Alaska

Alaska's vast area of glaciers and mountains is a wildlife lover's paradise and, although attached to Canada, is one of the United States of America. Historically known as the Last Frontier, this scenic cruise area enjoys a very short season with most of the ports providing access to unique mountain vistas and views of elegant, dazzling glaciers. Passengers also have the opportunity to observe whales, eagles and bears in their natural habitat. In an effort to preserve the breeding grounds in these waters, especially in Glacier Bay, the number of ships entering the region is strictly limited. The short summer season runs from May to mid September, with a climate similar to Scandinavia. The days are long and the nights short during this period and many seasoned cruisers book accommodation with a balcony in order to not miss out on the unrivalled scenery. Most itineraries involve a transit of the Inside Passage, just north of Vancouver. This provides splendid views of the islands of British Columbia to the west and the Coastal Mountains to the east. Further north, a leisurely three hours is spent viewing the majestic Hubbard Glacier. Fun activities are a feature of cruises to Alaska with helicopter tours, river trips, bear watching and snow rides all on the agenda. Each port has a different story to tell and there are many reminders of the late 19th century Great Gold Rush. The dockside saloons are worth a visit as are the Indian forts and many fish restaurants. Shore excursions involve visits to places which are only accessible by sea and include the Denali National Park and Icy Strait Point. With most cruises starting and terminating in Vancouver, there is an opportunity to explore this artistic and culturally diverse city with its 1,000 acre Stanley Park, English Bay beach and the historic Gastown and Chinatown quarters.

Highlights

What to pack Read our guide to what to pack when on an Alaskan cruise

Glacier Bay in Alaska is a UNESCO World Heritage Site © iStockvideo

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HEAD WEST to Alaska if you're in search of adventure and excitement. This unspoilt wilderness of majestic peaks, beautiful fjords and endless glaciers has much to offer, whether you are a first-time or seasoned cruiser.

Cruise International

Cruise International is the UK’s highest-selling newsstand travel magazine dedicated to cruise holidays. Packed with inspirational reviews, the hottest destination advice, celebrity interviews and the very latest ocean and river cruise news, it helps both new and experienced cruisers alike plan their next trip. With its high production values, stunning photography and outstanding editorial, Cruise International is first choice for Britain’s 1.75 million annual cruise holidaymakers.

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