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Viewing the coast of Alaska's Inside Passage on the observation deck of a Holland America line cruise ship

Wild Splendors Of Alaska’s Inside Passage

The Inside Passage is a scenic waterway in Southeast Alaska. Read about the towns you’ll experience on Inside Passage cruises.

Like everything in Alaska, the Inside Passage is full of grandeur. Created by glaciers millions of years ago, it is now a sheltered sea route that runs from the Puget Sound in Washington to Skagway, Alaska. The landscapes are lush and varied, from old-growth forest to crystalline fjords and islets scattered like marbles on the sea. It is a marine highway for cruises and other ships, but also home turf for scores of Alaska wildlife.  

Untouched wilderness is just the start. An Alaska Inside Passage cruise stops into remote towns rich with Tlingit heritage, vestiges from Russian influence and Gold Rush lore.

Best Way To Experience The Inside Passage

An Alaska  Inside Passage  cruise is the best way to see this remarkable area. It is possible to explore independently via a ferry to Inside Passage ports or an island-hopping plane, but you might face steep competition for accommodations. On an Inside Passage cruise, everything is taken care of, while you soak in mile after mile of incredible scenery.  

Holland America Line’s Inside Passage  cruises from Vancouver  have northbound and roundtrip voyages.

Where Is Alaska’s Inside Passage?

This web of waterways known as the “Inside Passage” goes from Seattle to the southeastern Alaska panhandle. It is a common network for ships, as it offers protected, smooth-as-glass sailing. It is one of the few routes in the world with water deep enough for cruise ships to sidle up to cliffs.  

The Inside Passage encompasses islands, coves, bays, national parks, and fjords, and gives the opportunity to explore remote towns only accessible by boat or plane. It’s truly magical.

Ports Along The Inside Passage

Explore Alaska’s dynamic history as you cruise along the Inside Passage.

  • Ketchikan : At the southern tip of the Inside Passage, rain-nurtured  Ketchikan  is nicknamed the First City because it’s often the first  Alaska cruise port . Ketchikan is famous for rivers teeming with salmon. You will also find a large collection of Native Alaskan totem poles and a working carving center. No port day is complete without a stroll down Creek Street, a boardwalk with curio shops, galleries and humorous references to Ketchikan’s storied past.
  • Juneau:  the misty, laid-back capital is known for outdoor recreation. When you cruise to  Juneau , you can hike a glacier and eat fresh-caught fish while sitting seaside. Brave Mount Roberts for panoramic views or go on a whale-watching excursion from Auke Bay.
  • Sitka:  The town may be small, but it leaves a lasting impression. An onion-domed church marks  Sitka  as Russia’s former settlement, New Archangel. Reel in salmon for a few hours or make feathered friends at the Alaska Raptor Center. Or just relax and gaze at Mount Edgecombe, a dormant volcano that resembles Mt. Fuji.
  • Skagway:  Frontier spirit runs high in Skagway. Take the  White Pass and Yukon Route  to skirt narrow cliffs, chug over trestles, and eventually gain a better appreciation for prospectors who took the perilous trek on horseback long ago.

What Wildlife Can I See On An Alaska Inside Passage Cruise?

In Haines, a seaside hamlet on the Alaska Inside Passage, there are more eagles than people. That says a lot about the abundance of wildlife in these waters.

Scan the Inside Passage for  Alaska’s iconic wildlife . You may spot humpback whales and orcas and are almost guaranteed a bald eagle sighting. Alaska has a high number of brown and black bears who scour the shoreline for snacks. If you’re lucky, fuzzy cubs will be trailing behind their momma bear.

Other Alaska animals you may see include harbor seals and otters, and Sitka black tail deer. Stay ready with a pair of binoculars and a camera with a long lens.

Many wildlife-specific  Alaska shore excursions and tours  leave from the Inside Passage ports. Whale watching and bear tours are the most popular.

Notable Inside Passage Landmarks

Misty fjords monument.

Misty Fjords  lives up to its name with its signature blanket of white mist. If there is a lot of rain, the waterfalls are especially dramatic, but the scenery is spellbinding no matter the weather. This vast wilderness along the Inside Passage is only accessible by a boat tour or flightseeing.

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park  is a peak experience on Inside Passage cruises. It is a 3.3 million-acre marine wilderness that encompasses over 1,000 glaciers. The major draw is the eight tidewater glaciers within the park, winding down from the mountains all the way to the sea.

What To Wear On Alaska Inside Passage Cruises?

Tell your friends you're about to embark on an  Alaska cruise  Inside Passage and they’ll respond, "but what about the weather?"

As a common Scandinavian saying goes, "there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing." The better you prepare and the more meticulous you pack, the more comfortable you’ll be. That doesn’t mean overloading your suitcase, it means including enough of the right gear for the right weather.

Pack waterproof jackets and strive for layers—you need to be ready for a sunny day and a chilly one, as the summertime high is usually only between 50- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit. Occasionally, it reaches 70s and 80s.

Pack lots of sweaters, scarves, long-sleeve shirts, long underwear, a water-repellent jacket, and rainboots along with sunglasses, a swimsuit and a few nights of formal wear for formal nights.

This  Alaska cruise packing list  offers more tips and advice.

May to September is considered the best time for an Inside Passage Alaska cruise. We can’t wait to show you this incredible place.

View all  Alaska Articles and Videos , or see all of Holland America’s  Alaska cruise ports .  


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Yes, You Can Experience Authentic Alaska on a Cruise

What could an alaska local ever discover on a voyage through the inside passage just the essence of the place he thought he knew..

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Yes, You Can Experience Authentic Alaska on a Cruise

Photos by Jake Stangel

“But wait,” everybody asks me at dinner the first night, after the Crystal Symphony steams out of San Francisco , ocean rushing past the broad windows. “You grew up in Alaska ? So what are you doing on this cruise?”

What can I do but tell them about that late-1970s day when The Love Boat changed the world by bringing cameras, crew, and really unfortunate disco haircuts to my hometown, Sitka, to film its “Alaska Wedding Cruise” episode?

That day, the ship anchored off the sound’s barrier islands like the corpse of Moby Dick. Actors stood under the shadows of bald eagles and checked the bushes anxiously for grizzlies while the film rolled.

Back then, nobody bothered to count how many cruise ship passengers sailed Southeast Alaska. The earliest figure I can find is for 1983, when Juneau got about 90,000 passengers and Skagway, 48,000. Sitka would have been closer to the low end. Enough visitors so we felt overrun, not so many that we couldn’t escape them; not so many that, in the evenings, when my friends and I took our dogs to the forest for walks, there were any sounds but happy barks on the trail and the kwok of ravens high in the spruce trees.

Not so many that we couldn’t have Alaska to ourselves whenever we wanted.

But then that cheesy TV series showed the state like a fast-forward nature documentary, all fur, fangs, fins, and horizons bending under the weight of ice. Showed what everybody already in Alaska knew about Alaska, why we lived there to begin with.

Now, I’m just one of the 875,947 passengers cruising Southeast Alaska during the summer.

“OK. So—why?”

Because, in four decades of living and traveling in Alaska, I’ve written 13 guidebooks to the state, hundreds of magazine articles, and the smartphone app that at least one of my shipboard dining companions is poking at. I’ve woken to the hissing of rivers, to bears whacking my cabin walls, to the gunshot clap of glaciers melting, to the 3 a.m. howl of lonely wolves, and even to my little sister screaming, “Mosquitoes are biting my plumber’s crack!”

