Anchorage Cruise Port & Nearby Activities
Anchorage Cruise Ports
The largest city in Alaska, Anchorage, attracts cruise visitors looking to explore the Last Frontier's calving glaciers, wildlife and diverse cultural attractions. The majority of visitors make their way to Anchorage from two popular seaports: Seward, located roughly 125 miles south of Anchorage, along Resurrection Bay and Whittier, located about 60 miles southeast of Anchorage, along Prince William Sound. Reaching Anchorage from Seward and Whittier is relatively easy via bus or train, and many cruise lines include transportation from these ports to Anchorage as part of their cruise fare. Though there is no main ship terminal in Anchorage, the Port of Anchorage is conveniently located less than 2 miles north of downtown Anchorage. With easily navigable streets, Anchorage's must-visit sights, like the Alaska Aviation Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Museum, are easy to explore on foot or by bike. If you have a few extra hours or days before your cruise, a handful of tour companies offer daytrips to the surrounding glaciers and top sites. The Alaska Railroad is another terrific way to explore greater Alaska, with numerous train tours carrying passengers to top sights like Denali and Fairbanks. Here are the essentials you need to know to decide how to spend your time at port and whether Anchorage should be on your cruise itinerary.
What You Need to Know
- Cruise season is dictated by weather The cruise season in Alaska generally runs from about mid-May to mid-September due to the harsh weather. The peak months are from June to August, when temperatures are mild and wildlife-watching opportunities abound.
- Prepare for motion sickness Due to strong currents, choppy waters are common for sailings to the Gulf of Alaska. If you're prone to seasickness, make sure to bring medication or consider booking a cabin in the middle of the ship.
- Excursions are often cancelled Even if you cruise to Alaska during the summer, you still run the risk of having excursions such as helicopter and floatplane tours cancelled due to unpredictable weather conditions.
How to Spend Your Time in Anchorage
Things to Do Near the Port of Anchorage
- Anchorage Museum (< 2 miles) The largest museum in Alaska is a must-visit thanks to its comprehensive selection of Alaska artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and its Imaginarium Discovery Center, which features a planetarium and kinetic space.
- Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall (< 2 miles) With five levels featuring an extensive array of shops and eateries, the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall is an ideal place to explore for cruise visitors who don't want to venture too far away from port.
- Alaska Aviation Museum (< 8 miles) The Alaska Aviation Museum sits on the south shore of Lake Hood and brims with interactive displays, memorabilia, photographs and artifacts from the personal collections of Alaska's pioneer aviators.
Read On: Top Things to Do in Anchorage
Popular Tours in Anchorage
Have a few hours to spare in Anchorage? Book a tour through your cruise line, explore the city on your own or check out tours available from independent outfitters.
- Flightseeing Safari Take the world's largest seaplane to enjoy a bird's eye view over the Chugach Mountain range and the Turnagain Arm waterway. A variety of cruise lines, including Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, offer this 30-minute flightseeing excursion. And if you'd rather take in a view of Alaska's majestic glaciers, go on a flightseeing tour with Rust's Flying Service, a reputable independent outfitter.
- Alaska Native Heritage Center Learn about the indigenous people of Alaska with a visit to this renowned cultural center and museum. Art exhibits and storytelling brings the native culture to life. Many cruise lines, including Princess and Holland America, offer Anchorage highlights and native cultures tours that include a visit to the center.
- Tony Knowles Coastal Trail Whether you want to walk, bike or rollerblade, there's plenty of opportunities to embrace the great outdoors along this 11-mile paved path. You can rent a bike from Pablo's Bicycle Rentals or Downtown Bicycle Rental and follow the path all the way to Kincaid Park, a 1,500-acre green space that overlooks Cook Inlet.
- Alaska Railroad If you love traveling by train, there's no better way to take in Alaska's rugged beauty than along the Alaska Railroad. If you're interested in a glacier hike, select a Spencer Glacier daytrip that includes kayaking across Spencer Lake, or if you're interested in wildlife, take a tour to Grandview, which includes a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
- Alaska Zoo This small zoo houses a plethora of Arctic wildlife, including moose, caribou, wolves, mountain goats and polar bears. Take a free shuttle from downtown Anchorage to the animal habitat.
- Chugach State Park The Chugach State Park is one of the four largest state parks in the United States. The region includes extensive ocean shoreline, abundant lakes, massive glaciers and ice fields. Drive about 15 miles south of the port and enjoy the three campgrounds and lengthy hiking trails.
