Seward Cruise Port: Terminal, Getting Around and What to Do

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Nestled along the Gulf of Alaska, the Seward Cruise Port is among the many important gateways to memorable adventures in America’s ‘Last Frontier.’ Thanks to its strategic location and the fact that the town acts as an amazing place to see Alaska’s unique wildlife up close and in person, the Seward Cruise Port is a popular port of call. 

Whether your cruise is just making a quick stop in the Seward Cruise Port or planning to spend a few days in Seward, this guide will help you get the most out of your stay.

We will cover everything you need to know, from details about the port itself to detailed information about the town and surrounding attractions, like Kenai Fjords National Park.

Gateway to the Last Frontier: Port Location

Seward Cruise Port, also known as the Seward Cruise Ship Terminal, is roughly one mile south of Seward’s historic downtown area. This means that visitors can enjoy easy access to the town’s wide range of attractions and amenities and the stunning nature and outdoor adventures outside the town.

Location of Seward Cruise Terminal
Location of Seward Cruise Terminal

Next to the cruise ship docking area, visitors will see the Seward Small Boat Harbor, which serves smaller vessels like fishing and whale-watching boats. Just a five-minute walk from the Small Boat Harbor, visitors can easily walk to the Seward Train Station, one of the busier hubs of activity in this fairly tranquil town.

If you are hoping to drive to the port by taking the Seward Highway, or you just want to look into the area on maps, the port can be found at the following address: Seward Cruise Ship Terminal, Seward, Alaska, USA, 99664

Port Description and Future Expansion

Even though the port only features a single pier, it has a berth capable of handling even the largest cruise ships, which is impressive for such a small port and town. This simply reflects the popularity of Seward as an Alaskan port of call.

In fact, there are already plans to rebuild the entire port by 2026. In a partnership between the Alaska Railroad Company, Royal Caribbean Group, and Turnagain Marine, a state-of-the-art double-berth floating pier will be installed, allowing two cruise ships to dock in port at any time.

New Seward Cruise Terminal
New Seward Cruise Terminal

The plan also includes constructing a new 41,500-square-foot cruise terminal building, which will be outfitted with all of the latest passenger amenities.

It will even feature a bus terminal, which will be capable of transporting visiting passengers to popular tourist attractions and other major population hubs like Anchorage, Skagway, and Juneau. 

Cruise Lines that Operate Out of Seward Cruise Port

Due to the port’s ability to handle full-sized cruise ships, plus its strategic location along the main Alaskan Inside Passage cruise route, it is regularly used by some of the most well-known cruise lines. The following are just some of the cruise lines that make regular use of the port: 

  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Holland America Cruise Line
  • Viking Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Princess Cruises

Port Facilities and Accessibility

Located right on the edge of the picture-perfect waters of Resurrection Bay, Seward Cruise Port offers visiting cruise passengers amazing views and a real sense of the untouched beauty that makes Alaska such a popular place to visit.

The terminal facilities reflect Seward’s small, isolated town, but visitors can expect a comfortable and stress-free in-port experience. An information office is always staffed when cruise ships are in port, so visitors can easily obtain assistance if they have questions about Seward or the surrounding area.

Seward Cruise Terminal
Seward Cruise Terminal (Photo Credit: Paolo Trovo)

There are also restrooms and comfortable seating areas. In terms of accessibility, the terminal building and the entire port itself are completely wheelchair accessible. With that said, if you need mobility assistance, it is worth informing your cruise line beforehand. 

Unfortunately, Wi-Fi is not provided inside Seward Cruise Ship Terminal, but there are plenty of coffee shops and restaurants in Seward itself where you can access public Wi-Fi. For example, the Sea Bean Café on 4th Avenue in downtown Seward offers fast and free Wi-Fi for customers, and it is less than two miles from the port. 

Getting to the Port

If you are hoping to travel to the Seward Cruise Port from outside Seward itself, accessibility is fairly simple, especially by Alaskan standards. Seward Cruise Port is approximately 140 miles south of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest and most populous city. 

