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Discover the Beauty of Alaska: A Comprehensive Cruise Travel Itinerary

mountain covered with snow

Alaska is one of the most magnificent destinations in the world, renowned for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage. With its glaciers, fjords, and rugged coastlines, Alaska offers a breathtaking natural beauty that is unmatched. An Alaska cruise is the perfect way to explore this incredible destination, allowing you to visit several ports along the way and experience the best that Alaska has to offer.

Starting from Seattle, this comprehensive travel itinerary will take you on a journey through the heart of Alaska, including stops at some of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring ports along the way. From the Bering Strait and the Arctic Circle to Nome, Kodiak, Skagway, Homer, Juneau, Ketchikan, Seward, Sitka, Valdez, Wrangell, and Prince Rupert in Canada, this itinerary covers the best of Alaska and is a must-read for anyone planning a cruise to this magnificent destination.

An Alaska cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t forget. In this blog, we’ll explore each port in detail, including the best activities to do, top attractions to visit, and local culture and history to discover. So whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide is sure to enhance your Alaska cruise experience and make it a trip to remember.

Seattle: The Starting Point of Your Alaska Cruise Adventure

Seattle, located on the Puget Sound in Washington, is the starting point of your Alaska cruise adventure. Known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant arts and music scene, Seattle is a must-visit city that offers a wealth of attractions and activities.

Places to Visit:

  • Pike Place Market: This iconic market is a staple of Seattle’s history and offers a unique shopping experience with its variety of local crafts, produce, and street performers.
  • Space Needle: This iconic tower offers breathtaking views of Seattle and the surrounding area, making it a popular tourist destination.
  • Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP): This museum explores the history of popular culture, including music, film, and video games.
  • Seattle Art Museum: This museum features a diverse collection of art from around the world, including contemporary and Native American art.
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass: This stunning glass art museum showcases the works of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

Things to Do:

  • Take a ferry ride: A ferry ride is the perfect way to take in the stunning beauty of Seattle and the Puget Sound.
  • Explore the city on a walking tour: Seattle is a walkable city, and there are several walking tours that highlight its history, architecture, and cultural landmarks.
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee: Seattle is known for its coffee culture, and there are several coffee shops and cafes where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while taking in the city’s sights and sounds.
  • Visit the Seattle Aquarium: This aquarium features a diverse collection of sea creatures, including sea otters, seals, and octopuses.
  • Take a brewery tour: Seattle is home to several world-class breweries, and you can visit them for a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process and a taste of their unique brews.

Bering Strait: Discover the Gateway to the Arctic

The Bering Strait is a narrow stretch of water that separates Alaska from Russia and is considered to be the gateway to the Arctic. This region is known for its stunning beauty, rich cultural and historical heritage, and thriving arts and food scene, making it a must-visit destination for those cruising to Alaska.

Places to Visit:

  • Bering Land Bridge National Preserve: This historic preserve is dedicated to the protection of the Bering Land Bridge, which once connected Asia and North America.
  • Native Alaskan Villages: The Bering Strait is home to numerous Native Alaskan villages, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  • Bering Sea Ice Museum: This unique museum is dedicated to the study of the Bering Sea’s ice formations, and offers a fascinating look at the region’s unique natural environment.

Things to Do:

  • Explore the region’s rich cultural heritage: The Bering Strait is home to numerous Native Alaskan villages, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities: The Bering Strait is surrounded by stunning wilderness areas, and there are numerous trails and outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.
  • Learn about the region’s natural environment: The Bering Strait is known for its unique natural environment, and there are several museums and cultural sites to visit, including the Bering Sea Ice Museum, which is dedicated to the study of the region’s ice formations.

Arctic Circle: Experience the Beauty and Adventure of the Far North

The Arctic Circle is a unique and pristine region of Alaska that offers visitors the chance to experience the beauty and adventure of the far north. From stunning glaciers and majestic wildlife to historic sites and rich cultural heritage, the Arctic Circle has something for everyone.

