Cruising from Vancouver, BC to Sitka, Alaska

Vacationers can generally be divided into two groups. Group number one: They only go on vacation to somewhere warm. Group number two: Everyone else. This includes those who are open to new experiences and generally want to see all the world has to offer – top to bottom and side to side. Occasionally though, you can talk one of those “warm places only” vacationers to step outside of their comfort zone and try a cruise to Alaska. We may just have a convert.

Cindy, the driving force behind USA River Cruises, recently returned from an opportunity to take a cruise to Alaska and took along her husband. Normally, Don is more of a warm-weather traveler. Although hesitant at first, he returned glad he went on this northerly cruise. They both had a wonderful time and came home excited to share their experiences.

cruising aboard the Ocean Victory
Cindy and Don riding a zodiac just off the ship
Alaska calm waters
Calm Alaskan waters
seal on ice in alaska
Seals lounging in the sun

Cruising aboard the new Ocean Victory out of Vancouver, B.C. is a fun way to introduce someone to an Alaska cruise. The 186 passenger ship is beautiful and elegant with spacious rooms, a friendly staff, an inviting pool deck with hot tubs and bar, and a variety of spaces where you can sit and relax by yourself or with others and watch the sunset over the horizon outside, complimentary cocktail in hand.

What is cruising on a small ship to Alaska like? When in port in Vancouver, one of those gigantic ships pulled up next to the Ocean Victory, looking much like a giant gray whale next to a dolphin. Yet the dolphin, although smaller, is much more nimble and able to go into bays and harbors – places the big ship can’t go. You’ll want to go into those smaller bays and harbors too. For cruising aboard the Ocean Victory is all about seeing and doing – truly experiencing Alaska – its culture, environment, and wildlife.  This is a cruise for those that want to get out in a kayak and paddle up to a glacier. This is a cruise for those that want to have a well-educated naturalist help guide you in a zodiac boat up close to the shore to perhaps see a bear foraging for lunch, an otter floating in the blue water, or a seal lounging on an ice floe. There is something magical and serene when you see the Alaskan environment and the wildlife in their natural habitat. The worries of the world seem to melt away as you are on the water with just the sound of an eagle overhead and nothing else.

the Ocean Victory cruise ship dining room
The Main Dining Room
the ocean victory cruise ship to alaska
The Observation Lounge
ocean victory stateroom with private balcony
Private balcony stateroom

The day-to-day worries are gone while on a ship, especially not having to cook, shop, plan, and clean up afterwards. This is how to vacation! Every evening, an itinerary of tomorrow’s adventures shows up in your room so you can plan and dream of what is to come. A mixture of hikes, museums, cultural immersion, and explorations await you. You can pick and choose what you want to do. Cindy and Don chose to take advantage of every bit of the itinerary they could. Hesitant at first because Cindy had twisted her knee even before embarking in Vancouver, they still were able to get into a kayak, take those zodiac trips, and walk around the small towns they were visiting.

daily itinerary on cruise to alaska
Daily itinerary sample
alaska artifacts in wrangell
Cultural History: Alaskan artifacts in Wrangell
ketchikan alaska
Ketchikan, Alaska heritage

While in Alaska in early June, they were surprised just how sunny and warm it was. They had packed for “Alaska” and ended up in t-shirts and a light jacket most of the time. Their cruise only went as far north as Sitka – which sits at the southern edge of the state and enjoys similar weather to the Pacific Northwest. The cruises that go further north towards Anchorage are obviously going to be cooler. For our warm-weather traveler, a trip to Sitka was the perfect combination of not-too-cold and still a full Alaskan cultural experience.

If you’d like to experience a cruise to Alaska aboard a small ship, we recommend looking at the Ocean Victory, or one of our other offerings: 

Authentic Alaska: Vancouver to Sitka

Vancouver to Sitka

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Alaska Yacht Cruise: An Adventure In Splendor And Rugged Paradise

Juneau to Petersburg

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Alaska’s Inside Passage & Glacier Bay Wilderness

Seattle to Juneau

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