The Inside Passage of Alaska is one of the most incredible cruise experiences in the world. The Inside Passage extends for 1,000 miles, and is a narrow waterway in southeastern Alaska. An Alaskan cruise is unlike cruises in which the shipboard activity is non stop. This is a cruise for those who want to experience breathtaking scenery and wildlife up close. Outdoors enthusiasts love Alaskan cruises for the opportunities to enjoy nature at a leisurely pace. Cruises can be booked to cruise the entire Inside Passage, or particular areas of interest.
Advantages of an Inside Passage Cruise
Since small cruise ships carry fewer passengers, there's more personalized service. Passengers have the opportunity to meet each other as well as the crew. The ships have the advantage of docking at small villages, and taking passengers to areas never seen by passengers on larger ships. Inflatable rafts take you to view glaciers up close and photograph wildlife on onshore excursions. Another advantage is that the captain has the option of allowing passengers to remain in one area a little longer to photograph scenery or wildlife.
Inside Passage Itineraries
To find the cruise that's right for you, you have to determine how much time you have, what your budget is, what areas you want to see, and the type of cruise you want to take. The itineraries will vary depending on if you want to travel on a large ship, take an adventure cruise, or enjoy a small ship experience. Cruises that depart from Seattle or Vancouver are generally 7 days in length, and have flexible flights to both cities. The cruise usually will take you as far as Ketchikan, where you'll learn about the local history and cultures. Vancouver cruises 3 or 4 ports, and allow a day in each. Some of the Alaskan ports are Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Icy Point Straight, Wrangell, Haines, or Sitka. Alaska Glacier Cruises sail one way to the areas where the largest number of glaciers, mountains, and wildlife are. Some of the same ports are visited as on an Inside Passage Cruise. Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier are two of the destinations. Longer cruises give visitors the opportunity to cruise the Passage and visit Fairbanks, Anchorage, Mt. McKinley, and Denali National Park.
Activities on an Inside Passage Cruise
A unique feature of an Inside Passage cruise is that there are so many opportunities to experience local culture of diverse communities. You can explore the port or plan special onshore excursions to glaciers, take a helicopter tour, fish, go whale watching, or hiking. Photograph moose, wolves, caribou, and bears in Denali National Park. A Kenai Peninsula river rafting, wildlife tours, and fishing trips. The small ship experience offers passengers sailing to the Inside Passage provides the experience for lectures and enrichment programs by experts about wildlife and local culture. It's a more intimate and casual experience than on a larger ship since all passengers dine at the same time without assigned seating and can leisurely watch the incredible scenery from the deck.