Welcome to the breathtaking beauty of Alaska, a land of towering mountains, pristine glaciers, and abundant wildlife. Alaska offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those seeking adventure and natural wonders in one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth. One of the best ways to explore this vast and diverse state is through an Alaskan cruise.
An Alaskan cruise provides the perfect opportunity to witness the majestic glaciers, observe incredible wildlife, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous people. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, Alaska offers a plethora of excursions that will leave you in awe.
From exploring Glacier Bay National Park, home to magnificent glaciers and abundant marine life, to venturing into Denali National Park, with its vast wilderness and iconic Mount McKinley, there is something for everyone on an Alaskan cruise.
Throughout this article, we will delve into the top excursions to consider when planning your Alaskan cruise. From glacier visits to wildlife encounters and cultural experiences, Alaska has it all. So buckle up and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as we explore the wonders that await you in the land of the midnight sun.
Explore Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-see destination on your Alaskan cruise. This incredible park is home to some of the most awe-inspiring glaciers in the world.
As you sail through Glacier Bay, you’ll witness an array of magnificent tidewater glaciers, including the famous Margerie Glacier and the massive Grand Pacific Glacier. The sheer size and beauty of these glaciers will leave you speechless as they calve into the icy waters below, creating a truly mesmerizing spectacle.
But it’s not just about the glaciers. Glacier Bay National Park is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including sea lions, harbor seals, porpoises, humpback whales, and even the occasional orca. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of bird species, including puffins, bald eagles, and the majestic golden eagles.
Exploring Glacier Bay National Park can be done in several ways. Many cruise ships offer narrated tours, providing you with fascinating information about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife. You can also opt for a smaller boat excursion, allowing you to get up close and personal with the glaciers and wildlife. Kayaking and hiking opportunities are also available for those looking to experience the park from a more active perspective.
Visiting Glacier Bay National Park is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories of Alaska’s natural beauty. It’s a must-see destination for any traveler embarking on an Alaskan cruise.
Visit the Mendenhall Glacier
Located just outside of Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier is a spectacular sight that should not be missed on your Alaskan cruise. This massive glacier stretches over 12 miles long and is nestled within the Tongass National Forest.
Upon arrival at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the formation and movement of glaciers and the unique ecosystem they create. The center also offers stunning panoramic views of the glacier, making it the perfect spot for photo enthusiasts.
For a closer look at the glacier, take a guided hike along the Mendenhall Glacier Trail. This trail will lead you to the face of the glacier, where you can witness the intense blue hues and intricate crevasses up close. It’s a truly humbling experience to stand before the immense power and beauty of the glacier.
If you prefer a more adventurous approach, consider taking a kayak tour on Mendenhall Lake. Paddle among icebergs while enjoying a unique perspective of the glacier. You may even spot wildlife such as bald eagles or black bears along the shoreline.
For those seeking an adrenaline rush, helicopter tours are also available, offering breathtaking aerial views of the Mendenhall Glacier and surrounding mountains. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the grandeur of the glacier from above.
Visiting the Mendenhall Glacier is an incredible experience that allows you to witness the power and beauty of these natural wonders up close. It’s a highlight of any trip to Alaska and an excursion that will leave you in awe.
Discover the Wildlife of Denali National Park
Denali National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Spanning over six million acres, it is home to a diverse range of animal species and offers unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing.
The star attraction of Denali National Park is undoubtedly the majestic Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. As you explore the park, keep your eyes peeled for sightings of grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves, and foxes. The park is also home to more than 160 species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.
One of the best ways to experience the wildlife of Denali National Park is to take a guided bus tour along the Denali Park Road. The road stretches for 92 miles into the heart of the park, allowing for unrivaled access to its wilderness. Knowledgeable park rangers will provide insightful commentary about the park’s ecosystem and point out wildlife sightings along the way.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider embarking on a hiking or backpacking expedition in Denali. With numerous trails ranging from easy walks to challenging treks, you can immerse yourself in the park’s untouched beauty and potentially spot wildlife along the way.
Keep in mind that Denali National Park is a protected area, and access is restricted to preserve its natural environment. It is highly recommended to book your excursions in advance and follow all park regulations to ensure minimal impact on the fragile ecosystem.