Places to Visit:

  • Barrow: Barrow is the largest city in the Arctic and is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and thriving arts scene.
  • Prudhoe Bay: Prudhoe Bay is located in the heart of Alaska’s Arctic and is known for its stunning wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty.
  • Wainwright: Wainwright is a small Inupiaq Eskimo village located on the coast of Alaska’s Arctic and is known for its rich cultural heritage and thriving arts scene.

Things to Do:

  • Explore the region’s rich cultural heritage: The Arctic Circle is home to numerous Native Alaskan communities, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities: The Arctic Circle is surrounded by stunning wilderness areas, and there are numerous trails and outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.
  • Experience the beauty of the far north: The Arctic Circle is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, and there are several opportunities to experience the beauty of the region, including visiting glaciers, wildlife viewing, and scenic boat tours.

Nome: Discover the Rich History and Culture of Alaska’s Gold Rush Town

Nome is a historic gold rush town located in western Alaska that offers visitors a unique glimpse into the rich history and culture of Alaska. From stunning natural beauty to a thriving arts scene and rich cultural heritage, Nome has something for everyone.

Places to Visit:

  • Nome Historic District: The Nome Historic District is a must-visit destination for those interested in the history of Alaska’s gold rush. The district is home to numerous historic buildings and landmarks, including the Nome City Hall and the Pioneer Home.
  • Nome Beach: Nome Beach is a stunning coastal area that offers breathtaking views of the Bering Sea and surrounding mountains.
  • The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Museum: The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Museum is a unique museum that celebrates the history and culture of Alaska’s most famous sled dog race.

Things to Do:

  • Explore the rich history of Alaska’s gold rush: Nome is a must-visit destination for those interested in the history of Alaska’s gold rush, offering numerous historic sites and landmarks to explore.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities: Nome is surrounded by stunning wilderness areas, and there are numerous trails and outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.
  • Experience the rich culture of Nome: Nome is known for its thriving arts scene and rich cultural heritage, offering visitors the chance to experience the unique culture of Alaska’s gold rush town.

Kodiak Island: Explore the Beauty and Adventure of Alaska’s Jewel

Kodiak Island is a stunning destination located off the coast of southern Alaska, known for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and endless opportunities for adventure. From fishing and wildlife viewing to exploring the scenic coastline and rugged mountains, Kodiak Island offers visitors a truly unforgettable experience.

Places to Visit:

  • Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge: The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit destination for those interested in wildlife viewing and outdoor recreation. The refuge is home to numerous species of wildlife, including brown bears, bald eagles, and sea otters.
  • Alutiiq Museum: The Alutiiq Museum is a unique museum that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Alutiiq people of Kodiak Island.
  • Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park: Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park is a historic site that offers visitors a glimpse into the history of Alaska’s military presence on Kodiak Island.

Things to Do:

  • Enjoy world-class fishing: Kodiak Island is known for its world-class fishing opportunities, offering visitors the chance to catch salmon, halibut, and other species of fish.
  • Explore the scenic coastline: Kodiak Island boasts a stunning coastline, offering visitors the chance to explore the rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters.
  • Take in the natural beauty: Kodiak Island is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, including rugged mountains, lush forests, and serene lakes and rivers.

Skagway: Step Back in Time and Explore the History and Beauty of Alaska

Skagway is a historic town located in the heart of Alaska’s Inside Passage, known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty. From the bustling streets of its historic downtown to the rugged mountains and pristine glaciers of the surrounding wilderness, Skagway offers visitors a truly unique experience.

Places to Visit:

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park: The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is a must-visit destination for those interested in the history of Skagway and the Klondike Gold Rush.
  • White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad: The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is a scenic railway that offers visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness and glaciers.
  • Red Onion Saloon: The Red Onion Saloon is a historic saloon that has been serving drinks and entertainment to visitors for over a century.

