Many people have an Alaskan cruise on their bucket lists. With its rugged mountains, diverse wildlife and winding waterways, the scenery in Alaska will
have your jaw dropping, so make sure you keep your camera close.
The best part about cruising in Alaska is the view from your cabin, which is constantly changing. If you're thinking about booking a balcony cabin for your
next cruise then Alaska is definitely the cruise to upgrade on.
When to go
The cruise season in Alaska goes from the end of April through to the end of September, and the best time to go depends on what you'd like to see. May will
be cold, but you'll have less crowds and if you can brave the weather you'll have amazing photo opportunities with the snow still on the ground.
In spring the wildflowers are in full bloom, and in fall you can enjoy the bright colors of the foliage, while the summer months are better for hiking and
other shore excursions.
If you cruise in September you may get lucky and see the northern nights, and some cruise lines will even promise to wake you up if they spot them in the
middle of the night.
What will you see?
Alaska has more than 100,000 glaciers, and you'll get to see some of the best as you cruise past. Along with the Tracy Arm, most cruises will visit Glacier
Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Sawyer Glacier and College Fjord.
You'll likely spot a bear or two, as Alaska has 98% of the US population and they're most active in the summer months. Bird watchers will be in their
element, and may see Bald Eagles, White-winged Crossbills, and Pacific Loons to name a few.
If you're lucky you'll get to see Humpback, Orca and Beluga Whales on your cruise, as well as Pacific White-Sided Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises.
Along the way you'll also stop at charming frontier towns, like Victoria on Vancouver Island and Juneau, the capital of Alaska and one of the prettiest
There are two main itinerary choices for your cruise. The first is a return trip from Seattle, San Diego, or Vancouver up the Inside Passage, which is the
most convenient choice for arranging flights.
The Gulf of Alaska itinerary is a one-way trip from Vancouver or Seattle to Seward or Whittier. This itinerary also includes the inside passage, and it's a
good option if you'd like to stay and do some land-based travel after the cruise.
Who should you cruise with?
Almost every major cruise line operates cruises in Alaska each summer. Families will enjoy Disney Cruise Lines, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, as they all
have great entertainment for the kids.
The two most popular cruise lines for Alaska are Holland America and Princess. Both are excellent options, but Holland America is the only cruise company
to own Grandfather Rights in the Alaskan Inside Passage, which means you'll get closer to the scenery and see more with them than any other cruise line.
Alaska is all about the scenery and wildlife, and cruising in Alaska is perfect for those who consider themselves more active than the average tourist.
Take a helicopter glacier trek in Juneau, where you'll touch down on a glacier and learn mountaineering skills, before exploring the icescape. A trip on
the Mt. Roberts Tramway also can't be missed, and you'll get to see a bird's eye view of Juneau.
Or how about snorkeling in Ketchikan? It's warmer than you think, and you'll get to see incredible marine life like giant sunflower stars, wolf eels and
plume worms. Ketchikan is also the best place to spot bears, and you'll have the greatest chance of seeing them from late July to early September.
In Stika you can see the cute little sea otters, who after being hunted almost to extinction are making a comeback. Take a sea kayaking tour to a floating
camp, or go whale watching on one of the tour boats.
Skagway is the best place to go for dog sledding, so take a seat, hold on tight, and get ready for a ride you'll never forget. Animal lovers will enjoy a
visit to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, where you can watch the eagles feasting on salmon from the Chilkat River or a horseback ride through Dyea Valley