Juneau, Glacier Bay National Park, Haines, Sitka, Wrangell, and Thorne Bay are the best ports of call for cruises throughout Alaska. The state of Alaska is unrivaled in the United States as a place to discover the breathtaking wilderness, history, and culture that surrounds the Northwest.
Often a starting point for Alaska cruises
, the capital city of Juneau gives a fresh look into the culture of the country, highlighting the history and rugged wilderness that makes visiting Alaska a full immersion into the Northwestern lifestyle of old. The Mendenhall Glacier is within the city limits, and the Mount Roberts Tram takes guests from the port to an observation platform that overlooks downtown, the nearby Douglas Island, and the Inside Passage. Other points of interest within the city are the Alaska State Museum and the Franklin Street Historic District.
Sitka, once the capital of Russian Alaska, has an interesting blend of history, between the Russian and Tlingit influences on the area, which makes exploring the area a truly unique experience. Things to see and do include visiting the Sitka National Historical Park, where original totem poles are on display, and checking out the Fortress of The Bear, a brown bear cub rescue center where you can see some of the majestic, native animals in a nature reserve.
Glacier Bay National Park
One of the world’s most expansive protected areas, Glacier Bay National Park is home to amazing glaciers, stunning mountains, and wildlife that includes both brown and black bears and humpback whales. The park was visited by John Muir and established by an act of Congress under Franklin Roosevelt. There are more than 1,000 glaciers in the vast park, with eight tidewater glaciers in the bay itself. Cruises stop at the massive frozen rivers and ice shearing off the cliffs into the water below is often a highlight.
With a history that goes back 8,000 years, Wrangell has been under the care of four nations; the United States, Brittian, Russia, and the Tlingit. Petroglyph Beach has age-old drawings on the stone that are seen at low tide. These drawings have been attributed to the Tlingit culture that has had a presence in the area for thousands of years. Other places to discover are the Wrangell Museum and the LeConte Glacier where blue ice that has sheared away creates incredible islands in the water.
On the tip of Mitkof Island and founded by Norwegian settlers who came to the area to set up fisheries, Petersburg is a thriving fishing village where tourism isn’t too popular. This makes it a great place to relax and soak up the island culture amid locals going about their business.
Largely visited for its cultural heritage and historic center, Ketchikan is a playground for those with a passion for genuine experiences. The town’s Totem Heritage Center is home to one of the best collections of the totem poles of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures, with ongoing workshops for those who want to learn about the icons of the region as they are created.
Located at one end of the Lynn Canal, Haines is an authentic Alaskan town that is off the beaten track. Founded by John Muir as a Presbyterian mission, today the city is a haven for outdoor adventurists that moves to the beat of their own drum with a myriad of water sports, hiking opportunities, and chances to explore nature reserves.
Metlakatla in the Annette Islands is home to the Tsimshian People; an indigenous culture whose traditions and history offer a first-hand experience into the native history of Alaska.
Thorne Bay started as a logging camp and grew to be the biggest in the world. Today it is a rural town where hiking, exploring the nooks and crannies of the landscape, and experiencing a relaxed pace of life draws people from far and wide to enjoy the serenity.
For information about the different routes that Alaska cruise ships take and the destinations that await those who make the trip, contact one of our travel experts.