This vast area of glaciers and mountains, historically known as the Last Frontier, is a wildlife lover's paradise. A cruise offers the best way to see the country's magnificent shoreline and glaciers and there's a wide range of shore excursions.
An exceptionally scenic cruise area, it unfortunately only enjoys a very short season with most of the ports providing access to unique mountain vistas and views of elegant, dazzling glaciers. Passengers also have the opportunity to observe whales, eagles and bears in their natural habitat. In an effort to preserve the breeding grounds in these waters, especially in Glacier Bay, the number of ships entering the region is strictly limited.
The short summer season runs from May to mid-September, with a climate similar to Scandinavia. The days are long and the nights short during this period and many seasoned cruisers book accommodation with a balcony in order to not miss out on the unrivalled scenery.
Most itineraries involve a transit of the Inside Passage, just north of Vancouver. This provides splendid views of the islands of British Columbia to the west and the Coastal Mountains to the east. Further north, a leisurely three hours is spent viewing the majestic Hubbard Glacier.
Each port has a different story to tell and there are many reminders of the late 19th century Great Gold Rush. The dockside saloons are worth a visit as are the Indian forts and many fish restaurants. Some famed shore excursions involve visits to places which are only accessible by sea and include the Denali National Park and Icy Strait Point and fun activities are a feature of cruises to the region, with helicopter tours, river trips, bear watching and snow rides all on the agenda.
Not only that but with most cruises starting and terminating in Vancouver, there is an opportunity to explore this artistic and culturally diverse city with its 1,000 acre Stanley Park, English Bay beach and the historic Gastown and Chinatown quarters.
Alaska cruises are always popular and can often be combined with stays on land before beginning or after ending your cruise, so these possibilities are worth discussing early with your local CLIA UK & Ireland Travel Agent