Sarah & Clinton,
Originally Posted by You
My husband and I had scheduled an inside passage cruise for this summer. He got a new job and we had to cancel.
We are hoping to schedule one for next year in late May (I'm a teacher so we have only a small window between when my students get out and when I start my graduate classes.) As I begin to search for cruises for next year I am beginning to wonder if the Vancouver to Anchorage choice might give us more time in individual ports and "more Alaska" than the inside passage cruises? Any thoughts on this? Also, we are leaning towards Princess regardless of which cruise we take. Any thoughts on this as well? Thanks so much!
I'm with Karen. Do the "one way" and plan at least a weekend in Anchorage even if you don't have enough time to see more of the interior!
As Karen pointed out, nearly all of the cruise itineraries visit three of the four major ports (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka) along the inside passage and one glacier area or another. The difference is whether you spend one day retracing the inside passage to Juneau or crossing the gulf to either Seward or Whittier.
Anchorage really is a great city for visitors. The downtown area is quite walkable and very safe, and it's teaming with great restaurants (I have yet to eat in a restaurant in Anchorage to which I would not wish to return) and shops unlike any that you'll find at home. There are also many points of interest around the city, and there's an outdoor market on Third Street on weekends and one street festival or another most weekends of the summertime. If you rent a car in Anchorage, there are also several great day trips -- a drive up to Talkeetna to view Mount McKinley (and where the Latitude 62 Inn is a great place to have lunch), the Mount Alyeska Resort, a day cruise to view the glaciers in College Fjord from Whittier, etc. If you have more time, you can continue on to Denali and Fairbanks, too.
BTW, I strongly recommend reserving hotels for your time in Alsaks in advance. The summer is the peak tourist season, so you may run into a lot of "No Vacancy" signs if you don't.