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- 8.7 Fabulous
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Adventure Cruises in Inside Passage
An Inside Passage Cruise carries passengers along various stretches of the long coastal route. Reaching beyond the USA’s state of Alaska along the coast of Canada’s British Colombia, Alaska’s section of the Inside Passage runs for around 800 kilometres (500 miles) north to south and can span 160 kilometres (100 miles) across. Awash with spectacular scenery that encompasses towering mountains, gleaming glaciers, deep fjords, remote islands, lush forests, and tranquil beaches, there’s never a dull moment when you cruise the Inside Passage. A haven for wildlife fans, adventure junkies, and people who love to learn more about different cultures, Inside Passage cruises really are amongst the top adventure cruises in Alaska.
Top things to do & see on an Inside Passage cruise
From observing plentiful wildlife, bird watching, and trying an array of active activities and outdoor pursuits, to honing your photography skills, sightseeing, admiring the dramatic landscapes, and meeting members of local communities, there is so much to experience on an Inside Passage cruise. Some tops things to do when cruising Alaska’s and Canada’s Inside Passages include:
Glacier Bay National Park - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Glacier Bay National Park is one of Alaska’s real gems. Stretching for 105 kilometres (65 miles), the many beautiful glaciers are a wondrous sight. The John Hopkins, Marjerie, and McBridge Glaciers are especially popular. Small ship cruises of the Inside Passage let you observe a range of wildlife from close quarters, including whales, seals, sea lions, otters, moose, bears, wolves, deer, and a host of smaller land-living creatures and birds. Kayaking and hiking are amongst the activities you can enjoy.
Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm - Two long and scenic fjords in the Fords Terror Wilderness, a highlight of the area is seeing the Sawyer Glaciers, glaciers that frequently calve, sending large icy blocks crashing into the waters below. The rocky and mountainous landscapes are punctuated by verdant patches of forest and cascading waterfalls. Wildlife that you may spot whilst on your cruise includes whales, harbour seals, bears, deer, and wolves. Keep your eyes peeled for mountain goats too, a rather unusual sight at such lower elevations, and watch birds bobbing on the waters and soaring overhead as you kayak through the clear waters.
Frederick Sound - The scenic Frederick Surround separates Admiralty Island and Kupreanof Island. A great place for summer whale watching, the Five Fingers Island Light can present an attractive sight in front of the icy landscapes behind it.
Misty Fjords - A sublime wilderness area and a national monument, be awed by the gigantic glacial cliffs as your Inside Passage Cruise makes its way through Misty Fjords. A smaller cruise ship might pass close enough to the many waterfalls for you to feel the spray from the powerful water. You can see the volcanic Eddystone Rock and listen to the calls of seabirds that musically fill the air.
Stephens Passage - In the southeastern part of Alaska, Stephens Passage is known for its marvellous sights, sounds, and smells, with the resident whales, sea lions, gulls, and guillemots breathing life into the majestic surroundings. Deep waters and soaring mountains blend to create a visual dream, with rolling meadows and lush forests further adding to the appeal.
A range of Activities - Climb into a skiff (small one-person rowing boat) or kayak to feel completely free on the waters, soaking up the air of tranquility as you lose yourself in the many magical sights. Unleash your imagination as you explore. Join a guided hike to learn more about the magnificent landscapes and how they were formed over the years, as well as discovering more about the cultural groups and animals that occupy the remote areas. Discover traditions and customs of different groups, including the Tlingit and the Haida, see intricate totem poles, visit cultural centres, and much, much more.
Wildlife Encounters - A cruise of the Inner Passages offers wildlife encounters galore. Whether you’re an avid bird water or more interested in the creatures big and small that live in a watery home, there are no shortage of chances to be wowed. From enormous hales to small fish and everything in between, the icy waters are ecologically diverse. Myriad animals roam dry land, from bears, wolves, and deer to smaller creatures like weasels, ermine, and rodents.
Top Tips for visiting Inside Passage
- Don’t forget to take your camera for some spectacular shots of Glacier Bays’ gems, in particular, the Marjerie Glacier and the John Hopkins Glacier.
- Take a video camera to film the frequent calving of the Sawyers Glaciers and the whale activity at Frederick Sound.
- Binoculars are advised for spotting wildlife from a distance.
- Sturdy walking boots or shoes are required if you want to join hiking excursions.
- Due to the typical climate and weather, dress in layers to combat the cold, and make sure you take wet weather clothes on your cruise. You might also want to invest in a waterproof bag for shore trips; keep your camera, money, and other essentials safe and dry.
Best time to cruise Inside Passage
Plan ahead and book your cruise of the Inside Passage for the relevant months that best fit the things that you are most interested in seeing and doing. The best time to visit both Alaska’s Inside Passage and Canada’s Inside Passage is from spring to the end of summer. The temperatures are pleasant and, especially in the summer, the days can be sunny and bright. Do be aware though that, although the rainiest months are generally October and November, that the area is known for lots of rainfall all throughout the year.
You can watch migrating animals returning in the springtime, and wildflowers bursting into bloom in the forests. Summer is the main mating and birthing season for several local species; watch as seal pups drift on large blocks of ice and birds teach their offspring to fly and swim. There are also increased chances of seeing whales in the summer. The best time for hiking in the Inner Passages is from mid-summer onwards when the terrain has thawed.
Where do Inside Passage cruises depart from?
Alaska adventure cruises of the Inside Passages typically depart from Alaska’s Sitka, Juneau, or Ketchikan. Each is served by an international airport, with direct flights available to and from a range of Alaskan airports. Several direct flights connect Alaska with the mainland US, but, if you add a connection, it is incredibly easy to reach the cruise departure points from almost anywhere in the USA. Alternatively, you can take an Alaska cruise from Seattle too, removing the need of getting to Alaska before your cruise adventure begins.
The closest international airports for an Inside Passage cruise are Sitka Rocky Gutirrez Airport (SIT), Juneau International Airport (JNU), and Ketchikan International Airport (KTN). The most flights to Alaska from the US mainland arrive in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks; connecting flights are readily available from both Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Book your next Alaska adventure cruise to the Inside Passage today. Contact our reservations team.