Photo Credit: Alaska Adventure Sailing

Inside Passage Cruises

Mention an “Alaska cruise” and what comes to mind? Usually, the answer is the “Inside Passage.” Why? This protected waterway is one of the most scenic in the world and one of the few locations where deep-draft vessels can sail close to steep mountain walls. Massive tidewater glaciers, forest-clad islands, ice-carved fjords, and charming coastal towns such as Juneau, Ketchikan, Haines and Skagway await you here. On small ship cruises, you’ll visit even more intimate ports of call.

Glacier Bay National Park and Hubbard Glacier are highlights. Ever since the 1890’s visitors have come to Alaska because of wondrous reports about Glacier Bay—stories of towering glaciers which calve icebergs into the sea and scenic beauty beyond belief. When the famous naturalist John Muir explored Glacier Bay, much of the bay we have today did not yet exist. In fact, one of the key reasons Glacier Bay has been preserved as a national park is that it’s a living laboratory; as the ice recedes, scientists can now study the advancement of plants and animals, unlocking mysteries of ice ages past. Ever changing, Glacier Bay National Park is still one of Alaska’s most popular coastal attractions and most visited national parks.

Best Small Ship Itineraries

Fly into Juneau or Sitka • same region as large cruises but more intimate ports • Glacier Bay National Park
Season: Year Round
3 to 10 Day + | $2600+ / Person
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: S/V Arcturus

This South­east Alas­ka-based tour oper­a­tor will leave you with a new def­i­n­i­tion of what it means to have a once-in-a-life­time Alas­ka cruise: You sail on an inti­mate ves­sel — often get­ting to steer your­self, under the super­vi­sion of an expe­ri­enced licensed cap­tain — while explor­ing away from the crowds, and get­ting a won­der­ful­ly up-close view of the wildlife and scenery. Sail­ings from Juneau and Sitka. 

Season: Apr 09 to Sep 04
$2,995+
8 Days / 7 Nights
Ports of Call: Juneau, Glacier Bay National Park, Hoonah / Icy Strait Point, Sitka
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Safari Endeavour, Safari Explorer, Wilderness Adventurer

Start your wilder­ness jour­ney in Juneau, the state capi­tol of Alas­ka, and end in Sit­ka, the per­fect spot to view the meld­ing of Russ­ian and Alas­ka Native cul­tures. In between, vis­it Glac­i­er Bay Nation­al Park, go bird watch­ing on South Mar­ble Island, look for whales in Icy Strait, hike along inter­tidal zones, and when your cap­tain sets the course for adven­ture, slip into your kayak or skiff for a day of guid­ed explo­ration. (Itin­er­ary also  ...more

$6,075+ (Inside Passage starting at $1320)
7 days / 6 nights
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Sea Star

Set sail for 7 days and 6 nights with the crew of the M/V Sea Star for small ship adven­ture cruis­ing in Prince William Sound, Kenai Penin­su­la or along the Inside Pas­sage. The well-appoint­ed yacht accom­mo­dates just 12 guests, allow­ing for a per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ence where you are the explor­er! Unplug from day-to-day life and soak up the won­ders of Alaska’s amaz­ing coast­line. All meals pre­pared by an on-board chef and fea­tur­ing fresh local  ...more

Season: Sep 26 to Sep 26
$3,195+
7 Nights / 8 Days
Ports of Call: Juneau, Petersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Wilderness Adventurer, Wilderness Explorer
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Best Large Ship Itineraries

Good value • Lots of activities • Larger cabins
Average $1,499
10 Days
Ports of Call: San Francisco, Reedsport, Strathcona A, Juneau, Skagway, Gustavus, Ketchikan, Mount Waddington, Victoria, North Bend
Cruise Ship Type: Large Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Grande Princess

For those look­ing for a cruise-only expe­ri­ence, this is a great option. It is a round-trip cruise from San Fran­cis­co (mean­ing you will not have to by one-way tick­ets like you will for a cross-gulf cruise), and you still hit the high­lights of the Inside Pas­sage; Juneau, Ketchikan, Skag­way & Glac­i­er Bay Nation­al Park. While you will not be able to add a land tour, it offers a great sam­pling of Alaska.

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