You can be forgiven for thinking that cruise ships universally sail across the tropical ocean belt, but this is far from true. In fact, most seasoned cruisers turn to the land of the midnight sun – Alaska – after they’ve had their fair share of vibrant island paradises. If the idea of traveling to such unknown and faraway regions engulfed in spectacular icebergs and mountain ranges entices you, then hop aboard and discover Alaska as a perfect cruising destination.
What are the broad strokes?
Naturally, you’ll sail along the Gulf of Alaska, but most cruises also have the Inside Passage in their itinerary. This is a particularly beautiful part of the country that truly serves as a diverse showcase of its beauties – and it stretches parallel with its south-east coastline.
The glaciers and fjords in this region are just as mesmerizing as the ones in Scandinavia and the faraway Rocky Mountains truly accentuate how enormous and airy this space actually is. Most of the wilderness is covered by lush evergreen flora.
Beauties and dangers of endless days
Alaska’s latitude is a cause for a striking phenomenon known as Alaskan summer. During this time window, the sun rises and sets more horizontally, which means the days are extremely long and nights tend to be unusually bright. They almost look like they are trapped in perpetual twilight.
This can make for a very interesting cruising experience, however – be warned. In order to avoid sleep disorders, always set a reminder on your phone that will signal the time for bed. Once you reach your cabin, make sure to darken all the windows for proper rest.
If you want to experience the most extreme summer solstice in your life, find a cruise that has Anchorage as its port of call. If you just manage to get on board a summer cruise that sails during the last two weeks of June, you’ll witness a day that lasts a whopping 19 hours.
Small ship adventuring
If you are a certified thrill-seeker who likes to experience everything differently, then Alaska small ship cruising offers a unique opportunity that stands in stark contrast to traditional cruises and gargantuan cruise liners. You’ll board a small ship and go on a far more intimate adventure that can truly delve deep into the Alaskan wilderness.
Small ships can fit through narrow gorges and passageways to reach incredible locales that put you face to face with the endemic wildlife – which is the additional plus of vessels that have low-level decks. It is as intimate of an experience as they come and the most genuine way to introduce yourself to both big and small charms of Alaska.
A perfect sort of cold
These southern reaches of Alaska are incredibly lush. Typical temperatures in this region range between 15°C and 20°C over the summer, which means there is enough warm weather for an impressive proliferation of plant life.
However, since this region becomes so cold over the winter, it is also largely uninhabited, which means most of nature is still untouched by civilization. If you are a hiking enthusiast who is in love with nature, these lively green slopes, valleys and patches of land are tailor-made for you. All you need to do is make sure the cruise offers plentiful ports of debarkation on its schedule, so you can truly savor the beauties of the region.
Other ports of call
It is hard to get a genuine grasp of Alaska on your cruise without visiting some of the essential ports of call. Anchorage has already been mentioned as the perfect summer-solstice backdrop since it is typically the northernmost point a cruise visits. Juneau is another crucial port because it is the capital of Alaska and one of the world capitals for whale watching. Ketchikan is the favorite hub for hikers who are excited by the opportunity to explore Alaskan rainforests (you’ve read that right) and Skagway is an idyllic destination for history buffs who’d like to learn more about the traditions and events that shaped the region.
If you want to witness Alaska’s never-ending sun, you’d have to visit it over the summer, which also offers you a perfect chance to see the most out of its incredible landscapes without the threat of unspeakable sub-zero temperatures. For most seasoned travelers, the mysterious far north is the final frontier of captivating adventuring. Going on a cruise along the mesmerizing coastline of Alaska is a good way to quench your thirst for voyages and keep that flame of wide-eyed wonder kindled.
Contributor: Marie Nieves
Marie is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favorite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.