tips you can trust
There are two main ones:
Inside Passage (see map)
This is the most popular route. Typically, it's a roundtripper out of Vancouver or Seattle - and lasts 7 nights. One advantage you get a lower airfare. Reason: Because you leave and return to the same port, you can buy a money-saving roundtrip airline ticket.
Gulf of Alaska
Normally, you sail northbound one way from Vancouver to Seward (or, alternatively, southbound in the opposite direction). Duration is usually 10 or 11 nights.
The big advantage is you see more glaciers and other spectacular sights. And, Denali National Park will be geographically desirable, as a pre- or post-cruise tour.
A disadvantage is you will have to pay more for your airline ticket because your cruise begins in one city and ends in another. Roundtrip fares are not possible (though you may save some money by asking your travel agent for an "open jaw" ticket).
More itinerary insights
There is a third itinerary called the Bering Sea cruise. You sail to Alaska's remote islands, including the Aleutians. In most cases, you do this on a small expedition ship.
The Alaska authorities limit visits to some sights to prevent overcrowding and conserve the environment. For example, cruise lines can visit Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier, but not both.
Best 4 Alaska cruise ports to visit
Best shore excursions - overview
Helicopter tours - Ranks #1
Floatplane tours - Ranks #2
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