Exploring the wildlife of Denali National Park is a thrilling experience that allows you to connect with nature in its purest form. It’s a chance to witness the incredible diversity of Alaska’s wildlife and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Take a Scenic Cruise Through Tracy Arm Fjord
If you’re seeking a truly breathtaking and picturesque experience, a scenic cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord is a must-do excursion on your Alaskan cruise. Located southeast of Juneau, Tracy Arm Fjord boasts stunning landscapes and natural wonders that will leave you in awe.
As your cruise ship navigates through the narrow channels of the fjord, you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs, icy blue glaciers, and cascading waterfalls. The scenery is simply jaw-dropping, offering endless opportunities for photographers to capture the beauty of this majestic landscape.
One of the highlights of a cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord is witnessing the Sawyer Glaciers. These massive tidewater glaciers descend from the rugged peaks and calve into the fjord with a thunderous roar. Watching huge chunks of ice break off and plunge into the frigid waters is a sight that will stay with you forever.
Throughout the cruise, keep an eye out for wildlife that call the fjord home. You may spot seals lounging on ice floes or even catch a glimpse of elusive mountain goats scaling the steep cliffs. Additionally, the fjord is frequented by humpback whales, so be sure to have your camera ready for a chance to witness their spectacular breaching and tail-slapping displays.
Many cruise ships offer narrated tours during the cruise, providing fascinating insights into the geological wonders and the rich history of the area. You’ll learn about the forces that shaped the fjord and the importance of conservation efforts to preserve its pristine beauty.
A scenic cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord is a truly unforgettable experience. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the untouched wilderness of Alaska, surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty that will leave a lasting impression.
Experience the Culture of Skagway
Skagway, a historic town nestled in the Inside Passage of Alaska, offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the rich cultural heritage of the Klondike Gold Rush era. This charming town is known for its well-preserved buildings from the late 19th century, providing a glimpse into its storied past.
One of the must-visit attractions in Skagway is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Here, you can explore the visitor center and museum to learn about the hardships faced by the gold prospectors who flocked to this region in search of riches. Take a guided walking tour through the town and imagine what life was like during this bustling gold rush period.
If you’re feeling adventurous, embark on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway journey. This scenic train ride takes you along the infamous White Pass, offering breathtaking views of rugged mountains, deep gorges, and cascading waterfalls. As you traverse the same path taken by the gold seekers, you’ll truly appreciate the arduous journey they endured.
Skagway is also a gateway to the stunning wilderness of the nearby Yukon Territory. Consider taking a day trip to explore the rugged beauty of the area, from the picturesque Emerald Lake to the majestic Carcross Desert. You’ll be immersed in the raw natural beauty that captivated the hearts of thousands during the gold rush.
Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting Skagway’s quaint shops, breweries, and restaurants. Sample traditional Alaskan cuisine, such as fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients, or indulge in a craft beer brewed with the pure glacial waters of the region.
Don’t forget to explore the unique arts and crafts scene in Skagway. Discover handmade jewelry, pottery, and Native American artwork that reflects the vibrant cultural tapestry of Alaska.
Experiencing the culture of Skagway is like stepping into a living history book. From exploring the gold rush relics to indulging in local flavors, this town offers a fascinating blend of history, adventure, and authentic Alaskan charm.
Enjoy Whale Watching in Juneau
Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is renowned for its incredible whale watching opportunities. If you’re a fan of marine wildlife, this excursion should be at the top of your list during your Alaskan cruise.
As you set sail from Juneau, keep your eyes peeled for the telltale signs of humpback whales. These magnificent creatures migrate to the nutrient-rich waters of Alaska each year, offering visitors an incredible chance to witness their majestic beauty up close.
Whale watching tours in Juneau are typically guided by knowledgeable naturalists who provide insightful commentary about the behavior and biology of these gentle giants. They will help you spot not only humpback whales but also other marine wildlife, such as orcas, porpoises, sea lions, and seals.
One of the best areas to spot whales near Juneau is the serene Stephens Passage, known for its high concentration of whales. Be prepared to witness the awe-inspiring sight of whales breaching, tail-slapping, and feeding. Capturing these moments on camera is a photographer’s dream come true.
In addition to the incredible wildlife sightings, a whale watching tour in Juneau also presents the opportunity to soak in the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding landscape. The towering mountains, lush forests, and sparkling waters create a picturesque backdrop for this unforgettable experience.
Keep in mind that responsible whale watching practices are paramount to ensure the well-being of these creatures. Tour operators in Juneau adhere to strict guidelines to minimize disturbance to the whales and their natural habitat. It’s important to choose a reputable and eco-conscious tour provider that prioritizes the welfare of the animals.