But never have I woken to the view most people get of Alaska: looking out from a cruise ship window.

What do they see that I’ve never seen? And what can I find out about the place I call home by trying to see it with them?


Photo by Jake Stangel

The ship follows the point of the compass needle, and I watch the mountains steepen, peaks donning rain forest clouds like surrealist bowlers. Water drips into the old-growth forest, into the bays and inlets, ending at last in a stilled sea. Seals bob like black basketballs wearing goggles. The mountains drop straight into the water, channels narrowing as if guarding the gates of a different world.

I know exactly when we sail into Alaska, because my breathing changes, as if I’ve been underwater since the last time I was up here. Only across that border do I break through the surface and fill my lungs again with this place that smells like true love, like ocean and fish and cedar and salt and boat oil and rain and the wet-dog scent of bears.

When we touch land in our first Alaskan port, Juneau—the nation’s only state capital with a glacier in the suburbs, and the only place I’ve ever considered staying forever—it feels like a kiss I’ve awaited for too long.

The Symphony parallel parks along the waterfront between two larger ships, ships that hold more people than most Alaskan towns. I walk into the streets surrounded by other passengers, but something must be different about me, because a pretty woman rides her bike past, then slows, stops. She looks back. “Hey. Are you from here?”

“Used to be. I live down south right now, but”—I gesture behind us, where a pair of tiered waterfalls drop a couple thousand feet out of a cloud. I don’t need to explain.

She smiles. “Well, want to come read Sarah Palin’s emails?” God, I love Alaska.


The Symphony takes all night to sail from Juneau to Skagway, a slow-motion lullaby of spent fuel.

On the Love Boat episode, of course, nobody ever really went ashore; the ship held them in, protective as a space capsule. Some of my fellow passengers, too, have no desire to set foot on land.

“The boat experience is all we need,” says Elaine Der, who is on her fourth cruise to Alaska. “The millions of miles of water, how quiet and still it is.” So still that birds leave hundred-yard wakes when they take off. So quiet that, when a small pod of orcas pop up off the starboard side, I can hear them breathe, a whoosh like my own surprise.

Out on the decks, people don’t talk about where they’re from, they talk about where they’ve been on this particular boat; I meet couples who’ve sailed the Symphony 15, 20 times, and even they trade Bigfoot rumors, sightings of a woman who’s taken the ship on more than a hundred voyages.

I have to admit, I did not want to like something this easy this much. Before realizing I had to try cruising, I never would have thought of turning my back on my years in tents and my hiking boots that I have worn smooth on Alaska trails.

But as long as the ship is moving, the world makes no demands except that I breathe in Alaska. I have a Jacuzzi and better furniture than I have at my house. In case I get hungry, the galley stocks eight pounds of food per person per day, and, like rabbits from a top hat, meals are brought with alarming frequency by a man in a tuxedo.

I like bossing around people in tuxedos. Although perhaps I should never have discovered this fact about myself.

At the tuxedo’s suggestion, I go to one of the ship’s variety shows, where I listen to a pianist with fingers as flexible as the tentacles of an octopus. But I’m in a dark room when I could be in Alaska, and I shake until I’m back outside, where Southeast Alaska’s dark forest and dark ocean disappear under moon-swallowing night. Islands slide past like battlements, as full of secrets as the back side of a mirror.

My room on deck 10 is roughly the same altitude at which I have flown planes into this gray-blue sky, a shade that never made the crayon box. It’s a sky that, if you stay here long enough, makes a contradictory sense: impossibly low and somehow both huge and claustrophobic.


We reach Skagway, box canyon departure point for the 1898 Klondike gold rush. The town offers maybe the best example of the good and the bad that the influx of so many visitors has brought to Alaska. A few winters ago, when I lived here with the 500 or so other year-rounders, I’d wrap up tight in blankets, stand on the porch, and watch the northern lights tint glaciers the lavender of a prom bouquet. I spent entire days without hearing a single car.

Summer’s a little different, with eight lanes of traffic on Broadway: two of tourists on each sidewalk, two of buses, and two more of locals walking in the gutters.

“The town is really not much different now from the gold rush days,” my friend Buckwheat says when I drop in to visit. “Just back then, everybody was armed with guns. Now they’re armed with credit cards.”

Then, “Wait a minute. You came here how ?”

Skagway’s main street features a weird mix of restored Old West false-front buildings jammed with the same generic tanzanite and T-shirt shops “you’ll find in Aruba,” says Symphony passenger Jeff Taylor, who has put more miles on cruise ships in the past decade than I have on my car. He adds, “I have a little bitterness over what they’ve done to the ports of Alaska. Although at least the land is still there and still beautiful.”

At sea, in the places between places, I’m free to simply be in Alaska.

Locals, like 30-year resident Buckwheat, will say the jewelry stores and their truckloads of tacky baubles “compromise the town’s historical integrity.” The shops do not at all match up with the boardwalked streets and the stories the guides tell about shootouts, men carrying a ton of food up the Chilkoot Trail to the Klondike, and the 100,000 people who filtered through here with dreams of gold nuggets the size of poodles.

But there is another way to look at it. Jeffrey Pogash, a passenger I spend a lot of time with on deck 11, spotting whales he never sees, says, “Skagway is making its money by portraying history in a very entertaining way.”

And a lot of money it is. Gold-nuggets-the-size-of-poodles money. The cruise industry and its demands bring more than 20,000 jobs and $2 billion a year to the state of Alaska. A lot of year-rounders make their entire income during the summer months, as shopkeepers, guides, and outfitters. The town’s restored gold rush–era railway, the White Pass & Yukon Route, which takes travelers on day trips up into the mountains, is the single most popular attraction in Alaska. Back in the 1980s, when it stopped running for a few years, Skagway’s entire economy nearly disappeared.


Money is not all that the cruises deliver. As local Mike Sica says, “the ships bring the world to a remote place that wouldn’t otherwise see it.” Because of the cruise lines, Skagway has a killer Thai restaurant, and the town’s four-aisle grocery store stocks spices that make for great fried rice.

I stroll through all 22 blocks of town, then past the train yards, along the shallow silver edge of the Skagway River. I pass the house I once rented—where the owner I rented it from couldn’t find the key because, when he’d bought it decades before, that owner couldn’t find the key. A little way beyond the train yards, the Gold Rush Cemetery’s markers, weathered by a century, stand as testament to a reality that fell a little short of desire.

Which is kind of what happened to me when I tried living here, the last time I set up house in Alaska. I came planning to stay forever, and I spent each day stunned by the beauty of the town, by the seals playing off the end of the airport runway, by the music of the train whistle echoing across the valley. Yet still my friends down south racked up enormous phone bills with nightly calls to calm me down. Because no matter how much you want to love some places, to curl into them forever, you can’t. I’m not sure exactly what it was: some combination of timing and memory and a need for more fresh fruits than you can get in winter in a small Alaskan town, and a sort of pathetic loneliness even phones couldn’t cure, and the really weird fact that for someone from Sitka, it just doesn’t rain enough in Skagway; the clouds don’t come down low enough.

Isn’t that one of Dante’s deeper hells? To be so close to paradise but never touch it?

Even if I can’t touch it, the town is still like an old girlfriend, the one you half love forever but are glad to get away from.

So, back on the ship, I shake myself loose from the past. I stand on my cabin’s balcony and bow to the town as we leave. That was then, this is now, and now, in the sunset, this might be one of the most gorgeous spots on earth, the day’s last light hitting all three sides of the box canyon, turning each a different shade, like a prism.

