Alaskan Cruises – What’s the Deal?
Cruising around the state of Alaska is now becoming the in thing to do. Forget Med cruises, or heading off to the Caribbean, if you want to see raw, natural landscapes and something totally different to what you may have seen before, then it’s Alaska all the way.
Of course, all this amazement comes at a price, but everything in life does. If you are lucky enough to be setting sail on a cruise of this magnitude, you will probably leave from one of three popular points – Vancouver, San Francisco, or Seattle. These are all must visit places in their own right, with plenty to see for a spot of city break fun, but once you board your ship, the real fun starts.
Alaska isn’t about ice, that’s probably a misconception, because this huge US state is mysterious, culturally diverse, and has countless miles of scenic coastline, making it a huge pull for nature and wildlife lovers. Huge, imposing mountains, awesome glaciers, icy cold waters which are sometimes calm and sometimes definitely not, surprisingly lush rainforests, arctic tundra, and of course, the wildlife that makes this part of the world famous. You cannot fail to be amazed.
Most cruises stop at the major points along the Alaskan coastline, such as:
Ketchikan – This is probably the most cultural part of the coastline, as it was the centre of former Tlingit Indian culture. You’ll see remnants of this all around, as well as a clear influence on daily life. Creek Street is the city’s main attraction, with stores and restaurants. This is also where you can easily find a tour to Tongass National Forest and Misty Fjords for fishing
Juneau – This is the capital of Alaska, so you will find most cruises stop here. You can easily do plenty of outdoor sports here, such as kayaking or canoeing, and you can head onto land and hike to Mendenhall Glacier. If that sounds too much like hard work, the Mount Roberts Tramway takes you to look at amazing views.
Skagway – Once home to Tlingit Indians, before the Russians invaded and moved in, this means you will see plenty of historical architecture, such as St Michael’s Cathedral and the Russian Bishop’s House. Great for history buffs and a break from full on wildlife spotting.
Aside from these three major towns and cities you have the scenic cruising that Alaska is known for, with Tracy Arm, Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, College Fjord and Sawyer Glacier all must see points.
Shore activities are plentiful, and when you dock at the major cities, it is obviously a case of exploring, shopping, historical museums and sights etc, but you will find all the major outdoor sporting activities you would expect from a place of such natural importance. Your Alaskan cruise is best undertaken around June to August, as this is the warmest part of the year and you can expect to see more in the way of diverse wildlife, and it is also a good time for fishing. The cruise season however does run from May to September.