Many tourists report that taking a cruise to Alaska is one of the most beautiful and relaxing trips you can take. The majority of cruise lines sail along the Inside Passage, but other options include Prince William Sound, the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.
The Inside Passage is also referred to as the Panhandle and as the “Southeast.” The most popular ports of call are Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau and Skagway, along with Glacier Bay National Park and Hubbard Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
Cruises to Prince William Sound take advantage of the spectacular wildlife and glaciers there, including the famous Columbia Glacier. Tourists taking a cruise to the Gulf of Alaska will likely visit Seward and Kodiak. Finally, Bering Sea cruises have ports of call at the Pribilof Islands, Nome and at the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor.
Most of these cruises are weeklong visits, but a plethora of shorter day trip cruises are available as well. Juneau, Whittier and Seward all offer day trip cruises which visit nearby glaciers as well as whale watching expeditions and wildlife outings to search for eagles, bears, sea lions and otters.
Dozens of cruise lines provide service to Alaska’s ports, and most of them also offer fun and exciting shore excursions which allow passengers to explore Alaska’s beautiful landscape. For example, as of March 2007, Carnival Cruise lines reported that they were adding 20 new shore excursions for the 2007 season, bringing the total number of excursions to 120. Some of the many excursion options include “zip line” canopy tours and luxury SUV and 4 x 4 excursions and even a train ride on a vintage parlor car.
Cruises to Alaska
At least a dozen cruise lines provide service to Alaska, the majority of which treat passengers to the glorious scenery of the Inside Passage, the route along the islands stretching north from British Columbia past Ketchikan and Juneau and on to Haines and Skagway. Weeklong cruises may be either roundtrip or one-way with roundtrip cruises starting at ports like Seattle or Vancouver.
The advantage to taking a cruise to Alaska is that all of the work has been done for you! You can see beautiful glaciers, towns and wildlife from the comfort of your ship, or choose to take part in various shore excursions that most cruise lines offer. For example, one of the most popular shore excursion for many cruise lines is taking a helicopter ride onto a glacier. Imagine going from a moving ship to a giant moving block of ice! When you’re back on the ship, you’ll have access to all of the entertainment and amenities of some of the world’s finest hotels: great food, entertainment, dancing and even gambling.
Maybe you’re feeling like more than just a quick, one-week cruise?
If your schedule allows, or you’re just tired of office life, then consider purusing seasonal Alaska cruise jobs.
When it comes to selecting your cruise ship, you have many options to choose from. Princess Cruises is one of the most popular cruise lines, and offers passengers some of the newest and most comfortable ships on the sea. Holland America cruises cater to passengers who enjoy the feeling of an Old World cruise, and Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival provide wonderful itineraries which are well suited to all types of passengers. Those traveling with children would likely enjoy Carnival’s family-friendly atmosphere.