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What Does Inside Passage Mean On An Alaskan Cruise

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Easier To Make Friends

What It’s Like to Cruise Alaska’s Inside Passage

The intimate nature of small ship cruises allows passengers to cross paths more easily and make connections more rapidly. So whether youre traveling solo or with a partner, you can be certain that at the end of your cruise you will leave with a group of enthusiastic adventure-loving friends.

Many passengers on small ship cruises are those who value good conversation and quality travel experiences. This makes it very easy to form effortless friendships with like-minded fellow passengers.

Take The Boat You’ve Got

No matter what size or age of vessel, you’re still going to watch the weather and navigate based on your craft. Also, a boat you’re familiar with is going to be less stressful to cruise in than a new-to-you boat. Your voyage should be about exploring, seeing the scenery, and learning about wildlife along the way. If you don’t have a boat, there are many options like bareboat chartering with a cruising in company flotilla offered by Northwest Explorations and others. There are also several good options for smaller chartering opportunities on crewed charter boats.

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!

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How To Find The Cheapest Alaskan Cruise Deals

Sail Early in the SeasonThe Alaskan cruising season is short usually only five months long. Running from May through September, your opportunities to sail are limited, although there are a number of ships sailing at any given time.

If you want to save the most, look for cruises that sail in May. These trips early in the season are before the busier summer travel season. That means the pool of available passengers is smaller. In order to fill the ships, cruise lines slash prices. A cruise departing in May can be hundreds of dollars less than the same trip leaving in July.

Sail Late in the SeasonDidnt we just say to sail early in the season to save? Well, the same logic applies to sailing late. If you can wait until September, cruise fares to Alaska are much cheaper. With school back in session, the summer season largely over, and the bulk of the sailing season already past, you can find deals that are hundreds of dollars less than sailing just a few weeks earlier.

Sail One-Way or from Different PortsMost cruises sail round-trip, departing ports like Vancouver or Seattle. But if you look around, you can find one-way trips or that that depart from one port and let passengers off in another . Since these cruises are less convenient for most passengers, they tend to be cheaper.

Sites like or Orbitz allow you to search by cruise lines, destination, dates, and more to find the trip that matches your schedule and budget.

The Best Alaska Cruise Ports And Choosing The Right Itinerary For You

Alaska Cruise: A great way to discover Alaska &  the Inside ...

Thinking about setting sail for Alaska? Not sure which itinerary to choose? This article is all about the highlights and best Alaska cruise ports to help you !

This article doesnt include a review of different cruise ship companies, rather it is information about the ports you may visit and how to decide based on whats most important to you. Great news to get started you really cant go wrong here as all the Alaska ports of call are interesting and different in their own ways and all are surrounded by life affirming natural beauty!

Ill also talk about how to decide between a cross gulf cruise or inside passage only , a big ship or small ship and options for scenic cruising around glaciers. I spent seven seasons working in the Alaska cruise industry and have visited all of these ports multiple times and even lived in two of them, so Im excited to share my insider knowledge with you!

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Gulf Of Alaska Cruise

This is absolutely trip of a lifetime stuff, which showcases some of Alaskas most breathtaking scenery – that said, the waters voyaged in order to access these spectacular scenes can be rocky, so if its a small, intimate cruise you have your heart set on, then its unlikely youll find one on this route, because bigger vessels are more capable of navigating such conditions.

Traveling either south from Anchorage, Whittier or Seward, or north from Seattle or Vancouver, these cruises cover more territory than other options and, as such, leave plenty of scope for off-board excursions. The fact that they start or finish near Anchorage, from which most places in Alaska can be accessed, offers lots of opportunity for pre- or post-cruise exploration – but even if youre limited to what the cruise itself has to offer, thats no hardship: your holiday snaps will be the envy of absolutely everyone, gleaming with the ice formations of the Gulf of Alaska and the Hubbard Glacier.

On board attractions include

Movie nights under the stars An adults-only sun deck Local cuisine from Juneau and Skagway restaurants Family activities Top deck parties, with dancing under the midnight sun to live music The Terrace Pool, with incredible wake views Sled Dog puppies on board Lavish Broadway productions

Using The Internet To Keep In Touch

If youre on an Alaskan cruise, wed suggest using the wi-fi on the ship to keep in touch.

One big change thats come to cruising in the past decade is the proliferation of wi-fi. What used to be a novelty on cruise ships is now a near necessity. Every major cruise line and ship will offer wi-fi service, usually costing about $15-20 per day.

With online access, there are a number of apps such as WhatsApp that allow you to send texts and even make phone calls through your wi-fi connection.

