Alaska offers 24 ports/cities and hundreds of shore excursion & land tours to choose from.
Your combinations are nearly endless in this unspoiled land nestled between glacier and rain forest.
Explore Alaska by land, sea and air; see North America's most plentiful wildlife and glorious natural wonders.
It's all designed to refresh, re-energize and re-invigorate your senses.
This is your opportunity to take the adventure of a lifetime! You may witness dramatic displays of ice shelves breaking off into icebergs which is called calving. Learn the history and cultures of the people who have lived and loved the land for thousands of years. Marvel at moose and bear on land, bald eagles soaring above, and humpback whales peacefully rolling with the sea. Then, gaze upon the backdrop of a million stars showcasing the miracle of the Aurora Borealis.
Land of the Midnight Sun
SCENIC CRUISING HIGHLIGHTS
COLLEGE FJORD (SCENIC CRUISING)
Imagine. There is a spot in College Fjord where you can see eight glaciers at once. The fjord pokes into the Chugach Mountains at the north end of Prince William Sound and it's the only place in Alaska that surrounds you on three sides with glaciers, five of which terminate at the water. The Harriman Expedition that explored College Fjord in 1899 was funded by Ivy League colleges, and all of the glaciers were named in their honor for the various schools. As you travel into the Fjord, the glaciers on the left are named for women's colleges and those on the right are named for men's colleges. Harvard Glacier is the biggest – its face is a mile and a half across.
College Fjord not only boasts the world's largest collection of tidewater glaciers, but you'll have a chance to watch the awe-inspiring process of glaciers calving, or dropping enormous pillars of ice into the sea, as they crack and land with a thunderous splash - a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed!
During the summer, it's not unheard of to catch a glimpse of one of the area's 40-ton humpback whales feeding in the waters of the fjord. It's a magical wonderland of epic proportions, so breathtaking you won't want to blink!
GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK (SCENIC CRUISING)
Just west of Juneau, this breathtaking national park and preserve boasts some of the world's most spectacular tidewater glaciers, such as Margerie Glacier, which often drops colossal chunks of ice into the sea. Not surprisingly, Glacier Bay National Park and its epic ice giants are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising Alaska's magnificent park system.
During your scenic cruise, friendly park rangers may join the ship to share their knowledge of this amazing place. They might help you identify Glacier Bay's abundant wildlife, including humpback whales, sea otters, porpoises, harbor seals, black bears, mountain goats, bald eagles and large colonies of seabirds.
Take in the awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy an unforgettable day of sailing through this dazzling park, where you'll glide along emerald waters and past calving icebergs, and can breathe in the crisp, fresh air to your heart's content.
TRACY ARM FJORD (SCENIC CRUISING)
Tracy Arm Fjord, one of the most spectacular cruise destinations on earth, is actually made up of two separate fjords. Both fjords are over 30 miles long and one-fifth of their area is covered in ice. Named for Civil War general Benjamin Franklin Tracy, this narrow fjord is located approximately 50 miles southeast of Juneau. In fact, it encompasses some of Alaska's largest glaciers, including the twin Sawyer glaciers, which often expel enormous chunks of ice into the waters below. During the summer when ships visit, icebergs float along the surface of the glistening water in an array of sizes, from just a few inches up to three stories wide.
Protected within the Tongass National Forest, Tracy Arm Fjord is a haven for wildlife. Black and brown bear, deer, wolves, harbor seals, mountain goats and a variety of seabirds have been spotted in the area.
As you glide through the pristine fjord, you'll first pass by a lush forest where beautiful waterfalls cascade, then be treated to views of snowcapped mountains and blue-tinged glaciers - more spectacular than you could ever imagine.
HUBBARD GLACIER (SCENIC CRUISING)
Nicknamed the "Galloping Glacier," this east Alaskan glacier is rapidly advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska into a pristine area known as Disenchantment Bay. In fact, its movement temporarily formed a natural dam that twice closed off nearby Russell Fjord from the bay, but the intense water pressure building within the fjord-turned-lake has thus far been enough to explode through the wall of ice.
The largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier measures 76 miles long and plunges 1,200 feet into the depths of the bay. Its immense beauty and phenomenal blue hues are enchanting, even from afar. However, when your cruise ship draws closer, its towering surface really impresses, dwarfing even the uppermost deck on your ship at a whopping 40 stories high. There, with the snowcapped mountains as a glorious backdrop, you have a prime viewing spot from which to witness the glacier calving icebergs the size of 10-story buildings! Just Imagine the splash!
The area around Hubbard Glacier is also renowned for its wildlife, where whales, harbor seals and otters swim, brown bears, moose and black-tailed deer roam ashore, and a wide variety of seabirds soar gracefully across the sky.
PORTS OF CALL HIGHLIGHTS
Anchorage is often the northern most port that cruise ships visit. The port cities are Seward and Whittier. Anchorage’s snowcapped mountains and glaciers provide an impressive backdrop to Alaska’s largest city. Many of the most popular excursions in Anchorage feature ice and snow. Fly over glaciers or land on top of one. Get acquainted with man's best friend then race through the snow as huskies pull you on a dog-sledding adventure. Named for the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, the community is also the gateway to spectacular Prince William Sound, with its magnificent tidewater glaciers and abundant marine life.
Don't Miss Kim's Favorite...
26 Glacier Cruise | If you have time before or after your cruise, or as part of a transfer package, you can board a high-speed catamaran and travel 140 miles into Prince William Sound to see 26 "named" glaciers, as well as wildlife - both on shore and below the water during this 5-hour cruise.
Portage Glacier Scenic Cruise & Drive | Learn about glaciers and the Chugach National Forest then take a cruise to Portage Glacier and catch your best view of this mammoth mountain of ice. Stop at the Portage Day Lodge then take a narrated drive on one of America's most scenic highways during this 4 1/2-hour tour.
ICY STRAIT POINT, ALASKA
Near Alaska's largest Tlingit village exists a uniquely Alaskan place - lcy Strait Point. It was specifically developed to showcase Alaska Native culture in small villages such as Hoonah and is considered to be one of the ten reasons to visit the state by many. Hoonah, meaning "village by the cliff," is home to the Huna Tlingit who have occupied this area for thousands of years. Local legend tells how they were forced from their ancestral home in Glacier Bay by advancing glaciers, resulting in their relocation to and settlement of Hoonah.
Today, Hoonah is home to nearly 750 residents. Located just 22 miles southeast of Glacier Bay National Park, Icy Strait Point offers travelers the chance to view wildlife like humpback whales, eagles, and brown bears, or to explore monuments to the region’s fishing heritage. Visitors will be intrigued by its rich native heritage, opportunities to see wildlife and the vast wilderness that surrounds this unique village. Icy Strait's waters have yielded record-breaking halibut and salmon catches and provide summer-long access to all five species of salmon. Chichagof Island, on which Icy Strait Point is located, supports one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in the world and sightings are common.
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ZipRider Zip Line | The longest and highest zip line cable ride in the world, at 5,330 feet long and with a vertical drop of 1,300 feet. Begin with a narrated bus tour through Hoonah and then up a mountainside for your ride a mile down the mountain at speeds up to 60mph. If you open your eyes, you may see wildlife in the woods 300 feet below!
In 1880, it was slow going for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris as they searched for gold with the help of Native guides. After climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets "as large as beans." From their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than $150 million in gold had been mined. Some 30,000 people live in Juneau and its total area makes it one of the biggest towns, in size, in the world. Only Kiruna, Sweden, and Sitka, Alaska, exceed Juneau's 3,248 square miles.
Here's your chance to take a glacial dogsled adventure via helicopter in Alaska's capital, a city that gracefully balances frontier ruggedness with cosmopolitan flair. Mendenhall Glacier, a river of ice measuring 1.5 miles in width and over 6 miles in length, is part of Juneau's Icefield, 1500 square miles of ice that feeds 38 glaciers and lies ready for you to take a float trip on it.
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Four Glaciers by Helicopter & Dog Sled Adventure | This really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience - riding in a helicopter over glaciers, landing on an actual glacier and getting on a real dog sled.
