Why You Should Take An Alaska Cruise

Its location at the northwest extremity of North America provides Alaska with a unique climate. The region also offers one-of-a-kind scenery and wildlife that cannot be found in many other parts of the United States. US bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million in 1867, but long before that the region was inhabited by a variety of indigenous people. These included the Tringit people, the Haida, who are renowned today for their unique art, and the Thimshian.

Reasons To Cruise Alaska

Alaska Cruise: Cruise ship overlooking Hubbard Glacier

Cruise ship overlooking Hubbard Glacier | (cc) Photo By MLBbrad

Alaska cruises are a great way to experience something totally different. The stunning icy scenery provides a wondrous backdrop to a relaxing voyage, with mountain ranges, glacial fields and huge white and blue glaciers that can be viewed from a private balcony or from the cruise ship’s deck.

Hubbard Glacier and Icebergs, Alaska

Hubbard Glacier and Icebergs | (cc) Photo By MLBbrad

A lot of cruises to Alaska pass the magnificent Hubbard Glacier, the biggest tidewater glacier in the state, composed of an almost unbelievable 1,350 square miles of solid ice. The majestic ice giants are an amazing sight in their own right, but they’ve also played a vital role in shaping the landscape, channeling out areas of remarkable natural beauty such as the bays, fjords and islands of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

Polar Bear Cub, Alaska

Polar Bear Cub in Alaska | (cc) Photo By tableatny

An Alaska cruise is not only about viewing the magnificent scenery, however. The unique wildlife is also an important reason to go. You might pay a few hundred dollars for a bear-viewing day trip via floatplane or an excursion to an eagle preserve, or you could just simply look over the side of your cruise ship to see bald eagles, whales, and even bears and moose, without paying a cent for the experience.

The state also has some very interesting towns and cities. The capital city – Juneau, offers narrow winding streets, numerous restaurants and an array of shops to satisfy any shopaholic. The largest city – Anchorage, also features excellent shopping opportunities, great entertainment and dining options.

Types of Alaska Cruises

Inside Passage, Misty Fjords, Alaska

Inside Passage, Misty Fjords | (cc) Photo By Pat W. Sanders

There are three main types of Alaska cruises: Inside Passage, Gulf of Alaska and expedition cruise.

Inside Passage Cruises

These usually last about a week and depart from Vancouver or Seattle. They follow a sheltered waterway between a number of Pacific Coast Islands. Main ports of call usually include Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau.

Gulf of Alaska Cruises

These are one-way journeys between Vancouver/Seattle and Whittier/Seward. Most of these cruises will also visit Skagway, Kethikan and Juneau, as it’s necessary to pass along the Inside Passage to get between the gateway ports for Anchorage.

Expedition Cruises

These are usually offered on relatively small ships, which can reach off-the-beaten track destinations. The focus here is less on city life and more on wildlife and nature. On more than one of these cruises, passengers will use kayaks and Zodiac rafts, and go on hiking trips to get closer to wildlife and glaciers.

Best Time To Cruise Alaska

Northern Lights in Alaska

Northern Lights in Alaska | (cc) Photo By SrA Joshua Strang

The best time to go to Alaska is between June and August, when daytime temperatures are at their highest and it normally rains less. This is also the best period to spot wildlife and to go on excursions. May and September, however, are also good months to go, especially for those who want to enjoy significant savings on the cost of the journey. September is also a great time to view the northern lights and souvenir hunters will find great end-of-season discounts.

Have you been on a cruise to Alaska?

This is a guest post by Aimee Claire.

24 Responses to “Why You Should Take An Alaska Cruise”

  1. Well, at least it’s nice and warm inside the ship!
    When I hear words like “Alaska”, “Norway”, “Canada”, I shiver of cold!

  2. Avoid purchasing your airfare through the cruise lines as this will drastically increase the price you will pay to get to and from your embarkation port. Shop around online as you are bound to find much better deals that will save you hundreds of dollars.

    Michael Thomas
    Longview, WA

  3. We went on a Gulf of Alaska cruise followed by a 5 day land tour a few years ago and it was amazing! We went the last week of June because I wanted to be there around the time of the longest day – it was pretty cool to turn on the weather network in Fairbanks and see that the overnight forecast was “sunny”. We had so much fun on that trip that my husband has started to lobby for another Alaskan cruise.
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  4. I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska it does look really beautiful!
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  5. Edward says:

    The northern lights are pretty high on my bucket list of things to do and I love the relaxing atmosphere of cruising. I’ve never been on an Alaskan cruise but it seems like there would be more than enough to keep any cruiser happy.

  6. Danni says:

    My in-laws have gone on a cruise through Alaska and to this day it is one of their favorite trips they’ve ever taken together. I’m not much of a cruiser myself, but I don’t think it would take much to convince me of an Alaskan cruise. I’ve never heard of anyone having a bad time…

    • Salika Jay says:

      Thanks for the encouraging comment, Danni! It could help someone who’s still on the fence about taking a cruise to Alaska to jump right at it.

  7. Shalu Sharma says:

    Would love to go to Alaska. These cruises look really amazing. I have not seen the Northern lights so that is something that I would love to see.

    • Salika Jay says:

      I’ve seen Northern Lights and it’s beautiful. If you want to see it on your Alaska cruise, you can plan the cruise during September to April period, when it can be seen best in Alaska.

  8. Sophie says:

    Alaska is high on my list; would love to explore that state.
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  9. Alaska has been on my list for some time. My supervisor is actually on an Alaskan cruise right now – lucky! I think that cruising is probably a great way to see Alaska!
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  10. I’ve never been on a cruise and I doubt I ever will go, but if I did Alaska would be on the top of my list of destinations.

  11. Freya says:

    I’ve never been to Alaska but going on a cruise there is definitely in my plans. I would love to take the Inside Passage Cruise!
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  12. No, I haven’t been to Alaska, but I would LOVE to go on a cruise there someday, when I can afford it!
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