As Alaska’s largest city, and the gateway to the Chugach, Kenai and Talkeetna mountains, Anchorage is a must for anyone cruising this far north with Norwegian Cruise Line.
Home to some significant cultural sites, restaurants serving the freshest seafood, and incredible wildlife and glaciers, this city has it all. Book a Norwegian cruise to Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Line and prepare for a magical adventure during your stopover in Anchorage. It’s one of the most spectacular places in the world, and here’s everything you need to know before you jump on a Norwegian ship and head north.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN SUMMER?
The main visitor season in Anchorage is from mid-May to mid-September, making it an ideal summer destination. Summer is when the weather is best for tourists, with highs of around 17°C in Anchorage during the month of July. Evenings are cooler, with lows sometimes reaching 6°C, so be sure to bring layers and a warm coat.
Rainfall is higher than the rest of the U.S in summer, but May is generally very dry. There is also a good chance of snow in July, August, September, although it rarely becomes problematic to a community that is well acclimatised. Snow can be seen on the mountain tops year-round, creating a wonderful scenic contrast.
HOW COLD DOES IT GET IN ANCHORAGE, ALASKA?
Anchorage has a subarctic climate, so the winters are long and cold. In December and January, there can be extremes of -10° or lower. But it’s not freezing all year round, and Alaska cruises from Norwegian Cruise Line run during the warmer months of the year.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN SIGHTS AND ATTRACTIONS?
Many people take a Norwegian cruise to Anchorage, giving them access to the nearby mountains, glaciers and parks. But the city itself provides families or groups with plenty to do as well. Not to be missed are the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska Aviation Museum, Alaska Zoo, the Oscar Anderson House Museum, and the Z.J. Loussac Public Library. There’s also great nightlife, theatre shows and concerts to keep everyone entertained in the evenings.
Walkers should head to Flattop Mountain, just a few minutes from the main city area. A convenient shuttle will take you to the start of a 5km loop trail. The route is considered difficult, so be prepared or a challenge and bring appropriate walking gear.
The nearby Alyeska Resort Aerial Tramway in Girdwood is also worth a visit for panoramic views of the mountains and hanging glaciers, seen from its observation deck.
WHERE CAN YOU GO TO SPOT WILDLIFE?
Less than an hour away from Anchorage, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is one of the best places for spotting wildlife. It’s open all year round and gives visitors a chance to see animals such as the grizzly bear, moose, or reindeer.
If you prefer something off the beaten path, try the Kincaid Park hiking trails, where you’ll encounter plenty of wildlife, including moose, foxes, and Alaskan birds. There’s also the Williwaw Valley Hiking Trail, but walkers should bring bear spray as a precaution.
HOW CAN YOU SEE GLACIERS FROM ANCHORAGE?
Glaciers are everywhere in Alaska. With over 100,000 glaciers covering almost 30,000 square miles, you’ll be sure to see some on your Norwegian cruise. From Anchorage, the closest glaciers are the Portage Glacier or the ones at Prince William Sound. Both are ideal day trips, and can be reached by shuttle bus, train, or on a guided tour.
Our Norwegian Alaska glacier cruises are the best way to experience these spectacular ice formations, giving you plenty of photo opportunities as you glide through the water next to them. It’s a breathtaking sight to behold, even for seasoned cruisers who have seen it all.
WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO EAT?
Wondering what or where to eat in Anchorage, Alaska? If you love seafood, you’re in luck. But carnivores will have just as much choice in areas like Downtown Anchorage. This is where you will find a good concentration of restaurants and grills.
Steakhouses and sandwich bars are abundant across the city, as are fish restaurants. Some of the best local dishes to try include Alaskan salmon, King crab legs, halibut sandwiches, wild game burgers, and Alaskan-style pizza.
For your first feed of the day, find a breakfast café and try the local reindeer sausage. Or for caffeine fiends, you’ll be pleased to know that coffee shops are everywhere in Anchorage, and the coffee culture is thriving.
WHEN CAN YOU SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN ANCHORAGE, ALASKA?
One of the biggest draws of our Norwegian Alaska cruises, other than the glaciers and wildlife, is the Northern Lights. The unbelievable colours of the Aurora Borealis can be seen from the city, which adds an element of magic and romance to your trip.
When booking your cruise through Norwegian Cruise Line, you’ll want to check when you can see the Northern Lights in Anchorage. Our Norwegian Alaska cruises are popular in the summer but try the shoulder season if you want a better chance of spotting this natural phenomenon. The lights occur all year round, but cannot be seen by the human eye in the summer months.
The sky needs to be both dark and clear to see the Northern Lights. Autumn, winter and spring tend to provide the best conditions for viewing. The best hours are after midnight, so be prepared for some late-night excursions.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s cruises to Anchorage span from 11 to 14 days, with overnight stops in the city and also in Denali. Start planning your Norwegian Alaskan cruise adventure.