Helicopter Flightseeing & Extended Glacier Trek | Pair a helicopter flightseeing experience with learning to climb and rappel down glaciers with special equipment.
This is one of Kim’s favorite ports of call! Ketchikan is known as Alaska's "First City" because it's the first major community travelers come to as they journey north. Located on an island, Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means "eagle with spread-out wings," a reference to a waterfall near town.
In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska's claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. Known as the 'Salmon Capital of the World', Ketchikan is also the ancestral home of the Tlingit people, who carved the world's largest collection of totem poles. Take a canoe and nature trail excursion through the rain forest or a wilderness exploration with a sumptuous crab feast you can't resist. Sightseers will be impressed with both the scenic town and its surroundings, especially Misty Fjords National Monument.
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Misty Fjords by Floatplane | Imagine 2.3 million acres of Misty Fjords National Monument by sea plane! This area features sheer granite cliffs juxtaposed with waterfalls, fjords and forests. It's narrated and choreographed to music with a landing to experience the park.
Saxman Native Village | Visit a village three miles from Ketchikan where the Tlingits welcome guests for a brief video followed by a song and dance presentation. Then on to Saxman Totem Park, home to one of the largest collections of totems in the world; here your guide will help you understand the meaning of the poles still created at the Village Carving Center.
The onion domes of St. Michael's Cathedral are your first clue that Sitka was once a key Russian settlement. Indeed, it was the capital of Russian America, seat of the bishop of Kamchatka, and the most important port on the West Coast for the first half of the 19th century.
Catch a performance by the New Archangel Dancers, be greeted by native Tlingit people, then stand on the spot where the United States took possession of Alaska in 1867. The dramatic setting in the shadow of Mt. Edgecumbe is one of the loveliest in the Great North.
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Salmon & Halibut Fishing | Full-day excursion searching for king, silver and chum salmon and halibut too. Visit known fishing spots, and roll for salmon with downriggers or anchoring and mooching. Fish for halibut by anchoring and jigging.
Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields for the thousands who flocked to Alaska and the Yukon with the hope of striking it rich. Skagway may have boasted the shortest route to the Klondike, but it wasn't the easiest. Over 100 years ago, the White Pass route through the Coast Mountains and the shorter but steeper Chilkoot Trail were used by countless stampeders. Many a would-be miner perished on the treacherous Chilkoot Trail.
The gold rush was a boon and by 1898, Skagway was Alaska's largest town with a population of about 20,000. Hotels, saloons, dance halls and gambling houses prospered. When the gold yield dwindled in 1900, so did the population as miners quickly shifted to new finds in Nome. Today, while Skagway has less than 1,000 residents, it still retains the flavor of the gold rush era.
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White Pass Scenic Railway | The BEST tour! Ride the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, a 100-year old narrow gauge railway with old-fashioned parlor cars that take you up the 2,800-foot summit of the White Pass, through tunnels and over sky-high trestles, past remote valleys and such sights as Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch.
Musher's Camp and Dog Sled Experience | Ride to the ghost town of Dyea and board a Unimog,
all-terrain vehicle and travel up 800 feet to meet your musher and team of 16 dogs. Travel twists and turns, learn about sleddog racing and take photos for the folks back home.
Seattle is a young city with a rich history and many passengers either extend their stay or incorporate some sightseeing into their transfers. Settlers first landed at Alki Point in 1851 and named the area after Sealth, the Suquamish Indian chief who befriended them. Rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1889, "The Emerald City" has a legacy of vision and strength. Seattle has hosted two World's Fairs (1909 and 1962) and is the birthplace of two modern marvels, Boeing and Microsoft. Visitors to the Emerald City find a fusion of American, Asian and Native American cultures, set against a backdrop of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Sample the freshest seafood to be found along the Pacific Rim, as well as a cup of Seattle’s famous coffee - Starbucks.
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Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Cruise & City Tour | You can take a shorter version of this 6-hour tour as part of your transfer at disembarkation. You'll see Seattle from two different perspectives: by land and by sea. See the city's diverse neighborhoods on a narrated motor coach tour that includes soaring to the top of the Space Needle and dodging flying fish at Pike Place Market. Then, transfer to a relaxing cruise along the city's waterways.