Four unmissable experiences on a cruise to Alaska
The continental United States may have great cities like New
York and spectacular natural beauty like the Grand Canyon, but
nothing quite prepares you for the isolated magnificence of its
northern-most state, Alaska. An
Alaskan cruise is one of the best
ways to see and experience some absolutely unique things. From
reindeer sausage to humpback whale-watching to taking a step back
in time to gold-rush era Alaska, read on for four unmissable cruise
excursions you can have on a cruise to Alaska.
When in Alaska, eat as the locals do. Reindeer sausage is a
traditional Alaska delicacy, and you’ll find it in supermarkets and
grocery stores (Finland is the other place you’ll find this special
Reindeer sausage can be eaten in various ways, but one of the
most satisfying must surely be in the form of hot dog. What better
way to enjoy a reindeer sausage hot dog than from a street-side
cart — and especially if the vendor makes some of the highest
rated reindeer hotdogs in the state. MA’s Gourmet Dogs on West 4th
Street in Anchorage gets an excellent 4.5 stars out of five on the
international ratings site Yelp. Tourists and locals alike have
left rave reviews for the stand’s unique reindeer hotdogs. Grab a
‘Rudolph’ dog on the sidewalk before continuing on your Alaska
But since not everyone can come along with you to sample
reindeer hotdogs, be sure to pack some for the folks back home.
Grab a box or two from Alaska Sausage & Seafood in Anchorage.
It comes recommended by locals on the travel ratings site
TripAdvisor and on Yelp. Besides the reindeer sausage, the store
also stocks a selection of other local produce including Alaskan
mustard, smoked salmon and other frozen seafood.
Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in Alaska, and,
fittingly, it afford some of the most spectacular natural views you
will see on an Alaska cruise. While many visitors to the state have
seen the glacier, one of the tasks many people forget is how to
take good photographs of the beautiful scenery in Arctic
According to the Alaska Photography Blog, the right
configuration of gloves is essential. The blog recommends a pair of
fleece gloves as a first layer, followed by loose-fitting beaver
fur mittens with a leather hand-pad on top of them. According to
the blog, you should be able to operate your camera through the
mittens, thanks to the suppleness of the leather hand-pads. This
will keep your hands warm enough to take the spectacular photos
that a Alaska cruise to the Hubbard Glacier affords.
Humpback whales at Point Adolphus
Point Adolphus in southeast Alaska is a popular feeding spot for
the majestic humpback whales that migrate to Alaska in the summer
to feed. Humpback whales can weigh between 25 and 40 tons, and can
grow up to 50 feet long. They’re also known for their playful
nature, so they are likely to be one of the most memorable sights
on an Alaska cruise if you manage to run into a pod.
But what’s the correct etiquette when viewing such majestic
marine mammals in their natural habitat? According to the ‘humpback
whale approach regulation’ issued by the National Marine Fisheries
Service’s Alaska Regional Office, when on an Alaska cruise,
whale-watchers should adhere to strict rules, including not
offering food or discarding fish waste or any other food item.
Watchers should not attempted to touch or swim with the animals as
they can behave unpredictably. Additionally, the guidelines note
that if the whales perform “surface displays” such as tail slapping
or tail swishing at the water surface, then they are likely to be
feeling disturbed. Watchers are advised to depart cautiously if the
animals display such behavior.
Gold rush at Skagway
Skagway is a sort of ghost town in southeast Alaska that, back
in the late 1800s, was a gold-rush town for prospectors and fortune
hunters who had heard about gold being discovered in the Yukon.
It’s a picturesque place to see a part of the state’s history when
you’re on an Alaska cruise.
Although Skagway can be touristy, some sights are still worth a
look. Check out the White Pass and Yukon Route narrow-gauge
railroad, which was built for prospectors headed to the gold fields
in the late 1800s. It was still in use as recently as the 1980s,
serving the large-scale mining companies that came to replace the
individual prospectors of yore.
A portion of the railroad has been restored with replica
historic passenger cars. Uniquely, because the train is
narrow-gauge, the cars were built with reversible seats so that
passengers can face the direction of travel. Parts of the route
also crosses the border into Canada, although there is no
border-stop and passports aren’t required! It is certainly worth
visiting Skagway and reliving some history if you’re in the