USA & Canada | Destination Guides

Why a cruise is an amazing way to explore Alaska

Recently updated on July 27th, 2023 at 04:36 pm

Snow-capped mountains, scenic river valleys and stunning fjords. Blue-green glaciers and lakes surrounded by forests. It’s no small wonder that Alaska is known as The Last Frontier – it is by far the biggest, wildest state in the US, and for that reason, it can be one of the most challenging to explore. The Malaspina Glacier alone is bigger than Rhode Island. Stretching more than 13 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite and Switzerland combined!

mountain and blue body of water under sky

So what better way to explore this magnificent state than by boat. Embrace the call of the wild without sacrificing any creature comforts – steering clear of any crowds too. Alaska has more miles of coastline than all other US states combined, and a cruise helps you make the most of them. Admire breathtaking scenery from a unique vantage point, dip in and out of inland attractions such as the Northern Lights, and enjoy up-close experiences with marine wildlife and Alaska’s rich cultural heritage. Still unsure whether a cruise is for you? Here are the things that we think make a cruise in Alaska so special…

GET INSPIRED BY: Majestic Alaska

man using bicycle on snow

Get up close to Glaciers

Alaska is full of glaciers and some of the best, unspoiled views of these ginormous natural sculptures are enjoyed from the water. From a cruising boat, you’ll spot sweeping icefields and rippling glaciers. You’ll never get used to being dwarfed by a 600-foot ice wall from the vantage point of a cruise deck – the awe will stay with you for years to come. They’re sometimes so close the air frosts to your face, and they can be near enough to see huge, calving chunks fall as if in slow motion.

RELATED CONTENT: Where to go and what to do in Alaska

body of water near snow covered mountain during daytime

A front-row seat to wildlife

Cruising is a rare opportunity to see marine life in its natural habitat. Spot seals, sea lions and porpoises as you cruise Prince William Sound, the world’s most dense concentration of tidewater glaciers, or get up close with humpback whales in Kenai Fjords National Park. 

For nature-lovers, a trip to The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is an absolute must. You’ll have the opportunity to talk with a local specialist who talk you through (and hopefully be able to point out) the Big Five: grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolves and the wild Dall sheep. 

RELATED CONTENT: Seven photos of Alaska that will make you want to visit now

brown moose on brown grass during daytime

Excellent excursions inland

Staying on board all the time would skim over some of the state’s natural wonders, so be sure to include a couple of inland excursions. A trip to Denali is almost always at the top of most explorers lists. This colossal national park, home to the highest mountain in North America, is accessed by just the one road, a 92-mile strip given over to narrated tour coaches and transit buses operated by the National Park Service. Once inside you can hike, ice climb or even go white water rafting, and a guide will be able to talk you through insights into the Subarctic flora and fauna of the park, as well as the parks efforts to encourage sustainable travel which include a strict leave-no-trace policy.

GET INSPIRED BY: Iconic Rockies and Western Canada

empty road with mountain in distance

It’s easy

Much of Alaska is covered by rugged mountains, giant glaciers and wide bodies of water, with plenty of unspoiled wilderness in between. It’s not impossible to visit on your own, but planning an itinerary would probably involve several planes, trains, cars and ferries. By choosing a cruise, you can focus on experiencing the destination with an expert Travel Director to tell you the stories behind America’s 49th state and take care of the finer details of your journey. 

woman stands overlooking a large open lake

Alaska is the ultimate bucket-list experience. If it’s already on yours, consider crossing it off now or booking for 2022.

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