Restaurants near the Port of Anchorage
Beyond seafood staples such as halibut and salmon, Anchorage offers diverse flavors, including French, Italian and Japanese specialties. Here are top recommended places to eat near the Port of Anchorage:
If you need to catch a flight to or from Alaska, the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is located about 8 miles southwest of the Port of Anchorage. You can rent a car at the airport and within downtown Anchorage. Though the port does not feature a cruise ship terminal, a primary meeting point for many cruise lines is the Egan Convention Center, which is situated in downtown Anchorage. Holland America offers a complimentary shuttle to the Egan Convention Center for ships docking in Anchorage, and many cruise lines offer transportation to and from Anchorage to other popular ports in south-central Alaska, including Whittier and Seward.
A taxi ride from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to downtown costs about $17 to $22. Taxis in Alaska charge a flat rate of $2.75 and an additional $2.50 per mile.
Read more about Getting Around Anchorage»
Nearby Cruise Ports
Hotels Nearby the Port of Anchorage
How to Spend Your Time in Seward
Things to Do Near the Port of Seward
- Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking (<1 mile) Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking is a reputable independent outfitter that offers bay, island and glacier kayaking. Step out of the confines of your cruise ship to float down turquoise blue waters teeming with sea otters, orcas, seals and puffins.
- Kenai Fjords National Park (<1 mile) The visitor center for the Kenai Fjords National Park is conveniently located less than a mile west of port. Though more than half of the park is covered by ice, you'll find a variety of diverse plants and birds here. After exploring, make sure to stop at the park center to catch an educational film, engage with interpretive displays or chat with one of the knowledgeable park rangers.
Restaurants near the Port of Seward
Like Anchorage, seafood is a specialty in the picturesque town of Seward – seek out the daily catches and specials. Here are top recommended places to eat near the Port of Seward:
The Port of Seward is located about 3 miles south of the Seward Airport and about 125 miles southeast of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Anchorage. If you'd like to pick up your own set of wheels, Hertz is located within walking distance of the port and a variety of car rental agencies can be found at the airport.
The Seward Bus Line and Alaska Cruise Transfer companies offer service between Seward and Anchorage. The fare typically costs about $40 per passenger each way. Park Connection, another reputable company, offers express service to and from Anchorage for $55.
For a more leisurely and scenic route, take the train from Seward to Anchorage. Train tickets cost $89 for one-way journeys and $141 for round-trip journeys. Though the train takes about four hours to reach Seward, according to visitors, the route offers impressive vantage points of nearby glaciers.
Nearby Cruise Ports:
How to Spend Your Time in Whittier
Things to Do Near the Port of Whittier
- Glacier Cruise (<1 mile) If you came to Alaska to catch a glimpse of calving glaciers, reputable outfitter Phillips' Cruises and Tours offers four- to five-hour cruises on luxury catamarans that offer ample opportunities for glacier and wildlife-spotting. Another trusted tour company, Major Marine Tours, is also located within walking distance of the port and offers glacier cruises through Prince William Sound.
- Prince William Sound Museum (<1 mile) Located at the Anchor Inn Hotel, this museum features fascinating relics of Whittier's military history. Exhibits display stories and artifacts paying tribute to Alaska's military from World War II and the Cold War.
Restaurants near the Port of Whittier
While there are limited dining options near the Port of Whittier, you'll find south-central classics like crab, lobster and scallops from Prince William Sound on the menu at many of Whittier's restaurants. Here are top recommended places to eat near the Port of Whittier:
- Varly's Swiftwater Seafood Cafe
- Wild Catch Café
- China Sea Restaurant
The Port of Whittier is located about 60 miles southeast of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Car rental agencies can be found within walking distance of the port and inside the airport. Princess also provides transfers to and from Anchorage for $55 per person.
The Park Connection runs between Whittier and Anchorage for $65 one-way journeys. Whittier Shuttle is another option for cruisers docking in Whittier, with fares starting at $45 each way.
The Alaska Railroad offers service between Anchorage and Whittier for $77 each way; round-trip service costs $93 per person.
Nearby Cruise Ports:
Which cruise companies sail to/from Anchorage?
- Celebrity Cruises (1)
- Crystal Cruises (1)
- Holland America Line (5)
- Norwegian Cruise Line (1)
- Princess Cruises (5)
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises (2)
- Royal Caribbean International (1)
- Silversea Cruises (2)