I chose the subject title deliberately because the 'purists' on this board may object to the term 'cruising'being applied to the ferry..
However I only wish to point out as I did in my other posting the fact that Alaska can be experienced in a different way by the Alaska Marine Highway out of Bellingham WA
This ride takes about 3 days to do the whole journey to Skagway with calls at Ketchikan-Wrangell-Petersburg-Juneau-Haines and Skagway.
The comforts of cruising cannot be found on the Ferry although there are a number of cabins!! one can pay for, but the majority of folk ride this water transport for both its scenic journey-through some of the most majestic canyons as in the Grenville Channel and the narrow parts of the journey as in the Wrangell narrows.
Unfortunately because of its schedule-most of the time-the hours at the ports of call are limited and dont afford the hours that the cruise ships allow their passengers to sight-see...
Also because this is often the only way that Alaskans can commute in the SE of Alaska-cars and RV's etc compete for the limited space in the ships.
This ride was my first experience of Alaska and wet my appetite to return time and again and focused my attention upon the routes and calls that I wished to make when booking on the cruise lines to Alaska.
I would recommend anyone 'seasoned' traveller or 'novice' to consider the Alaska Marine Highway for any or even part of your Alaska experience. They even have a cross Gulf service from Juneau to Seward..
And NO!!! I am not employed by any company in the travel business etc and post only with the object of widening the readers appreciation of Alaska.