Alaska Cruise Excursions: The Complete List

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Alaska cruise excursions

On almost all cruises to Alaska you'll be given the opportunity to do some shore excursions. Below we have compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Alaska cruise excursions. 

Because Alaska is such a varied and amazing region, there are plenty of excursion to choose from during your cruise. Some can be quite expensive, whilst other cruise excursions are more budget friendly.

Sadly, there won't be enough time during your cruise to do all of the shore excursions, but you should definitely aim to do two or three. Scroll down the list below and see which one suits you most. 

Please bare in mind that not all Alaska cruise lines offer the same excursions on each itinerary. With so many cruise ships and itineraries, only select excursions will be offered depending on destination and ports. 

If you are keen to do loads of excursions, it may be worth booking a cruise tour package - please click here for more information.

We hope you enjoy every moment.

Get a Cruise Quote!

Expedition Cruise do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.

Alaska Cruise Excursions

Whale Safari

If you love watching whales glide through the ocean then a whale safari is something you should definitely experience. With plentiful sea plankton and favorable currents, there are plenty of great spots to see humpbacks and orca including near Juneau and Seawrd.

Your tour captain will know the best spots to see these majestic creatures. If you're lucky you may even spot grey whales and beluga, particularly around  Anchorage in the Turnagain Arm region. The tour takes roughy 3-4 hours and costs around $175-200 depending on which cruise line you sail with.  

​​Kayaking

Kayaking is one of the most popular added activities to do on an Alaskan cruise. Most expedition cruise ships will have kayaks onboard for you you to book, however, main line cruises will not. 

There are plenty of places you can book kayak trips, but Glacier Bay is one of our favourites. Explore the magnificent glaciers and national park from the quiet of your own kayak - there's no better feeling! Another beautiful place to kayak is orcas cove near Ketchikan - amazing scenery and the chance to kayak with orcas (if you're lucky).

The trip take about 3.5 hours and costs around $120 per person - well worth it!  

​Dog Sledding

Dog sledding is an amazing experience and one you shouldn't miss.Although better in winter, it can still be done during the summer cruise season. It's definitely one of the most memorable excursions you'll ever have! If you're a dog lover then you'll also fall in love with the friendly chaps pulling your sled. 

You take a helicopter up into the mountains near Skagway (or Juneau) where you meet your team of huskies. After getting to know them they'll take you on a memorable 1-mile spin through the lush snow. 

This trip does cost a fair amount as you need to make your way into the mountains. However, there are cheaper alternatives closer to Skagway where huskies will pull you along a dirt track instead. These tours cost around $150. 

Glacier Hiking

Trekking a glacier is a totally surreal experience and one you shouldn't miss out on. One of the best tours departs from Juneau where you take a helicopter to the nearby Icefield. From there you don your crampons, grab your ice axe and move across the alien landscape. 

The best way to understand the size of a glacier is to stand on it. Drinking from the fresh glacier water and taking close-up pictures of the ice formations is super fun and rewarding. Depending on your experience level, there are plenty of different difficulty routes to choose from, so don't panic if you've never done it before. Make sure to pack some trekking gear

The excursion takes around 3-40 hours and costs roughly $400 per person. 

Whitewater Rafting

Everyone loves a fun whitewater rafting excursion! The best place to do it is at Mendenhall River Rafting. The excursion begins on a calm lake where you get some epic views of the blue-tinged Mendenhall Glacier. You then head down the river where the current picks up and you start having to work together to navigate the class III rapids.

The river continues through lush forest and it's not uncommon to see salmon and eagles. You actually finish in Juneau where you meet back with your cruise ship. This is a great excursion for all the family and the rapids are nice and easy.

The trip takes 3.5 hours and costs around $150 per person. 

Salmon Fishing

Any fishing expert will tell you that Sitka is the place to be when it comes to Alaskan fishing. It has the shortest rod-hour to catch ratio for King salmon in the state and there are plenty of day tours that will give you the opportunity to catch all five species of Pacific salmon!

The salmon you do catch will be processed, frozen, and shipped back home for you to enjoy at your own dinner table. Some cruises will even cook the salmon for you! You'll have a good chance at catching halibut also which is common to this region. 

Tours take around 4-5 hours and cost anywhere from $200-500 depending on equipment, location, etc. Remember that you will need to purchase a 1 day fishing license from your captain for $25.   

White Pass & Yukon Train

If you want an incredible train journey then look no further than the White Pass and Yukon train. This is the most popular tour in Southeast Alaska for cruise passengers. It gives tourist a relaxing and easy way to see stunning scenery.

History buffs will love the fact that it's the same route that was taken by thousands during the gold rush of 1898. Epic glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and lush spruce-forest are just some of the beautiful things you'll witness along the way. The old-fashioned rail cars take you up and over the magnificent White Pass which stands at 2,865-foot. 

This trip is often combined with other smaller tours such as gold panning or city tours. The roundtrip takes 3.5 hour and costs roughly $130 per person. 

Flightseeing

If you want to splash out, then taking a flight seeing tour is an unbeatable option. Sightseeing trips give you the best views in the region and allow you to get a birds-eye view of the landscape. Very few people get to witness a vast glacier from above, or see the Inside Passage stretch out into the distance. 

As you fly over several glaciers and forests, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife scubas eagles, moose, and bears. You can either take a helicopter tour or the more traditional floatplane tours.

Floatplanes are else expensive and cost around $250 per person for 1 hour scenic flights. 

Grizzly Safari

Everyone who comes to Alaska wants to see a grizzly! However, it's not that simple. Although there are a number of bear watching tours near Ketchikan, these generally see black bears, not grizzlies. These tours cost over $300 as the black bears can only be reached by seaplane.

To see a grizzly bear your best chance is taking an expedition cruise that visits Katmai National Park or Kodiak. These are the best spots to see grizzlies up close. Expedition cruise itineraries will have a focus on wildlife and you'll probably spot plenty of brown bears during the trip. 

Snorkelling 

Snorkelling in Alaska? Yep, it's not only possible, but super fun! Although you're unlikely to see large marine species such as seals and orca (it does occasionally happen), you'll see plenty of incredible flora species, jellyfish, starfish, and star cucumbers.

The tour lasts about an hour in the water and you'll be covered from head to toe in thick wetsuit that makes the cold water feel very acceptable. However, if you do struggle with the cold, then this trip may not be for you. Avid snorkelers will love the difference in scenery from their standard haunts.  

Get a Cruise Quote!

Expedition Cruise do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.

​FAQ

​​​If you have any queries or questions regarding Alaska cruise excursions, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. If you would like some top Alaska cruise tips, please click here

Thank you and happy travels!

Expedition Cruise Team

About the Author Burnham Arlidge

Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He has cruised to some of the most iconic and obscure parts of the planet.

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