Cruising to Alaska? – Cruise Port Information. 

Alaska Cruise Must Haves, Free Maps, and Shopping Coupons.

Alaska Must-See Cruise Ports…

Juneau, Alaska Port Shopping Map.

Ketchikan, Alaska.

Sitka, Alaska.

Skagway, Alaska.

Vancouver, Canada.

Victoria, Canada.

Alaska Cruise Must-Do Excursions: Make the Most of Your Shore Time

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As a Viator & Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Aerial view of river and Vancouver cityscape, British Columbia, CanadaCruising to Alaska for the first time can be an exhilarating experience, filled with breathtaking landscapes, wildlife encounters, and unique cultural immersion. While the time spent aboard the ship is undoubtedly enjoyable, the real magic lies in the shore excursions and port visits.  Click on the ports on your cruise for detailed port maps, with major attractions you can walk to, recommended shopping including art galleries.

To ensure you get the best out of your time ashore, here are some essential tips and insights to consider:

Frequent and First Time Cruiser Alaska: Preparing for your excursions

Tips for Seasoned Cruisers in Alaska

  1. Explore Hidden Gems: Venture beyond popular ports to discover lesser-known destinations like Sitka or Haines for unique experiences with fewer crowds.
  2. Pre and Post-Cruise Excursions: Opt for multi-day adventures like camping in Denali or kayaking in Prince William Sound for deeper immersion in Alaska’s wilderness.
  3. Embrace Seasonal Activities: Take advantage of seasonal opportunities, whether it’s viewing the Northern Lights or salmon fishing, to add excitement to your cruise.
  4. Engage with Local Experts: Attend onboard lectures and workshops led by locals to gain insights into Alaska’s history, culture, and wildlife.
  5. Consider Land-and-Sea Combos: Enhance your cruise with a land tour to Denali or the Kenai Peninsula for a comprehensive Alaska experience.
  6. Pack Smartly: Be prepared for Alaska’s unpredictable weather with layers, waterproof gear, and sturdy footwear.
  7. Enjoy Onboard Amenities: Take time to relax and indulge in onboard amenities like spa treatments, gourmet dining, and live entertainment between adventures.
With these tips, you can elevate your Alaska cruise experience and create lasting memories in one of the world’s most captivating destinations.

Tips for First-Time Cruisers in Alaska

  1. Research Ports of Call: Take time to research the ports of call, like Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, to understand what each destination offers and plan your shore excursions accordingly.
  2. Book Excursions Early: Popular excursions can fill up quickly, so booking your tours in advance is wise to secure your spot and avoid missing out on must-see experiences.
  3. Pack for Variable Weather: Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack layers, waterproof clothing, and sturdy shoes to stay comfortable and prepared for any conditions you may encounter during your cruise and shore excursions.
  4. Keep an Eye Out for Wildlife: Keep your camera ready and be on the lookout for Alaska’s abundant wildlife, including whales, eagles, bears, and more, especially during scenic cruising through areas like the Inside Passage.
  5. Attend Onboard Presentations: Take advantage of onboard presentations, workshops, and lectures to learn about Alaska’s history, culture, and wildlife from experts, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of the region.
  6. Budget Wisely: Shore excursions and onboard activities can add up quickly, so set a budget for your trip and prioritize experiences that align with your interests and preferences.
  7. Stay Flexible: Alaska’s weather and wildlife sightings are unpredictable, so remain flexible with your plans and be prepared to adapt to changes for the best possible experience.
By following these tips, first-time cruisers can make the most of their Alaska adventure and create unforgettable memories in one of the world’s most breathtaking destinations.
As a first-time cruiser to Alaska, it’s essential to plan your port adventures carefully to make the most of your time ashore.

Alaska Cruise Ports: Must-See Destinations

Alaska boasts a plethora of stunning cruise ports, each offering its unique charm and attractions. Here are some must-see destinations to include in your itinerary:
  1. 2 cruises in port with mountains in the background in Juneau Alaska while traveling USAJuneau: Alaska’s capital city is a popular cruise port known for its proximity to the majestic Mendenhall Glacier. Don’t miss the opportunity to embark on a whale-watching excursion or explore the historic downtown area.  Download your Juneau Map Here.
  2. Skagway: Step back in time in this charming Gold Rush-era town, where you can ride the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad or hike the scenic Chilkoot Trail.  Download your Skagway Map Here
  3. Ketchikan: Immerse yourself in Native Alaskan culture in Ketchikan, home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world. Be sure to visit Creek Street, a picturesque boardwalk lined with shops and galleries.  Download your Ketchikan Map here.
  4. Sitka: Explore Sitka’s rich Russian and Native Alaskan heritage through guided tours of historical sites such as St. Michael’s Cathedral and the Sitka National Historical Park.  Download your Sitka Map here.

Maximizing Your Time Ashore: Tips for a Memorable Experience

Now that you’ve selected your port adventures, here are some additional tips to ensure a memorable experience:
  • Book Excursions in Advance: Popular excursions tend to fill up quickly, so it’s advisable to book your tours in advance to secure your spot.  Many tours are sold out before you even arrive on the ship.  
  • Dress Appropriately: Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, dress in layers and pack waterproof gear to stay comfortable during your outdoor adventures.  When we cruised last year we packed so wrong it was boiling, Alaska was experiencing a heatwave we had nothing to wear.  So do pack in layers I bought this great raincoat recently it works and is lightweight.  Suitable for men or women.  When it rains in Alaska it can be quite blustery so an extra peak on the hood came in handy.
  • Budget Wisely: While shore excursions offer unforgettable experiences, they can also add up quickly. Set a budget for your activities and prioritize the ones that matter most to you.
  • Leave Time to Explore: While organized excursions are fantastic, don’t forget to leave some time to explore the port towns independently. You never know what hidden gems you might discover!  For example, eat a free sample of Fudge at Alaskan Fudge Company.  In Juneau!

Final Thoughts

Cruising to Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure, and cultural enrichment. By planning your port adventures thoughtfully and following these tips, you’re sure to make the most of your time ashore and create lasting memories that will stay with you long after your cruise has ended. Safe travels, and enjoy your Alaskan adventure!