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Must See Places In Alaska Cruise

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Get Serious About Wildlife Spotting

See the Best of Alaska on a Cruise Vacation | Princess Cruises

If you play your cards right, an Alaskan cruise is the perfect time to spot the Alaskan Big 5: moose, bears, Dall sheep, caribou, and gray wolves . There are also plenty of options to see Orca whales, dolphins, seals, humpback whales, and bald eagles. Wildlife spotting is better in the summer, but you can still see some awesome animals in September and beyond. Whales and dolphins are often swimming alongside cruise ships, while otters and seals are usually hanging out on ice floes. Bald eagles are quite literally everywhere, so keep your eyes open. Moose and bears can be a little trickier, but your best option is a hike or tour through Denali. If you want to guarantee a sighting, be sure to book an excursion like a whale-watching adventure in Juneau or a tour through grizzly bear country in Ketchikan.

Haines Wilderness River Tours

Few cruises stop at Haines, preferring nearby Skagway, but if the port is on your itinerary take a jet-boat tour up-river into the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve for a great taste of the wilderness and good wildlife-spotting opportunities. Note, however, that the areas famed gathering of thousands of bald eagles happens in November, outside the cruising season .

Salmon And Halibut Fishing

There’s good fishing off Sitka, and with this full-day, small-group excursion, you hit the waters in search of king, silver or chum salmon, as well as halibut. The captain will take you to known fishing spots where various techniques — weather permitting — are employed for salmon fishing and halibut fishing. You should be aware that being on a small boat on the open sea subjects you to swells and wind chop.

Note: You need to buy a one-day fishing license from the captain of the small boat for $25 cash, as required by Alaska law. Also, in May and June, you need an additional $15 king salmon stamp. If you catch a fish, you can have it packaged and shipped home for an additional fee; note your catch will not be permitted back onboard the ship. Lunch and snacks are provided on this excursion.

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Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park;was created in 1980 to protect 587,000 acres of Alaskas most awesome, impenetrable wilderness. Crowning the park is the massive Harding Ice Field; from it, countless tidewater glaciers pour down, carving the coast into dizzying fjords.;As you paddle you might be treated to the thunder of calving tidewater glaciers, the honking and splashing of sea lions at a haul-out or the cacophony of a kittiwake rookery. Near Peterson Glacier plump harbor seals bob on glacier ice, and breaching whales often perform at the mouth of Resurrection Bay. Getting an orcas-eye view of this rich marine ecosystem is just one of the many rewards of propelling yourself on a kayak through the rocking waters of Kenai Fjords.

With such a landscape and an abundance of marine wildlife the park is a major tourist attraction. Unfortunately, its also an expensive one. That is why road-accessible Exit Glacier is its highlight attraction. Hardier souls can ascend to the Harding Ice Field from the same trailhead, but only experienced mountaineers equipped with skis, ice axes and crampons can investigate the 900 sq miles of ice. The majority of visitors either take a quick trip to Exit Glaciers face or splurge on a tour-boat cruise along the coast. For those who want to spend more time in the park, the coastal fjords are a blue-water kayakers dream.

Skagway Best Shore Excursion

Top Things to Do in Ketchikan, Alaska on a Cruise

Skagway is a tiny town with a very busy cruise port! This is as far north as cruise ships go in the Inside Passage . Skagway was put on the map by the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898 and has a colorful history. In fact, the entire downtown is a national park!

The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad was built during the Gold Rush and remains today as a tour for visitors and I will tell you that in my opinion this is the best shore excursion available in Southeast Alaska! There are several options for the train: you can take a round trip summit excursion right from the cruise ship dock, or you can go one way by train and one by bus giving you additional views of this stunning location. You can also do a hike from the train getting dropped off at Denver or Laughton Glacier as part of a tour.

The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad gives you the unique opportunity in Southeast Alaska to get up into the mountains and inland and see a completely different climate. There are good chances to see bears and goats on this trip too! Overall I highly recommend this if you only do one shore excursionmake it this one!

Skagway also has lots of great history to explore and several excellent hikes that leave from downtown and you can easily walk to.

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See Amazing Wildlife From The Sea

Icy Strait Point

Much of the coastline in the Inside Passage and Gulf of Alaska is a wilderness comprised of snow-capped mountain peaks, glaciers, green rainforests, and stunning fjords. A cruise is the best way to see Alaska because youll have a viewing advantage where wildlife roams in their natural habitat. You may even wake up to views of eagles or whales outside your cabin window.

Sea lions

Look for harbor seals lounging in drifting icebergs and Stellar sea lions hanging out in groups on craggy outcrops. Look to the sky to spot soaring eagles. Use your binoculars to check mountainsides for Dahl sheep and mountain goats with big black horns. Scan isolated beaches to search for lumbering bears. Always be on the lookout for whalestheir blows are often the first thing you see.

