These are serene waters, where one moment you can be sailing a wide bay of barrier islands and the next you’re cruising through a narrow waterway flanked by towering forested walls. That’s the splendid spectacle of the Inside Passage — the scenery is constantly changing, from picturesque shores to friendly coastal towns.
Seattle, Washington -
Seattle is a young city with a rich history. Settlers first landed at Alki Point in 1851 and named the area after Sealth, the Suquamish Indian chief who befriended them. Rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1889, "The Emerald City" has a legacy of vision and strength. Seattle has hosted two World's Fairs (1909 and 1962) and is the birthplace of two modern marvels, Boeing and Microsoft.
Known for its rainy climate, Seattle actually averages less annual rainfall than many East Coast cities. The mild weather, spectacular natural surroundings and rich cultural diversity attract visitors from around the world. Seattle tours are available to passengers with afternoon flights or an overnight stay in Seattle after their cruise.
Juneau, AK -
This is where Joe Juneau and Dick Harris discovered gold, setting off a frenzy in 1880. The gold didn’t last, but you can still pan, visit abandoned mines and enjoy the area’s beautiful glaciers. Be sure to stop in at the historic Red Dog Saloon, which still boasts Wyatt Earp’s gun.
Glacier Bay - Sail into the protected waters of Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for spectacular front-row views of the park's massive rivers of ice—including the Johns Hopkins and Margerie glaciers—where they meet the ocean. Along the way, National Park rangers board the ship to impart their knowledge of the region, and with any luck, you may hear the thunderous snap and witness the Homeric splashes of house-size icebergs as they calve into the sea.
Sitka, AK - Just east of Sitka's John O’Connell Bridge is Castle Hill, also known as the Baranof Castle State Historic Site. Today it has a low rock wall and a handful of cannons pointed at the sea, but the hilltop once hosted forts: first of the Tlingit people, then of the Russians when they established the town as the capital of Russian Alaska. And it was here that Russia officially handed over control of Alaska to the U.S. in 1867.
Ketchikan, AK - A walk along historic Creek Street, a Red Light District during the Gold Rush, provides a great introduction to the self-proclaimed “Salmon Capital of the World”. Visitors to Ketchikan will be intrigued by its rich Native heritage, which is on colorful display at Totem Bight State Park and Saxman Native village. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian are all a part of the city's history.
Victoria, British Columbia - Victoria is a beauty to behold, surrounded on all sides by magnificent nature. Take in the sights from a double-decker bus or a horse-drawn tally-ho and enjoy this capital city’s English aspirations. From glorious beaches to Butchart Gardens to deluxe whale watching, this charming Canadian city is truly a hidden treasure.