Why You Should Take an Alaskan Cruise and How it Beat My Expectations

The Alaskan landscape plays host to a plethora of stunning scenery and historical towns. Sights and destinations that many people will never see because of the state’s remoteness. This, however, is not necessarily true for West Coast residents who have the gateway to this impressive wilderness at their front door.

The Inside Passage Alaskan cruise allows you to explore Alaska’s phenomenal landscapes in an action-packed week of adventure. Not only does this mean that busy professionals are able to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience without it taking up too much of their precious time, but the value for money is simply unparalleled.

Pilot Mark on Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA

I travel around the world as an Airline Pilot and frequently fly to the West Coast; from San Diego to Seattle, I’m envious of your proximity to great National Parks and beautiful coastlines. But it’s your gateway to Alaska I found so inspiring, from Seattle or Vancouver it’s the spectacular journey which is the Inside Passage Alaskan Cruise.

A Cruise? Yes.

Yes, you read that right, a cruise. I had my doubts about the experience, mostly based on the idea that cruises are generally aimed towards the older generation (my parents had just returned from one), and as a 20-something young professional I was looking for excitement and adventure, not a floating retirement home. I could not have been more mistaken.

As a hard-working professional, time is extraordinarily important to me, and the cruise’s week-long itinerary allowed me to explore Alaska in a very time efficient way and offloaded a huge bulk of trip planning time. What’s more is that many of us often look for an escape from our daily lives, we want to experience something different, something new! Taking this tour of Alaska was the getaway that I had been looking for, which thoroughly satisfied my escapism.

Helicopter flight to the Juneau Icefield for trekking on the Mendenhall Glacier from an Alaska cruise and Inside Passage

Cruises go hand in hand with a number of preconceived ideas of what to expect. Many people have some kind of a negative bias of the cruise experience. Probably based on the older demographic of passengers and the fact that the tour would be aimed at pleasing this specific group. Why do we imagine cruises to only be for retirees, though? The convenience and affordability of a cruise alone are enough to make it worthwhile. Adding this to the immense comfort and luxurious nature of the ship, and the staggeringly beautiful scenery along the way makes for an almost guaranteed successful vacation.

Why This Alaskan Cruise?

The route is known as the Inside Passage Alaskan cruise. You can choose to either do the cruise from Vancouver to Alaska or do it the other way round and complete your journey in Vancouver. The beauty of this, if you do live on the USA’s west coast, is that it’s practically right on your doorstep. People fly from countries around the world just for a glimpse of Alaska’s renowned landscape. If you’re based on the west coast then there’s very little planning to be done, no visas, no long flights, no stress. All you need to do is to simply book the trip and explore Alaska’s picturesque coastline at your leisure.

Once everyone has boarded the ship, all passengers are shown to their cabins and the Alaskan cruise begins. Exploring this expansive vessel was an adventure in itself. Since a cruise ship is essentially a floating resort, you are surrounded by world-class facilities, restaurants, and entertainment. I started my cruise experience out by exploring this ship from top to bottom to get a better idea of what I could look forward to over the next few days. From comprehensive libraries to gyms, theatres, and both indoor and outdoor pools, the cruise experience had already started growing on me.

Alaska cruise through the Inside passage to Glacier Bay and Margerie Glacier

The Perks of All-Inclusive Travel

The cruise was off to an excellent start. It became more apparent to me as the day went on that the experience was surprisingly exhilarating. There are few activities that can live up to the rush of getting up close and personal with something as naturally mighty as a glacier, particularly one in Glacier Bay Alaska. What’s more is the cost started to seem more reasonable by the minute. Since you pay a fixed price from the start you are free to make the most of your trip without having to worry about extra costs for your food and non-alcoholic drinks, not to mention the excellent entertainment on offer here too.

To add to this feeling of unsullied excitement, the sense of adventure filled the atmosphere around me. However, the single most important drawcard of this cruise is how time-conscious it is. Few people have limitless time to go on long vacations. Since you’re on this ship for just a week, you’re provided with a wealth of information and experiences that are all conveniently packed into this short time period. Not only do you have a seemingly endless supply of activities to take part in and things to do on the ship, you are also visited each day by National Park Rangers who give the passengers a comprehensive briefing on the area and wildlife.

Margerie Glacier alaska cruise inside passage

The Chance to Explore Alaska

The frigid air descends on the deck of the ship as the hull glides through the iceberg-strewn waters of Glacier Bay Alaska. The ship draws nearer to a glacier’s terminal face allowing you to appreciate the sheer majesty of this wall of ice. Taking a closer look at the glacier will leave you in awestruck silence as the sound of white thunder is followed by a chunk of ice splintering off and tumbling into the water below with a terrific splash.

You would imagine that everything on board would be enough to entertain anyone for a week, and you’d be right. However, the cruise experience just keeps on giving! You’ll have the opportunity to stop off in 3 of Alaska’s most celebrated towns; Haines, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Every stop is a hub of exciting activities and fascinating historical tours that will give you an idea of each town’s humble beginnings. If nothing else, these stops allow you a full day to get off the ship, stretch your legs and enjoy a peaceful coffee or lunch.

For those who haven’t satisfied their hunger for exploration, each town offers you the chance to take a scenic flight over some of the magnificent natural features nearby. These flights give you an entirely new perspective on the landscape, allowing you to appreciate it far more. To look down on Glacier Bay Alaska and see the exact point at which glacier meets ocean is a truly profound experience. The boundless splendor of nature that you see on this tour is overwhelming. Who would have thought you would have this kind of experience on an Alaskan cruise?

