Cruise Alaska – Whale Watching, Glacier Tours, and More

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska
Mendenhall Glacier

Dramatic scenery and wildlife make Alaska an appealing destination for cruise enthusiasts. Cruises typically depart from Seattle or Vancouver and sail through the protected Inside Passage, with a stop in Juneau – a popular port of call for cruise ships.

Situated on the upper Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska, Juneau was originally founded in 1880 as a gold-mining camp and became the state’s capital in 1959 upon statehood. A town of 30,000, Juneau is considered the most beautiful of all the state capitals.


Cruise ships sail from May through October. Temperatures range from 55-65 degrees during the day and 35-45 degrees at night. The best time for seeing bears is between July and September, when the salmon are spawning.

For family-friendly cruising, check out Celebrity Cruises’ or Disney Cruise Line’s voyages. For a land plus sea adventure, consider Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Lion cruise, where you will spend 7 days in Denali National Park. For the more active, consider Un-Cruise Adventures. Departing from Juneau, you’ll explore Alaska’s wildlife via kayak, skiff or paddleboat.


Alaska glacier helicopter toursA helicopter tour is an incredible way to view the magnificent glaciers surrounding Juneau. You’ll have a window seat view of the ice spires, deep blue crevasses and water pools. Some of the tours offer a guided walk on a glacier before returning to Juneau.

For the more adventurous spirits, go for a tour that includes a dog sled ride. Some tours will let you take over the reins if you want!



Alaska whale watchingIf you are in Juneau between May and November, you should definitely go on a whale watching tour as that is when approximately 600 humpbacks inhabit the waters of the northern Inside Passage. A guided tour will give you an up-close opportunity to witness these majestic creatures.


Don your boots and head out to Juneau’s in-town glacier, the Mendenhall. In August and September, you have a great chance of seeing bears around the glacier.

Mendenhall glows bluish white and at its widest point, is about a half mile wide, with ice 300 to 1,800 feet deep. If you go, dress warmly – cool air flows constantly off the 12-mile stream of ice, and it is typically 5 or 10 degrees cooler at the glacier than it is in town.


While onboard during your Alaskan cruise, you can easily stay connected with a Wireless Traveler satellite phone. Rent one for about $69 per week plus airtime ranging from $1.49 to $1.99 per minute. Satellite phones are easy to take on your voyage while at sea – weighing in at only 10 ounces. If you can see the sky you can make and receive calls. While in Juneau, you can stay connected with a global SIM card or download our Wirelesstraveler App from iTunes or GooglePlay and make calls home for as little as two cents per minute (or free calls app to app).

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