26 Dec 5 Reasons to Visit Alaska on a Cruise
Ever since I watched the movie Into the Wild, I was struck by the beauty of Alaska and it’s been up there on my ‘to do’ list. With incredible wildlife, icebergs, forests, glaciers and jaw-dropping scenery, Alaska is a brilliant place to visit if you want to see nature at its best. Known as “The Great Land”, Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. and also the least densely populated. It was owned by the Russians until 1867, when it was purchased by the United States for $7.2 million.
Since much of Alaska is inaccessible by road, the best way to explore the Alaska is by taking an Alaska cruise or alternatively traveling by plane. Cruise lines tend to operate week-long return or one-way cruises from Seattle or Vancouver through Alaskan waters, with cruise ships stopping at ports such as Victoria, Prince Rupert, Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Visiting Alaska is bound to be an unforgettable experience and a brilliant opportunity to encounter true natural beauty.
Here are 5 great reasons to visit Alaska on a cruise:
1. Breathtaking scenery
From the deck of your cruise ship you’ll have the chance to see some of the most incredible scenery in the world- think snow-capped mountains, rivers of ice, dense forests and waterfalls. Cruise through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Glacier Bay, which is home to 16 different glaciers, and watch chunks of ice calving into the sea from the Sawyer Glacier.
2. The Wildlife
A trip to Alaska provides the rare opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife species in their natural habitat. Watch brown bears catching Alaskan salmon, bald eagles soaring through the skies, humpback whales breaking through the surface of the water, and Caribou grazing alongside the Highways.
3. The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also called the Aurora Borealis, is a natural phenomenon where the sky is lit up in a magnificent display of different colours. The Northern Lights can be seen anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere above 60 degrees north latitude, and the best place in Alaska for viewing them is Fairbanks. Although the ideal time to catch a glimpse of this spectacular light show is during the dead of winter, there is still a chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis all year round.
4. Exciting Adventures
White water rafting, sea kayaking, fishing, climbing, mountaineering, dog sledding and panning for gold in the Last Chance Basin are just some of the exciting activities you can do in Alaska. If you’re up to it, you can hike the Harding Ice Field, which is an icefield in the Kenai mountains that covers an area of over 300 square miles. Alternatively you can take a flight in a seaplane for an aerial view over the Misty Fjords, or ride the White Pass and Yukon Route scenic railroad.
5. History and Culture
There are plenty of excursions and tours designed to help you learn about Alaska’s history, including the Gold Rush days and the Russian legacy. Native Alaskans make up approximately 15% of the population, and you can learn about their traditions, including totem carving, native handicrafts, the blanket toss, whaling, fishing, dance and music.