Everything you need to know before you go to Alaska

Cruising Alaska is about more than just moments. Cruising Alaska is about memories that last forever!

Sightseeing from the trainHelicopter TourAlaskan Culture & HeritageLodge hot tubWhitewater rafting
Say Alaska and a variety of images and impressions come to mind: towering mountains, watchable wildlife, icy blue glaciers, endless wilderness, vibrant Native culture, leaping salmon, hardy outdoors; America's last frontier. Often, visiting Alaska has as much to do with what people may feel as with what they will see. There is a mystique that surrounds Alaska. To some it represents a dream, a trip of a life time, a life altering event, a chance to reach out and touch something inside themselves that is wild and beautiful like they imagine Alaska to be. Our job is to put that dream - or as much as possible of it - within reach of you.





Alaska  Resource Center























Inside Passage Cruise & Ports of Call

These are serene waters, where one moment you can be sailing a wide bay of barrier islands and the next you're cruising through a narrow waterway flanked by towering forested walls. That's the splendid spectacle of the Inside Passage - the scenery is constantly changing, from picturesque shores to friendly coastal towns.

Stretching from Puget Sound, Washington, through the British Columbia coast and into the Gulf of Alaska, the Inside Passage includes more than 1,000 islands, seemingly endless shore line and thousands of idyllic coves and bays.

Sailing from Seattle, San Francisco or between Whittier and Vancouver, you'll marvel at the breathtaking scenery and encounter ports like Gold Rush-era Skagway and Ketchikan, the capital city of Juneau and British-flavored Victoria.

These are places where you can visit a Native village, learn about the triumphs and tragedies of Alaska's Gold Rush heyday or go dog sledding with a real musher. The Inside Passage has stories to tell that will give you a greater understanding of the culture, history and lifestyle of the Great Land.


Alaska's Heritage and History Come to Life


This is where Joe Juneau and Dick Harris discovered gold, setting off a frenzy in 1880. The gold didn't last, but you can still pan, visit abandoned mines and enjoy the area's beautiful glaciers. Be sure to stop in at the historic Red Dog Saloon, which still boasts Wyatt Earp's gun. Juneau has been called "Alaska's peak experience," certainly due in part to its unparalleled glacier viewing from such places as Tracy Arm Fjord, the Juneau Icefields and Glacier Bay National Park. Kayak up one of the area's many protected waterways, go flightseeing, tour historic downtown or try your hand at panning for gold. The majestic Mendenhall Glacier lies nearly 12 miles outside Juneau, a treck worthwhile.

Featured Excursions


A stroll along the lovingly restored frontier-era storefronts and saloons will take you back to the days of the Klondike Gold Rush as will a ride aboard the vintage White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad to the Klondike Summit and Yukon. Visit a mining camp and let frontier-costumed characters delight you with Alaska folklore.
In a single year from 1896 to 1897, this remote town along the Inside Passage grew from a few tents to a city of 20,000 gold seekers. Today, travelers come in search of other riches to experience yesteryear along Skagway's charming boardwalk lined with buildings that replicate those Gold Rush days.

Featured Excursions


A walk along historic Creek Street, a Red Light District during the Gold Rush, provides a great introduction to the self-proclaimed "Salmon Capital of the World". Visitors to Ketchikan will be intrigued by its rich Native heritage, which is on colorful display at Totem Bight State Park and Saxman Native village. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian are all a part of the city's history. Its Tlingit Indian name, Kach Khanna, means "spread wings of the eagle." Chances are you'll see one of these magnificent birds perched atop a Sitka tree. Thanks to its abundant rainfall, Ketchikan is surrounded by some of the world's most lush wilderness.

Featured Excursions


Captains James Cook and George Vancouver were the first Europeans to explore this region, but it took the Alaska Railroad to put it on the map. Today this inviting city features the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and the Alaska Native Heritage Center where you can watch performers re-create traditional stories and watch artisans at work.

