Explore the last frontier to see where the evergreen forest meets the sapphire waters of the Inside Passage. Float by coastal cottages dressed in weathered shingles as the windswept lighthouses silently guide fishermen back to shore. An Alaskan cruise magically blends rugged adventure and epic scenery with slow travel.
Why Take an Alaskan Cruise
An Alaskan cruise offers a great introduction for first-time cruisers with relatively calm Inside Passage waters. It’s also a top choice for multi-generational travelers since excursions range from scenic train tours to dogsledding. Finally, the cooler temperatures of the Alaskan summer are a respite for heat-weary vacationers.
Why Regent Seven Seas
With a smaller ship and luxury at every turn, Regent Seven Seas is the choice for seasoned travelers. The gracious interiors exude luxury with rich woods, luminous marble, and fabrics in shades of sterling and champagne. Every cabin is a suite with a balcony.
The dining on Regents Seven Sea will satisfy the foodie starting with weekend caviar brunch, ship-made gelato, and several gourmet restaurants. Enjoy the American steakhouse, Prime 7, and don’t miss the fourteen-layer chocolate cake. The newly added Chartreuse is a destination for seasonal French classics.
The Regent Seven Seas 7 Day Alaskan Cruise Itinerary
For the 2019 summer season, Regent Seven Seas will use the Mariner. After cruising on it for three different cruises, it’s my personal favorite. After several weeks in dry dock in 2018, the Mariner offers newly appointed furnishings and soft coverings in the cabins and the restaurants.
This popular cruise is a one-way cruise, with northbound departures from Vancouver, Canada, and southbound departures from Seward, Alaska. The ports of call remain the same, only the order changes.
- Cruising the Inside Passage
- Ketchikan, Alaska
- Juneau, Alaska
- Skagway, Alaska
- Sitka, Alaska
- Cruising to the Hubbard Glacier
Regent Seven Seas Alaskan Excursions
One of the best features of booking a Regent Seven Seas Alaskan cruise is excursions are included. With several free excursions per port of call, seeing the best of Alaska is easy.
Regent Seven Seas offers excursions divided by activity level, designated with an icon. Find seated tours, suitable for passengers with mobility concerns, and light activity or walking tours. For passengers wanting more, find hiking excursions or adventure excursions which require healthy adults who can paddle a canoe for several hours or hike several miles with a thousand-foot elevation gain.
During both of my Regent Seven Seas Alaskan cruises, I booked only the included excursions. And I would alternate my activities, like hiking one day, scenic train tour the next, followed by canoeing.
Cruising the Inside Passage
Experiencing the majestic Alaskan beauty is one of the joys of an Alaskan cruise. Find untouched scenery so close it feels like you can touch it. Even without binoculars, see the soaring bald eagles or giggle at the porpoises who play in the ship’s wake.
Scheduled as a sea day, explore the Mariner and find a group, like a needleworker’s group. Or attend a lecture to learn about the Tlingit people of southeast Alaska.
Enjoy a leisurely lunch of Alaskan seafood, like Alaskan salmon or king crab legs. Followed by afternoon tea in the Horizon Lounge with its panoramic windows.
Work out with a fitness class or schedule a spa treatment. And quiet corners can be found everywhere for reading or crosswords.
Nestled along the banks of the Ketchikan Creek, the town of Ketchikan rose out of the dense forest in the late 1880s with a salmon cannery, then a saltery and a general store. As passengers stroll the streets, see glimpses of Ketchikan’s rough and tumble past, especially along Creek Street.
The Tongass National Forest’s Southeast Alaska Discovery Center offers an overview of Alaska’s landscape, people and animals. The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the U.S. and includes two ice fields, Stikine and Juneau. With several ports-of-call within the Tongass National Forest, it’s a must for those wanting to learn more.
An easy facility to explore in an hour. And for passengers with kids, earn a Junior Ranger badge. Tongass National Forest hands out embroidered patches that they can sew on backpacks or jackets. As a bonus, it’s a free souvenir.
Grab a cup of chowder at this legendary outpost, it’s some of the best I’ve sampled. Annabelle’s Famous Keg and Chowder House serves up creamy and chunky chowder with a side of fresh bread. Find a solid selection of Alaskan beer too.
If you need outdoor gear then head to the Tongass Trading Company, serving Alaska since 1898. Past the t-shirts, find a huge selection of all-weather gear.
Ketchikan Excursion Highlights
The Rainforest Island Adventure starts with a Seahawk ride from Knudson Cove to an uninhabited island for a rainforest hike. As a bonus on my excursion, we saw a pod of whales bubble feeding. Free
The Tongass Rainforest Expedition is a guided two-mile hike through the temperate rainforest. See waterfalls and wildflower meadows, sometimes bear. Free
Cruise George Inlet and Crab Fest is a passenger all-time favorite for the all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab lunch. Start with a guided 90-minute boat ride to George Inlet followed by bibs and crabs. Free
Bear Viewing on Prince of Wales Island offers a chance to see black bears. Board a seaplane for a flight to the island and observe the bears at a popular feeding area. $$$
Juneau is the capital of Alaska though it’s only reachable by air or water, no roads in or out. And next to the cruise dock find the Mount Roberts Tramway, offering a bird’s eye view of Juneau.