In other words, instead of expensive per-minute cell service or worrying about roaming, connecting to the ships wi-fi should give you an opportunity to keep in touch back home.

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Gulf Of Alaska Cruises

Cruises that skirt across the Gulf of Alaska are sometimes one-way itineraries routed either south from beautiful Anchorage or north from Seattle or Vancouver. These cover more territory and also lend themselves to pre- or post-cruise land excursions because passengers embark or disembark in Anchorage, from which you can get to nearly any part of Alaska. Cross-Gulf cruises include many Inside Passage ports, but might also stop at Seward, Valdez, College Fjord, Hubbard Glacier, Kodiak Island or other areas.

Many of these are classic one-way cruises that start or end in Whittier, the seaport gateway about 65 miles southeast of Anchorage, or in Seward, a bit farther south. One-way itineraries mean one-way air fare for two cities, which can be more expensive than round-trip fares, unless your cruise line offers a deal.

That said, you get to see more of Alaska on these cruises. In addition to stopping at ports beyond the Inside Passage, Gulf of Alaska cruises offer passengers access to land-tour destinations such as Anchorage, Denali National Park, Talkeetna , Fairbanks, Homer, Seward, the Kenai Peninsula — plus you get to travel on the Alaska Railroad.

More Flexible Itineraries And Close

Alaska Inside Passage – Norwegian Cruise Line

Big boats tend to stick to large, popular ports and are extremely rigid in their itinerary. Small ship cruises in Alaska, on the other hand, are able to adjust schedules for unexpected sightseeing opportunities. Even better, while large boats are forced to sail far out from land in the deep ocean, small cruise boats are able to hug the shore during their trip.

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When You Can Take An Alaska Inside Passage Cruise

The Alaska Cruise season begins in late April and continues through September. Whether you cruise when the Inside Passage is blanketed with spring wildflowers or ablaze with fall foliage you’ll be awed at Alaska’s natural wonders. Spring whale migrations, fall bald eagle gatherings, winter trumpeter swans – exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities and substantial savings can be found during spring and fall.

Bc Ferries Inside Passage Day Cruise

BC Ferries is the biggest ferry company in the Western Canada state of British Columbia. They run passenger and vehicle ferries between the mainland to Vancouver Island and around parts of the main island and out to some of the smaller islands too. Most people who have visited or researched this part of Canada would have heard of these ferries.

But the one ferry that you might not know about is the Inside Passage Day Cruise. Running from mid June to mid September each year, this 16 hour cruise travels between Port Hardy, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, to Prince Rupert, in the northern reaches of the Canadian coast just 50 km south of the Alaskan border.

The Inside Passage Day Cruise not only accommodates foot passengers, but like most other BC Ferries, you can take your vehicle on-board as well. This means cars, motorbikes and motorhomes. They even accommodate commercial vehicles!

Cruises leave at 7:30am and arrive into port at 11.30pm. During the height of the summer months, most of the cruising time is in daylight, allowing you to see as much of the Inside Passage as possible. Sailings earlier and later in the session will travel a short time in the dark, but this allows for some pretty spectacular sunset and sunrise viewing from on-board the cruise.

While all of this is excellent, what you really want to know is the price! Now remember that the seven days cruises I talked about earlier cost at least a few thousand dollars.

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Alaskan Shore Excursions And More

Shore Excursions and Sightseeing Tours. Never pay cruise line prices again. Shore Explorersreveals over 5,500 Discount Shore Excursions and Sightseeing Tours priced as low as $29! Shore Excursion Reviews. Alaska Cruise shore excursions, tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more.

Up to 40% off regular pricing! Cancel any time and receive a full refund up to day of cruise Full refund if cruise is cancelled Full refund if ship misses port

Alaska is Adventurous!

Come explore some of the top active / adventure Alaska destinations, resorts, wilderness lodges and activities. Alaska Cruises Direct has you covered – whether it’s kayaking, hiking, cycling, helicopter glacier landing, flightseeing, fishing remote lakes, or zip lining through Alaska’s mountains, we know where to have fun!

Alaska Land & Sea Vacation Packages

Alaska Cruises, Rail & Tours, Alaska’s National Parks

With over 150 unique itinerary possibilities, from the 3 most popular cruise lines and hundreds of shore excursions, the combinations for your bucket-list inspired adventure are nearly endless. With Alaska Cruises Direct, you’ll enjoy the best of Alaska by combining a seven-night sailing with a land tour into Alaska’s most magnificent inland destinations.

Choose From 5 Great Ways To Sail Alaska

3 – 8 day land tours combined with a 7 day Alaska Cruise.

Start with glaciers and frontier towns on a 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise

Why You Should Cruise The Inside Passage

Sightseeing Highlights from Alaska Inside Passage Cruises ...

