The Inside Passage is the most popular cruise route in Alaska. It snakes up Alaska’s southeastern coast, guarded from rough seas by hundreds of islands. Cruise itineraries are generally seven to 10 days in this region, and most often depart from Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Vacation packages include round-trip or one-way itineraries, and often include post-cruise land tour options for travelers wanting to continue their exploration of the Last Frontier.
Northbound cruise routes usually stop first in Ketchikan, followed by Juneau (Alaska’s capital city) and Skagway. While these are the most visited communities in the Inside Passage, other communities visited by cruise ships include Hoonah, Sitka, Wrangell, Petersburg, Prince of Wales Island and Haines.
The Alaska Marine Highway provides access to dozens of Alaska’s port communities in the Inside Passage, Prince William Sound, Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island and Aleutian Islands. Southern access is available through Prince Rupert, B.C., or Bellingham, WA. Alaska Marine Highway ferries offer cabins for private, overnight accommodations or public areas for laying out a sleeping bag; you can even set up your own tent on the back deck. Dining rooms and cafeterias offer hot and cold food for purchase, and travelers also enjoy the passing scenery from open-air decks, the heated solarium or forward observation lounge.