Juneau is home to the popular Mendenhall Glacier, a valley glacier and part of the Juneau Icefield. Learn the differences between tidewater glaciers, like the Hubbard Glacier, and valley glaciers.
If it’s your first trip to Juneau then see Mendenhall Glacier. It’s currently 13 miles long and retreating. Find the visitor center about 13 miles from the cruise ship dock.
Juneau Excursion Highlights
Gold Creek Salmon Bake serves up a passenger favorite next Salmon Creek. Watch the salmon spawn as the cooks bake up local salmon over alder wood. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal served with local favorites, like Gold Rush potatoes and top it off with smores at the campfire. Free
Mendenhall Lake Kayak Adventure uses two-person kayaks to get to the face of the Mendenhall Glacier. Free and great for couples.
Mendenhall Glacier Native Canoe Adventure uses 20-person canoes to paddle across Mendenhall Lake. Free and great for single travelers and families.
Dogsledding on Mendenhall Glacier via Helicopter offers a bucket list excursion. Climb aboard helicopters for spectacular views in-route to Mendenhall Glacier. Then load up in a dog sled for a uniquely Alaskan adventure. $$$ and may cancel due to weather.
With bold newspaper typeface, GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! put Alaska and Canada’s Klondike on the tip of the tongue for adventurers across North America. Now Skagway offers a restored, timber-framed town bustling with turn-of-the-century charm.
Skagway’s White Pass and Yukon Route grabs all the eyes as it chugs out of town, retracing the fabled train pass. And if it’s your first visit, this is the go-to excursion. Completed in 1900, the WP&YR uses narrow gauge trains as its chugs through pristine Alaskan scenery.
Take time to walk through downtown Skagway and visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Over 20 buildings are owned by the National Park Service to retell the story of the Alaskan Gold Rush.
First stop, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center. Housed in the original White Pass and Yukon train depot, meander through the museum’s displays to learn how the railroad was built. See what the Canadian Mounties required from would-be gold miners. Learn about the challenging topography of the Alaskan panhandle and the Yukon.
Park Rangers also offer several walking tours, like a walking tour of the Skagway Historic District. All National Park Service sites are free in Skagway.
Skagway Excursion Highlights
The overwhelming favorite, the White Pass Scenic Railroad trip is usually a cruise highlight. Steps from the cruise ship dock, board the vintage train cars for a three-hour ride. Chugging up 3,000 feet in 20 miles, the panoramic views are spectacular on a clear day. Free and suitable for those with mobility concerns.
Located on Baranof Island, Sitka sits on the Gulf of Alaska. Along with the Tlingit people, Russians also called Sitka home. And after the U.S. bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867, the transfer ceremony happened in Sitka.
Learn about Russian culture at the Russian Bishop’s House or St. Michael’s Cathedral. See marine life along with the Tlingit and Haida totem poles at the Sitka National Historical Park, the oldest NPS site in Alaska.
Sitka Excursion Highlights
Sea Otters and Wildlife Quest is a passenger favorite. The tour even offers a cash guarantee to see animals, like sea otters, whales, sea lions, porpoise, and bald eagles on this three-hour cruise.
Learn more about the Russian heritage in the Russian America and Raptor Center excursion. See the spot of the 1804 Battle of Alaska at the Sitka National Historical Park. Then head to the ever-popular Raptor Center to see rehabilitated bald eagles.
Cruising to the Hubbard Glacier
To catch a glimpse of the Hubbard Glacier, sail through Disenchantment Bay. It’s where the evergreen forest meets the Gulf of Alaska. See eagles soar overhead while marine animals glide around growlers, small chunks of ice.
As the ship gets closer, the Captain navigates so both sides of the ship get a good shot. Some passengers enjoy the Hubbard Glacier viewing from their private balconies. Or head to the Pool Grill for a DIY hot chocolate bar and commentary from the onboard lecturer.
What to Wear on an Alaskan Cruise
It all depends on the time of your cruise. It’s a rugged cruise so pack layers, like fleece tops, hiking pants and a rain jacket. Hiking boots are a must since Alaska is a temperate rainforest with slippery surfaces.
Early and late in the season requires full rain gear—rain parkas, rain pants, and waterproof hiking boots. Pack a winter-type coat with a water repellent shell along with hats, scarves, and gloves.
For cruises in late June through July, the temperatures can be warm so pack a short sleeve shirt and a sun hat. Rain can pop up at any time. Find complimentary self-service laundries on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner. Be sure to check out my full review of the Regent Seven Seas Mariner on Wander before you take off for that unforgettable luxury Alaska cruise.
Looking for more to do during your time in Alaska? We have some suggestions for what to see and do in Alaska on Wander.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary meals, accommodations, and tours for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.