Activities on an Alaska Cruise: Alaska is an enchanting destination with breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. An Alaska cruise is a perfect way to explore the Last Frontier while enjoying the comfort of a luxury ship. There are countless activities and attractions to experience on an Alaska cruise, but here are the top 10 things to do that you shouldn’t miss.
10 Must-Do Activities on an Alaska Cruise
- Visit the Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is one of the most beautiful and iconic destinations in Alaska. The park is home to numerous glaciers, wildlife, and scenic vistas. The best way to experience the park is through a cruise ship, where you can sail through the park’s icy waters while admiring the stunning glaciers and spotting marine life such as whales, seals, and sea lions. The park also offers shore excursions, including hiking and kayaking, for an up-close experience.
- Watch the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the Arctic regions, including Alaska. It is a breathtaking sight to witness, with shimmering curtains of green, yellow, and pink lights dancing in the night sky. The best time to see the Northern Lights is during the winter months, from September to April. Most Alaska cruise lines offer Northern Lights viewing opportunities, including special tours that take you to the best viewing spots.
- Go Whale Watching
Alaska is known for its abundant marine life, including whales. The most common whale species found in Alaska are humpback, orca, and gray whales. Whale watching is a must-do activity on an Alaska cruise, as you can see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Some cruise lines offer whale-watching tours, while others include the activity as part of their itinerary.
- Visit the Mendenhall Glacier
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of Alaska’s most popular attractions, located just outside of Juneau. The glacier is over 13 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, offering a stunning sight to behold. The best way to experience the glacier is through a guided tour that takes you to the glacier’s viewing area. You can also hike the nearby trails, which offer panoramic views of the glacier and the surrounding landscape.
- Explore Ketchikan
Ketchikan is a picturesque town located on Alaska’s southeastern coast, known for its Native American heritage and stunning scenery. The town is home to numerous attractions, including the Totem Heritage Center, where you can learn about the Tlingit and Haida Native American tribes, and Creek Street, a historic boardwalk lined with shops and restaurants. Ketchikan is also a great place for outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
- Take a Helicopter Tour
A helicopter tour is an exciting way to see Alaska’s rugged terrain and breathtaking scenery. Many Alaska cruise lines offer helicopter tours, taking you to remote locations that are inaccessible by other means. You can fly over glaciers, and waterfalls, and even land on a glacier to explore the area on foot.
- Experience Dog Sledding
Dog sledding is an iconic Alaskan activity, where you can ride a sled pulled by a team of huskies across the snow-covered landscape. Many cruise lines offer dog sledding excursions, taking you to remote locations where you can experience this thrilling activity. You can also meet the dogs and their trainers, learn about the history of dog sledding, and even cuddle with adorable husky puppies.
- Visit Sitka
Sitka is a charming town located on the western coast of Baranof Island, known for its Russian heritage and stunning scenery. The town is home to numerous attractions, including the Sitka National Historical Park, which features a collection of totem poles, and St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, a beautiful Russian Orthodox church. Sitka is also a great place for outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
- Sample Local Cuisine
Alaska’s cuisine is influenced by its natural resources, including seafood, game meat, and wild berries. One of the best ways to experience Alaska’s unique cuisine is by sampling local dishes on your cruise ship or during shore excursions. Some popular dishes include Alaskan king crab, salmon, reindeer sausage, and blueberry jam.
- Relax and Enjoy the Scenery
Last but not least, don’t forget to take a moment to relax and enjoy Alaska’s stunning scenery. From snow-capped mountains to glaciers, from forests to waterfalls, Alaska is a true natural wonder. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail on your cruise ship’s deck or hiking a remote trail, take a deep breath and savor the beauty of the Last Frontier.
In conclusion, an Alaska cruise is an unforgettable experience, offering a perfect blend of adventure and luxury. From exploring glaciers to dog sledding, from whale watching to sampling local cuisine, there are countless things to do on an Alaska cruise. So pack your bags, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the Last Frontier.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do on an Alaska Cruise
Q: What is the best time to go on an Alaska cruise?
A: The best time to go on an Alaska cruise is from May to September when the weather is mild, and most cruise lines operate in the region. However, the Northern Lights can be seen from September to April, so if that’s a priority, you may want to plan your trip accordingly.
Q: Can I see wildlife on an Alaska cruise?
A: Yes, you can see a variety of wildlife on an Alaska cruise, including whales, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and bears. It’s important to note that wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, but your chances are higher during certain times of the year and certain excursions.
Q: Do I need to bring special gear for an Alaska cruise?
A: It depends on the activities you plan to do. For example, if you’re going on a whale-watching tour, you may want to bring binoculars and warm clothing. If you plan to go hiking or dog sledding, you’ll need appropriate footwear and clothing for the outdoors. However, many cruise lines provide equipment for shore excursions, so be sure to check with your specific cruise line for recommendations.
Q: Can I still go on an Alaska cruise if I’m not physically fit?
A: Yes, there are plenty of activities on an Alaska cruise that are suitable for all fitness levels, including scenic drives, wildlife watching, and cultural experiences. However, some excursions may require a certain level of physical fitness, so be sure to check with your cruise line before booking.
Q: Are Alaska cruises expensive?
A: Alaska cruises can vary in price, depending on the cruise line, cabin type, and itinerary. However, they are generally considered more expensive than other types of cruises due to the remote location and unique experiences offered. Be sure to shop around and compare prices before booking to find the best deal for your budget.
Q: What should I pack for an Alaska cruise?
A: You should pack warm clothing, including a waterproof jacket, fleece, and layers. You may also want to bring hiking shoes, binoculars, and a camera. Don’t forget to bring any necessary medications, as well as any travel documents required for your trip.
Q: Do I need a passport for an Alaska cruise?
A: If you are a US citizen on a closed-loop cruise (a cruise that starts and ends in the same US port), you do not need a passport. However, a passport is recommended as a form of identification and may be required for certain excursions. If you are not a US citizen, you will need a passport and may require additional travel documents, so be sure to check with your cruise line and embassy for requirements.
Q: Can I bring my own alcohol on an Alaska cruise?
A: Most cruise lines do not allow guests to bring their own alcohol on board. However, some lines may allow a limited amount of wine or champagne to be brought on board. Be sure to check with your specific cruise line for their policy on bringing alcohol on board.