Alaska is a land of mysteries. It is often labelled as far flung and difficult to reach, or shrugged off as uninhabitable and inhospitable. However, if you are bold enough to adventure into this wilderness, Alaska will reveal her secrets to you. The truth is, this is a place of real beauty. It is a place of rugged snow-capped mountains and amazing landscapes unspoilt by humans. It is a place of dramatic coastlines, of glaciers, icebergs and wildlife. Best of all, this place is more accessible than ever before. An Alaska cruise is a luxurious, relaxed and spectacular way to journey into one of the world’s most remote landscapes. And the best views of Alaska’s riches are from the water.
Choosing a cruise liner
Your voyage on board a luxury, five-star cruise liner will be the true holiday of a lifetime. Choose between Holland America Line and Celebrity, both of which offer a wealth of cruise activities and indulgences, as well as cabins and dining experiences to suit any budget. You can choose how you spend your time on shore, from hiking to helicopter rides to shopping. And best of all, you can see glaciers, icebergs, bald eagles and whales from the comfort of your cabin.
In summer, the Holland America cruise ship is a fantastic choice for a family holiday. It has matchless entertainment on board, including activities for kids of all ages, so there is something for everyone. A journey on board a Celebrity Cruise offers first-class service, with no request too big or detail too small. This represents comfortable sophistication at its best.
Whichever line you choose, you are guaranteed luxurious rooms and gourmet dining options. Each ship will have a host of entertainment options and will take you to the most beautiful spots along the Inside Passage and in Alaska.
Inside Passage and Alaska Ports
With stays in striking Gold Rush towns and remote ports, half the fun of cruising happens when you stop. There are also some fantastic locations which you’ll get up close and personal with from the comfort of the ship.
On a typical Alaska cruise, you will sail from Vancouver, passing old growth forests and fishing villages before travelling on towards Juneau, Alaska’s capital. Along the way, you will pass the majestic Sawyer Glacier and have the opportunity to spot wildlife from black bears to moose. At Juneau, you can see the striking Mendenhall Glacier and the enormous icefield at the city’s back door.
After leaving Juneau, your next port of call will be Skagway – a famous Gold Rush town. Its well-preserved boardwalks are lined with “Wild West” style saloons where you will be able to dive into the fascinating history of the region.
Glacier Bay National Park
From Skagway, you will then spend a day touring Glacier Bay National Park, often remembered as the biggest highlight from an Alaska cruise. You should try to take a front row seat to get the best possible views of towering spires and huge pillars of ice. Soak up the unique atmosphere of sailing through enormous cliff-flanked fjords and remarkable wilderness in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The final port on your Alaska cruise is normally Ketchikan. This beautiful, lushly-green town is known as the salmon capital of the world and has tree-covered mountains that seem to shoot out of the water. The historic town has a park full of mystical totem poles, and plenty of history that gives it a fascinating atmosphere.
Icy Strait Point
Some cruises travel to Icy Strait point, taking in Juneau and Ketchikan on the way back. Icy Strait offers a rich taste of the Native heritage and culture that Alaska oozes and which has helped to shape the region.
If you’ve started at Icy Strait Point, your next stop will be the Hubbard Glacier before cruising to Juneau. The Hubbard Glacier is breath-taking. Listen closely as you tour it because you can often hear the ice moving! Occasionally huge chunks of ice calve away from the glacier and crash into the sea below.
Seward / Anchorage
Some Alaskan cruises travel all the way up to the point of Seward, where you can transfer to Alaska’s most populous city, Anchorage. As well as exploring the fascinating city, this is the perfect place to embark on an overland tour of Denali National Park and the neighbouring Yukon Territory.
Each time you disembark in a new place, there is an exciting world waiting to be explored. The different ways you can adventure are endless. These are a few of our favourite excursions which can be added to your cruise:
Juneau: Alaska’s Whales, Glacier & Rainforest Trails
View Alaska’s humpback whales and the Mendenhall Glacier on a small-group excursion (capacity is limited to 20 travelers) tailored for sensational encounters with nature. On a custom-built safari vessel, you’ll seek out marine wildlife and step away from the crowds on a secluded rainforest trail – two pristine habitats to explore on a single tour. On this trip you will learn about the interdependence of species and the many connections between the land and sea. This exploration introduces you to this pristine wilderness in an intimate setting with a certified naturalist guide as your leader.
Bear Watching & Wildlife Viewing Adventure
Join this unforgettable journey to view coastal brown bear and other Alaskan wildlife in a natural setting.
Best of Juneau! Whale Watching Quest, Mendenhall Glacier & Orca Point Lodge
Start with a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center to see Alaska’s best-known river of ice.Take a motorcoach ride to scenic Auke Bay and board a water-jet-powered catamaran specifically designed for wildlife viewing. In the waters of Stephens Passage, the area is world-renowned as a favored summer feeding ground for humpback whales.
Evening Whale Watching Quest
Enjoy a magical evening cruise that features great food, a relaxing ambience and guaranteed whale viewing.
Skagway: Haines Eagle Preserve Float Adventure & Lynn Fjord Cruise
Your tour begins as you board a high-speed catamaran for a scenic cruise through North America’s deepest fjord. Watch for whales, seals, and spectacular waterfalls as you cruise Lynn Canal to the picturesque village of Haines.
Ketchikan: Alaska Bear Adventure by Floatplane
Take off from Ketchikan on a 20-minute flight by floatplane, headed to a remote site in the Tongass National Forest noted for its salmon-rich streams and abundant wildlife. A short hike along an improved trail leads to a viewing platform overlooking a salmon spawning stream. Here, black bears gather to feed on runs of pink, coho and chum salmon, and bald eagles perch in the surrounding trees waiting to clean up fish scraps left by the bears. In addition to black bears, the area is frequented by Sitka blacktail deer, bald eagles, mink and marten.
There are even more adventures to choose from, including:
- • Kayaking
- • Dogsledding
- • Rafting
- • Hiking
- • Flightseeing
- • Fishing
- • Cultural tours
Give us a call to find out which excursions you can take part in on your cruise. You can book these fantastic add ons – or discuss your dream holiday in more detail – on 020 7616 9191.
When to visit
Due to the cold winters, Alaska cruises are only available from the end of April through to October. This is both the safest time for the cruise ships to sail through the region to avoid any surface ice, and the time when cruisers can get maximum enjoyment from being on deck and exploring each port because the weather is much warmer than in the bitterly cold winter months.
There’s a great variety of cruise ships and itineraries to choose from. Whichever you choose, do remember to always keep your camera handy. The opportunities to take an amazing photo to capture the many lifelong memories from your cruise are endless – and never far away!