With good reason, an Alaskan cruise is on many people’s bucket list. The 49th state to join the United States is known as The Last Frontier. Much of it remains untouched by humans. Wildlife is abundant, the terrain is rugged, and the weather is often unpredictable. We’ve found five Alaskan cruising tips to get the most out of your near-Arctic cruise. Several shore excursions are worth your money and time when you stop at ports on an Alaska cruise. Port stops vary depending on the cruise line and itinerary you choose.
Visit the Mendenhall Glacier
During a stopover at the port of Juneau, an excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier is a must. This glacier is impressive to see and easy to access, so it is an ideal excursion for families with children. After exploring the glacier, a few nearby hiking trails lead to waterfalls, wildlife, and forests. The Mendenhall Glacier tour can be quickly completed in a few hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to discover the many other things to do in Juneau.
Ride the White Pass Railway
If your cruise stops at Skagway, don’t miss a trip along the White Pass Railway. Explorers looking for treasure during the Klondike Gold Rush traveled this route, so there is plenty of history to uncover about the area. This excursion is family friendly. As the train travels to White Pass Summit, adults and children will have plenty to see as the train passes through beautiful and varied scenery.
Do whale watching
Whale watching in the waters surrounding Alaska is an unforgettable excursion. Tours to Juneau, Seward, Sitka, Icy Strait, Skagway, and Ketchikan provide the opportunity, so it’s easy to make it work with your travel plans. Once you ventured out on the tour boat, you were able to see grey, killer, humpback and beluga whales as well as many other forms of marine life. This is a great opportunity if you haven’t seen the whales in their natural habitat.
Enjoy a salmon gratin
A salmon bake is a fun and educational way to sample local cuisine. These events take place statewide, but when stopping at a cruise port, your best bet is to buy your tickets to Skagway or Juneau. Most salmon bakes will include live music, a campfire, and lots of food. If you don’t like seafood, other options are usually available.
It’s also a great opportunity to meet other travelers and learn a bit more about the salmon industry in Alaska. Sometimes cooking with salmon can be combined with other tours, such as a hike or a whale watching tour. On one of your days in port, experience something new and choose baked salmon instead of visiting a restaurant.
Experience dog sledding
Dog sledding is an incredibly popular shore excursion. It really is a local tradition with a long history. The well-known Iditarod Sled Dog Race is completed each March and is the epitome of Alaska fame. This tour is offered in Anchorage, Juneau, Denali, Seward and Skagway.
Sledding experiences can vary depending on the tour you choose and the time of year, but some also include helicopter rides or scenic hikes. In the summer, you can ride on wheeled carts pulled by the dogs, or you can take part in a sled ride on a glacier. You can sled on the snow during the colder months for a truly authentic experience. Your tour guides will give you lots of information about the history and specifics of dog sledding, and sometimes you will even have the opportunity to play with the dogs and cuddle them.
Final Thoughts on Alaska Cruising Tips
As you have read, there are many amazing excursions you can choose from on an Alaskan cruise. These tours vary in price and duration, so travelers should do their research to find and plan events that fit their budgets and schedules.
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