Featured Excursions


Established by the discovery of gold by Felix Pedro in 1902, Fairbanks is located in the Tanana Valley of Alaska's interior. In the early 20th century, sternwheelers carried settlers and miners along the Chena and Tanana Rivers as they do for visitors today. The second-largest city in Alaska, Fairbanks is named the "Golden Heart City" for its historical and modern gold industries and for its central location. The city serves as the hub of the region known as Alaska's Interior. In the summer, visitors and residents alike enjoy nearly 24 hours of light daily. Visitors have many choices in Fairbanks. Experience Fairbanks' rich Gold Rush history via sternwheeler, or visit one of the region's many gold mines. The Arctic Circle and the Yukon River are just a short flight away.

Featured Excursions


Vancouver, British Columbia

Positioned between the snow-dusted North Shore Mountains and the rich, blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver blends big-city sophistication with small-town charm. Don't miss Queen Elizabeth Park, a 130-acre civic arboretum accented with sculptures by modern artist Henry Moore.

Featured Excursions

Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is a beauty to behold, surrounded on all sides by magnificent nature. Take in the sights from a double-decker bus or a horse-drawn tally-ho and enjoy this capital city's English aspirations. From glorious beaches to Butchart Gardens with its exotic flora, unusual topiary and exquisite fountains to deluxe whale watching, this charming Canadian city is truly a hidden treasure. Explore historic Bastion Square, the treasures of Chinatown and the many sights and sounds to be found along the boardwalk of the Inner Harbour.

Featured Excursions

Seattle, Washington

Seattle sits on the slip of land between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, with the Olympic and Cascade Mountains serving as a dramatic backdrop for this oh-so cosmopolitan city. Soar up the futuristic Space Needle and experience the views atop this stunning landmark created for the 1962 World's Fair.

Featured Excursions





Explore more of Alaska by both sea and land in one seamless Alaska trip, plan an authentic vacation that goes beyond the expected. Think wild, and search for bear, moose and caribou in Denali. Witness nature at its most enticing with glacier-fed lakes and inspiring mountains. Feel a part of Alaska's individualist lifestyle as you visit local artist and fishing communities. Or put your bedtime on hold and join in Fairbanks' Midnight Sun events during the bright summer solstice. Our Alaska tours give you hundreds of unique moments to capture, keep and treasure forever.


Up north there's a land without fences. Animals outnumber people, sunlight shines at midnight and nature reigns. Life is different. This northern frontier still boasts pristine landscapes, majestic wildlife and a coastline that is one of the most enthralling waterways in the world. Beyond Alaska's fortress-like glacier walls lie scenic ports of call, treasured national parks and abundant wildlife. With more than 1,400 miles north to south and 2,400 miles east to west, Alaska is truly a land of epic proportions.

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Ice-Age Wonders That Never Cease to Amaze


Thunder doesn't just come from the sky. Glaciers creak, rumble and calve explosively with a stupendous roar often referred to as "white thunder." The sound and fury, the icy colors and the massive icebergs they shed make Alaska's glaciers one of the greatest shows on earth and you can see it all up close on an Alaska Cruise.


Every Alaska cruise offers at least one unforgettable glacier viewing opportunity, and many voyages include a visit to spectacular Glacier Bay National Park. Princess is just one of a few select cruise lines permitted to cruise this National Park and it's included on every Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary, as well as on many Inside Passage sailings.


Of course, why stop at seeing glaciers when you can touch, glide or soar above them. Alaska also offers optional excursions for further glacial exploration, like combination helicopter/hiking tours that put you square on the surface of these massive ice beds. You can also take a flight seeing tour over glaciers, kayak around them and even ride a dogsled across.

Glacier Bay National Park
Spanning 3.3 million acres, this UNESCO World Heritage Site features an array of massive glaciers, none more spectacular than Margerie Glacier, which is 40 stories high and over a mile wide. The park is teeming with humpback whales, sea otters, harbor seals and more. Featured on every Voyage of the Glaciers cruise as well as many of our Inside Passage cruises.