For the first mile or so back down the Lynn Canal, the Symphony is paralleled by the Chevalier Rouge , a tugboat that might be the model for every picture of a tugboat ever drawn by a child. In the local Tlingit language, “Skagway” essentially means “only white people are stupid enough to live where the wind blows that hard,” and the tug is there to keep our 800-foot ship from snagging on rocks like Charlie Brown’s kite in a tree.

I’ve been on the Chevalier Rouge a couple times when it’s doing the assist. I know exactly what view the tug has.

And I wonder how many people on this ship left their curtains open, with no idea that sometimes, Alaska looks at them.


After a detour to let us watch a glacier melt in shades of blue the tanzanite stores can’t even pray for, after a day of seeing whales roll like speed bumps in the gray sea, the Symphony at last docks in Sitka. And, returning for the first time in 10 years to the place I consider my hometown, I call my mom, who has missed Sitka every day since she moved south, so she can hear the waves from her favorite beach. Just as I did so many nights in high school, I visit the grave of Princess Maksoutov, wife of Alaska’s last Russian ruler, and yet again don’t see her ghost, which locals will tell you haunts this hillside. Chasing a different kind of ghost, I drive past a certain house, knowing a certain girl won’t be out front, but unable to resist the old habit.

I go into the bookstore, where the same man who sold me books when I was a teenager—and who turned me down every time I asked him for a job—is still working behind the counter.

And then I do something I never did when I lived here but which has become a ritual on every trip back. I go into St. Michael’s Cathedral, a perfect Russian onion-dome church, originally built by Finnish shipwrights, the only people who could use wood well enough to please God.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart,” the Orthodox liturgy says when it’s recited here each Sunday in English, Slavonic, and Tlingit. I come here now because my heart has been broken every moment I have ever spent away from Alaska, whether I could still call it home or not.

Not knowing what else to do, I go sit on a picnic bench by the sea and watch the waves bow as gracefully as a collarbone behind the shelter of the barrier islands.

I’m not even entirely sure I found the house I used to live in.

“Why do you expect the things you love to always be the same?” my wisest friend says when I call her from the dock. “Why would you even want them to be?”

We head south. Away.

We have one final Alaska stop. At Saxman, a one-square-mile township set within Ketchikan, everybody’s getting ready for a potlatch, a ceremonial feast. The residents, most of whom are from the Tlingit tribe, are dressed in their button blankets and capes, emblems—eagle, thunderbird, raven—stitched in blacks and reds. This is not playing dress-up; this is serious business.

The world of the clan house, the ritual heart of Saxman, is pure cedar, in the walls, in the floor, in the carved screen that divides the house. And outside, cedar in what’s probably the best collection of totem poles in the world. Poles are not religious: They’re stories, they’re histories. Their fractal view of the world, bending it out like a reflection in a raindrop, is also, as Tlingit artist Norman Jackson points out, proof that “Picasso never did anything but imitate us.” Carved with images of orcas, bears, wolves, and frogs, the poles are a perfect representation of the world when you go out to meet it on its own terms.

“It’s culture for life,” says Linda Williams, a member of the Tlingit community, before the potlatch. “The girls go out on the beach and dig for clams and compare stories. And when my son is being a typical teenager, I bring up his culture, and it snaps him back. He can’t disrespect that.”

And culturally, in this world of water, Southeast Alaska has always been about where you could go in your boat. For centuries, the Tlingit and the Haida have paddled canoes as easily as a raven flies. Still today, the maps everybody uses are nautical charts, which don’t bother to show details of the land—it’s impossible to get through the forests anyway, since they’re full of mud and bears and the poisonous thorns hiding under the broad leaves of the devil’s club plant. On a nice summer day, the state government might shut down just so everybody can go play in their boats.

Which makes me think about my own culture, and why I’ve had trouble being in Alaska’s towns. No matter how much I love them—where I grew up, where I failed to make home, where I still think about moving and settling forever—the way I’ve lived the most in Alaska is by moving through it, watching the islands from the water, the sea as still as mercury.

So maybe that stupid TV show was more accurate than I’ve ever wanted to admit. In the towns, I’ve been lost in the weight of my own memory and expectation. At sea, in the places between places, I’m free to simply be in Alaska. This is a lesson I would have reveled in, had it occurred to me while traveling anywhere else on the globe. But not in this place I know best. Or thought I knew.


Maybe it’s time I admit it: I don’t live here anymore. This isn’t my home, no matter how hard I want to cling to it. No matter how depressed I was last year when I finally had to give up my Alaska driver’s license.

But the landscape reassures me, as generous as it has always been. Because whether I’m home or not, it’s business as usual in the woods and the sea. Which maybe explains what’s happening as we cruise past Point Adolphus, where the thousand islands of Southeast Alaska dead-end into the mainland. Ahead of us, just off the point, three whales spout, and two more whales spout over to the left, where low clouds hide Glacier Bay. A couple more whales feed behind us.

It’s just me and one other guy on deck 12 watching. I don’t know where the other 600 passengers are.

“Um, you might want to come over here,” I call to the other guy, just as a humpback breaches, all that whale coming straight up, entirely out of the water like it’s giving the middle flipper to gravity, water rolling off its flanks, shining like lip gloss in the 10 p.m. sunlight.

The other guy puts his camera down. “What’s that sound?”

“Splash. Forty tons hitting the water.”

A whale-size smile lights his face, and for that moment, he forgets just how cold he really is.

He’s freezing, because he’s wearing a suit, and he’s wearing a suit because he’s on a cruise. I’m quite comfortable in fleece, because I’m in Alaska, breathing the scent of home, of bears and salt and cedar, of business as usual in the place between places.

And we’re both exactly where we want to be.

Ways to see Alaska by sea

CRYSTAL CRUISES Writer Edward Readicker-Henderson cruised Alaska aboard the Crystal Symphony . In 2012, the Crystal Serenity will travel to Alaska on its way from Osaka, Japan, to Los Angeles. Prices for the 22-day cruise start at $13,060, including round-trip airfare from many U.S. cities. (888) 722-0021, crystalcruises.com

SILVERSEA CRUISES Optional activities on a cruise aboard the 382-passenger Silver Shadow include helicopter rides, dog-sledding, and salmon fishing. Ten-day trips from $5,699. (877) 276-6816, silversea.com

REGENT The Seven Seas Navigator’ s 490 passengers all stay in suites, most with private balconies. Seven-night trips from $4,799. (877) 505-5370, rssc.com

LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS Lindblad’s two expedition ships each carry 62 guests as well as a nature photography instructor on eight-day trips. From $5,990. (800) 397-3348, expeditions.com

AMERICAN SAFARI CRUISES Four upscale yachts carry from 12 to 86 adventurous passengers. Seven-night trips start at $3,095. (877) 901-1009, innerseadiscoveries.com

ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY SYSTEM Ferries make stops from Dutch Harbor to Bellingham, Washington. Cabins book fast, but you can sleep on a chair or pitch a tent. Fare from Bellingham to Juneau (no cabin) is $326. (800) 642-0066, dot.state.ak.us/amhs

>>Plan Your Trip with AFAR’s Guide to Alaska

The Best Hawaiian Islands to Visit for Different Kinds of Travelers

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Located right along the coast of British Columbia, the Inside Passage is the longest sheltered inland waterway in the world. Watch the water for orcas and humpback whales as you cruise the passage to the historic Alaskan ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.


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National Park Forest, Inside Passage, Alaska

Cruise to Alaska Inside Passage, Alaska

Things to do in alaska inside passage.

