Often referred to as the Last Frontier, this scenic cruise destination has a very short season. Almost all of the ports provide access to spectacular mountain vistas and views of vast, elegant glaciers and passengers will also have the chance to observe whales, eagles and bears in their natural habitat.
The short summer season runs from May to mid September, with a climate similar to that of Scandinavia. The days are long and the nights short during this period and it is advised that cruisers book accommodation with a balcony in order fully enjoy the unique and striking scenery.
Most itineraries will include a transit of the Inside Passage, north of Vancouver. This provides splendid views of the islands of British Columbia to the west and the Coastal Mountains to the east. Further north, another must see landmark is the majestic Hubbard Glacier.
Excursions during cruises to Alaska generally include helicopter tours, river trips, bear watching, snow rides and whale spotting trips.
The ports are still very reminiscent of the late 19th century Great Gold Rush. The dockside saloons are worth a visit as are the Indian forts and many fish restaurants. Shore excursions will often involve visits to places which are only accessible by sea and include the Denali National Park and Icy Strait Point.
With most Alaska cruises embarking and terminating in Vancouver, there is an opportunity to explore this artistic and culturally diverse city – sites such as Stanley Park and English Bay beach along with the historic Gastown and Chinatown quarters are all worth a visit.
Admirers of the Alaskan glaciers may also like to take a look at our Norwegian Fjords cruises which offer views of similarly stunning landscapes.