Best Alaska Cruise Ports - A Full Guide For Discerning Travelers

Best Alaska Cruise Ports

When you’re booking the Alaskan cruise of your dreams, it’s important to look for the best Alaska cruise ports. With so many cruise ships in the area, there are many options. You’ll want to focus on the itinerary that offers the best shore excursions and sights for the kind of adventure you wish to have.

With plenty of Alaska cruise stops, there’s no reason why you can’t get the ultimate experience. Exploring more about the best cruise ports in Alaska will ensure that you’re informed every step of the way.

Icy Strait Point – A Must-Stop Destination For Adventure Seekers

At the height of the Alaska cruise season, you’ll find that a cruise line will anchor offshore of Icy Strait Point, which may also be referenced as Hoonah, Alaska. From there, you can tender directly into Ice Strait Point in order to explore some of the best of what Alaska has to offer.

With the tours offered by Icy Strait Point Excursions, you can:

If you want to go off the beaten path, this is one of the best cruise ports to look for.

Kayak Trip In Alaska


Discover The Hidden Gems Of Ketchikan, Alaska

When you’re talking about Alaskan dream cruises, Ketchikan is a must-stop because of how unique it is. The town is also fully equipped for tourism, featuring four large docks for massive cruise ships to pull up to.

There are Native American totem poles throughout the city, which is what many of the shore excursions focus on.

You can walk most of the city, and there are plenty of shops to wander in and out of. Top shopping in this port includes jewelry, totem-related souvenirs, and salmon.

Ketchican, Alaska Cruise Port


Explore The Unforgettable Charm Of Juneau, Alaska

Juneau is one of the more popular Alaska cruise ports because it doesn’t require a tender. It also has a beautiful location on the Gulf of Alaska and offers close proximity to Glacier Bay.

You can choose to embrace the culture or go on an adventure while you’re in this city. Some of the top adventures include:

  • Glacier Gardens Rainforest

  • Mendenhall Glacier

  • Whale watching on Glacier Bay

You can also choose to wander through the city, take a tour (and taste) of the Alaska Brewing Company, and do some shipping.

Juneau, Alaska


Experience The Majestic Beauty Of Skagway, Alaska

One of the best Alaska cruise ports is Skagway, and virtually all of the cruises will take you here. It’s got a dock, so you won’t have to worry about a tender.

This city is rich in the history of the Klondike Gold Rush. You’ll find various saloons, a vintage locomotive museum, and more to explore.

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this city is the ability to take the White Pass railroad and cross over the Yukon Suspension Bridge. While this is an all-day excursion to go there and back, it’s well worth it for the panoramic views.

Skagway Alaska Cruise Port


Whittier, Alaska – Eventful Memories In A Hidden Gem

Whittier is featured as one of the top Alaska cruise ports for a few reasons. First, it’s less than two hours away from Anchorage. Second, it’s a popular place for a cruise line to either embark or disembark from.

Here, you’ll find a lot of outdoor adventures to immerse yourself in, such as hiking and kayaking. You may also want to explore some of the historic sites, such as:

  • Prince William Sound Museum

  • Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel

  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

There are also various boat tours that offer you another perspective of Whittier.

Whittier, Alaska - Portage Glacier


Seward, Alaska – A Must-Visit Destination

Seward is a popular area because it is in the Gulf of Alaska. This is a place where you’ll dock. You’ll find a number of fjords in the area, and there are plenty of boat tours that will help you get close to them. You can also opt to take a helicopter or seaplane over them.

This is a popular town for fishing. Common fish you’ll catch include Chinook salmon, Halibut, Rainbow trout, Northern Pike, and Pacific Ocean perch.

Seward, Alaska


Experience The Untouched Beauty Of Sitka, Alaska

Sitka continues to be a popular place for a cruise to Alaska to include. Depending on the size of the cruise ship, it will either tender or pull right up to a dock. There are quite a few things to do in this city, including:

  • Alaska Raptor Center

  • Sitka National Historical Park

  • Baranof Castle State Historic Park

While you can choose a shore excursion here, it’s also notable for being easy to walk around. That allows you to explore the town on your own. Consider tasting some of the halibut or chowder. You’ll also find quite a bit of street food around town.

Sitka, Alaska


Looking At Alaska Cruise Stops

When you are exploring an Alaskan cruise, it pays to look at the Alaska cruise itineraries in detail to see where the stops are along the way. With so many cruise lines, you’ll find options that vary significantly in terms of cruise length, embarkation city, and more.


Cruise Length

Most of the cruise lines offer 7, 10, and 14-day itineraries for you to choose from. Some will also allow you to extend before or after to take a tour that is more extensive, such as the Princess ones that offer a land tour by train with their lodges.

Alaska Cruise Line


Embarkation City

Many cruise ships will leave out of Seattle or Vancouver. This is a matter of preference based on where you want to leave out of. Americans will typically find airfare into Seattle more affordable than Vancouver.

Alaska Cruise Lines From Seattle Or Vancouver


Size Of The Cruise Ship

Princess, Holland America, Norwegian, and other cruise lines will help you explore the best Alaska cruise ports. Pay attention to the size of the ship, as they may or may not be able to cruise into Glacier Bay National Park. Some of the bigger ships also have more things to do and more restaurants offered, which can enhance your overall ship experience.

