Phenomenal scenery, unbelievable wildlife and incredible adventures — Alaska offers the trip of a lifetime. When you add in the ease and convenience of a cruise ship, it may be your best vacation ever. Here are five reasons you should forego the beach this summer and book an Alaskan cruise.
Cruise Ship Convenience
Alaska is called “The Last Frontier” for a reason: it’s rugged, wild and remote. When you choose to visit Alaska on a cruise ship, the trip becomes a lot more accessible. Simply hop on in Seattle or Vancouver, bypass the additional hassle of flying, and let your vacation begin. And as one of the most popular cruise destinations worldwide, Alaska allows you to take your pick of cruise lines. From luxury liners like Seabourn’s Sojourn to family-friendly ships like the Disney Wonder, you will be able to find a cruise ship that works for you. And no matter which ship you choose, sailing on the open seas allows you to witness the coast of Alaska with ease, accessing inlets and fjords that would otherwise require small airplanes or long drives.
Considering that cruises are at sea, fresh seafood should be considered the norm among cruise ship dinner fare. Sadly, this is not always the case. But Alaskan cruise ships prove to be an exception, serving delicious and high-quality seafood to hungry passengers daily. Princess Cruises partners with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to serve wild Alaskan seafood and their chefs receive special training to prepare and cook the fresh halibut, king salmon and king crab authentically. Even better, UnCruise Adventures was the first cruise line to exclusively serve sustainable seafood, a commitment they made in partnership with the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Program. Plus, off the boat, you can try the fish tacos at The Alaska Fish House in Ketchikan or the famous crab cakes at Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau.
Wildlife Around Every Turn
If you’re hoping to see wildlife on your next vacation, look no further than the shores of the Alaskan coast. Without disembarking from your ship, you can expect to see scores of wild animals in their natural habitats. From soaring bald eagles to grizzly bears fishing for salmon, and whales of every kind (orcas, humpbacks and belugas), the wildlife in Alaska is incredibly. If you want to see moose, wolves and mountain goats, book a cruise in the late spring or early summer, as the snow in the mountains prevents the animals from moving inland. Smaller ship cruises, like AdventureSmith Explorations, are more likely to cater their trips towards wildlife viewing. For the best wildlife cruises, check out The Great Alaska Grizzly Encounter to see bears and the Inside Passage Catalyst for whale watching.
Unparalleled Shore Excursions
“Adventure” should be the first word that comes to mind when you think of Alaska’s shore excursions. With ports in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka, your days off the boat will be action-packed. In Ketchikan, you can ride a floatplane to see the Misty Fjords National Monument or snorkel while wearing a wetsuit. In Juneau, you can go white water rafting, and in Skagway, you can hitch a helicopter inland to go dog sledding. And Sitka is the perfect place for sea kayaking in the sound or fishing for king salmon. No matter which excursions you choose, it’s safe to say it will be an experience you will never forget.
The glaciers in Alaska are stunningly beautiful, and if you want to see them, now may be the time to go. As the effects of global warming continue to become an alarming reality, every year the Alaskan glaciers are slightly diminished. The Exit Glacier, a 15-minute drive from Seward, has markers outlining the glacier’s recession, which has sped up in recent years. Many cruise ships also stop in Great Glacier Bay, which requires a 65-mile trip up the bay to view the tidewater glaciers. From the ship, cruisers can witness the phenomenon of a calving glacier before disembarking to access the national park’s many wonders. Either way, you should plan on going before it's too late.