The great land called Alaska is waiting to be explored. An Alaska cruise-tour is by far the best way to experience this incredible land! I have had the pleasure of seeing Alaska by cruise twice, once with Celebrity from Vancouver and once with Norwegian from Seattle, and finally a self arranged land tour from Anchorage to Homer and Denali National Park. I highly recommend you not miss seeing Mt. McKinley, Anchorage, Talkeetna, and the spectacular scenery of the stunning Kenai Peninsula. Yes, it will cost more in both time and money, but it would be a bit like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower or Rome and missing the Coliseum!
Should your budget allow there are several luxury lines offering Alaska in 2018 and 2019. This link will share with you your choices in 2018 of luxury accommodations, and as always, I would love to guide you in your decision on how to enjoy Alaska YOUR way. The inclusive nature and the incredible tour offerings alone make this a great value for discerning travelers.
For families and those on a tighter budget, look here for suggestions on matching your needs to the ships and itineraries that best match your travel needs and dreams for this special vacation.
Highlights of a land tour might include a stay in or near the quaint town of Talkeetna, where you can take an optional jet-boat or flight-seeing to witness the majestic Mt. McKinley in all its glory. And a two night stay in Denali, where the Tundra Tour takes you deep into the Denali National Park for encounters with moose, bear or caribou.
Experience both rail and motor coach transportation, allowing for your luggage to be handled all along the way. Hotel Aleyska in Girdwood outside of Anchorage gives you the chance for beautiful hikes on the mountain or a variety of other optional experiences before boarding your ship if you are traveling south. Your transfer to the sea can be either by rail or by motorcoach, and depending on the cruise line and itinerary chosen, ships sail from Whittier or from Seward.
The ports of call along the inside passage are accessible only by air or sea, with the exception of Skagway …the gateway to the Yukon! That helps to explain why cruising is the best way to explore the area. One of my favorite memories from my Alaska adventures is of my kayak trip from Ketchikan. I witnessed a pod of about 30 Dall porpoises cruising at nearly 55 mph, feeding together. AHHHHMAZING! Sad to say, the traditional camera I was using malfunctioned and the shutter only opened a fraction of an inch my entire trip. (I did this one before digital photography was even a thing!) Bummer for sure, but that is just one of the many reasons I had to go back.
Hubbard Glacier…Who would think that watching a glacier would be exhilarating? This is one of the most active in the world, and one of the few that continues to advance. The sights and sounds as your ship slowly turns for all its guests to see are truly a unique and glorious experience. As you watch and listen, while sipping your hot chocolate, you will most definitely “Oooh” and “Ahhhh” with your fellow passengers. And the colors! The blues of the glacial ice are unlike any blue I have ever seen. You can feel the cold from the wall of magnificent ice. This was definitely another highlight for me…can you tell? Some ship itineraries take you to Glacier National Park, which is also magnificent and majestic.
Many of the cruises depart or arrive at the end of the trip to port in one of the most beautiful international cities in the world…Vancouver, British Columbia. Be wise and stay a night or two to enjoy this fascinating city. From the nature of Stanley Park to the shopping, incredible dining and nightlife, this is a destination to explore. Whistler Mountain is nearby, and you can consider adding an additional tour experience by rail that includes the Canadian Rockies…Jasper, Banff and Calgary.
See why I fell in love with Alaska by land, cruise, or both? The possibilities for active exploration are endless in this part of the world. And it’s on our own continent! But if you hope to go this summer, it’s critical that you act soon. Hopefully, one of the best ships still has a suite waiting just for you. Contact me as soon as you read this and I will reserve space on your journey to the Great Land. I am a Master Cruise Counselor, so use my knowledge to your benefit!
Steps to Choosing the Right way for YOU to Experience Alaska
FIRST and most importantly, Call your travel professional!!!
2. Travel Northbound and build the excitement and sometimes save a little money, Southbound to enjoy the land while adjusting to the time change. Do a land only package, cruise only package, round trip inside passage, or, if you have the time and the money, both land and sea! You will need at least 10 nights to do it right.
3. Choose luxury ships for smaller, more intimate experience with lots of inclusions, expedition-style ships for an up close and personal guided cruise with naturalists on board to learn from, or the big ship experience, which is great for extended families and price-conscious folks, or those worried about motion during cruising. (I have some tips to alleviate this)
4. Book early…it’s open sailing to book now for the following summer in 2019 to grab the best cabin locations.