Whale watching in Juneau is an awe-inspiring and humbling experience. It’s a chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat and gain a deeper appreciation for the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. Don’t miss this opportunity to create lifelong memories and connect with the wonders of Alaska’s marine life.
Go Dog Sledding in Ketchikan
If you’re looking for a unique and exhilarating adventure during your Alaskan cruise, don’t miss the opportunity to go dog sledding in Ketchikan. This thrilling excursion allows you to experience the power and grace of sled dogs as they whisk you through the Alaskan wilderness.
Ketchikan, known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” is nestled amidst the lush Tongass National Forest. It’s the perfect setting for dog sledding, as the forested trails offer a picturesque backdrop for this one-of-a-kind experience.
Upon arrival at the dog sledding camp, you’ll receive a warm welcome from a team of enthusiastic huskies who are eager to take you on a ride of a lifetime. These highly trained and energetic dogs are bred for endurance and speed, and their excitement is palpable as they prepare to embark on their run.
The exhilaration begins as you step onto the sled and feel the power of the dogs propelling you forward. Zoom through the forest, feel the crisp air on your face, and immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Your experienced musher will guide the dogs and share their knowledge and passion for dog sledding along the way.
As you glide through the snow-covered trails, take in the breathtaking scenery of towering trees, snow-capped mountains, and possibly even catch a glimpse of local wildlife. The tranquility of the surroundings enhances the exhilaration of dog sledding, making it a truly unforgettable experience.
After the ride, take the opportunity to meet and interact with the sled dogs up close. These incredible animals have a special bond with their mushers and are highly valued members of the team. Learn about their training, care, and the unique relationship between musher and canine athlete.
It’s important to note that dog sledding in Ketchikan operates in a responsible and ethical manner. The well-being of the dogs is always a priority, and operators ensure that the dogs receive proper care and rest between runs.
Embrace the thrill of dog sledding in Ketchikan and create memories that will last a lifetime. This exhilarating adventure allows you to connect with the remarkable sled dogs and experience the wild beauty of Alaska in a truly remarkable way.
Marvel at the Hubbard Glacier
Prepare to be awestruck as you witness the immense beauty of the Hubbard Glacier, one of the most stunning natural wonders in Alaska. Located near Yakutat Bay, the Hubbard Glacier is a behemoth of ice, stretching over 76 miles long and captivating visitors with its towering presence.
As your cruise ship approaches the glacier, you’ll be surrounded by the serene waters of Disenchantment Bay. The sheer size of the glacier is truly awe-inspiring, with walls of ice towering up to 400 feet above sea level. The brilliant shades of blue that radiate from the glacier are a testament to its ancient formation and centuries-old ice.
One of the most incredible aspects of the Hubbard Glacier is its active nature. Witnessing massive chunks of ice calving – breaking away from the glacier and crashing into the water – is a breathtaking sight. The thunderous roar and the resulting waves provide a thrilling spectacle that showcases the raw power of nature.
Many cruise lines offer the opportunity to get even closer to the Hubbard Glacier through smaller boat or kayak excursions. These experiences allow you to navigate through the floating ice chunks and witness the grandeur of the glacier from a more intimate perspective.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife during your visit to the Hubbard Glacier. Seals can often be seen lounging on ice floes, and you might even spot a variety of bird species, including bald eagles, as they soar above the icy landscape.
It’s important to note that the Hubbard Glacier is constantly advancing and retreating, making each visit a unique experience. The icy beauty and ever-changing nature of this glacier make it a highlight of any Alaskan cruise.
Marveling at the Hubbard Glacier is a humbling experience that highlights the power and grandeur of Alaska’s natural wonders. Prepare to be captivated by its immense beauty and witness a spectacle that will leave a lasting impression.
Take a Helicopter Tour to the Misty Fjords National Monument
For an unforgettable adventure, consider taking a helicopter tour to the Misty Fjords National Monument during your Alaskan cruise. This remote and pristine wilderness in the Tongass National Forest is a true hidden gem, known for its breathtaking beauty and untouched landscapes.
Boarding a helicopter allows you to witness the grandeur of Misty Fjords from a whole new perspective. As you soar above the rugged fjords and dense forests, you’ll be treated to panoramic views that are nothing short of spectacular.
The Misty Fjords National Monument is characterized by its towering granite cliffs, deep fjords, cascading waterfalls, and serene lakes. The sheer scale and natural beauty of this area will leave you speechless as you marvel at its pristine wilderness.
