While in Alaska, cruise passengers are likely to encounter plenty of wildlife. Creatures to look out for include harbor seals, bears, moose, whales, sea otters and diverse birds.
Harbor seals are graceful and proficient swimmers as they use their fore flippers as rudders and their hind flippers to propel their bodies through the water. During an Alaskan cruise, passengers will see them lying out on ice blocks in many areas. In fact, they like to search for food near the state's tidewater glaciers.
While floating through Alaska's chilly waters, be sure to watch for humpback whales. Travelers can recognize these gentle sea giants by their enormous waterspouts, which can be spotted from great distances. Despite their large size, humpback whales feed on some of the ocean's smallest creatures. The whales spend the winter in Hawaii wheere they give birth to their babies. Once their offspring is ready to travel, they return to Alaska where their food supply is plentiful.
Cute little sea otters live in many of Alaska's waterways. They have a rich pelt with no blubber, which keeps them warm, and they eat seafood to survive. Sea otters have a high metabolism and are one of the few animals that use tools, such as rocks, to open food sources.
Killer, or orca, whales are another sea creature that cruise ship travelers may have the opportunity to view in the wild. They belong to the dolphin family and are frequently in Alaska's wide channel areas. Orcas are typically docile whales that travel in large family groups, which are called pods. They prefer to dine on the salmon that live in the Prince William Sound, but they also eat sea lions and seals. Killer whales are playful and curious creatures, and their dorsal fin can measure up to 6 feet tall. Cruise ship passengers should look for large groups of whales that are traveling together.
By cruising to Alaska, travelers may have the opportunity to see bears, sea lions and mountain goats as well as moose and eagles. Be sure to keep and eye on the sky to see some of the area's unique birdlife as the sight of a soaring eagle is unforgettable.