Alaskan cruises are one of the most popular ways to see the 49th state. From May to September, cruise ships glide through Alaska's Inside Passage, usually traveling between Vancouver, BC, and either Skagway or Whittier. There are also roundtrip Alaskan cruises from Vancouver and Seattle. Peak season is June, July, and August, when the days are longest, but consider booking during the shoulder season for good deals. You're still likely to have decent weather (though it can be chilly in May), and you'll share the ports with fewer people.
In general, most ships stop at the fishing town of Ketchikan, the state's capital, Juneau, and the gold rush town of Skagway. Other common ports include Sitka, Haines, and Victoria, BC.
Most Alaskan cruises last seven days, though you often have the option of purchasing the cruise along with a land package. For example, from Whittier it's possible to connect to the Alaska Railroad, which runs through Anchorage, up to Denali National Park, and then terminates in Fairbanks. A combination road, rail, and boat tour is a great way to see the state's highlights. These are sold as packaged cruisetours by the cruise lines.
things to do for everyone. Whether you fish for salmon, take a flight-seeing tour, or walk on the Mendenhall glacier, all the activities are uniquely Alaskan. Cruises offer a comfortable, luxurious way to experience these amazing sights.
Larger cruise ships offer amenities such as casinos, show productions, swimming pools, specialized restaurants, fitness centers and spas, while smaller ships have access to smaller ports - that means fewer crowds and more intimate surrounds. No matter what you decide is the right style for you, an Alaskan cruise is an experience of a lifetime that you shouldn't miss.
[Photo credit: Rennett Stowe, Flickr]