Things to Do:

  • Explore the historic downtown: Skagway’s historic downtown is a vibrant and bustling area, offering visitors the chance to explore its quaint shops, restaurants, and museums.
  • Enjoy outdoor recreation: Skagway is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, offering visitors numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
  • Take a scenic drive: The drive to Skagway is a scenic one, offering visitors the chance to take in the stunning beauty of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

Homer: A Perfect Blend of Natural Beauty and Alaskan Culture

Homer is a small town located on the Kenai Peninsula, known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and friendly community. From its breathtaking glaciers and rugged mountains to its vibrant arts scene and thriving fishing industry, Homer is a destination that offers something for everyone.

Places to Visit:

  • Homer Spit: The Homer Spit is a narrow strip of land that extends into the Kenai Peninsula, offering visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and water.
  • Pratt Museum: The Pratt Museum is a cultural and historical museum that showcases the rich history and culture of the Homer area.
  • Bishop’s Beach: Bishop’s Beach is a beautiful stretch of shoreline located just outside of Homer, offering visitors a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of town.

Things to Do:

  • Enjoy outdoor recreation: Homer is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, offering visitors numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation, including fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
  • Explore the art scene: Homer is home to a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, studios, and performance spaces that showcase the work of local artists and musicians.
  • Visit the fishing docks: Homer is known as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World,” and visitors can experience this vibrant industry by visiting the fishing docks and seeing the boats come in with their catch.

Juneau: Alaska’s Capital City with Rich History and Natural Beauty

Juneau is the capital city of Alaska, located on the Gastineau Channel surrounded by lush forested mountains. With its rich history, thriving cultural scene, and stunning natural beauty, Juneau is a must-visit destination on your Alaska cruise itinerary.

Places to Visit:

  • Mendenhall Glacier: Mendenhall Glacier is a stunning glacier located just outside of Juneau, offering visitors the opportunity to witness the beauty of Alaska’s glaciers up close.
  • Alaska State Museum: The Alaska State Museum is a cultural and historical museum that showcases the rich history and culture of Alaska, including its indigenous cultures, the gold rush era, and modern-day life in the state.
  • Mount Roberts Tramway: The Mount Roberts Tramway offers breathtaking views of Juneau and the surrounding mountains, with a scenic ride to the top of Mount Roberts.

Things to Do:

  • Explore Juneau’s cultural scene: Juneau is home to a thriving cultural scene, with numerous galleries, performance spaces, and museums showcasing the work of local artists and musicians.
  • Take a whale-watching tour: Juneau is one of the best places in Alaska to spot whales, and visitors can take a whale-watching tour to see these magnificent creatures up close.
  • Go fishing: Juneau is located on the Gastineau Channel, making it an ideal destination for fishing, both freshwater, and saltwater.

Ketchikan: A Gateway to the Alaskan Wilderness with Rich Cultural History

Ketchikan is a city located on the southern coast of Alaska, known as the “Salmon Capital of the World”. With its rich cultural history, stunning natural beauty, and access to the Alaskan wilderness, Ketchikan is a must-visit destination on your Alaska cruise itinerary.

Places to Visit:

  • Creek Street: Creek Street is a historic boardwalk located in Ketchikan, lined with charming shops, galleries, and restaurants. It was once a red-light district during the city’s early days but now serves as a hub for visitors to explore the city’s cultural history.
  • Tongass Historical Museum: The Tongass Historical Museum is a museum that showcases the rich cultural history of Ketchikan and the surrounding area, including its indigenous cultures, the gold rush era, and the city’s history as a fishing and logging town.
  • Saxman Native Village: The Saxman Native Village is a Tlingit Native village that offers visitors the opportunity to experience the cultural heritage of the Tlingit people and learn about their traditional way of life.

Things to Do:

  • Take a scenic flightseeing tour: Ketchikan is located in a stunningly beautiful area, surrounded by pristine forests, mountains, and glaciers. Visitors can take a flightseeing tour to get an aerial view of the area’s breathtaking scenery.
  • Go fishing: Ketchikan is known as the “Salmon Capital of the World”, making it an ideal destination for fishing. Visitors can take a fishing tour to try their hand at catching king salmon, silver salmon, and other types of fish.
  • Explore the Alaskan wilderness: Ketchikan is a gateway to the Alaskan wilderness, with numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures such as hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.

