Ports: Alaska — Cruise & Travel Asia

Ports: Alaska

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Anchorage

ANCHORAGE
Who goes there: American Cruise Lines, Lindblad Expeditions, Silversea, Un-Cruise Adventures, Regent Seven Seas, Ponant Yacht Cruises, Seabourn, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean.

Cruisers like: Anchorage is the largest city in the Last Frontier. Due to its northern location and relative proximity to Denali National Park, many cruise tours depart from here. Photo opportunities are endless, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights or towering Talkeetna mountains. Beyond the tourist strip, Anchorage’s side streets ooze with hipster galleries, coffee shops and brewpubs. The city gets even more cultural at the fabulous Anchorage Museum, where native Alaskan cultural artifacts and modern art sit side by side. Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center to view more native exhibits. The world’s second highest tides surge against Anchorage’s shores, and North America’s highest peak – Mt. McKinney – glimmers in the distance. Within a few miles out of town, you can encounter wolf packs roaming through a park, rushing mountain streams, and vast parks. Hike to a glacier, flightsee over Mt. McKinley, fish for salmon in a wilderness river, or visit grizzly bears. Take a day cruise through Prince William Sound and the Kenai Fjords, and don’t forget your camera. There is no port in Anchorage itself and ships depart from Whittier, is one of Alaska’s lesser known towns and not generally a holiday destination. However, this beautiful quaint town is perched on a fjord surrounded by mountains dripping with glaciers, and located near the head of the Passage Canal with the Prince William Sound to the west. It is a sight to behold.

Best for: Nature and wildlife fans, adventurers.

Getting around: From the cruise port terminal of Whittier, you can take a bus or train into Anchorage. The “Magic Bus” departs from the Anchorage Museum of History and Fine Art at 7th and A streets at 9:45 a.m. daily, May through September, to Whittier. The trip takes about 90 minutes. Once in Anchorage itself, shuttles, cabs and charter vehicles will connect passengers to downtown. Shore excursions also depart by train and motor coach for activities across Southcentral Alaska.

Seward

SEWARD
Who goes there: American Cruise Lines, Lindblad Expeditions, Silversea, Un-Cruise Adventures, Regent Seven Seas, Ponant Yacht Cruises, Seabourn, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean.

Cruisers like: Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest, most historic and scenic towns and the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park with its countless tidewater glaciers, coastal fjords and vast treasure trove of marine life. The picturesque harbour town is located three hours south by road from Anchorage. Sporting the catchy motto “Alaska starts here,” it’s the start (or end) of the Alaska Railroad and the start of the famous Iditarod sled dog race as well a highly lucrative fishery. Seward it’s the launching point for kayaking and fishing adventures, and offers everything from shopping in the quaint downtown area to hiking the nearby mountains, not to mention a charming base for exploring the peninsula and its quirky small towns. Shore excursions available from Seward often include small-boat cruises to see the jagged cliffs, calving glaciers and wildlife in Resurrection Bay (don’t miss Fox Island for some wild Alaska salmon and prime rib), chartered salmon-fishing trips on the Kenai River, a ride on a wheeled sled pulled by husky dogs and bus trips to Kenai Fjords National Park.

Best for: History buffs, families, adventurers, fishing enthusiasts.

Getting around: For most cruisers, Seward is an embarkation or disembarkation port. You’ll likely fly into Anchorage to meet your ship. Cruise ships visiting Seward dock at the Seward Cruise Ship Terminal, which is located about one mile from the historic downtown area, and adjacent to the Small Boat Harbor and 5 minutes walk from the train station. The city operates a complimentary shuttle from 8am to 6pm daily during the summer months, a big yellow school bus. There is no overnight parking at the Seward cruise ship port.

Ketchikan

KETCHIKAN
Who goes there: American Cruise Lines, Lindblad Expeditions, Silversea, Un-Cruise Adventures, Regent Seven Seas, Ponant Yacht Cruises, Seabourn, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean.

Cruisers like: The Inside Passage island town of Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan means “eagle with spread-out wings,” a reference to a nearby waterfall. In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska’s claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. The port is now Alaska’s fourth-largest city. Visitors to Ketchikan will be intrigued by its rich Native heritage, which includes the world’s oldest collection of Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian totem poles at Totem Heritage Center. Don’t miss Creek Street, an antique boardwalk on wooden pilings that is home to restaurants, bars, shops and private homes. It’s also a great spot to watch salmon. Sightseers will be impressed with both the scenic town and its surroundings, especially Misty Fjords National Monument. There are many excellent tours by land, sea, and air to view the most scenic natural areas and visit popular tourist sites. With its abundance of salmon, Ketchikan is also a sportfishing paradise.

Best for: History buffs, families, adventurers, fishing enthusiasts.

Getting around: Ketchikan is the ideal port for independent travel. Most downtown tourist sites are next to the ships. It’s an easy walk, and there’s a free Salmon Run bus that circles between the ships and all downtown tourist sites. For sites outside the city, you can use the public bus from the cruise ships to tourist sites in the Ketchikan Area, take a taxi, or rent a car.