For this reason, many people fly into Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC) in Anchorage and then take a short flight on a smaller plane to Seward Airport (SWD), which is located just 1.9 miles away from Seward Cruise Ship Terminal.

Seward Cruise Port
Seward Cruise Port (Photo Credit: Steve Heap / Shutterstock)

For those looking for a more scenic version, it is also possible to rent a car in Anchorage and drive the roughly two-hour and twenty-minute journey along State Highway 9, which connects Anchorage to Seward.

Worth Reading: Whittier Cruise Port – Terminal, Directions and Info

Train travel via the USA Railroad is another way to enjoy a unique and breathtaking travel experience. The train journey from Anchorage takes a similar amount of time to drive, but the railroad winds through lush forests and rugged mountains, providing passengers with picturesque views and a relaxed way to see Alaska’s interior wilderness.

Transportation within Seward

If you arrive at Seward Cruise Port and you’re looking for ways to get around town, you will find that most visitors rely heavily upon taxis.

With several taxi companies operating in town, including Seward Taxi Co., Resurrection Taxi, and Aunt May’s Taxi & Tours, you should not have any difficulty getting a cab from the edge of the port. Currently, no rideshare services, like Uber or Lyft, operate in Seward, so cabs are your best bet.

Aerial View of Seward, Alaska
Aerial View of Seward, Alaska (Photo Credit: Wangkun Jia)

Seward City Tours also operates a free shuttle bus with a pickup location on the harbor’s edge. The shuttle then takes passengers on a free 30-minute route through the town, with various stops at points of interest.

Keep in mind that stops are at designated locations, so you will have to walk from them. Fortunately, Seward is a small and compact town, so it is easy to navigate on foot. 

On top of that, the majority of the most popular attractions in town are located within just one mile of the port, so walking is really easy. Some of the town’s hotels and tour operators also provide complimentary shuttles to and from the port.

If you choose to walk from the port into the downtown area, a waterfront walking path makes it easy, even with luggage and daypacks.

The Intermodal Hub and Alaska Railroad

For those interested in exploring Alaska by rail, Seward Cruise Port offers a unique feature—it sits adjacent to the Alaska Railroad. This means passengers can easily transition from traveling by cruise ship to railcar or vice versa.

Alaska Railroad - Seward Depot
Alaska Railroad – Seward Depot (Photo Credit: EWY Media)

Not only does this add an interesting layer of flexibility for tourists hoping to blend maritime travel with rail travel, but the combination of facilities is a major part of why Seward was once considered one of Alaska’s major transportation hubs.

Freight could be transferred from railcars to cargo ships, which helped the remote state stay connected to the rest of the United States and other countries. 

The railyard also offers ample parking for visitors hoping to take a cruise with Seward as its embarkation and disembarkation point. This is also hugely beneficial for those wishing to drive into the town from Anchorage and beyond. 

The Best Time to Visit Seward, Alaska

As you may already know, Alaska’s climate varies drastically from season to season. While individual travelers have their own preferences, and each season offers its own unique opportunities for exploration, the stretch between June and September is typically seen as the best time to visit Alaska, including the town of Seward.

Seward Cruise Port Area
Seward Cruise Port Area (Photo Credit: Mike Tiffany Ritz)

This is because these months have the warmest weather, with temperatures in the cool and comfortable range of 60° to 70°F. Not only is the weather fairly dry and daytime temperatures relatively pleasant, but the days are also longer, enabling visitors to enjoy more sunlight and time for outdoor activities.

Read Also: The Best Time to Cruise Alaska – Months to Choose

Beyond the more pleasant weather and longer days, these months are also when many of Alaska’s most famed wildlife species are most active and visible. Visitors to the Port of Seward can view bears, sea otters, whales, puffins, sea lions, and bald eagles during the summer months.

Do Cruises Visit Seward in the Off-Season?