Seward – Alaska’s Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park

Seward is a small city located on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska and is one of the most popular ports for Alaska cruises. This city is well known for its stunning natural beauty and easy access to Kenai Fjords National Park. Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure seeker, Seward has something for everyone.

Places to Visit:

  • Kenai Fjords National Park: This is the highlight of any trip to Seward, with its stunning glaciers and wildlife, including humpback whales, sea otters, and seals. Visitors can take a boat tour through the park to see the glaciers up close, or hike to get a better view of the wildlife.
  • Alaska SeaLife Center: This is a must-visit for anyone interested in marine biology. The center is a research and rehabilitation facility for Alaskan marine life and is home to many species of fish, seals, and sea birds.
  • Exit Glacier: This is a popular hike for those who want to get up close and personal with a glacier. The trail is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Historic Downtown Seward: This charming downtown area is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and museums. Take a walk down the main street to get a feel for the local culture and history.

Things to Do:

  • Wildlife Viewing: Seward is a great place for wildlife viewing, with a variety of birds, mammals, and marine life to be seen. Take a whale-watching tour or go on a bear-viewing excursion to see these amazing animals up close.
  • Sport Fishing: If you’re a fishing enthusiast, Seward is a great place to try your luck. With its many streams, lakes, and fjords, this area is a prime spot for salmon, halibut, and other fish.
  • Kayaking: This is a great way to explore the waterways around Seward. Rent a kayak and paddle your way through the fjords, taking in the stunning views along the way.
  • Hiking: Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely walk, there are plenty of trails to choose from in and around Seward. Explore the glaciers, mountains, and forests that make this area so unique.

Sitka: A Cultural & Natural Beauty

Located in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, Sitka is a city surrounded by breathtaking scenery and rich history. As one of the stops on your Alaska cruise, it offers a wealth of opportunities to explore the great outdoors, learn about the region’s culture, and immerse yourself in the local community.

Places to Visit in Sitka

  • Sitka National Historical Park: Explore the park’s trails and learn about the history of the Tlingit and Russian cultures in the area. The park features totem poles and a cultural center with exhibits on the area’s history.
  • St. Michael’s Cathedral: This historic church is the largest in Alaska and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Sheldon Jackson Museum: Discover the history of the state of Alaska and learn about its unique culture and traditions. The museum showcases Native Alaskan art and artifacts, as well as historical exhibits about the region’s gold rush and fur trading.
  • Alaska Raptor Center: Observe and learn about the native birds of prey, such as bald eagles, owls, and falcons.

Things to Do in Sitka

  • Wildlife Viewing: Sitka is a prime location for observing wildlife, including bald eagles, sea otters, and humpback whales.
  • Kayaking and Fishing: Rent a kayak or join a fishing tour to experience the beauty of Sitka’s waterways.
  • Hiking: Explore the Tongass National Forest on one of its many trails, including the Indian River Trail, which offers stunning views of the region’s wildlife and scenery.
  • Whale Watching: Take a whale-watching tour to see the massive humpback whales that frequent the waters off of Sitka.

Valdez, Alaska: A Small Town with Big Adventure Opportunities

Valdez is a small city located on the southern coast of Alaska, with a population of around 4000 people. Despite its small size, Valdez is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Alaska, with its stunning scenery, wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Whether you’re looking for adventure or just want to relax and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors, Valdez has something to offer for everyone.

Places to Visit in Valdez:

  • Valdez Glacier: Located in the Chugach State Park, Valdez Glacier is one of the largest glaciers in the United States and is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can take a helicopter tour to get an aerial view of the glacier or hike to the glacier for a closer look.
  • Columbia Glacier: Columbia Glacier is another popular tourist attraction in Valdez and is a must-visit for any nature lover. The glacier is located just a few miles from Valdez and can be easily accessed by boat tour or helicopter tour.
  • Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site: This popular tourist destination is located just a short drive from Valdez and offers stunning views of the Worthington Glacier and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can hike to the glacier, go fishing, or just relax and enjoy the views.