See Alaska From Above

The sunlight reflects off the glittering glacier below you as you soar through the air. An undeniable sense of freedom envelopes you as you gaze out the window at Mendenhall Glacier in all its glory. The stark surface is broken by stripes of rock deposits that the glacier gathers as it bites through the mountainside. You feel excitement surging through your body, unable to tear your eyes away from this winter wonderland beneath you.

Glacier in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Flight tour from an Alasak cruise and inside passage

This cruise provides you with experiences so incredibly immersive that any stress that your daily life causes you will effortlessly melt away. What makes this experience so spectacular is the fact that the Alaskan landscape is not easily accessible. You’ll be surrounded by an incredibly harsh environment that many people are only able to explore with months of preparation and a great deal of climbing gear. This Inside Passage Alaskan cruise from Seattle makes the inaccessible not only accessible but conveniently comfortable.

Helicopter Landing on Mendenhall Glacier on Juneau Icefield in Alaska for glacier trekking

Unique Tours To Find Adventure

The helicopter shudders to life around you as the rhythmic pulsing of the blades beat above your head. The cool, Alaskan air flows through the vents as you rise off the ground and watch this icy wonderland open up before you. Snow-capped mountains trail away into the distance, surrounded by fields of white snow and the brilliant turquoise-blue of the pure ice below. From trekking along the country’s most magnificent glaciers to flying above them in a float plane or helicopter and so much more, this Alaskan cruise was no stranger to excitement.

The Juneau Ice Field is a perfect example of how this tour will make you feel as if you’re in a different world entirely. Massive expanses of ice broken only by the snow-capped mountain peaks that lead off towards the boundless horizon. It is views like these that really make you appreciate the mesmerizing natural beauty of the state of Alaska.

At the end of the day, life is all about experiences. The memories that you make on your journey throughout life will always outweigh material possessions. Through Flying And Travel, I strive to inspire my readers to live their lives by sharing my experiences of the world and hoping that they too will want to explore this beautiful Earth.

One of the most exhilarating experiences that the world has to offer is to set foot on a glacier in Glacier Bay Alaska. The sheer size alone is simply staggering. But the fascinating beauty of this magnificent natural feature is what really makes this special. If you take a closer look at a glacier you will notice that it is not just white, but a brilliant turquoise color. This is known as pure ice, and it occurs over centuries of development. Layers of snow fall on these glaciers each day, and as time passes gravity causes the snow to steadily compact. As the ice becomes denser, the more imperfections and air bubbles are released until you are left with this breathtaking turquoise color.

Glacier on the Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA

If you take a scenic helicopter ride from the town of Juneau on your Inside Passage Alaskan cruise from Seattle, you will have the chance to set foot on the Mendenhall Glacier and look down into one of the many crevasses to see the rich turquoise color below. You’ll be likely to also witness a natural phenomenon known as White Thunder. As the glacier flows steadily down the mountainside, the friction deep within the ice causes cracks to appear, and the sound of thunder claps (White Thunder) is a product of this cracking process.

Helicopter Landing on Mendenhall Glacier on Juneau Icefield in Alaska for glacier trekking

The cleats in your boots bite into the glacier’s surface and you hold your ground steadily. You slowly turn your head from left to right, relishing in the beauty of the landscape around you. After viewing the bigger picture from above, you’re able to appreciate all the finer details that make up this marvelous tapestry of snow, rock and ice.

Juneau Icefield in Alaska USA. Helicopter flight for Glacier trek with Northstar Trekking on an Alaska Cruise and inside passage

How An Alaskan Cruise Beat My Expectations

It’s not often that I go on a trip and I’m unexpectedly thrilled by the outcome. It tends to either be on par with my expectations or far lower. This experience has taught me to empty my mind of preconceptions of any opportunities that the world has to offer. This Inside Passage Alaskan cruise from Seattle absolutely blew my expectations out of the water.

Alaska Cruise in Glacier Bay

This cruise is the perfect blend of comfort and adventure. Taking you to some of the country’s most magical winter features, such as Glacier Bay Alaska. Whether you’re looking for a short vacation, filled to the brim with exciting adventures, or a relaxing two-week getaway in which you’ll do the cruise from Vancouver to Alaska and back, this is the tour for you! This cruise marries luxury, convenience, and affordability into an unforgettable tour of the USA‘s 49th state.

At Flying and Travel, we pride ourselves in providing inspirational, informative articles with excellent tips such as this one. When booking excursions for the stopovers on this Inside Passage Alaskan cruise from Seattle or Vancouver, save yourself some money and book directly with the tour operators rather than through the cruise ship itself.

About the Author

Author Pilot Mark

Mark is an Airline Pilot who is on a mission to inspire and inform you about his two passions; Flying and Travel. He is here to help you travel the world with inspiring destinations and expert flying and travel tips.

Planning at trip to Alaska? Read my informative USA Travel Guide

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Looking for your next adventure? Find out why you should take an Alaskan Cruise. And how it beat my expectations.

About Mark

Mark is an Airline Pilot who is on a mission to inspire and inform you about his two passions; Flying and Travel. He is here to help you travel the world with inspiring destinations and expert flying and travel tips. Planning at trip to Alaska? Read my informative USA Travel Guide Do you have a question about flying you've always wanted to ask an airline pilot? Follow Mark on Social @flyingandtravel