My trip to Alaska was via cruise ship, in the summer. Not necessarily the best way to see the state's full wilderness, this method of travel did provide a relatively comprehensive overview of the region. For those looking for convenience, traversing Alaska via cruise may be a good choice. Over the course of 7 days, we sailed the Pacific and inside passage to the towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.
Our first stop was Juneau, proximate to the famed Tracy Arm Fjord. One of the best ways to see the fjord is probably to book yourself a seaplane tour that flies over the region. Though I fly relatively often, I dislike turbulence quite intensely, to which small planes are especially prone. But though it can get windy in the region, the flight was a relatively calm, as the plane's engine hummed to the bewitching scenery below.
I happened to go dogsledding twice on this trip, because it was such an incredible, and nouveau experience for me. My favorite trip took us via helicopter out to the Mendenhall Glacier, where a small expedition site awaited with adorable huskies. I distinctly remember a particular fact our guide shared with us about the breed: that huskies can shed up to two trash bags of hair during the summer.
A radical departure from the spring-esque ports-of-call, the surface of the glacier can seem like a completely different world. It can get quite windy on the surface, so windproof jackets, and gloves, are a must if you're planning a visit.
And of course, the enchanting huskies with their formidable strength. Huskies at the sight are very well cared for, and seem to be incredibly energetic and happy.
A puppy I met on the glacier. Wanted to take him home. Didn't make it past the helicopter. Still think about him sometimes.
Overall, a highly recommended trip for anyone visiting the Skagway or Juneau area.
In addition to the many expeditions that depart from Juneau, the town itself was also quaint, and also makes for a great port-of-call to relax in.
Our last stop at the town of Ketchikan was less of an adventurous stop compared to the others, but a picturesque town all the same. A cute city to explore if one has a few hours to spare, I'd suggest walking around town and Creek Street, or taking a trip out to the nearby Misty Fjords National Monument.
A quick interlude about the cruise-ship itself. As you'll be spending a few at-sea days entirely on the cruise, it may be wise to choose a larger, more entertaining vessel. However, most ships that embark on the Alaskan sailings won't be as large as the ones you may find in the Carribbean, for example, as the latter is comparatively a more popular destination. For my trip, we chose Princess Cruises; our ship's onboard amenities were plentiful, and well-serviced, if slightly dated.
All in all, an interesting journey exploring one of America's more remote regions. Though I had a chance to visit some of the largest towns in Alaska, if I had the chance to do it again, I definitely wouldn't miss Anchorage. Even if one wants to take advantage of the many comforts traveling by cruise offers, it may make more sense to opt for a sailing that includes flying out to, or back from, Anchorage. This way, the one way journey allows cruises to travel deeper into Alaska, giving travelers a chance to see the truly remote regions often associated with the state.
If you were feeling very adventurous, perhaps consider making the journey like these brave souls.
All in all, an enjoyable trip, and definitely a worthwhile first journey into Alaska. I'll be back.