the many secluded islands along the Inside Passage. As you glide quietly through Glacier Bay National Park, roll out your yoga mat for a truly blissful experience. Gourmet food, a wine bar and spa are just some of the on board amenities. You can also charter an Alaska yacht for a private cruise if you so desire.
Maybe you’re traveling independently in Alaska, or are arriving or leaving from an Alaska city where you can enjoy a day cruise. Hop aboard! Wildlife viewing, whale watching and coastal views can all be yours on an Alaska day cruise.
A great way to experience Alaska is to hop off your cruise and take a land-based shore excursion to see Alaska’s fascinating ports. With options for touring Alaska’s famous National Parks, viewing diverse landscapes, hiking to glaciers, or photographing wildlife, the sky’s the limit!
With all this in mind, the question isn’t whether to cruise Alaska, it’s when to do it and how often!
Header photo courtesy Jeff Schultz/Jeff Schultz Photography