10 Best Shore Excursions on an Alaska Cruise

Find adventure and culture with an Alaska shore excursion

By ; published Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
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Explore glaciers and more on an Alaska shore excursion.
Photo Credit: bterrycompton - flickr

Alaska cruising is a popular cruise itinerary due to the many spectacular sights you can see from your cruise ship balcony or deck as you sail through scenic straits. Alaska cruises also offer excellent opportunities to explore on land, too, with fun and cultural shore excursions. Here are some of the 10 best shore excursions you can do during an Alaska cruise.

Salmon or Halibut Fishing

Embark on a fishing adventure while in Alaska by taking to Alaska’s waterways and seeing how big of a fish you can catch. You’ll be on a traditional Alaskan fishing boat and any fish you catch can be shipped back to your home. You can also check with your cruise ship to see if they’ll cook it for dinner for you onboard. Fishing excursions can be found in most Alaska port towns.

Helicopter Ride

You’ll be getting the view of Alaska from the sea, however, elevate your memories of America’s largest state and take a helicopter ride over Alaska’s mountains and glaciers. In some port towns, small water planes are also available for flight shore excursions. Anchorage and Ketchikan are both excellent places to soar over the trees.

Brown Bear Viewing

Bears are one of the types of animals Alaska cruisers most want to see. Increase your chances by visiting the Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area while in port in Juneau, which boasts the highest number of brown bears living in their natural habitat in one location.

Whale Watching Cruise

Along with bears, cruisers are often excited for the chance to see whales while on their cruise. Alaska is a prime place to see humpback whales, and a whale watching cruise shore excursion will take you straight to where they’re migrating.

Glacier Hike

Alaska is known for its soaring glaciers and getting up close and personal with one is an ideal way to spend one of your days in port while cruising Alaska. Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and Exit Glacier in Seward are popular glaciers to hike.

Potlatch Totem Park

Totem Pole in Alaska
Photo Credit: Potlatch Park

Learn about how totem poles fit into Alaska’s history during an excursion to Potlatch Totem Park in Ketchikan. Discover the meaning behind totem poles and the different carvings.

Tribal Dance

Those who are sailing on a cruise itinerary that goes through Icy Strait Point can learn more about the tribal culture of Alaska on a shore excursion that introduces you to the Huna Tlingit tribe, who have lived in the area for over 2,000 years and still fish, farm and make handicrafts similar to their ancient ancestors. During the excursion, you’ll also see the tribe put on an impressive tribal dance.  

Canoe Adventure

For centuries, the only way to get around Alaska’s waterways was via canoe. Get in touch with that side of Alaska’s heritage on a canoe shore excursion. Cruisers will particularly delight in a canoe shore excursion in Ketchikan that takes your through the nearby rainforest.

Dog Sledding

Dog Sledding in Alaska
Photo Credit: Sonny Side Up! - flickr

 

Whip your way through the snow as you’re pulled by a pack of friendly and energetic huskies. When in Juneau, your dog sledding shore excursion will take you to the starting point of your sled ride via a helicopter, adding to the day’s thrills.

Salmon Bake

Do some barbequing the Alaskan way at a traditional Salmon Bake, which cooks freshly caught Alaskan salmon over an outdoor wood fire.

Whether you want your time in port to include adventure, animals or culture, you’ll find it and more with Alaska cruise shore excursions. 

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  About Gina Douglas Tarnacki:

Gina has rock climbed on the world's largest cruise ship, plus been astounded by the service and spectacular cuisine on cruises.

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