While the summer and fall months are the most popular, some of the smaller cruise ships visit Seward and other major Alaskan ports of call throughout the year. This gives cruise ship passengers greater flexibility and affordability, as off-season cruises tend to be more affordable

In addition, it allows visitors to experience Alaska’s beauty during different seasons, each offering its unique advantages. For example, the northern lights are at their most prominent during the winter months, making even the least busy months their own attraction.

Fishing Boat and Cruise Ship in Seward, Alaska
Fishing Boat and Cruise Ship in Seward, Alaska (Photo Credit: Vineyard Perspective / Shutterstock)

If you visit during the off-season, you can also book excursions that take advantage of the cold weather, glaciers, and heavy snowfall. From downhill and cross-country skiing to snowshoeing and dog sledding, numerous winter activities can make your visit to Seward even more memorable than a summer visit. 

It is still important to remember that cruises become far less frequent outside of the May to September busy season window. In fact, there are only a few cruise lines that continue to offer Alaskan itineraries during the winter months. Celebrity Cruises is one of them, as is Royal Caribbean International

Nearby Amenities

If you have a limited amount of time in Seward and hope to stay close to the port, there are still plenty of things you can fit into your brief visit.

The Alaska SeaLife Center

Located just 2.2 miles from the Seward Cruise Port, the Alaska SeaLife Center is a public aquarium that showcases Alaska’s unique marine species.

Alaska SeaLife Center
Alaska SeaLife Center

The aquarium is also the state’s only permanent marine mammal rehabilitation facility, so you can view rescued and injured animals before they are released back into the wild. The Alaska SeaLife Center is a vital rehab center from sea otters to walruses. 

This research, conservation, and education center is worth visiting if you are in Seward and looking for a fun and unique way to spend an afternoon. 

Visit Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier is just a 10-minute drive from the edge of Seward. Visiting this roadside glacier is one of the most popular things to do in Seward, so many local tour guides are willing to drive visitors out to see it.

Exit Glacier
Exit Glacier (Photo Credit: Ramsey Samara)

For more ambitious thrill seekers, a hiking trail allows hikers to get up close with the dark blue glacier. Tour operators even offer ice-climbing experiences on the glacier’s side.

Walk Around Seward Waterfront Park

You don’t have to travel outside Seward to enjoy stunning views of Alaska’s Iconic nature. Seward Waterfront Park stretches 5 miles from the harbor to the above-mentioned Alaska SeaLife Center, so you can combine a visit to the facility with a pleasant stroll along the water. With views of the distant mountains and the water, you won’t regret it!

Seward Marina Right Next to the Cruise Port
Seward Marina Right Next to the Cruise Port (Photo Credit: Wangkun Jia)

The park entrance is located right at the edge of the port, making walking incredibly easy. If you walk along the path, you’ll also see the Trail Landmarks Statue, which marks the original starting point for the world-famous Iditarod Race. 

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for eagles, otters, and seals! 

Explore Downtown Seward

While the stunning nature surrounding the town often steals the show, Seward is fun to explore. Plus, with the cruise port sitting right at the edge of town, walking into Seward only takes a few minutes.

Downtown Seward
Downtown Seward (Photo Credit: Andrew F. Kazmierski)

In addition to having plenty of unique cafés, bars, and restaurants, the town also holds the official title of the “Mural Capital of Alaska.” Numerous murals throughout the town, all painted by local artists, depict the nature that surrounds the town, including recognizable sites like Kenai Fjords National Park. 

If you have more time in Seward and you’re looking to explore beyond the town, or you want to enjoy some of the outdoor activities the area is famous for, we recommend the following: 

Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures Ziplining Experience

One of the more unique ways to see Alaska’s lush forests is to book a ziplining experience with Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures. With their headquarters being less than one mile from the port, it couldn’t be easier.

Things to do in Seward Alaska
Photo Credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock

The three-hour tour features eight ziplines, three suspension bridges, and a rappelling experience for those looking for something new. Transportation to and from the ziplining park is included!

Whale Watching

The waters of Resurrection Bay surrounding Seward are known to be fairly active with whales, thanks to conservation efforts to protect whale populations. To capitalize on this unique feature, Seward is home to several whale-watching tour operators. You won’t have to travel far, as many tour operators will meet cruise passengers directly outside the port.