Sea Lions Glacier Mountains, Inside Passage, Alaska


Get an up-close view of Alaska’s wild seascapes, no matter which direction you look. Sail through ice-carved fjords flanked by sky-piercing mountains. See coastal towns only accessible by boat or air. Tongass National Park is filled with lofty spruce, hemlock and cedar trees, while giant calving glaciers pack Glacier Bay National Park.

Whale Jumping out of Ocean, Inside Passage, Alaska

Feel the pioneer spirit of Alaska, from First Nations tribes to early Russian settlers to Gold Rush prospectors. These waters are also home to a huge population of whales, sea lions, seals, porpoises and puffins. Bald eagles and seabirds often fly overhead— and Admiralty Island is the best spot for glimpsing bears.

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Alaska Cruise Port Guide: Everything You Need To Know

John Shallo

Alaska offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, making it an ideal location for a cruise. With 26 active cruise ports, including popular ones like Ketchikan, Sitka,  Juneau , and Skagway, there’s no shortage of stunning destinations to explore. Whether you’re interested in wildlife encounters, glacier exploration, or immersing yourself in Native American art and culture,  Alaska ‘s cruise ports have something for everyone.

The  cruise season  in Alaska typically runs from late April to early October, with the high season falling between June and August. It’s during this time that you’ll have the best chances of experiencing the warmest weather and spotting incredible wildlife like humpback whales and orcas. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider  booking  during the shoulder season months of April, May, or September.

When it comes to choosing a departure  port for your Alaska cruise , you have the options of Seward, Juneau, Vancouver, or Seattle. Each port offers its own unique advantages and attractions to enhance your  cruise  experience. Whether you’re starting your journey in the heart of Alaska or setting sail from a bustling city, you’re sure to be captivated by the beauty that awaits.

Alaska Ports, Key Takeaways:

  • Alaska’s cruise ports offer stunning scenery and a variety of experiences
  • Popular cruise ports include Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, and Skagway
  • The  cruise  season in Alaska runs from late April to early October
  • High season falls between June and August, offering the warmest weather
  • Shoulder season months of April, May, and September provide better deals
  • Departure ports include Seward, Juneau, Vancouver, and Seattle

Best Alaska Cruise Ports: Top 5 Ports of Call

St. Michael’s Cathedral (Sitka, Alaska)

When planning an  Alaska cruise , it’s important to consider the top ports of call that offer the best experiences and attractions. Here are the top 5 Alaska cruise ports that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Ketchikan:  Known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” Ketchikan offers a unique blend of Native American culture and breathtaking natural beauty. Explore the town’s famous totem poles, take a seaplane tour to admire the stunning landscapes from above, and indulge in fresh local seafood.
  • Sitka:  Sitka is a hidden gem that showcases Alaska’s rich history. Visit the National Historic Park, where you can immerse yourself in Native American art and explore preserved tribal houses. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to spot humpback whales, sea otters, and bald eagles.
  • Juneau:  As the capital of Alaska, Juneau offers a plethora of activities for every traveler. Get up close to majestic glaciers, try your hand at gold panning, and take a  scenic  tram ride for panoramic views of the city and surrounding wilderness. Don’t forget to sample some fresh Alaskan seafood!
  • Skagway:  Step back in time in Skagway, a historic gold rush town. Explore the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, visit restored buildings from the gold rush era, and embark on scenic hikes to soak in the stunning mountain views.
  • Icy Strait Point (Hoonah):  Located on Chichagof Island, Icy Strait Point is a small community that offers a unique Alaskan experience. Soar through the treetops on a thrilling zip-lining adventure, immerse yourself in the local culture, and savor delicious seafood caught fresh from the surrounding waters.

These  top cruise  ports of call in Alaska provide an array of unforgettable experiences, from cultural immersion to stunning natural beauty. Dive into the rich history and breathtaking landscapes of Alaska as you explore these top destinations during your cruise.

How to Visit Alaska Cruise Ports: Excursion Tips and Activities

Norwegian Spirit in port

When visiting the stunning Alaska cruise ports, you’ll find a plethora of excursion options and activities to make your  trip  truly memorable. Each port offers unique experiences that showcase the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the region. Here are some tips and ideas to help you plan your visit:

Ketchikan – The Totem Pole Capital

alaska cruise port

Ketchikan is known as the Totem Pole Capital of the World, so a visit here wouldn’t be complete without exploring its famous collection of totem poles. You can take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of these magnificent sculptures. For an exhilarating experience, consider taking a seaplane tour to enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the surrounding landscapes. And of course, don’t forget to savor the delicious fresh seafood that Ketchikan is renowned for.

Sitka – Wildlife Encounters and Native American Art

Sitka offers a blend of wildlife encounters, stunning scenery, and rich Native American  art and culture . Explore the Alaska Raptor Center, where you can see and learn about rehabilitating birds of prey up close. Take a wildlife tour to spot humpback whales, sea otters, and other marine life in their natural habitat. Immerse yourself in Sitka’s history by visiting the National Historic Park, home to one of the largest collections of totem poles in Alaska.

Juneau – Gateway to Glaciers and Gold Rush History

Patsy Ann Statue - Junea, AK

Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is a paradise for nature lovers and history enthusiasts. Take a glacier tour to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Mendenhall Glacier and explore its ice caves. Experience the thrill of gold panning and learn about the city’s rich gold rush history at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. For panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscapes, hop on a scenic tram ride to the top of Mount Roberts.

Skagway – Gold Rush Town and Scenic Hikes

Step back in time in Skagway, a charming gold rush town with well-preserved historic buildings. Take a guided tour of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to learn about the fascinating stories and hardships of the gold rush era. If you’re up for an adventure, embark on a scenic hike along the picturesque trails, such as the Chilkoot Trail or the Lower Dewey Lake Trail. Don’t forget to capture the breathtaking views along the way!

Icy Strait Point – Thrilling Adventures and Cultural Experiences

Icy Strait Point, located on Hoonah, offers a unique blend of thrilling activities and immersive cultural experiences. Get your adrenaline pumping with a zip-lining adventure through the lush rainforest, enjoying panoramic views of the coastline. Immerse yourself in the local Tlingit culture by visiting the Huna Heritage Center, where you can learn about traditional arts, crafts, and history. Indulge in the delicious local seafood, including the famous Alaskan king crab.

These are just a few examples of the incredible excursion options and activities available in Alaska cruise ports. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or adventure seeker, each port has something to offer that will make your Alaskan cruise experience unforgettable.

Best Time to Cruise Alaska: Weather and Wildlife

Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park

When planning an  Alaska cruise , it’s important to consider the best time to visit in terms of weather and wildlife. The  summer  months of June, July, and August offer the warmest weather, making it an ideal time to explore the stunning landscapes of Alaska. However, it’s worth noting that July and August can also be quite rainy, so be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear.

One of the major highlights of an Alaskan  cruise  is the opportunity to see incredible wildlife in their natural habitat. The best chances of spotting humpback whales, orcas, and gray whales are during the summer months, particularly in June and July. These months coincide with the salmon runs, which attract these majestic creatures to the Alaska coast. Keep your camera ready for amazing wildlife encounters!


If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider cruising in the shoulder seasons of April, May, and September. Although the weather may be cooler and there is a higher chance of excursions being canceled due to unpredictable conditions, these months offer lower prices and fewer crowds. May, in particular, is known for being one of the driest months in the Inside Passage, while September presents the opportunity to catch the mesmerizing Northern Lights.

