Americans are in love with the idea of the frontier and the role it’s played in our history, which may be one of the reasons taking an Alaska cruise to the southeast part of the state has so much appeal. It’s raw and rugged with so little encroachment from roads, housing developments and shopping centers, the land remains unspoiled and wildlife flourishes.
Of course, the massive ice shelves breaking into icebergs, whales shooting into the air and smacking down with a splash and bald eagles soaring overhead will capture your attention and take your breath away while on an Alaska cruise. But discovering ancient cultures and learning about the region’s history are also on the agenda.
On an Alaska cruise you’ll stop in delightful towns tucked into the chiseled coast like Ketchikan, a treasure trove of both antique and contemporary totems, and Juneau, Alaska’s capital. Take a ride on the Mount Roberts Tramway, the only aerial tram in southeast Alaska. From your perch 1,800 feet above Juneau, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the quaint seaport town, the surrounding Gastineau Channel and beyond.
Ports such as Icy Strait Point on Chichagof Island give you an opportunity to take guided nature walks in pristine wilderness, spot Alaskan wildlife and discover Tlingit culture. And if your timing is right, the spellbinding aurora borealis may put on a multicolored light show that special effects can only try to equal.
The only thing better than an Alaskan cruise is combining it with a land tour. Your AAA Travel Counselor can help you find a cruise line that offers a range of land extensions that enable you to visit such storied sites as Denali National Park—the 6 million-acre park that frames Denali, North America’s highest peak—or the breathtaking Canadian Rockies.
Can’t decide which shore excursions you should book for your Alaskan cruise? Read about our favorite Alaska excursions here.