What To Do On Alaska Cruise

So you’ve decided to embark on an Alaska cruise, an adventure filled with breathtaking landscapes and wildlife encounters. But now you wonder, what exactly can you do to make the most out of your journey? From thrilling glacier hikes to observing majestic whales, this article will guide you through an array of exciting activities and experiences that will ensure your Alaska cruise is nothing short of unforgettable.

1. Explore the Ports of Call

1.1 Juneau

When you embark on an Alaska cruise, one of the first ports of call you’ll encounter is Juneau. This vibrant city, situated between mountains and sea, offers a plethora of activities for every type of traveler. Start your day in Juneau by exploring the historic downtown area, where you can visit charming shops, art galleries, and local restaurants. Don’t forget to stop by the famous Red Dog Saloon for a taste of the city’s unique bar culture.

For nature enthusiasts, Juneau is the perfect base for outdoor adventures. Take a hike to the Mendenhall Glacier, a breathtaking natural wonder. Witness the beauty of ice-blue crevices and cascading waterfalls as you learn about the glacier’s formation and history. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try dog sledding on the glacier? It’s an incredible opportunity to experience the Alaskan wilderness from a different perspective.

1.2 Skagway

Next on your itinerary is the charming town of Skagway. Known as the Gateway to the Klondike, this historic gold rush town is steeped in history and surrounded by stunning landscapes. Immerse yourself in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, where you can step back in time and learn about the grueling journey thousands of prospectors took to seek their fortunes.

If you’re up for an adrenaline rush, embark on a thrilling rail journey along the White Pass and Yukon Route. This scenic railway will take you through breathtaking mountain landscapes, showcasing the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. As you climb higher into the mountains, marvel at the engineering marvels that allowed gold seekers to reach the Klondike in search of gold.

1.3 Ketchikan

Ketchikan, also known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” is a must-visit destination on your Alaska cruise. This picturesque town boasts a rich Native American heritage and is famous for its totem poles. Explore the Totem Heritage Center, where you can see a remarkable collection of intricately carved totem poles and learn about their cultural significance.

While in Ketchikan, don’t miss the chance to embark on a thrilling wildlife excursion. Take a guided boat tour through the Misty Fjords National Monument, where you’ll have the opportunity to see whales, dolphins, and sea lions in their natural habitat. For a truly unforgettable experience, join a bear viewing tour and observe these magnificent creatures in their native environment.

2. Engage in Wildlife Excursions

2.1 Whale Watching

One of the most exciting experiences you can have on an Alaska cruise is whale watching. These majestic creatures migrate to Alaska’s coastal waters every summer, making it the perfect opportunity to witness their impressive displays. From the comfort of your cruise ship or on a dedicated whale watching tour, you’ll have the chance to see humpback whales breach, tail slap, and even bubble net feed. It’s a truly awe-inspiring sight that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

2.2 Bear Viewing

Alaska is home to a diverse and thriving population of bears, and bear viewing is an experience you won’t want to miss. Whether it’s the powerful grizzlies or the elusive black bears, observing these magnificent animals in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience. Join a guided tour led by experienced naturalists who will take you to prime bear viewing locations, ensuring your safety while giving you the best chance to spot these incredible creatures.

2.3 Bird Watching

Alaska is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with a wide variety of avian species residing in its diverse ecosystems. From bald eagles soaring overhead to colorful puffins nesting on coastal cliffs, there is no shortage of bird watching opportunities. Join a guided birding tour or simply explore on your own along the coastline or in protected wildlife areas. Keep your binoculars handy and get ready to spot some of the most fascinating bird species in North America.

What To Do On Alaska Cruise

3. Experience Glacial Wonders

3.1 Glacier Bay National Park

No Alaska cruise would be complete without a visit to Glacier Bay National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to one of the most spectacular displays of glacial beauty on Earth. Sail through icy channels as you witness towering glaciers calving into the sea, creating a mesmerizing display of ice cascades. Join a park ranger-led tour or experience the park’s wonders from the comfort of your cruise ship, capturing stunning photos and creating memories to cherish.

