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A dog playing in the surf at Port Puget Sound

Puget Sound

Puget Sound cruises deliver incredible Pacific Northwest scenery, more than enough reason to choose Seattle as an Alaska departure port. Keep your eyes peeled. On Puget Sound cruises en route to the Great Land, you’ll see everything from ice-capped mountains to remote islands dotted with gigantic Douglas firs to Mount Rainier, hulking behind Seattle’s sleek skyscrapers as if to remind coffee-fueled urbanites that nature is boss.


You, yourself will soon be reminded that nature is boss as you cruise San Juan Islands from Seattle. The San Juan Islands are a wildlife-rich archipelago and popular vacation spot amongst locals. From the comfort of your cruise, watch for soaring eagles, harbor seals, and both humpback and orca whales. Both whale species appear to be making a comeback in recent years and scientists are cautiously optimistic. However, dwindling salmon populations remain a concern for the Puget Sound resident orcas. Cruises to San Juan Islands often lead to whale sightings, especially between March and October for the famous resident orcas of the J, K, and L pods.


Also look for humpback whales bubble-net feeding: Teams of whales spiral upward around prey, blowing cyclones of air. When the panicked fish crowd into a column, the predators launch toward the surface en masse—pleated throats wide open—to suck in as many as possible. Even if you don’t see whales as you cruise San Juan Islands, the beauty of the landscape is unforgettable from rocky outcrops to hundreds of forested mounds.