Alaska’s Eastern Coves vs. Western Coves

There are several questions that often come up when planning to explore Alaska’s coastal waterways via a small ship cruise. What month to sail, what style of cruise (soft adventure, high-adventure, expedition, luxury yacht, etc.), what ship, etc. There are also lots of questions around which itinerary would be best. We at Sunstone Tours & Cruises see and receive lots of questions about two Alaska cruise itineraries in particular; InnerSea Discoveries Alaska Eastern Coves and Alaska Western Coves. So what is the difference between these two Alaska cruise itineraries?

Eastern Coves Western Coves
Map Alaska Eastern Coves Map Alaska Western Coves
Itinerary   (Shown in reverse order)
Day 1 Juneau
Day 2 Chuck River Wilderness / Frederick Sound — Whale Watching
Lush rainforests, animal and bird watching, kayaking, trekking, riding a skiff, paddle boarding. Humpback whales, orcas, and Stellar sea lions
Endicott Arm / Ford’s Terror Wilderness Area
Kayak or skiff riding, scenery & seal watching
Day 3 Thomas Bay / Cascade Creek / Baird Glacier
Guided kayaking and hiking.
The Brothers Islands / Frederick Sound — Whale Watching
Wildlife viewing, whale watching, orcas, humpbacks, and sea lions
Day 4 LeConte Bay / Ideal Cove / Wrangell Narrows
Kayaking, riding a skiff, or hiking
Patterson Bay / Deep Cove
4000-foot vertical walls, and 2000-foot waterfalls, explore by skiff or paddle a kayak. Snorkeling (Yes, snorkeling!) or guided hikes. Birds, wolves, and black bears.
Day 5 Wrangell
Native Tlingit culture, totem poles, kayaking
Baranof Island / Port Walter
Kayak, snorkel or hike in one of the rainiest place in all of Alaska.
Day 6 Yes Bay
Kayaking, hiking, wildlife viewing (humpback whales, orca, porpoise, seals, sea lions, brown and black bears, mink, marten, eagles, and otters)
Klawock Native Village
Visit one of the most authentic Tlingit villages in Alaska. Totem pole carving, hike or kayak, looking for bears, eagles, sea birds, and whales.
Day 7 Misty Fjords National Monument
Kayak or skiff riding, experiencing the scenery and wildlife (brown and black bear, mountain goats, Sitka deer, mink, moose, river otters)
Tongass National Forest / El Capitan Passage / Devilfish Bay
Hike Tongass National Forest, kayak 4-miles around the scenic Devilfish Bay. Visit a resident family who tells of life in the Alaskan outback.
Day 8 Ketchikan Ketchikan
• Diving & Swimming
• Hiking
• Kayaking
• Skiff trips
• Fishing Excursion (extra, not included)
• Overnight Camping (extra, not included)
• Tribal House Tour
• Whale Watching
• Floatplane Tour (extra, not included)
• Diving & Swimming
• Hiking
• Kayaking
• Skiff trips
• Fishing Excursions (extra, not included)
• Overnight Camping (extra, not included)
• Native Village Tour
• Whale Watching
• Snorkeling (extra, not included)
Experiences via Photos
Discoveries during snorkeling Sea Lions up close via kayak
Bears off the bow


So which itinerary is best? Neither. Both offer the same amount and quality or experiences, just different. Unless you want the option for a floatplane or snorkeling excursion, flip a coin, then book the dream Alaskan trip of a lifetime.

P.S. Still can’t make up your mind? Then don’t! Consider the Alaska Inside Passage: Ultimate Adventure itinerary that combines both the eastern and western cove itineraries. Contact Sunstone Tours & Cruises for more information at 1-888-815-5428.

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