Stunning Majesty Of Alaska Cruises
Alaska is divided into 3 regions for cruising:
Inside Passage (Round-trip) - When you sail the Inside Passage, you wind through a sea of eternity.
Jagged peaks rise higher and higher. Fjords carve their way through sheer rock.
Tidewater glaciers ebb restlessly to and fro and a vast archipelago of tiny, evergreen islands float on the icy brine. A thousand forms of beauty await you.
Winding along the breathtaking coast of Alaska, the Inside Passage offers magnificent views of forested islands, rock-walled fjords, and snowcapped mountains from the comfort of your cruise ship.
Inside Passage cruises usually include visits to tidewater glaciers, such as Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay, and transit through rugged fjords where mountains of ice have carved their way through sheer rock in eons past.
Typical ports of call on an Inside Passage Alaska cruise include Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Haines.
You can experience the area's historic gold rush past and shop for handcrafted gold nugget jewelry, hop aboard the popular White Pass and Yukon Railroad, or simply marvel at the spectacular scenery of this unspoiled land.
Northbound Glacier Route – The Alaska Glacier Route usually includes the Gulf of Alaska during a seven-day cruise between Vancouver, BC and Seward, Alaska.
Popular ports visited include Ketchikan and Juneau and Skagway. Many travelers add a wilderness tour or train adventure to their Alaska Glacier Route cruise. Northbound cruises traditionally goes from Vancouver or Seattle to Seward.
Glacier Route cruises sail all along Alaska's spectacularly rugged coastline through the Gulf of Alaska, stopping at historic Alaskan towns and touring mighty glaciers along the way.
Imagine viewing perpetually snowcapped mountains over three miles high from your sea-level vantage aboard ship.
You glide into College Fjord where you're completely surrounded by sixteen ice-blue glaciers. It's hard to visualize a more scenic journey than these one-way seven-day cruise adventures.
Ports include Ketchikan, Juneau, and Seward, among others. Many travelers add a wilderness tour or train trip to their Alaska Glacier Route cruise - you can travel in a state of the art, glass-domed railcar for a memorable journey into the wilds of the Alaskan interior
Southbound Glacier Route - The Alaska Glacier Route usually includes the Gulf of Alaska during a seven-day cruise between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, BC.
Explore our value priced Alaska Cruise options and start planning your dream vacation now!
When to Cruise Alaska
Alaska's cruise season is May through the beginning of October.
The shoulder season (and best pricing) are May and September-October). The summer months bring lots of visitors so if you are planning for June, July or August you need to book early to get the sailing and cabin you want.
Alaska Cruises are typically 7 day adventures departing from Vancouver-British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington for Inside Passage cruises. Glacier cruises most typically leave from Vancouver-BC for northbound and Seward, Alaska for Southbound.
Seward is the main departure and arrival port for glacier cruises and is located about three hours from Anchorage by scenic motorcoach transfer.
Whale watching is best during the summer months (June and July)for sighting humbacks and Orcas. Bring your camera.
The weather during the season can range from balmy summer breezes to fog and rain. You will be most comfortable dressing in layers to accomodate changes in weather. Download our FREE recommendations for Packing For Cool Cruising!
Alaska Shore Excursions
Part of the excitement of cruising Alaska is getting off the ship at magnificent ports of call and exploring the geography and the magnificent abundant scenery.
Your cruise line will publish specific shore excursion offerings for your cruise which can be booked on board at the Shore Excursion Desk a day or two prior. Many cruise lines will allow you to view descriptions and book on line months prior to your departure to avoid disappointment of sold out tours.
You will be able to choose from adventures as diverse as kayaking, white water rafting, helicopter exploration of glaciers, salmon fishing, gold mine exploration or even a trip on the historic White Pass and Yukon railroad and many, many more!
Fortunately you have the ability to choose shore activities from quality providers other than your particular cruise line (and yes this is a commercial but one with many happy clients)!
Shore Trips is a very affordable alternative to cruise line provided shore excurisions. They offer quality tours and activities that equal or exceed that of the cruise lines and that makes it worthwhile comparing your options.
You can browse through all the offerings by signing-in to create your own TripPlanner® - an electronic mini-brochure of the ShoreTrips® that interest you (no charge to do this).