Tracy Arm Fjord
Located southeast of Juneau, the narrow 26-mile waterway of Tracy Arm Fjord offers dramatic views of the epic twin Sawyer Glaciers as they calve, sending giant chunks of ice crashing into the waters of this stunning fjord. You'll sail past snowcapped mountains, dazzling waterfalls and steep granite canyon walls that disappear into deep and narrow fjords. Featured on select Inside Passage cruises roundtrip from Seattle, Vancouver or San Francisco.

College Fjord
In the northwest pocket of Prince William Sound you'll discover magnificent College Fjord, home to 16 tidewater glaciers. Named for the Ivy League schools by the Harriman Expedition scientists who discovered the glaciers in 1899, College Fjord offers some of the state's best glacier viewing. Featured on the northbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage (Whittier).

Hubbard Glacier
At 76 miles in length, Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska. The cliff face is over six miles wide and is a very active calving glacier, making an exciting experience for visitors. It is situated at the head of Yakutat Bay in southeast Alaska. Featured on the southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise from Anchorage (Whittier) to Vancouver.

Mendenhall Glacier
Juneau's famous "urban" Mendenhall Glacier is the largest ice formation in southeast Alaska accessible by road. And while in port, there are a variety of optional excursions available to experience this Ice Age wonder - you can hike, kayak, canoe or even river float to it for an up-close look. This amazing glacier is 12 miles long, a half-mile wide and from 300 to 1,800 feet deep.


For most, the concept of Alaska wildlife doesn't extend beyond polar bears and salmon. Those who venture north know there's nothing like the sight of a mammoth 40-ton humpback whale breaking the surface of the water for air, or seeing something stir in the brush as a huge moose rises from rest and wanders off. Moments like this only happen in Alaska - the Great Land.

Alaska's wildlife is just one of the thrilling aspects of this amazing frontier land. On an Alaska cruise or land & sea vacation with Princess, you'll have the opportunity to observe a wide variety of creatures, untamed and in their natural habitats.



Nature on a Truly Epic Scale

Denali Big Five

Bear can be found almost anywhere, from the forests along the Alaska coast to national parks further inland like Denali National Park and Preserve, where a plethora of berries keeps these permanent residents well fed. In addition to bears, Denali is an ideal place to observe the wide-antlered caribou, moose, gray wolves and Dall sheep, the latter identified by its curled horns. Together, these wondrous animals constitute the "Denali Big Five", a sightseer's dream.

Whale Watching Alaska

Wonders of the sea

During the summer months, more than 2,000 humpbacks are known to feed in the waters off Alaska, offering plenty of chances to enjoy these magnificent giants. Killer (orca) and beluga whales are equally abundant, as are Pacific white-sided dolphins. In Prince William Sound, harbor seals and sea lions line the shore and sea otters frolic in the water.

Salmon-Rich Waters Alaska

Another active denizen of the sea is the salmon, famous for its gravity-defying leaps up waterfalls and streams in order to spawn. While this arduous trek only occurs at the end of an adult salmon's life, it never fails to coincide with feeding time for the bears that inhabit the Alaska coastline.

Bird Watching in Alaska

A birdwatcher's paradise. Some 40,000 bald eagles reside in Alaska today, most nesting near water for easy fishing. They are one of more than 300 species of birds that can be found here. Other signature birds include the horned and tufted puffins, the docile kittiwake, trumpeter swans and the red-tailed hawk. The native Aleuts named this place Alyeska - the Great Land - and it's easy to see why. Possessing half of the U.S. National Parks, Alaska's vast wilderness truly offers some of Mother Nature's best work. Here you'll witness epic drama, with soaring mountains, giant glaciers and dazzling wildlife.

Stretching across millions of acres, Denali National Park and Preserve and Glacier Bay National Park are Alaska's top two attractions, but sister parks - Wrangell-St. Elias, Kenai Fjords and Denali State Park - share equally in beauty and natural wonders.

Nature's Grandeur As Far As The Eye Can See!

