Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the disclosures tab for more info.
Many cruise ships spend a full day with “cruising the inside passage” as the itinerary.  For the first-time cruiser, knowing what to expect on this day of cruising will go a long way towards making the most of this day at sea.

What is the inside passage?

Alaska’s Inside Passage is a maze of small islands gently threaded by a multitude of shipping channels.  In other words, it is a lot of water and many islands visible in the near horizon.

Furthermore, it is absolutely beautiful and a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a day at sea.  One passenger on a recent cruise described the cruising day as gliding through the artist’s canvas.  The mountains are majestic – accenting tall, green, abundant trees.

The approximately one thousand small islands clamor for attention as the large cruise ships pass nearby.

This coastal travel route is only about 100 miles wide (east to west) and extends along the Alaska state boundaries for about 500 miles.  There are additional route lines extending along the Canadian shoreline as well.

What to do in the inside passage

Grab your binoculars and get comfortable.  Settle in. Relax.

Alaska’s Inside Passage is a nature lover’s dream destination.  The islands and small coves are filled with wildlife.  Some of the local residents that can be spotted with binoculars from your cruise ship viewing areas include bald eagles, bears, deer, sea lions, porpoises, and whales.

The Tongass Rainforest extends into this area and provides lush vegetation in the region.  As the largest national forest in the United States, this rainforest is a safe haven for the natural wildlife in the region.

With the protection from the sea along these passage channels, many sea-going vessels will also be visible when cruising the inside passage.

In addition to other large cruise ships, you may see tugboats, barge vessels, local fishing boats and the ships of the ferry system which provide transportation for the residents and visitors in this area.

While Alaska’s beauty is always in season, we recommend visiting the inside passage area near the end of summer season, in September and October.

Why? The wildlife is actively preparing for winter and the rush of summer travel nears an end.  You get the bonus of extra wildlife activity and fewer tourists. Win. Win.

Be sure to pack a camera, binoculars and a warm jacket.  Consider spending time hiking some local trails to see the spectacular surroundings from another vantage point, if your schedule allows for a few extra days onshore in the area.

The Inside Passage of Alaska is a unique experience that will capture your heart.  Many have visited and chosen to remain in one of the many small towns along the passage route.

The scenery is fantastic and the people are always welcoming.  Now that you know about the inside passage, enjoy this stunning work of nature during your next cruise.

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This