Alaska Yukon Skaqway White Pass
Alaska Yukon Skaqway White Pass


Ready to plan your next dream cruise? Put the Last Frontier on your wander list.

By Amanda Mesa | Published on March 7, 2023

If you love the great outdoors, few vacations compare to an Alaska cruise. Whether you sail from Seattle or Vancouver — the two main departure ports for this stunning region — these epic adventures into the Last Frontier are all about immersing yourself in Alaska’s rich heritage and getting an up-close look at captivating natural wonders. It’s no secret that Alaska is considered one of the most beautiful must-visit corners of the planet, and a cruise is hands-down the best way to experience its postcard-pretty ports, secluded fjords, and majestic glaciers — not to mention some destinations too remote to reach by land. Feeling the wanderlust yet? Keep reading to learn more about some of the most stunning destinations you can visit on an Alaska cruise from Seattle or Vancouver.  


Only accessible by sea or air, this bustling port is one of the top Alaska cruise destinations. Lots of cruises make a stop here, so you’ll have plenty of itineraries to choose from when planning your dream cruise to the Last Frontier. In addition to having a great food scene and interesting historical sights, Juneau is also the best place to access the majestic Mendenhall Glacier. This incredible natural wonder is one the most iconic sights on any cruise to Alaska. You can experience it by air on a flightseeing tour or paddle past it in a kayak. There are even tours that let you glide over its gleaming white surface on a mushing ride led by a team of huskies. If you plan on heading out to Mendenhall — and you definitely should — make sure to add some sunscreen and sunglasses to your packing list. The sunlight reflects off the ice to dazzling effect, causing what some people call a “glacier tan.” 

2. Seward

Seward is another popular stop on many Alaska cruise itineraries. This scenic destination is nestled between towering mountains and the sparkling blue sea. It’s also home to Kenai Fjords National Park, one of the best places to see local critters. This huge wilderness reserve teems with a diverse variety of animals, including mountain goats, black and brown bears, wolverines, Stellar sea lions, and several kinds of whales, which you can see up close on a whale watching tour. If you want to get out and stretch your legs, set out on a hike to the summit of Mount Marathon, located just west of the port. The views of the surrounding forests and sea are definitely worth the effort. 
If you’re looking for wild landscapes and plenty of opportunities to experience nature, make sure you choose an Alaska cruise that stops at Ketchikan. This beautiful port sits right at the southern tip of Alaska’s Inside Passage, and is a great hub for outdoor activities — especially fishing. Misty Fjords National Monument is also nearby, where you can explore gorgeous fjords, dramatic sea cliffs and dense emerald forests. And if you’re craving a bit of culture, you’ll find that here, too. Ketchikan is home to three tribes of Northwest Coast Indians. Keep an eye out for the beautiful hand-carved totems located throughout the town. 

4. Skagway

History buffs should look for Alaska cruises with stops at Skagway, a cozy little town that hasn’t changed much since the Klondike Gold Rush over a century ago. While the prospectors may be long gone by now, this idyllic port will transport you back into the past with its old-fashioned street cars, historical reenactments, and its well-preserved buildings — you can even drop by the oldest hotel in Alaska. That said, history isn’t the only draw Skagway has to offer. Like most ports in the Last Frontier, it also brims with opportunities to chase adventure outdoors. Go for a sleigh ride over Laughton Glacier with a team of huskies, or hop into a raft and set sail down Lynn Canal, the longest fjord on the continent. 
No matter how many cruises you’ve been on, you’ve likely never had a sea day like what you’ll experience when you sail through Glacier Bay on your Alaska cruise. Framed by dense rainforests and soaring snow-capped mountains, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is the definition of wild Alaska. Keep an eye out for breaching whales as you sail past Margerie and Johns Hopkins Glaciers, and watch the coast for moose and bears. If Glacier Bay is one of the stops on your Alaska cruise itinerary, add some binoculars to your packing list — you’ll be glad you did once the local wildlife comes out to play.

6. Denali National Park

No matter which itineraries you choose to sail on from Seattle or Vancouver, the best way to maximize your Alaska cruise is with a CruiseTour. Added onto the beginning or end of your sailing, CruiseTours let you dive deeper into the Last Frontier with a few days spent on land under the midnight sun. One of the most popular draws to booking a CruiseTour is getting to spend some time in Denali National Park, a pristine, untamed wilderness of taiga forests and rolling tundra where you can scout for caribou, moose, sheep, bears, and more. It’s also home to the towering Denali, part of the Alaska Range and the tallest peak in America.

The best time for an Alaska cruise is from late spring to early fall, and you’ll find lots of itineraries to choose from sailing from May to September. You’re going to want to start planning early, though, as these adventures are popular — the sooner you book, the better the cruise deals. Whether you’re traveling with kids or looking for an unforgettable couple’s adventure, a vacation like this delivers on every level. From Alaska’s incredible natural wonders and awe-inspiring landscapes, to its rich cultural heritage and history, nothing beats a cruise to this wild northern paradise.


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