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Inside Passage is a popular Alaskan coastal cruise itinerary route for oceangoing ships. The scenic cruising along a network of passages weaving through Alaskan islands, the largest of which are Chichagof, Baranof and Prince of Wales (see the map below). The route extends from southeastern Alaska (USA) through western British Columbia (Canada) to Washington (USA). Vessels using the cruise route are able to avoid open ocean's bad weather and visit some of the isolated Alaskan communities.
Inside Passage is heavily sailed by cruise liners, also by tug boats, freighters (cargo ships), fishing boats and ferries serving Alaska Marine Highway, Washington State Ferries and BC Ferries systems.
The "Inside Passage" term is often used to refer to the islands and ocean round the passage itself. Sometimes the Inside Passage is mistakenly referred to as "Inland Passage", a reference to early quests of explorers to locate Northwest Passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.
It is generally accepted that Inside Passage starts in Washington's Puget Sound and extends north, first along the coast of British Columbia and then Alaska Panhandle. During the Klondike Gold Rush it was one of the sea routes from California and Seattle carrying prospectors north.
The portion of the route belonging to British Columbia has up to 40,000 km (25,000 miles) of coastline. It includes the protected Strait of Georgia between B.C. mainland and Vancouver Island, Johnstone Strait between mainland and Vancouver Island, as well as a short stretch along the more exposed and wider Hecate Strait close to Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands). Northwards from Fitz Hugh Sound the route is sheltered through the various large islands in the area such as Pitt Island and Princess Royal Island.
The Alaskan portion of the Passage extends 800 km (500 ml) from north to south and 160 km (100 miles) from east to west. The region encompasses 1,000 islands, 24,000 km (15,000 ml) of shoreline and thousands of bays and coves. While Alexander Archipelago in Alaska offers some protection from the Pacific weather, much of the area suffers from strong semi-diurnal tides that can create extreme 9 m (30-foot) differences between high and low tide. Careful piloting is required in many places in order to not hit underwater obstructions.
The Inside Passage is a well known destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The coastal mountain ranges and the islands make for great wildlife viewing and opportunities for boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking and camping.
Inside Passage cruise terminal
The following map shows all ports of call, islands and destinations visited on traditional Alaska Inside Passage cruise itineraries.
Port Inside Passage cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Inside Passage, Alaska. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|14 August, 2019|
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