11/10/2022     by Justin Gibson

An Introductory Guide to the Inside Passage’s Stunning Sights

Few corners of Earth are still as untamed, as unblemished, as Alaska. And within Alaska, few sights instill goosebumps quite like the Inside Passage. Comprising some 1,000 miles of coastline (and all the islands, fjords and passageways in between), it plays host to jaw-dropping views and life-changing moments. We couldn’t hope to summarize the entirety of what you’d witness on an adventure through this fabled route, but we can give you an introduction on what to look forward to. Here are just a few of the things you’ll want to make sure you have your camera ready to catch a picture of.


Glacier Calving

The Glaciers

With glaciers being the main event of any cruise through the Inside Passage, you can be certain that you’ll spot several icy behemoths over the course of your trip. Depending on the cruise you choose, you might see the twin ends of the Sawyer Glacier at the terminus of Tracy Arm, the mile-wide Margerie Glacier, the glaciers in College Fjord or the ever-iconic Hubbard Glacier in Disenchantment Bay. When passing by any glacier, watch for the birth of an iceberg in a process known as “calving” — when a chunk of ice cracks away from the whole. You’ll know it’s happening since it sounds strikingly similar to a crack of lightning. In any case, be sure to have your camera ready!



Floating Otter

The Wildlife

The Inside Passage isn’t just home to massive chunks of ice; an abundance of wildlife calls these waters (and their shores) home too. As you pass by ice floes, keep an eye out for the ever-rotund otters and seals enjoying a float. At any given moment, you might glimpse a humpback whale breaching the water’s surface with a ballet-like belly-flop or a pack of orcas hunting a school of salmon. Inland, you might spot an Alaskan brown bear combing the coast for a snack or the odd mountain goat perched on a cliff. As for the birds … well, this is prime birdwatching territory. Soaring raptors are all but a given, but be sure to keep an eye out for puffins, terns and cormorants as well!



Ketchikan, Alaska

The Towns

Part of the fantasy of a getaway is asking yourself, “If I packed up and moved tomorrow, what would living here be like?” The towns you’ll see along an Inside Passage cruise are (literally) a world away from ordinary. Each brings its own flavor of adventure: Ketchikan serves as a cultural hub for the Native Alaskan nations, Juneau is the easy-going capital known for outdoor recreation, Sitka boasts both Tlingit and Russian influences, and Skagway still carries the luster of a frontier town from the gold rush. Each remote outpost and isolated town brings with it a fresh dose of wonder — and a day’s worth of discovery.



Excited by the prospect of seeing some of these sights for yourself? Our travel agents are ready to help make it happen. Sure, they have a plethora of hard-earned wisdom and insight to pass on to you while you’re planning your getaway, but they also have working relationships with all the leading names in travel. Cruising through the Inside Passage onboard a Holland America Line ship — perfectly sized, refreshingly uncrowded and chock full of immersive culinary journeys and exclusive onboard activities — proves to be the ideal way to discover this enchantingly untamed land. Add in the exclusive offers you’re bound to unlock, and this really is a dream trip come true.


Connect with a travel agent today to start planning your great escape to the Inside Passage.


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