Alaska’s Inside Passage will soon be alive with cruise ships showcasing this picture-perfect wilderness to passengers from many parts of the world.

During the Alaskan season – it runs from now until October – there will be 31 large cruise ships making 396 port calls carrying almost 66,000 passengers. At the peak of the season up to five cruise ships will sail daily into Juneau, Alaska’s landlocked capital, which can only be reached by air or sea.

As australiancruisingnews found, passengers on Alaskan cruises crowd decks with binoculars poised to sight whales breaching, dolphins playing in the ship’s wake, and lazy sea lions basking on floating ice. A highlight is watching and hearing the loud crunch as glaciers calve (when huge chunks break off the main ice mass and crash into the sea).

Increasingly cruise lines are sending larger ships to Alaska. Celebrity Solstice (2850 passengers) – she spent the summer in Australian waters –  replaces Celebrity Infinity (2070 passengers), while Grand Princess (2600 passengers) replaces Sea Princess (1900 passengers). Holland America and Princess Cruises will each have seven ships from their fleets in Alaska for the season and most other major cruise lines are also represented.

Cruise news log: South America’s Amazon River is on Avalon Waterways’ itineraries from February next year when the small ship Aria sails 3-night cruises through the jungle on an 11-day land/cruise round trip from Peru’s capital Lima. On the Amazon river passengers sight exotic wildlife and call on indigenous communities. The land tour visits the Andean city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and the ruins of Machu Picchu.

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