Cruise Ship - Royal Princess


Alaska Cruise Ports

Consider which ports are most important to you. Some will give you the option of Whittier or Seward but not both. Additionally, along the Inside Passage of Alaska, the cruise will offer scenic cruising to certain areas, such as Glacier Bay or Tracy Arm.

Alaska Cruise Port


Time Of Year

The Alaska cruises are typically offered from May through September. While July and August are the busiest months to go, one of the best times to go is in May when it hasn’t gotten too hot. It’s when you’re likely to see more wildlife.

Alaska Cruise Season Runs From May Through September


Discover The Unforgettable Charm Of Icy Strait Point

When you’re on Alaska cruises, you don’t simply want to venture off on your own within the ports of call. Instead, you want to immerse yourself in the history and culture of the area.

Icy Strait Point, Alaska, is an amazing place to visit, and at Icy Strait Point Excursions, we’ll show you how you can do more than take a tour. We’re a family-run tour company that can help you spot brown bears, see whales in their natural habitat, and so much more.

Start exploring the adventurous tours we have to offer. With our help, you’re sure to have the best Alaska cruise itinerary possible!

Whale Watching At Icy Strait Point Alaska

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 10

Wilderness Tour and Brown Bear Search - LEO, Military, Teacher Discount!

This Alaskan wilderness and bear search tour is offered on Chichagof Island, a one-of-a-kind location with the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth. Depending on the season, catch the bears coming out of hibernation and looking for food; or later on in the season when the bears are mating and eating grasses on the tidal flats. Older males fight each other for dominance and mating rights with the females, who at times are not receptive and force the male to give chase. This is truly an experience for the books, and cameras.

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 30

Guaranteed Whale Watching Tours in Icy Straits - LEO, Military, Teacher Discount!

Join us for the best show in town, a 3-hour whale watching excursion (includes transportation time and approx 2.5 hours on the water) which begins when you board the bus that departs from the Icy Strait Point Excursion Hub, just a short 5-minute walk from your cruise ship. Travel just 1.5 miles through the picturesque landscape of Hoonah, Alaska. On arrival at the Hoonah Harbor, it's “All aboard!” and you’re off for the waters of Icy Straits and the ultimate whale watching experience. The area near Icy Strait Point, with its proximity to Point Adolphus and Glacier Bay, is home to one of the largest summer populations of humpback whales found in Alaska and the whale watching is second to none.

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Saltwater Fishing Adventure

Join local maritime hero Captain Billy, a locally raised Tlingit of Hoonah, Alaska on this unforgettable fishing adventure. His knowledge of area waters is unsurpassed and his desire to share it with you is second to none! Southeast Alaska and Icy Strait in particular, is home to some of the best halibut and salmon fishing around. The biggest halibut on record was caught inside Icy Strait! Hoonah is just a stones throw from Icy Strait so no time is wasted getting to the fishing grounds and the hooks down!

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 12

Kayak Adventure

Your Kayak experience will take you into the peaceful waters of Port Frederick. Enjoy the serenity that can only be had while quietly gliding across the waters near Icy Strait Point enjoying the beautiful Alaskan scenery. Wildlife such as; eagles, seals, sea lions, Sitka black tail deer, whales, and even a bear on the beach are possible sightings. Take a journey into this serene kayak adventure on Icy Strait for an unforgettable experience!

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 14

Whales, Wildlife & Drones

This whale watching tour is personalized, as it takes out a maximum of 14 guests at a time. This allows for a great crew to guest ratio, ensuring your experience is personal. The areas we search near in Hoonah near Icy Strait Point and Point Adolphus are known Humpback whale feeding grounds. Josh has captained in this area for many years and knows the area well! He know how to find the whales! Add in the communication he has with other captains on the other boats, and it's a perfect whale finding system!

What really makes this tour unique is the Drone imagery. Drones are able to see below the water surface and broadcast live video back to the boat.
View pods of orcas effortlessly gliding under the waves, on rare occasions, see humpback calfs playing with their mothers, on rare occasions, the amazing phenomenon of "bubble-net" feeding by groups of humpbacks is seen. Your personal view of the whales is not repaced with drones; just supplemented! You will experience seeing and hearing these amazing animals with your own eyes and ears, and then we take you to the next level with our displays onboard.

4 to 5 hours
Group Size
1 to 6

Freshwater Stream Fishing

Professionally guided stream fishing excursions on the hidden edge waters of Chichagof, Island.

3 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
2 to 10

Icy Strait Birding & Nature Experience

Come experience the birds and nature of Chichagof Island, near Icy Strait Point! Every trip is an adventure in this lush rainforest where Brown Bears outnumber humans. While we love delivering stunning target birds like Varied Thrushes, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Bald Eagles, and Steller’s Jays, we aren’t just about birds on this tour. You will be led by an expert birder and naturalist who will set the stage by sharing the human and geological history of the area. You will then get to see how the birds, fish, mammals, plants, forests, rivers, and climate all weave together to create this lush, vibrant ecosystem!