There's only one way to truly experience the rugged expanse of Alaska's coastline. A cruise will take you where roads and rails can't - through the glorious Inside Passage with historic towns, and unforgettable whale sightings.
Enjoy unforgettable days cruising Alaska's dramatic coast on some of the best ships in the world. Take in the sights of College Fjords and Glacier Bay, and enjoy time exploring ports such as Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. Enhance your experience with a variety of optional shore excursions in every port. We, at Guardian Travel, are committed to enriching your Alaska Experience. Begin your search for that unforgettable adventure!
Stunning natural landscape, an appreciation for wildlife, curiosity, and a desire to see glaciers, are the most popular reasons for taking an Alaska cruise. There are essentially two types of Alaska cruises - The Inside Passage cruise, and the Glacier Cruise.
The Inside Passage Cruise:
Can't get enough of glaciers, mountains, wildlife and scenery? Then experience the frontier towns, sheltered waterways, and calving (ice cracking and falling into the near frozen waters) glaciers of the Inside Passage. A typical Inside Passage cruise normally departs and returns from Vancouver or Seattle. With a duration of one week, the ship sails up the coast of British Columbia and into the straits between the islands that belong to the State of Alaska. Often these cruises stop in ports such as Ketchikan or Sitka, which are of historical and cultural interest. Glacier Bay is the highlight of an inside passage cruise, as this is where the ship anchors for incredible views of glaciers falling into the near frozen waters. Other ports of call include Skagway, a small town of only 500 people, is home to the White Pass Railroad, giving visitors a scenic trip along the gold rush Trail of 1898 into the Yukon. Juneau is a terrific port of call for numerous activities, including cycling, kayaking, fishing, whale watching, and helicopter and bus trips to the nearby Medenhall Glacier. The Red Dog Saloon is a popular spot in town, giving visitors a taste of the past.
The Glacier Route Cruise:
The Glacier Route Cruise, which normally commences out of Vancouver or Seward, sails one-way either southbound or northbound. These sailings allows spectacular views of College Fjord, or the Hubbard Glacier. A popular addition to the glacier route cruise is a pre or post trip through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tour offers stunning daytime views in a luxury glass top train, and visits to Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, and the Okanagan Valley, can be an interesting add-on tour. Coach tours, car rentals, or rail tours can easily be arranged to coordinate with a flight in or out of Calgary. Ask us for details.
For climate and sunlight purposes, cruises to Alaska sail strictly during the summer months, from early May to mid-September. June, July and August can be classified as peak season when average daily high temperatures can reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so those looking for the best value should check sailing dates in May and September when temperatures hover around 50 degrees.
Ports of Call:
Juneau - Alaska's capital city, Juneau, has a population of about 30,000 and one of the country's highest costs of living. It also houses many attractions, including the famed Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska State Museum, the Alaska Brewing and Bottling Co., St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church and the Red Dog Saloon, a famed Juneau bar/restaurant with swinging doors, sawdust floors and a display of Alaskan history.
Mendenhall Glacier - Described by John Muir as "one of the most beautiful coastal glaciers," the world-famous Mendenhall Glacier attracts curious vacationers who want to enjoy the rush of a helicopter ride and set foot on the surface of this massive piece of ice. Others can see the glacier from afar during a tour of Juneau or come face to face with it by during a kayaking or rafting adventure.
Ketchikan - This "salmon capital of the world," is a quaint Alaskan town with a population of 7,922. The largest collection of totem poles in the world resides in Ketchikan at Totem Bight State Historical Park, Saxman Native Village and the Totem Heritage Center Museum. It's also popular for Creek Street - a former brothel district that is now lined with shops and offices.
Misty Fjords - Another popular activity is a flight seeing adventure over Misty Fjords National Monument. Encompassing an area of more than two million acres, this protected wilderness area boasts granite cliffs, waterfalls, crystalline lakes, and snowcapped mountains.
Skagway - Back in the late 1890s, thousands of prospectors rushed through Skagway en route to the Klondike gold fields of Canada. Now the small town marks the beginning of the Chilkoot Trail - a 33-mile hike that takes three to five days - which begins in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and ends at Bennett Lake in British Columbia.
Klondike Adventures - Bike adventures, bus tours, horse back rides and train rides take visitors along the trail to the White Pass summit and through the route that gold stampeders once traveled.