INSIDE PASSAGE, ALASKA
ENDICOTT ARM, ALASKA
Accessible only by air or sea, Alaska’s capital city entices travelers with its beauty, tranquility, and outdoor activities. The Mendenhall Glacier, the jewel of the Juneau Icefield, can be discovered on scenic drives, hikes, boat rides, rafting trips, kayaking excursions, and helicopter tours. Thrill-seekers get their adrenaline fix while ziplining above alpine forests, and culture lovers learn about landmarks such as the governor’s mansion and St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church during explorations of downtown. A prospector-led panning adventure to Last Chance Basin allows you to strike gold, just as folks did in the late 19th century. Juneau’s waters are a hot spot for humpback whales, and daily cruises afford the opportunity to witness these majestic creatures—a truly unforgettable experience. Brush up on local history with a visit to the Alaska State Museum, and cap off the day’s adventures with a sampling of freshly caught salmon and locally sourced beer.
VICTORIA, BC, CANADA
The bustling Washington port known as the "The Emerald City" is both a culturally rich metropolis and a gateway to beautiful natural attractions. In the shadows of the widely recognized Space Needle, the Seattle Center is home to the city's sports arena and many museums and theaters. The lively Pike Place Market and the mammoth "Hammering Man" sculpture are downtown must-sees. Visitors also flock to the waterfront for fresh seafood, the Harbor Steps Park or to board a ferry bound for Puget Sound. Seattle is served by both the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal and Terminal 91.
Many Alaska cruise itineraries sail the waterways of the Inside Passage, which stretches from Washington’s Puget Sound up through Southeast Alaska’s panhandle. As ships glide across the reliably smooth waters, passengers have plenty of opportunity to absorb the transforming terrain and abundant wildlife that Alaska has to offer. Scenic views comprise an ever-changing landscape of charming coastal towns, towering forest walls and imperious glaciers. Be sure to search the sky for bald eagles and watch the water for signs of sea lions, otters, and whales.
Though it’s small in terms of population, Skagway is plenty big when it comes to adventure. Sail among waterfalls and wildlife on Lynn Canal, one of the longest, deepest fjords in North America, or take a helicopter tour over glaciers before trying your hand at dog sledding. A kayaking expedition down the Inside Passage will have you paddling past seals, sea lions, porpoises and possibly humpback whales. Hikers can trek the Chilkoot Trail, the primary route prospectors followed in Alaska’s 19th-century gold rush, while photographers will marvel at the jaw-dropping photo ops from atop White Pass summit, which is accessible via railway or a picturesque drive on the Klondike Highway. Amid the scenery and stillness of Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, keep your eyes peeled for the rare and endangered birds during a river float.
Like its neighbor Tracy Arm, Endicott Arm features excellent views of several different types of glacier. As always, the thrilling spectacle of glacier calving could be on the menu. Also, Bald Eagles are known to nest in the area and may be seen along the coast.
Victoria revels in its English essence at the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island. Afternoon teas, double-decker buses and English inns, gardens and pubs are common in this capital city. The most popular attraction is the world-famous Butchart Gardens, flaunting 55 acres of floral magnificence. Other must-sees include the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel, overlooking the Inner Harbour, the Victorian-era Craigdarroch Castle, and the Royal BC Museum, where tourists will find artifacts, documents and specimens that tell the tale of the province’s natural and human