Alaska Cruise Weather by Month

Overall, the  best time to cruise Alaska  depends on your preferences and priorities. If you’re seeking warmer weather and optimal wildlife viewing opportunities, June, July, and August are the months to consider. If budget is a concern and you don’t mind cooler temperatures, April, May, and September offer more affordable options. Regardless of when you decide to cruise, Alaska’s breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife will surely leave you in awe.

Alaska Cruise Costs: Budgeting and Shore Excursions

Denali Express Train With Sapphire Princess in Whittier Alaska

Planning a cruise to Alaska involves careful budgeting to ensure you have an unforgettable experience without breaking the bank. The cost of an Alaska cruise can vary greatly depending on factors such as the  cruise line , itinerary, and cabin type. On average, prices range from $500 to $8,000 or more per person.

For those looking to save money, booking during shoulder season months of April, May, and September can offer more affordable fares. However, keep in mind that weather conditions during these months can be less predictable, and some excursions may be canceled due to unfavorable conditions. May, in particular, is known for being one of the driest months in the Inside Passage, while September offers the possibility of witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights.

When budgeting for your Alaska cruise, it’s important to consider the cost of shore excursions. Alaska offers a wide range of activities, from historic tours and guided hikes to helicopter rides and flightseeing tours. The prices of these excursions can vary significantly, so it’s essential to plan and allocate your budget accordingly. A general guideline is to budget at least $500 per person for shore excursions, but keep in mind that more extravagant experiences can  cost  even more.

Average Alaska Cruise Costs


Remember to factor in additional costs such as gratuities, onboard amenities, and any pre- or post-cruise accommodations. By carefully budgeting and planning your shore excursions, you can make the most of your Alaska cruise while staying within your desired price range.

Alaska Cruise Lines: Mainstream and Luxury Options

Holland America Line Heading to the Arctic Circle

When planning an Alaska cruise, you have a range of options when it comes to  cruise lines . Whether you prefer a mainstream experience or want to indulge in luxury, there are several cruise lines to choose from.

Mainstream Alaska Cruise Lines

Service aboard Holland America Line’s Eurodam

For those looking for a more affordable and traditional cruise experience, mainstream cruise lines like Carnival, Celebrity, NCL, and Royal Caribbean offer Alaska itineraries. Holland America and Princess are the largest mainstream cruise lines for Alaska cruises. These cruise lines provide a variety of onboard amenities, entertainment options, and activities for guests of all ages.

Luxury Alaska Cruise Lines

Alaska Cruise Port Guide: Everything You Need To Know | 10

If you’re seeking a more upscale and personalized experience, luxury cruise lines like Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, and Windstar offer Alaska itineraries. These cruise lines provide a higher level of service, elegant accommodations, gourmet dining options, and exclusive shore excursions. If you value comfort and indulgence, luxury cruise lines are a great choice for exploring the beauty of Alaska.

When choosing the right  Alaska cruise line  for you, consider your budget, preferences, and desired level of luxury. Whether you opt for a mainstream or luxury experience, you’re sure to have a memorable journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska’s cruise ports.

Alaska Cruise Itineraries: Inside Passage and Gulf of Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park Sight Seeing (Photo By John Shallo/Cruise Addicts)

Alaska offers two popular  cruise itineraries  that showcase the stunning natural beauty of the region – Inside Passage cruises and Gulf of Alaska cruises. Each itinerary offers unique experiences and highlights, allowing travelers to explore different parts of this breathtaking destination.

Inside Passage Cruise

Alaska Cruise Port Guide: Everything You Need To Know | 10

An  Inside Passage cruise  is a seven-night journey that typically departs from Seattle, Vancouver, or Juneau. This itinerary takes you through the scenic passages and fjords of the Inside Passage, offering picturesque ports of call along the way.

  • Ketchikan: Known for its authentic totem poles and seaplane tours.
  • Sitka: Offers a mix of Native American art, wildlife encounters, and historical landmarks.
  • Juneau: The capital of Alaska, with activities like glacier exploration, gold panning, and wildlife viewing.
  • Skagway: A gold rush town with restored historic buildings and scenic hikes.

Gulf of Alaska Cruise

Juneau, Alaska

Gulf of Alaska cruises are one-way itineraries between Vancouver or Whittier/Seward, and they offer a different perspective of Alaska’s beauty. These cruises often include scenic cruising in areas like Glacier Bay and College Fjord.

  • Sitka: A port known for wildlife viewing, exploring Native American art, and visiting the Alaska Raptor Center.
  • Juneau: Gateway to glacier adventures, gold panning, and scenic tram rides.
  • Skagway: Showcasing its gold rush history through restored buildings and offering hikes with stunning views.

Pikes Place Market in Seattle, Washington

Both itineraries provide opportunities to witness the majestic glaciers, spot wildlife like whales and eagles, and immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Alaska. Whether you choose an  Inside Passage cruise  or a  Gulf of Alaska cruise , you will be treated to unforgettable experiences in this awe-inspiring destination.

Must-See Attractions in Alaska Cruise Ports

Holland America Line’s Balcony Cabin view in Alaska

Alaska’s cruise ports offer a plethora of must-see attractions that showcase the unique beauty and culture of this destination. Whether you’re exploring the popular ports or venturing off the beaten path to discover hidden gems, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some top attractions you shouldn’t miss:

Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour in Ketchikan, Alaska

Home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world, Ketchikan offers a fascinating glimpse into Native American heritage and art. Take a stroll through Totem Bight State Historical Park or visit Saxman Native Village to admire these impressive cultural landmarks. Don’t forget to indulge in delicious fresh seafood at one of the local  restaurants .

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Sitka by visiting the Sitka National Historical Park. Explore the preserved tribal houses and totem poles while learning about the area’s indigenous culture. For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to the Alaska Raptor Center is a must, where you can observe and learn about various bird species, including majestic bald eagles.

Alaska Cruise Port Guide: Everything You Need To Know | 10

As the capital of Alaska, Juneau offers a wide range of attractions. Get up close and personal with glaciers by taking a helicopter tour or boarding a boat excursion to the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier. Pan for gold and learn about the gold rush era at the Last Chance Mining Museum, and take a scenic tram ride up Mount Roberts for panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes.

Norwegian Spirit in Skagway, Alaska

Step back in time in Skagway, a town known for its well-preserved gold rush history. Take a stroll along Broadway Street to admire the charming historic buildings and explore the exhibits at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Chilkoot Trail offers scenic hikes surrounded by stunning landscapes.

These are just a few of the  must-see attractions in Alaska cruise ports . Each port has its own unique offerings, so make sure to plan your itinerary accordingly to make the most of your Alaskan adventure.

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Alaska Cruise Ports

While many travelers flock to popular Alaska cruise ports like Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience. These lesser-known ports offer unique charm and breathtaking landscapes that are often reserved for smaller ships and luxury cruise lines.

Haines: A Quiet Retreat Amidst Stunning Scenery

Nestled amidst the towering mountains of Southeast Alaska, Haines offers a quieter and more intimate experience. This picturesque town is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, from lush forests to snow-capped peaks. Visitors can immerse themselves in the great outdoors through activities like hiking, wildlife spotting, and kayaking. Haines is also home to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, where visitors can witness the annual gathering of thousands of bald eagles, making it a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.

Wrangell: Preserved Heritage and Rich History

For those interested in Alaska’s rich cultural heritage, a visit to Wrangell is a must. This hidden gem showcases its history through preserved tribal houses and a fascinating gold rush museum. Visitors can explore the rich traditions of the Tlingit Native Americans and learn about the town’s gold rush era. Wrangell is also a gateway to the Stikine River, where adventurous travelers can embark on thrilling jet boat tours or scenic  river cruises .

