Alaska is the most northern of the North American states although it hasn’t always been an American state, Alaska has an interesting history – purchased from the Russians for just over 7 million dollars in 1867 the area wasn’t officially recognised as the 49th state of America until 1959.
Alaska is known as the largest of all American states and also to contain more coastline than most of the other states put together, making it ideal territory for cruising.
A widely spread population gives a precedent for vast areas of undiscovered natural beauty with the native Innuit population often keen to guard its secrets, the capital Juneau and the largest city Anchorage have the densest concentration of population with much of the rest of Alaska inhabited by small independent groups who live by the ways of tradition.
Known for its wild beauty Alaska is perfect for the most unusual of cruises, taking in dramatic scenery, amazing wildlife and waters that are as deep as they are silent.
Where to Cruise
Most Alaska cruises will involve a flight from the UK prior to embarking on your chosen cruise ship, most of the large operators sail either from Vancouver in Canada or from Seattle in the USA but some will offer an ongoing flight from these destinations to embark in Alaska itself.
Most cruises will take in the main sights of the region including the capital Juneau, the Hubbard Glacier, Skagway and Icy Strait Point – of course due to the vast nature if Alaska it is unlikely that a short cruise will be able to take in all the sights that this beautiful area has to offer.
What to Do
The landscape of Alaska is changing, there are areas that are predicted to disappear altogether within the next few decades, populations will be relocated and another bit of Alaska will be gone forever.
Most cruises to Alaska will take in the Hubbard Glacier, this glacier is an unbelievable six miles wide and cannot be seen from anywhere as well as it can from the observation deck of a cruise ship, this is the extreme side of wild beauty that the world has to offer, the Hubbard Glacier is totally unique and should be part of any Alaska cruise.
The capital Juneau offers a great place to explore the landscape of Alaska, the perfect place to take a helicopter ride into the wilds, inaccessible by foot you can trek across ice sheets or even descend ice walls providing an experience that few people get to enjoy. Once back in the capital take part in a Whale hike, these provide opportunities to see Orca’s and Humpback Whales in totally natural surroundings.
Skagway is the gateway to the famed Klondike gold fields, the diesel trains will take you to the Yukon suspension bridge for a view of gold rush territory, saloon bars and an area steeped in the history of the people who arrived in search of fame and riches.
When to Visit
Peak season for Alaska cruising is the months of June to August this is the best time of year both for weather and for sunlight hours, however the cruise paths can become busy with the smaller ports feeling congested.
A better option may be to travel in either May or September as although you might be taking a chance with the weather you are less likely to encounter large crowds, more likely to be able to book onto the off-cruise tours that you request and with the possibility in September of viewing the Northern Lights.
Once the snows start to arrive in late September the cruising season ends with very little possibility of successful cruising until the following May.