Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage
Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights? Watching the bright dancing colours from the balcony of a cruise ship is certainly on my bucket list! A cruise through Alaska’s Inside Passage is the perfect way to see them. With mountains rising straight from the sea and fjords which will take your breath away, it’s a must do in my books. But that’s not the only thing to see while you’re there, as the Denali National Park is a must see too! Let me paint you a picture …
What is Alaska’s Inside Passage?
The Inside Passage is a coastal route in Alaska which cruise ships can travel through. It winds between 1000 islands, measures 800km long by 160km wide and has over 24,000km of shoreline. A cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage will let you see areas inaccessible by road, with many towns only accessed by ferries. At the Inside Passage’s southern end, you will find Ketchikan and the Misty Fjords National Monument, with Skagway, Haines and the Glacier Bay National Park in the north. In between you’ll find beautiful glaciers, islands, fjords and Alaska’s captial city Juneau.
When you cruise Alaska’s Inside Passage, you have plenty of options to choose from. From the size of your ship, to the destinations and length of your cruise, it’s up to you. But are you likely to see the Northern Lights?
Seeing the Northern Lights While Cruising
Well, when it comes to seeing the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis), there are no guarantees. Created when gas particles from the earth’s atmosphere meet charged particles from the sun’s atmosphere, the Northern Lights are generally between 80-640km above the earth’s surface. Only seen in the northern or southern hemispheres, they also stay near the closet magnetic pole. The Aurora borealis can be seen in Alaska from late August and during the winter months. Taking a cruise through the Inside Passage of Alaska gives you a few nights up your sleeve to see them, just in case the sky is overcast. You can even check the aurora forecast on the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ website, just in case you want to know what’s happening tonight.
Originally created in 1917 to protect the Dall sheep, the Denali National Park has over six million acres of beautiful scenery. Perfect for hiking, fishing, cycling and wildlife spotting, you can experience this Alaskan park via bus or foot. Open year round, access is limited in winter. May to September is the best time to view the wildlife, with summer being the busiest time of the year. A guide can be arranged to show you around, or you can explore it on your own. I definitely recommend that in addition to your cruise of the Inside Passage, you take the time to visit this amazing national park!