Highlights of Alaska
Alaska has sweeping mountain and glacial scenery, with vast tracts of wild places. Its largely pristine environment is a testament to nature. Cruising Alaska is on bucket lists the world over – and once you've been here, you'll understand why.
A few of the highlights of cruising Alaska:
- On Alaska's south coast, Anchorage is one of the world's northernmost cities. Tucked between the foothills of the Chugach mountains and the sea, and lit by almost 20 hours of sunlight per day in summer, this has a magical atmosphere. The area is home to moose, brown and black bears, dall sheep, and many migratory bird species but the best bet for seeing bear in the wild is to tour to the Denali or Katmai National Parks.
- Glacier Bay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site with mountains reaching beyond 4,500 metres, protected coves, freshwater lakes and tidewater glaciers. This is a summer playground for migratory humpback whales, and minke and killer whales are also found in the protected waters. Amid the seals, moose and bear have also been seen 'dogpaddling' in the bay! Even so – or perhaps because of this – hiking and kayaking in the area is an experience to treasure.
- Skagway's population swelled in the late 1800s with the Yukon gold rush – from 2 to 20,000 in just a decade. Today this town trades on its historic building facades and sense of a bygone era. As a day trip you can enjoy a train ride on a section of the White Pass and Yukon Route which formerly transported miners to their gold. A regional tour by plane on a clear day is also a magical sight.
Be prepared for one season colder than the time you are traveling. This is especially important for those who travel early and late in the season. The average temperature range is from overnight lows of 4°C to daytime temperatures of 17°C. The Inside Passage has an annual rainfall of over 50in but Anchorage rainfall is only 16in p.a.
The Alaska Cruise season begins in May and ends in September. Although July and August are the warmest months to experience these incredible sites, autumn and spring are the most fun, the most beautiful and the savings are the best.