It was just estimated that Alaska will be visited by more that one million cruise travelers this year, and those passengers will have several exciting port options to choose from, whether via roundtrip or one-way itineraries, mainstream or expedition.
Roundtrip voyages – most from and returning to Seattle, Washington or Vancouver, Canada or even San Francisco, California – are certainly the most convenient, particularly if those are local homeports. Common routes on such weeklong sailings are through the beautiful Inside Passage. Narrow tree-lined waterways snake through the southern panhandle of the state as majestic mountains rise from the islands to the west and mainland to the east.
There once was a time when Inside Passage itineraries featured the sheltered route almost exclusively as ships headed north and south, but as sea traffic has increased over the years, most cruises now only feature it in one direction, favoring the open Pacific Ocean in other instances. The three most frequented ports-of-call are Ketchikan, Skagway and the capital city of Juneau. Besides the classics, Sitka, Haines, Wrangell and Icy Strait Point are others along the way.