Alaska's Inside Passage is the area that makes up the Southeast Region of Alaska. Approximately 1,000 miles North of Vancouver, it was the center of activity during Alaska's 19th century Gold Rush. Also known as the "Panhandle," the Inside Passage is popular for spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, vivid Native cultures, astounding history and exceptional hospitality.
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Alaska Inside Passage Cruises
Most cruises to Alaska's Inside Passage are seven nights long and typically begin and end in either Vancouver or Seattle. This "roundtrip" itinerary makes this a very popular cruise vacation because of the convenient flight schedules and availability of affordable roundtrip airline tickets in to and out of Vancouver and Seattle.
Longer 10- and 11-night Inside Passage Cruises are available from California, as well as shorter, 3- and 4-night cruises that are combined with a longer Klondike Cruise & Land Tour.
Depending on your ship and itinerary, a typical Alaska Inside Passage cruise spends the first day cruising the famed Inside Passage, a narrow waterway nestled between towering mountains, waterfront communities, and the Pacific Ocean. Then, depending on your itinerary, you will visit 3 or 4 of the following Alaska ports of call and National Parks:
You will normally spend a full day in each port of call allowing you to sample the local community or take any number of exciting excursions including trekking on glaciers, a helicopter ride, city bus tours, whale watching, fishing and more. There is something for everyone!
Because Inside Passage Cruises are generally seven nights, and because the flight schedules are more convenient and affordable, you'll find that this is a very popular way for families with children to see Alaska. Most of the cruise lines sailing to Alaska have special children's programs and even shore excursions to keep the younger passengers entertained and enriched. Read more about Alaska with Kids.
When you can take an Alaska Inside Passage Cruise
The Alaska Cruise season begins in late April and continues through September. Whether you cruise when the Inside Passage is blanketed with spring wildflowers or ablaze with fall foliage you'll be awed at Alaska's natural wonders. Spring whale migrations, fall bald eagle gatherings, winter trumpeter swans - exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities and substantial savings can be found during spring and fall.
Pre- or Post Cruise Options in Seattle or Vancouver
If you are sailing from Vancouver or Seattle, consider spending a few extra days either before or after the cruise to enjoy some of the local sights. Most cruise lines offer affordable pre- and post-cruise hotel programs that give you the opportunity to experience some of the local attractions like the Space Needle and Pike's Market in Seattle or the Butchart Gardens in Vancouver/Victoria. Ask your Alaska Cruise Specialist about this when planning your cruise.