3.2 Hubbard Glacier

Another highlight of your Alaska cruise is the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring Hubbard Glacier. As the largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier is a monumental natural wonder that stretches over 76 miles in length. Cruise the icy waters to get an up-close view of the glacier’s towering blue walls, occasionally hearing the booming sound as immense chunks of ice break off and crash into the water below. It’s a sight that will leave you speechless.

3.3 Tracy Arm Fjord

Prepare to be amazed as you navigate through the icy waters of Tracy Arm Fjord. Surrounded by towering cliffs, snow-capped mountains, and cascading waterfalls, this narrow fjord is a sight to behold. As your cruise ship gently sails through the fjord, keep an eye out for floating icebergs and the mesmerizing colors of blue and white that define this glacial wonderland. It’s an experience that will make you feel truly connected to the raw beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

4. Enjoy Outdoor Activities

4.1 Hiking

Alaska’s vast wilderness offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to indulge in hiking adventures. Lace up your boots and explore the numerous trails that wind through lush forests, meandering rivers, and pristine alpine landscapes. From leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, there is something for everyone, regardless of their skill level. Don’t forget your camera, as you never know when you’ll encounter wildlife or stumble upon a breathtaking viewpoint.

4.2 Kayaking

Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Alaska’s waters by embarking on a kayaking adventure. Glide through calm bays, pristine fjords, and winding rivers, getting up close and personal with the mesmerizing coastal landscapes. Paddle alongside towering glaciers, watch playful seals bask on ice floes, and marvel at the diverse marine life that calls these waters home. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, this experience will leave you with lasting memories of Alaska’s captivating scenery.

4.3 Fishing

For those who enjoy casting a line, Alaska offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, you’ll have the chance to reel in an impressive catch. From salmon to halibut, Alaska’s waters are teeming with a variety of fish species. Join a guided fishing excursion to learn from knowledgeable local experts and increase your chances of landing a trophy-sized fish. Just remember to check the fishing regulations and obtain the necessary licenses before casting your line.

What To Do On Alaska Cruise

5. Immerse in Native Alaskan Culture

5.1 Native Heritage Centers

To truly appreciate the rich Native Alaskan culture, visit one of the many Native heritage centers scattered throughout the state. These centers provide a window into the traditions, history, and art of Alaska’s indigenous communities. Explore exhibits featuring traditional artifacts, stunning artwork, and interactive displays that offer insight into the diverse cultures of Alaska’s Native people. Take the time to engage with knowledgeable guides who can share their stories and help you gain a deeper appreciation for their way of life.

5.2 Totem Poles

Alaska is famous for its intricately carved totem poles, which serve as a visual representation of Native Alaskan traditions and stories. In Ketchikan and Sitka, you’ll find some of the finest examples of these cultural treasures. Walk through outdoor totem pole parks where you can admire towering poles adorned with vibrant colors and intricate carvings. Each design tells a unique story, often representing a family, clan, or historical event. Take your time to appreciate the craftsmanship and the cultural significance of these remarkable works of art.

5.3 Cultural Performances

To further immerse yourself in Native Alaskan culture, make sure to attend a cultural performance during your Alaska cruise. From traditional dances to storytelling sessions, these performances offer a glimpse into the traditions, music, and folklore of Alaska’s Native communities. Watch as dancers adorned in elaborate regalia step to the beat of drums, while singers mesmerize you with their melodic voices. Many cultural performances also provide an opportunity for visitors to participate, allowing you to engage on a deeper level with the local culture.

6. Embark on Scenic Rail Journeys

6.1 White Pass and Yukon Route

One of the most iconic and scenic train rides in Alaska is the White Pass and Yukon Route. Sit back and relax as the historic narrow-gauge railroad takes you through breathtaking mountain landscapes, deep gorges, and past rushing waterfalls. This rail journey offers panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, and alpine meadows, providing a unique perspective of Alaska’s wilderness. Learn about the history of the gold rush while marveling at the engineering feats that made this rail line a reality.

