Breathtaking scenery, gleaming glaciers, abundant wildlife, and Native American culture are only a few of the spectacular attractions that draw visitors to Alaska. An Alaska Inside Passage cruise makes for a wonderful escape during the warmer months.
Ships tend to leave from either Seattle in the state of Washington or Vancouver on Canada’s west coast. Either departure port holds many points of interest.
Departing from Seattle
Embarking at the Port at Seattle will offer a plethora of opportunities to see and do. The “Emerald City” as it has been called because of its magnificent evergreens, is charming with a small town feel amongst a bustling city filled with glass skyscrapers and turn-of-the-century buildings.
The world famous Space Needle has been an icon of the city since its introduction at the 1962 World’s Fair. The city is cycle friendly as well and has a large amount of people commuting to work this way. Its creative architecture mixed with its classic buildings creates a pleasure for the eye. The Pike Place Market is the oldest farmer market in the country and attracts millions of visitors every year.
Departing from Vancouver
Vancouver is a vibrant city and ranked as one of the best to visit in the world. One attraction that visitors can see is the Olympic coal caldron that is still intact from the city’s turn of the Winter Olympics in 2010. The Stanley Park is huge, and the lush green space is popular for activities such as biking or taking a relaxing stroll. The nearby seabed also attracts plenty of kayakers and other water sports.
History buffs can enjoy a lovely trip in the old town dating back to the 1800s when Vancouver was known as Gastown and inhabited by sawmill workers and their families. Vancouver contains the second largest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco.
Princess, Holland America, NCL, Royal Caribbean, Crystal, Silversea and Celebrity can be seen all summer long doing 7 to 10 nights inside passage cruises. Princess, along with Crystal and Silversea tend to do 10 to 13 night itineraries.
Besides enjoying the fabulous amenities onboard your ship, sit back with a front row seat and view the unspoilt nature.
Some highlights featured on the Inside Passage cruise include several interesting ports featured below
Seward is the haunt of artists because of the natural and scenic beauty surrounding her. Based at the foot of Mt. Marathon, the snow capped peaks rise above the town, exuding a quaintness of a Kinkaid painting. Kenai Fjords National Park is just one of the many that Seward offers.
Experience a close up view of fjords and pristine glaciers. Besides standing in awe, wait until you set your sights on over 35 animals in their natural habitat including whales, mooses, otters, puffins, and seals. Shopping for a piece of art makes a lasting memory of Seward. Many art galleries are located within the historic district. Other items sold include gold jewellery, carvings made from jade and ivory and assorted Alaskan products.
There’s a little bit of foreign influence in sea-side community of Sitka. Originally part of Russia, Sitka did not become a United States territory until 1867. However, the culture and products of the Russian people still reign here in it is hard to imagine that one is on U.S. land. Nesting dolls quilt works and other Russian artefacts are sold in many shops.
There’s a Native American side of Sitka too. The Sheldon Jackson Museum offers Alaska Native artefacts on display. The historical events surrounding Sitka and its people can be viewed at the Sitka Historical Society and Museum. Set in a naturalised environment you will be guaranteed a brown bear viewing at the Fortress of the Bear. Arrange a customised tour with a certified naturalist normally available as a ship excursion.
There are several options to enjoy a visit in Ketchikan. One possibility is to try an audio tour to discover the key sites around town. Or if adventurous, take a flight tour and investigate the Misty Fjords National Monument, which is accessible by plane or boat. See Misty Fjords in a different vein by sea kayaking under cascading waterfalls and granite cliffs.
The Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary will please any walker and nature lover. You can also gain an overview of the early timber operations that were in Ketchikan after your walk. Authentic Alaska native totem carvings and masks are just a few of the items listed for your shopping journey in Ketchikan.
There is more than enough interest held in the ports of call on an Alaska Inside Passage cruise. There will be something that fits the bill in activities appropriate for each and every passenger regardless of age. Whether single, a family or a senior, there is nothing that surpasses learning new things and seeing new places.
Written by Veronica Shine