If you are like most, when cruising to Alaska you are focused on one thing-the scenery! Being able to see Alaska from a cruise ship lets you access locations that are not accessible by land. This unique vantage point allows you to be surrounded by breathtaking landscapes as you sail both northbound and southbound during your Alaskan adventure.
While almost every moment of your journey could be camera-worthy, there are definitely some quintessential Alaskan photos that you must take while on your cruise.
Here is our list of the six most spectacular photo-ops that any novice or expert photographer should capture when traveling to Alaska.
The Glacier Selfie
Whether you are sailing through Glacier Bay or Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier, nothing says Alaska like a glacier selfie. Yes, you, bundled up in your coat, in front of a large piece of ice is proof that you did indeed travel up to Alaska via cruise ship. If you are lucky enough to have a balcony or veranda room, then you can take pictures at a moment’s notice. If you are stuck in an inside cabin or with just a window view, you will need to head to the top decks to grab a good shot that does not include the 2,000+ other travelers looking for the same shot.
From on Top of a Glacier
While the Glacier Selfie demonstrates you went to Alaska, to really show those back home that you experienced Alaska you need to grab a photo from ON TOP of a glacier. So, whether you travel via helicopter to Juneau Glacier field or fly over and then land on top of the world famous Mendenhall Glacier, or take a Denali helicopter glacier landing tour, nothing is more panoramic or amazing than the photos you can capture when you are physically on top of these ancient pieces of ice. These photos are not only spectacular, but they are great to post to Facebook or Twitter to make all your family and friends back home jealous.
Authentic Totem Poles
When you are in Ketchikan you will find no shortage of totem poles scattered throughout the town. You could opt to wander through the city to capture photos of these replicas, or you could learn firsthand about the history of totem poles and the native Tlingits who carved them at either the Saxman Native Village or the Potlatch Park. Both attractions offer the opportunity to explore various totem poles and other native dwellings away from the middle of downtown Ketchikan. Hear the tales these poles tell and capture ever moment of it with some photographic memories.
The White Pass and Yukon Rail in Action
The discovery of gold put Skagway on the map in 1898 as it was the starting point for many prospectors before their journey north. Today, the White Pass and Yukon Railway is the number one Alaskan Skagway excursion where you can relive the pioneers’ travels, via a narrow gauge railway car. Getting a picture of this marvel of late 19th century technology chugging down the mountain is a must for any traveler or photographer. Of course, while you make the 27 mile trek from Skagway to Fraser, B.C., there are plenty of other amazing photo opportunities including the Sawtooth Mountains, Summit Lake, Rocky Point, Dead Horse Gulch, and remnants of the original White Pass trail of 1898. Just make sure you bring enough batteries for the journey.
The Majesty of the Sunken Garden
Along your Alaskan cruise, you will probably make a pit stop somewhere in Canada. If you happen to find yourself in Victoria, British Columbia then you must take a trip to the immaculate Butchart Gardens. Started by Mrs. Butchart as a way to improve the large limestone pit left on the estate, it now includes several gardens, all with their own unique theme and displays that are equally picture-worthy. Be sure to capture a panoramic view of the Sunken Garden from the staircase lookout.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Whether your Alaskan cruise is roundtrip or one-way, odds are you will get to experience a taste of Seattle. Dale Chihuly’s magnificent glass museum is a photographer’s dream. Be sure to head here to explore the larger than life displays including indoor exhibits as well as the beautiful gardens. While here, you must capture a picture of Sea Life, a massive signature piece of art that truly exemplifies the sculptor’s love of the ocean and marine life. It is the perfect way to begin or end your Alaskan cruise photo journey.
So there you have it, the must-have photos for anyone sailing to Alaska. Sure, you can see plenty of Alaska from the railings of your cruise ship as you journey between the ports of call on your itinerary, but the true beauty and unique landscapes of this 49th state can truly only be appreciated when you step ashore and engross yourself in the history and nature. So charge your camera, grab an extra memory card, and explore these Alaskan landmarks. You will be glad you did as you will have these amazing photos as lasting memories of your Alaskan cruise.