Denali National Park

A sprawling six-million acre wilderness lorded over by the 20,320-foot Denali, the tallest mountain in North America. Called Denali, "the High One," in the local Athabascan language, this park is one of the last great untouched places on earth, teeming with wildlife and our Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge on a land & sea vacation is located just outside the park entrance. To the south is neighboring Denali State Park, where Denali looms large, and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge is nestled in the forest nearby.

Glacier Bay National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this pristine 3.3-million-acre park is a glacier-rich territory where monumental Margerie Glacier can be viewed calving 100-ton icebergs in to the tidewater. There are whales, orcas, harbor seals, and you might even spot bears foraging along the shore. Filled with so many wonders, we bring National Park Rangers on every cruise here to explain the astonishing things you'll see.

Kenai Fjords National Park

The idyllic Kenai Peninsula is considered "Alaska's Playgroun" and the region's main attraction - Kenai Fjords National Park - is a nature lover's paradise of glaciers and tidewater inlets teeming with wildlife. It's famous for sports fishing and river-rafting, all easily accessible from the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge on a land & sea vacation.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

The vast expanse of wilderness that makes up Wrangell-St. Elias - 13.2 million acres, the largest national park in the United States - is home to nine of the 16 highest peaks in the United States. From whitewater rafting to fishing for the famed salmon, you can experience this jewel on a land & sea vacation that includes our Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge.


Alaska Enrichment Programs

Beyond the sights, Alaska is a land of stories. Hear suspenseful tales and hilarious yarns alike from real Alaskans as they share their adventures.


Every voyage features exclusive onboard enrichment programs that broaden your understanding of Alaska's amazing natural beauty and bring the epic sweep of the region's history into focus. Further inland, you pan for gold, experience Native culture and enjoy a lively dinner theater production that recalls the first men to reach the summit of Mt. McKinley. Woven throughout every Princess Alaska cruise and land & sea vacation are innumerable opportunities to be immersed in Alaska - body, mind and soul.


Programs that Broaden Your Understanding of Alaska

Alaska legend Libby Riddles

Meet renowned dog musher Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the grueling 1,100-mile Iditarod sled dog race. She comes aboard in Juneau to share tales of her historic triumph, answer questions and even sign autographs. You won't want to miss this special Princess exclusive.

Alaskan Storyteller
In Skagway, Alaskan storyteller and musician Steve Hites comes on board to perform his "North to Alask" show. This tribute to the Klondike days brings the region's folklore, history and poetry of the era to life with plenty of rollicking humor.
National Park Rangers
Glacier Bay National Park is an American treasure, so Princess brings National Park Rangers on board to share history and commentary, illuminating every detail of what you are witnessing. Kids can join in the learning, too as part of a unique Junior Rangers program.

Onboard Alaskan experts
Throughout your voyage, onboard naturalists will introduce you to the region's unique flora, fauna, and geology. You will also gain a greater understanding of the history, culture and attractions of each port you visit through our signature Destination Expert presentations.

Alaska TV

Alaska-specific programming airs regularly on your stateroom TV, covering such topics as nature, wildlife and history. We've also developed two special Glacier Bay videos in conjunction with the National Park Service - one for adults and one geared just for kids that is also screened at our Youth Center.

Alaska Marketplace

If your adventures ashore didn't leave you enough time to do some shopping, our onboard Alaska Marketplace event in the Atrium features hand-carved totems, art and figurines, Native crafts, charms, Alaska spirits and food specialties, and keepsakes sourced from the region.


When in Alaska, dine as the Alaskans do. Our Signature Alaska Cuisine spotlights the seafood and other unique dishes the Great Land has to offer.

At sea, you'll enjoy the fresh salmon, halibut and king crab, caught in the very same waters you are sailing. Plus there are fun events that highlight the rich flavors of the region.

On land, you'll find equally tantalizing dishes served in the restaurants of our Princess wilderness lodges that feature locally sourced ingredients for authentic Alaska flair.


