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- 9.7 Exceptional
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Adventure Cruises in Alaska Islands
Alaska has enormous stretches of coastline and more than 2,600 named islands; an Alaska Islands Cruise is, therefore, one of the best ways to experience the hypnotic rugged beauty of Alaska’s diverse and majestic landscapes and nature. Adventure cruises in Alaska typically sail around the larger of the state’s islands, including a range of activities and attractions to suit varied tastes and interests. From nature and wildlife spotting, photography, and shore excursions, to hiking, kayaking, and relaxing leisure time, your cruise around the Alaska Islands is sure to leave you filled with wonder and awe.
Cruises to Alaska Islands
Small ship cruises let you get closer to the shore of several islands and explore places that just aren’t possible on larger vessels. Cruises to the Alaska Islands typically include one or more of the following fascinating islands:
Chichagof Island - The large Chichagof Island is known for its plunging fjords, the channels carved out by hundreds of years of glacial activity. Scenic and very photogenic, you can take part in different adventurous activities, like kayaking and sailing a skiff, to appreciate the area’s awesome beauty even more. Guided hikes along the coast or further inland add to the excitement, and you can spot a variety of wildlife that calls the island home.
Baranof Island - Separated from Chichagof Island by the Peril Strait, Baranof Island is home to the city of Sitka. Discover smaller islands along the coast on a small cruise ship and enjoy the tranquillity of hidden coves. Hikes on the island may include nature spotting, visiting remote communities, exploring Tongass National Forest, admiring glistening lakes, or bathing in blissful hot springs. Wildlife on the island includes Sitka deer and bears, and various bird species fly overhead.
The Brothers Islands - A pair of islands with lots of wildlife, discover the rocky Brothers Islands on your Alaska luxury cruise and look out for sea lions, different whale species, porpoises, rodents, and birds. Indeed, these small islands are known for being amongst the top Alaska islands for wildlife spotting.
Admiralty Island - Part of the Alexander Archipelago, Admiralty Island is almost entirely bisected by the Seymour Canal. Animals like the Sitka deer, brown bears, and bald eagles live in the island’s dense wilderness forests. Other island features include a series of lakes, a mine, and a lighthouse.
Kuiu Island - Split by the Affleck Canal, cruising around Alaska’s Kuiu Island lets you discover more of Tongass National Forest. Raw natural beauty and plenty of wildlife are sure to keep you spellbound.
Prince of Wales Island - Prince of Wales Island is the USA’s fourth-largest island and it is home to the biggest known cave in all of Alaska, the impressive El Capitan Cave. Hike through the expansive cave with a guide, marvelling at the rock formations and learning more about the cave’s geology. Myriad creatures inhabit the island and its surrounding waters, including seals, bears, and deer.
Marble Island - Marble Island is another spectacular island that you may visit on a cruise around the Alaska islands. A haven for diverse bird species, it is also known for its abundant sea lions.
Top Tips for visiting Alaska Islands
- Wet weather gear is recommended all throughout the year.
- If you’re planning on making the most of the excellent hiking opportunities on Chichagof Island and Baranof Island, pack appropriate footwear.
- Wrap up especially warm for a visit to El Capitan Cave; it can be very chilly inside.
- Don’t forget your binoculars to get a better view of wildlife, especially if you’re a keen bird-watcher and are visiting Marble Island.
- Keep your camera charged and to hand at all times; there is so to much to snap on an Alaska cruise. Carry spare batteries just in case.
Best time to cruise Alaska Islands
The rainiest months for the Alaska islands are generally September and October, though you can expect a substantial amount of rain throughout most of the year. Spring and summer are the best months, weather wise, to enjoy a cruise of the Alaska islands, with temperatures warming up to pleasant levels. The busiest time for Alaska cruises is from April to September. The mid-period onwards is the best time for hiking, however, when the grounds have thawed the most.
You can see fascinating wildlife all throughout the year on a cruise around the Alaska islands, though Baranof Island holds its annual Whalefest in November each year. If you are particularly interested in seeing particular types of whales, do be aware that generally April and May are the best months for seeing gray whales, whilst June to September is the prime time to see minke whales.
Admiralty Island is one of the best places to see bears, with the peak viewing time between early July and the end of August. Spring is a top time to see migrating birds returning to the Alaska Islands, whilst in the autumn you can see various migratory species preparing to depart for warmer climates.
Prince of Wales Island offers excellent sports fishing opportunities in the summer, with Pacific salmon in abundance. The winter months, on the other hand, are great for catching sea urchins and sea cucumbers.
Plan ahead and book your cruise to the Alaska islands at a time that coincides the most with your main interests and wishes.
Where do Alaska Islands cruises depart from?
Cruises of the Alaska Islands may depart from several locations in Alaska, including Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Each has an airport, with connecting flights to and from other Alaskan destinations and places on the US mainland. If you don’t wish to travel to Alaska to begin your cruise, there are also some itineraries that depart from Seattle.
Book your next adventure cruise to the Alaska Islands today. Contact our reservations team.
Alaska Islands Reviews
- 9.7 Exceptional
- 8 Verified Reviews
We had an excellent Naturalist guide and Zodiak boat.
Diving Alaska Islands in August on the Catalyst
So glad we chose this trip as we were able to visit local communities and meet people
Diving Alaska Islands in August on the Alaskan Dream
The whole voyage among Islands was a visual delight. Calm water helped a lot, and being on a double hulled boat.
Diving Alaska Islands in July on the Alaskan Dream
The boat-bound excursions in the waters of the Alaska Islands were great. Lots of marine mammals and wildlife sightings, beautiful scenery, opportunities to kayak. But would have preferred less time in Petersburg. Seems like the needs of that stop (re-stock food, water & fuel) could have been done without an overnight stay with following morning in Petersburg.
Diving Alaska Islands in July on the Island Spirit
The wildlife viewing was amazing, and the seas calm, as we stayed mostly within the fjords (nobody was seasick the entire time). We were lucky to see orcas and even two brown bear cubs with their mother in addition to sea lions, porpoises, plenty of humpback whales and sea birds.
Diving Alaska Islands in June on the Island Spirit