Alaska Inside Passage Cruises
Alaska Inside Passage Cruise Overview
An Inside Passage cruise takes passengers through a 500-mile stretch of water along the southwest coast of Alaska, weaving in between thousands of islands, coves, and fjords known simply as Alaska's Inside Passage. In between ports, passengers will view enormous glaciers as they slowly make their way down the mountains and into the Pacific Ocean.
Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is a popular Alaskan cruise port. It's a great place to view wildlife such as bald eagles, seals, and humpback whales. Juneau is also home to Mendenhall Glacier, which may be viewed from above via helicopter ride.
The town of Skagway transports visitors back to the Gold Rush era of the late 19th century. Downtown is filled with quaint, frontier-style shops. Skagway also offers Inside Passage cruisers a wide array of activities, including horseback expeditions, climbing lessons, fishing charters, and adventures along the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.
Most Inside Passage cruises also make a stop in the city of Ketchikan. Nicknamed "Alaska's First City," Ketchikan is generally one of the first destinations on an Inside Passage cruise itinerary. It's home to some great shopping and dining as well as Tongass Rainforest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world.
Inside Passage cruises often sail past Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in America. Watch as large chunks of ice break off and fall into the bay.
Glacier Bay contains some of the most scenic views found anywhere in Alaska. Cruise through this 65-mile fjord while gazing out at Glacier Bay National Park's 16 magnificent glaciers.
Gulf of Alaska Cruise Activities & Attractions
Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter Ride: A 55-minute helicopter tour takes passengers 7,000 ft. in the air and over the Glacier. Transportation time from the dock to the glacier and back is approximately 45 minutes.
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad: A railway tour of scenic Skagway. The White Pass and Yukon Route was built in 1898 as part of Alaska's Klondike Gold Rush.
Stephen's Passage: Witness bald eagles soaring overhead and seals swimming down below. In the summer months, you may also be able to see humpback whales feeding. Located in Juneau.
Trail of '98 Museum: This museum houses artifacts from the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Located in downtown Skagway and connected to City Hall.
Ketchikan Creek: The main shopping and dining district in Ketchikan.
Chilkoot Dog Sledding: Take a dog sled ride on a wheeled sleigh and see historic Gold Rush sights in Skagway.
Totem Bight State Historical Park: See amazing recreations of 14 original totem poles. Located in Ketchikan.
Misty Fjords Tours: See the beauty of the Misty Fjords from a floatplane or a catamaran. Tours depart from Ketchikan.
Deer Mountain Hatchery: View bald eagles in the hatchery and watch as thousands of salmon swim around their holding pools. Located in Ketchikan, within walking distance of the port.
Alaska Inside Passage Cruises Climate
Alaskan cruises are normally offered during the summer months (between May and September). Temperatures range from the mid-50s to the 70s during the day, but can drop into the 40s once the sun goes down. The Inside Passage is insulated from the Pacific Ocean, making the waters less choppy.
Alaska Inside Passage Cruise Embarkation Ports
Most Inside Passage cruises last 7 nights and sail roundtrip from Seattle, San Francisco, or Vancouver, British Columbia. There are also a handful of one-way Inside Passage cruises that depart from either San Francisco or Los Angeles and end in Vancouver. These cruises are generally between 11 and 13 nights long.