Alaska Cruise Excursions: What to do in Port

Whether it is Holland America, Celebrity CruisesNorwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean or countless other cruise lines, travelers have plenty of options that will allow them to fulfill their dream to cruise to Alaska. From walking on glaciers to exploring Denali National Park to seeing local wildlife in their natural habitat, Alaska offers nature lovers an abundance of sites to enjoy. Below are a few Alaska cruise excursions we recommend.

Alaska Cruise Excursions:

Denali National Park:

Denali National Park is six million acres of wild land that all lead to Mount McKinley. Cruisers can take a bus tour excursion either through the cruise line or a local provider that will bring you throughout the park. You will likely see wildlife such as bears, caribou, moose, wolves, and more.


Another option is to experience spectacular glaciers. Depending on the glacier, you may even be able to walk on one, such as the Worthington Glacier outside of Valdez. If you go to the Kenai Fjords National Park, you can take a boat tour and get up close and personal with a glacier and watch as they calve. Calving is when chunks of ice break off at the end of a glacier due to the glacier moving forward.  You will hear crackling and rumbling and then chunks of “icebergs” will roll off the cliff and fall into the water. If you’re lucky, you will see whales and porpoises following your boat!


Alaska also hosts the Iditarod, the famous dog sled race. It is unlike any other event in the world. Imagine being a musher who has to race through 1,000 miles of the roughest terrain out there. They usually have to pass through mountain ranges, tundras,  frozen rivers and dense forests in temperatures below zero! It’s unbelievable. If you have a chance, try to make it to the finish line/headquarters. There is a museum there and you can take a tour of the grounds.

Gold Rush Tour:

If you want to book your own excursion outside of the cruise line, there are options to do a gold rush tour. However, this does depend on your location. Many tours will give you pans and teach you how to find gold in a nearby stream. Whatever you find you are allowed to keep. *The gold pieces found are usually small flakes that can be put in a jar with a solution to keep from losing it. This is a great activity for children.


Along with the many glaciers in Valdez, it is also home to the famous Exxon Valdez Oil Spill that happened in 1989. The oil tanker spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels of oil into Prince William Sound. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters and to this day, they still find bits of oil washing up on shore.

Wildlife | Bears:

Lastly, go bear watching! Cook Inlet and numerous other locations such as the Katmai National Park allow you to watch bears catch salmon from streams. Watch a video of it here:

This list of Alaska cruise excursions is nowhere near comprehensive, but they are a great place to start! Other great cities to visit include: Anchorage, Soldotna, Homer, Tok, Fairbanks, Whittier, Seward.

What other cities do you recommend?



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