On your ship, a naturalist will be looking for wildlife. Announcements from the bridge will let you know when whales are sighted in the distance.

Humpback whale

Alaska attracts 16 species of whales. Small white beluga whales hang out in the Kenai Peninsula near Seward. Humpback whales, which may grow to 53 feet, may be spotted near Icy Strait Point and in Sitka Sound. Orcas , the oceans top predator, tend to like the Inside Passage.

Faq About Skagway Alaska

Are you still;eager to learn more about this beautiful city? We receive a lot of questions about Skagway, so here are our answers to the most frequently asked.;

When is the best time of year to visit Skagway?

May through June tend to be the;best times to visit Skagway. The weather lows tend to be around 34°F and the highs around 82°F. Anytime between April and October will be beautiful, however. Be sure you;pack the right essentials;for the season.;

How will I get around the area?

Since Skagway is so small, there is no taxi service in the area. Everything is within walking distance. A Street Car Tour departs from the pier several times a day and provides a historical background of the city.If walking is too hard for you, you can also take a S.M.A.R.T. shuttle bus. They too leave from the pier and follow a set schedule every day. The buses stop at popular tourist spots in the town so you can hop on and off for just $5 a day.

Where will my cruise ship dock?

There are three docks in Skagway; the Broadway Dock, the Railroad Dock, or the Ore Dock. Skagway is very small, however, so no matter where youre docking, youll be close to all the action.;

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Best Places To Visit In Alaska

The natural beauty and scale of Alaska is difficult to convey if you’ve never been there a visual treat awaits you on your maiden voyage! With glaciers bigger than many US states, you’ll never see everything;in just the one trip.

We’ve rounded up our best places to visit in Alaska to help you start planning your trip to this incredibly beautiful state. Rest assured you won’t stop at one trip, so there’ll be ample opportunities to tick every one off your bucket list.

Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour

9 Best Things To Do On An Alaska Cruise

Whether you’re a fan of the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” or just really like to see fishermen in action, this excursion will float your boat. Those who book will ride along on Aleutian Ballad, a fishing boat featured in the second season of “Deadliest Catch.”

While sailing the calm, protected waters of the Inside Passage , you’ll witness part of a day in the life of commercial fishermen, as they haul in their latest catch of Alaskan king crab, halibut, octopus, prawn and more.

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Mount Roberts Tramway Juneau

Its expensive, and only takes around five minutes, but this cable car whisks you more or less straight from the cruise-ship terminal into the mountains for great views and, if you want to escape some of the crowds, offers access to a variety of panoramic trails you can manage before you ship departs .

Mosquito Repellent Is Your Friend

You might not realize it, but mosquitoes are as big a nuisance in Alaska during the summer as they are in the southern United States. The area receives a lot of rainfall, making it a playground for the insects. In other words, be sure you pack mosquito spray to keep your day from turning into an itchy nightmare.

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Haines Best Weather And Kayaking

Haines doesnt have a lot of cruise ships that call in its port, but it does have some. You can also visit Haines by taking a shore excursion when your ship calls in nearby Skagway. However you get there, Haines is worth a visit for plenty of reasons.

In addition to the scenery that every Alaska town has on offer, Haines is positioned to have the best weather in Southeast Alaska, making it ideal for outdoor activities like kayaking! When I say best weather I mean less rain than most other ports but it doesnt have the wind that Skagway has. In any part of Southeast Alaska you need to be ready for rain, any day, all year, but Haines gives you a better chance of a dry day than most.

Kayaking is unique in Haines because you can take a tour for sea kayaking or you can kayak in Chilkoot Lake, giving options for every preference and every skill level in a kayak. This is a wonderful place to try kayaking for the first time!

Best For Teens And Adventure

Here Are The Most Beautiful Places In Alaska That You Must ...

If youve got active kids who have an interest in nature and the environment, an expedition voyage could be exactly what will keep them engaged and off their devices. Anyone else looking to really explore Alaska should also consider an expedition cruise where youll hop aboard skiffs for up-close looks at glaciers, go hiking in Tongass National Forest and kayak the calm waters of the Inside Passage. Look to UnCruise Adventures, Alaskan Dream Cruises, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions , Ponant or Silverseas expedition ships .

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Do You Want To Do A One

There are two types of Alaskan cruise itineraries one-way or round trip. Each have their pros and cons, so the best choice will depend on whats most important to you. Round trip itineraries tend to be seven days long, starting in Seattle or Vancouver and focusing on Southern Alaska, normally sailing up the Inside Passage as far as Juneau before heading back down.

