You’ve decided to take an Alaska cruise. How exciting! Heading north on a majestic ocean liner, you’ll pass by and gaze at landscapes that are truly unique compared to anywhere else in the country and amazingly, still very untouched.
As more are clamoring to see The Last Frontier, we help you make the most of an Alaska cruise with unforgettable excursion suggestions.
Alaska cruise lines offer excursions that cater to your sense of adventure
Whether you want to fly through the air or cruise on the sea, Alaska cruise lines have you covered. On Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl you can strap up for some fun at Bear Creek Zipline in Ketchikan. There you’ll zip along through an eco-rainforest adventure that features seven zip lines, ten tree platforms, and two rappelling elements! If you prefer to stay grounded, try your oar at some sea kayaking in Juneau, where you may just meet up with a few furry friends.
Consider the Inside Passage
Alaska cruises allow you to getting up close and personal with glaciers for an experience that is unlike what you’d experience anywhere else and tour companies offer excursions in the air, or on land or sea that allow you to make the most of your time amidst nature’s intimidating and awe-inspiring structures.
A cruise to Glacier Bay National Park with Holland America Line takes you to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or alternatively, to Tracy Arm, winding your boat through a narrow, twisting, 30-mile-long fjord that ends at the twin Sawyer glaciers.
Disney’s “5-Glacier Seaplane Exploration” lets you see not only one, but five glaciers as you fly over Tongass National Forest in a seaplane. Can’t decide? No problem! Norwegian offers the opportunity to explore Alaska by air, water and ice on their “Taku Glacier Adventure”! You’ll fly over Juneau, the Tongass National Forest, Juneau Ice Field, Gastineau Channel, and Taku River, all the way up to Taku Point, and you’ll meet the only advancing glacier of the Juneau Ice Field.
Take in a bit of history
Jack London’s tales come to life as you explore Alaska’s history through the eyes of both the Native people and visitors that flocked there to strike it rich. On Royal Caribbean’s “Alaska Gold Rush Highlights” excursion, you’ll learn about Skagway’s place in the Historic Gold Rush as you follow a gold miner’s journey along the scenic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway, viewing historic and picturesque landmarks, and even trying your luck by panning for gold. If it’s more cultural experience you seek, immerse yourself in the Mysteries & Traditions of the North Coast Native People tour from Norwegian, where you’ll witness the region’s traditional dancing, be regaled ancient stories and songs and even sample some local delicacies.
Be one with nature
Get off one boat and board another to take in some whale watching. On a tour in Juneau, you never know what you may encounter. Keep your eyes peeled for humpback and killer whales, sea lions, porpoises, harbor seals, bald eagles, bears and deer. Other excursions may include a stop in Skagway and a ride into Alaska’s heart through the Dyea valley, learning about the area’s gold rush past.
If animals aren’t your thing, enjoy nature, including the storied Mendenhall Glacier. And finally, if leisure is more your cup of tea, Disney allows you to enjoy just that on your stop in Victoria, B.C. with a traditional afternoon tea in the world-famous Butchart Gardens.
Eat like a local
If your favorite part of traveling is eating, then an Alaska cruise has got you covered! While cruise ship dining often highlights regional cuisine, off-shore excursions will give you a more in-depth look (and taste of) Alaska’s bounty.
From the Disney Wonder, you can “Cook your Catch in Ketchikan,” or participate in a salmon bake in Juneau. Royal Caribbean’s “Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary and Crab Feast Wildlife Viewing” will ensure you work up an appetite during a hike through a rainforest sanctuary teeming with black bear, salmon, deer, eagles and other birds before diving into a Dungeness crab feast. And the deliciousness doesn’t end when you get back in town; Royal Caribbean’s “Distillery, Craft Beer and Evening Market” in Victoria, B.C. takes you to visit on local Victoria Distillers, browse the Sidney Street Market, and sample Canadian beers as well as premium spirits.
Meet our neighbors to the north
If your Alaska cruise departs from Vancouver, B.C., plan to come early or stay late to give yourself some time to hang around town a few days, for there is no shortage of things to do in this port town. Eat your way through Chinatown, get lost on Stanley Island or take in the shops in Gastown.
Royal Caribbean offers city cruise tours that will help you maximize your last precious vacation hours before you head to the airport. If Vancouver is not your port of call, not to worry! Many Alaska cruises stop in Canada, and even if you have just a few hours, it’ll be enough to take in some sights, eats and history, if you’re so inclined. Holland America’s “Victoria Highlights & Craigdarroch Castle,” shows you not only the sights of Inner Harbor but also explores Craigdarroch, the old home of Victoria’s famous coal family.
Take advantage of the impending off season
Alaska cruise deals may be easier to find if you plan your trip closer to Labor Day, when Alaska cruising season ends for the winter.
Not only will you be able to find deals with the cruise companies themselves, but when stopping in port cities such as Ketchikan, you’ll find vendors trying to clear their inventory with deal busting end of the season sales! It’s a shopper’s delight, for sure!
What’s your excursion style? Tell us in the comments.
Have you booked your Alaska cruise vacation yet? Explore cruise vacations and deals with AAA.