Alaska is one of the world’s most popular cruising destinations right now, and there is a good reason for that. This North American gem has everything anyone could ever want from a holiday: adventure, beautiful views, amazing culture, fascinating history and more. Indisputably Alaska is one of the most amazing destinations you can visit on a cruise, and whilst there you can enjoy a whole range of unforgettable cruise excursions. In this article, we have a look at some of the best we have to offer.
Go Whale watching
The rich waters surrounding Alaska are some of the best in the world for Whale Watching. Around the state you can see humpback whales, orcas, beluga whales, bowhead whales and gray whales. With our shore excursions, you can get back out on the water and experience these majestic creatures in their own habitat.
We spoke to Stephanie, blogger at The Wanderlost Way. Stephanie told us why she wanted to visit Alaska: “Ever since reading ‘Into the Wild’, I’ve dreamed about visiting Alaska. The remote glaciers, the peaceful ocean and the raw, protected nature are just a few of the elements that make Alaska the perfect destination. I visited in the summer so I could still hike and climb without too much snow (although, it is Alaska so our trails had snow in June!).
Stephanie told us about her whale watching experience: “We took a small whale-watching trip to immerse ourselves in nature for an afternoon and it was the best decision. We saw pods of whales surrounding our boat, not to mention puffins and sea lions on the craggy coast. I can’t recommend visiting Alaska enough; it’s one of the few natural places that still feels entirely, well, natural.”
Whale watching shore excursions in Alaska:
Go Salmon Fishing
As well as whales, the Alaskan waters are filled with fish. Namely, salmon. Fishing for King Salmon here will be an experience you’ll remember forever. Whether you are a seasoned angler or a novice, our excursions will provide everything you need for a fantastic day out on the water. Keep your eyes peeled whilst at sea, because as well as fish you’ll be able to see seals, whales, eagles and more.
We spoke to Erin Kirkland from AK On The Go. Alaska travel journalist and author of the ‘Alaska On the Go’ guidebook series." As an Alaska native, we asked Erin why she thinks everyone should visit Alaska: “Alaska's raw wilderness and abundance of wildlife has long made it an attractive destination, but even more so lately with so much attention placed on changes to the state's climate. Visitors want to see the ‘real thing’, the towering glaciers, breaching whales, and pristine forestland, right in front of them. Recreationally, Alaska has it all, for every ability. It's even more accessible than one might think, with opportunities for adrenaline junkies or casual sightseers; it's all here and available."
Erin has previously enjoyed salmon fishing in Alaska, so we wanted to ask her why it’s a great idea for a shore excursion: “Options for fishing Alaska's waters range from casting in a rushing river or dropping a line in the cold Pacific Ocean. Charter companies make the experience easier and more enjoyable, with care taken to assure the fresh catch is frozen and packed for the trip home, or cooked up that night for dinner at a local restaurant.”
Fishing shore excursions in Alaska:
Try your hand at Dog Sledding
Dog sledding is a fantastic experience and something many people dream about doing from childhood. Sledding through the beautiful Alaskan landscapes means you’ll be doing it as you’ve always imagined, gliding effortlessly through the snow and between rows of pine trees. Mush with a group of dogs and experience not only amazing views but an incredible rush of adrenaline.
We spoke to Gary Bembridge, cruise lover and avid traveller who blogs at Tips for Travellers. Gary recently cruised to Alaska and he told us why he thinks everyone should visit: “Alaska is remarkable. Vast and sprawling with wild landscapes, monstrous glaciers, fascinating wildlife and quirky towns with bizarre and compelling histories and stories. It is one of the most beautiful and interesting places I have visited on my travels. If you do not visit Alaska you are missing out on one of the top places in the world to go. It is peaceful and moving.”
Gary went dog sledding on a Norris Glacier shore excursion. He told us about the experience: “I took ages to decide if it was worth spending the money on. I am pleased I did as it was one of the best experiences I have ever invested in on any of my travels. We flew above the clouds onto a glacier where the dogs spend the summer months. It was pure white and gliding along the thick snow pulled by the enthusiastic huskies was magical. Everyone gets a chance to steer the sled. If you can find a way to save up to do it. It is special and memorable.”
Since finishing his cruise Gary has created a short video of his dog sledding shore excursion which you can watch below:
Dog sledding shore excursions in Alaska:
Try a bike Tour
If you want to stretch your legs whilst on land and see some of the beautiful Alaskan landscapes whilst getting some exercise in, bike tours are the perfect way to do this. Not only do you get to see the state from a completely unique level, but you also get to do so with an expert who will ensure you get the best views possible.
Bike tour shore excursions in Alaska:
See the Misty Fjords
If you’ve come to Alaska to experience its rugged wilderness, a visit to Misty Fjords is a great way to see that. Misty Fjords Monument, part of Tongass National Forest near Ketchikan is one of the most peaceful places in the world. See the mist roll over the water between the towering cliffs, eagles flying overhead and know that this is a place you’ll remember forever.
We spoke to Anda, photographer and blogger at Travel Notes and Beyond. Her love affair with photography has taken her all around the globe, including Alaska. We asked her why she believes everyone should travel here: "There are not many places in the USA as majestic, wild and breathtakingly beautiful as Alaska! The state is twice the size of Texas, covering a land mass of 586,412 square miles, most of which is wilderness – untamed, untouched wilderness! The best way to explore Alaska is by sea, as only 20% of the state is accessible by road. So if you want to see unspoiled nature, glaciers, huge mountains and wildlife in a single trip, you should take a cruise to Alaska. There are many things that will make your jaw drop in Alaska and one of them is the Misty Fjords National Monument, about 22 miles east of the small town of Ketchikan.”
Anda then told us why everyone should visit The Misty Fjords: “The Misty Fjords cover over 2 million acres within the Tongass National Forest. The area is covered with thick rainforests that grow on nearly vertical slopes. There is so much vegetation everywhere you look! An incredibly lush landscape of saltwater passageways, freshwater streams and waterfalls. Wildlife in the Fjords is very abundant. The area is populated with Bald Eagles, mountain goats, brown bears, wolfs, wolverines, river otters, sea lions, harbour seals, and killer whales. This is a place not to be missed if you visit Alaska."
The Misty Fjords shore excursions in Alaska:
See the Mendenhall Glacier
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of the biggest must-see attractions in Alaska. Located just 12 miles outside of Juneau, the glacier is spellbinding. The glacier ends at the light blue Mendenhall Lake, and it’s something everyone that visits Alaska should witness. With our range of shore excursions, you’ll be able to find a completely unique way to visit it, whether on a bike tour, seeing it from above by helicopter or even dog sledding on top of it.
Mendenhall Glacier shore excursions in Alaska:
Image Credits: Travel Notes and Beyond