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Cruises to Homer

Homer (Photo:oksana.perkins/Shutterstock)
Homer (Photo:oksana.perkins/Shutterstock)

About Homer

Homer, "the end of the road," is located about 200 miles from Anchorage on the gorgeous Kenai Peninsula. The town's modern roots date to the 1890s, when con man Homer Pennock attempted to lure others with promises of gold. Homer saw brief success as a coal mining town but was eventually abandoned, due to lack of demand. By 1920, 46 people lived in an area designated as Homer Spit and Vicinity, but it wasn't until the 1940s that it took on the makings of a bona fide town with an airport and general store. These days, more than 5,000 people call the "cosmic hamlet" home, and it is often considered one of Alaska's jewels.

On a clear day, Homer is straight out of a postcard, and from several vantage points, visitors might be able to see all five active volcanoes known as the "ring of fire." The Spit, a geological landform that stretches five miles into Kachemak Bay, has always been a place for travelers and drifters and is now home to campsites, tourism shops, bars and restaurants. Two theories exist for how the Spit was formed: tidal swells or receding glaciers. Either way, it is one of Homer's claims to fame -- that and halibut fishing.

The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby began in the summer of 1986, and since then, the city has been declared the "halibut capital of the world." The annual derby takes place in the summer, and on any given day, fishermen can be seen cleaning and preparing the fresh catch at the Spit. The mild-tasting fish can also be found gracing the menus of seafood restaurants.

Homer has developed into an unpretentious foodie destination, and you'll find outstanding dining options with a wide range of cuisine -- many with local and organic products. The sustainability movement is established in the dining scene in Homer, but it has also found a place in tourism attractions and eco-adventures. Visitors can easily experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the area by kayaking, hiking and on boat trips to Alaska's first state park.

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DAY 1: Seattle

14 Night
Cruise to Homer

Leaving:
Seattle
Visiting:
Ketchikan, Icy Strait ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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Why go to Homer?

Pros:

Enjoy a fresh and organic foodie scene, award-winning halibut, a winery and a brewery

Cons:

It's at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, so a bit isolated from surrounding sites

Bottom Line:

Homer's unique Alaskan blend of nature, art and cuisine make it a complete destination

Homer Cruise Port Facilities?

The ship terminal is really just an enclosed pavilion where buses and taxis pick up passengers: there's not much to it besides restrooms, and the harbor does not provide Wi-Fi service. Volunteers from the Homer Chamber of Commerce distribute the Homer Visitor Guide to passengers disembarking at Ramp 4, and there's plenty to see on the Spit if you don't want to wander too far. The rest of the town is about five miles away, and from there, the outlying areas offer impressive views of the harbor.

Good to Know?

Hikers should use proper precautions: It is bear country. Tell someone where you are going, bring bear spray, and try not to startle them (singing as you go around hidden curves is an excellent idea).

Getting Around?

There is no public transportation system in Homer, so to venture past the gift shops and restaurants on the Spit, you need to book a tour or other form of transportation.

By Trolley: The Homer Trolley operates seasonally from mid-June through mid-August from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Day passes are $12 for adults, $10 for children. It is a hop-on, hop-off service and stops at a number of key locations like the Pratt Museum, Land's End Resort and the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

By Water Taxi: Several water taxi companies whisk passengers to remote beaches for tide pooling and relaxation around stops in Kachemak Bay State Park. The water taxis are an experience of their own; there is an excellent chance of seeing otters, harbor porpoises and even whales along the way. Popular stops include Gull Island, home to thousands of seabirds, picturesque Sadie Cove (keep an eye out for goats and black bears) and kayak beach, a jumping-off point for hiking and kayak adventures (try Mako's Water Taxi, 907-235-9055).

By Taxi: Cab companies offer 24-hour service. Try Kache Cab (907-235-1950) or Kostas Taxi and Limousine (907-399-8008).

By Rental Car: The two big players in town are Adventure Alaska Car Rental (1368 Ocean Drive; 907-235-4022) and Pioneer Car Rentals (3720 FAA Road; 907-235-0734).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Believe it or not, Homer is still in America (it can seem worlds away), so U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. Passengers may have difficulty finding places to exchange Canadian dollars, so if the ship visits Vancouver or other Canadian ports before arriving in Alaska, it's best to spend the currency in Canada. ATMs can be found on Homer Spit Road between Ramp 1 and Ramp 3. Smaller shops and restaurants might not accept credit cards.

Language?

English is predominant, but Alaskans use a number of terms unique to the state, some of which are lighthearted and humorous sayings and others that are practical. Alaskan lingo includes terms like snow machines (snowmobiles), cache (elevated storage cabins), the bush (area inaccessible by roads) and cheechako (a newcomer).

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships share the terminal at the Deep Water Dock on Freight Dock Road with the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. Cruises drop off passengers at the Spit, but you have to walk around the harbor to reach the main area where the shops and attractions begin (about a mile and a half). A shuttle that connects cruise ship passengers from the dock to the "main hub" of the Spit if they opt not to walk.


Homer Cruise Reviews

Kelly SS
Sail Date: Jul 2019
We liked Homer, just walked around and visited shops, got some nice carvings and other items. Not our favorite stop, but very enjoyable nonetheless.... Read More
OceanDreaming2
Sail Date: Jul 2019
We had a personalized tour of the area with our friends who have a summer home near Homer.... Read More
JMAXMV
Sail Date: May 2019
Homer sits in a beautful spot, framed by water and snow- capped mountains We took the shuttle provided from the Homer spit into town. The Pratt Museum was small, but interesting. We then walked to the Islands and... Read More
Educ8rkids
Sail Date: Jun 2018
Homer is a gorgeous place to spend time wandering about. We returned to the ship, got fresh drinks, and went to the deck to watch the sea planes land and take off. Relaxing time with gorgeous scenery.... Read More
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