Planning a trip to Alaska can seem like a daunting task. The state is vast, the terrain unpredictable, and many areas are remote and difficult to get to, especially for a first-time visitor. Identifying your sightseeing preferences will help you determine where you want to visit: if you want to see as much as the state as possible, and your main focuses are glaciers and marine wildlife, an Alaskan cruise is the perfect way to see the 49th state.
Why choose a cruise?
By opting for an Alaskan cruise you get to sit back and enjoy your Alaskan vacation fully, without worrying about navigating. Further, you get to see more of the state than you could by car, or even by flying between the major cities of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Alaska has 33,000 miles of coastline—more than the entire lower 48 states. When you choose to see Alaska by cruise ship you can choose to see areas of the state that are difficult or costly to see by air or road, such as Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
What will I see?
What you see depends on the ports of call you choose, but cruises give you the opportunity to see a lot of marine wildlife, as well as spectacular coastline vistas – something you won’t see when you visit a city like Fairbanks, which is landlocked in Alaska’s Interior. Popular ports include: Juneau, the state’s capital, which is accessible by airplane or boat; Whittier, a town that is accessible by land via a road built through a mountain by the U.S. Corp of Army Engineers during World War II; Glacier Bay National Park, where you will see breathtaking tidewater glaciers and scenic coastal islands.
When your ship docks in port cities you can choose organized, on-shore excursions such as hiking, fishing, or flight-seeing tours, or you can enjoy Alaska’s towns on your own by simply shopping, dining, and talking to the locals. Alaskans love their state, and they love to share it with visitors. If you want to see even more of Alaska, choose a tour that includes trips (usually by bus or rail) to inland locations like Denali National Park, or the city of Fairbanks.
What should I bring on an Alaskan cruise?
Even in summer Alaska can be cold, especially when you are on the water. One or two pairs of long underwear are a good idea, especially if you tend to get chilly easily. A rain coat and rain pants will also come in handy, whether you plan on spending a lot of time on deck or if you think you might go fishing, or hiking. Also bring along a hat, gloves, and a scarf, as well as a sweatshirt, plenty of warm socks, and water-proof boots with non-slip soles. A lot of light layers will help you adjust to temperature changes depending on your location and activity. Other items that will come in handy include sunglasses, a good camera, and binoculars.