ALASKA is a phenomenal destination in many ways, with the inside passage waterways being the ideal way to see much of Alaska…
Either one is typically 7 days long (with some 10 or 11 day itineraries as well). One way cruises start or end down south in Vancouver, and at the other end up north start or end in a small town near Anchorage (either Seward or Whittier). Round trip cruises leave from either Seattle or Vancouver, go up the inside passage as far as they can get in 3½ days (for the typical 7 day cruise), and then turn around and come back.
All of these cruises stop at the same or similar ports, with the 3 major stops being Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway. They pretty much all include a brief stop at a glacier that comes right up to the ocean, where the ship idles and sits there for a few hours as you enjoy the unusual sight; looking for chunks of ice to break off, and view wildlife such as sea lions floating around on small ice floes, and puffins flying around.
Pros and cons; the one way trips typically give a slight bit more time at each port of call, but the flights are more expensive. If you want to spend any time inland within Alaska such as Denali Park (which we highly recommend, and easy to do as an “add-on” to the cruise) you need to take a one way cruise. Round trips are slightly less expensive because airfare costs less as you fly in and out of the same city and don’t have to fly so far north, and typically you do get a decent amount of time in port, just not quite as much as you would on a one way cruise.
The map on the left shows many ports of call, those within the fabled Inside Passage such as Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka as well as Interior cities and regions of interest such as Anchorage, Talkeetna and Denali National Park. The calm protected waters of the Inside Passage go from Victoria Island to the south up to Skagway at the northern end of the passage, with the majority of most Alaskan Cruises operating within these calmer waters. Beautiful views from both sides of the ship with lush rugged islands abounding with wildlife on one side along with the more mountainous interior of Alaska on the other side.
An ideal cruise for first-timers, or those prone to motion sickness or fearful of open water. The sights are absolutely gorgeous, with interesting history and culture well worth exploring and enjoying!!