Things to Do in Valdez:

  • Kayaking and Canoeing: Valdez is home to several lakes and rivers that are perfect for kayaking and canoeing. Whether you’re an experienced paddler or just starting out, there’s something for everyone in Valdez.
  • Fishing: Valdez is a popular fishing destination, with many opportunities to catch salmon, halibut, and other types of fish. Whether you’re fishing from the shore or going on a guided fishing tour, Valdez has plenty of options for fishing enthusiasts.
  • Wildlife Watching: Valdez is home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, black bears, and moose. Visitors can go on a guided wildlife-watching tour or simply take a hike in the surrounding wilderness to see some of these amazing creatures up close.

Wrangell: A Scenic Town with Rich Cultural History

Wrangell is a small town located on the southern coast of Alaska and is one of the stops on the Alaska cruise travel itinerary. The town is surrounded by the stunning Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, which is the largest national park in the United States and is known for its rugged wilderness, glaciers, and snow-capped mountains.

Places to Visit in Wrangell:

  • Chief Shakes Island: A historic Tlingit village located on an island in the middle of the Wrangell Narrows. The village is home to a totem pole park and provides a great opportunity to learn about the local Tlingit culture.
  • Stikine River: A scenic river that winds through the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The river is a popular destination for fishing, rafting, and kayaking.
  • Wrangell Museum: A small museum located in the town center that showcases the history and culture of the Tlingit people, the early settlers, and the gold rush in the region.
  • Petroglyph Beach State Historical Park: A park located on the southern edge of Wrangell that features hundreds of Native Alaskan petroglyphs etched into the rocks.

Things to Do in Wrangell:

  • Wildlife viewing: Wrangell is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including black and brown bears, moose, eagles, and sea otters. Visitors can go on guided wildlife viewing tours to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Hiking: The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve offers countless opportunities for hiking and backpacking, with trails that range from easy scenic walks to challenging multi-day backpacking trips.
  • Fishing: The rivers and streams in the region are teeming with salmon, steelhead, and rainbow trout, making Wrangell a great destination for fishing enthusiasts.
  • Boat tours: Visitors can take a scenic boat tour of the Wrangell Narrows and see the stunning glaciers, mountains, and wildlife of the region from the water.

Prince Rupert (in Canada) – An Unforgettable Destination in Your Alaska Cruise

Prince Rupert is a charming coastal city in British Columbia, Canada, that offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance. Located on the northern coast of British Columbia, it’s one of the few cities in the world that has direct access to the Pacific Ocean and boasts an array of beautiful parks, pristine beaches, and magnificent scenic views. As one of the last stops on your Alaska cruise itinerary, Prince Rupert will be an unforgettable experience for travelers.

Places to Visit:

  • Prince Rupert Wildlife Centre: This educational center is dedicated to showcasing the natural beauty and diverse wildlife of the area, with interactive exhibits and live animal displays.
  • Museum of Northern British Columbia: This museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Prince Rupert and the surrounding region.
  • Cow Bay: This historic fishing village is a great place to explore the local culture and history. Visitors can walk along the pier, visit the local shops and restaurants, and admire the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Prince Rupert Harbour: This bustling port is one of the largest in Canada, and a great place to observe the daily activities of the local fishing fleet and watch the ships coming and going.

Things to Do:

  • Whale Watching: Prince Rupert is a popular spot for whale watching, with numerous tour operators offering boat trips to view the magnificent creatures up close.
  • Hiking: With numerous parks and nature reserves in the area, Prince Rupert is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, with a variety of hiking trails for all levels of ability.
  • Fishing: With a rich history as a fishing village, Prince Rupert is a great place for anglers, offering both saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities.
  • Scuba Diving: The waters around Prince Rupert are abundant with marine life, making it a great place for scuba diving and snorkeling.

If you would like help planning your next cruise vacation to Alaska please click the link below, I would love to help you check this bucket list destination off your list.

Contact me “Windy Dockum” for a free quote!

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