Why go to Anchorage?
A well-equipped visitors' center is just one sign of how welcoming and accessible the city is to tourists
A point of confusion for many cruisers, ships rarely dock in town; expect to sail from Seward or Whittier
While ships might dock elsewhere, Anchorage is deservedly an active hub for Alaska cruises
Anchorage Cruise Port Facilities?
The port does not offer a cruise terminal or any facilities, as it's mainly an industrial port with very little cruise ship traffic. Holland America offers a free shuttle into town in conjunction with Visit Anchorage. It drops passengers off at the Egan Convention Center, where they can find bathrooms and ATMs; the center is within walking distance of all downtown attractions.
Good to Know?
Given that most goods and foodstuffs are flown or shipped into Alaska from the "Outside," you might be a bit taken aback by the higher-than-average costs of food and other essentials in Alaska. Then again, if you're from Manhattan, you won't bat an eyelash!
On Foot: Anchorage's main downtown area is quite small and easily walkable. Most attractions are found between C and L Streets and 3rd and 8th Avenues.
By Bus: You will see some public buses called People Movers, but they mostly head out to the university and the residential communities and aren't useful for tourists. Free shuttles run frequently throughout the day from the cruise ship terminal to the Egan Center in the heart of downtown; you don't need a car for most out-of-downtown attractions because so many places run (often free) shuttles. The Ulu Factory, Alaska Zoo and Alaska Wild Berry Park all offer free shuttles. Downtown Bike Rentals also runs a for-fee shuttle to Flattop Mountain for hikers and bikers.
By Taxi: Taxis are available right at the port if you wish to head farther afield. Car rental agencies Avis (441 B Street) and Hertz (414 K Street) have locations a few blocks from the Egan Center; definitely make reservations in advance, as the small offices don't always have extra cars for rent. It's important to note that rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are not available in Alaska at the time of publication.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Currency is the U.S. dollar. There are several ATMs and banks downtown, including First National Bank (646 W. 4th Avenue at G Street and 222 W. 7th Avenue at B Street) and Wells Fargo (in the 5th Avenue Mall). There's also an ATM in the Grizzly's Gifts store (501 W. 4th Avenue).
Where You're Docked?
The Port of Anchorage is an industrial port located just a five minutes' drive from downtown Anchorage. It is important to note that despite Anchorage being listed on many cruise itineraries (most people fly into the airport here), it is not a port of embarkation. You're most likely to be in town before or after a cruise departing from the nearby port cities of Seward or Whittier. And by nearby, we mean about two hours' worth of driving, so plan transfers accordingly. Once or twice per season, a cruise ship will call on the Port of Anchorage, but this is an exception.