Frequently Asked Questions
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I am interested in seeing whales and other marine mammals. What are the best places in Alaska to see them?
Migrating grey whales and humpback whales can be found in Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage, during June through September. From late May through October, white beluga whales follow fish into the mouth of the Kenai River, and also appear in Cook Inlet near Anchorage. In spring and summer, seals and sea lions hunt small fish in the Inside Passage, while killer whales (orcas) stalk the seals and sea lions. Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward and whale watching excursions from Juneau are the best opportunity to see whales and other marine mammals.
When is the best time to see whales?
Between June and early September, you may see Humpback and Minke Whales, Orcas, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Dall and Harbour Porpoises. Between June and July, you have your best chance of seeing bubble-netting Humpbacks.
When you're cruising in Alaska, it's not uncommon to see whales right from the deck of the ship or your private balcony. To increase your chances of seeing whales, you may want to take an optional whale watching tour that will take you and a group of other passengers on a small boat in search of whale pods. This is very exciting especially when the captain of your boat starts following a pod and getting close to a whale as it makes a terminal dive or comes up for air.
I am interested in bird watching, and heard Alaska is a good place to see them. Any recommendations?
Over 355 bird species live in Alaska. In the Inside Passage and South-central Alaska, bald eagles follow the salmon runs. Up to 3,500 bald eagles feed on late runs of salmon in the Chilkat River near Haines. Kenai Fjords National Park cruise offers a spectacular opportunity to see many species of birds including puffins.
Creamer's Field in Fairbanks, and Potter's Marsh in Anchorage, are also good bird viewing locations.
What kind of wildlife will I be able to see in Alaska, and where?
Alaska's wildlife is as varied as the land itself. On an Inside Passage Cruise you will find eagles as common as robins are in Ohio. You will see many on your cruise! Moose can be seen on an Inside Passage Cruise, but your chances are much better in Denali National Park.
Remember Caribou outnumber Alaskans. Denali National Park and the Top of the World Highway are your best opportunities to see them. The best places to see Dall sheep include Chugach State Park, the Seward Highway, and Denali National Park. Mountain goats live on the steep hillsides of the Inside Passage near Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Bay and on the mountains around Seward. Alaska may be the world's best place to observe bears. Your best chance to see bears is in Denali National Park or the railroad trip from Anchorage up to Fairbanks.
Don't forget, Kenai National Park is a great place for marine wildlife, Orca and Humpback whales, Stella sea lions, and many special types of birds, including puffins, are just some of the many species that you may see.