Alaska lies in the northwest extremity of the United States West Coast and most of it is surrounded by water. To the north is the Arctic Ocean, (the Beaufort Sea and the Chukchi Sea). To the south is the Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean. To the west is the Bering Sea. On the east and south, Alaska borders Canada; Yukon Territory and British Columbia. There are no official regions of Alaska, but there are six widely accepted areas:
• South Central - the most populous region of Alaska, containing Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and the Kenai Peninsula;
• Southeast - also referred to as the Inside Passage, this is the region of Alaska closest to the rest of the United States. As such, this was where most of the initial non-indigenous settlement occurred in the years following the Alaska Purchase. The region is dominated by the Alexander Archipelago as well as the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States. It contains the state capital Juneau, the former capital Sitka, and Ketchikan, at one time Alaska's largest city;
• Interior - the largest region of Alaska; much of it is an uninhabited wilderness. Fairbanks is the only large city in the region. Denali National Park and Preserve is located here.
• Southwest - a sparsely inhabited region stretching some 800 km inland from the Bering Sea. Most of the population lives along the coast. Kodiak Island is also located in Southwest.
• North Slope - mostly tundra peppered with small villages. The area is known for its massive reserves of crude oil, and contains both the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska and the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field.
• Aleutian Islands - more than 300 small volcanic islands make up this chain, which stretches over 1,900 km into the Pacific Ocean.
Soaring peaks, spectacular glaciers, wildlife filled waters and jaw dropping fiords make Alaska one of the most beautiful cruise regions in the world and provide the perfect background for a small ship exploration. Being on a ship is the only way to see some of the most remote Alaskan areas, and the advantage of travelling on small ship is that you could get to these areas that other larger ships couldn’t.
Some Alaskan Small Ship Cruise Highlights may include:
• Sailing along the Inside Passage for an unforgettable journey surrounded by ice, islets, fjords and snow-capped mountains.
• Encountering iconic and abundant wildlife. Brown bears. Humpback whales. Orcas. Steller sea lions. Bald eagles. Sure-footed mountain goats on steep cliffs. The wildlife of Alaska is truly legendary and you will see it in abundance.
• Discovering Glacier Bay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. It is home to dozens of glaciers, including 7 tidewater glaciers, and a great range of wildlife, and forms part of the largest international protected area on the planet. Surrounded by a host towering peaks between 10-15000 meters it is surely one of the most photogenic places on Earth.
• Navigating winding Wrangell Narrows and Behm Canal or immersing yourself in the scenic beauty of Tracy Arm Fjord and witnessing the hundreds of waterfalls cascading down its vertical cliffs.
The Wild Earth Travel team is your Alaska small ship cruise experts. We offer a large range of different Alaskan small ship cruises that also vary in duration. Our small ships range include intimate catamarans, yachts, expedition ships and sleek, luxurious vessels. Please feel free to enquire and let the experienced team here at Wild Earth Travel help you find a small ship cruise or active expedition that suits you.