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Alaska Inside Passage Cruises

Alaska Inside Passage Highlights

At more than 1,000 miles long, the Inside Passage is the longest protected waterway in the world. Stretching from Puget Sound in Washington State to Skagway in Alaska, the Inside Passage is also notable for its unusually calm waters.

Alaska, America's 49th and largest state, is loaded with Native American culture. It's home to the largest collection of totem poles in the United States. Alaska is also known as "America's Last Frontier." Cruises to the frontier range from 7 to 23 days; one-way voyages are available, but Inside Passage cruises usually sail roundtrip.

Alaska Inside Passage Ports Of Call

Cruises to Alaska's Inside Passage stop in four major destinations – Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, and Ketchikan – each with its own unique style and identity. Other stops on your Alaskan itinerary may include Anchorage, Icy Strait, Prince Rupert, Denali National Park, Haines, Glacier Bay, and Vancouver, British Columbia (or Victoria, British Columbia), Canada.

Popular Alaska Inside Passage cruise destinations include:

Juneau: The capital of Alaska is also its third-most populated city.

Skagway: The "Garden City of Alaska" became a popular destination during the 19th century's Alaskan Gold Rush. Many historic buildings have been restored to help recreate the look of the city during its heyday.

Sitka: The former "Russian Capital of North America," Sitka is the only city in Southeast Alaska that's located on the Pacific Ocean.

Ketchikan: Nicknamed the "Salmon Capital of the World," Ketchikan is home to Creek Street, quite possibly the most photographed street on the planet. It's also home to the largest collection of totem poles in the Northwest.

Icy Strait: Cruisers visiting Icy Strait will truly experience the breathtaking natural wilderness that's the hallmark of America's 49th state. Alaska's newest port of call, Icy Strait allows just one cruise ship to dock per day.

Prince Rupert, British Columbia: Prince Rupert, home to North America's deepest harbor, is also known as the "Halibut Capital of the World" It's also one of the oldest continuously occupied regions on Earth.

Vancouver, British Columbia: This Canadian city is a popular point of departure for many Alaskan and Pacific Coast cruises. One of Vancouver's most famous attractions is the Seawall, a magnificent pathway that stretches for over 13 miles.

Victoria, British Columbia: The capital of British Columbia, Victoria is home to numerous historic landmarks and attractions.

Glacier Bay: This Alaskan National Park and Preserve is home to the planet's highest concentration of tidewater glaciers. When it comes to "calving," these glaciers are the most active in the world.

Haines: A quaint town located in Southeastern Alaska. Not all cruises stop here, but ferries traveling to and from Skagway – which are the fastest in the world – are available.

Alaska Inside Passage Activities & Attractions

Glacier Bay Sites: Attractions include Tarr Inlet, Johns Hopkins Inlet, and the Takhinsha Mountains.

Haines Activities: Options include museums, biking, sightseeing, and historic Fort Seward.

Haines Golf: Tee off at Valley of the Eagles Golf Links.

Juneau Attractions: Highlights include Mount Roberts Tramway, the Red Dog Saloon, the Alaska State Museum, the Gastineau Salmon Hatchery, the Governor's Mansion, the Alaska Gastineau Mill, and the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Juneau Excursions: Choices include helicopter tours, flight tours, sport fishing, glacier hiking, kayaking, panning for gold, goldmine tours, canoeing, white water rafting and whale watching.

Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show: Live entertainment/events. Available in Ketchikan.

Ketchikan Attractions: Activities include self-guided hiking, biking, sport fishing, whale watching, cultural tours, semi-submersible boat trips, snorkeling, and kayaking.

Ketchikan Excursions: Options include hiking (Deer Mountain), deep sea fishing, fly fishing, Misty Fjords flight tours, cultural performances, jet boat tours, snorkeling, narrated helicopter tours, motorcycle tours, off-road go carting, forest hiking, canopy tours, horse-drawn trolley tours, wilderness cruises, mountain biking, and kayaking.

Ketchikan Shopping: Shops are available on Creek Street and Stedman Street.

Sitka Attractions: Highlights include the Alaska Raptor Center, St. Michael's Cathedral, the Russian Bishop's House, totem poles, Sitka National Historical Park & Visitor Center, Tlingit Fort, Tlingit Clan House, Sitka Pioneers' Home, the Baranof Castle ruins, Castle Hill, Eagle Flight Center, Whale Park, and the Sheldon Jackson Museum.

Skagway Excursions: Options include historic walking tours, canoeing, flight tours, kayaking, rock climbing, rappelling, helicopter tours, nature hikes, biking tours, streetcar tours, and the chance to pan for gold.

Icy Strait Excursions: Choices include forest tours, bike tours, salmon fishing, trips to the nearby village of Hoonah, tours of the historical Cannery, the Remote Bush Exploration & Wildlife Search, and flight tours of Glacier Bay National Park.

Icy Strait Attractions: Highlights include Hoonah Village, the Native Heritage Center Theater, and the Cannery Museum.

Prince Rupert Attractions: Attractions include the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, the First Nations Carving Shed, the shops of Cow Bay, Butze Rapids, Oliver Lake, Totem Park, the Sunken Gardens, the Museum of Northern British Columbia, the North Pacific Cannery, Kwinitsa Station Railway Museum, the Firehall Museum, and the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village.

Prince Rupert Excursions: Activities include wall climbing, rappelling, walking tours, nature walks, hiking, kayaking, river tours, cultural tours, helicopter tours, sport fishing, salmon fishing, and canoeing.

Vancouver Shopping: Great shopping opportunities are available at the Pacific Centre and the Sinclair Centre, as well as along Robson Street and Granville Street.

Vancouver Attractions: Highlights include False Creek, the BC Sports Hall Of Fame Museum, Queen Elizabeth Park, the Museum of Anthropology, Capilano Canyon, the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, Lonsdale Quay, historical Gastown, Chinatown, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Yaletown, Coal Harbour's waterfront area, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Grouse Mountain, and the Steveston fishing village.

Granville Island: A short ferry ride from Vancouver. Granville is home to museums, a public market, a maritime market, a brewery, Vanier Park, and Telus Science World.

Vancouver Excursions: Choices include gondola rides, biking, hiking, kayaking, city tours, and the Grouse Mountain Skyride.

Victoria Activities: Options include "high tea," daytime walking tours, lantern-lit walking tours, vineyard tours, scooter tours, biking, kayaking, and canoeing.

Victoria Sites: Attractions include the Parliament Buildings, the Empress Hotel, the Royal British Columbia Museum, Beacon Hill Park, Chinatown, Bastion Square, James Bay, Butchart Gardens, Tugwell Creek Honey Farm & Meadery, Marley Farm Winery, the Maritime Museum, Butterfly Gardens, Fort Victoria, Craigdarroch Castle, the Lt. Governor's Mansion, and Mt. Tolmie Lookout.

Victoria Shopping: One-of-a-kind antiques can be found in the shops along Fort Street.

Victoria Golf: Highlights include the courses at Bear Mountain Resort and the Olympic View Gold Club.

When To Visit Alaska

Unlike popular cruise destinations located south of the continental United States, Alaska does not enjoy pleasant weather year-round. May is generally considered to be Alaska's driest month, while the region's warmer months – April through September – are considered the peak season for Alaska cruise travel. The weather can be quite unpredictable, so pack for both warm and cool temperatures. Raingear is also recommended when you're packing for an Alaskan cruise.