It used to be that there were only two ways to see Alaska. You either had to go by a megaship carrying as many as 4,000 people or on a tiny ship with fewer than 100 but with few amenities. Fortunately, we’ve found the perfect balance with Windstar Cruises and their Alaska cruises by luxury small-ship. Here’s a sample of what you can share with only 200 like-minded travelers on a 12-night roundtrip Alaska cruise from Vancouver.
Vancouver’s location at the mouth of the Fraser River and on the waterways of the Strait of Georgia, Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet and all their tributaries makes this busy seaport an easy place for meeting. It is one of Canada’s most populated, most ethnically diverse cities and a popular filming location. Visit the interesting neighborhoods of Gastown, Granville Island and Chinatown. Walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge and stroll through Stanley Park. Roam the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology. There is an amazing variety of things to see and do here.
SCENIC CRUISING CANADIAN INSIDE PASSAGE
Cruise the fjords of Canada’s Inside Passage, which boast centuries-old coastal rainforests, beaches, waterfalls and mountains. Over 25,000 miles of rugged coastline lie in Canada’s Inside Passage, joining Alaska’s 15,000 miles of inside waters and providing a safe and sheltered West Coast waterway transit. In this isolated wilderness look for coastal First Nations longhouses fronted with proud totems and a variety of marine life, from orcas and porpoises to some of the largest populations of bald eagles in the world.
Located on Annette Island, 15 miles southwest of Ketchikan and midway in the Inside Passage 600 miles from Seattle, Washington and 600 miles from Skagway, Alaska, Metlakatla is the only settlement of the indigenous Tsimshian people in the U.S. Membership in this community is by Tsimshian lineage but may also include other Alaska Native tribes who wish to join. Visitors to the community can take in dance and song shows in the longhouse performed by local dancers dressed in full Tsimshian regalia.
One of the oldest towns in Alaska, Wrangell is located near the mouth of the Stikine River. Much of its history can be seen in the impressive collection of totems scattered throughout the town. Highlights here are the amazing Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park, where you can find primitive rock carvings, and just 30 miles away the Anan Wildlife Observatory with the largest pink salmon runs in the Inside Passage as well as a platform from which you can look for eagles, harbor seals and black bears.
SCENIC CRUISING TRACY ARM / ENDICOTT ARM, ALASKA
Stunningly beautiful Tracy Arm is a fjord 45 miles south of Juneau that actually consists of two deep and narrow fjords – Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm. Both fjords are over 30 miles long. At the end of Tracy Arm are the impressive twin Sawyer Glaciers. Wildlife in the area includes black and brown bears, deer, wolves, harbor seals and a variety of birds. What you’ll be able to see today and how far we can travel up Tracy Arm is weather and ice dependent.
SCENIC CRUISING INIAN ISLANDS / ICY STRAIT POINT
Managed by the Forest Service, these scenic Inian Islands are located in Icy Strait near the entrance to Glacier Bay. Several small pieces of land make up these islands, with dense tree growth that provides a restful home to deer. This has become a popular area for sea kayaking.
ICY STRAIT POINT, (HOONAH) ALASKA
Privately owned Icy Strait Point is a tourist destination and the only privately owned cruise destination in Alaska. It is the property of 1,350 Alaskan natives with aboriginal ties to Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area. Visitors here enjoy an educational experience learning about Alaska’s native cultures, and the natural history of the region. There is much to do here including a brown bear search, tram excursion, flightseeing over Glacier Bay and the biggest zipline in the United States.
Located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, Juneau sits at sea level below steep mountains between 3,500-4,000 feet high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow, and two of them – Mendenhall Glacier and Lemon Creek Glacier – are visible from the local road. A unique feature of Juneau is that it is the only U.S. capital that has no roads connecting it to the rest of the state.
MISTY FJORDS, ALASKA
Misty Fjords, with its gorgeous views of natural formations, is a national monument and wilderness area with steep valleys formed by glaciers and lava flows. It is part of the Tongass National Forest and is about 40 miles east of Ketchikan along the Inside Passage. With its icy blue lakes, waterfalls, snowcapped peaks and glacial valleys literally everywhere you point your camera you will get a postcard picture, depending on the weather of course. For a more up-close opportunity in this beautiful scenic sanctuary, optional expeditions excursions will be available.
Dubbed the Salmon Capital of the World, Ketchikan is the southeastern-most town in Alaska and is home to the world’s largest collection of standing totem poles, which are found throughout the city and at four major locations: Saxman Totem Park, Totem Bight State Park, Potlatch Park and the Totem Heritage Center. Other attractions of Ketchikan are Creek Street, a boardwalk road built on pilings over Ketchikan Creek, and the Waterfront Promenade, which skirts the bustling shoreline with inviting whale-tail benches to take in the view.
PRINCE RUPERT, BC, CANADA
Picturesque Prince Rupert, located on Kaien Island just north of the mouth of the Skeena River, is rich in culture and heritage. Prince Rupert was founded in 1910 on a site that has been inhabited by First Nations people for over 10,000 years. The area teems with wildlife like whales, eagles, salmon and grizzly bears.
SCENIC CRUISING CANADIAN INSIDE PASSAGE
Cruise the fjords of Canada’s Inside Passage, which boast centuries-old coastal rainforests, beaches, waterfalls and mountains. Over 25,000 miles of rugged coastline lie in Canada’s Inside Passage, joining Alaska’s 15,000 miles of inside waters and providing a safe and sheltered West Coast waterway transit. In this isolated wilderness, look for coastal First Nations longhouses fronted with proud totems and a variety of marine life, from orcas and porpoises to some of the largest populations of bald eagles in the world.
Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1.844.SWCRUISE (1.844.792.7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.