A helicopter ride and landing on a glacier! I did this. It was my one big expensive shore excursion and it was thrilling. The helicopters that do these tours are glass-bottomed, so it feels like the ground is falling out from under you when you ascend. Freaky! Your stomach will drop. The view will be unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Then when you land on the glacier and they let you out to look around, you’ll be like, “Wow, there are bottomless crevasses everywhere around us. I cannot believe they are letting us do this. What if someone slips!!!” That was me anyway.
This tour is available in almost every Alaskan port: Juneau, Seward, Anchorage, Denali, Skagway, etc, and is usually around $300 per person. Find all flightseeing tour options here.
What’s a cruise tour? It’s a cruise PLUS a few days spent traveling over land and staying in hotels.
A lot of people prefer a cruise tour, as it usually includes a train ride, which is AMAZING. And once you spend all that effort getting to Alaska, you might as well stay long enough to see most things, like Denali National Park.
Denali is 6 million acres! So they’ll put you on a bus and drive you around it, and you’ll often have to wait for bears to cross the road
You can take an ATV up mountain trails for a fun and scenic ride.
There are large, thrilling ziplines and canopy tours in Skaway, Seward, Ketchikan, Juneau or Denali.
This is the world’s largest ZipRider at Icy Strait Point, with six 5,330′ ziplines dropping 1330′. You can book zipline tours through your cruise ship, a shore excursion company, or find them all directly here.
Or, you can be athletic and experience silence and serenity as you hike up to enjoy an amazing view of a glacier.
If you’re a speedy thrill-seeker, you can go dog sledding, on dry ground or snow pack.
Or if you like the doggies, you can just visit a musher’s camp, and pet the doggies.
One of the most exciting things to do in Alaska is take the White Pass Summit Excursion – on ‘the Scenic Railway of the World’.
The 40-mile round trip from Skagway will be one of the most scenic and breathtaking you’ll ever have in your life – I don’t care who you are.You’ll wonder how in the heck they built this, especially since it was back in 1898! They were motivated to try and get to the gold up in ‘them thar hills’.
“Give me enough dynamite and I’ll build you a railroad to hell,” said the builder of this railroad.
Reservations are required for this! You can do it yourself directly via their website.
You can book this train trip as a shore excursion that includes taking the train up the mountain but then BIKING BACK DOWN!
Now, doesn’t that sound like fun! I hope it sounds like $200 worth of fun to you, because that’s what it will cost per person.Shore excursions are not cheap. You have to budget for them when considering the cost of a cruise.
Just google, ‘White Pass Summit Excursion and Bike Tour’ to come up with all the ways you could book a tour like that.
If you do the land-based tour to Denali, your trip up to this national park may be on this glass-domed train. Amazing scenery in total comfort. Love that!!
Most Whale Watching Tours will actually guarantee you’ll see a whale, or you’ll get $100 back at the end of your excursion. That’s a relief since these are not cheap either.
However, many folks report seeing whales from their cruise ship, or right here on the beach at Icy Strait!
What do you think? a.This a real couple actually looking at whales while on an Alaska cruise tour, or, b. Royal Caribbean photoshopped those people into their best whale photo? (This photo comes from Royal Caribbean.)
It’s hard to say. But, the guy’s shirt is kinda a giveaway that this is staged. I’m going with b.
Hey now, if you’re of a certain age and you’re not able to be so active, there is PLENTY for you to do in Alaska. Look at this, here you can have the river rafting experience in Alaska, without any of the effort or danger usually associated with river rafting.
The rough and wild version of this is available too.
Every age group loves the lumberjack show in Ketchikan! This show happens about 100 yards from where you exit your cruise ship, so it’s super easy and affordable fun.
Many cruises to Alaska stop in Victoria, British Columbia. Why? Read on. (Victoria is really pretty and civilized. Butchart Gardens is the most popular place to visit in Victoria.)
This is a view of Juneau from the top of Mt. Robers. You get up here via that tram on cables. Or, if you’re a serious bad-ss like myself, you can spend 2-3 hours hiking to the top. As a reward for those who do that – the tram ride DOWN is FREE! There’s a perfectly delicious restaurant a-top, so plan on lunching up there while you enjoy the view.— with Mount Roberts.
If you’re an animal lover or admirer, Alaska will charm your socks off.
There will be many opportunities to see the wildest of animals up close, doing their thing in their natural habitat. Like this bear, doing yoga.
Bald eagles are so common…
… even cats are unfazed by their unnaturally close proximity.
Many people say their favorite thing to see and favorite day of their Alaskan cruise is the day when the ship spent the day gliding through the deep fjords up to a glacier. Yes, even Disney cruises to Alaska.
If your cruise itinerary includes: Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Hubbard Glacier, Sawyer Glacier, or Tracy Arm- this is what is going to happen.
On those days, the ship does not dock. So you don’t have to go through the hassle of getting off the ship, or have the expense of paying for a shore excursion. You get to see the best of Alaska from an ideal viewing deck – 15 stories up from the safety and comfort of your cruise ship!
How many glaciers are in Alaska: 16, 161, 616 or 100,000? Clearly, we’re fixing to tell you. 🙂
There are 616 officially named glaciers in Alaska, and many more that are unnamed. The Alaska Almanac estimates that Alaska has 100,000 glaciers. 10% of the earth is now covered by glaciers. It used to be 32%. Half of the water that flows into the world’s oceans – comes from glaciers in Alaska!!!
Glacier Bay is a 3.3 million-acre park that includes a 65-mile long bay.
As each cruise ship arrives, a National Park Service ranger boards the cruise ship to act as a tour guide, and speaks over the ships speaker system, so in all public places, you’ll be able to hear the ranger talk about what you’re seeing outside the ship, which could include: whales, moose, bears, and of course, glaciers!
While your kid are sitting here, they’ll be learning that: When glaciers ‘calve’ it just means – a piece falls off! It makes a loud crack and boom as the large falling ice piece hits the water.
Your sports fan can play basketball WHILE experiencing the journey through the fjords to the glacier.
Alaska is lousy with the world’s best fishing opportunities.
Your kids are very likely to catch a fish like this.
Then the tour guide will skin and cook it up for your lunch.
Or, if you catch too much to eat that day, you can have it packed in ice and shipped back to your house, so you can enjoy it for months!!!
You probably know a few dozen other people who’d like to take an Alaskan cruise too.So why don’t you all go together! There are often many additional discounts and benefits for groups. See details here.
There’s a company called Special Needs at Sea which will deliver a scooter to your cruise ship for you.
In general, cruising is ideal for folks with a variety of special needs. Given the size of the ships and their staff, cruise ships generally have the ability to accommodate most special needs.