Petersburg: Authentic Alaskan Fishing Community

If you’re seeking an authentic Alaskan experience, look no further than Petersburg. This charming fishing community offers a glimpse into the rugged and vibrant lifestyle of Alaskan fishermen. Visitors can wander through the town’s colorful streets, browse local art galleries, and sample fresh seafood. Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the nearby LeConte Glacier, known as the southernmost tidewater glacier in North America. With its small-town charm and rich maritime history, Petersburg is a hidden gem worth exploring.

Alaska Cruise Port FAQ

Q: what is an alaska cruise port.

A: An Alaska Cruise Port refers to a specific location in Alaska where cruise ships dock to allow passengers to explore the surrounding area.

Q: What are some popular Alaska Cruise Ports of Call?

A: Some popular Alaska Cruise Ports of Call include Vancouver, Seward, Whittier, Hoonah, and Anchorage.

Q: Can you provide information about Vancouver, a popular Cruise Port in Alaska?

A: Vancouver is a major cruise port in Alaska that serves as the starting point for many Alaska cruises. It offers stunning views of the Inside Passage and is known for its vibrant city life.

Q: What is Glacier Bay National Park?

A: Glacier Bay National Park is a must-visit destination in Alaska known for its majestic glaciers and abundant wildlife. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and provides a breathtaking backdrop for cruise ship passengers.

Q: What is the Inside Passage?

A: The Inside Passage is a scenic route along the western coast of Canada and Alaska. It is a popular route for cruise ships, offering breathtaking views of fjords, glaciers, and coastal towns.

Q: Can you provide some planning tips for an Alaska cruise vacation?

A: Absolutely! When planning an Alaska cruise vacation, consider booking a cruise that includes a land tour to explore destinations such as Denali National Park, Kenai Peninsula, and Prince William Sound. Additionally, pack layers of clothing, bring binoculars for wildlife viewing, and don’t forget your camera!

Q: What are some popular outdoor activities in Alaska?

A: Alaska offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including kayaking, hiking, whale watching, fishing, and glacier tours. Each port of call provides unique opportunities to explore the last frontier.

Q: Which major cruise lines offer cruises to Alaska?

A: Most major cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises, offer cruises to Alaska. They provide various itineraries and onboard amenities to cater to different preferences and budgets.

Q: What can I expect to see on an Alaska cruise?

A: On an Alaska cruise, you can expect to see breathtaking scenery, including glaciers, waterfalls, fjords, and wildlife such as whales, bears, and eagles. You will also have the chance to visit quaint coastal towns and experience the rich culture of the indigenous people.

Q: Is it possible to book a cruise to Alaska without a land tour?

A: Yes, it is possible to book a cruise-only package to Alaska. However, adding a land tour allows you to explore more of Alaska’s inland destinations and get a more comprehensive experience of the state.

Q: What are some popular Alaska Native attractions?

A: Alaska is known for its rich Native Alaskan culture. Some popular attractions include visiting Tlingit villages, exploring Native Alaskan art galleries, and experiencing traditional Native Alaskan dances and performances.

Final Thoughts

Departing from Vancouver for an Alaskan cruise

After exploring the diverse and captivating Alaska cruise ports, it is clear that this destination offers something for every traveler. Whether you are drawn to the rich cultural heritage of Ketchikan and Sitka, the awe-inspiring glaciers of Juneau, or the historical charm of Skagway, there is no shortage of unforgettable experiences awaiting you.

From soaring seaplane tours to thrilling zip-lining adventures, Alaska’s cruise ports provide endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether you choose to visit the popular ports or venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems, you will be rewarded with breathtaking natural beauty and unique cultural encounters.

Remember to carefully plan your itinerary and consider the  best time to cruise Alaska based on your interests and preferences. Whether you opt for a mainstream cruise line or a luxury expedition, the beauty and splendor of Alaska’s cruise ports will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

John Shallo

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Alaska Cruises from Seattle

Experience the great land on a 7-day alaska inside passage cruise from seattle.

Follow in the footsteps of the Yukon Gold Rush on an Alaska cruise from Seattle to some of the world’s most scenic wonders. With convenient weekend departures and proximity to the Great Land, a cruise to Alaska from Seattle allows you to leave when you want, and spend less time getting there.

Alaska Inside Passage Cruise Ports

When you cruise to Alaska from Seattle, encounter unique ports of call that are rich in history, culture and natural beauty.

  • Endicott Arm
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Victoria, B.C.

Endicott Arm is a jewel in Alaska’s crown. This 30-mile waterway is surrounded by cliffs, valleys and dozens of waterfalls. Icebergs and harbor seals decorate the water below while Dawes Glacier soars into the sky above. Revel in the beauty of Mother Nature’s masterpiece and listen closely as the scenery whispers secrets of times long ago during your cruise to Alaska.

When you cruise to Alaska with Princess, sail through one of the most iconic locations in the Great Land — Glacier Bay National Park. Listen to Margerie Glacier’s signature crack and boom rumble across the waves. Bring binoculars and scan both the shore and the waves for wildlife like brown bears and migrating whales while Park Rangers teach you the history and geology of the park.

Juneau is unlike any other city in the United States. With no roads connecting it to the rest of Alaska or North America, it is truly a protected destination. Founded as a gold mining town and now the state’s capital, Juneau has one foot in history and one in the future. Embark on a whale watching tour, or sail past Mendenhall Glacier on an Alaska cruise.

Known for its timber, Ketchikan hosts the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, where athletes throw, race and chop their way to victory. Explore one of the world’s oldest collection of totem poles at the Totem Pole Heritage Center, or stroll along Creek Street. As the salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan’s waters make for incredible fishing. Cast your rod into a sea of opportunity on a cruise to Alaska.

Seattle is known as "The Emerald City" thanks to its green forests and lush surroundings. Pike Place Market buzzes with merchants while coffee shops house locals drinking espresso in America's coffee capital. Climb the Space Needle and enjoy the Seattle skyline, or explore the history of Pioneer Square, the city's oldest neighborhood — only when you cruise to Alaska from Seattle.

Once the gateway to Alaska's Gold Rush, Skagway strikes a dramatic image nestled between the water's edge and mountains. Follow in the footsteps of miners with a ride on a scenic train along the famous White Pass route through coastal mountains. During your Alaska cruise, explore the Yukon's pristine wilderness, pan for gold with professionals or meet sled dog puppies in training.

At first glance many mistake Victoria for an English coastal city or northern European town. Full of greenery, pubs and Victorian architecture, it's difficult to believe that this was a tent city full of rough and tumble miners just 150 years ago. On a cruise to Alaska, explore the Butchart Gardens, tour the pub scene and taste some of the local brews or sail the bay for a whale-watching adventure.

Wrangell is a charming and scenic harbor known for its local fishing industry. It is not as bustling as larger ports in Alaska and maintains its historic charm and offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Explore its historic downtown and learn about the local culture and Native heritage while in Wrangell.

Why Choose An Alaska Cruise from Seattle?

Discover the top reasons to cruise to Alaska from Seattle.

