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Cruises to Petersburg

Petersburg (Photo:Florence-Joseph McGinn/Shutterstock)
Petersburg (Photo:Florence-Joseph McGinn/Shutterstock)

About Petersburg

Take a snapshot of Petersburg, Alaska, and show it to your friends. They'll probably think it's a picture of a Norwegian coastal village. That's because the fishing town's Norwegian roots are readily apparent. They show through in the town's neat, white houses -- some located on piers and pilings -- which are decorated Scandinavian-style with carefully tended window boxes full of flowers. Scenic tableaus of brightly colored fishing shacks, surrounded by boats in the harbor behind and set against glacier-covered mountains, are as common there as in the Old Country.

Petersburg, located on Mitkof Island in Frederick Sound, was founded in 1890 by Norwegian immigrant Peter Buschmann, who came to the area to open a fish cannery. Many of the 3,030 locals still make a living fishing for salmon and halibut in the fish-rich waters. The town has several fish processing operations -- some small and family-owned and others that are larger.

It's a town where everyone knows your name. The toy store on Sing Lee Alley (a tiny street on the water) even has a chalkboard where local children's birthdays are posted each month. Four blocks of Nordic Drive make up the main drag, where you'll find family-owned businesses that include grocery and hardware stores. Beyond that are residential neighborhoods, rain forests and water.

And despite all the blond Alaskans of Norwegian descent you'll meet there, a federally recognized Tlingit tribe also lives in the community. About 7 percent of the residents are of Native American heritage.

Petersburg is an isolated place with its nearest big neighbors -- Juneau and Ketchikan -- each about 150 miles away (10 hours or more by ferry). Not surprisingly, the main attraction for cruise-ship visitors is the surrounding natural scenery and wildlife. The town is only 25 miles from the calving LeConte Glacier, the southernmost saltwater terminating glacier in North America. And hundreds of humpback whales make the Frederick Sound their feeding grounds every summer.

Since only small cruise ships can visit (the harbor is not deep enough for the big ones), you won't encounter crowds in Petersburg. What you will find are friendly locals, cheerfully welcoming visitors to their remote Alaskan outpost.

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DAY 1: Seward

11 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Seward
Visiting:
College Fjord, Valdez ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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DAY 1: Seward

11 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Seward
Visiting:
College Fjord, Valdez ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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DAY 1: Vancouver

12 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Johnstone Strait, Inside Passage ...
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Cruise Line:
Ponant
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DAY 1: Seattle

14 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Seattle
Visiting:
San Juan Islands, Victoria ...
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Cruise Line:
Lindblad Expeditions
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14 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Seattle
Visiting:
San Juan Islands, Victoria ...
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Cruise Line:
Lindblad Expeditions
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12 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Misty Fjord, Wrangell ...
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Cruise Line:
Hurtigruten
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Cruise Critic Favorite

15 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Fairbanks
Visiting:
Denali, Talkeetna ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Seward
Visiting:
Kodiak, Prince William Sound ...
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Cruise Line:
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
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8 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Juneau
Visiting:
Tracy Arm, Petersburg ...
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Cruise Line:
Lindblad Expeditions
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8 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Juneau
Visiting:
Tracy Arm, Petersburg ...
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Cruise Line:
Lindblad Expeditions
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12 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Seward
Visiting:
Cadillac, Icy Bay ...
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Cruise Line:
Hurtigruten
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Cruise Critic Favorite

15 Night
Cruise to Petersburg

Leaving:
Fairbanks
Visiting:
Denali, Talkeetna ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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Why go to Petersburg?

Pros:

You don't have to worry about crowding in Petersburg, it's one of Alaska's most remote ports

Cons:

Unless the item is stamped "made in Alaska," beware of imported souvenirs

Bottom Line:

Ships come to this Norwegian fishing village for whale-watching and the friendly locals

Petersburg Cruise Port Facilities?

Head to the wooden boardwalk of Sing Lee Alley for quaint little shops and small-town, seaside ambience.

Good to Know?

Items you think are made in Alaska should be stamped "made in Alaska". Otherwise, they may have been made in China or elsewhere.

Getting Around?

By Taxi: If you need a cab, try Midnight Rides (907-772-2222) or Viking Cab (907-518-9191). It's a pretty sleepy town, so taxis aren't readily available unless you call.

Renting a Car: There's an Avis car rental desk at the Tides Inn (307 N. First Street, 800-665-8433), which is within walking distance of the cruise ship docks.

On Foot: Petersburg's docks and tiny downtown area are easily explored on foot. It can be fun to wander the docks and watch fishermen cleaning their vessels.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

U.S. dollars are used, and ATM's are available at First Bank and Well's Fargo Bank on North Nordic Drive.

Language?

English is the most widely spoken language.

Where You're Docked?

The small ships that visit use various docks within walking distance of the town center. There's not much to do near the pier except watch the comings and goings of the fishing fleet, take in the view and scan the waters for seals and other marine animals.


Petersburg Cruise Reviews

National Geographic Sea Bird
RMcH
Sail Date: Aug 2017
We took a ride in one of the Dibs boats to see the wildlife and the scenery.... Read More
National Geographic Sea Bird
Traveling Grams
Sail Date: Jun 2017
A delightful town with a wonderful bookstore.... Read More
American Spirit
lynnmarv1
Sail Date: Jul 2016
An experienced fisherman told us tons about the Alaskan fishing industry. Petersburg is a darling little town. Our evening entertainment was the amazing Leikarring Dancers - middle school children doing... Read More
Seabourn Quest
angie@angiewilcox.com
Sail Date: Jul 2014
St. Petersburg is a must see. The city is truly beautiful (reminded us of both Paris and Venice); the treasured historical sites are truly a wonder. I was not able to list the Kiel Canal since it's not a port. This... Read More
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