Never Fear - their policy allows cancellation without penalty up to 11 days before your tour and always refunds in full for ship itinerary changes and weather-related safety considerations.
Alaska Cruises - Ports Of Call
Some of the best glacier viewing on Alaska cruises can be seen at College Fjord. Tucked into the northwest corner of Prince William Sound, this fjord boasts the world’s largest collection of tidewater glaciers — sixteen, named after Ivy League colleges by the Harriman Expedition that discovered them in 1899.
GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK
Cradled at the base of the Chilkat Peninsula, this picturesque town is the ancestral home of the Tlingit people and boasts the largest annual gathering of American bald eagles.
This capital city was once part of Alaska’s Gold Rush. Take an afternoon hike through the wild frontier surrounding Juneau or enjoy a quick tram ride up Mt. Roberts for spectacular views. Visit monumental Mendenhall Glacier, the largest ice formation accessible by road.
Alaska’s first city is also known as the “Salmon Capital of the World.” It’s built on steep hillsides along the water and features a colorful and bustling port. Visit Saxman Native Village and discover its vibrant Tlingit Indian culture and spectacular totem poles.
PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND
With its 3,000 miles of shoreline, Prince William Sound is one of the most scenic archipelagoes in the world. It also hosts the country’s largest gathering of migratory birds.
Situated on Baranof Island and nestled between snowy mountains and the Pacific Ocean sits one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Alaska. Sitka is a unique blend of Russian history and Tlingit culture.
Few one-time boomtowns retain the flavor of the gold rush days like Skagway. This “Gateway to the Klondike” is preserved as a National Historic Park and features one of the oldest narrow-gauge railroads in existence. Step back in time and soak up local flavor in the colorful taverns and shops.
This spectacular glacier-carved fjord showcases stunning vertical walls andoffers views of wildlife and waterfalls on its path to the twin Sawyer Glaciers. Linger in this magical place to watch blocks of ice calving off the glaciers’ towering faces.
Explore Vancouver from its late-Victorian era Gastown to its postmodern glass cathedrals. Stroll through Stanley Park for incredible views of downtown, the North Shore and the mountains. Or spend the afternoon at the second-largest Chinatown in North America.
VICTORIA, British Columbia
A one-time colonial post, this sophisticated seaside city is alive with colorful history. It’s also the sunniest spot in Canada. Take a stroll through the spectacular 35-acre Butchart Gardens or visit the Empress Hotel.
As gateway to the bustling city of Anchorage, Whittier is a small community that still enjoys a near wilderness state, as it was inaccessible by road until the year 2000.
Most Alaska cruises depart or arrive at the Port of Vancouver - and more information on and directions to the ports are available at the Port Authority site.
Helpful Books for Alaska Cruises
Alaska Cruise Articles
For more on the beauty of Alaska Cruises read
Alaska By Ship
by Sid Kaplan.
Did You Know?.CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) 62 cruise line members represent more than 90 percent of global cruise capacity, with 482,000 berths on CLIA Member ships. With more than 22 million people cruising worldwide each year, the cruise industry will invest $25 billion to launch 55 new ships between 2015 and 2020. In 2015, the industry will introduce six new oceangoing cruise ships and 16 new river cruise ships.
Top 2014 Cruise Trends (CLIA)
Rebound in luxury cruising (luxury category ships, onboard upgrades) based on an improving economy and increased consumer confidence
Multigenerational and celebration travel increase for all passenger source markets with larger sized family as well as social/ affinity groups traveling together
Continued development and availability of technology to facilitate and lower the cost of onboard communications as well as to provide more efficient passenger servicing
Expectation of first-time passenger growth driven by the 95 million Millennial generation based on population size and positive experiences cruising with their parents
Cruise lines offering more all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities for increased ease in booking and ship enjoyment
Cruises increasingly attracting consumers seeking active vacations with extreme excursions, longer stays in ports for sightseeing and high-energy onboard facilities
Seeing the world in comfort and ease, especially exotic locations, will continue to drive new itinerary creation and cruise ship deployment
Hot destinations for 2014 according to CLIA cruise line members include: Trans Pacific, World Cruises, U.S. Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic Rivers