  • Convenient Weekend Departures  — With departures available on weekends, embark on an Alaska cruise from Seattle on a day that fits your schedule.
  • Voyages to World-Renowned Glaciers  — A seven-day Alaska cruise is all you need to visit some of the region’s must-see sights – like Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park or Dawes Glacier in Endicott Arm Fjord.
  • Four Extraordinary Ports of Call  — Step into Alaska’s historic ports on an Inside Passage cruise with Princess®. Visit gold-rush era Skagway, salmon-rich Ketchikan, the capital city of Juneau and British-flavored Victoria, B.C.
  • Roundtrip Airfare  — Worry-free booking on your roundtrip cruise to Alaska from Seattle means more time relaxing amidst glacial wonderlands and less time figuring out how you’ll get home.
  • A Chance to Visit the “Emerald City”  — When you cruise to Alaska from Seattle, spend extra time exploring the city’s landscapes and uncovering the origin of its nickname.

Ships on this itinerary

Our Princess fleet includes ships that range from our smaller vessels to large ships. From a balcony stateroom, marvel at the glaciers passing by before enjoying local seafood in one of our many eateries during your seven-day Alaska cruise.

Royal Princess®

Discovery Princess®

Majestic Princess®

Alaska Cruise Experience

We have a 50-year legacy of sharing the best places and experiences with our guests. On an Alaska cruise, unpack once and explore glaciers, wildlife and national parks.

Alaska Glaciers

One of the biggest reasons people visit

Glaciers feel alive. They groan, creak and shudder on their march to the sea, punctuated by the booms and crashes of "white thunder" — a sound that echoes across the water when ice calves into the ocean below. On an Alaska cruise, let us show you Glacier Bay National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier, College Fjord or Hubbard Glacier.

Alaska Wildlife

Untamed, just like Alaska

Alaska is home to a rich array of wildlife, from the famous Big Five animals that live in Denali National Park — grizzly bears, wolves, moose, Dall sheep and caribou — to bald eagles and humpback whales that migrate through the Inside Passage. On a cruise to Alaska, live a nature lover's dream in the land where guests can catch postcard-worthy sights.

Alaska Mountains & National Parks

National treasures

With national parks and four of North America’s tallest mountains, Alaska’s wilderness has been preserved for generations. Denali National Park is larger than Vermont and home to the highest peak on the continent. Meanwhile, Glacier Bay National Park has over 2,000 square miles of glacial coverage. Along with Wrangell-St. Elias and Kenai Fjords, a world of natural wonders awaits on an Alaska cruise or cruisetour.

Alaska excursions

Don't just visit this famous land, live it on Alaska excursions. Rush across the snow on a dog sled with a professional musher, fly fish for salmon in fresh rivers and soar over miles of glacial tundra in a helicopter. Watch migrating humpback whales from the deck of a catamaran or Native craftsman carve a traditional totem pole, and expand your Alaska cruise experience.

Alaska Cruise Onboard Experience

Our award-winning North to Alaska program brings local personalities, culture and cuisine on board and ashore to immerse you in all things Alaska during your cruise to the Great Land.

Alaska Seafood

Fresh and bountiful, like Alaska itself

Alaska's seafood is famous, and we bring the best to you with locally inspired dishes from the state’s best eateries. With Cook My Catch excursions, catch your own salmon or halibut with the help of a local expert, and in the evening our talented chefs will prepare your haul for your dinner — a Princess exclusive. From ship to shore, the best is at your fingertips on our Alaska cruises.

Meet Local Alaskans

Real Alaska from local Alaskans

Alaskans are inviting people who love to share what makes their state unique. Watch lumberjacks in action, learn from Glacier Bay National Park rangers and craft with a Native totem pole carver. Or listen to harrowing Tales from the Deadliest Catch fishermen and climbers who have summited Denali during your Alaska cruise.

Unique Alaska Cruise Experiences

Great experiences from the great land

Travel back in time and pan for gold like a prospector during the Gold Rush. Snuggle sled dog puppies in the ship's Piazza, or see the Northern Lights in the planetarium. At the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, explore our treehouse and enjoy unmatched views of Denali. Or savor tree-inspired bites at our very own Sappy Hour. Dive deeper into what makes the Great Land special on your cruise to Alaska.

Alaska Cruise Articles and Videos

Read about Alaska’s must-see attractions, signature cuisine, and how to prepare for a wild adventure into the heart of The Great Land.

Discover Alaska with Princess in 2023-2024

The best cruise line in Alaska just keeps getting better! From top-rated cruises that visit Glacier Bay National Park to scenic rail travel and exclusive Princess lodges, you will find a seamless Alaska experience with Princess.

Best Dishes to Try on Your Alaska Cruise

No one does seafood quite like Alaska—which is why we brought the best of the Great Land on board, so you can experience it all with Princess.

Top Alaska Cruise Destinations

From exploring Denali National Park to fishing for salmon in Anchorage, discover the top Alaska destinations on a Princess cruise.

Inside Passage Alaska Cruise

From exploring historic gold mines to venturing in the footsteps of early explorers, learn about Alaska’s Inside Passage and discover the wonders awaiting you.

Alaska Ports of Call

From the sweeping mountains of Juneau to the fish-bearing seas of Ketchikan, discover our Alaska cruise ports and set sail into the adventures that await you.

What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise

Check out our helpful checklist so that you know exactly what to pack for an Alaska cruise with Princess.

Travel, Airfare, & Hotels: Let Princess Get You There

Princess EZair® Flights

Stress-free airfare

Remove the hassle from air travel and give yourself the gift of flexibility, time and a thicker wallet with Princess EZair flights. We negotiate lower rates with the airlines, allow you to modify your flight up to 45 days prior with no penalty and protect you if your flight is late or canceled.

EZair flight quotes are available on our cruise search result details pages.

Airplane to Ship Transfer

We get you where you need to go

Let Princess pick you up from the airport and take you directly to your ship or hotel when you arrive, even if you didn't book your airfare through us. A uniformed Princess representative meets you at the airport after you've retrieved your luggage and transports you directly to your ship or hotel without you having to worry about the logistics of navigating a new city.

Cruise Plus Hotel Packages

Stay longer and relax

Extend your cruise vacation, and simplify your travel plans with a hotel stay at the beginning or end of your cruise. With a Cruise Plus Hotel Package, a Princess representative meets you at the airport and pier, transporting you to and from your hotel. The package includes the cost of your hotel stay, transportation, luggage handling and the services of the representative.

Need help planning?

Princess Cruise Vacation Planners are a dedicated resource to help you every step of the way through the planning process of your cruise vacation. And the best part is, they are absolutely FREE!

Cruise deals & promotions

Find our top sales, deals, partnerships and promotions for our destinations all in one place. We run promotions throughout the year and sometimes run sweepstakes where you could win prizes!

#PrincessCruises Alaska Connection

See Alaska through our guests' eyes.

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    alaska inside passage cruise videos


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  2. CRUISE LINES #3 @Alaska

  3. Small Ship Cruising with Uncruise in Alaska #alaska #shorts

  4. TV5 Meteorologist Mathieu Mondro to go on Alaska & Inside Passage Cruise

  5. Butchart Gardens Virtual Tour

  6. Voyage to Juneau, Alaska


  1. Alaska Cruise Guide: Cruising the Inside Passage

    The scenic Inside Passage is a series of waterways that stretches from Northwest Washington state into Southeast Alaska. For cruise passengers sailing the In...

  2. What It's Like to Cruise Alaska's Inside Passage

    0:00 / 3:49 What It's Like to Cruise Alaska's Inside Passage ShermansCruise 1.85K subscribers Subscribe 126 Share 41K views 6 years ago The sights of Alaska are unlike anything else in...

