A relaxing luxury cruise, meandering along the endless coastline, is the perfect way to experience Alaska. With a shoreline longer than all other US states combined, Alaska boasts some three million lakes, 100,000 glaciers and 17 of the USA's 20 highest peaks. This sprawling terrain of grand and imposing landscapes plays host to some similarly majestic wildlife, such as whales, brown bears and eagles, making it the perfect cruise destination for nature lovers and eco-tourists. Moreover, Alaska cruises usually sail up the Inside Passages, where passengers can fully experience the awesome wilderness of the land.
Ketchikan, at the southeastern most point of Alaska, is a popular port of call on any cruise round the region. Known as the "Salmon Capital of the World", this quaint port town is steeped in Alaskan character and charm, with vibrantly coloured boutiques and wooden buildings perched over the water. It provides an ideal base from which to take a kayak and explore Misty Fjords inland. Further up the coast lies the commonly frequented port of Skagway, a town established in the late 19th century gold rush that has preserved its history.
The state capital of Juneau, another popular port of call on all Alaskan cruises, is nestled at the base of snow capped mountains and sprawls up to the Mendenhall Valley, providing an ideal base from which to explore the Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park lands.
Picturesque port town of Sitka, in the Alexander archipelago, is another port commonly featured, steeped in a cocktail of American, Russian and Native American cultures.
For wildlife, Icy Strait Point is a favourite port for spotting various species of whales, including orcas and humpbacks.
Popular Alaskan ports of call include Hubbard Glacier; Icy Strait Point; Inside Passage; Juneau; Ketchikan; Sitka; Skagway and Tracy Arm, as well as Seattle in Washington State and Vancouver and Victoria in Canada.
Alaska cruises most commonly run on round trips from Seattle or Vancouver. Many lines run cruises from the Californian ports of San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco that sail up the west coast of the US. There are also cruises available that voyage further west beyond Alaska as far as Tokyo or Beijing.
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