From stunning views of untamed wilderness to the quiet charm of mountain living, Alaska cruise ports have a lot to offer to tourists who voyage to them. It may not seem like the most obvious destination for a cruise, but with the summer months fast approaching, the season is upon us for travelers from around the world to cruise on up to the 49th state and get in touch with their wild side. So put your swimsuits away and prepare to trade in your mai tais for a cool homebrewed draft; we’re headed to the Last Frontier with 5 popular cruise destinations that you won’t want to miss!
#1 of the Alaska Cruise Ports for Seeing Glaciers: Glacier Bay National Park
First on our list of Alaska cruise ports is Glacier Bay National Park, although calling it a port is a little bit of a misnomer. That is because when cruise ships come here, they don’t actually dock. Instead, cruise ships provide a day of scenic cruising from a safe distance, so as to not disturb the wildlife and untouched ecosystem that resides here. The park itself is located in Southeast Alaska, just west of Juneau, and is made up of over 5,000 square miles of pristine Alaskan wilderness. Glacier Bay is a large, fjord-like body of water surrounded by snow-capped mountains, untamed forests, and massive glaciers where you can see puffins, harbor seals. sea lions, and possibly even brown bears and humpback whales, if you are lucky. The best reason to cruise to Alaska is to see untamed wilderness, and Glacier Bay National Park may well be the best place to do that.
For a Good Beer: Skagway
Next up, we’ve got the small town of Skagway, an Alaska cruise port tucked away in the mountains and surrounded by immense wilderness and natural beauty. This is a very common stop for ships that cruise to Alaska, but it is not easily accessible by other means, so it is well worth taking a cruise with Skagway on its itinerary. Unsurprisingly, hiking is one of the main attractions in this mountainous retreat with its various trails out into the wilderness. But the town also has a good bit of history, being an important port during the Klondike Gold Rush, and remnants like the White Pass & Yukon route railroad and the Red Onion Saloon are sure to excite any history buffs that come here. Cruise lines that come to this Alaska cruise port also offer dog sledding excursions, which is not an experience you’re going to find in many other places!
The Salmon and Totem Pole Capital: Ketchikan
On the Southern tip of Alaska right next to British Columbia, you will find Ketchikan, another popular destination for a cruise to Alaska. Ketchikan has all the things that make an Alaska cruise port appealing to travelers — stunning landscapes, magnificent wildlife, and charming small-town culture — but what really sets it apart is indigenous artifacts peppered throughout the town. Visitors will find over 80 totem poles of varying shapes and sizes all over town, with even more stored at the Totem Heritage Center, where more delicate pieces are preserved in climate controlled displays. This is also a great place to see bears in the wild at the Anan Wildlife Observatory, which is only accessible by air. In the summer months, salmon swim upstream by the thousands to spawn, which attracts bears who come to enjoy a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet. Bon appetite!
The Most Well Known of the Alaska Cruise Ports: Juneau
Juneau is the capital of Alaska and easily one of the most well known and frequently visited Alaska cruise ports. Being Alaska’s third largest city by population means that there are many more dining options here, so you’ll want to grab a bite to eat in town while you are here. Stop by the famous Red Dog Saloon for a duck fart shot (yes, you read that correctly), a layered shot of Kahlúa coffee liqueur, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Crown Royal Canadian Whisky as a float on top. Or head to Tracy’s King Crab Shack for some fresh caught crab. Once you’re nice and full, take The Goldbelt Tram up to Mount Roberts to experience a panoramic, breathtaking view of Juneau. Any cruise to Alaska is going to include some spectacular glaciers, and this is where you can see the Mendenhall Glacier, one of the more well known glaciers in Alaska.
For Amazing Wildlife: Sitka
From one of the largest Alaska cruise ports to one of the smallest; Sitka is less than one mile from end to end with a population just over 8,000, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do here. In fact, this is one of the best places to see bears in the wild. Head to the Fortress of the Bear to get your chance to see these magnificent creatures from the safety of a covered viewing platform, behind indoor balcony windows, or through ground level windows. Sitka is also right by Tongass National Forest, which just so happens to be the largest national forest in the United States. As you can imagine, there is no shortage of hiking trails leading up into the mountains and through the massive forest. There’s no better reason to cruise to Alaska than to get up close and personal with the wildlife, and there’s no better place for that than Sitka. It also just so happens to be the setting for the movie “The Proposal” with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock!
When you’re ready to check out all the itineraries for Alaska cruises, visit Cruises.com — we can help you book the smart way! We give you our exclusive bonus offers and all qualifying cruise line offers, plus all of the cruise line loyalty program benefits. Book online at Cruises.com or call 800-288-6006 today.