Cover Photo by Jeremy Talbott
After a two-year hiatus, Alaska cruises are back, and if you're planning to take an Alaska cruise this summer, you'll definitely want to pick an itinerary that includes Valdez as a port of call. Located near the head of a deep fjord in Prince William Sound, Valdez is a mix of tidewater glaciers, rainforests, and majestic mountains, wildlife on both land and sea and so much more. Valdez offers unparalleled natural scenery that is matched only by the abundant activities offered throughout the year.
Booking Your Cruise
But Viking Cruises isn't the only option . The Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam will be arriving in Valdez on September 17, 2022 as part of the 14-Day Great Alaskan Explorer cruise.
What To Do While In Port
While you're in Valdez for a day you can book a number of shore-excursions through your cruise line or independently. Local tours are available for glacier-wildlife cruises, charter fishing, museum visits and guided tours via helicopter, kayak or ATV. There's also also endless opportunities to explore Valdez on your own right from port!
Your cruise ship will dock at Valdez's Kelsey Dock, located just a few minutes walk from most restaurants, breweries, museums and gift shops. This means that you won't need to worry about waiting for a shuttle bus or renting a car to see some of the best of downtown Valdez!
Here are some of our top picks for attractions that a just a quick walk from Kelsey Dock:
- Overlook Trail: After disembarking from your cruise ship, head straight on Hazelet Avenue and within a 2 or 3 minute walk you'll see the staircase for Overlook Trail to your right. This shorter and easier trail takes you up Civic Center Hill to a covered pavilion rest area to enjoy a 360-degree view of downtown Valdez and Port Valdez. Make sure to look for the Oil Terminal across the bay!
- Meals Hill Trail: Across the street from Overlook Trail is a little sign reading "Natural Area" that clandestinely marks the start of the Meals Hill Trail. The trail is seldom included on maps of the area and is a hidden gem known mostly only to the locals. A well-maintained gravel path takes hikers up to the top of the forested Meals Hill for an immersion into the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Look for viewpoints along the trail that look out onto Port Valdez.
- Valdez Visitors Center: Continue up Hazelet Avenue and turn onto Fairbanks Drive to reach the Visitors Center. This 9 to 10 minute walk will take you into the heart of downtown Valdez, with museums, restaurants and tax-free shopping all a stone's throw away. The Visitors Center offers lounging areas with free wi-fi and helpful staff who can direct you to Valdez's other attractions.
- North Harbor Drive: From Kelsey Dock take a right onto Fidalgo Drive (Meals Avenue) for a 10 minute walk to reach North Harbor Drive, Valdez's iconic waterfront district. The north side of the street is lined with local shops and restaurants while the south side of the street offers views out onto the Small Boat Harbor where commercial and charter fishing vessels come and go. You make even see sports-fishermen brining in a catch of salmon or halibut!
- Dock Point Park: Continue along North Harbor Drive until the very end, and you'll see Dock Point Park, about 18-20 minutes walk total from your starting point at Kelsey Dock. This quiet municipal park offers picnic tables and beach access as well as the trailhead for Dock Point Trail. The trail starts at the park and follows a mile-long loop along a peninsula overlooking the waters of Port Valdez on one-side and the Duck Flats wetland on the other. Bird-watchers will love the viewing opportunities, as migratory waterfowl, shore birds and bald eagles frequent the Duck Flats.
Excited to discover Valdez this summer? You can download or order a free copy of our Valdez Travel Guide online! The travel guide will include walking maps of downtown Valdez as well as information on our amazing local attractions to help you plan your port-day in Valdez.