Port Whittier was established during the WW2 (1939-1945) as military supply seaport. As cruise port, Whittier is the gateway to Prince William Sound and Chugach National Forest (south-central Alaska). Whittier is a deepwater port amd also the only ice-free Alaskan port.
The port has a small boat harbour but it is popular as homeport (cruise departure port) due to the wide range of shore excursions and tours starting from here. Most itineraries are 7-day one-ways between Whittier and Vancouver BC (Canada).
Whittier Harbor is used by both cruise ships and AMH ferries (serving Alaska Marine Highway System with headquarters in Ketchikan AK). The town is served by Whittier Airport (airfield with one runway / not maintained during winter). Around 3% of the air traffic are taxis. There is also a seaplane dock.
Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel (aka Whittier tunnel) runs through Maynard Mountain linking Whittier with Anchorage (via Seward Highway). This combined rail-highway tunnel is the only access to Whittier by land.
Whittier cruise terminal
Whittier cruise port is located at Passage Canal's entrance in Prince William Sound. The port is approx 100 km (60 mi) southeast from Anchorage AK.
Whittier cruise terminal is an alternative to Seward cruise port, which is more crowded. It is also closer to Anchorage's airport (TSAIA). You can reach Whittier from Anchorage by Alaska Marine Highway ferry system or along the scenic Turnagain Arm (Chugach Mountains) by car (Whittier Access Road and Seward Highway). Drive distance is 1,5 hours (by car).
If the transfer is not included in your cruise package, you can use Whittier Shuttle bus or Avis car rentals from the airport.
Whittier tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel: the tunnel connects Whittier and Prince William Sound to the the Seward Highway. The highway tunnel to South-central Alaska is the longest one in America.
- Prince William Sound Glaciers: Whittier cruise port is the western gateway to this major attraction. You will be amazed by stunning glaciers and spectacular fjords views. If you like kayaking, try the Prince William Sound waters.
- Wildlife: Whittier cruise port is surrounded by the beautiful Chugach National Forest. Take some time to discover the wildlife in the wilderness.
- Fishing charters and scuba diving.
- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: located 10 minutes away from Whittier cruise port terminal by car. You can find wild animals including grizzlies, bison, elk, bears, deer, moose, musk ox, coyotes, birds of prey, foxes, lynx and caribou. The animal are injured or orphaned.
- Portage Lake Glacier: take the Whittier Access Tunnel to reach the glacier and the Begich Boggs Visitor Center. There you can find interpretive display and you will learn a lot about the arctic landscape, the glaciers, the arctic wildlife and the glacier lakes.