Alaska Cruise Options
Alaska cruise options are plentiful and introduce you to a state that has a rich natural heritage full of wildlife and wild life plus more miles of coastline than the entire U.S., making it a natural destination for cruise ships. Alaska cruise options feature a variety of ports, including Ketchikan, whose totem pole parks and museums reflect its Tlingit Indian culture. Juneau, the state capital, is the most cosmopolitan Alaskan city and a popular stop for all the major cruise lines. Skagway is the home of the famous Klondike Gold Rush, and Sitka's sites reflect its rich Russian heritage.
And even though Alaskan cruises attract more than 700,000 visitors each year during its mid-May to mid-September cruising season, America’s largest state is big enough to accommodate them all, with cruise options that embrace the history, the wildlife and the spectacular scenery.
Alaska Cruise Operators
Nine cruise lines serve Alaska with ships large and small, accommodating thousands of passengers or a handful. The two biggest Alaskan cruises are the Princess and the Holland America cruise to Alaska.
Alaska Itinerary Options
The two primary Alaska cruise options are the Inside Passage and the Gulf of Alaska. The Inside Passage is usually a week-long round trip voyage from Seattle or Vancouver. Princess also offers longer Alaskan cruises (10 to 12 nights) from San Francisco.
The Gulf of Alaska trip is a week-long, one-way Seattle to Alaska cruise. Cruisers who choose this option also have the opportunity to visit a few Inside Passage ports. The Seattle to Alaska cruise takes you through the waters north of Glacier Bay and the south side of the Kenai Peninsula, passing along the Inside Passage coastal strip where ports of call include Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.
Alaska Shore Excursions
Take advantage of all that Alaska has to offer by touring ashore either before or after your cruise.
The most popular cruise excursion option is the Denali Corridor trip, between Anchorage and Fairbanks. This Alaska cruise option affords you some time taking in the glorious Alaska Range with Mount McKinley as the showpiece of Denali National Park.
Another popular cruise-tour option offered by some lines is a visit to Canada's Yukon Territory, the site of the 1898 gold stampede. Cruise shore excursion packages are also available to the Kenai Peninsula, Arctic Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and more.
Most Alaskan cruises include Juneau in their itineraries. The Mount Roberts Tramway takes you 1,800 feet above the capital; where the view of the city and the Gastineau Channel is breathtaking.
Skagway is an essential stop as the “capital” of another sort: the entry to the Klondike gold fields. The narrow gauge White Pass & Yukon Railroad is not to be missed, and follows the same fantastic route that gold-seekers took over the pass to the Canadian border.
A majority of Alaska cruise options also feature Sitka, which is fascinating both for its Russian heritage and its vast array of wildlife, including the world’s largest concentration of sea otters. The Alaska Raptor Center is also here, restoring to health birds of prey, primarily American eagles.