Savor the Unique Flavors of Alaska
Alaskan Cuisine

At Sea
:: A Taste of Alaska Buffet featuring Alaskan Amber-battered Rockfish fillet, Alaska crab salad and Alaska beef stew, hand-carved salmon and Alaska soup with whitefish and mussels.
:: An On-Deck Fish Barbecue of hot finger foods such as grilled prawns on skewers, fresh Alaska fish brochettes, crab cakes and cups of venison chili.
:: A Reindeer Chili and Rockfish Chowder Cook Off on deck to warm the soul with freshly baked bread rolls - and a choice of Alaska beers to wash it down.
:: An Alaska Culinary Demonstration where Gravad Lax of fresh Alaska Salmon is prepared by our executive chef with help from passengers.
:: Glacier Bay Champagne Breakfast served on your balcony in Glacier bay - you'll enjoy smoked salmon, crab quiche, pastries and local berries with a half bottle of champagne.*
:: Baked Alaska - A Princess tradition and what better way to top off a great meal than with our wait staff parading through the dining room to present this flaming dessert?
:: There's also a variety of Alaska Beers available onboard and a Vodka tasting for purchase that features three Alaska Distillery brands (Permafrost, Smoked Salmon and Birch Syrup) as well as fine European vodkas.*

* Charges apply

On Land
Alaska is renowned for its seafood but there's plenty more on the menu at our Princess wilderness lodges. Here are some of the offerings that you may find*:
:: Famed King and Sockeye salmon, as well as Alaskan Pacific cod.
:: Bering Sea Red King Crab Legs - world renowned - and Sustainable Kodiak Bairdi crab.
:: Alaska-made caribou, reindeer and buffalo sausage, and Bison chili.
:: Beer-battered fish and chips -a Princess signature recipe. Alaska cod hand dipped in Alaskan Amber batter.
:: Glacier Brewhouse Denali Red - Brewed exclusively for Princess wilderness lodges by the Glacier Brewhouse in Anchorage, AK.

* Charges apply



When you reach the Alaska wilderness, you'll want to experience as much as possible, which is why we built and operate exclusive Princess wilderness lodges on the doorsteps of legendary national parks. Our wilderness lodges will be your base for adventure, offering comfortable Great Rooms overlooking stunning vistas, restaurants, bars and shops, and an array of exciting optional land excursions to choose from.

And there's no more thrilling way to reach the wilderness than by romantic rail travel. Between your ship and our Denali-area Princess wilderness lodges lie 500 miles of Alaska's most scenic, unspoiled wilderness. It's the route of the historic Alaska Railroad, built between 1903 and 1923 and exclusive Princess Rail will take you on a journey that's as memorable as the destination.


Direct-to-the-Wilderness - A Princess Exclusive

A Princess exclusive, our Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service takes you between your ship and the Denali area the very same day for more time to enjoy the wilderness This private pull by the Alaska Railroad, available on select land & sea vacations, gets you to Denali a full day earlier without an overnight hotel stay en route - and all your luggage transfers are conveniently handled.


Princess Rail

Princess Rail is offered on most land & sea vacations, featuring glass-domed rail cars, open-air observation platforms to take in all the wilderness, onboard rail guides providing expert commentary and trademark Princess service. There is also full beverage service and delicious cuisine is available for purchase while onboard.


Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Located just one mile from the entrance to Denali National Park, this lodge is your base camp for adventure. It features an expansive campus of lodging and amenities, including a Great Room with 30-foot high glass windows for stunning views and a spacious deck overlooking the Nenana River. Here guests can go on tours into Denali National Park, raft the Nenana River, experience a thrilling helicopter flight seeing trip, or just enjoy the main lodge and setting. Shuttle service is offered between the lodge and the Denali National Park Visitors Center, the Wilderness Access Center and Horseshoe Lake.


Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

Located in Denali State Park just 41 miles from the peak of its namesake mountain, the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness lodge offers spectacular views of the Alaska Range, including both Mt. McKinley, North America's tallest peak at 20,320 feet, and Mt. Foraker. This is the only lodge where you can view Mt. McKinley, either from its viewing decks, walking trails or in the cozy Great Room, which features a massive freestanding rock fireplace and enormous floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the dramatic scenery.


Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

This lodge, with decor recalling the region's mining heritage, is perched on a bluff overlooking Wrangell-St. Elias - America's largest national park and home to nine of the country's 16 highest peaks. Relax in the spectacular Wrangell Room or on the patio and take in the breathtaking scenery - or fish for the prized Copper River salmon. Located just four miles from the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park visitor's center, the lodge has sweeping views of Mt. Drum, Mt. Wrangell and Mt. Blackburn. Take a rafting trip on the Gulkana River, arrange a flightseeing tour or visit the abandoned Kennicott copper mines.


Kenai Princess Wilderness LodgeSoak in the natural beauty of the Kenai Peninsula, known to locals as "Alaska's Playground." At the lodge, unwind by the wood-burning stove in your bungalow-style guest room or savor the natural beauty from an expansive deck that overlooks the turquoise Kenai River.


There are certain things in Alaska you must experience - salmon fishing in a quiet river, watching a family of bears forage for berries, or admiring a Native craftsman carving a totem pole. That's why Princess offers hundreds of optional excursions available to choose from, whether you're sailing the Alaska coast on a cruise or exploring the Alaska wilderness on a land & sea vacation.

Every excursion is carefully selected by Princess for their quality, value and to maximize your vacation time. And there are excursions for every interest, from nature and wildlife to activities and adventures, history, sightseeing and more.

Defining Moments and Unbelievable Thrills

By Land

Embark on a wildlife safari to spot the "Denali Big Five" - bear, wolf, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. Or ride on a vintage Gold Rush-era train through Yukon territory, go dog mushing on a glacier, visit an authentic mining camp and even set out on an ATV excursion into the backcountry.

By Air

Enjoy a thrilling helicopter landing on a glacier, go flightseeing high above Mt. McKinley and look for wildlife along the way, land on a pristine lake deep in the Alaska wilderness, or sail high above the forest canopy on a zipline.

Featured Excursions

By Sea

Fish for halibut or king salmon with expert anglers, join a whale watching cruise, set out with Bering Sea crab fishermen, kayak through a fjord or hang on tight for a thrilling whitewater river rafting excursion.

Featured Excursions

Uniquely Alaska Adventures

There are a variety of ways to immerse yourself in the culture, history and attractions of the region, including watching a lumberjack competition, attending a Native dance performance, or enjoying an authentic salmon bake.

Featured Excursions


Content Source: Princess Cruises


Have Questions? Need Help?

Want More Information?. Call 800.365.1445 Speak to a Certified Alaska Cruise Expert. Ask all your questions, take all the time you need. If you do decide to travel with us, that's great. But, if not, it's still ok. We enjoy sharing our life's travel experiences with you and like-minded travelers, none the less.


18 Years of "been there...done that" knowledge of Alaska!


Travel Experts Specializing in Alaska
Someplace Familiar? Someplace New? Someplace Surprising? Whatever it is you want to do!

While a cruise ship can take you just about anywhere you want to go, narrowing down all the options can often seem overwhelming. That's where a little free unbiased advice goes a long way. Raye & Marty will help you find that cruise vacation you've been searching for, so you can enjoy the benefits of cruising that they've have experienced in more than three decades of cruising.

To get started, go here. Read their Alaska cruise plus land + sea vacation review, go here.

Connect with like-minded Alaska cruise travelers that are actually experienced, having been there, and done that! They are eager to share their own stories about visiting Alaska, both from the sea and on the land. If you need help, have questions or want more information, talk to them. They are advocates who love Alaska,, it's people, wildlife, wonders and wilderness. Find out more.
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 Cruise Alaska

Cruising Alaska is about more than just moments. Cruising Alaska is about memories that last forever!

Say Alaska and a variety of images and impressions come to mind: towering mountains, watchable wildlife, icy blue glaciers, endless wilderness, vibrant Native culture, leaping salmon, and hardy outdoors.

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