The advantage of round trips is they make travel planning much easier. You can fly in and out of the same airport, with return flights usually cheaper than one-way or open jaw tickets. But having to loop around means you dont cover as much ground, and although the stops are different on the way up and down, youll be retracing your steps part of the way.


One-way trips usually start in Anchorage and head south or start in Seattle/Vancouver and head north. They are often longer and sail across the Gulf of Alaska as well as through the Inside Passage. So you get to see more of the Alaskan coast, with more stops and more chances to see wildlife and glaciers a bonus if you get stung by Alaskas unpredictable weather.

Either starting or finishing in Anchorage means its easy to add on a land-based tour so you can see more of Alaska too. But the disadvantages of a one-way cruise are that travel planning is more complicated and often more expensive. And if youre worried about seasickness, the Gulf of Alaska can be rough compared to the more sheltered waters of the Inside Passage.

Glacier watching on deck

Longer Alaska Cruises From The West Coast

Finally, if you are looking for a longer cruise, there are some cruises leaving out of San Francisco. Usually 10 nights long, these round-trip itineraries are best suited for cruises who love days at sea.

You will typically have four days at sea with another day of scenic cruising when on a Alaskan cruise. The waters before entering the Inside Passage can be rough or calm, it really depends on when you go.

The ports of these longer cruises are typically Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia.

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Visit During A Shoulder Season

Normally I recommend skipping Alaska during the peak cruise seasons. Alaska experiences mass-over tourism in the summer during cruise ship landings, but the summer of 2021 without cruises is shaping up to be a promising season with fewer crowds. Otherwise, I would suggest visiting during autumn. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons in Alaska and it honestly rivals any east coast state for foliage. The mountainsides explode with vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds. Bears gorge at all you can eat buffets preparing for the fat bear week. The days are still long enough for adventure-filled afternoons. Most of the crowds have dissipated and the locals are friendly and out in full force enjoying the last days of summer. In short, if you can visit Alaska in the autumn for a colorful trip filled with wildlife sightings.

I wont lie, visiting Alaska in spring is not for the faint of heart. If you love unexpected snowstorms followed by massive puddles of snowmelt then this is the season for you. Its not all bad though, as Alaska emerges from 7 months of winter there are moments where you feel honored to be part of a rebirth. Alaskans are wearing shorts in 40-degree weather and suntanning with beers and outdoor dining. Its worth a few unexpected snowfalls to enjoy the birth of spring.

The 8 Best Things To Do On An Alaskan Cruise

Must Sees in Alaska
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Cruising in Alaska is a one-of-a-kind trip. Each day is prettier than the next, each port more exciting. No matter what cruise line you sail, or which itinerary you take, your journey will undoubtedly take you from the quiet waters of the bay to the metropolitan areas that give Alaska its charm. And because of this, there are just so many things to do on an Alaskan cruise.

Whether you want to learn some history, see some wildlife or experience the culture, cruising in Alaska has it all. But that leaves you with a dilemma: Which experiences should you prioritize? ;To make sure that you have the trip of a lifetime, here is a checklist of eight things you absolutely must do while in Alaska

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Ride The White Pass And Yukon Route Railway

If your cruise ship stops over in Skagway, you’ll find an old gold rush boomtown community complete with shops, bars, restaurants, and historical buildings. Although you can easily spend the entire day exploring Skagway, a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway is not to be skipped. This route travels up into the mountains, providing scenic views and a glimpse into former gold miners’ lives. Some White Pass combination rail and bus excursions include a stop at the Yukon Suspension Bridge, which is another great photo opportunity.

Catch A Bus Or Shuttle

Alaska has a pretty shit public transportation system, so dont expect to hop on a convenient bus from downtown Anchorage to Eagle River any time soon. But, we do take care of our tourists, and you have plenty of options to catch a motorcoach bus from Anchorage to Denali National Park. The Park Connection Shuttles people between Denali and Seward. Most shuttles operate daily, if not several times a day during the summer season. My former employer, Premier Alaska Tours, operates these shuttles, and they are fantastic.

If you are in Anchorage with time to kill and want to see the gorgeous Turnagain Arm including a scenic drive, a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Girdwood, or Portage Glacier then book a shuttle day trip to see all the highlights of the Anchorage area with Turnagain Arm Shuttle.If you are looking to hike Anchorages Flat Top, then you can catch a shuttle from Anchorage to the trailhead and back with the Flat Top Shuttle. Ketchikan and Talkeetna have a tourist taxi service that acts as a shuttle service. There are dozens of options like this around Alaska, including Seward, Juneau, Fairbanks, and more. If you need help finding excellent shuttles or transportation hops near any of your destinations in Alaska, let me know!

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