Breathtaking scenery, gleaming glaciers, abundant wildlife, and Native American culture are only a few of the spectacular attractions that draw cruise vacationers to Alaska. With so much to see and do in Alaska, it's no wonder the state's official flower is the alpine forget-me-not!
The Alaska cruise season begins in May and ends in September. Any earlier or any later and you'll experience shorter, colder and wetter conditions. Late Spring, Summer, and early Fall offer you the best chance to comfortably experience the natural wonders of our largest state. Nothing compares to the sight of a monumental glacier calving icebergs into the sea. In Glacier Bay, you'll linger before the most active glaciers of them all. In College Fjord, sixteen glorious rivers of ice line up to starboard and port. And the twin Sawyer Glaciers form a massive ice wall to highlight the stunning beauty of Tracy Arm. What can I do on an Alaska Cruise?
It is often said that Alaska is too big to see and experience in one lifetime, let alone a single vacation. Activities and adventures, such as fishing for salmon, landing on a glacier or kayaking across a tranquil bay surrounded by snow-capped peaks, will enhance your vacation and let you experience Alaska firsthand. A number of glaciers are within viewing distance of Alaska's highways, and you can even walk up to (and on) some of them. Want a souvenir? Pick up a piece of ice that washes downstream from the glacier's snout -- but don't get close enough that ice can fall on you.
Cruise liners pull close to the "rivers of ice" in Glacier Bay National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Prince William Sound. In addition, smaller boats carry sightseers on day trips to the blue ice of Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords National Park. These trips are readily available in Valdez, Whittier and Seward. Cruises and day trips are the way to go if you want to hear the legendary thunder of calving glaciers and see huge faces of blue ice.
Sightseeing trips aboard small planes and helicopters provide both an overreaching view and sometimes a glacier landing. Flightseeing companies that land on the ice provide cold-weather gear and guide you on a safe area of the glacier.
Whale watching is a favorite Alaska pastime. Humpback and killer whales are present in large numbers. Sea lions, and seals are abundant and sea otters are occasionally seen. Eagles are everywhere as are a multitude of sea birds. Generally calm waters make this an ideal setting for viewing and photographing wildlife and scenery. There is a high probablility of a close encounter with humpback whales, eagles, seals and sea lions.
Additional Alaska activities can include bear viewing, dogsleding, panning for gold, kayaking and so much more!Which places should I visit on an Alaska cruise?
Each Alaska Port of Call is a fascinating, multicultural experience rich in history, folklore and natural beauty. On one 7- to 14-Night itinerary you can visit most of the following:
- Glacier Bay
- Hubbard Glacier Bay
- Icy Strait Point
- Inside Passage
- Tracy Arm
What is the best time to travel on an Alaska Cruise?
Anytime between May and September is a good time to go to Alaska, but there are better times in the season to travel if you have a specific interest or motivation. For example, if you're interested in saving money, then the shoulder seasons of May and September are the best times to go. If you are traveling with children, you may be limited to mid-June through mid-August. Spring is a great time to see the wildflowers in full bloom and Alaska's Fall foliage is a sight to see as well. Your warmest and longest days will be in June and July and will offer you plenty of opportunities to enjoy active, calving glaciers. Each month has its benefits. You should plan to travel when it best meets your schedule and budget.How do I get there?
Some of the most familiar cruise lines in the world have ships sailing to Alaska this year. You can cruise aboard Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.