When most people think of cruising, more often than not they picture a white sand beach in The Caribbean. The people are hot, the waters are warm, and the rum is always cold. Sounds great, right? While these cruises are some of the most popular, theres a different type of vacation that occupies a special place in my heart: an Alaskan cruise. While Alaska may not be the first destination you think of crossing off your list, dont make the mistake of selling this place short. Alaska offers some of the most scenic views and captivating wildlife, sending those who try it racing back for more. Heres just a few of the many reasons why you will want to consider cruising The Inside Passage.

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What To Expect On Your Alaska Cruise

A variety of cruise ships sail to Alaska, including luxury vessels and midsize ships most of which offer expanded kids programs for family vacationers.

National Parks, monuments & forests

Few things make you feel as humble, and as privileged, as standing at a ships rail looking out at Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords national parks or Misty Fiords National Monument, or making a pre- or post-cruise foray into Denali National Park & Preserve. These raw and powerful lands are proof that there are places on the planet that will never, ever be tamed, and thats exactly why we are so drawn to them.

And then theres Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the nation, which envelops most of Southeast Alaska. Roughly the size of West Virginia, this 500-mile swath of green spreads from the peaks of the Coast Mountains down to the Pacific, from granite cliffs and narrow fjords out to remote islands. Within its borders are old-growth forests, salmon, bears, wolves, eagles, whales and communities of Native people whose ancestors first came to the Tongass more than 10,000 years ago. Any cruise through the Inside Passage is a cruise through Tongass National Forest.

Cities & towns

Other towns that may be part of your itinerary:

Culture & history

Bears, whales & eagles

Cruise tours: By land & by sea

Big Ship Or Small Ship

One of the first things youll need to decide when looking at itineraries and best Alaska cruise ports is whether you are going to travel on a big ship or a small ship. This question is worth considering because they are very different experiences. Your budget is an important first consideration as small ship cruises are generally about triple the cost of big ship cruising. This varies based on the length of the trip and the choices you make as well as the specific cruise company you plan to travel with.

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The Inside Passage Today

Today, this body of water is best known for inside passage cruises .

It is also a marine transportation route for goods travelling between Seattle and Alaska , as well as for passenger ferries. Its a popular boating route for private boaters as well as commercial cruise companies.

Recently, as people started to demand high-quality, experiential trips, the diversity of cruise ships has increased.

Now, in addition to the large 2,000-passenger ships traditionally associated with cruise tours, you can enjoy active, small ship cruises like those that we offer at Maple Leaf Adventures.

The Inside Passage is still a popular area to live, as it has been since time immemorial , with people moving to the communities in the southern portion from other parts of the US and Canada.

And while much of the area is in its natural state, citizens are working hard to protect it by law from destruction protecting the rainforests, the marine life, the bears and whales and remote beaches.

What Can I Expect On An Inside Passage Cruise Itinerary

Alaska Cruise Inside Passage Leaving Seattle Day 1

Cruises of the Inside Passage usually operate as a round trip from Seattle or Vancouver, or as a one-way voyage between Seattle or Vancouver in the south and Seward or Whittier in the north. These itineraries usually port in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan and take in scenic wonders along the way, including the famous Glacier Bay.

Scenic cruising between ports is no less captivating than the ports themselves, as you glide atop the glassy water punctuated with floating chunks of ice and marine life rippling the surface. The glacial landscape of Glacier Bay National Park is one for the memory books. Local rangers will join you to share their knowledge of this incredible place as you glide past calving glaciers and rivers of ice. Listen to the landscape creak and groan as parts of these enormous formations sever and thunder into the abyss below.

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Port Vs Starboard: Which Side Is Best For Your Cruise Room

When choosing a cabin for your upcoming cruise, you might run across the terms port and starboard. This is nautical lingo for the left and right sides of the ship , when facing the front, or bow. Is one side better than the other for your cruise room? Read on to find out whether you should choose port versus starboard for your next sailing.

The Inside Passage: Along The Alaska And Bc Coast


What Is the Inside Passage? | Tour the Inside Passage | A Brief History | Inside Passage Today | Cruising by Expedition Ship

  • TIP: On Inside Passage cruises with Maple Leaf, youll sail on a 138-foot catamaran, an 88-foot converted tugboat, or a 92-foot classic schooner, with just 8 to 24 guests. These trips explore the wildlife and spectacular natural world whales, bears, seabirds, rainforest, and other wildlife, with our expert, local naturalists and guides. Read more about these small ship cruises here: Alaskas inside passage | Canadas inside passage

Inquire about our inside passage trips.

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