Gearing up for a summer trip to the Last Frontier? Summer is the season to visit Alaska, and these five Alaska cruise line itineraries will have you packing your bags and raring to go. (Just be sure to remember that down jacket – it still gets chilly, even in July.)
5.) Princess Inside Passage with Glacier Bay National Park
This seven-day inside passage cruise is perfect for the person who wants to get the basic experienceof coastal Alaska. As we’ll discuss later on, most of Alaska is inland, and some Alaska cruise lines have created special “land and sea” tours to address that, but this Princess tour just covers all the stops you would expect to cover on the inside passage.
You’ll depart from Vancouver, British Columbia, and spend your first day and a half at sea. Your first stop will be Juneau on Day 3. Juneau is Alaska’s state capital as well as the state’s third-largest city. Nestled in the mountains, Juneau is inaccessible by roads, so all traffic is by boat or plane only.
Mendenhall Glacier is a popular place for visitors to experience, and if you’re one who’s more for indoor fun, the Alaska State Museum is a treat as well. If you’re hungry, Deckhand Dave’s is an unassuming but highly popular spot to stop.
Overnight, you’ll sail from Juneau to Skagway. Skagway is a town from the Gold Rush era, and though it was once a hub for ambitious prospectors, now the town’s population hovers around 1,000 year-round residents. I would recommend the Bennett Train Journey on the White Pass Rail. Any opportunity to ride a train in Alaska is an easy “yes,” in my book. Thereis just so much amazing scenery to take in, and the trains often cut a swath right through the middle of the most bustling areas of forest.
The next day, you’ll take a scenic cruise through Glacier Bay National Park. Park rangers will share their knowledge of the area and answer any questions you may have as you bob through the park’s pristine waters. Glaciers are amazing to see in person, and I urge you never to pass up an opportunity to see one.
Your last stop before returning to Vancouver is Ketchikan. Ketchikan, like many stops along Southeast Alaska and the Inside Passage, is typically a fairly rainy city. Remember to pack your favorite raincoat for bustling around any of these destinations. I would recommend the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour to get a taste of the commercial fishing lifestyle that sustains many Alaskans. If you’re tired of boats and want to rest up on shore, try the Alaska Fish House to fuel up before your return on Vancouver.
Here’s an example of your itinerary.
You’ll be cruising on the Island Princess, the Coral Princess or the Golden Princess. All feature at least 2,000 lower berths and boast at least 895 crew members. Cruises start from $849.