6.2 Coastal Classic Train

For those embarking on a cruise from Anchorage to Seward or vice versa, the Coastal Classic Train offers a stunning way to experience Alaska’s scenic beauty. Traverse the scenic Turnagain Arm, with its dramatic coastal cliffs and abundant wildlife sightings. As the train snakes its way through the Chugach Mountains, be prepared to witness awe-inspiring panoramas of glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and verdant forests. Sit back, relax, and let the mesmerizing landscapes unfold before your eyes.

6.3 Alaska Railroad

The Alaska Railroad is a fantastic way to explore more of the breathtaking Alaskan wilderness beyond the coast. Stretching over 470 miles from Seward to Fairbanks, this iconic rail line takes you through some of the state’s most remarkable landscapes. Marvel at the towering peaks of the Alaska Range, traverse vast tundra, and pass by crystal-clear lakes and raging rivers. With comfortable seating, onboard dining options, and knowledgeable guides, the Alaska Railroad offers a relaxing and immersive way to discover the wonders of Alaska.

What To Do On Alaska Cruise

7. Visit Historical Sites

7.1 Sitka National Historical Park

Immerse yourself in Alaska’s rich history by visiting Sitka National Historical Park. Step into the past as you explore the park’s totem-lined trails, where you can witness masterfully carved totem poles and learn about their cultural significance. Walk through the Russian Bishop’s House, a testament to Alaska’s Russian colonial history, and browse the exhibits that showcase the cultural heritage of the Native Tlingit people. With its stunning coastal setting and educational displays, Sitka National Historical Park is a captivating destination for history enthusiasts.

7.2 Independence Mine State Historical Park

Located in the stunning Hatcher Pass, Independence Mine State Historical Park offers a glimpse into Alaska’s gold rush history. Step back in time and explore the remnants of a once-thriving mining town, where miners pursued their fortunes amidst the stunning alpine scenery. Take a guided tour to learn about the challenges faced by these hardy pioneers, or simply wander through the buildings and enjoy the panoramic vistas. Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate the beauty of abandoned settlements, Independence Mine State Historical Park is a must-visit destination.

7.3 Russian Orthodox Church

If you’re interested in Alaska’s Russian history, make sure to visit one of the iconic Russian Orthodox churches scattered throughout the state. One notable example is the St. Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka, a beautifully adorned place of worship that has withstood the test of time. Admire its distinct onion domes, intricate carvings, and stunning iconography. Step inside to experience the peaceful atmosphere and immerse yourself in the rich spiritual traditions of Alaska’s Russian heritage.

8. Indulge in Local Cuisine

8.1 Fresh Seafood

An Alaska cruise wouldn’t be complete without indulging in the state’s famous fresh seafood. From succulent Alaskan king crab legs to flaky halibut and wild-caught salmon, you’ll have a wide range of delectable options to choose from. Visit local seafood restaurants in each port of call to savor the flavors of the sea. Whether you prefer it grilled, baked, or prepared in classic Alaskan dishes like fish tacos or seafood chowder, you’re in for a culinary treat that showcases the bountiful treasures of Alaska’s waters.

8.2 Alaskan King Crab

When it comes to Alaskan cuisine, Alaskan king crab takes center stage. Known for its succulent, sweet meat, this gourmet delicacy is a must-try for seafood lovers. Visit a local seafood market or dine at a specialty restaurant to savor the taste of the largest and most coveted crab species in the world. Whether you enjoy it steamed with drawn butter or as an ingredient in dishes like crab cakes or crab pasta, Alaskan king crab is a true indulgence that will leave your taste buds in awe.