During your helicopter tour, you’ll have the opportunity to land in the heart of this untamed wilderness and explore its hidden gems. Take a guided hike through the ancient forests, venture to secluded waterfalls, or simply revel in the tranquility of this remote paradise.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife encounters along the way. The Misty Fjords is home to a variety of animals, including black bears, wolves, bald eagles, and even mountain goats perched high on the cliffside.
As you explore the Misty Fjords National Monument, you’ll also learn about the rich geological history and cultural significance of the area. Your experienced pilot and guide will share fascinating insights into the diverse ecosystem and the importance of conservation efforts to preserve this pristine wilderness.
It’s worth noting that helicopter tours to the Misty Fjords are subject to weather conditions, as the area is known for its mist and fog. However, if conditions permit, this excursion is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the untouched beauty of one of Alaska’s most breathtaking destinations.
A helicopter tour to the Misty Fjords National Monument is an adventure like no other. From soaring above the majestic fjords to exploring the hidden corners of this untouched wilderness, this experience is sure to be a highlight of your Alaskan cruise.
Explore the Kenai Fjords National Park
Located on the Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai Fjords National Park is a true gem of Alaska’s coastal wonders. This stunning national park offers a captivating blend of icy fjords, towering glaciers, and abundant wildlife, making it a must-visit destination during your Alaskan cruise.
Embark on a scenic boat tour to explore the vast beauty of the Kenai Fjords National Park. As you navigate through the narrow channels and pristine waters, be prepared to witness the grandeur of massive glaciers such as the Aialik Glacier and the Exit Glacier. The sight of these colossal ice formations calving into the sea is a sight that will stay with you forever.
The park is teeming with wildlife, and you’re likely to spot a variety of marine species during your journey. Keep your eyes peeled for playful sea otters, curious seals, and graceful sea lions as they navigate the icy waters. You might also be lucky enough to witness the majestic breaching of humpback whales or the acrobatics of orcas.
For a closer look at the marine life, consider taking a kayaking tour in the park. Glide through the calm waters, marvel at the rugged coastline, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this pristine environment. Kayaking also allows for unique photo opportunities and a chance to explore hidden corners of the park that are inaccessible by boat.
On land, venture onto the park’s network of hiking trails to get a closer view of the glaciers and diverse wildlife. Take a guided hike to the stunning Harding Icefield, the source of several glaciers within the park, or explore the trail leading to the iconic Exit Glacier and witness the effects of climate change on these ancient ice formations.
Through its stunning landscapes and remarkable biodiversity, the Kenai Fjords National Park offers a glimpse into the raw power and delicate beauty of Alaska’s coastal wilderness. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature, witness the effects of climate change firsthand, and gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of conservation efforts.
Don’t miss the chance to explore the Kenai Fjords National Park and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of its glaciers, fjords, and wildlife. It’s a destination that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
An Alaskan cruise is an incredible journey that allows you to immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty and wonder of America’s last frontier. From the towering glaciers to the abundant wildlife and rich cultural experiences, Alaska offers a plethora of excursions that will leave you in awe.
Exploring Glacier Bay National Park provides a glimpse into the raw power of nature, while a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier showcases the stunning beauty of Alaska’s icy wonders. The wildlife of Denali National Park offers encounters with majestic creatures, and a scenic cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord leaves you breathless with its rugged landscapes and calving glaciers.
In Skagway, you can step back in time and experience the charm and history of the Klondike Gold Rush. In Juneau, you have the opportunity to witness the incredible display of whale behaviors as they migrate through the waters. Dog sledding in Ketchikan allows you to feel the thrill of being pulled by a team of huskies through the pristine wilderness.
Marvel at the immensity of the Hubbard Glacier and take a helicopter tour to witness the untouched beauty of the Misty Fjords National Monument. Finally, explore the Kenai Fjords National Park, where icy fjords, towering glaciers, and abundant wildlife converge to create a magical experience.
An Alaskan cruise is not simply a vacation; it is an adventure of a lifetime. It offers an opportunity to connect with nature, witness captivating landscapes, and learn about the rich history and culture of this extraordinary region. Every excursion provides a unique and unforgettable experience, leaving you with memories that will last forever.
So, embark on that Alaskan cruise, packed with thrilling excursions, and prepare to be amazed at the pristine beauty that awaits you in this untamed wilderness. Alaska is waiting to be explored, and every excursion will bring you closer to the heart and soul of this extraordinary destination.