  3. Alaska

    0:00 / 46:32 • Introduction Alaska | Cruising the Inside Passage 543 Share 38K views 5 months ago INSIDE PASSAGE Subscribe to Global Travel Stories / globaltravelstories and join the...

  4. Journey to Alaska

    1.2K Share 128K views 4 years ago A travel documentary from Vancouver to Seward. Shaped by staggering forces of massive glaciers millions of years ago, the Inside Passage boasts lush island...

  5. Viking: Alaska & the Inside Passage

    Learn more: https://www.vikingcruises.com/oceans/cruise-destinations/caribbean-americas/alaska-inside-passage/index.htmlThis 11-day cruise from Vancouver to ...

  6. Alaska & the Inside Passage

    Alaska & the Inside Passage This 11-day cruise from Vancouver to Seward (or the reverse) delves deep into seldom-visited gold rush ports, highlighting their Tlingit and Russian culture, and reveals the breathtaking wonders of the Inside Passage and the Yakutat Bay. Related Itineraries Alaska & the Inside Passage

  7. Inside Passage Alaska Cruise

    Alaska's Inside Passage is nothing short of breathtaking. Encompassed by tranquil waters, one moment you can be sailing a wide bay of barrier islands and the next you're cruising through a narrow waterway flanked by towering forested walls.

  8. Cruising the Inside Passage of Alaska

    Cruising the Inside Passage of Alaska 01/04/2023 | 27m 45s | My List Samantha and her family set sail on an Alaska Cruise stopping in the capital city of Juneau, where they experience how...

  9. Alaska & the Inside Passage

    Alaska & the Inside Passage This 11-day cruise from Vancouver to Seward (or the reverse) delves deep into seldom-visited gold rush ports, highlighting their Tlingit and Russian culture, and reveals the breathtaking wonders of the Inside Passage and the Yakutat Bay. Related Itineraries Alaska & the Inside Passage

  10. Alaska Inside Passage Cruise Tour

    Discover the beauty of Alaska's Inside Passage on an Alaska Cruise while whale watching on a small ship cruise with National Geographic Expeditions National Geographic Alaska Vacations

  11. Cruising Alaska's Inside Passage

    Inside Passage Alaska cruises glide through a dreamscape—from white-capped peaks to calving glaciers and deep fjords to forest-blanketed land as far as the eye can see. Here's everything you need to know about Alaska cruises to the famed Inside Passage, from where the passage is to how to pack for the weather. Where Is Alaska's Inside Passage?

  12. Splendors of the Inside Passage, Alaska

    This web of waterways known as the "Inside Passage" goes from Seattle to the southeastern Alaska panhandle. It is a common network for ships, as it offers protected, smooth-as-glass sailing. It is one of the few routes in the world with water deep enough for cruise ships to sidle up to cliffs. The Inside Passage encompasses islands, coves ...

  13. What Is an Alaska Inside Passage Cruise?

    The most popular way to take in Alaska's splendors is on an Alaska Inside Passage cruise, which makes a round-trip journey from Seattle or Vancouver, B.C. It sticks to the southeastern "panhandle ...

  14. Inside Passage Alaska Cruise

    Alaska's Inside Passage is nothing short of breathtaking. Encompassed by tranquil waters, one moment you can be sailing a wide bay of barrier islands and the next you're cruising through a narrow waterway flanked by towering forested walls.

  15. Alaska's Inside Passage (Alaska) Vacation Travel Video Guide

    Travel video about Alaskas Inside Passage in Alaska.Alaska's Inside Passage is the title of a fascinating ocean cruise and features the wonders of nature and...

  16. Alaska Cruises from Vancouver

    Find Cruises. Uncover treasures in the Great Land on an Alaska cruise from Vancouver. Relive Gold Rush history, experience Native Alaskan culture and come face-to-face with some of Mother Nature's greatest masterpieces. On a roundtrip Inside Passage cruise, enjoy quicker access to Alaska while also exploring the friendly ports of British ...

  17. How to Cruise Alaska's Inside Passage

    Writer Edward Readicker-Henderson cruised Alaska aboard the Crystal Symphony. In 2012, the Crystal Serenity will travel to Alaska on its way from Osaka, Japan, to Los Angeles. Prices for the 22-day cruise start at $13,060, including round-trip airfare from many U.S. cities. (888) 722-0021, crystalcruises.com.

  18. Inside Passage Cruises

    Best Small Ship Itineraries Fly into Juneau or Sitka • same region as large cruises but more intimate ports • Glacier Bay National Park Bear Paw Charters Website $15,000+ 2+ Nights 4-5 hr & 2+ Nights

  19. Cruise Inside Passage, Alaska Cruise Port

    Alaska's Inside Passage is awash with pristine water mountain views. A cruise among the fjords and islands takes you into prime habitat for bald eagles, sea lions, and whales. The Inside Passage is home to the totem poles of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Indians, and Russian setters, as well as prospectors, lumberjacks, and fishermen.

  20. Inside Passage Cruises

    Cruise Inside Passage. Located right along the coast of British Columbia, the Inside Passage is the longest sheltered inland waterway in the world. Watch the water for orcas and humpback whales as you cruise the passage to the historic Alaskan ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

  21. Alaska Inside Passage Cruises in 2024

    An Alaska Inside Passage Cruise is your ticket to exploring this awe-inspiring region. These cruises sail through the tranquil, sheltered waters of the Inside Passage, offering you front-row seats to glaciers, diverse wildlife, and pristine wilderness. Whether you opt for a large, amenity-packed cruise ship or a smaller, more intimate vessel ...

  22. Alaska Cruisetours

    Go deeper into Alaska. Kenai and/or Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Unique National Parks and Canadian Rockies Cruisetour options. 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. 6-8 nights on land. Princess Alaska rail service. Stay in the Denali-area. Natural History Tour into Denali National Park. Fairbanks and/or Anchorage.

  23. Cruises to Alaska Inside Passage, Alaska

    Cruise to Alaska Inside Passage, Alaska Shaped by the staggering force of massive glaciers millions of years ago, Alaska's Inside Passage awes explorers with miles and miles of wildlife-dotted fjords, tidewater glaciers, and vibrant forest scenery along the Pacific coast.

  24. Alaska Inside Passage Cruises Videos

    Unless otherwise indicated above, all cruise rates are per person, double occupancy, cruise-only without airfare, do not include government taxes and fees and quoted in in U.S. dollars.

  25. Alaska Cruise Port Guide: Everything You Need To Know

    Popular cruise ports include Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, and Skagway. The cruise season in Alaska runs from late April to early October. High season falls between June and August, offering the warmest weather. Shoulder season months of April, May, and September provide better deals. Departure ports include Seward, Juneau, Vancouver, and Seattle.

  26. 25 BEST Alaska Cruises 2024 (Prices

    20% off all voyages in 2023 and 2024. $600 in premium drinks per cabin on sailings of at least 7 nights. Includes 20+ eateries, fitness classes, tips, WiFi. Book by November 15th!

  27. More Access to Wildlife and Glaciers, New Experiences and Tours for All

    Yukon & Denali Cruisetours range from nine to 18 days and include either a three- or four-day Inside Passage cruise on Koningsdam or Zaandam or a seven-day Glacier Discovery cruise on Nieuw ...

  28. Alaska Cruises from Seattle

    Experience the Great Land on a 7-day Alaska Inside Passage cruise from Seattle. Follow in the footsteps of the Yukon Gold Rush on an Alaska cruise from Seattle to some of the world's most scenic wonders. With convenient weekend departures and proximity to the Great Land, a cruise to Alaska from Seattle allows you to leave when you want, and ...