Whale Watching in Resurrection Bay
Whale Watching in Resurrection Bay (Photo Credit: NelsonK)

If you can, try to book with one of the operators who will take you to Cook Inlet. It is home to a population of wild beluga whales, and viewing these endangered and charismatic whales in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! 

Visiting Kenai Fjords National Park

Whether you decide to hike along the coast or would prefer to see it by boat, traveling to Kenai Fjords National Park is considered to be one of the top attractions near Seward.

The park’s boundaries begin just one mile away from Seward, so it makes sense why visiting is such a popular activity. In fact, there is even a National Park Service Visitor Center for the Kenai Fjords National Park located just a short walk from the port.

Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park (Photo Credit: Marta Lockwood)

These majestic waters and well-preserved fjords are home to some of Alaska’s most iconic species, including orcas. If you’re looking to see Alaska’s Rugged beauty first-hand, the park is the ideal place to do so. 

Remember that hiking the trails that line that park should only be carried out by those with significant outdoor experience, as the wildlife and the trails themselves can be dangerous. Instead, we recommend booking a hiking or chartered boat tour.

If you go this route, you will find numerous providers in Seward. Not only is this preferable for safety and timing purposes, but transportation is included, simplifying the entire experience. 

Fishing Tours

Seward is also an amazing place for fishing enthusiasts, as numerous tour operators work out of the Seward Small Boat Harbor, which is located directly beside the cruise port.

Fishing Area in Seward
Fishing Area in Seward (Photo Credit: EWY Media)

Experience fishing for salmon, halibut, rockfish, and more in the deep and bountiful waters of Resurrection Bay. You’ll be provided with everything you need, but make sure you dress warm!

Dining Near Seward Cruise Port

Despite its relatively small size, Seward boasts some impressive culinary options. There are numerous options, and the seafood and other ingredients are incredibly fresh. 

If you are looking to eat close to the port, there are plenty of waterfront options, including Chinooks, a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. With fresh, seasonal ingredients and unique dishes, like Thai-style grilled salmon, it’s a great option.

If you’re just looking for a sweet treat, Harbor Street Creamery offers homemade ice cream and smoothies, perfect for walking along Seward Waterfront Park.

Seward Waterfront
Seward Waterfront (Photo Credit: Raisa Nastukova)

Seward’s downtown is also home to various cafés and restaurants. Train Wreck is a unique Tex-Mex restaurant built into a refurbished railcar, while Resurrect Art Coffeehouse and Gallery is the perfect place to enjoy fresh pastries and a delicious cup of joe.

Beer lovers should also make time to sample a pint of craft beer at the Seward Brewing Company. Not only are the beers refreshing and flavorful, but the building has been around since 1904! 

Shopping Near Seward Cruise Port

If you want to bring home a souvenir to remember your time in Seward, we recommend wandering down 4th Avenue. Here, you’ll find numerous souvenir stores and art galleries where you can purchase unique, handcrafted items.

Stores on Seward Waterfront
Stores on Seward Waterfront (Photo Credit: sljones)

Nakao Ceramics offers a variety of handmade ceramics, while the Ranting Raven carries unique prints and native Alaskan artworks. 

If you are looking for outdoor gear you can use while you are in Seward rather than souvenirs and gifts, take a trip to Frontier Safety and Supply, where you’ll find everything you need to enjoy this rugged landscape. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Seward walkable?

Yes, Seward is a walkable town with many attractions and amenities within easy walking distance of the cruise port. However, taxis and shuttles are also available for travelers who prefer not to walk. 

How do I get from Seward Cruise Port to Anchorage Airport?

 Travelers can reach Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport from the Seward Cruise Port by shuttle, bus, or rental car. There is also a small airport in Seward, located less than two miles from the port. 

Is it worth visiting Seward, Alaska?

Absolutely! Seward offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy, from stunning natural scenery to cultural landmarks and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re interested in hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, or simply exploring the charming town, Seward has something for everyone.

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