5 Reasons to Add an Inland Tour to Your Alaskan Cruise
Travel to Alaska by cruise is the top way most travelers choose to see the Alaska. There are many different cruise lines to choose from including: Royal Caribbean, Norweigan, Holland America, Windstar, and Uncruise. If you are unsure which cruise line fits your travel needs, send me a message or reach out to your travel advisor for a comparison of cruise lines and their offerings.
A typical cruise will start in Vancouver and head North up the coast to Seward; along the way stopping at breathtaking seaside towns such as Juneau, Ketchikan, and ending Skagway. Alternatively, the cruise will start in Skagway and venture South toward Vancouver. Of course, this itinerary will vary from cruise to cruise but generally speaking, these are the hot spots along the Alaskan coastline.
There are so many reasons to visit Alaska, but for simplicity sake, I have broken it down into the top 5 main draws of an Alaskan vacation. As the last frontier in America, travelers visit Alaska for their glaciers, the untamed wilderness, wildlife, huge mountains, and culture.
Certainly, a highlight of visiting Alaska is visiting the Alaskan glacier. Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay National Park are usually seen from your cruise ship since they are located along the coastline. The ship captain will often get as close as they can and spin the ship 360 so that everyone on the ship can get a good look at the glaciers. You will get to hear the “white thunder” – the cracking and crashing of the glaciers as they fall into the bay.
Note from your travel advisor: If you book an Alaskan cruise, don’t sell the trip short – make sure you upgrade your room to a balcony so you can maximize your viewing experience.
If seeing Alaska’s vast wilderness is at the top of your travel list – you must add an inland tour to your cruise vacation. Alaska has more than 57 million acres of wilderness – including tundra, mountain ranges, lakes, rivers, and volcanos. There is so much more to see in Alaska than what you can experience on the coastline. Most cruise tours make it exceptionally easy to move inland with Wilderness Express ® glass-domed railcars that will guarantee unobstructed views of wilderness scenery.
The Alaskan big 5 when it comes to wildlife are grizzly bears, mouse, caribous, wolves, and Dall sheep. Most of these animals are found inland and on mountain ranges. To increase your chances to see some of the big animal wildlife – head inland and visit one of the many freshwater rivers and lakes. Salmon are a major food source for bears and the Alaskan salmon typically make their upstream journey in the summer months (June – Sept). Plan your vacation during one of these months for the best opportunities to experience the migration and catch a glimpse of bear fishing for its next meal!
A must visit place for Alaska is the Denali National Park. The park boasts over 6 million acres of untamed wilderness, wildlife, AND the tallest mountain peak in North America. Wilderness Express ® glass-domed railcars make it easy to get to the park from the coast. The mountain peak is only visible approximately 30% of the time. Extend your stay in Denali to increase the odds of viewing the majestic mountain peak and join the “30% club.”
A note from your travel advisor: I highly recommend booking flight-seeing tour of the mountain to the western end of the National Park. Here you will see the best views of the three biggest mountain ranges in Alaska and the Kahiltna glacier that connects them.
Alaska has one of the most unique cultures in the world. Alaskan native descendants where thought to have traveled to Alaska from Siberia during the Ice Age via a Northern Land Bridge. These natives survived by hunting, and fishing, and utilizing the harsh terrain to their benefit. By building homes out of ice and using dogs sleds for transportation, the ingenuity of the culture is inspiring. You can learn about the native history by visiting one of the many cultural centers throughout Alaska. But if you want an unforgettable experience, book a tour to meet the sled-racing dogs and get a hands-on, quintessential Alaska tour.
Unless you are from the Pacific Northwest region, a trip to Alaska is not a short distance to travel – for some, it could be the same distance to visit Alaska as it would for a trip to Europe. As a travel advisor, we want our clients to make the most of their travel time. Booking cruise will offer you a convenient way to travel along the coastline and see ocean wild-life, glaciers, and experience day tours along the coastline. But if you are looking for a richer, more in-depth experience of Alaska then a cruise and inland tour will offer you the best value and give you that cross this off my bucket-list experience that you crave.