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Cruising Alaska

Welcome to! Cruising Alaska in the summertime is one of life’s true joys. The scenery, the cultural experience and the closeness to nature all make an Alaskan cruise a wonderful vacation choice. There are a ton of things to do in Alaska and many excellent shore excursions.. If you like hiking, fishing and generally just getting into the out of doors, this is certainly an option not requiring much of an investment. Shopping is excellent, as are more orthodox sightseeing opportunities.

There are really four different types of cruises in Alaska and each offers different sightseeing opportunities.

Inside Passage Cruises: Just about every major cruise line offers Inside Passage cruises during the summer. These cruises generally depart from either Seattle or Vancouver and make their way up the inside passage visiting South East Alaska’s ports as far north as Skagway before returning to their port of departure. This is a great way to see much of what Alaska is all about, as there is usually one-day glacier viewing at one of the national parks. These are great cruises for folks that are concerned about motion sickness, as there is very little exposure to the open ocean.

Northbound/Southbound Cruises: These cruises either depart from Vancouver in the south or Seward in the north and traverse the length of Alaska between the two. These are usually 7-day cruises, as well as Inside Passage cruises but generally include a stop in Sitka and additional glacier viewing to the north. Folks would select one of these if they want to see something new every day, or if they intend to continue on for a stay in Anchorage, Denali Park, Mt. McKinley or Fairbanks, Alaska.

In my experience, I prefer a southbound route, as there is a major letdown debarking in Seward and either staying or transferring to Anchorage. I much prefer terminating the cruise in Vancouver.

Adventure Cruises: Cruise West and Glacier Bay Cruises offer 7-day adventure cruises that generally depart either Sitka or Juneau and operate between the two cities. These are great for folks more interested in seeing Alaska’s unique flora and fauna as well as getting up close and personal with Alaska’s beautiful natural beauty. The smaller boats lack the intensity of the larger ships but more than make up for it with their ability to roam freely throughout the area and exploit opportunities as they present themselves.

Alaska Cruise/Tours: This is a packaged event offered by many of the cruise lines that incorporates a cruise from Vancouver up to Skagway where one transfers to a motor coach to continue on with a land tour of Alaska. These are great for folks that want to explore more of Alaska’s vast interior and still take in the beauty of the Inside Passage and the main ports in South East Alaska that are only accessible by ship or ferry. Alaska Cruise/Tours operate both northbound and southbound and again, I prefer taking a southbound as the excitement of the cruise at the end of the vacation and ease of debarking in Vancouver for a shorter flight home is very favorable.

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