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Alaska’s Best Cruise Ports

Alaskan Cruise Ports of Call

If you’re considering an Alaskan cruise, now is a great time to do it. Alaskan cruises run from April through October, and AAA Washington offers affordable and luxurious cruise packages that deliver an unforgettable experience.

During your Alaskan cruise, you’ll have an opportunity to disembark the ship at multiple ports of call. Our cruise concierge services are available during certain hours to make reservations and book on-shore excursions, spa appointments, tours, tickets for shows and organize day trips and entertainment for private parties.

Guests have several hours at each port to take a quick excursion through the city to visit local tourist sites, shop, take in a live show, or enjoy numerous attractions. You also can take nature tours during your time on shore. British Columbian and Alaskan ports of call are stunningly beautiful, rich in history, and packed full of entertainment venues, things to do in the wild, or both. There’s something for everyone on an Alaskan cruise. Check out what you can do at each port of call to start planning your Alaskan cruise getaway.

Overview of Vancouver, BC
Overview of Vancouver, BC. Photo by Aolin Chen/Getty Images.

Vancouver, Canada

West End Beach and Seawall is a great place to stretch travel-weary legs. Vancouver is packed full of cafes, coffee shops, small stores, take-out restaurants, and food stands. If you’re more into entertainment than exploring, try the Smartypantz Escape Room, Lookout Harbour Tower, numerous art galleries and museums, botanical gardens, Stanley Park, the aquarium and zoo, or take a helicopter tour of Vancouver. All of these attractions are great during late spring, summer and early autumn when rains are less frequent.

Victoria, British Colombia

This is a great city for site seeing. There are local tour companies who can guide you around the city. Nature lovers and gardeners will adore the famous Butchart Gardens. Whale watching and boat tours of the city’s seaside are a popular activity. Others enjoy visiting the iconic Empress Hotel for high tea and numerous restaurants near the port. Downtown Victoria is a great place to take a foot tour or wander beyond downtown to visit charming mom-and-pop stores full of unique merchandise. You can even take a horse-drawn carriage ride or tour Craigdarroch Castle.

Ketchikan, Alaska

This small town port only has 8,400 residents, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to do! Ketchikan is a popular tourist destination that offers a glimpse into the life of Native Canadian Tribes. While there, you can enjoy a live lumberjack show, tour the native village with its totem sites and museum, go bear and whale watching, visit the Rain Forest Sanctuary and National Park, eat delicious food, buy souvenirs, and hike around the town on numbers trails. If you want to support small-town businesses and learn history you’ll never find in a book, this is a great place to do it.

Dawes Glacier
Dawes Glacier. Photo by Gerald Corsi/Getty Images.

Dawes Glacier, Alaska

Located 45 miles south of Juneau, Dawes Glacier is a lesser-known Alaskan gem. This glacier stands 600 feet tall and a half-mile wide, and is located at the head of Endicott Arm Fjord bordering the Terror Wilderness Area. Dawes Glacier tours allow guests to witness stunning granite cliffs, breathtaking wild mountain valleys full of sub-alpine vegetation, dozens of waterfalls, floating icebergs in azure waters, tidewater glaciers, and wildlife at every turn. This area is off the beaten path, and a great way to witness the wild beauty of the last frontier state. The best part of Dawes Glacier is that when other ports of call north of the fjord are closed due to dense ice, Dawes Glacier usually remains open. The best time to visit is during the spring, summer and early autumn.

Juneau, Alaska

The second largest city in Alaska, Juneau has no roads leading to the rest of the state. That means this city is only accessible by plane or boat. When you disembark your cruise ship, you’ll immediately find shopping stalls where you can buy souvenirs. This is a great place to take a foot tour, go shopping, and visit the Capitol Building and Juneau-Douglas museum situated next door. Other attractions include the Old Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, the governor’s mansion, and Alaska State Museum. Adventurous sorts can go zip lining, hiking, visit ice caves, go bear watching, visit Glacier Bay National Park, try dog sledding and numerous other excursions.

Sitka, Alaska 

This must-see destination is situated on the western edge of Baranof Island. This tiny town is rich in tourist sites throughout the historical district. The Native Tlingit Clan’s village, Russian (Eastern) Orthodox Cathedral, Baranof Castle State Historic Site, and The Bishop’s House are highly recommended. Sitka is a map dot in a massive wild kingdom, and it’s the perfect place for nature lovers to get outdoors and explore The Harbor Mountain Trail. Other excursions include whale watching, sea kayaking in the bay, and visiting orphaned bears at Fortress of the Bear. If you come to Sitka in June, you can enjoy the local music festival.

Port Glacier Bay
Bear spotting in Glacier Bay. Photo by Andrew Peacock/Getty Images.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

This is truly a port of call in the wild, and you won’t find shopping malls here. While at the Glacier Bay port of call, there are a number of tours you can take through Glacier Bay National Park. If you like tours by air, you’ll love seeing the park by flight tour. If you take a cruise early in the season, you can take a Northern Lights tour. Other activities include bear viewing, dog sledding, sea kayaking, river rafting, jet ski tours, and whale watching.

Anchorage, Alaska

This city is the gateway to Denali National Park, and it’s a great place to explore nature while enjoying the convenience of a city. While here, you can walk, bike, ski, or Rollerblade the Tony Knowles Trail, where you can see moose, beluga whales, and other wildlife at the Cook Inlet. Other local parks and attractions include Earthquake Park, Point Woronzof, and Westchester Lagoon where you can take in views of Mt. McKinley and the Chugach Mountain Range. You can also visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Alaska Native Heritage Centre, Anchorage Museum, Aviation Museum, Historical Buildings, the zoo, Denali National Park, and more. You can also pan for gold, take a tour of Denali National Park, go fishing or see where the salmon spawn, and shop at local mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and bars.

Denali National Park, Alaska

This world-famous national park is the best place to experience real wildlife during your cruise. While here, you can see breathtaking natural landscapes packed full of forests, flora and fauna you can’t find in any other American state, soaring mountains, peaceful meadows, waterfalls, glaciers, lakes and streams, and sites most people will only ever see in photos. You can experience the park by helicopter or plane tour, on foot hiking trails, ATV trails with a tour guide, in a white water raft with a guide, by private jeep tour, zip line, dogsled, skis, or bus. When you’re done, take in a live Denali Dinner Show.

Fairbanks, Alaska

This town has about 32,000 residents, and it’s one of the biggest cities in the area. This small city was originally only accessible via riverboat. While here, you can take a bear watching excursion by bus or air, visit a musher camp to take a dogsled ride, take a nature excursion to see local sites from the water, visit the Eagle Sanctuary and Wildlife Center, take a riverboat cruise, pan for gold, or ride the haul road between Fair Banks and Deadhorse that’s been made famous by “Ice Road Truckers.”

An Alaskan Cruise is a wonderful way to get the best combination of what cities and the wilderness have to offer. AAA Travel has a wide variety of cruises that stop at ports of call from Seattle to the Southern Coast of Alaska.  

Book Your Cruise With AAA Travel

Whether you want to shop till you drop or get away from it all in the Alaskan Wilderness, let AAA Washington cruises get you there with style and comfort.

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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