8.3 Native-Inspired Dishes

To truly immerse yourself in the flavors of Alaska, explore the world of Native-inspired dishes. Influenced by centuries-old traditions and the abundance of local ingredients, Native cuisine offers a unique and delectable experience. From fire-roasted salmon and reindeer sausage to wild berry jams and akutaq (also known as Eskimo ice cream), Native-inspired dishes celebrate the rich cultural heritage and natural resources of Alaska. Embark on a culinary adventure by visiting restaurants that prioritize traditional Native ingredients and cooking techniques, and allow your taste buds to savor the authentic flavors of Alaska.

What To Do On Alaska Cruise

9. Shop for Souvenirs

9.1 Native Artwork

If you’re looking to bring home a piece of Alaskan culture, consider investing in Native artwork. From intricately carved totem poles and masks to beautifully woven baskets and handcrafted jewelry, Native artwork showcases the artistic traditions of Alaska’s indigenous communities. Visit local art galleries and gift shops in port towns to find unique and authentic pieces that represent the rich cultural heritage of the state. Whether you choose a small carving or a larger artwork, you’ll be taking home a tangible reminder of your Alaskan adventure.

9.2 Handcrafted Jewelry

Alaska is known for its stunning handcrafted jewelry, often inspired by the state’s natural beauty. From intricate silver and gold designs to exquisite pieces adorned with Alaska’s gemstones, such as jade or yogo sapphires, there is a wide range of jewelry to suit every taste and budget. Discover local jewelry artists in port towns and browse their collections, where you’re sure to find unique pieces that reflect the spirit of Alaska. Whether you choose a simple pendant or an elaborate statement piece, Alaskan handcrafted jewelry is a wonderful way to commemorate your trip.

9.3 Local Food Products

Bringing home a taste of Alaska is made easy with the wide range of local food products available for purchase. From smoked salmon and reindeer sausage to wild berry jams and birch syrup, these culinary delights capture the essence of the state’s natural bounty. Visit local markets and shops to browse the extensive selection of Alaskan food products, and take home a delicious reminder of your Alaska cruise. Whether as a gift for loved ones or to enjoy yourself, these flavors will transport you back to the pristine wilderness of Alaska with every bite.

10. Relax Onboard

10.1 Spa Services

After a day of exploring the wonders of Alaska, take some time to relax and rejuvenate onboard your cruise ship. Most cruise ships offer a range of spa services, from massages and facials to indulgent body treatments. Treat yourself to a soothing massage, or unwind in a tranquil sauna or steam room. Let the skilled spa professionals pamper you, allowing your mind and body to unwind as you listen to the gentle rhythms of the ocean.

10.2 Fitness Activities

Maintaining an active lifestyle while on your Alaska cruise is made easy with the array of fitness activities available onboard. Hit the gym and work up a sweat on state-of-the-art exercise equipment, or join a group fitness class such as yoga, Pilates, or Zumba. Take advantage of the jogging track or sports court for some outdoor exercise, or dive into one of the ship’s refreshing swimming pools. Staying active while cruising Alaska allows you to balance indulgence with well-being, ensuring you make the most of your vacation.

10.3 Entertainment Shows

As the sun sets on another captivating day in Alaska, immerse yourself in the vibrant entertainment scene onboard your cruise ship. From Broadway-style productions and comedy shows to live music performances and themed parties, there is no shortage of entertainment options to suit every taste. Sit back and be entertained by talented performers, as they transport you to a world of music, laughter, and awe-inspiring spectacles. Whether you prefer a relaxed evening of soulful melodies or a lively dance party, the onboard entertainment will add a touch of magic to your Alaska cruise experience.

In conclusion, an Alaska cruise offers a vast array of activities and experiences to satisfy every traveler’s desires. From exploring charming ports of call and immersing in wildlife excursions to indulging in local cuisine and relaxing onboard, there is truly something for everyone. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, a lover of art and culture, or simply seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, an Alaska cruise promises to create memories that will last a lifetime. So embark on the adventure of a lifetime and discover the enchanting wonders that await in the Last Frontier.

What To Do On Alaska Cruise

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