I used to work on board cruise lines quite a few years ago mind you. The company I worked for was Celebrity Cruises. The ship I was on at that time was the Celebrity Summit which is a Millennium class ship. My Itinerary in Alaska consisted of sailing from Vancouver and visiting the ports of Skagway, Icy Straight Point, Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier and Sitka. The ports visited depended on the itinerary.
There was so much to see and do. Firstly Vancouver is a very cosmopolitan and clean city so If you can stay there for a few days prior to your cruise then it is worth it.
Alaska is very rich in history, whether it is the 19th Century Gold Rush or the fight over the state of Alaska between the Americans and Russians. Also there are the native American settlers who have left their mark in some of the ports you will visit.
On the ship Celebrity normally have a naturalist who will be on look out from the bridge and announce if there is wildlife spotted either in the water or on the coastline. Remember you may have the chance to see seals, dolphins, whales, eagles and even bears so if you hear an announcement then get your binoculars out.
Hubbard Glacier is a sight to be seen. Whether it is the colours or the sounds the ice makes creaking against the tide. Early season the ship can not normally get as close to the glacier due to the face that there will be more surface ice. The picture above was taken later on in the Alaskan season as you can see most of the ice pack has melted. If the Captain of the ship can, they will pirouette the ship 360 degrees so you can get photos from all angles.
Alaska is a must see special place and the best way to get to see the spectacular scenery is on a luxury cruise.