Dive Blade

when sailing to alaska from seattle or vancouver are the waters really rough?

You're in the cruise travel section, so I'm assuming you're planning on being on a "Loveboat" sort of cruise ship.

1) the Inside passage is mostly very protected waters, not open to the North Pacific. The exceptions are a stretch north of Vancouver Island but south of Queen Charlotte Island and the much longer stretch through the Gulf of Alaska east of Prince William Sound

2) even in those areas, big cruise ships have computer-controlled active dampening achieved with blades on the bow (like the diving blades on a submarine). That reduces motion a lot. Check if your ship is so equipped or not

3) Even the State Ferries (which are aren't so well equipped) aren't bad north of Vancouver island. They can be knocked around in the Gulf of Alaska, though.

4) some cruises don't even go all the way to Seward or Whittier (hence they don't cross the Gulf of Alaska. They turn around in Haines or Glacier Bay National Park.

5) If a big storm is in the Gulf of Alaska, it will be rough in any boat outside of the Inside Passage. Sailboaters hole up on either end and try to dash across quickly when it looks like their a window of decent weather. When there are 50-foot waves, everyone heads for port (actually, they should already be in port)

Take home message : if this is a big concern for you either a) bring scopolamine patches or b) book an itinerary entirely south of Haines.

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