Credit: Princess Cruises/Shutterstock

Guide to Alaska: What to do, see and & eat on Alaska holidays with Princess Cruises

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Alaska cruise holidays appeal to a plethora of adventure-seekers and wildlife lovers as cruising is one of the best ways to explore the beautiful North American region.

Princess Cruises is among the major cruise lines sailing Alaska and takes passengers up close to famous glaciers, beautiful fjords and incredible wildlife.

This is everything you need to know about sailing the gorgeous state with Princess.

What is the best month to go to Alaska on a cruise?

The Alaska cruise season begins in May and ends in September, so now is the perfect time to start planning ahead.

Best Alaska cruise

Destinations visited on a cruise to Alaska include Glacier Bay National Park - it's one of the most popular spots in the 49th US state.

Passengers here don't even have to leave their Princess ship to enjoy the majestic snow-capped mountains or towering glaciers. Spot animals such as otters and whales from the deck if you can - and be sure to ask any burning questions of the park rangers who come onboard.

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These guys won't be the only pros you can quiz. You'll probably be keen to take plenty of photographs of your trip and the good news is you'll meet award-winning photographers on your ship who will share their Alaska photography experiences plus tips and tricks to getting the very best holiday snaps. No guaranteeing that seal will wave back though, mind.

Tongass National Forest is the perfect spot to put your newfound photography skills to the test; there's a mind-boggling 17 million acres of land and then some here. (Before you ask, yes, you can fit the UK seven times over inside Alaska). Expect lofty Sitka spruce trees and winding rivers as well as grizzly bears and eagles.

Anchorage Alaska cruise port is also an important stop - there's historical charm as well as exciting wildlife to uncover. You might see a moose roam across your path or spy locals catching fish for their supper.

- READ MORE: Perks of going all-inclusive with Princess Cruises -

You don't need to go ashore to meet intriguing Alaskan natives though. Thanks to Princess Cruises' North to Alaska programme, local personalities join cruisers onboard and reveal what life is like in this fascinating corner of the world.

Ever wanted to meet a real, live Alaskan lumberjack? Well, now's your chance. Find out about the adventures that come with such a role (and maybe eye up the bulging muscles, too...). To really get stuck in, excuse the pun, you might also get the chance to take part in an axe-throwing competition.

In the evening, head to the Planetarium in the Princess Theatre. While there's a chance you'll get to see the Aurora Borealis during your Alaska cruise it can never be guaranteed, so visiting the Northern Lights Planetarium to admire the majestic light display is a close second. It's also a lot cosier.

Alaska cruise: Denali National Park and Preserve is perfect for an adventure. Credit: Shutterstock

Best excursions on Princess Alaska cruises

You'll want to head inland during your time here so why not opt for a Princess cruisetour? This is a land-based trip ranging from three to eight days added either before or after a Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. Stay in one of the Princess Wilderness Lodges in order to spend more time on terra firma and make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Denali National Park and Preserve is perfect for such an adventure - it's an untouched natural land sprawling across a whopping six million acres.

- READ MORE: America’s top cruise destinations -

Keep an eye out for Denali National Park’s Big Five: grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves and Dall sheep. There's plenty to learn about and your knowledgeable guide will be able to impart their wisdom.

What's more, the landscape boasts rivers and glaciers plus Denali itself - the highest mountain peak in North America.

Not to worry if hiking up doesn't appeal - back at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, you can meet mountain climbers who have scaled Denali, so you don't have to. Listen to their exhilarating tales and admire their impressive photos in both comfort and warmth. Ideally with a drink in hand.

Alaska cruise: You won't be short of local delicacies onboard your Princess ship. Credit: Princess Cruises

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Alaska food

Of course, you can't cruise to Alaska without making the most of the incredible cuisine on offer, the seafood here is famous for good reason.

The state is home to five species of salmon, several varieties of whitefish, and countless types of crab and shellfish, all thanks to Alaska's 34,000-miles of pristine coastline.

Icy Strait Point, in Alaska’s largest Native Tlingit Village of Hoonah, is a fish-tasting paradise. Tuck into the tender meat of Dungeness crab or indulge in the flakiness of freshly caught salmon.

- READ MORE: What you didn't know about dining on Princess Cruises -

Meanwhile, Ketchikan is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World" so lovers of the pink fish mustn't miss the chance to try the seafood there. Maybe you'll even get the chance to catch some yourself if you join a Princess fishing excursion. Reel one in and a ship chef will cook it to your liking that night! Ray Mears who?

Either way, you won't be short of local delicacies onboard your Princess Cruises ship. Dishes from local eateries can be found in the top-deck grill on all Alaska cruise holidays.

Savour Juneau’s favourite crab cakes inspired by the world-famous Tracy’s King Crab Shack, enjoy authentic Alaska seafood with fish tacos from Ketchikan’s Alaska Fish House or tuck into Skagway’s beloved seafood chowder from Bonanza Bar and Grill.

Alaska cruise: Ketchikan is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World." Credit: Shutterstock

It's vital you pack sensibly for Alaska cruises when it comes to clothing, medicine, gadgets and so on, this handy list should help.

What to pack for an Alaska cruise

These are just some of the clothes you should include in your Alaska cruise packing list:

- READ MORE: Complete guide to adventure cruises -

  • Jumpers
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • A warm, water-repellent jacket
  • A lightweight windbreaker
  • Trousers
  • Shorts
  • Walking shoes or trainers
  • A scarf
  • A rain hat
  • Touchscreen gloves
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